Sunday, August 21, 2011

Farm Life


I've been home only 4 days out of the month so far. I never want to leave my bed again.

After spending 10 days at my mom's when my father died, I went home, then turned back around a few days later to go on a family camping trip. My sister had planned this several months ago. We rented 3 cabins at a campground that we used to go to with our parents when we were kids. Two of my sisters and I took these cabins, and my other sister came up for the day with her husband, kids (including a 1-month-old), and my mother, who stayed with her a few nights.

It was idyllic. First of all, my BILs are good at this camping stuff, and they had plenty of stuff. Whatever we didn't have, they had. Except a can opener, but then I remembered I'd brought a Swiss Army Knife. Second of all, my kids, who normally HATE anything like camping because it's "boring" found that camping was not boring at all when they were with their cousins. The kids ran and frolicked all over the campground while the adults sat around and drank beer.

One of the afternoons, while my mom was there, my sister, mom and I went to the farm. I won't be too specific about the farm, but a few important things about it:
1. My mom's best friend's family owns it. The family matriarch is still alive at age 92, but her husband died 9 months before my daughter was born, and my mom's friend died when my daughter was a few months old (breast cancer).
2. My husband and I were married there.
3. It's a very special place to us and was, particularly, to my mom and dad.

I took some pics while I was there, so I'll share. My mom's best friend had several siblings, but some are dead and some have moved further away. Their grandkids are scattered all over, and many of them have their own children now, as my sisters and I do. They have a guest house that is available to hunters during hunting season and to fishers during fishing season.

They did more tourism in the past, when it was more of a working farm, but the remaining family members aren't quite up to that.

Here are some pics:

My dad always called this the "quintessential farm pic."


A view from the front of the guest house.


I've climbed that mountain.


We were married next to that lilac bush.

They're in the process of renovating the guest house. They removed two bedrooms and turned the space into a kitchen/living room combination. So when I saw the knotty pine they installed, I had to take a pic for Laura:

Saturday, August 13, 2011

My father

The past 2 months have been a blur. Most significantly, my father passed away last week 4 years after being diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer. You have to give him credit for surviving so long in such a damaged body. He was bedridden because the cancer had metastasized in his spine and rendered him mostly paralyzed. He also had had a triple bypass some years ago, a stroke when he was 50, and had renal disease and had lost function in one kidney.

A month before he died, his youngest brother died of COPD and cirrhosis. I was with my dad when he got the call; he was devastated.

My father was a science teacher who loved music, particularly rock and roll music. He made his own playlist for his end days, and it's filled with awesome songs. It's all on Rhapsody, which is an evil horrible difficult to use service, so I can't quite figure out how to export this playlist to keep, but when I figure it out, I will share it.

One other thing about my father: he was a devotee of intelligent design and a critic of evolution theory. His criticisms were fairly nuanced and scientific, not based on religion at all. In fact, he was pretty much an atheist, though even that was nuanced in that he was kind of convinced that we all had lives before the one we're living, and as babies we still had memories of those past lives that we couldn't articulate. When he first held my daughter, his first grandchild, he said, "Sophie, where you been?" He would later ask that question of all his grandchildren. :)

My dad posted on talk.origins and later as a blog commenter, particularly on PZ Myers' Pharyngula, from which he was often banned for being a troll. On talk.origins, I believe he often signed himself as "Pookie, the kid from space." That was because his theory of the origins of life was that life came to earth from outer space in DNA, which acted as computer programs of sorts. He believed that the mutations we see as random were actually coded into DNA. Thus, I couldn't believe the irony that this article appeared the week after his death. He would have felt so vindicated.

RIP Dad.