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Friday, October 19, 2007
My Aunt June passed last week Thursday (2007.10.11). My fathers' older sister by 10 years born June Glos in 1943, not sure of the date. 64 years.
Even though I just got back from Europe and 19 days of vacation work was considerate enough when I needed to back to the Midwest for a week for some unpaid time off to spend some time with family. I flew out on Friday and returned late Thursday night. There was no official memorial service. Rather than morbidly stand around a dead body, her children (3) decided to have the body cremated and instead have a gathering over the weekend; more on that in Part 2.
I don't have too many memories of her. She moved away before I was born and there really wasn't any family get together's on the Glos side, which I would come to find out later was due to a family spat between my Grandfather and his brother.
I spent two months in her home in Tampa Bay, Florida one brutally hot summer between sophomore and junior year in high school (summer of 1987). Later after her husband passed, she and my cousin Carol (June's youngest daughter) moved back up to Illinois from Jackson, Mississippi. My Dad and I drove/flew? down there and helped them move back in 2 trucks, my dad driving one and me the other. My most vivid memory is of either Carol or June harping on me that I drove the U-Haul too close to the center line.
At the time I was going to college full time and working full time so I still didn't get to know my Aunt very well. I do recall that she was very opinionated and she let you know how she felt. It was also always kind of weird to here her call my Dad her little brother. He was, you just never think of your Dad as somebody's little brother.
As time passed life went on and we never really kept up with one another accept for through my Dad. Last I had heard she had suffered a stroke about 6 months ago, lost the ability to speak, and then finally passed on, although there was a heart attack mixed in there as well.
The Glos family curses that I know of are alcohol, smoking, and what appears to be heart disease. So some genetic and some lifestyle. I don't remember her being a drinker, but of all my family members, it appears the I am the only one who has been able to veer away from the smoking habit. My Dad swears that the smoking is what eventually did the deed, also killing his older brother Glen Jr, and he loves to recite the story of his first heart attack at 43 years old (yea that young) when the doctor leaned over in his ear just after stenting his heart via angioplasty and said, "Quit smoking or die". He quit the next day for good.
I was there when my Uncle, Glen Jr (nicknamed Chip), passed. It wasn't a pretty sight and I can still remember it like yesterday. If you need a reason to quit smoking, go watch someone die from it. The black liquid he coughed up in his final last breaths will be etched in my mind until the day I die. My father took it pretty hard and from my phone conversations over the phone, he was angry and hurt that June never stopped the habit either.
I was second guessing myself. Do I go? Do I stay? I'm out of vacation. I didn't know June all that well but my Dad sure could use me. I made the choice. Gotta go. No kicking yourself later for, "I should've". And money, well... that's all well and good but 10 years from now you're going to remember being there for family, not what you did at work and why you didn't go.
After a nice conversation with my employer Edith and my direct boss Jill, who both reinforced and encouraged me to go, I made arrangements not really knowing at the time whether there was a service or what was going on. Luckily, you can lessen the cost of airline flights by calling directly and getting a bereavement fare, but you have to have the funeral home name and address, funeral directors name, and name of the deceased so that they can check up on you.
So I arrived in Chicago O'Hare airport on Friday at around 7PM CST. It took me 2 hours just to get out of the there with the rental car, what a nightmare. Standing in the Avis line for 45 minutes and the funny thing is that it's normal. Every Friday the agent told me. Well why don't you guys staff for the this then?
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Sore butt when I took off from the house this morning from the commute home last night and not having ridden in 2 months. My mind was playing games. Telling me that it would be so much easier to just drive to work. But then I think about my weight and my family history of heart disease and then I see this gorgeous sunrise. I stopped and took a picture. Once I got to work I was glad I rode even if I am 10 minutes slower than I was 2 months ago. It feels great. It's a strange play between motivation prior and enjoyment afterwards; even when you know you'll feel good when it's over it's hard to take that first step... but the rewards are worth it.
Friday, September 28, 2007
It's 3 am as I type this. We got in around 10 pm last night and went straight to bed. 25 hours of travel to get home and neither of us slept so we were pretty exhausted. Should help the jet lag. Not complaining because 5 hours of sleep the first night should be pretty good. The next three days until work week should be a haze of napping and getting things back together after having being gone so long.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Posting from a coffee shop in downtown Munich. The San Francisco Coffee Company actually as strange as that may sound. Sneaking in a post whilst Heidi grabs us some beverages. The Internet still proves to be elusive whilst traveling at hotels we've stayed at and I've ended up paying 19 Euro for a 1 month connection to T-Mobil. The hour by hour and minute by minute charges just seem to be price gouging.
The coaching by horse and carriage for two days was a great way to see the country-side and the highlight of our trip. I have many pictures and video to share.
We're doing Munich for 3 nights and two days. Yesterday we did the Oktoberfest tents! What a blast. Today was our first day of bad weather. It's been raining all day so we spent the afternoon in the Deutsches Museum, basically the equivalent of the Smithsonian.
Tomorrow we take the train back to Vienna and fly out Thursday morning.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
We've arrived at the hotel "Forsthaus am See", forest house at the lake, tonight in Feldafing, Germany, about 45 min southwest of Munich. Tomorrow Andreas picks us up for the Coaching trip and so this is the reason we are here as this is close to his stables. It's quite the vacation area for well-to-do Munich citizens though. Many million dollar mansions along the lake. It reminds me of Lake Geneva, WI, the spot of rich Chicagoans to vacation. Although I think the lake here is just a little deeper, and the view of the mountains (not sure which ones they are) on the horizon is quite spectacular. My guess is we are headed in that direction tomorrow. Should be interesting.
What I've gleaned in 1/2 day:
- There's a path that appears to go around the lake used by pedestrians and bikes. Larger than the Lake Geneva one.
- The vegetation is much more like back in WI/IL than OR. Less pine and more deciduous. I can imagine when the leaves change here in a few weeks it will be beautiful. This is in contrast to Baden-Baden, north of the Black Forest, which was more like OR, with many pine and they also grow Pinot Noir grapes for wine as well there.
- You gotta be rich to live here.
- Looks like you could create some nice singletrack for MTBing. :)
- More use of German. The woman who picked us up at the trainstation, Bahnhof, English wasn't very good and we rely more on our German as we approach the less tourist area. I had to order most everything today and communicate in German but don't let that scare you off. Most know enough English to get by. Partly I'm fueling my own desire to speak another language since I feel ignorant that I only know one.
- Cool tempuratures. Jackets at night. Jeans and long-sleeves during the day. The driver said she hasn't seen the lake frozen in years though so probably quite temperate like Oregon and UN-like the Midwest.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
I am feeling lazy so just wanted to let you know we are alive and well here and enjoying the city of Rothenburg. Today is our last full day here and we'll be doing abit of shopping. We plan to pickup a nice Black Forest cuckoo clock as a reminder of the trip. Also a stop at the famous German Christmas store, Kathe Wohlfart, of which there are shops all over Europe. I guess this town is their company headquarters.
I'll leave you with two shots taken yesterday. The first is apparently a world famous part of this town where the old inner castle wall meets the newer outer castle wall.
The second is of a more humorous note. A "Packer Backer". Here in Germany. I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Wisconsin and Germany are fairly well linked and my old home territory. So for your enjoyment is a Green Bay Packers fan sporting is hat... (and perhaps even a Harley-Davidson t-shirt although I'm not sure - try zooming in and see what you think). I don't think he saw me taking his photo.