kmusser: (Love)
Tomorrow I'm headed to Ohio for the funeral of one of the most amazing people I know.  I'm not sure when it was that I realized I was very lucky when it comes to my family.  Ours is a large family, and the relatively frequent family gatherings were always filled with fun and love and Irene was always at the center of it.  She had 7 children, each of whom is an awesome person in their own right.  I think being able to create a loving family is a truly unappreciated gift.

I visited her last weekend, she got to spend her final days at home, surrounded by family.  While her body failed her, her mind stayed sharp almost to the very end.  It felt almost like the Jewish custom of sitting shiva, accept that the person we were mourning and celebrating was still with us.  Stories and food were shared, games were played, sympathy given.  Irene was ready to go.

It's hard to even imagine how different the world was when she was growing up, to me she was one of my constants, seemingly unflappable through all the change.  One of my fond memories will be of her sitting quietly with her Kindle. Thank you grandma for your lessons that family is a gift, that there is strength in kindness, and that one should be ruthless in cards.  You will be missed.

grandma

http://obits.cleveland.com/obituaries/cleveland/obituary.aspx?n=irene-j-michul-reinke&pid=170514564&fhid=6267
kmusser: (Default)
A report on our brief trip to California.

Thursday:
We get up at 3:30 am for our earlier than the crack of dawn launch and catch our flight out (Jetblue, which was decent). Upon arrival in Oakland we find coffee and breakfast. We call up [livejournal.com profile] zammis' father and find him in San Francisco, more or less on schedule. Weather is absolutely gorgeous (and stays that way the whole weekend). We spend the afternoon doing requisite tourist activities: eating at Fisherman's Wharf, riding cable cars, getting Ghiradelli chocolate. We did stop at the little cable car museum which was neat. I really like cable cars and I think part of the attraction is that they are Victorian era technology that is still in use, seeing the powerhouse is like a glimpse of what a Steampunk world might be like.

From the It's a Small World Dept. we find [livejournal.com profile] ani_moore and [livejournal.com profile] kaliopi wandering the streets :-) Sadly we don't have much time to hang out with them as we're off to find one of my friends from high school and do dinner. We meet at a taco place in the Mission District and have a good time catching up. From there it's off to Napa Valley where we are staying with my uncle. We find his place fine and fall over, very exhausted.

Friday:
Sleep until noon. We discover Bush is in town, fly nearly 3,000 miles and we can't escape the asshole, least he could have done is give a ride, but no, he had to have room for his Presidential mountain bike. Anyway we spend the day visiting wineries. Fortunately my uncle is in the wine business so he can tell us which of the 20 gazillion wineries are worth visiting, we manage 4, plus one port distillery and come away with several bottles of yummy stuff. As my uncle's family goes off to join the local anti-Bush protests we head to the next valley over to meet up with Sam's extended family (the actual purpose of this trip). We have a very nice Italian dinner (hmmmm, lobster ravioli) and I get to meet many aunts and uncles and siblings and cousins. After dinner it's back over the mountains and more sleep.

Saturday:
Sleep in some more, do a little shopping (olive oil and chocolate), then more reunion-ness at Sam's aunt's house. More yummy food and conversation. Despite's Sam's threats her family seems relatively normal1. Back to my uncle's for even more yummy food (I'm not sure how we manage to not explode), including the largest shrimp I've ever seen (inner voice: those aren't shrimp, those are king prawns!).

Sunday:
Lazy day in that we don't have to drive anywhere most of the day, lay around reading2 and napping. Some more of my relatives come up from San Francisco so we can have a mini-reunion of our own. More good food, conversation, and wine (with another bottle to take home3). After that it is time to say our farewell's and drive back to Oakland to catch our flight. Once in the airport we realize we left the chocolate we bought behind, Doh! Ah, well, a relatively minor mishap for an otherwise lovely trip, and at least it'll still get eaten.

Monday:
Arrive back home Monday morning newly sleep deprived since I couldn't sleep on the plane. Sleep most of the day once I get home.

1 Though I must admit that my idea of what's normal is set by my own family4, so I may not be a good judge. I'll stand by my father's mantra "I'm just regular, it's everyone else that's strange."

2 Sharon Shinn's Mystic and Rider, a fun, light read, nowhere near as good as Archangel though, Archangel I would recommend to anyone.

3 When someone that grows grapes for a living offers you a bottle of wine you say yes.

4 In case you've forgotten about my family, my grandfather's letter.
kmusser: (Confusion)
So anyway, I'm back. Did I miss anything?

