Sunday, May 29, 2011

eBook Readers

I kept my mouth shut about them as I knew I would have to experience one in order to pass judgement.  Then I won one.  Courtesy of @chooseomatic on Twitter I won a Kobo.  I LOVE it!  At the time I was reading Shelters of Stone by Jean M. Auel.  For those of you who have read it, it is not a small book.  Not the most purse friendly portable book.  Well, with the Kobo I can read the book wherever.  Even when reading in bed it's better.  Less tired arms ;)  It wasn't long before more benefits came to me.

Lately I've been geeking out over herbs.  I'm seriously considering following the path to become an herbalist.  Plants have always given me much joy, especially plants with medicinal purpose.  I joined Herb Mentor and have been learning lots.  Well, they have pdfs and videos throughout the site.  The videos I put on my Vibrant to watch and the pdfs I put on my Kobo so that when I have breaks at work or when me and the family are driving somewhere I can just get in a little learnin'!  It has been great fun and of course now that I've had my first taste of an ebook reader I totally want more.

I found some "free" ebooks online but ran into the problem that amateurs who are converting these books from whatever format to epub aren't doing so gracefully.  There are errors.  What this means to me is as soon as I put them on my Kobo's SD card the whole thing promptly stops working.  I guess that's my fault for trying to get something for nothing (which is funny considering this whole post is about me getting a Kobo for nothing and wanting a Nook Color for nothing).  Why do I need to get something for nothing when there are libraries that loan out ebooks?  Well, because for some reason or another Adobe Digital Editions keeps messing up and I can't get any of the books I've been trying to get through Washington's Anytime Library**.  Not happy :(  So, on the subject of dud ebooks, I found this epub checker.  It has saved me a lot of headache in putting epub files on my reader only to have them cause said reader to cease function.

I ran across the Nook Color.  So, I can read my books on a that beautiful large screen AND play Angry Birds ;)  Uh, awesome!  Plus, people have been talking about how you can hack it and make it a tablet.  Ok, I've had some bad luck in the hacking world which is why my Google notebook still only runs Chrome OS and my Vibrant has not been rooted.  My G1 phone was my experiment failure but part of me thinks it is just due to the fact it was pretty outdated by the time I tried to hack it.  Plus, as much geek love as I have I am not the most skillful in hacking so I run to the ex to see if he wants to toy with my hacking dramas (he still has possession of my more or less useless G1).  Anyway.  I would *love* to own the Nook Color but hesitate to put out the $ for it.  I should probably pay my phone bill first ;)  So for now, I'm going to search the internets for contests to win one.  Most I have found so far are outdated.  Lame.  Keep on truckin', right?

**Finally got Adobe Digital Editions to work!  Transferred a Neil Gaiman book and a Barbara Kingsolver book over to my Kobo :D

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The days after

I'm queen of self imposed guilt trips.  Mourning brings out some pretty ridiculous ones in me.  I feel guilty that I didn't talk to Tony more.  I feel guilty for being sad because there are many people who have "more of a right" to mourn.  I feel guilty for going about my regular routine because my daily life hasn't changed since Tony died but some of my loved ones' lives will never be the same.  I feel guilty for voicing my feelings of feeling guilty.  Don't worry.  They're not running my life and I don't indulge these thoughts incessantly.  I'm sure they are all thoughts somehow programmed in me by some sort of life experience from my formative years.  When I quiet my mind it all falls away.  My higher self lets me know that any and all of my feelings are ok.  That I have done nothing wrong.  That my guilt is part of my process.  It is a part of my mourning.  It is downright silly, but it is ok.  Personally, I think Tony would be amused that I'm analyzing my feelings surrounding his death.  He'd have done the same.

I want to write about my experience at the services, but now is not the time.  I feel they're worth mentioning.  But that will come another day.  I have to get ready to go help a friend today with her raised beds.  I have a feeling it will take a while to write it all down.  So 'til next time.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Aftershocks

I wrote this yesterday but am only just now getting online to post it.

So I'm at Nae's.  I got here sometime yesterday evening.  If my dad's death taught me anything it's that everyone mourns differently.  Example, I'm a bit of a delayed mourner.  My mom?  God bless her, she hyper focuses on herself.  it keeps her from thinking about what is really, truly wrong.  Being here, in Tony's home, is no exception. Kayli is joking around trying to cheer everyone up.  Nae is generally stoic, occasionally crying and sometimes mad.  Joe's heart is on his sleeve.  Amber is in disbelief.  As par for course, I'm the delayed mourner.  I started out last night with only a few stray tears.  Same with today.  Even played an hour and a half round of Uno with Kayli and Amber, joking all the while.  We shuffled the deck 7x.

Everyone has been coming and going.  I was still able to keep a mostly even demeanor.  Without realizing it my own, personal avalanche was starting.

Joe and his sweetie came in.  You could see in his eyes how much he was hurting.  It took me down a notch and forced me to remember that it was real.  Before that I could have sort of pretend that Tony was at work, or at the store.  Then Don walked in.  This was especially profound as before he arrived pretty much everyone here have been people I knew before I met Tony.  Kept it separate.  Separation is beautiful.  I was introduced to Don purely as Tony's friend. Shit started getting way to real.

Later, I was outside talking to Katie about religion.  Back to even keel.  Nae pulls up.  Travis is with her.  Tony has been telling me for years how I just HAD to meet Travis.  I figured one day he'd visit and I would feel socially awkward and feel intimidated in my usual fashion, and Tony would joke around to help me feel relaxed.  He *got* my social anxiety.  But instead I'm fighting back tears as I meet the man who came to lay his friend to rest.  I felt myself begin to break.

