Archive for the 'jim' Category

Karen & Jim were married 25 years ago

Monday, May 22nd, 2006

Tonight we helped Karen, Valdemort and Pengo Janetto celebrate Jim and Karen’s 25th wedding anniversary at Dave’s Ribs with The Commander making a telephonic appearance as we were driving there. Bro’, we missed you but I bet you were watching us through one of the windows. Were we obnoxiously raucous enough? Actually, I guess we didn’t start singing until we got back in the car. Anyway, thanks for bringing Karen into the family. I needed a sister.

SQUEEgrok SQUEEgrok! Sproinnnng! Sproooinnng! I got a present! A beeyootiful loverly present! SQUEEgrok SQUEEgrok! A cute little froglet that says, “You make my heart leap!” Sproinnnng! SQUEEgrok! Thank you Ernie and Alfred! SQUEEgrok! Sproiinnnng!

Happy Birthday, Ol’ Man

Tuesday, May 9th, 2006

Email from Jim, April 21, 2005, 8:29 AM: “I’m planning on going up for Jack’s B’day. FYI.”

I remember clearly the flood of thought that washed through my brain on reading that message. “Does he want company?” “What do I do about YAG?” I loved road trips with my brother and his dog. But we had performances going on for one play and another play was going up in a couple weeks. May 9th fell during that play’s tech week. It was not the best time for me to be out of town. I knew if I missed part of tech week I would probably return to find some kind of mess that would just make more work for me.

But something, Celtic sixth sense or whatever you want to call it, said, “to hell with YAG. You are not indispensible and somebody else can cover for you. Go north.” And so I did. Jim and Valdemort and Sam (dog, not archaeologist) and I loaded ourselves into Jim’s Honda minivan and headed up. Miraculously, in a region of the country where it can snow as late as June, we had a little bit of summer that weekend. The boys fooled around with their fancy new garage. I kayaked to Cedar Point. When we asked Grandaddy what he wanted for his birthday dinner, “hot dog on a bun,” was the reply. A man of simple tastes. No fish or any of “that green stuff”, aka eggplant parmesan, thank you very much.

I saw my brother alive and walking around one more time, at Mouse’s graduation party. Our next meeting was in a hospital intensive care unit. He was unconscious by the time I arrived to say goodbye. If hindsight is worth anything at all, it’s because those of us he left behind get some comfort from speculating that he likely knew a year ago he was not going to live much longer. The trip to the UP was the last chance to see his parents, visit his garage, and walk the beach.

We didn’t predict that Jack would die before his next birthday. I certainly didn’t expect him to live forever and at 86 years, just about anything can happen at any time. On the other hand, he was pretty darn healthy for an old coot. Living a quiet lifestyle with The Commander looking after him, he might’ve motored along indefinitely. But that changed instantaneously when he slipped on ice January 31. After a mind-bogglingly horrific odyssey through two hospitals and a rehabilitation facility, he slipped away on March 23.

Happy birthday, ol’ man. Wherever you are, I hope there’s a little snort (or two) of Jack Daniels. And a hot dog on a bun. A cookie or two or three. S-A-N-D. A sunny, warm, fly-free beach next to a shipping channel filled with lake freighters. Jim and Sam to walk the beach and look under vee-hickle hoods with. Duke and Don and Lewie and some of the others who went before you. And a few B52 bombers doing a tree-top flyover. Love.

Goodbye Sam (dog, not archaeologist)

Monday, April 3rd, 2006

Life. And death. We are down another pack member. Those who also read Karen’s blahg will know that she made the very difficult decision to put down her 13-year-old dog, Sam. It took place this morning. He was having a lot of problems and it was time.

Back in the old days, I spent some time every summer taking care of the Grand Blanc Fin cousins at the cabin and Sam was always a part of that package. He knew me as “Anne-mom” and although he regarded me as a rather poor substitute for his *real* mom and dad, he did include me in his pack. He was a highly intelligent, extraordinary dog who kept very close tabs on his pack count. I was proud to be a pack member and I will miss Sam.

Okay. Sam is gone and I am about done. Throughout the whole last year or so of shit, people kept saying, “you know, troubles come in threes.” Threes? It feels more like about 15 now between various deaths and job loss and other rather smaller things. Karen and I were talking about that and how three of our Finlayson pack members are now walking the beach: Jim, Jack, and Sam. That’s a BIG three. I DECLARE that this is the end and GOOD things are going to start happening now! I am going to FORCE myself to stop moping around and do something constructive. Maybe even artistic. It’s time. OKAY? OKAY! As my brother is probably saying right this minute, “KEE-REIST!”

Oh yeah, and I am NOT going to sew my finger!!!

My Brother Married a Flutist

Sunday, March 12th, 2006

My brother did a lot of good things in his life but one of the best had to be to marry a flutist! One who sometimes drags me out of my musical stupor to do something flutey. Yesterday, our plan was to participate in a Native American flute workshop at the Flint Institute of Music. Not only was I overdue for some kind of musical experience, this was a week that I desperately needed the companionship of a female friend. All of the usual Ann Arbor suspects were out of town or couldn’t be scared up for whatever reason. Sigh 😉

I drove up to Grand Blanc and we caught lunch at a nearby restaurant and then had some good dog time. Along the way, we caught up on all the bits and pieces of our so-called lives, kids and octogenarians and work or lack thereof in my case :-/ and bombed-out houses and aminals grok grok and you name it.

We got to the workshop only to find out that the presenter was stuck in an airport in Oklahoma or somewhere. But there were still flute choirs to listen to and a chance to participate in one and we were certainly up for that. I have been on plenty of stages in the last ten years or so but usually it has been to deliver food to the stage manager of one play or another. Definitely not to perform. Yesterday, Karen and I were two of about twelve flutists of all ages and abilities and we read through five or six pieces, ending with an arrangement of The Pink Panther scored for 100 flutes! It was a total riot! Non-competitive, unlike Interlochen or college. No big egos involved.

We finished off the day with a cappuccino at the Indian Hills neighborhood Starbucks and then I said goodbye to the dogz and Karen and Pengo Janetto and jumped onto southbound US23. Perfect day. Until I got about two miles north of the M14 interchange. I was passing someone at about 75 mph when I realized that there was a po-lice car with its lights on *directly* behind me and my cute little Honda Civic. YIKES!!! I completed my pass and prepared to pull off, thinking something like, “shit, this is my first speeding ticket ever!” Wonder of wonders, HE KEPT RIGHT ON GOING! WHEW! A moment later, another po-lice car passed me. I got onto M14 and prepared to make my ascent up to the Planet Ann Arbor when I saw both of those po-lice cars pulling somebody else off. They were obviously after someone for something but it was not me. This time. grok grok You should’ve asked me for (grok grok) a ride on buoy 22. grook grook Froogy, you and buoy 22 are grounded, remember?

The day didn’t turn out exactly as planned but it just didn’t matter because Karen and I actually got to spend some time hanging out together somewhere besides a goddamn horspittle. We have spent too darn much time hanging around horspittles in the last couple years. THANK YOU BRO’, wherever you are, for marrying a flutist. THANK YOU KAREN, for dragging me out of the walking train wreck I seemed to be stuck in.