eggwards: (Uphill Climb)
Today is Valentine’s Day, and while many may be happy to express their love, or shun the day, for most of my years Valentine’s Day meant one thing, my sister’s birthday.

Laura would have been turning 37 today and it breaks my heart today that she isn’t here to celebrate. There hasn’t been a day since she passed in July that I haven’t thought about her, wishing I could just tell her something or get an architecture question answered. While the strong emotions are fading a little, I know today will be a difficult day for me.

Laura was a beautiful, smart accomplished woman. We had gone from sibling rivals to good friends. She had a career that was successful, and growing. I think she left a good mark on hospitals around the country and I’m sad that there will not be more buildings that she’s designed.

I had the opportunity to speak at Laura’s memorial service. I tried to say a few words about our relationship as brother and sister and bring a little bit of life into the service as the pastor didn’t really know anything more than what was written about her. It was interesting to try to bring some levity to the service as well. It’s tough to try to sum up someone’s impact on you like that. Just a precious few moments, or a few sentences.

If you don’t mind I’d like to tell a few of those stories about my wonderful sister whom I miss very much.

Read More )

Sometimes, since she lived far away from me for the last few years it just feels like we haven’t been in touch for the last few months, but right now, when I’d love to call her to wish her a happy birthday, to tell her that she’ll love 37 as much as I did.

It’s been a lonelier world with out her, and make for a very blue valentine for me today. I love you my talented and smart sister, my Belgium Idiot, Laura.
eggwards: (Uphill Climb)
Laura was only 36. It’s a seemingly ridiculous age to die.

I guess the bad thing about being young is you don’t often give a lot of thought to your health. From the best we know, Laura hadn’t learned that she had cancer until it was too late, and certainly didn’t know how far it had spread. I had thought she went for a checkup last winter, but now I’m not so sure.

Two months ago she began having back pains, and went to an urgent care facility that gave her ibuprofen. I’m guessing they didn’t check her kidneys. After a couple of weeks later she decided to go to a gynecologist who ordered an MRI, then promptly went on vacation scheduling the follow up for August 7th. The gynecologist didn’t tell her that prognosis, nor did he refer her to another doctor who could have followed up while he was on vacation.

Laura was waiting for the follow up and was getting progressively weaker until she finally called my mother to come up to Alexandria Virginia, where she had recently moved. She had gotten so weak that she had gone on short term leave from her firm. Mom found that she was having difficulty just crossing the small apartment Laura had, and encouraged her not to wait, and to get to a hospital. Mom called the paramedics and Laura took her last ride.

What I can’t understand is why Laura wasn’t more aggressive about getting treatment and learning more. Laura may be like me, not liking to go to the doctor and not always following doctor’s orders, but if she was in pain, and feeling week, it’s surprising that she didn’t try to work with the gynecologist’s staff to get more information and get another doctor. This isn’t like Laura, and leads me to believe that the gynecologist didn’t share the diagnosis with her.

My father is looking to file a complaint against the gynecologist. I’m surprised he’s not suing.

Laura went to the hospital unresponsive. She perked up and was conscious and talking on Thursday July 22, but was unresponsive again on Friday. I learned that Laura was ill the weekend before when I went down to my parent’s house to pick up the old lawnmower and found Mom had left. Dad didn’t know there was more than some weakness at the time. I got a call from Mom on Thursday and things seemed to be bad, but not dire. Dad was going to visit over the weekend.

That changed on Friday when during work I received a text from Mom (via the fingers of Laura’s new boyfriend Josh) stating that she was dying and I needed to come to see her as soon as possible.

Read More )

I may write a little bit about Laura’s life as a whole, but for now she was a wonderful sister, a great architect and a wonderful friend. Little things have been reminding me of her all week, and it’s been hard reconciling everything now that I’m back at home. The memorial service in Conroe Texas won’t be for a couple of weeks more, so there’s more to do. Still, I can’t think of how I could ever forget her.
eggwards: (Uphill Climb)
I know I haven't said much about this on LiveJournal, but I wanted to get the news out...Beloved Daughter, Sister, Girlfriend and Friend, Laura Edwards passed away from cancer on 7/25/10 at 8:37pm in Alexandria Va. She will be missed.


I will have more later.
eggwards: (Default)
So 2009 has been quite a ride of a year. It started out a lot better than it is finishing, that's for sure, but now I'm happy to try to dust some of this off and get going again in 2010.

You know, it's hard not to write out the year without hitting zero twice. i don't know how many times at work I've tried typing 20010. That's just not going to work.

One of the best memories of the year was on the cruise that seems so long ago. I met some great people on the cruise to Mexico. Really, the cruise could have gone just about anywhere, that didn't really matter. We did so little about seeing things off the ship.

