Saturday, May 31, 2008

The End.

I know I neglected to mention the passing of Harvey Korman, but there were already a lot of beautiful tributes out there, including the one on Lisa's blog.

Had Raechelle over for movies last night. We walked around Westwood to look at shoes for her "ensemble" and a gift for the bridal shower she's going to. Got some pizza from Giannoni's, came back and watched Star Wars, which, until last night, she'd never seen. Followed it up with So I Married an Axe Murderer (strangely enough, not a bad date movie), and more discussion until late.

The kids and I are off to Bellingham today for our May Birthday celebration. Because so many of us have birthdays in May, my family gets together to celebrate on one day. I kick off the month, followed by Tyler, my stepdad Bob, then sister Sara and grandmother Dorothy (both on the same day). Caleb is going to hang out with us (since he's still in Bellingham for another couple months). Looking forward to some family time.

More plans tonight... and that's about it for Rhymes With Drowning. It's been a good experience for me, a healing and educational experience, and I hope my journey has touched others in a positive way.

Thanks to everybody for your readership, your support, your wonderful comments and emails. Not everybody processes externally, but I have found that when I do, it keeps me honest - with myself and others. Hopefully the first post over at Life 2.0 will be interesting, and not just "walked to the store for milk... prices high..." But I've learned not to rush to the destination, no matter where and what it is. There are lessons to be learned and great joy to be shared along the journey.


Friday, May 30, 2008

Dear Pop

Here we are, three years to the day since I last heard your voice. Three years since I called you in UW Hospital to tell you about our canine acquisition, Wiley. Three years since I told you I loved you without having to say it to an empty room.

A lot has happened in those three years, Dad. Much of it is documented here. The end result is that the firstborn son that you once carried around Europe in a backpack, the kid you did Cub Scouts and YMCA Indian Guides with, the boy you taught to be a man, is doing just fine. You would love that I'm back to working in my chosen field, which you once invested in by helping me finish my first film. You would be amazed at the growth and maturity in your grandchildren. You would celebrate the huge leaps ahead in my own emotional evolution.

You would be proud of me, Dad.

You ARE proud of me.

I think about you every day, and although you're not here physically to share my joys and my darkness, I can feel your presence in those quieter moments. After all, energy never dies; it just changes form.

Now as I'm about to close, I have my '70s playlist going (as it reminds me most of growing up with you). And wouldn't you know it, Three Dog Night's "One" just came on. You're a funny guy, Pop.

Be well.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

A State of Mind

So in reading Raechelle's post about Free Ballard Day ("Uff da!"), I learned a lot about our Nordic immigrant cousins across Elliott Bay. It also led me to the West Seattle entry at the same site, and what I found made me laugh. The opening sentence reads:

West Seattle -- the oldest and the biggest of Seattle’s neighborhoods -- is both a peninsula and a state of mind.

Heh heh. Yeah. Yeah, I'd have to agree with that.

STIFF Reminder

If you are in the Seattle area and want to come check out some bleeding edge films, you can buy tickets online for certain features and film blocks. Ordinary Angels plays with the feature Sullen, and the descriptively titled Jack the Vomiter. Should be interesting!

A Respectful Request

It's always been my opinion that life tends to throw enough drama at you that you're better off not creating your own. Of course, when two active bloggers with established readerships find themselves in a dating situation, it is inevitable that there will be crossover. One blogger's posse will go check out the other blogger, out of voyeuristic thrill, protective instinct or just simple curiosity. And while that's all fine and dandy, there is also the potential for misunderstanding or inappropriate commentary. And that can put pressure on a situation that certainly doesn't benefit from more pressure.

So I would just like to acknowledge the wonderful and loving support of my readers - and ask them not to make overly familiar or inappropriate comments on Raechelle's blog (or mine). My email address is easily obtained, and I'd love to hear from you in that medium.

Edit: This is not directed at the moms. :-)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Grace is Gone

Wow. I would not have been able to handle this film a year or two ago. Wow.

Can I just say, John Cusack is the MAN. I've seen him do romantic comedy. I've seen him do madcap. I've seen him do film noir and historicals and action and even thriller/horror. But I've really never seen him do a small, personal, heavy drama. And man, does he ever pull it off. There is nothing he can't do!

It's an incredibly simple premise: an ex-Army father of two girls (8 and 12) receives the news that his wife has been killed serving in Iraq. And that's where the film starts. I won't say any more of the plot, only to say that the film is an amazing portrait of grief, denial, and family dynamics. The one thing that got to me was the father's character quirk of constantly calling the home answering machine, just to hear the wife's voice.

I used to do that. Sam's voice was on our cell phone's outgoing greeting for a couple months, until I "accidentally" erased it and forced myself to step up and record my own.

And, interestingly enough, as I was watching Cusack run through the gamut of painful emotion, and although it did resonate with my own experience, I felt more pity for the character than any pain in myself. More a sense of "Oh yeah... I remember that. Poor guy."

Yeah, this shift is a REALLY good thing.

Speaking of which, I had lunch with Raechelle today. Took some sandwiches by her office and we walked down to Lake Union and sat on some park benches, had ourselves a Cameron Crowe/Nora Ephron scene. Joked about collaborating on a screenplay someday. Hmmmm.

Chores and work are both piling up. I feel like I was productive overall, but even with so many projects crossed off the list, more gets added to the bottom. It's always the way.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Well Crap.

Sydney Pollack just died.


Like we have enough good directors to spare.


Fated to Make It

That's the actual title of my horoscope today. Fated to Make It. Awesome.

