Archive for the ‘Adams’

Claire drawing

July 22, 2008 By: nooccar Category: Adams, Claire, Parenthood, School, Work

My mother was an artist when she was younger. For years I had a sculpture she made in high school, I remember paintings she use to do, and in the ’70s she use to airbrush Harley gas tanks (yes, for motorcycles. yes, my mother). Her artistry rubbed off on me, albeit my medium of choice is oils. I love the way I can mix the colors on the canvas and create whatever’s in mind. I am unsurprised that Claire’s got the same flair. Don’t get me wrong her Mama’s got some, too, but Claire’s beginning young. Yeah, I know, all kids play with crayons and such, but there’s something a bit different with how Claire does her art. Something more familiar like watching yourself from outside your body far far ago.

Last week we were in my classroom, and Claire drew across my entire board as high as she could reach. She then turned to me and asked how to spell her friend Eli’s name. I told her, and she proceeded to write "Claire" and then "Eli". I even love the little stick man in between the two. This amazes me. She’s three, folks. I don’t remember doing quite this well in ’77.


Mr. Mole ain’t no one’s friend

July 08, 2008 By: nooccar Category: Adams, health

I suppose all of us are mortal. When I was 12 I began getting sick, to the point where I could not eat without vomiting. No, it’s not the most exciting thing to discuss, but that’s me. My doctor swore I had Leukemia (because my iron was so damn low), and they wanted to admit me to the hospital immediately. I obviously didn’t have Leukemia because that was 22 years ago, and I’m still here. I also didn’t have health insurance (Dad’s self employed and mom was a stay-at-homer).

Needless to say I went home that day, and my mother went straight to college to get a degree. My sister was 6 at the time, so it wasn’t like there were little ones at home anymore. They diagnosed me with Crohn’s Disease later that fall and thus began my life with illness. Medical technology and age has been good to me over the years, but I truly am defined by illness.

I never really even understood the mortality of my parents until my father had a heart attack. I cried and cried and cried. I was already living in Arizona at the time and my perspective on time is a pendulum. I always either, A) believe I have all the time in the world to be with him, or B) want to drive back "home" now and stay put.

In the last week both my father and I have had chunks of skin and flesh cut from our bodies. Dad had some sort of carcinogen cut from his forehead, and I joke with my mother than he probably looks like Harry Potter now. I’ve had moles since I’ve been in AZ (and no it has nothing to do with the sun, since I don’t get that much), and I was finally referred to a dermatologist. Today she cut the largest mole from the area that I can only refer to as my "boob". Yes, I am not skinny. Yes, I’ve got man boobs. Deal with it. Dad does too. So this lady’s there cutting away at a large mole (think pencil eraser diameter and go a little larger) from my boob while we’re making small talk. Don’t quite remember the discussion. But it reminded me of James Morrow’s book Towing Jehovah when God fell into the ocean, dead. They towed his body to the Arctic so he didn’t decompose, but along the way the people got hungry, so they cut large chunks from his chest (talk about communion!). This is how I felt (no I don’t have a God complex…. atleast I doubt it) today in the doctor’s office.

I just wish I had a camera with me!

Meghan moves to PA

July 05, 2008 By: nooccar Category: Adams, Travel

My sister moved to Colorado several years ago to go to the University of Colorado for psychology. I had originally hoped she’d head west but further south. Problem was ASU didn’t want her, but CU snatched her up. Not really sure all what happened there , but she lasted in the program for about a year. Hey, it was a cool place to visit. Somewhere along the line, she met Jonathan, who is actually older than I am by a couple years. Upon meeting Jon, age didn’t matter at all for my little sister. Jonathan rocks. Meghan proceeded to drop out of school and move in with Jonathan. Don’t get me wrong, she’s not too much of a slacker. She continued working (has a work ethic somewhere between mine and Jaime’s) and enjoyed the mountain life, but she always missed Pittsburgh.

Jonathan is from Florida, and his mother lives in Fort Lauderdale. Other than Meghan, he had no links to Pittsburgh. Donna and I’ve been away for almost a decade now, but no matter what I told her she didn’t understand that she had to go back. Eventually, through time and love, she convinced Jonathan to move to Pittsburgh.

