feren: Feren smoking (atomicfiction_ferensmoking)
John Tomich passed away today.

John was a coworker and friend at $EMPLOYER who helped keep me and the other members of our clique in good spirits. John was an inspiration to practice my photography and hone my skills. John had outstanding technical knowledge that made him an asset to the organization, but his "people skills" were what set him apart. John's musical ability gave us "Raining Meat," which was the title he gave his one-person band as he wrote, performed and recorded songs for us to use for laughter and stress relief.

The last time I wrote about John was this entry of April 2007.

After that we sort of lost touch. We'd email occasionally, or post to one another on Facebook, but that was about it. Lots of talk about getting the old crew back together to hang out never moved beyond talk. Now the opportunity is lost forever.

I don't know the details of what happened, or how he got so sick and passed so quickly. There's so much information missing. Maybe I'll find out more. I don't know if it matters.

The obituary has been posted.
feren: Feren smoking (atomicfiction_ferensmoking)
  • When I laid down for a depression-fueled nap at 5:40 tonight, there was no Jazz jumping up onto the bed and making a run for my lap. This makes the house feel empty because I'm waiting for something that won't happen now.
  • I had a dream with a cat like Jazz in it; the cat jumping at ghosts above a mantleplace. Symbolism. Or Jazz telling me she's on the other side. Something like that.
  • When I woke up from the nap, there was the echo of Jazz's meow... the rusty-sounding one she made when she pushed her head into your hand, insisting on more petting... that was bouncing around in my head from the tail end of a different dream.
  • feren: Feren smoking (atomicfiction_ferensmoking)
    I don't have it within me to write about today's events or the week that has lead up to them. You may see something written in [personal profile] lady_curmudgeon's journal. All that matters is that today our sweet Jazz has gone across the Rainbow Bridge to join her sisters Smudge and Diva.


    Jazz Kersting, December 2nd 2013

    Photo December 5, 2007


    There are so many things about you that we miss already, beautiful.

    Lame

    Sep. 25th, 2013 02:27 am
    feren: Feren smoking (atomicfiction_ferensmoking)
    It's 2:30 AM and the only thing playing is my tinnitus. This channel sucks, are you sure there isn't anything else on?

    In other news: thanks for the irreversible hearing damage, dad.
    feren: Feren in profile (sakuranym_profile)
    We fell asleep around 2 this morning, with lots of waking up throughout the night. And, this morning, Jazz is still here with us. [personal profile] lady_curmudgeon and I couldn't be more glad - even if it sometimes feels as if we've exchanged another day of having her with us for another day of dread about when she'll be taken from us. Her eating and bathroom habits, paired with rapid breathing, continue to show that things are very much not right. But there's not really anything we can do but keep watching for signs of distress or pain. Other than those three things she seems alert today, and has already given us loving time in bed, and is moving a bit from place to place in the house.

    I can't help but feel like we're prolonging the inevitable, but that's a rather silly belief a we aren't taking extraordinary measures such as force-feeding. It's only her normal schedule of meds and us offering food to her in an attempt to get her to eat. So I think as long as she wants to stay with us, she will. I'm still hoping she'll improve and gain back a bit more of her old self. I miss her carrying her sparkle balls into the hallway, the office or onto the bed. I miss her "Singing the Song of Her People" when she is carrying sparkle balls around. I miss the way she pushes her nose insistently into my hand for petting... so if I saw any of those behaviors come back, I'd be most relieved.

    Thank you for all the good wishes and prayers to those who may have seen this last night. We continue to appreciate them as we look forward with worry and a spark of hope to the rest of the week.
    feren: Feren in profile (sakuranym_profile)
    Jazz has not been right since Thursday, August 29th (read more here and in subsequent posts). Both [personal profile] lady_curmudgeon and I have had a feeling that she's declining significantly. Today Jazz went to the emergency vet because of her lack of appetite or elimination.

    Things were looking as if they might be reversing for the better this evening, but just as quickly that took a turn downward. Food remained uneaten and after Jazz laid down in her bed next to the office door, 'mudge noticed that she was breathing very hard and very fast. I did a quick respiration count and came back with 96, more than double the normal respiratory rate for a cat. Classic distress, but for good reason.

    Since they are shallow, fast breaths I worry she's struggling for oxygen and that this may be the indication of a final decline. We discussed a return trip to the emergency vet but, given that she's as old as she is and her bloodwork was clean on Friday... we don't think there's any sense in subjecting her to that much more stress. I'm praying very, very hard that this is not the final night we have her sleeping with us on the bed.

