One of the things that came up was my grandfather. He’s possibly my favorite relative (sorry, everyone else), and also my last living grandparent. And he’s been alternately reminding me how much I care for him and scaring me over the last couple of days.
Last Saturday, I wrote about my detour to the family reunion. I spent a lot of time catching up with family–some people I hadn’t seen in quite a while; some read this blog frequently (hi, Jack!). But I think my favorite moment was sitting around the piano with about half the thirty people there, Mom playing, all of us singing Christmas carols (and the “Hallelujah Chorus”). Part way through, Pop-Pop asked the other folks to lay back so that my he, my Uncle John, and I could take a verse. It had been years since I sang with them at all, let alone solo, and it sounded great.
I probably didn’t notice at the time because of that and other factors (like my quick drive over and my need to hit the road), but Pop-Pop wasn’t in great shape. When I got there yesterday at 1 pm, I really noticed it: while his brain was as quick as ever, his speech was a little slurred, his fine motor control was gone (hands moving spastically and constantly), he stumbled when he walked because he was dragging a foot. His diabetes, normally pretty controlled, had really spiked before Christmas, and he was still feeling the effects, they thought. My Aunt Marie and I took him to the doctor this morning, and though his blood sugar’s down he is still having the symptoms. So we took him by the hospital. They’ve ruled out a stroke and are now investigating other causes.
I want him to be ok. I want to be able to introduce him to great-grandchildren some day, so he has a new audience for whom he can be the hysterically funny gentleman he was when I was growing up. I want eighty-four to be a good year for him, not the start of a downward slope.
Big breakfast at my uncle’s this morning. Guests included an old chief-of-police friend from Louisiana who couldn’t have been more Cajun if he tried. Meal included country ham, country sausage, and pork tenderloins together with the eggs, grits, creamed corn, cooked apples and biscuits. I don’t think my mother-in-law was quite ready for the sheer volume of food. Then again, I don’t think I was quite ready for the sheer volume of food.
Sorry for the long outage. It’s difficult finding a way to slip away and blog when you’re in a house with six other people over the holidays. A new story will catch you up on what I’ve been doing. Highlights include: the stupidity of flying the Saturday before Christmas; dinner for ten with chucker, 100-meter freestyle sightreading, and “I’m a rocker”… with an iPod.
I was tempted to call this entry “Epi-blog.” Boy, I really needed the break from blogging. My blog-puns were starting to scare even me.
Great trip to New Jersey and Lisa’s folks, great turkey, great time with family. I spent a good amount of time on my mother in law’s iMac upgrading and installing software. She’s now running 9.2.1 and Netscape 6.2, as well as proper Norton stuff. I failed in a larger area, though. I had donated my old SCSI scanner to her along with a SCSI to FireWire converter in hopes we could get it up and running. Unfortunately, somewhere in one of the moves it made between Virginia and New Jersey, the scanner stopped working. If it had been successful, I would have been able to point to my mother-in-law’s web page. We were going to hook her up with iTools and put some family photos up. Oh well, there’s always next time.
Update 12:15 PM: I’m a little behind in pointing to this, but I was ahead in saying it was a bad idea. When I visited Intel in January 2001, a few of us asked why Intel was in the business of making consumer MP3 players. The answer we got? “Well, we’re a really large supplier of memory chips, and this is a critical application for them.” Unsurprisingly, Intel has now announced it would phase out this product line. No “I told you so’s” from me. 🙂
Trying to be productive this morning. It’s hard. I picked up the Episode 1
DVD last night and I want nothing more than to go home and fall asleep watching it.
Some random links: Dave is the recipient of the top Wired Rave Award, the Tech Renegade Award, for his work on SOAP. I won’t argue–in terms of my blog’s hit count alone, Dave’s certainly been the most influential person around. Plus I’m working on a major project with MIT Sloan‘s Center for E-Business around the industry in web services that SOAP helped to start.
The white powder that was found in an envelope by an MIT lecturer in Foreign Languages and Literature tested negative for anthrax.
If language is a virus, is it contagious?
The Tin Man has a good comments string running from Wednesday’s post about journalism. Most of them are about his use of the word “y’all.”
Aside: I’ve been gathering unusual words and expressions from the North Carolina side of my family. I never thought much about the colorful language that they used until my undergrad years. Then I read in the excellent liner notes to the Robert Johnson boxed set that Johnson’s term friend-boy in “Cross Road Blues” was a typical Mississippi Delta expression meaning simply friend. “Gee, I thought, “my uncle says that all the time.” I came to realize that my family’s language placed them solidly in the unique linguistic history of the South.
Some other words and phrases:
- (pron. “peert”) for “pretty”
- It was so good, my tongue like to beat my brains out.
- (said about food)
- He’s a good businessman. If you shake hands with him, you better
- count your fingers.
- Put your money in your mouth and sew your tongue up tight.
- [v. intransitive] – to do nothing constructive. Generally used as “to pottymule around.” See also “blogging.”