Tuesday, November 18, 2008

"Lucky" — 15 Years of Unconditional Love

click here for Full Size image of Lucky, her eyes saying 'Please help me, end my suffering'After a few months of slowly going downhill, today my 'ol dog "Lucky" finally set her spirit free. Now she's no longer struggling just to get thru her day-to-day stuff. She dedicated her life to one and only one thing: being there for me and my family, always overflowing with unconditional love. No matter what… Lucky was always there for me. All she ever wanted was to be appreciated for who she was, and to share her love with everyone.

The very last pictures I took of Lucky (Flickr) were in front of the tree in our backyard that we planted for her predecessor, Gypsy. From that set in the picture on the right you see Lucky's sad eyes and Lady trying to snuggle up to her pal, realizing, I suspect, that Lucky was living her last moments. This page, with the music background of the song we used to memorialize Gypsy, was something I put together for her after she died. And as you can see in this picture, nature took its course and her collar became one with her tree over the years. My plan ws to add Lucky's collar to some other "Y" in the branches of that tree, and now, two years later you can see how amazingly quickly that took, here.

Right after Lucky's spirit finally set off on its own journey, Lynn and I went to pay our last respects — sitting on this spot on the banks of the Nashua river in Pepperell. We shed some tears, said our Goodbyes to our long-time family friend, felt the chill of the brisk November breeze on our backs, warmed our faces in the late Fall sunshine, and listened to Lucky's spirit speaking to us — in the wind — of her new-found freedom.

Rest in peace, my old Friend. Thank you for "15 Years of Unconditional Love".

Monday, November 17, 2008

DigitalMediaMagik.com — It's Real !

Yes !click here for Full Size image of DigitalMediaMagik.com's page on the Town of Groton (Mass) web site
On November 7th, 2008, anticipating revenue from my first real clients for DigitalMediaMagik.com (my new company)… I went into the Town of Groton Town hall and registered my company as a "d.b.a.". And today I found this link, shown on the right, from which you can see that I really am "Groton business Id 1282". As you can see from my July 4th blog article, it's taken me 5 months to get to this point and I'm very happy about it.

I still haven't come up with a better Icon (or "logo") for the company, so am still using the one you see on the left. Luckily, I didn't have to have that nailed down in order to register the company with the Town Hall. The Description that I did register was: Web site design and presentation, digital photography editing, multimedia presentations, DVD slide shows, digital music and story books printed on the web and DVD.

From here on in it's a matter of expanding my list of satisfied clients, which so far include a little Digital Photo Magik, updating content and a facelift (maintenance) on Mowrey's Radical Forgivenesss web site, and a site I've just started building from the ground up, The Café in Groton, Ma.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Price We Pay for Freedom

click here for Full Size image of entering the Zakim from the Big Dig tunnel, going North on rte 93Alex Carter and I talked a lot about our Fathers as I drove him to Logan today after his 5-day visit with us. We learned stuff about each other that we hadn't known before even though I have known him all of his life. I had promised to drive him "the other way" into Boston so that he could see what it's like driving over the Zakim into the Big Dig tunnel, but we both got so caught up in our conversation that I took rte 128 the wrong way and it didn't seem worth going back. Regretting that, I snapped this shot of the Zakim on leaving to send to him. Then I decided to dress it up with a picture of the Zakim that we did see on the previous Saturday when he, Jillian, Mike, and I "did Boston". Among other things, we walked from the Café at NEU over the Mass Ave bridge to Cambridge, MIT, Harvard Yard and all the usual sights you show people who've never been to this great city before.

Of course, a secondary purpose for my writing today is to honor my Dad, somewhat like I did last year in my blog article Harold "Dutch" Percy Pammett — Lest We Forget, because I don't want to let a November 11th go by without remembering his sacrifice in the war… not to mention the sacrifices that he made for me and my family during his whole life.

The rest of this is TBD after I upload the pictures for our "Getting to Know Boston" trip into the city last Saturday.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Lighting our UUC Chalice on All Souls Day

I'm chosing today to blog this because it would have been my Mom's birthday, even though my subject is the "Chalice Lighting" segment that I did in our UUC church in Groton 3 days ago.

For now, the rest is TBS (waiting to get the transcript).

Friday, October 24, 2008

OMG — Jillian Gaye's 21 Years Are Up !!!

