Monday, July 20, 2015

Family Pictures

I've always sort of wanted family pictures. I do photography on the side and I've taken family photos for a few families but it turns out it's kind of hard to take pictures of yourself. So last week we had Natalie Marie Photography come to our new house (and, um, WE GOT THE HOUSE...more on that later) and take some pictures of Truman, the dogs and I.

Honestly, in January Olivia was unbelievably sick and even the specialist gave her "weeks or months" to live. We're so thankful that she's still going on strong in July but there's always a sneaking feeling that we're on borrowed time. And, well, I wanted some fabulous pictures of the dogs while Olivia is still around and healthy. Here are a few of our favorites, the dogs now have better headshots than most nonprofit professionals I know:

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Missing My Grandpa Already

My grandfather passed away yesterday morning. He was 90 years old and I already miss him terribly. My grandpa was an awesome guy. At 90 he was still in good health. He lived on his own, was still up on politics and what was happening in the world (he was pro marriage equality). I sent him postcards from anywhere I went (whether it was camping a few hours from our house or international vacations) and when we were in person we still had great conversations about family or history or current events.

I think Mexican grandparents are a little more honest than other grandparents and he and my grandmother were always some of the first people who would tell you that you looked nice...or that you'd gained a little weight. After my grandma passed he even still went shopping for Christmas gifts for a couple years and actually had remarkably good taste in sweaters for me.

He was born in 1924, a handful of years before the beginning of the great depression. His dad was able to support the family throughout the depression and my grandpa would tell stories of not having the same clothes as the cool kids. He said that he later realized that the other kids had clothing that had been provided by the government but that his parents we able to provide him with clothes.

It was pretty cool having both my grandparents at Oxy's Latino grad.

Christmas 2009. Just call us the Kardashians. Grandpa and I were taking selfies before selfies were cool.

While my family was in town for my law school graduation in 2011 we rented one of those 16 person bikes and went bar hoping in Denver. Grandpa originally thought it was a set of 16 regular bikes and that he's have to pedal on two wheels, at 86 that idea made him pretty nervous but he showed up anyway. He was pleasantly surprised that he could just sit on the back and not have to pedal at all. Years later that Pale Ale necklace was still hanging in his house.

We shared a love of a good hat.

He didn't have much luck with weddings. The day after he got home from my wedding in 2012 he was hospitalized with pneumonia and the day after Brandon's wedding (picture below) he was hospitalized with liver issues. We were both pretty excited to have him at our weddings though.

The incredible shrinking man! Ok, my bother is more than 6 feet tall so this picture is a little grandpa was shrinking though. On his 90th birthday we did a little photo shoot thanks to my friend Myles. This picture of Brandon and grandpa cracking up is one of my favorites. Rumor has it that my grandfather was a bit of a curmudgeon for many years. Kind of light hearted aren't works commonly used to describe him before he reached his 60s. Thankfully, I only knew him once the years had lightened him up a bit. The man I knew was thankful for his life, took pride in sticking it to the government by living way longer than social security expected him to, and shared my appreciation for the sillier things in life.

Laughing and drinking and eating tacos at his surprise 90th birthday party.

It's hard to believe that he started to get sick the day after these pictures were taken. You'd never know from the silly photo booth pictures that he'd be hospitalized the next day. I'm so glad Truman and I were both in California for Brandon's wedding and that the whole family got to spend time together. I'll miss visiting him when we're in LA, I'll miss sending him post cards, and I'll miss his matter of fact approach to life. My parents and I rarely see eye to eye on politics but my grandparents and I usually did; despite a 60 year age gap, grandpa and I were often able to chat about history or politics and I would smile about how we'd often come to the same conclusions about the world. I'm thankful that he wasn't sick for a long time, that he was always able to make his own medical decisions, and that he died pretty peacefully...I sure do miss him already though.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Remembering Ricky

A few weeks ago (I can't believe it's been that long) Truman and a group of friends were on a rafting trip where a friend passed away on the river. It's not my story to tell but it's been terrible. As we've talked with Ricky's wife and family empathetic me has really had a hard time not seeing myself in them. A lot of the activities Truman does (and to some extent a lot of the activities we do together) carry inherent risk. Terrible things can happen and a couple weeks ago a terrible thing did happen. I don't know what I would do or feel like or be like if this had been my husband.

I actually didn't know Ricky all that well (we'd see each other at parties, that kind of thing) but I've really enjoyed hearing people share stories about him. One of the things that has stuck with me as I've continued to process stuff is that Ricky stressed the importance of choosing happiness. Between this rafting accident, some house stuff, and some other yucky life stuff this summer hasn't gotten off to the best start but I'm trying to practice conscious happiness. It's actually a somewhat difficult skill but I'm finding moments of grace and moments of surprise where I actually am able to appreciate the silver lining.

So here's to honoring Ricky, to learning new skills, and to practicing happiness.