26 MarIt Must Be Spring

Yesterday I saw several fat robins poking around the yard nomming on things they found. There was a stellar’s jay that found something to nom as well, and my buddy hummingbird who came up to the feeder to eat then zipped up to the dining room window and looked in, then zipped over to the living room window and looked in, then zoomed away. There was also a crow that perched high in a branch in a tree outside the dining room, and I was trying to casually walk into the dining room to discreetly watch it, but I guess I wasn’t discreet enough or something else was distracting and it flew away. Saw a fat grey squirrel, and a couple black-capped chickadees, too.

It was a long week, a marathon week of marathon days. A good week, and a sad week. New boss who seems so far to be made of awesome, and the death of my uncle unexpectedly. I think it’s the nature of my job now that I don’t feel like I can say much about it. A funny effect management has had on me. The things I’m learning are just not best shared in the moment, perhaps better saved for later recollections some other time, maybe. That said, the growth continues unabated. Some days I feel I’ve learned more than others, most of the time I think I’m doing alright, sometimes I think I have a long, long ways to go. Both are, of course, true.

My uncle’s passing was a surprise. He was looking a little more fragile this summer, but not that fragile. He had a stroke, the clot caught in the back of his brain, paralyzing him except for his eyes & brain — he was cognizant, and could blink in recognition, but was otherwise immobile. He was hooked up to a respirator that breathed for him. He asked to have it removed after he’d had a chance to say his good-byes, it was removed, and the inevitable took it’s course. No one wants to have anyone they love die, but between this and living on for another ten years having stroke after stroke after heart attack after stroke… I think perhaps there is one option that’s more pleasant than the other.

He was a tremendously funny man. A professor of criminology, I remember him explaining to my parents how college students play the game ‘Quarters’ and being horrified when he asked me if I knew of the game. I did, of course, and was terrible at it and usually just watched, wondering why anyone needed to create a game to drink. He also introduced my parents to some drink made with peach schnapps (or was it peppermint?), and when his son-in-law mentioned something about a drink with peach schnapps and vodka, my mother said, “Wodka? Wodka makes me womit!” in a funny voice. I suspect she knows more than she’s letting on, sometimes. :) My uncle loved more than anything, it seemed, to learn and share what he’d learned. He was always telling us stories of conversations he’d had with students and things he learned from them, as well as generally from anywhere. He frequently started out discussions with, “So tell me what do you think of this? …” Sometimes he’d get around to, “Well, I’ll tell you what *I* think of it…” and sometimes it was enough to have the discussion taking place and he’d be happy. He was the first of many people I knew who shared my birthday (or rather, I guess I shared his). RIP, Uncle Leroy.

Obituatry in the The New Haven Register on March 25, 2012.

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