For a few weeks I have been sitting on this invitation and the pictures shown in the Flickr SlideShow embedded below, waiting for "the right time" to write about this… and it never seemed like the right time until today. Most likely it's because today is "Gaye's Day" that I have been thinking all day that today would be a good day to tell the story about Jillian Gaye's bonding celebration, the 21-year time capsule, and the fabulous celebration that we had for Jilli's 21st birthday on Sept 1st, 2008. First up, a little background and history…
click here for Full Size image of Jillian Gayes time capsuleWhen my sweetie and I called together our extended family on October 11th, 1987, we had the "bonding celebration" described in this invitation. Our baby girl was just barely 6 weeks old, and all of our loved ones came to bless her and us! Many of them left "keepsakes", for her, to be opened on her coming of age birthday, 21 years later. We salted them away in the wooden time capsule that you see pictured on the right.

What a joy it was to watch Jillian — now older than her Mom was when I married her (!!!) — as she enthusiastically opened and really appreciated the words of wisdom, remembrances, best wishes, grand gestures of love and support that had been stored for "a lifetime" in that wooden box. Before we knew it we had reminisced, laughed, cried, and walked down memory lane for more than 2 hours… and still hadn't gotten to the majority of treasures in the capsule.

The pictures in the Flickr album "Jillian Gaye turns 21" are basically her birthday party pictures, but most of that was the grand opening of the time capsule on the campus of NEU, Jilli's current home. Aside from my sweetie and I, in the pictures you see Roy, Jilli's God Father, and Sharisse, my God Daughter.

Further details are TBS.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

So… what are YOU going to do about it?

I don't normally write about politics in my blog, and especially not world politics… but I just spent twenty minutes on this great educational web site called "The Story of Stuff" and it has moved me to speak out. So I am hereby speaking out. Admittedly, it was a somewhat painful twenty minutes, but I couldn't turn away because I care too much about leaving this world a better place for the next generation — for our children !!

Click on the image on the left, or just go to: http://www.storyofstuff.com/ and listen to Annie Leonard's description about what's happened to "our world" — the real story about what have been the driving forces in our world for the last 50 years.

And when, like me, you find yourself thinking "Oh, I've heard this all before…" and the little monkey in your head says "I don't have time for this"… ask yourself how much it's worth to you to sell your children out so that you can go "get one more task-for-the day accomplished". Consider that maybe the real reason is: you're in denial.

More important than "how we got here"… listen to what Annie Leonard says about the change in context that is the only way we're going to turn this ship around. In a nutshell, it's "Think Green" but way more than thinking is called for. After watching this I finally get a much better perspective on why this is important and why we really have to make the switch to a different way of thinking, a different way of living. Mankind's continued existence depends on it !

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

What I Wanna Be When I Grow Up

Recently I blogged about this fabulous wedding I went to… but one of the things I neglected to mention was that the professional photographer for the wedding was a good friend of mine, Jon Fischer of Jon Fischer Photography. Since Fischer and I collaborate together as professionals, I've heard about him doing wedding gigs for quite a while. But I had never had the opportunity to see him in action — doing his job as a professional photographer — until this wedding. And afterwards, in order to highlight that, I created this subset of my Flickr pictures of him doing just that. To see them via the Flickr SlideShow below just click on the "Play" Icon (or anywhere on the picture below).

Watching my friend and colleague in action reminded me of my own passion for creatively working with digital media, especially with precious memories of special events such as this wedding. And seeing how skillfully Fischer simply got on with his job, taking pictures in such a way that people hardly even knew he was there, reminded me that it really is possible to be part of events like this — unobtrusively — without altering events as they unfold. Yet you can still be right in the middle of everything, capturing it all from the vantage point afforded only to a professional photographer.

And though what I do as part of DigitalMediaMagik.com (my company) is distinctly different, I do it with the same dedicated passion as Fischer as I go about creating unique, long-lasting memories using a variety of digital multimedia techniques.
Jon Fischer — Photographer at Work
Some day, someone will document me working my craft, as I follow my passion to turn DigitalMediaMagik.com into a name that people know they can rely on to deliver innovative digital products and services to people worldwide.

Monday, September 8, 2008

A Wedding to remember: Munafo+Hendrie 09-07-08

click here to see the full sized version of the happy couple on their first dance as a married coupleWow ! Yesterday my sweetie and I had the honor and privilege of attending one of the most memorable and meaningful weddings — other than our own, of course — in recent history. Shown on the right… the newly weds just before the first dance.

