Blogher post #1

I admit it. I’m not the avid blogger I pretend to be, which you’ll realize if you stop by and peruse the sporadic posts.

I’ll post more about Blogher 2006 later, I’m exhausted, but for my first post, I thought I’d mention the first person I met, Steve, who was at the Blogher conference with his mother— an 80 something year YOUNG blogger. I admit, I get a little teary-eyed thinking about it. And jealous too. How wonderful to be able to share this crazy technology thing with your mom.

I wonder if my mom would be a blogger. I know she was an avid letter-writer, as I have a shoebox full of letters she’d written to my grandparents, to my dad when he was a sea, letters home to my sister and I from vacationing sans the kids in the Orient. I just don’t know if she would have embraced this new technology.

I know my dad read my blog, at least a few times. He mentioned once that he liked what I wrote about my sister. But I don’t think he ever got into the blogging thing in general. He did own all the latest computer equipment (he was an engineer). I also found out he even had an I-pod. His music list was very varied: from Hawaiian slack key guitarists Keola and Kapono Beamer, to Diana Krall, James Taylor, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon… I’m sure I could come up with more, but I’m very tired. Too many late nights, too little sleep.

I know it seems strange that I mention a “BlogHim” in my first post about the BlogHer conference, but seriously, he was the first person I met. I sat down at a table with my coffee, and he was there. He may have said something before asking “Do you know my mom?” but I don’t remember.

“No, should I?” I answered, instantly outing myself as a blog community illiterate. And just to clarify I added “I really don’t know anybody.”

“Well you do now, I’m Steve.”

So thanks Steve for making me feel not quite so intimidated. Next time I want to make sure I meet your mom, though– she really seems cool.

I did meet lots of incredible women, doing cool stuff in audio, video, social activism, community building, and just plain good writing. As soon as I get some sleep I’m sure I’ll be able to focus some of my thoughts and get them down on ether.

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BlogHER

Yup. I’m going. I feel like I’m crashing the party though. I signed up, no wait, I didn’t actually sign up, I volunteered to be on the Audio Team even though I have no experience whatsoever. I did finally buy the digital audio recorder I wanted so I have something to contribute. A few cryptic emails from someone named Mir and someone named Toy and I’m in. Not sure about the cocktail party, do I have a ticket? Is that included with my pass? Do I have any choice in what I want to record? I’m excited and nervous all at the same time. There are going to be some 700 women there! that’s a lot of estrogen in one place! I may have to wander over the San Jose Grand Prix to get a little testosterone fix.

Pain

The blisters on the balls of my feet are almost healed. I was hoping that by the time the blisters healed I would stop feeling pain, but that was just wishful thinking.

I got these blisters marching behind my father’s casket wearing high heeled shoes in the pouring rain, rain that masked my tears and seemed particularly fitting for a funeral.

Walking behind the caisson seemed like a good idea, but it was farther than the funeral director led us to believe, and the soldiers marched faster than he led us to believe, or maybe it just seemed that way because of the rain and the burgeoning blisters. I took my shoes off and walked on the asphalt road, bits of gravel digging into my soles less painful than the blisters, less painful than the hole in my heart…. a hole that has not yet healed. I miss my dad.

but wait, there’s more…

One other good thing that came out of my Dad’s death was the opportunity to see my cousin Terri, the daughter of my mother’s sister (also now passed). It was great to see her. I also met her husband Kenny, and my 2nd cousin Bradley.

I should also mention that my friend Ralph came out with Debby and I for moral support and to help deal with the “stuff” in my Dad’s condo. It is overwhelming to sort through someone else’s life, and determine what to keep and what to sell and what to toss. My friend Martin also came down for moral support… My sister Debby also had several friends drop in. It is all appreciated very much.

Thankfully, my Dad had a will, which makes some things a little easier, but the best advice I can give anyone, especially those of you with children, children or anyone who may become executor of your estate, be sure to have your affairs in order. I know it is difficult to think about, but as they say, the only thing certain in life is death and taxes. If you don’t have a will, get one. NOW. Make sure the beneficiary information on ALL your accounts, bank accounts, life insurance policies, IRAs, etc are up-to-date. My mother, who passed away in 1978 is still listed as beneficiary on several policies, which really slows things down in settling the estate and paying for things that need to be paid for. (finerals are expensive)

NOLO is a good place to start. Know the laws in your state, and plan accordingly.

The funeral

We laid my dad to rest on July 5, 2006 at Arlington National Cemetery. He is interred with my mom. We hosted a full military honors funeral, complete with marching band, caisson, and gun salute. The reception took place in the Hall of Honors at the Women in War Memorial. I suppose as far as funerals go, it was a nice service, and it poured down rain. Matched my mood just fine.

It was nice, too, in a weird way to have some time with friends and family. We met my 2nd cousin Gail from Michigan… though she says we’ve met before (I was 2 I think and don’t remember) but she was a hoot– wish we’d known her all these years. We also re-connected with other cousins from my Dad’s dad side of the family: Jay from New Jersey and Craig from Boston as well as cousins and uncles from my Grandma’s side, Uncle Tommy and Uncle Johnny, cousin Tom and Roseanne, Laura, Chris, sort of a swirling mass of relatives.

Many of my Dad’s collegues attended as well, most touching was Nancy H. coming in from Missouri just for the funeral. She said my Dad was a very important mentor to her over the years. And many long time friends also attended– a couple of Naval Academy classmates, some shipmates and some other workmates from Dad’s post-Navy days.

My sister and I also had several friends come out for moral support. Thanks to everyone for coming and honoring our Dad. And to Aunt Mary K and Uncle Bill (and cousin Katie) who were right at the center with Debby and I providing much needed support.

I managed to squeak out my poem, First Dance, at the funeral, and bid aloha to my pop. Here’s the poem I read, written in 2002, I gave it to him for Father’s Day that same year:

Bamboo covered walls,
tiki torches, and
drinks served in coconut shells

Tropical music lingering in the air

The Maui Lu Hotel Lounge.

This was the real thing, not some mainland reproduction

I wore a polynesian print halter dress
and white strappy sandals
My first grown up shoes

He was tan and tall, or so he seemed to me
Dark hair,
smiling eyes,
elegant in his blue aloha shirt and white slacks

He held out his hand and asked me to dance

I don’t remember the song,
but I do remember
the way I felt
when I stepped up
onto the tops of his shoes
and he twirled me around the room

Daddy’s little girl.