Personally, I think if I go on a cruise that isn't all gay it would just be weird. The all-gay cruise is just such a unique little bubble of non-reality. It's great.

I just remember being on this large ship, on the 12th floor above the Pacific Ocean as another cruise ship was going the other way and I wondered if there was someone on the top deck of that ship, up late at 2 in the morning, watching our ship going by. There's seemed rather quiet, moving through the sea, while ours was alive with lights of all colors and DJ Rotten Robbie spinning the then new Po-po-poker Face single into the dark night.

It was a rather surreal moment. Sometimes you wish life could always be like that...minus the sea-sickness!

I know most people would say the worst moment was when they were fired, but that just doesn't seem like it to me. I guess I was able to keep my spirits going for a little bit as I had hope that I would find something new.

I'm not sure what was the worst moment. It might have been the moment when I realized that the new job was not only a start at the bottom, but not the opportunity that I was hoping it would be, and I felt a bit stuck. That or it might have been the moment where a little white lie was caught (trying to fudge that I was fired, not just laid off) and the prospect of a better paying job was yanked away from me. It was that moment when I realized that getting back to a job that used my experience and would give me some return to a better salary was going to be a lot harder than I had thought.

So the cusp of 2010 leaves me in a quandary. Do I start looking for a job again, or do I try to tough it out for a while in a job I don't like? Can I make the current employer better? Will I have the ability to make a difference here, or is the corporate culture too hard to move, especially from the bottom of the totem pole?

And if we are looking towards something new, what is it? I don't know if I can easily go back to financial services, and I bitched enough about it before, is that really what I want to return to? The money can be good, and it's nice to keep valuable licenses active, but ... Let's face it, I don't know what I'm really good at, and I don't really know what to look for. I think some more thought is needed here.

Since I haven't written in a while, I just wanted to say Chris and I had a great time in San Diego a few weeks back, and my love affair with California continues. The people of San Diego were friendly, the place beautiful even despite the cool and rainy weather. loved the zoo and Balboa Park and the Hole. I want to go back, and hopefully catch a ball game. Great meeting up with Dave, Mike, Brian, Justin, JP, Henry, Hadrian and many other great people. It was also fun seeing Shannon and Luke there on their first weekend as new residents. Maybe Chris and I will join you some day.

Speaking of baseball, the ball game at Dodger Stadium with Paul and Bobaloo back in April was the only baseball game I saw all year. I had hoped to see another game last summer, but having no cash flow kind of killed it. Here's hoping I'll get an opportunity this summer to catch a game or to and keep up my quest to see all of the stadiums before I'm 50. I've got about 15 to go, so I need to get on it!

Lastly, by sister has been here the last couple of days and it's been nice to have here here. It felt a little nicer to share Christmas this year with a little family of Chris, Laura and of course Joey.

Well, here's hoping that 2010 (or 20010) brings some good things to all of us and new doors will open. After this last half a year, I could use a lottery win in some form or another.
eggwards: (Yardman)
It's so hard to come back to the humdrum land of work when you've been gone on a good long vacation. I'm definitely feeling the pull of the blues here, wishing I could be back in New York.

I love sending picture posts, but they only tell part of the story. I have many, many more pictures and if I can get motivated, I'll send them up to Flickr, but at the moment they are in the same limbo as befell my pictures from Boston two years ago, and from the cruise I took last year. I'm not sure why it's hard to come back to those, but procrastination is my middle name...I think.

Walking around New York is like feeling you are on a movie set. There's so many things that you've seen, but there they are right in front of you. 30 Rock, The Flatiron Building, The Empire State Building, Times Square, even the Unisphere way out in Flushing Meadows Park. All have that familiarity, and many seem much, much bigger in real life.

From where I left off the other day, Laura and I had breakfast with Ryan ([ profile] bobo_dreams) and followed him into the Toys R Us in Times Square for some hilarity. Then we went in and sat for a while in the studio for the Frank DeCaro show on Sirius Out Q. Frank was nice enough to give us a tour of the now Sirius-XM studios and gave us some restaurant recommendations for the rest of our stay. We instantly went out to the first one he mentioned, having lunch in Madison Square Park at the Shake Shack. Man those cheese fries were good!

Leaving the Shake Shack we went downtown so Laura could see Battery Park and the Statue of Liberty. I saw it the other night when I rode the Staten Island Ferry. While looking around Wall Street near the charging bull statue we spotted Chris Noth who was working on a Law and Order episode. We then went to the Brooklyn Bridge. After a twenty minute walk, we were in Brooklyn. We didn't get to stay long as we needed to go to Union Square to meet Kurt ([ profile] bigboychb) who was working at Virgin. We finished the evening at the observation deck at Top of the Rock.