The ceremony & reception were under a huge white tent — on the lawn in front of Annie's house, right on the ocean — shown as a panorama animation, below.
Especially if you look at that Under the White Tent panorama in full size, you see what an impressive collection of people were there from the Munafo - Hendrie extended family. Equally awesome was the wedding ceremony itself (or this, or YouTube), meticulously created by the wedding couple, featuring a unique "circle" layout, and made available to others so they could use it as a blueprint for their own services. Possibly because Lynn and I did something similiar for our own wedding… I loved the way they included so many people who were special to them in the service, in this case representing the 8 Human Archetypes — a superset of the ones we talk about in Legacy Discovery. What a joy it was witnessing all of them fully participate in the ritual !!

Personally, what was very special to me was being at this event with my beloved — after all, it was a wedding — along with so many of my men, many of whom you see in this Flickr album (or SlideShow). In addition, there was ample time to take the dozens of snapshots (not in Flickr album) that went into creating the sequence of panoramas starting here, from which I have chosen one and two Ocean Views plus The Big White Tent to highlight on my DigitalMediaMagik.com site. See also these fabulous Munafo - Hendrie wedding pictures where Munafo took the time to caption and organize them appropriately.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Check It Out — an embedded Flickr SlideShow !!

Given that you have a perfectly normal Flickr album, such as "Jillian Gaye turns 21", you can use Flickr's high-level interface to "customize" the slide show, and then it's another one of those cut & paste operations — you simply embed the Flickr SlideShow into any html, such as this blog posting!!!

Once you "start" the applet (by clicking anywhere on the picture viewer), you have all the usual slide show controls — including the "Full Screen" icon on the far right-hand side. Conveniently, these controls appear only when you move the mouse into the bottom part of the SlideShow screen. And all this is all done with Flash! Does it work for you without having to download anything special?

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Our Empty Nest

click here for Full Size image of this abandoned birds nest in our backyard -- see the trampoline in the background?The long-awaited empty nest has finally arrived … though it's odd to say that because it seems more like something has left than that something has arrived. During the last 2 weeks in August we helped one daughter move across the NEU campus, to start her year as a "Middler", and we moved our youngest daughter off to RWU where we took part in this most elegant convocation — a traditional RWU has that neither of us had ever heard of before. And all that has left us with what we've long known was coming but are only just beginning to fathom: our very own Empty Nest !!     I am struck by the juxtaposition of profound saddness, for the loss, and giddy excitment for what's yet to come for my sweetie and I. YMMV as in my friend Simonne's "Empty Nest" article.

This morning, as I sat pondering this tantalizing new chapter in our lives, I opened up this month's UU World (check out my Unitarian Universalist connection) and decided to share the following quote from it:
Douglas Steere, a Quaker teacher, says that the ancient question,"Who am I?" inevitably leads to a deeper one — "Whose am I?" — because there is no identity outside of relationship. You can't be a person by yourself. To ask this deeper question is to extend the context far beyond the little self-absorbed self, and wonder:

  • "Who needs you?"

  • "Who loves you?"

  • "To whom are you accountable?"

  • "To whom do you answer?"

  • "Whose life is altered by your choices?"

  • "With whose life — whose lives — is your own all bound up, inextricably, in obvious or invisible ways?"
  • —The Rev. Victoria Safford

    See what happens to empty nesters ? — They start thinking too much !!

    Tuesday, August 12, 2008

    Jean Audrey Pammett — Feeling Your Presence

    click here for Full Size image of Jean Audrey Pammett's Snow Osprey hooking masterpiece from 1981I cannot let this day pass without writing a tribute to my Mom, Jean Audrey Pammett, who died on this day in the year 2000. After a few short months of her final battle with cancer, and having exhausted every option the doctors came up with, she was ready to give us her blessing and entrust to us her warm spirit — whose presence I always feel… but especially on this day.

    So how am I going to mark this day of remembrance?

    My first thought was "Amazing Grace" — the song we sung at Mom's memorial service in Belleville, Ontario. So I scanned YouTube for what I hoped would be a fitting rendition. But alas none of the many versions I found felt right to me. So then I resolved to sing my own version "for Mom" and post that to YouTube… but just when I went outside — on this beautiful day in August — to do that… it started to rain !!    So I took the proverbial hint and came up with the above photo of one of my favorite works of art that my Mom left us: her hooking of the majestic "Snow Osprey" that she created in 1981. A close second to that was Mom's Red Rose, 1982 which I've always loved for its intense color and depth; and the Eagle, Bison, and Pacific North-West Indian hooking that she created after her trip to Vancouver back in the early 90s.

