Merry December

Well, we are nearing the point where I get to experiece my first real winter in over ten years. Wish me luck. To kick the month off nicely though, my offiice has ugraded me to my very own private cube. I feel so Office Space now.

Introducing Lila …

img_02291We can officially claim to be settled into NEPA now.  Both Ted and I are hard at work at our new jobs aand things at home become more like home every day.  As a result of feeling this way, we went and adopted a little itty bitty kitty on Saturday.

Introducing Lila …

Lila is a small, 2-year old cat that we found at the SPCA.  She’s had a rough life.  Recently she gave birth to 3 kittens and then played nursemaid to 4 others.  At the time of her adoption, she still has milk in her teats!  And all this she’d done at a mere 5.5 lbs!  She is the smallest cat I have ever seen.  Like most cats that come from the SPCA she’s has a bit of an upper respiratory infection but this too will pass.  She’s the sweetest cat you’ve ever met too … and very easy going.

Burrnadette is not taking it as well.  She’s still adjusting to all the changes so this has thrown her for a loop.  The good news is that there was no blood at initial meeting so it’s doubtful that there will be trouble.  The first day she would not come out from under the bed.  Today she’s coming out to smell the smells and explore a bit more.  This good.

More pictures can be found on smugmug.

Settling into PA

pa_home

Well here we are. Who knew that we would find a place in so short a time, all of three days after arriving in Wilkes-Barre!

We’ve been very busy these first days, now all of 1.5 weeks into our relocation, we have in a very short span managed to do a lot of things…

Drove 1760 miles from Austin to Wilkes-Barre in 3 days.

Found and setup camp at Moon Lake County Park.

Found a mail drop to make our new mailing address.

Found a new bank to make our home bank and setup accounts.

Lightly scoured the countryside, and in the end found a cute apartment to rent, less than 3 miles from work. Sweet. Minimum commute time last week was 10 minutes, max 17. We’ll see how it goes.

Started working at both our respective jobs.

We have met over half the occupants of our apartment building and they’re all cool people so far, 3 out of four apartments have one or more cats so how bad CAN they be?

Painted the bathroom in the apartment.

Started cycling, both road and dirt, both of us (each to our own levels).

We both seem to be making good connections with people at our respective workplaces.

I’ve even started to make connections in the local cycling scene – I hesitate to say friends yet, it’s too early, but signs are good.

So, things are looking pretty dang good if you ask me.

Now if only paychecks would start moving, that’d de-stress us both quite a bit.

We are terribly missing our Austin friends, make no mistake. We are NOT missing the Austin weather, temperatures from 50-80 with a vibrant and healthy landscape are MUCH more to both our likings. I’m still working on finding “those” trails, as the public samplings I’ve had so far are good, but I hope to be only the tip of the iceberg.

Winds of Change

The winds of change is in the air.  After a wonderful 10 years in Austin, Texas, we are moving!

On Sunday we are packing up the cars and taking the T@B and heading to Pennsylvania.  After graduating with my Ph.D., I managed to land a faculty position at King’s College, a small liberal arts school in Wilkes-Barre.  Then to really add excitement, Bear got a job too!

So it is time to go.

Austin, you will be missed in more ways than you will know.  You have been good for us.

Pennsylvania, we look forward to the challenges you bring.

Can we just be DONE with this?

2009 has been a year of ups and downs, and i’m almost done with it and ready to walk off.

There’s some severely stressful times coming for the Bear Clan, as I affectionately call the grouping of myself, Maria, and our lone remaining kitty Burnadette. Maria’s starting her new job in August at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre (PA), I’ll hopefully transition well, moving the household up there, all is enough for any single family to deal with, don’t you think?

But no, we’ve had lightweight illness (I had the flu for a couple weeks), injury (Maria needed knee surgery in March), death of friends (Anthony Sloan), death of friend of family (my sister had the wife of a close friend go), death of a parent (my Dad), death of almost-parent (my Aunt Betsy), and last night we found out my Aunt Millie had passed.

My most strong condolences to the whole Mays clan. I have the fondest memories of visits to North Carolina and family gatherings of Jump and Mays in the Smokey Mountains, from my youth. Uncle Charlie and Aunt Millie were always awesome people to me and I hold them that way in my heart. The families that have grown from them are all cool people – Chuck and Dan and Dave and Amy and all the huge extended family that they represent.

To this day I can remember some flashes very clearly of Uncle Charlie taking me out and teaching me to fly-fish, catching “hawgs” (large mouth bass) at some nearby pond or lake. I’m going to have to take that up again.

Blegh.

Ah well, oh 50 hours until Maria punts out to Ireland on her next academic tour, leaving me to take care of kitty and litter.

Of Loss

Dad in 1962, I was born in 1965 On Thursday I found out that my father, who was hospitalized on Wednesday, was moving to Hospice Care on Friday morning, with “not long” as the prognosis thence.

This was a sad thing, but not unexpected.

