A Good and Caring Man

Ray McHugh, Barbara’s dad, passed away, peacefully, on December 27, 2017.

He lived a long life, offering and finding much joy along the way. Always curious, he never stopped learning. Always gracious, he never missed a chance to share even just a few words with passersby. Always kind, he looked for the best in people.

His daughter Katie once asked him if there was any place in the world he wanted to visit, but hadn’t been able to. After thinking about it for a few moments, he answered, “Nope.” And that was not from a lack of adventurousness; over the course of his life, he visited all the places he wanted to see.

Born in Ohio, he not only survived a difficult youth during the Great Depression, but rose to take on the role of parent to his younger siblings when his dad was unable to. Moving to California, he completed his undergraduate and graduate work at Stanford University, and raised his family here, training many new teachers at Cal State Northridge.

He is survived by six children, six sons- and daughters-in-law, and eight grandchildren. He was a good man, and will be missed.

The Old Truths Must Be Preserved!

My brother Art & my sister-in-law Diane recently got back from a trip to western Germany, where, among other things, they were digging into the Olbert family tree (Diane’s been doing a lot of research into family history over the last few years).

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Tiger (1999 – 2015)

We had to put our remaining cat, Tiger, to sleep Thursday afternoon. She’d been getting progressively weaker for a while and losing weight. I think the final blow involved a fairly serious respiratory infection. It would not have been kind to her to keep her struggling on.

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Sox (1999 – 2014)

The cycle of life took another turn today. We had to put down Sox, one of our two kitties, because she had gotten into bad shape, and was suffering. Actually, considering she was 15 years old, give or take, she wasn’t in that bad shape. But fifteen is pushing it for cats.

Besides, Sox was a fighter, and I’m sure she wouldn’t have wanted to go out totally enfeebled. She always reminded me of a line from Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, about Batman coming out of retirement: surely the fiercest survivor, the purest warrior. She started out life as a stray and had to be re-adopted, by us, because her first family developed an allergy to cats.

Shortly after Sox joined our family Caroline came up to me while I was getting dressed for work and said “Daddy, there’s a dead baby fawn outside our side door.” To which I responded, “Right, Caroline, of course there is”.

But when I went downstairs — holy !#$!$#!!! — there really was a dead baby fawn on the side deck. And Sox, looking very prideful. Now I doubt she killed the fawn. Even as a newborn it was bigger and heavier than she was. But I have no doubt she dragged it from wherever she found it up onto the deck to share with us. She had that kind of determination.

She was also the only cat I’ve lived with which my neighbors used to greet when she trotted after us on walks. Why? Because she apparently hunted down and killed every gopher in the area.

But she was friendly and outgoing and cuddly and loved to play, too. Her reflexes were blindingly fast, as I experienced, painfully, on several occasions while teasing her with a string or cat toy. But if you respected her, she would respect you, and sit purring in your lap for hours.

We miss her.

The Cake Was Very Yummy!

Can it really have been 18 years since Caroline entered our lives? That’s what the calendar says. But it seems like only yesterday when we brought her home…

The Children Are Gone!

As of today, we have no more children in our family.

What’s happened to Arthur & Caroline, you ask? Nothing…except that Caroline is now 18, which makes her an adult. Which means we’re all adults here now, and will be unless and until some grandchildren show up.

It’s been a long road, but a worthwhile one. I’m proud of both the younger adults in my family. May they live long and prosper :)!

Way to Go, Caroline!

Parents reading this post won’t be surprised by what I have to say. But I can distinctly remember walking my daughter to her first day of kindergarten, and that evening attending the first back to school night for her.

And now she and her friends from that day — which seemed like it only happened yesterday — are striding across the platform set up at her high school to receive their diplomas.

It was a grand, wonderful, exciting, momentous and emotional day.

I love you, sweetheart. More importantly, I am very proud of you.

Live long, and prosper :).

That’s My Boy!

Only he’s not a boy anymore. He’s a fine young man, and a damn fine guitarist.

This past weekend Barbara & I flew up to Bellingham, WA to see Walking Stick for the Giant perform at a local nightclub. That’s the band Arthur and his friends created. We had a blast!

In the middle of Arthur’s flashing pick-and-finger work during their closing number a young bearded fellow came up to say something to me.

Since the music was pretty loud he had to bellow. “You must be a very proud dad right now.

Which prompted me to yell back “Yes, I am!!“.

Very much so.