    All of Mom's art — mostly hookings and quilting — is extremely well documented in the fabulous "Tribute Book" that Nanci published after Mom's passing. But alas that was before we could post stuff so freely to the internet so you'll have to see Nanci or I to appreciate that book in print.    I sure miss you, Mom !!

    Sunday, August 10, 2008

    Lucky, in the Autumn of her Years

    Recently I've been taking "Lucky", my aging 15-year-old black lab, with me more and more — in the car, "riding shotgun". She loves getting out — being with me in the car — and I have been taking every excuse to bring her along. Who knows if she has any idea where we're going? She gets excited and knows as soon as I begin planning our weekly trip to "the dump"; it's a perfectly fine destination as far as she's concerned. It's a noble pursuit; worthy of her dutiful attention.

    click here for Full Size image of Lucky, who continues to live every day as though it were her last, determined to teach us all to do the same.This weekend when I took Lucky with me "off on an errand", I noticed that (again) I had to lift her up to help her get into the car. Her legs just aren't strong enough to make that jump up any more. But once she was in her seat she took her stand, held her ground firmly as the car swerved, and resolved to keep herself as much as she could at the top of her game — watching out over everything that passes, making sure that the world is as it should be.

    Even though we both know that's not true.

    Lucky is failing. Sometimes, it seems she's failing fast. She is still eating, though not as much these days. Her keen sense of hearing has long gone, though she still comes if you call her persistently and loudly enough. And she's been losing weight for about 18 months, though only very gradually. She is pretty much capable of getting up the steps from the garage into the house, though she doesn't come up the stairs inside the house — up into the computer room where I am — except when she's been lonely long enough downstairs alone that she figures it'll be worth the trek. But either way, she doesn't seem to be in any pain, and I like to think she's happy… though I've noticed that her tail's not wagging when she comes into the house in the morning, unlike always in the past.

    I guess I have to admit that it seems like Lucky knows her days bound to this Earth are numbered… though she's not about to allow that to make any difference to her presence — the vivacious spirit that she always brings. Lucky continues to live every day as though it were her last, determined to teach us all to do the same.

    Sunday, July 27, 2008

    A simple animation / puzzle

    More than anything, this is just an experiment to see if I can host this a simple animation / puzzle on my "Digital Media Magik" site… but then use it elsewhere — like here. You get about 25 seconds to stare at it before the solution will reveal itself.

    OK, they're not Men or People — they are more like Stickmen... for a whole host of 'Stickmen' games, click on 'People' in the title below...
    How many People appear in this image ???

    Looks like it works !
    Contact me if you have a rational explanation for this (or just cheat and "look at the answer" that was submitted by a genious friend of mine who commented on this posting).

    Thursday, July 24, 2008

    It's great to be alive !!

    … no, I didn't just survive some sort of death-defying event; I just feel like "It's great to be alive on this Sunny day in July!!" — on this my 57th birthday — even though (at least so far) it's rainy and drizzly outside my window. I just know it's going be a great Sunny day… especially when I see it that way.

    click here for Full Size image of Kevin and Jillian at Niagara Falls, Ontario, on a Sunny day in July, 2008On the left is a recent picture of "Mr. K, on my birthday" (actually created via the Digital Media Magik described here), on a trip we took last weekend to my sister's place in Ontario for an extended family party. We had such a great time visiting Nanci, seeing my aunt Marion, Karina, Nanci's daughter Miranda and her husband Ralph (visiting from Australia for the first time in way too long), celebrating the recent birth of Nanci's first grandson + the proud parents, and — of course — I created this Flickr snapshot album (or SlideShow) to capture all the festivities. On the trip up and back we (traveling with Jillian and her beau) stopped in Niagara Falls and totally enjoyed the scenery — including fireworks; see my Niagara Falls Flickr album (or SlideShow) for details.

    click here for the Full Size image (panorama) of St Jacobs Market, made from 20 snapshotsOne of the highlights of the trip was the couple of hours we spent at St. Jacob's market — home of the Mennonites — shown in the panorama on the right. In the market, near where I took that panorama — shown here in "360 ° rotation form", I also captured these enduring sounds of "Amazing Grace" (on YouTube) of Fernan Enriques playing his Pan Flute and woodwinds of the Andes. I also bought two of his CDs "for my birthday". And as if that wasn't enough YouTube for the day … a friend sent me this Happy Birthday (Beatles) reminiscence.

    I am indeed a very happy, almost-aging baby-boomer, on this, my day — my 57th birthday, July 24th, 2008.