Dad had been in and out of the hospital all year and was in pretty frail shape.

The years had not been kind to him. Suffering badly from bipolar disorder (also known as manic-depressive disorder) this was an illness that caused great issues mentally, emotionally, and physiologically. I know that he felt it, but I can not imagine what is like, to be a “captive of my own mind, unable to control or direct my own thoughts nor body.” The medicines that have been used over the years to moderate this condition were, themselves, another necessary curse. I believe it is only in the last few years that progress is really being made to find ways of dealing with these conditions without causing horrid other problems.

Eventually, on Friday evening, he passed quietly and peacefully onto wherever his next home is.

I am happy that he is now finally finding comfort and rest, and I assume spending time in ways more pleasant than he has desired to do in many a year.

Father was an intensely sweet and caring person.

Before his illness took over completely he was a truly brilliant and elegant man. Classically educated, wordly, voluntarily involved with various services.

His entire adult life he was an educator, eventually retiring after being a high school vice principal for many a year. He was continually involved with theater, both as an actor and a director, this was something he shared closely with my older sister but that I never really tapped into.

While I was in my “service years” – stationed far and away while in the Army it was a very rare week that I did not get a nice letter from Dad and while I was (and am) a horrid pen-pal he was steadfast and it was so very appreciate. I had many lonely times in those years and he was always there, even from a distance.

I would never go so far to say as he and I were as close as he and my sister was, but I love him deeply to this day and will continue to do so I am sure.

Good journeys, my “Bilbo”, see you when I follow you into the West some time hence.

*sigh*

Yet, apparently, this was not enough for the universe to share with me last week.

On Friday afternoon, while at work, I found out that a friend of mine who I like to call “good” and whom I had strangely enough become more friends with after he moved from Austin to Denver, passed away in the night, in his sleep, on Thursday.

As it turns out, Anthony apparently died from a condition related to an enlarged heart, with no more information really available. However the coroner apparently is confident that he died quietly and painless in his sleep.

Anthony you will be sadly missed, for quite some time.

My heart weeps for Anthony’s family, close friends (especially Dave M.) and his Best Girl Carrie.

For those of you not familiar with him, you are still fortunate in that you may get to know him somewhat. Point your web browser at www.anthonysloan.com and spend some time. Then go back and spend some more. Look at his writings, and his travels.

This shocked me. And rocked me. This was not expected, nor acceptable, and is still being worked on to be accepted by my heart.

I feel loss, but I am getting past the frustration and anger at the universe for this. I guess it really is, somehow, the natural order of things. It must be, as Anthony passed, apparently quietly, in his sleep.

In the morning, we ride.

This is how he would want it.

This is how it should be.

This is how it must be.

I have sweet friends

A good friend sent the following to me today, I had to share.

Author’s name witheld to preserve anonymity – but they have written other nice poems before …

Oh where oh where is the sweet Bear?
Stuck at work, I can hear him swear!
His wife and friends miss him so
He misses riding and he moans
Perhaps soon, maybe near
His schedule will be clear
His friend will be ready for a good ride
She misses the torture and the friendship besides
So patiently I will wait, wait is what I must do
‘Cause we are friends through and through
Can’t wait until May rolls around
On their bikes for Monday rides they will be found….

and life continues

Good Stuff

Maria’s accepted the job in PA, if you hadn’t heard, so the Bear Cave will be relocating to points northerly. Maria will be starting up there in August and heading up there late July / Early August.

I’ll be following, probably. Starting sometime this spring/summer I’ll be doing the Real Job Search as my current employer is just not apparently setup to deal with Yet Another Remote Employee – which is a drag. Of course that’s a bittersweet thing, after crunching thrice-over on one game release after another since November I’m actually pretty burnt out.

Spring is going to be busy though. Maria needs to finish a paper submission, then she’s got conferences in both Boston and Dublin to attend. The latter will be a long vacation for her as she’ll be going on to Sweden for a few weeks to visit with family. We have to get ready to move and pack up and stuff which is always a drag.

I am cranking busy working on the latest game iteration to go out in Crash Mode. Two more weeks of Heck then maybe things will lighten up.

Har. Waiting for the next shoe to drop.

In defense of my employer it has not exactly been an easy year for anyone on any business, and they’ve managed to keep the company profitably employed the entire time and that is terrific and a great achievement.

I had a great long weekend MTB vacation in Arizona at the MTBR Arizona Spring Fling, more info and a new page to come on that sometime soon.

Tomorrow, Epic Duration Biking. Geeze I need it, so long as I can get up in time. I need sleep too as I’m fighting Sick that my co-workers brought back from the Game Developer Convention.

Pennsylvania?

Is it possible that we will move to Pennsylvania?  That is the current question of the hour.  I just got back from an interview at a small, Catholic liberal arts college in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.  I think that it went well.  So we begin to comtimplate what it would mean to move there.  The biggest concern in my mind … what will Bear do if we move there??