Christmas was fairly uneventful, went to Chicago via train and had good family time, got loot, many games were played.

Made it back in time to go and party with [livejournal.com profile] wylddelirium and [livejournal.com profile] ninjaslug and again the next day with [livejournal.com profile] queenmaggie. Special thank you to [livejournal.com profile] ninjaslug for sharing his 40 year old port - wow is that the yummy. Hope everyone else had a good New Year's. It's 2006 and I feel like 2004 just ended, what the hell happened to 2005?

Anyway, now I feel mostly recovered, back at work, trying to remember what it is I do here. Oh yeah, write on LJ.

Oh and there's a tropical storm Zeta out in the Atlantic. WTF is up with that?
kmusser: (Lego)
I'm back from the Smokies. Had good family time, finally got to meet my new nephew. Yay! Had good [livejournal.com profile] zammis time. Yay! Survived the schlockyness that is Gatlinburg. I bought myself a new walking stick and a quiver. We saw a wild turkey, no bears though. Nothing else too exciting. Time to collapse.

I'm not going to try and catch up on everyone else's LJ, if you wrote something you really want me to respond to, please point it out for me.

PS. Hope all you folks that made it to NCRF had a great time.

Wow

5 March 2005 00:17
kmusser: (Default)
An amazing story
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/3/4/151715/5913
Have the kleenex nearby.

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] quille for the link.
kmusser: (Default)
Happy Yule everyone.

Happy birthday to my sister, Lisa.

Btw, I'm now an uncle - Lisa gave birth to a beautiful baby boy last Tuesday. Congratulations!
kmusser: (Default)
Still recovering from the weekend.

Thursday had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with [livejournal.com profile] liakela, [livejournal.com profile] zammis, [livejournal.com profile] kalkail, [livejournal.com profile] kolyada, [livejournal.com profile] sharrainchains, [livejournal.com profile] histoire68, Reba, George, and Charlie, and Sam's friends from work, Rosa and Jorge. [livejournal.com profile] liakela once again proved her master chef skills. Thanks to everyone that brought stuff. The food and drink was yummy and plentiful (mmmm, sangria). Afterwords [livejournal.com profile] chrisv and [livejournal.com profile] nachoha joined us for games and there was much gaming goodness including Apples to Apples, Puerto Rico, Medici, Nanofictionary, Munchkin, and Pirate's Cove. Also broke out the crayons to draw "children's" pictures to send off to our friends in Iraq c/o Reba :-)

[livejournal.com profile] zammis, [livejournal.com profile] kalkail, [livejournal.com profile] kolyada, and [livejournal.com profile] chrisv were with us for most of the weekend. [livejournal.com profile] histoire68 stayed for Friday. Friday we went to Isabella's for a 2nd round of food orgy. The rest of the weekend was spent sleeping and eating and gaming. Special thanks to [livejournal.com profile] kalkail for indulging my Game of Thrones obsession.

Sunday was my birthday and [livejournal.com profile] wylddelirium was able to join us. I got pizza and cheesecake and more sangria and more gaming time. Life is good. Sam even got me a reserve cheesecake for when I finish the first one - now that is love :-)

Delayed birthday greetings to [livejournal.com profile] webqatch.

Hope everyone else had a good Thanksgiving.
kmusser: (Zammis)
Karl and Sam run amok in Chicago - cut for length )
Overall we had an excellent time. Reminded myself what a cool city Chicago is, I miss it. Now back to work.
kmusser: (Default)
I didn't do anything for Samhain or go to any Halloween parties. :-(

I did get to play tourist with my Mom and her husband and the weather was perfect for it.
On Saturday we went to Harpers Ferry and looked at all the nifty Park Service exhibits.
Also took them up to Hilltop House for the rather magnificent view.
After that we went to the Antietam Battlefield which was also interesting.

Thoughts on Antietam )

On Sunday [livejournal.com profile] zammis joined us for an excursion to Berkeley Springs to get pampered at Artesia Spa, something we should do more often.

In other news my car still isn't registered. I didn't like the safety inspection the local service station gave me ($2,000 to fix struts? I think not) so I'm taking it to another station. Hopefully I'll get this resolved soon.

For the gamers - next weekend is Euro Quest - you should all go. This is the 1st year for this Games Club of Maryland convention, we'd like it to become an annual thing.

The weekend after that is my party, just a friendly reminder. :-)

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