In other news, something major has shaken loose in my life. As can be surmised by my last few posts, I'm no longer in the thick fog of grief. I'm no longer acutely feeling the pangs of separation from Sam & my dad. And although it would be foolish to think I would never feel a wave now and then, it is very obvious to me that I've learned how to stay afloat and even swim.

I'm no longer drowning.

It's not just the potential in a new relationship. It's not just a hand-wave and "time heals all wounds". It's not that. Something major has shifted, and that's the best I can describe it. An old door has closed and a new one opened, and my second life lies ahead. Personally and professionally - it's all ahead now.

I know a lot of my readership comes from links from various locations in the widowed community, and my comment forms and email inbox is a testament to how useful this blog has been to them (as well as therapy for me), and I want to thank everyone for their love and support and occasional indulgence while I very publicly navigated three years of intense grief and trauma. Some would never keep such a public account of so personal an experience, but I believe in helping others by example whenever possible.

I am not leaving the blogosphere, but neither am I defined by my losses or my grief. To do so would yield too much power to unworthy influences. But Rhymes With Drowning has clearly arrived at its final destination. I will update through the end of May.

Starting in June (after the three-year marker of my dad's death), I'm launching the Life 2.0 blog to document this new existence and keep family and friends up to date. Thank you all for supporting Rhymes With Drowning, and feel free to link to Life 2.0 when it goes live in June.

And if any publishers want to talk to me regarding the grief experiences of a young widower and the string of events that followed, I'm at todd(at)deep7(dot)com.


Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day


Deep subject.

Took the kids to see Indy 4 on Sunday afternoon. Meh. I don't even have the energy to point out everything that was lacking, so I'll just leave it at "meh".

Raechelle came out to dinner on Sunday evening with the kids, and was a big hit all around. I showed her the DVD from the Deathtrap production, and she enjoyed seeing Trish and Raff, people she knows in casual company, on stage doing what they do. She'd never seen Young Frankenstein, so that was a must. She was all over it. Plus a bottle of wine and much conversation equals a great evening.

This morning I took Kayleigh to get a swimsuit and picked up a few T-shirts in XL, as my clothes are starting to get baggy on me. Tyler went to Gavin's to hang out some more (by choice), and I took Kayleigh up to hang with Katherine in Ballard which, luckily, is where Raechelle lives. So we were able to have lunch at Jai Thai in the Fremont, followed by a quick trip into the local PCC, followed by hanging out and conversing until mid-afternoon.

Got to meet Raechelle's good friend Jamie (a total sweetheart, unsurprisingly). I think I made a good impression - always good to get the best friends in one's corner, ya know. Because she's going into oncology radiology, we had some technical stuff to talk about, as well as general pop culture. It was too brief, but a good start. Picked up Kayleigh, and Raechelle joined us for dinner at the Hi-Life (the Ballard sister restaurant to Endolyne Joe's in West Seattle). Picked up Tyler at Gavin's and settled into school night mellowness.

I had a GREAT weekend. (many smileys)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Great Weekend So Far...

It didn't start out so nice, however. Tyler and I had a marathon argument on Friday that escalated to the point that I had to take him to Gavin's again, so the two of us could cool off. He spent the night at Gavin's while I made a huge pot of spaghetti, garlic bread, and garden salad for Dan, Trish, Raff, Kayleigh and Raechelle (the artist formerly known as RM). There may have been wine involved as well. A screening of The Specials and Free Enterprise later, and everybody went home happy.

Saturday began with lovely sunny weather. I haven't been sleeping much past 6AM recently (regardless of what time I go to bed), so I came up and watched Gone Baby Gone, which I've had sitting around in its Netflix envelope for two weeks. I found the cast to be top-notch, the story compelling, the script strong (in my opinion, where Ben Affleck excels), and the direction (Affleck again) steady and controlled.

Once Kayleigh was up and I'd grabbed a shower, we took a change of clothes over to Tyler, and I offered to pick him up. He wanted to hang out at Gavin's some more, so K and I went down to Alki for lunch. We hung out on the cement wall and watched people flirt with the water at low tide. Folklife is happening this weekend, so it was a rare sunny Saturday with low traffic at Alki. And I found the perfect parking spot right in front of Tully's. The perfect base camp for all your Alki journeys.

Lunch at The Celtic Swell, and back home to drop Wiley off for a playdate with Darlene's pair of fuzzy children, Luna and Blue. Came home and crashed for an hour, picked up Wiley, played some guitar, crashed again for another quick nap (don't start with the "old man" thing - I'm not sleeping at night, so I have to make it up somehow).

Had plans to meet Raechelle on Cap Hill for a movie and dinner. Threw on a freshly washed pair of Levis from the dryer (usually I have to skin them on and wiggle around to stretch them out), and found them hanging off me. Did up my belt to the last notch and they still were hanging. All my XXL T-shirts I used to fill out are now tents. Maybe quitting the gym was the best thing I could have done, because it's kicked my ass into being more active in general. I sense a summer clothing excursion coming up.

Anyway, met up with Raechelle, had a lovely dinner at the grill around the corner from the Harvard Exit. Went and saw The Visitor. Fantastic film. Go see it now.

And here's where it gets interesting for you, the reader. She's a blogger. I'm a blogger. We haven't set down the guidelines yet, but I'm sure you're in for a fascinating read.

At this point, I will just say I feel hopeful. Truly hopeful, on an emotional level. More than I have in a long time. And although the armor is nowhere near 100% shed at this point... well... I feel hopeful. 'Nuff said.