Embracing Uncertainty | Plugs, Coffee and Sextants

“The quadrant quickly evolved into an even more accurate device, called a sextant, which incorporated a telescope and a wider measuring arc. These additions permitted the precise determination of the ever-changing, telltale distances between the moon and the sun during daylight hours, or between the moon and stars after dark.” Dava Sobel – Longitude I only wanted two things in San Francisco a few weeks ago. Coffee. And a plug. I had flown out to the city by the bay to host a dinner. It was a grand evening, but after a long day of travel, I wanted nothing more than to go to my hotel and sleep. I didn’t plug in my computer or my iPhone, so when I settled in for an espresso at Sightglass Coffee the next morning, I started to do “the walk.” You know the one. The one where you wander around, looking at walls, under tables, usually about a foot up, and look for outlets, plugs. Not. A. One. So, I asked the staff. “Nope. We don’t have plugs. Or wifi.” At this point, I thought, well, that might just be a Sightglass thing, so being a coffee lover, I packed up my things to find a new space. And plug. From one coffee shop to the next. No luck. No plugs. I was getting frustrated. Granted I was lucky to be in San Francisco on a blue sky day, in between storms and rain, but geez. What was the deal? As I poked my head into Vega Coffee on 12th and Folsom, my frustration was peaking. As the coffee shop owners informed...

Red is in the Morning | Red is In the Holly

I stood at the window. In my bedroom. Looking out. A week ago. It was early. Just before Katelyn and I were to head out for the drive to school. Tears streamed down my face. However, for any of what transpired in the next few seconds to make any sense, I have to go back to Fredricksburg. Twice. Once just a few weeks ago, and then for the first time not long after Maureen and I had moved to Austin from Chicago in the summer of 1994. As a dear friend from our early Apple days commenting on a photo of Maureen and I during one of our early Christmases put it, “Of all the things we have in life, memories are the most valuable.” He could not be more right. I continue to write because I know others share my story. Not my exact story. Their own stories. Stories fused by the tragedy of life, yet also fused by the magic of life. Because if you have loved at the depth I have for even one day, then you know. You know just how powerful love is, how it fuels the memories, and how the memories fuel the love. As I said in one of my earliest CaringBridge posts as Maureen’s cancer metastasized, moved around, got harder to beat back, I am not going to write about cancer. I am going to write about love. I write about love because as I said at my daughter’s Dig Pink game at the beginning of breast cancer awareness month several weeks ago, quoting the show, How I Met Your Mother,...

The Love of My Life | Tzedakah – Being Kind

As I just told Luis at Greater Goods Coffee Roasters here in Bee Cave, where I am sitting now, I do not choose when to write. The time chooses me. Whether it is events, or experiences, or reading, or music, there is a moment. A moment when all of the pieces come together. It is almost like a tidal wave in my soul. I feel the rush of energy. I feel the rush of emotion. It is almost like when I am near my bike before a long ride. I get “itchy.” A sort of twitch. I want to clip in to my pedals. And go. With writing, that “go” moment, that twitch is in my fingers. My fingers are suddenly connected to my heart. It is at that moment that I realize that I am ready. Ready not so much to write, but as to pour out my emotion onto a page, using words as my canvas to express a set of feelings that may have taken days, weeks, months, or even years to fully come together. Suzy died August 4, 1980. At a hospital in Peoria. She was 36. I was still in high school. In Worthington, Ohio. The idea of being in Chicago had not yet dawned on me. I was just a freshman. In the fall of 1983, I moved to Chicago; started at Northwestern. The idea of being at Apple in July of 1987 had not yet dawned on me. However, in August of 1988, I moved to a new Apple office. In the Loop. In Chicago. There she was. Maureen. A beauty like...

Dig Pink! Game | St. Andrew’s Episcopal School | 9.28.2018

I had the opportunity to share our family’s story with metastatic breast cancer at the 3rd annual Dig Pink! game organized by our girls’ Varsity Volleyball players at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Austin, Texas (turn up audio!) The Side-Out Foundation directly funds “game-changing” breast cancer research and support. They raise millions that fund their own cutting-edge clinical trials at renowned medical institutions. This unique approach is successfully extending the lives of people with stage 4 breast cancer. A portion of the money raised through Side-Out also goes to high-quality support services for cancer patients and their families.  Dig Pink! Game | SAS | 9.28.2018 from The Love of My Life on...
The Love of My Life | The Robe

The Love of My Life | The Robe

It was Thursday, October 16, 2014. We had picked up Maureen at her office on Tuesday afternoon, a slightly shorter day. Her breathing had continued to become more challenged. Only 3 months earlier, on July 14, 2014, we had rushed to the emergency room at Seton Hospital. The upper left side of Maureen’s abdomen was tender. It hurt to breath. Having been to MD Anderson Cancer Center a few months earlier, we knew that Maureen’s breast cancer had metastasized into the lining of her lungs. We discovered on July 14, our 24th wedding anniversary, after an x-ray, that her left lung had taken on fluid. We had our first thoracentesis, a pleural tap to the lung lining to drain fluid. It relieved the pressure, and after some coaxing of the doctors, we were cleared to leave, so we could celebrate our anniversary. We went to our favorite dessert place, Chez Zee, and got several slices of different cakes to take home and celebrate with the kids. Yes, there was a robe in the ER at Seton Hospital, but this story is about a different robe, and this story almost 4 years in the making came full circle at the Celebration of Life luncheon at the Fairmount Hotel on Friday, a fundraiser for the Seton Breast Care Center. So, let’s go back to the beginning of the circle, Thursday, October 14. 2014. Maureen’s sister, Dominique, was in town for a visit, which was not just fun but incredibly helpful. A delivery had occurred in the afternoon from an oxygen supply company of a rather incredible machine that would create oxygen,...

I Will Be Strong for You Mom | #pinkkids

September 21, 2014, Maureen and I stood with our kids at the altar of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Evanston, IL, outside of Chicago. It was a Sunday. We were renewing our vows from our wedding day, July 14, 1990, 24 years earlier, with the fruits of our love, our kids, by our side. Little did we know, that one month later, October 21, 2014, an entirely new chapter would start in lives. Following is an essay that Kyla wrote for one of her classes this week. It seems entirely fitting to share it on this 47th #powdereddonutday. It also seems appropriate to share a sneak peek at the logo for #pinkkids, but more on that later… ___________________________________________________ October 21, 2014. The day I lost my mother. The day my life changed forever. The day my family’s life changed forever. I was woken up that morning by my aunt, my mom’s sister, feeling part of myself missing, but at the same time, I was hopeful and excited that I would get to see my mom at lunch. The day went by a lot slower than usual days; I was continually looking at the clock, waiting for the class to be over, wanting lunch to come sooner, so I could give my mom a hug and tell her everything was going to be okay. After chapel, the Head of the Lower School at St. Andrew’s pulled me aside and asked me to come with him. Thoughts were racing through my head; my heart was racing; I was so excited to finally to go see my mom. All of those happy...