    Friday, July 4, 2008

    Independence Day

    I've been wondering what it would take to incorporate animations as part of a blog posting, so what better time to try that out than today — America's birthday — the 4th of July, 2008 !!

    lhs DigitalMediaMagik Fireworks-09 The animation on the left is much taller than the others because it is designed to show the fireworks rising up and then "exploding in air". Using a Table with a ROWSPAN=2 lets me keep it on the left, separated from this text — on the right and above all the other animations, below. Nice. For real fireworks from this year check out (on YouTube) the fireworks finale that we saw tonight at Nara park in Acton, Ma.
    two DigitalMediaMagik Fireworks-01 three DigitalMediaMagik Fireworks-04four DigitalMediaMagik Fireworks-07 five DigitalMediaMagik Fireworks-02 rhs DigitalMediaMagik Fireworks-06
    click here to get to the home page for my new venture: Digital Media MagikFor me, this year, there is a completely different aspect to "Independence Day" — not so much because of this day per se but rather because for a few weeks now I've been working on a plan for my own independence — my new venture which I've registered as "Digital Media Magik". The company logo (on the right) is for now only a place holder; I'm sure it will completely change as my vision for this new enterprise solidifies.

    The driving force for this enterprise is my resolve to follow my passion. I have long been keenly interested in how people can use web technologies to express themselves fully — to communicate their passion, and to establish their own identities in cyberspace. There are lots of companies geared up to use these technologies for corporate interests; my goal is to bring this capability to everyday people throughout the world. Using digital photography, multi-media presentations, StoryBoards, music, slide shows, video, graphics, animations, voice, and etc… my goal is to help others express themselves and bring joy to all the people who are special in their lives.

    Sunday, June 22, 2008

    I Am Borg

    After a few months of actively preparing for this, not to mention "10 years" of actively avoiding it… I have finally taken the plunge and have begun wearing an insulin pod. In fact, it's a great technology breakthru — an "OmniPod".
    click here for Full Size image of one of my first days on the pod — when we were building the deck that Quest madeAs you can see in the picture of me working on a deck-building team project barn raising style, the OmniPod is worn 24-hours a day, (mostly) externally, and usually in a somewhat concealed place. It does a miraculous job of the insulin delivery part of my diabetes management — all of it — so after 23 years I have no need to take insulin shots 4-5 times a day any more. (See also deck building SlideShow.)

    click here to go to the OmniPod web siteShown in the picture on the left is the pod itself, along with the brains of the operation — a wireless remote control for the pump — which give me access to a personalized diabetes management system, contains a detailed food library, and lets me make this device do everything a fully-functioning pancreas would do. (Well, not including glucose monitoring — for now, but see the The Charmr.) Not only is the end result of all this much simpler, leaving me with less constraints about my lifestyle, but it allows me to achieve much better control of my blood sugar so the long-term effects of diabetes are likely to be much less significant. For more, see my profile in the OmniPod Users group — part of the cyberspace Community for People Touched by Diabetes.

    This is all great stuff, though I admit that realizing that I now wear "a computer" just as if it were part of me, that I will have to do so (in some form) for the rest of my life, and were I to stop wearing this that I would die… does leave me with the humble admission: "I Am Borg !!"    With such great results already, I've learned my lesson: Resistance is futile !

    Sunday, June 15, 2008

    SoundPlay at Rowe Camp — Music, Sound, Rhythm, and Listening

    Father's Day morning, and — sleeping in my empty bunkhouse at the Rowe Camp in Western Mass — I am awakened at the crack of dawn by birds singing like there was no tomorrow, each one determined to bring on the morning sun, to dispel the overnight mist, by the sheer brilliance and beauty of natural voice. And how appropriate — this is the weekend I wrote about as my Father's Day present (last April, in "Music In My Soul"); now I'm writing on the last morning of my stay at Rowe.