There wasn’t much left for them in Colorado, so they decided to head east. Jonathan is very handy and can work in several places, but Meghan really wanted to complete her nursing degree. She’s always been good at trying to read people, seemingly care for people, and following in her mother’s footsteps sounded like a pretty good idea. Shadyside Nursing Academy is a pretty good place to get started, so she and Jonathan packed up their belongings and had them shipped to PA. The problem was though that Jonathan’s dog Jasper is about a billion years old, so they couldn’t fly with Jasper and Meghan’s two cats, so they rented a car.

They were suppose to leave last Monday, but they’d grossly underestimated their belongings. They didn’t leave until late on the third, but Jonathan’s mother had already bought Meghan and Jonathan plane tickets from Pittsburgh to Florida for a family party. The tickets had them flying out on July 5th in the morning. Needless to say they were relatively stressed and I  still don’t know how they made it across the USA without killing each other. At midnight on July 5th, they had arrived in Pittsburgh, dropped off Meghan’s twin black cats, and Jasper the geriatric dog. Before Jonathan and Meghan (who at this point hadn’t slept for about 36 hours) left for the airport after staying up half the night talking to my mother, Jonathan turned to my mother.

"If Jasper dies while we’re gone, please cremate him."

My mother cocked her head, "Whadda ya mean? Light his tail on fire?"

A 21st century kid gets babysat by Virtual Mimi

June 18, 2008 By: nooccar Category: Adams, Claire, House, Parenthood, Technology

I watch my friends around me with their families and friends living in the valley, and they have freedom to go out and about without their kids (don’t get me wrong, we love ’em, but we need nights off!) and I’m jealous. Hey, we all need a night off. A beer out with the spouse or a party with ADULT friends where there are no crayons and Dora on the dvd player. A Real Party without playsets, without imagination, without snotty finger licking. I wish my inlaws would retire to Arizona (as I know my own father would NEVER ever move here to the heat of hell!), and I really could’ve used a babysitter when we were moving our rooms around last week.

Well, coincidentally my Skype rang in. It was my mother calling (and if you haven’t installed Skype yet, you’re missing out!), so we answered.  We were finishing breakfast and procrastinating on moving the huge furniture out of Claire’s room. (The armoire is 8X10X4 and heavy as hell.) So my mum was on Skype and started talking to Claire who was sitting at the dining room table totally engrossed at showing her whatever it was she was into at that exact minute. Well, we began moving that very large furniture, and my mum kept talking to Claire. When Claire began looking away, Mum called her back to the computer. She wasn’t corporeal but damn was she doing a good job babysitting?

Wouldn’t you know we got that whole room cleared out way before the carpet cleaners arrived, and Claire just sat there at the table with "Mimi on the ‘puter". So in this day and age, my 21st century tech-savvie beach babe was  babysat by her east coast mimi. How unlike when we grew up, huh? Now if we can just leave her  with Skype open so we can hit the town one night? 

Happy Anniversary, Honey!

May 20, 2008 By: nooccar Category: Adams, holidays, Pittsburgh

In late May 1994 after I had just finished up my freshman semester of college at Penn State University, I’d planned on hanging around all summer. My bother, Jaime, and I headed to a party with these people we’d just been getting to know. At some point in the evening we played spin the bottle. A young woman with torn jeans, red wild hair, and glasses spun the bottle and it landed on Jaime; he kissed her. Later in the evening I spun the bottle and it landed on her. I moved in with all the charm I could muster. I reached forward across the center circle, and went for it. Needless to say we quickly forgot the bottle, but we never ever forgot that 14 years ago today my brother kissed my wife before I kissed her!

To keep the traditions alive, on May 20, 1999 I had just finished my Master’s Degree at Duquesne University and Donna had just now finished her degree in management from Lock Haven, and we had much to celebrate. I decided to pack a cooler of KFC chicken and a couple Sobes before driving Donna out to South Park south of PIttsburgh. We roller bladed around the park before heading up to the "Stone Shelter" where my parents always said they made out when they were our age. So sitting up there, I was very nervous, and eventually I just went for it. I leaned in, pulled the small box out of my pocket, tossed it into her lap and asked loudly "Wanna Get Hitched?" This proclaimant and several feet of green phallic graffiti behind us on the wall was I needed to woo Donna to marry me.

She said yes, and we moved to Arizona a few months later. We never looked back. Happy Anniversary, Honey!

Devon or Darryl?

May 19, 2008 By: nooccar Category: Adams, Travel

IMG_2263, originally uploaded by nooccar.