Shortly after this, inside I overhear Nadine talking about Tony's body being worked on or something.  Danger, Will Robinson!!! This dam is-a-breaking!  I walk away.  I cry in the hall.  I think about how Tony and I won't have our talks anymore.  I'm crying too loudly so I move it to the bathroom.  I try to pull myself together and I walk out.  I think about how I won't hear any more of his dirty monologues complete with graphic, insinuating hand gestures.  I escape to the laundry room and cry some more.  Who will need to go to the laundry room?  Then I think about how I will never hear Tony tell me how much he cares about me and that I'm beautiful.  I sob.  Joe must have seen me go in there or I wasn't as quiet as I thought (probably the latter).  He opened the door to say bye.  He hugged me.  It was the hug of a man who has been forever changed by the kindness and understanding of a dear friend.  I wept piteously.

Writing about these feelings has been an outlet for me and so as soon as I could control myself I grabbed my phone. I  went out back to write (courtesy of the Blogger app on my phone).  Overwhelmed by sorrow I "penned" these words.  Only a couple of paragraphs into it Tony's mom arrived.  I only knew it by the mournful cry that only a mother who has lost a child could make.  She screamed her pain and I could feel my heart breaking.  And when I say that I mean I could feel such horrific sorrow coming from this woman that I sincerely wondered if the reverberations from her pained wail could stop my heart from beating.  I couldn't keep from crying if I tried.

I'm doing much better now.  Plans are being made.  Thursday there will be a ceremony and I've been asked to write his eulogy.  It's a tall order but Tony deserves for me to do my best.  Blessed Divine, grant me the power to write something that honors the man I have been blessed to call friend.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Yoda

Tony, as Mario's best man.  Indeed.
He called me his Yoda.  He found me inspirational.  Just the other day I thought, "I think he has it backwards.  He is MY Yoda."

When one of my absolute bestest friends in the world told me she met a new guy that she thought was amazing I was  skeptical.  As a best friend it's my job to be skeptical.  I was openly hostile towards her openly asinine first husband.  Not exactly mature but I only want the BEST for a best friend.  Then I met her new beau.  Tony.  Tony had the faint twinge of a Arkansas drawl.  He had kind eyes, a sweet smile and a great hug.  I am absolutely not exaggerating.  It was one of those hugs that was warm, firm and you could feel the love radiating off of his body.  It reminded me of my dad's hugs.  He was smart and funny.  How could I NOT love this guy?  He was slightly antisocial (not the partier although with his friends he was a BLAST).  He had various idiosyncratic habits, as we all do.  Most of my knowing him he had a shaved bald head.  Recently he had grown it out.  Softest hair in the world.  What's more, he saw my friend, Nadine, as the precious jewel she is.  He put her on the pedestal she so richly deserved.  He took the friend who had hardened her heart and had become mistrustful of men, having learned she could only rely on herself, and he gave her her trust back.

All of us at the wedding ceremony.
Nadine had previously said she would never get married again.  This is a battle cry commonly formed by the mouths of the bitterly divorced.  Tony changed this.  Tony wanted marry Nae.  He, like Nadine, had an awful first marriage.  He got his courage up and she got hers.  They decided to get married.  They approached me and asked me to marry them.  I had been ordained.  I felt honored.  In the summer of 2008 I married this beautiful family.

Like all couples they had their ups and downs.  They decided a big change was needed.  You know, shake things up.  They decided to move just over an hour away to the small town of Toutle.  It really was just what they needed.  The little prickly bickering smoothed out as they found the peace they looking for.  Things just seemed beautiful.  Right as rain.  The way they should be.

Early this morning I startled awake.  Immediately after Brett did too.  He said "B" (he calls me B for Banana, you know, Johanna Banana).  A fraction of a second later my phone lit up.  The caller ID showed Nadine's # and long outdated profile picture.  I answered the phone.  She told me that Tony was involved in a collision and was killed.  I had this weird sensation.  It lacked surprise.  Even though I was just hearing the news I felt somewhere inside that I already knew that my friend's husband, my friend Tony, was gone.

I felt peace knowing that he was ok.  That his spirit was safe.  A knowingness that cannot be described.  But then I thought of all the things I knew my dear friend would face.  I saw my mother go through it.  I thought about the girls and how much they love their step-dad.  It broke my heart.  I really hope I can find a way to help comfort them all through this, although I don't know how.

From the last day I saw Tony, at Mario and Kirsten's wedding
I want to talk more about Tony.  Tony was not just the husband of my friend.  He was my friend as well.  We would wax poetic about philosophy often discussing, in depth, many inspirational texts.  He called me his Yoda.  Like I said in the beginning of this post, recently I realized he was mine.  When I had talked about starting a business he told me he would pay for all my licensing fees to get me started.  And he did.  He also gave me the sweetest card telling me how he had faith that I could do great things.  He told me I was beautiful when I was feeling self conscious.  And those hugs.  Damn, those hugs were great.  I could sit on the couch and we'd just have our arms around eachother.  I really love him like a brother, but without all the sibling drama ;)

I think he has a bright future out there in the ether.  I think he will help others.  I still feel like I can sense him around.  His kind, warm heart.  I love you, Tony Prather.  Your presence is already missed.  You're my Yoda.