By this time I had blisters on my feet, and almost didn't go out, but it was bear bar night so i felt I had to deal with it and head out to Christopher Street. It certainly wasn't what I expected, with a lot of kids hanging out. by the time I got to the Dugout it was already midnight and the crowd was already heading out the door. There I didn't meet many of the locals, buts saw Bob from Michigan (not on LJ), and met Ed and John ([ profile] cubbies76 and [ profile] johnboi76) from Chicago. It was good to meet them and have someone to talk to there. After a bit we decided to leave the bar and go on up to Ty's which seemed to be hopping. Of course Ty's is a tiny place, so even a small crowd would make it seem crowded. There I ran into [ profile] theoctothorpe (who has a dreamy accent) and [ profile] joebehrsandiego. before Ed and John had to head back to Long Island we stopped by for some late night New York style pizza with some surly waitstaff.

Saturday found Laura and I first setting out for breakfast at Billy's Bakery in Chelsea, then off to see [ profile] naylandblake's installation "Guys We Want to Fuck" at a very small warehouse gallery. Then it was off to Central Park for walking, walking and more walking. I was definitely having to tell Laura to slow it down as my feet were in bad shape after having to walk so much in the city (really, I've built up a lot of stamina in the last couple of years, but it's more stamina as far as time, not wear and tear. I'm used to gym conditions, not the real street). Sure, there's plenty of public transportation but you still end up walking a lot, and there's many, many sets of stairs in the subway. The whole trip was a workout. We walked a circuitous path from Columbus Circle to the Guggenheim Museum. Sadly the museum was filled with tourists and was under renovation. Lincoln Center was also under renovations, also a disappointment. Still, we ducked into a McDonald's (another place with bad service, how do New Yorkers put up with it?) and saw Michael Emmeron, aka Ben on Lost, getting cash from an ATM. I told him I liked his work which he thanked me in that strange voice he has.

Exhausted, Laura and I went back to the hotel (the Muse near Times Square, highly recommended) and cleaned up before meeting the Jersey Boys, Tom ([ profile] evilcreamsicle), John ([ profile] txredneck) and Ed ([ profile] njbearcub1) for dinner at a sort of cajun place on Restaurant Row. Sadly, Laura and I did not know about Restaurant Row until this, the last night. We had a great meal and spent a long time at the restaurant just talking and hanging out before sending the Jersey Boys back through the tunnel. It was a good night and I was glad they were able to join us, if just for a few hours.

Sadly, we never saw the Cash Cab.

We looked a little more at Times Square on Sunday morning when there weren't so many people running around before heading back to Penn Station and to the train back to Baltimore. It was nice that the Square was calmer than it had been for the last few days with tons of tourists standing around gawking. Sure, it's quite a sight, but when you realize that it's all just advertisements and encouragements to buy, buy, buy, you figure out there's a lot better sights to see in New York than this.

Frankly, I was impressed. There's a lot packed in the city, and even more that we didn't get to. It will definitely be worth a second look, to go back and see some of the smaller things, and like our walk through Chelsea, see more of the real New York, not just the big postcard items. With the two new stadiums coming on line, there will certainly be an excuse to come back again. Hell, I never even found the Apple Cube!

Hopefully by then my feet will have fully healed from all the walking.
eggwards: (Default)
A week ago I was coming home from Baltimore after being dropped off at BWI airport by my parents and my sister. It was the most family-centric thing I've done in a while, and I felt really odd about it.

Things started out badly as American Airlines decided to cancel my 6:25 am flight, and we found out about it as I was trying to look up the gate for the plane on Chris' Trio as were were driving out to DFW. By the time I could get an agent on the phone to reschedule, we had already gotten to the terminal. we turned back and tried to sleep for a couple of hours at home before again making the trip out to the airport for the 10:50 flight.

By the time I land in Baltimore, and my sister, Laura, picks me up, it's really to late to do much besides pick up her still-finance (6 years now) Ed, from work and go out to dinner. As I love to do when I'm in Baltimore, I love to go to Little Italy and have some of the best food. Sure, some people will tell you about crabcakes and seafood, but give me a bowl of tortillini and I'm in heaven.

Laura then tells me the little thing that sets me on edge for the entire visit. My parents are coming out, and yeah, it's been a hard year for them, with some medical issues. my dad's been in recovery from his chemo treatments for a while, and this is there first trip away since then. First laura tells me that my Dad got so weak that he had to be hospitalized and almost could have died. no one had told me this, and it happened two months ago. Secondly, she tells me that he's had a lot of downtime to be thinking about things, and he's come to the conclusion that he's really bugged about my being gay. I thought this was the case, but my family doesn't talk to anyone directly about anything, and in fact, Laura said I should probably not talk about it at all over the visit.

