Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Happy Birthday, Dad!

I had intended to do this long ago (like, almost six years ago)!  But I hesitated because I wanted the montage to look just right, which meant (for me) hand coding the scaled dimensions of each of these near 200 photos... not to mention figuring out the dimensions.  Today would be Dad's 74th birthday - and reminiscing looking at this blog, I realized I had never done it.  So it needed to be done today!  These photos were all part of the slide show at his memorial. 

I found a great website without much searching that automatically files them all into a pinterest style grid for display.  I am still trying to learn the different title/description options for this style, but it looks like has plenty of different display capabilities.  I have been waiting for a site like this for a while!  You can also take the code and slap it on your own website.  It even gives you an email address to send photos to that will automatically go right on the gallery.  It is a keeper!

So, enjoy a look back on Dad's life for his birthday!

Monday, January 25, 2010

bound by green silicone

a green ring
from your arm to mine
with a sting
i continue to pine

almost glued to my wrist
you, oh i so miss
ten months it stayed
every single day

removed not even once
over all those months
a bond so strong
how can it be wrong

and then one day
in an unreal way
on it's own, it doffed
when i took my hoodie off

immediate disbelief
but then a calming relief
perfect attendance done
the weight lifted, a ton

still alone and meek
back on the wrist it went
and the very next week
another message you sent

pulling a glove off fast
another gasp
on the floor it lay
as if you had something to say

yet another sign
reminding me, the life is mine
so live strong
and move on

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Chalkbot - It's About You

During the Tour de France, Chalkbot debuted. It is a long standing tradition to paint on the roads of the Tour to encourage the riders. I did it myself when I went to the Tour de France, camped out on Alpe ‘d Huez, and saw Lance win his Sixth. Chalkbot is a little robot that can be pulled behind a car and paint messages of hope and encouragement from text messages sent to it. I chose my message to memorialize dad… and did not really think it would get printed because it was not very inspiring, but rather sad. When I sent my text, I received a reply that said it would reply back once my message was printed. So, I would certainly know if it ever did. The Tour went on and I received no messages… not entirely unexpected.

I was supposed to leave Flint on Tuesday – but work decided it best I finish up something there and get it in the email before I start driving. This gave me an amazing opportunity to see the Perseids Meteor Shower (my annual birthday gift from God) – which to be honest, I had been thinking it was the following night. Scheduled to start at 11pm and peak at 3am, I drug mom outside sometime after 11 to see if we could see any before she went to bed (I was still working on my document). We watched for a few minutes and saw a couple of faint ones. And then I said something to the effect of “Okay, show me something…” I did not remember if I actually said Dad in there or not. But immediately after that we saw the most amazing meteor I had ever seen. It was very bright in magnitude and streaked across from one side of the sky to the other. But it skipped, so there were two in the exact same path. I just recently saw someone describe this who may have also seen this very same one as two meteors in the exact same direction right after each other). But I was intrigued how it was two going in the same path. I often try to make this all my problem… and things keep reminding me that it is “our” problem – both me and mom.

The point to all of that (other than the absolute beauty) is that on my last day at Flint this last time, just a couple of days shy of my birthday (but still with mom) I received a text message from Chalkbot. I could not believe what I saw. It said my message had been printed… how? The Tour has long since been over. I went to the link and my heart honestly stopped. What I saw was my dad’s name on the streets of France. My first thought was wow, they kept going and are doing it at some other race. But as I looked at the picture, I saw it was taken on July 10th (mom and dad’s anniversary). It had GPS coordinates and all. I spent the next three hours finding the exact location of this memorialized message. It was under Lance’s wheels as he pedaled up the last HC (so steep it is unrated) climb of Stage 7. The one that Contador attacked when unnecessary and when we saw how much Lance really was a team player and did not attack. It was the beginning of the Pyrenees, the first high elevation finish of this year's tour. The message was painted in a ski resort in Andorre between Ordino and Sornas. I later checked Chalkbot’s Twitter feed and he said he was still sending out messages of everything they painted due to slow internet in France!

The photo
Stage 7 route and about Andorre
And the profile of the stage
Vallnord Ski Complex Map – to the left between Ordino and Sornas
A photo with the route mapped on that last climb
And a closeup of the finish.
Map of Stage 7
Chalkbot Site with a must-see video

I also noticed another message… “It’s About You”. I had given up on LIVESTRONG… did me no good, he did not live. Nor would he want to just survive. Living isn’t living just by breathing to him. And I realized it was a message to me.

A simple yellow band

Stood more for drive
and awesome ability to ride
With a life gone
and the yellow given away
I never put it back on
there was no livestrong

A tweet, and a photo
seemingly from the dead
A message to myself
of what I have left

I have lost something and with it, I have given up on something else.

With no LIVESTRONG, I have no life?
A message on the photo...It's about you!

For me…
it’s about life – not his, mine.
I am the one that needs to livestrong.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Most Requested Photo

Here is the one you all seem to love!

The Setup

I am working on the best way to load the rest of the slideshow photos... soon!

Memorial Service Flyer

Here are the original files for the memorial program.

Program Outside

Program Inside

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Letter from RJ Garcia

Bill Freeman is a friend of mine.

Before I begin, let me express my sincere condolences to Becky and Susie Freeman. I know Bill loved Becky. They've been through some good times and sad times but managed to keep it together through all of it. Bill's face would light up every time I asked about Susie. He was so proud of her and her gig at NASA. Hell, if Bill could have figured out a way to be on that shuttle instead of watching it, he would have done it.

My story begins in 1988 or so when I first met Bill. Bill was the reserve and acquisitions engineer at CODA Energy. It didn't take long to figure out he really knew his stuff and made my job as a bank engineer much easier. More importantly, I gradually began to know Bill as a person, and once I got past that gruff exterior it became apparent that Bill had a heart of gold as big as Texas. I learned that we shared a love of high school football, UT football, Southwest Conference football, Texas Ranger baseball, golf, hunting and fishing, skiing, and a general zest for life. From Bill, I learned to live every day as it might be my last.

During the last twenty years, I shared a lot of good times with Bill. Among the highlights were skiing at Vail/Beaver Creek, watching the US Open at Southern Hills, attending the MLB All Star game at the Ballpark in Arlington, dove hunting at the palatial hunting lodge in Electra Texas, playing a couple of rounds of golf with Bill and Russell Romoser at Southern Hills in Tulsa. The highlight of all the bucket list items was going with Bill to the 2002 Masters at Augusta National. Bill called and saying he had a couple of tickets and asked if I could go for the Thursday/Friday rounds. I figured he was pulling my leg, but it gradually dawned on me he wasn't joking. Didn't take long for me to book a flight to Atlanta and join Bill for the golf trip of my life. We must have covered every inch of that golf course during those two days. I believe that Susie came up and joined him for the last two days and they were able to watch Tiger make history. I know i came back with $700 worth of goodies for my buddies.

I feel fortunate to have known Bill Freeman. He was one of my heroes and I'll miss him.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Our Beloved Discovery Stowaway

I have found on Twitter an account called DiscoveryBat. Of course, I started following him. He has been telling me through tweets that there is apparently many lovely tributes to him on You Tube. Here are two we liked that reminded us of Dad.