    So here I am — up early because the birds woke me up, relaxing on the balcony of my bunkhouse in the woods, drinking the espresso part of my Father's Day gift from the love of my life. Her card lovingly affirms her experience of being my life- long partner and how much joy my inclination towards music has brought to her life, to our daughters, and into our home.

    click here for the Full Size image (panorama) of Rowe center, made from 24 snapshotsThe card/gift + this weekend experience… I couldn't imagine a better Father's Day present !! — ♥ three days with a wildly eclectic collection of (25) "music people", all in agreement that (for this weekend) there's no such thing as a wrong note   ♥ fully participating — making SoundPlays in every combination of personalities and sounds imaginable   ♥ singing every note that comes to mind   ♥ vocalizing every sort of sound I can imagine   ♥ sound healing and ritual   ♥ playing dozens of instruments (strings, brass, didgeridoo (huh?), percussion, woodwinds, conch)   ♥ and the astonishing experience of really listening… like I've never experienced listening before !!

    click here for Full Size image of the Chapel in Rowe where we made our SoundPlaysCheck out the (Flickr) snapshots of Rowe, Paul Winter, and the weekend participants (or SlideShow). Or, for more action, see the YouTube video clips: ♥ two clips led by the Masla father and son duo rocking and then more rocking after lunch before our leader arrived,   ♥ Paul Winter explaining the pentatonic scale called "Koto",   ♥ percussion and improv dancing,   ♥ strings and steel drums,   ♥ Peter and John make our very foundations vibrate with dueling didgeridoos,   ♥ conch shells with a low pitch and then two octaves,   ♥ violin, cello, didgeridoo,   ♥ the conch finale from our Earth Wind Fire Water ritual, and our final listening experience   ♥ Paul Winter's ethereal soprano sax performing a favorite track from his latest CD, Crestone.

    Of course, all of the multimedia recordings provide only a glimpse of this phenomenal experience that has nevertheless left me with the solid affirmation that I really do have Music In My Soul. And for that I shall always be eternally grateful.

    Thursday, June 5, 2008

    My Circle of Men — the Legacy Discovery experience

    This past weekend I had the privilege of being on the training team for the May 2008 New England Legacy Discovery, a life-changing experience that I know in my gut has already led me to the next level. An "entry event" for MDI (Men's Divisions International), the LD purpose statement says it all: "The purpose of Legacy Discovery is to connect you to your masculine identity through the wisdom of men and with that power put your legacy into action."

    Very early one of the mornings, when I got up out of my log cabin bunk early enough to go down to the pond at the Clara Barton Center before anyone else got up, I was able to capture twenty "around the pond" snapshots which I later made into this panorama, not unlike its LD May 2006 counterpart :click here for Full Size image of the CBC Pond panorama made from 20 snapshots

    Towards the end of this very powerful weekend I came across the following quote which reminded me of my commitment to living a purposeful life : click here for Full Size image of what was available at the 2008 Legacy Discovery weekend
    "This is the true joy of life — the being used up for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clot of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

    I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it what I can.

    I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no "brief candle" to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible, before handling it on to future generations."

    George Bernard Shaw

    Monday, May 26, 2008

    John William Hickey — In Memoriam

    click here for Full Size image of Nanci delivering her eulogyclick here for Full Size image of Karina delivering her eulogyOn Memorial Day weekend 2008 I laid my brother's ashes into the ground as a gusty strong late-Spring breeze made Johnny's presence known to all of us, family and friends, gathered together at Sandy Lake Cemetery near Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. John William Hickey, born July 28th, 1941, was my only brother — a trusted friend, someone I looked up to for my whole life. A decade my senior, Johnny had a very serious bout of throat cancer in 2000 but recovered, moved from Ontario where he lived most of his life, and retired in New Brunswick Canada with his beloved partner, Lorraine Ault (bottom right). Eulogies during the graveside service were delivered by Nanci (in her blog) and I (Johnny's siblings) and by Johnny's daughter Karina (bottom left and top right). We also had a poetry reading done by Keegan (Johnny's grandson) and a very moving song sung by Amber Phelan (on YouTube, lyrics), Johnny's niece (Nanci's daughter).
    click here for Full Size image of Kevin and Karina
    Karina (daughter) and Kevin
    click here for the YouTube clip of Johnny's Amazing Graceclick here for Full Size image of Nanci and Lorraine
    Nanci, and Lorraine (beloved partner)
    The YouTube video clip (center icon, above) features our long-time family friend, Don Gordon, playing the euphonium as we all sang the immortal "Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound "…

    I am grateful for such a genuine, moving, service — a heart-felt tribute to my beloved brother from all of us. I will never forget… when I reached 3' down into the earth to lay away the wooden box Johnny made, containing his ashes; it brought tears to my eyes as I realized this would be my very last goodbye. See my "fond memories of Johnny" blog for pictures from his lifetime, and this Flickr album for snapshots (or SlideShow) from our trip to Canada for his Memorial service.

