Tag Archives: family

My cousin’s close call

Anne and Dylan next to the tree.

My cousin and her fam­i­ly recent­ly had a close call: an 80-year old oak tree fell right in front of their house. They (and a lot of Ohio) got the tail end of Hur­ri­cane Ike, and you can see the sever­i­ty in the video their neigh­bor post­ed:

What I didn’t real­ize until my grand­ma told me was that my aunt and my grand­ma were also there. I’m glad everyone’s alright!

(Pho­to cour­tesy Jef­fry Kon­czal)

Today is the first day of the rest of my life

So I’ve had a few half-start­ed posts sit­ting here that I just nev­er fin­ished. They’re gone now, hav­ing lit­tle moti­va­tion to talk about Opera ver­sus Fire­fox 1.5 or GTK+ (who wants to hear about that?). This expos­es rather well my prob­lem with this whole blog thang. I set out with this hop­ing it would be a nice com­men­tary on my life – more than per­son­al blath­er that, in my opin­ion, belongs in a per­son­al jour­nal, but more­so what I’m think­ing about, a pub­lic sound­ing board for my reflec­tions and insights on tech­nol­o­gy, pro­gram­ming, and music. Of course it would be per­son­al, because it’s mine, but about things that would inter­est and ben­e­fit the Inter­net com­mu­ni­ty, or “blo­gos­phere” if you will. (I hate that word almost as much as “blog”.)

But I’m no good at jour­nal­ing. My past attempts have fiz­zled. I thought this would fare bet­ter than a jour­nal because it would be online. How­ev­er, the oppo­site has been true. I’ve sim­ply let it go, not in the least because my life has been a bit too per­son­al late­ly, so I have lit­tle ener­gy left for writ­ing on here.

My solu­tion? A longish post about my life at present.

As you can see from my last post, I now have a son. Even though I’m not rais­ing him, it’s amaz­ing to me how much that sim­ple fact changes things for me. In large and small ways, things shift focus and empha­sis in my life. Most­ly, it makes me real­ize that there are plen­ty of things in my life in which I put too much val­ue. It’s been my life­long goal to be a hus­band and father, but at the moment, I see that I’m not order­ing my life as such, nor have I in the past few years. I’ve been far too self­ish with my time and rela­tion­ships. The con­se­quences have been severe: I brought a boy into the world in the midst of a rela­tion­ship that was not ready for him, said rela­tion­ship has since crum­pled under the pres­sure, and I’m left unable to han­dle deal­ing with mov­ing on or get­ting over that.


I find it nec­es­sary, espe­cial­ly after post­ing pic­tures before, to post some pic­tures of Samuel Stu­art Steven, the beau­ti­ful boy that he is. Here are two that are par­tic­u­lar­ly dear to me. He looks so very much like Pearl and me!

I’ve been read­ing a great book about depres­sion called Learned Opti­mism by Mar­tin Selig­man. It’s about the con­cept of learned help­less­ness and explana­to­ry style. It’s all about how you respond to adver­si­ty in life. There are three lev­els on which to eval­u­ate things: whether the event is per­son­al, whether it is per­ma­nent, and whether it is per­va­sive. He says that pes­simism tends towards those three, and opti­mism tends away from them. It’s amaz­ing what a lit­tle aware­ness will do, and I’ve been catch­ing myself explain­ing things very pes­simisti­cal­ly, from some­thing as small as burn­ing some food that I’m cook­ing (“Blast! I am such a los­er! I always do that!”) to some­thing as large as my rela­tion­ship with Pearl (“I’m worth­less and my love life is doomed”). Of course, total opti­mism wouldn’t do in the lat­ter case, because what hap­pened is not Pearl’s fault per se (I don’t even like to think of it in terms of anyone’s fault or blame), it’s not imme­di­ate­ly tem­po­rary (I’m not ready to love again), and it’s not com­plete­ly spe­cif­ic (e.g. what hap­pened with our rela­tion­ship is direct­ly relat­ed to my spir­i­tu­al strug­gles of late). Think­ing opti­misti­cal­ly would be short-sight­ed and imma­ture. So while I can’t be com­plete­ly opti­mistic about every­thing, I’m find­ing that I’m far too pes­simistic about most things. This is the deep work I need to do, and I’m very glad I’m in coun­sel­ing to do it.

All in all, though this past year has been the tough­est of my life, I’m begin­ning to see some good changes in myself and things are look­ing up, bit by bit. I’m not sure if all of these things will make sense in a gen­er­al way, but there are a few things that I’ve noticed that mark sig­nif­i­cant changes in the way I oper­ate:

  1. I don’t want to spend hours on my com­put­er fid­dling around with crap and tweak­ing the hell out of my sys­tem. I do still like and use Lin­ux, but I want it to work for me and not the oth­er way around.
  2. My musi­cal tastes are chang­ing. I have found Bruck­n­er to encap­su­late almost all that I’m feel­ing, in such a way that his music has con­stant­ly and repeat­ed­ly been point­ing me to God. His ninth Sym­pho­ny in par­tic­u­lar seems to hold togeth­er all the pain and grief I’ve felt and lift it up before God in release. The Ada­gio there­from has brought me to tears.
    In gen­er­al, I find myself late­ly favor­ing the Roman­tics and the slow move­ments of music, where­as I have always before tend­ed towards the for­mal­ized Clas­si­cal mod­els. (I think it’s that Bruck­n­er holds both togeth­er so well that I’ve tak­en to him so much.)
  3. I’ve been much more accept­ing of peo­ple and their faults, par­tic­u­lar­ly in my fam­i­ly. My fam­i­ly is the best exam­ple of love that I have on Earth, and the best oppor­tu­ni­ty for me to love. Accept­ing and lov­ing them has been a hard thing for me over the years, but it’s worth it.
  4. I’ve been spend­ing a lot more time with my fam­i­ly, and I see the ben­e­fits most direct­ly in my rela­tion­ship with my lit­tle sis­ter Kait­lyn. It’s become impor­tant to us to spend time togeth­er, and I trea­sure that.

So, all told, this is osten­si­bly my last post. There’s just too much life to be lived to wor­ry about this blog thing. Per­haps I will pick this up again in the future, but I don’t nec­es­sar­i­ly see that hap­pen­ing. Time will tell.

Bis dann and Adieu,
Andrew

The visit with my son

Luke Steven Hays
Born 11/14/2005
7 lb., 8 oz. and 21″ long

So last week my mom, dad, sis­ter, and I had a chance to vis­it with my son. It makes the deci­sion to give him in adop­tion a bit hard­er but more reward­ing in the end, because I can see (and hold) him whom I’m com­mit­ting to the care of oth­ers (a very won­der­ful cou­ple). You can see more pic­tures and video by click­ing on the image below.

He’s cer­tain­ly adorable.

Pictures… just because I can

So I’ve been doing a lot of famil­ial rem­i­nisc­ing in the past few weeks, plus I just fig­ured out how to add images on Blog­ger, so here’s one of my sis­ter and me, cir­ca 1987. This is a par­tic­u­lar­ly dear pic­ture to me.

And here’s one last year of my lit­tlest sis­ter and me. She isn’t quite so lit­tle any­more; she just turned 9 in July!

I love them both very much, as you might have guessed.