    Any good wishes you can send are much appreciated.
    feren: I AM THE MAN (Default)
    This song cracks me up and hey, it's my birthday (for another 1.5 hours) so I might as well post something that is birthday-related, right?

    feren: Feren in profile (sakuranym_profile)
    Our beautiful kitty Diva left us tonight. Her kidney failure overtook her for the final time and she went across the Rainbow Bridge to join her sister, Smudge. Now she can see Grandma and Grandpa Kersting, who she missed very much.

    We are, of course, completely heartbroken. After her crash and recovery in 2011 we thought she'd just keep... being a part of our lives.

    Cat shaped hole in my heart
    feren: Feren smoking (atomicfiction_ferensmoking)
    Today was the funeral service for Claret, the colleague on my team who passed away on Monday night after a long and difficult battle with cancer.

    Aside from myself and [personal profile] lady_curmudgeon, I saw that many people who knew him from our time working together had elected to attend the service. I counted six others in attendance, and there may have been more. Beyond those who had the privilege and pleasure of working with Claret, though, were many, many more friends and family. I met Claret's widow, who was very courageous in the face of such a terrible loss. I met Claret's brother, who looks so much like him I was momentarily taken aback. I also met Claret's father, who looked very sorrowful to have outlived one of his sons... but I can see exactly where Claret and his brother got their features from!

    The service was at a Catholic church, one that was simply appointed but very lovely because of that modesty. I can see why it appealed to Claret, as he was always soft spoken and was the type of person who focused on substance instead of on style. I liked the priest's style, and overall it seemed like exactly the sort of memorial that Claret would have preferred. I imagine in the closing weeks of his life, as news from his oncologist went from bad to worse, planning the memorial was one of the burdens that he shared with his wife and extended family.

    After service, Claret's cremains were taken for inurnment at the cemetery. I spent some time in the church parking lot, to let the family and close friends do what they must to say good bye (I later learned that one of those things was to release a number of white balloons, so that his eldest son might watch them ascend towards Heaven to be with his daddy). It was a short drive from the church to Claret's home, where Curmudgeon and I waited only a while longer for everyone to return from the cemetery. To pass time we chatted with the folks who were watching the house... family friends, the woman who is a summer school teacher for Claret's eldest son, and a few others.

    It wasn't long before everyone arrived. Food was served to everyone who gathered at the house; a very nice buffet-style of delicious Indian fare including naan, chicken marsala, saffron rice, curry, spring rolls and more. Everyone ate their fill and there was still plenty left over, which I think may be good as so many members of both sides of Claret's family had come to see him and care for the kids and his widow after his passing.

    All of my time was spent on the porch overlooking the back yard. Despite the higher temperatures and increased humidity, the shade from the many trees and the tents that were put up made it a very pleasant place to be. The landscaping was lovely, the breeze refreshing and as people arrived the conversation was good. I heard many different stories about Claret, from when he decided to go skydiving to how he ran a marathon (I'd never known about either) and much more. To my ongoing surprise, I received thanks from many friends and family members for my support while he fought for his health and life. Several times I was told he spoke often and highly of me, something that also caught me by surprise. No, I didn't believe he thought poorly of me, I just ... never thought of how much work might mean to him while he was at home, lost in a seemingly never-ending sea of treatments. His widow believes, as do others, that by enabling him to work remotely and keeping him involved with the daily activities of the team I helped give him purpose and direction, staving off depression that so often accompanies this sort of thing. I also learned that the day I announced his promotion is the day that he received news his remission had halted and that the cancer had returned with an entirely new vigor.

    At one point in the afternoon, a relative of Claret's asked to take a photo of me seated beside Claret's father. I obliged, even if it was something that completely took me by surprise.

    In the end, after almost 3 hours of conversation and delicious food, it was time for us to go. Most of the other guests had paid their respects and left, and it was clear that the family was looking for some time to themselves. I thanked everyone again, and then spent a few minutes talking to Claret's wife. While I had given a donation to the family in the card I provided, the one that I'd carried from the office had no such cash within it. None of us could think of a good way to help ease a financial or logical burden the family was faced with. Groceries? Landscaping? Something else? What would make their lives easier and help them face the new challenges ahead? Claret's wife didn't know at that particular moment, and I didn't wish to put her any further on the spot... so in lieu of that I gave her assurance that, once all of the extended family currently supporting her had left, she could always reach me and the office would gather a collection in memorial and provide it to her however she might need it.