    Monday, May 12, 2008

    Mother's Day — picnic at the Stone Quarry in Rockport

    What a fabulous Mother's Day the four of us had at the rock quarry in Rockport yesterday !!!

    click here for Full Size image of Lynn and Kevinclick here for Full Size image of eJP, just like the whole sequence of her in the AlbumSee my Flickr album "Mother's Day at Rockport's Halibut Point" for the snapshots (or SlideShow) of the Pammett family outing on a glorious day in May. We had a picnic right on the very edge of the rock quarry followed by a jaunt around the site and we couldn't have picked a better day for it. It was the girls' and my present to "Mom" to pack a sumptuous basket of delectables, and without any agenda other than having a nice, relaxing, day… we were all in a space to enjoy one another's company to the max.

    Above, my youngest daughter (eJP) soaring in the warm May breeze. Right is a panorama I made of the rock quarry itself. If you zoom in closely you see a tiny person who scaled down the rocks to be near the water level, exactly like Jilli did, here.click here for Full Size panorama of Rockport Stone Quarry made from 6 snapshotsIt's impossible to do justice to this place with pictures. This and this one show you that the quarry is right beside the ocean though you don't get a sense of how high up it is. The view is breath-taking magnificent !!

    Here you see our actual picnic site, about 30' up from the water level. Below (left) is Lynnie standing on the precipice right beside where we ate lunch. This wild one of me — blown in the wind — is from practically the same vantage.
    click here for Full Size image of Lynnie taking in the magnificance of it allclick here for Full Size close-up of Jillian Gaye, age 20
    Jillian, shown on the right, is one of the few close-ups I got because mostly she was off climbing walls or falling off the picnic space — when she wasn't just flat out relaxing 50' below us.

    Alas… these days are so precious. I thank my lucky stars that my family is in a space where doing this kind of "family outing" does constitute a really special Mother's Day — for all of us  !!

    Sunday, May 4, 2008

    Mom's Flowering Pear Tree, Spring 2008

    Every April I look forward to Mom's Flowering Pear Tree coming to life and filling our yard with her energy. And this year I got a huge dose of it because I spent 2 days this weekend rebuilding the wooden trellis that holds up our Concord grapes. The panoramas below show you the "before" and "after" version of that effort. To see the trellis in both pictures, look to the very far right, about half way down the picture. The left-hand one is "all gray" because it was totally overgrown with stems from last year's grapes. The newly-rebuilt one looks "naked" and you can see the new 2x4s that I used to rebuild the holding structure. Click thru on the panoramas to get a much better view of the beautiful flowers and/or the trellis structure.
    click here for Full Size image of this backyard panorama  made from 4 snapshots, showing the old falling-down grape trellisclick here for Full Size image of this backyard panorama, with the new grape trellis, made from 3 snapshots

    Mom died of cancer on August 12th in the year 2000. So on her birthday — Nov 5th of that year — I planted this flowering pear tree in her honor. You can see that it's little more than a stick in the ground in these pictures when we planted it. I chose that type of tree primarily because Mom loved flowers and I knew that these beautiful flowers every Spring would remind me of her — especially remind me of visits that she made to see us when we lived in Alabama where "everyone" had these types of ornamental pear trees. See Mom (Jean Audrey Pammett), or in her maiden years.

    Saturday, April 26, 2008

    Music In My Soul

    click here for Full Size image of Kevin playing his pan fluteThis year my sweetie told me about my Fathers' Day present early, so that I could get psyched about it — to anticipate it for long enough that I'll be ready when it happens — a musical retreat led by Paul Winter at the Rowe Camp and Conference Center in the middle of nowhere (OK, it's in Rowe) in Western Mass.  Yeah !!  I'm already psyched !!
    click here for Full Size image of Kevin's managerie of musical instruments In anticipation of that, today I gathered up all my musical instruments and brought them out into the natural glory of our Groton backyard in Spring — right beside our weeping cherry tree at the peak of its glory, and I communed with my instruments telling them of my plans to escape with them for a weekend in early June… listening for them to tell me which ones I should take along with me on my pilgrimage.