Let's be real here, I'm not going to shut up about what's happening in my life to please my dad. Yeah, I won't outline what happens in the bedroom, but if I'm talking about going to bed, at night to sleep, yes, I'm going to say "we went to bed". I'm going to say Chris' names, and say wee, to say that we're going on a cruise to Alaska. I won't edit Chris out of my life to please my dad.

In a way, I wish Chris could have been there, for one thing, we would have all been in the same bed and breakfast, which could have been real interesting. (Being on my own, I saved by sleeping on my sister's couch.) The Bed and Breakfast is owned by the parents of Laura's hairdressing couple. My parents seem to like the innkeepers, so it's probably the closest thing to a PFLAG meeting I would ever be able to get them to, if they would actually get on that subject. I'm guessing that they didn't, though.

Well, My parents didn't land until late on Sunday, so Laura, Ed and I went out for brunch where Ed and I had our usual political debate (I think he likes Guliani for Pres right now - *shudder*). Laura sits by and waits for us to have it out. Ed gets all blustery while I usually calmly counterpoint. Chris hates this, and my Dad would be on Ed's side, so it was good that neither were there at that point.

We went out to the B&O Railroad Museum that day in the rain. lots of old trains, a few models and some other memorabilia in a large roundhouse once used by the railroad. the B&O is long gone now, merged out of existence by several steps now. There were large diesel engines and small horse-drawn carriages of a long-gone era.

Once my parents got in, it was off for another Italian dinner. We all talked, but mostly things stayed on the safe topics of my parents medical issues and what new buildings were going up in Conroe, Texas since I left a year and a half ago. Can you believe that they have two Best Buys now?

On Monday Laura and I dropped Ed off at work and took their car up to Philadelphia to see the Phillies play at Citizens Bank Field. Laura and Ed only have the one car, so we would have to come back to pick him up after the game. It had been raining for the last few days and I was worried that the rain would call the game, but as we travelled up I-95 the rain ended and we settled for an overcast day of watching the Phillies and San Francisco Giants.

The field is nice, another somewhat retro park with lots of steel beams and brickwork. Different from the more modern Eagles' Football stadium across the parking lot. Our seats were high and in a corner, but still had good views. Except for the Philly Phanatic, we really couldn't see him except for when the big green mass was on the Jumbotron. The Phanatic is probably more famous than any of the Philly players. of course the whole thing was overshadowed by Barry bonds coming up and the crowd booing, hoping that he wouldn't get any closer to Hank Aaron's home run record. Luckily he went 0-4 for the day, but the Phillies lost.

Otherwise, we had a little bit of time to kill to let the main rush hour, so we went downtown and out to Penn's Landing which was pretty much deserted. Back home we went to meet Ed and the parents who had been on the inner harbor of Baltimore most of the day. We went out to Pei Wei where my parents had never been, and I paid, because it looks good.

On my last day we went out to a new hanger in Fairfax, Virginia where the Smithsonian puts it's very large collection of Air and Space vehicles that don't fit into the building in DC. the building is next to Dulles airport and it's huge. They have hundreds of aircraft in there, including the Enola Gay, A 747 and the Concorde. They also have the Space shuttle Enterprise there, the one the fans of Star Trek named. Of course, if they waited a ship or two, they could have had one that actually went into space. You can go up several leves, which is good because they have many of the planes hung like they were model aircraft in a kids room.

Now we had to get from Dulles Airport to BWI so I could get on my 6:25 flight back to Dallas, so it's time to get on the never ending parking-lot of the Washington beltway. luckily my dad was driving, so i slept. i had been getting a cold, so I was on corisidan and was out of it. luckily the traffic was so bad that we couldn't go to my Dad's destination - the NRA museum. it would have only been good if Charlton Heston was stuffed in it.

i hadn't seen my parents in a year, and it was remarkable the changes. they are both in their mid sixties, so I wouldn't necessarily think of it as old - that's more like 70's and 80's now, but they were looking old, and moreso, frail. My mother has developed a pronounced stoop, and my dad's hair had fallen out from the chemo and was now coming in white. I guess I'm coming to grips that they won't be here forever, but it seems like it may be coming faster than i thought.

I would have liked to talk to my dad a little more about my life, and let him know I'm OK, and I'm very happy to be who I am. I guess it will have to wait until we can actually have some time apart from everyone else, but I feel like I'm going to have to have that talk with him soon. I don't like him telling my sister things, and not coming to me as well, especially when it's serious.

Well, Laura said that she sees herself staying in Baltimore for another year. Last year she seemed to think that she wanted to move back to Texas, but now see sees some other opportunities on the East Coast, so i may get another chance to get up there and see a National's game up in DC. For now, I've got another park crossed off my list.

If you want to see a few pictures I took, take a look at this flickr page. There's a couple of pics of my parents in there.


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February 2013



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