    The drive home felt a magnitude longer than the drive up had been. When I got home I helped with a few chores, then fell into bed and took a nap for almost an hour. After the nap was over I got up and went to the animal shelter building to finish some tasks left over from last night's transfer of Odessa, but that is an entry for a different time.

    Tonight I'm going to think about Claret, his family and all the lives he touched both within the office and outside of the confines of a building's walls. I'm going to think fondly of a man who was soft spoken, confident, knowledgeable and loving. For a while I will reflect on the respect I have for a man who had faith, creativity and a streak of daring within his heart that would occasionally surprise even those who had raised him... and how I perhaps helped make life better for him and his family in some of the darkest hours they had known.
    feren: Feren smoking (atomicfiction_ferensmoking)
    Today was a first of its kind for me, and it is a first that I really could have done without experiencing this early in my career. Today I had the sad duty to clear the desk of one of my team members, going through it and emptying it of any personal effects. The desk belonged to somebody who passed away this Monday night, succumbing after a long and courageous battle against cancer.

    I've had to empty out desks for a number of employees who left my team for bigger and better things; those were simply disheartening. This was far beyond disheartening, this was heart-breaking.

    I've seen cancer take too many people in my time at $EMPLOYER. Bogie, Tina, Rick... and now another.

    This has been a very trying, tiring week.
    feren: Feren smoking (atomicfiction_ferensmoking)
    Since the mid-April storms, all of the cats and dogs housed at the rescue society have been displaced due to the shelter building flooding with 3 feet of water. The interim solution has been to have volunteers within the organization foster whatever animals they can.

    We have been fostering one of the "less adoptable" cats, so labelled because she will soil any bedding around her when she is left unsupervised.

    Today [personal profile] lady_curmudgeon found the cat had pooped in her own food bowl.

    This cat is sweet and a total love, but she is oh so broken.
    feren: Feren smoking (atomicfiction_ferensmoking)
    This morning my home PC scolded me for moving several directories. Except... I hadn't done that at all. I checked it out and sure enough, my 1TB drive (d:) isn't showing up. Reboots got nothing to change. I powered the machine down, ran errands, came home... and now my machine is stuck on the Windows start up splash screen. I'll give it another 30 minutes before I power cycle the thing.

    It's been a very long week.
    feren: Feren the photographer (oCe_Feren-Photography)
    Haven't posted in a long time. Here, have something unoriginal and trite.



    Suspended by ~panfah on deviantART
    feren: Feren in profile (sakuranym_profile)
    On the Thursday evening drive home from work the Expedition was acting rather oddly. It was stumbling on acceleration, had an uneven idle and generally felt like one of the cylinders was misfiring. Halfway through the commute the Check Engine Light (CEL) illuminated, which didn't surprise me -- after all, the engine was clearing having a problem. What was more vexing was that immediately after lighting up the CEL started flashing. I'm not sure about other OBD-II equipped vehicles, but on a Ford that flashing means something has gone seriously awry. Eventually the light stopped flashing and went back to steady illumination, which eased my mind a bit that I wasn't about to drop a piston on I-88 right in the middle of Downer's Grove.

    Being who I am I did, of course, hope that it was simply a random happenstance. The Expy is sometimes a fickle truck and it's been known to have the odd misfire that happens one day and then disappears the next, not to return for a year or more. Friday's drive to and from the office confirmed that this is, unfortunately, not the case. I haven't put the code scanner on the truck yet, but I'm relatively certain it's the same ailment that has befallen that engine before: the ongoing failures of the coil pack on cylinder number eight. This is something of a "known bug" on this particular year (1998) and model of engine (Triton v8 5.4L). I've replaced this coil pack at least twice before, so if I get back "Misfire on Cylinder 8" from the OBD scanner I won't be in the least surprised. However, it's about 3 degrees below freezing outside and I don't have a level surface to work on (read: the garage is full of Stuff, as it has been for the last few years) and I don't relish the idea of receiving frostbite on my fingers or breaking something that's plastic inside the engine compartment. So this time around I'll be sending the Expedition off to a mechanic to have this coil pack replaced. Downside to this plan? Oh yes, there's a downside -- my favorite mechanic moved out of Bolingbrook, closed the shop they moved to, moved again (even further away) and seem to have closed again. The last phone number that [personal profile] lady_curmudgeon had for them has been "Temporarily Disconnected," which is a bad sign. I suspect that once again he's gone under due to poor location, or he's relocated again for the same reason. Regardless of the cause, I don't think I'll be chasing after him. The location he left behind has been occupied by a new mechanic ("Nuno's") and a friend has recommended another nearby shop ("Tuffy's"). I'll give them both a call on Monday and see what sort of lead time and prices are quoted to me.