    This June 13-15 workshop called "Sound-Play: Music as Life" really has me psyched. The brochure says "The experience of making music and of communing with others, and with the Earth, can be one of the most deeply satisfying rewards of human life". It invites each participant to bring their voice and any other musical instruments "whether you can play them or not". So I am potentially bringing all of the instruments you see me with on the right — my pan flute and midi keyboard, the fabulous djembe (drum) recently gifted to me by my dear friend Austin, Jillian's flute and the guitar she got from Teddy, and eJP's clarinet and recorder.

    click here for Kevin's YouTube show-and-tell of his instruments for the workshipClick on the image to the left for my YouTube show-and-tell about the instruments I'm taking to the workshop. Time will tell which of them I'll actually use in "the process of discovering the wisdoms we already have, deep in our being, that are awakened by the resonances of vibrations from our sound-making and deep listening". Yes !! More of what grabbed me from the brochure: "We rediscover what we loved as children: being spontaneous together". Being someone who is well known to carry a song in my head pretty much all the time, I totally identify with: "Sound-making is as natural as breathing — it's our birthright". And the ultimate promise: "It's about weaving whole the puzzle of your life, hopefully catching glimpses of the 'song' of your unique life journey."

    Saturday, April 12, 2008

    JOHN — Undeniably Written in Stone

    click here to see the Full Size of this image of Kevin + his dogs around the fire circle where we had Johnny's memorial service in Feb 2008Today Lucky and I drove over to the cemetery monuments place in Hudson, NH, to pick up Johnny's "flat marker" that I had ordered a month ago. And when I picked it up, cold and heavy, it hit me like a ton of bricks — "JOHN", now it really is written in stone. Johnny's flat marker is not the grave stone or head stone that most people associate with what's in a cemetery, but rather the carved granite — typically visible only at ground level — that marks the actual spot of the burial. We chose "JOHN", even though most of his birth family members always called him "Johnny", as a compromise — his full name is on the head stone and because Johnny's lifelong partner, Lorraine, always called him by his birth name, just "John" alone is what we put on his flat marker.
    click here to see the Full Size of this image of Johnny's flat markerToday as Lucky and I drove home with Johnny's stone I realized that we will have it with us in Groton for several weeks before we have to take it to Canada — and leave it there — for his funeral in May. It's nice that "JOHN" will have a further time of resting with us before we have to take that next step.

    Tuesday, April 1, 2008

    More New Beginnings — Roger Williams University

    click here to see the Full Size image of our entrance to the flag-draped RWU campusIt was with great pride and joy that my wife and I accompanied our younger daughter to Bristol, RI, for what was termed "Accepted Students Day at Roger Williams University" this past weekend. Our youngest daughter — who prefers to remain nameless in cyberspace — had already made a few trips to the campus, but it was my first time to see it plus the first time the family had gone there since she received her acceptance letter along with a huge 4-year scholarship (for academic merit) from the University. Wow !!!

    No… that doesn't necessarily mean that eJP has made the final decision to go to Roger Williams University. But I suspect that RWU is going to be the one she choses once all is said and done. She has received acceptance letters from at least four colleges and universities this year — not to mention her 4-year full tuition scholarship that she got last Fall for the John and Abigail Adams (MCAS) Scholarship. We'll see…

    click here to see the Full Size image of eJP's huge smile, on the Roger Williams University campus, with the Mt. Hope bridge in the backgroundIn the picture on the left you see the signature Mt. Hope bridge — visible from just about everywhere on the Roger Williams University campus (map) — it takes you from
    Fall River on the Mass mainland over to Bristol, RI, which is on the Southern tip of the penninsula near the captial of RI, Providence. All a 90-minute drive from our place.

    I'm tempted to change the date on this posting because, no, this is not an April Fool's Day spoof… It's just that I've been very busy getting into my new job + posting more pictures of recent trips to Roger Williams University that's been keeping me busy.

    Thursday, March 27, 2008

    New Beginnings — Quest Software, Newburyport

    click here to see the Full Size imageYesterday morning when I got into my car to head off to Newburyport (Mass) for the first day of my new job, this bright eyed and bushy tailed "Hallmark Puppy" was lovingly nestled into the steering wheel of my car — a note of congratulations and encouragement from the love of my life. It touched my heart and left me wondering how she was able to find such an exact likeness of exactly how I felt !!

    Below is a slice of what Quest Software (map in Newburyport, Mass) looks like from the outside — a panorama from the Newburyport Chamber of Commerce building out over the Merrimack river with the rte 1 bridge in the background.
    click here to see the Full Size image of Quest Software looking out over the harbor

    You can tell it's still off season here, just off Newburyport center, because many of the harbor tour boats are still up on dry dock for the Winter. In the summertime I bet it would be difficult to get a picture like this — in the middle of the day without any people in the sequence of snapshots stitched together to make this panorama.

    click here to see the Full Size imageThis very small software startup was called "Proposion" until it was acquired by Quest Software in October 2007.