Last week I was in Chicago at a wedding, and my wife shot this outside of Starbuck’s in Hinsdale, IL. I don’t think either of us could even fathom how much I am beginning to look like my father. Part of it is the outfit. Dad always wears a charcoal suit and purple shirt, and I just happened to be wearing the same thing. How uncanny.

Orlando, here we come!

April 18, 2008 By: nooccar Category: Adams, Claire, Travel

About a year and a half ago, we considered traveling this summer. We wanted to do a "family" trip somewhere in the US. My grandfather passed away pushing two years now, and my grandmother subsequently moved to Florida with my uncle and his family. My aunt and her family lives nearby, so we considered going there. But we also wanted to see our parents. Things didn’t work out quite as we wanted it, and grad school for Donna also threw a wrench into our plans. We then invited her parents out here (my dad would never fly here in the summer heat!). Somewhere along the line my parents suggested they’d meet us in Florida, but with Donna going back to her old job July 1st and grad school, she could not fly. But Claire and I are off, and if we’re not around, then it’s more school work time for her. Sure she will miss Claire if we went to Florida, but I’ve been there before. A week here, 2 weeks there.

Tax season ended this week, so my dad came out of his cave and called his travel agent who’s booking him tickets to Florida for the first week in June. I looked up tickets and came up with $800+!! Donna wasn’t too thrilled until she found tickets less than half that for me and Claire. And I am happy to say tonight we booked two tickets to Florida. We will see my family, and Dad even wants to take Claire and her cousin to Disney for the day. This summer is turning out pretty sweet. Donna goes back to the job she likes, we do some traveling, I see my grandmother who ain’t no spring chicken, Claire sees all of her grandparents, I travel to the AP Conference, and my in-laws fly out for a couple weeks to see us all.

Monday night

January 21, 2008 By: nooccar Category: Adams, health, Work

Dear reader, I am sure the solitaire reader of this blog would be curious to know the outcome of today’s surgery and even though I am horribly busy tonight, I don’t want to leave you out cold. My mother’s surgery was brief and successful. When they cut open her back they only found a cyst, and it was in a place where they could remove it quickly and easily. They did so, sewed her up, and a few hours later she was walking around. I equate that with a C-section. They make those women walk, too. When I got the news early this morning, I sobbed. My sister sobbed, too. I guess we were expecting worse, or at least less reassurance from the doctor. I’ve talked to my mother from her hospital bed several times tonight, and it was like I was talking to her on her cell as she bargain shopped at the Good Will or played with her kitty on the couch. She will go home tomorrow morning, and she will be back at work in 2-3 weeks. Meghan is relieved because she gets to spend more leisure time in Pittsburgh with her family and friends, than kowtowing to Mum’s every need.

T minus 5 hours and counting until neurosurgery

January 21, 2008 By: nooccar Category: Adams, health

Tomorrow morning my mother will have spinal surgery. I say it so straightforward because I don’t know what I think about all of this. Part of me knows how much pain she’s been in and I am very relieved that they figured out what’s going on with her. Another part of me thinks that some doctor cutting into my mother’s back, chopping away part of her vertebrate, and scopping some goo out of her back is kinda scary.

She had her hip replaced a few years back, and she’s had problems with her siatica for a couple years, but this whole back thing was an issue. An MRI last month showed a huge mass at the base of her spine, and the neurosurgeon said he’s pretty sure it’s a cyst (which is a helluva a lot better than a tumor!). He also seemed like this procedure was pretty commonplace for neurosurgeons.

My sister, Meghan, took time off work and flew home for two weeks to take care of mum. Now it’s 1AM, and at 330AM MST she is headed to the hospital. The procedure begins two hours later while I am still asleep here in Arizona. I made Meghan promise me that she’d at least text me every hour to give me updates (even if nothing at all is new). Meghan is an even more level headed person to be there with my mother, but asking Meghan very awkwardly to make sure paperwork is in order and wishes are known just-in-case wasn’t very fun tonight. Mum’s the glue of the family and it’s such a hard job. That’s probably caused a lot of this, and it doesn’t help with such selfish, hard headed people in our family. Mum, I love you and know you will read this blog post tomorrow night while relaxing in your hospital bed with Meghan there at your side.

Back to the Springs

December 30, 2007 By: nooccar Category: Adams, Claire, Leisure, Pittsburgh

Today we headed back to 7Springs, and Uncle Jaime skiied with Claire all morning. He’s a great uncle, and we all had an awesome time.

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