    I hate paying for work I could (and have) complete myself! However, I think in this case (it's below freezing in the winter, the process takes a long time to get done, I'd be out in the weather for several hours swearing at the cold and the components I have to replace while trying to evolve two more elbows on my right arm) I think my comfort wins out over my desire to save a hundred dollars or so in labor charges.

    Right here right now
    feren: Feren is silly (Zhivagod_Feren-Silly)
    I don't know if this is because sleep and my overly vivid dreams are what I feel comfortable writing about when compared to other things, or what. I guess it doesn't matter, because at least I'm writing here again.

    Last night was a ripe example of "Generic Armchair Dream Interpretation 101." First I dreamt about work, which was mostly my subconscious trying to process through some of yesterday's events and the anxiety and uncertainty I felt around it. After processing through it by dreaming about the office, my subconscious decided to show it off in full Technicolor glory by changing to a different dream entirely.

    In the second dream I was back at high school. Before you ask, yes, I was wearing pants. I'm not sure if I was appropriately aged, or if I was my current age. All I recall is wandering through my old high school in a sort of aimless manner. I knew that I needed to be in a class, but I wasn't sure which one. I also couldn't remember the last time I'd attended the class, so maybe I was already really far behind! I started worrying about where I needed to be, what class I was late for, where my locker was... so I booked it to the office and stood in line. When finally it was my turn to be helped I ended up quoting a current-day internet meme to the office administrator as some sort of lame response to her greeting, then asked for a copy of my transcript... and my current course enrollment and schedule.

    As I said, it doesn't take a highly-trained professional to see that the high school dream was all about uncertainty and looking for my "place" in my current environment. You wouldn't even need any real context of the dream before, you could just ask one or two basic questions about my day/week/month at work or at home and figure out that I'm struggling to figure out where I fit in... and feeling more than a little bit that I don't have a good grasp of everything that's going on, that I don't have control of my situation.

    In completely not-dream-related and uninteresting news, it snowed, then it melted. This is the second winter where there's been negligible accumulation by mid-February. I fear we are in for another long, dry and hot summer. What happened to the snow days and blizzards of my youth in Minnesota? Was it just Minnesota? I find it difficult to believe that Illinois in the 80s didn't get blizzards and regularly have snow days.

    As the winter winds litter London with lonely hearts
    feren: Feren in profile (sakuranym_profile)
    Last night I didn't have nostalgic dreams -- mostly because I didn't sleep well at all. What sleep I did happen to get was mostly punctuated by unsettling or nightmare-esque visions. Thankfully there were very few of those, because I spent most of my evening just tossing and turning. In point of fact, I think I turned over more times than a hot dog on a 7-11 roller grill.

    And before you ask: yes, I posted this entry with the sole purpose of sharing that terrible joke.
    feren: Feren in profile (sakuranym_profile)
    Friday night I had a dream where I was back at the office building $EMPLOYER used to occupy. It was an odd dream where I and some other folks had been invited back to the annex building to review some of the enhancements the new tenant had put in. I remember walking into the part of the building that had been our data center and talking extensively about the number of rows of racks we had when we were there as well as the challenges around some of the design.

    I woke up feeling rather melancholy after that. I dream frequently about the old office location, it seems. I am not having them as frequently as I had the dreams about dying in a freak elevator accident at that building, but I can tell there's part of me that wants to go back to that time. Was it a better time back then? I am pretty sure we didn't play mouse-ball soccer and smash hard drives with antenna masts because we were happy. So I'm not sure why itOr just rose-colored glasses on the past?

    I can feel my soul, it's bleeding
    feren: Feren is silly (Zhivagod_Feren-Silly)
    In this case it was a curiosity about pronunciation that was running through my head. The question that my brain was chewing on was silly (as it always is) but strangely maddening.

    Daddy. How do you pronounce that, in your neck of the woods? I find two ways that come to mind. First, "dah-Dee." Second, "dahd-E." It's two syllables either way, but it all comes down to where the emphasis falls.

    [Edit @1550CT 1/10: No, this isn't a subtle hint to anything! This really is the sort of stuff that runs through my head when I'm awake at 3 in the morning.]

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    feren: I AM THE MAN (Default)
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