angela_n_hunt: (Me 2014)
Today is the anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the day my father died, fourteen years ago today.


It feels more like four days today. Like I just saw him yesterday and if I turn fast enough or around the right corner, I'll find him standing there, grinning at me like a loon.

I miss my father so much today.

There's nothing new to say or for me to tell you about my father. If you track either the Hugh M. Hyatt tag or the Poppa Bear tag here on my LJ, you will find my memories of him. Stories that I've kept alive as best as I can, because it's all that I have left of him. The things he touched and the things he made are not him. But the memories... Those are things, moments that retain a bit of his soul. A bit of who I knew and remember of the man. That I remember of my father.

This year has been so so full of death and grief. So many have died or been killed and not far away, not across the water, but in communities that I travel through, losses to friends I have known for years. Artists gone that I have known of for years. Children taking their lives, because they're not sure that the next four years would be survivable for them, because the gender they were did not comply with the physical form they were born with. Artists also taking their lives, because they weren't sure if they'd have health care the next four years, and better to make one's own exit than be at the mercy of a cruel and merciless government that demands Obedience, and dispenses only pain and a slow death from pre-existing conditions, because apparently the sick and disabled don't deserve care or help or gods forbid, hope. And on top of that, a friend I knew since high school finally lost the battle with his heart, the organ he had been given with a congenital defect that finally got him. He lived longer than any of us thought possible. So much so that I think we all thought he would be here for a little bit longer.

But maybe that would have never been true, no matter when he died. Jason's dying would have been a loss no matter what, and a lot of us would have wished for more time. Not for us. For his children and for his wife, who has been such a pillar of strength and power, that I am in awe and hope that when or if she needs to break or just take a break, we will all be here to catch her.

It's the least I can do. The least *we* can do as her community.

And here we are on Pearl Harbor Day and the World is on fire and we are firmly in the grips of what Heinlein called the Crazy Years. I like to think that my father would have been a voice of reason during all of this. Spoken out especially against the willful denial of scientific fact presented in hard data. This once, his stubborness would have been a gift and a source of power. He loved to argue. I like to think that he probably could have out-argued the Devil. He had that in him.

I don't have his facility for the math or the science. I can only write about the people and the art and the music that I track. The politics that I immerse myself in, because at heart, I am a truly political animal, and in another life, life in DC and write analysis for people who probably never read them. But whatever. That life is not this life and I work with the tools that I've been given.

Oh, it hurts this year, Lady. It really fucking hurts. And next year doesn't look any better, in fact the next decade looks to be pretty fucking shitty. We're going to lose more people, and not to natural causes. Even my father's heart attack was an expected risk. It's not like the family history doesn't run in that direction.

So apparently today is going to be full of fire and tears. I will burn incense and offerings and pray. I will meditate and weep.  I will rail at the cruelty of men and the blind neutrality of the vast Universe.

I need a box of tissue and a new cup of coffee. The crying is giving me that stupid headache that seems to follow such outbursts.

Pop, what are we going to do? I know that we can prevail, but I also know what the human cost of that effort will be. It'll be body count in both literal bodies, and in a lot of minds. It will break a lot of people and we will lose people we love and gods, I just want it to stop. I just. want. it. to. stop.

Goddess, help. Help. Help, help, help.

I don't know what to do.

I want my Daddy.
angela_n_hunt: (Me 2014)
Hugh and Margie Get Married

Today is my father's birthday. I spoke to Margie Mom last night and she reminded me of the day that she and my father got married. It was a truly magical, eclectic affair. The bride wore pink. The groom tried to pretend he wasn't weeping. Yes, it was the 80s. I'll see if I can dig up a picture of me in the blue/hot pink changeable taffeta strapless thing I wore. Heh. It was *awesome*.

Aren't they beautiful together? Gods, they were so young. I am literally the same age that my father is in this photo.

Have another gorgeous photo of the two of them and my personal favorite. I did, after all, take both photos.

Hugh and Margie

I've probably posted it before. I don't care.

I am missing him (and Margie Mom who is in Australia right now) very much this year. Building out the shop space and working with my hands has brought so many things up and I simultaneously ache with missing him and yet feel him very close. The ghost of his smile and his laughter caught at the edge of my sight and hearing.

He’s still with me. Just not close enough to touch.

It's okay and it's not okay simultaneously.

I miss you, Poppa Bear.
angela_n_hunt: (blue eyes)
My father, Hugh M. Hyatt, better known as Poppa Bear, today is his Deathday. It's also Pearl Harbor Day. Cicero was assassinated in 43 BC. Edison demonstrated his gramophone to the editors of Scientific American in 1877. Max Planck, in his house at Grunewald, on the outskirts of Berlin, discovered the law of black body radiation in 1900, laying the groundwork for what would become known as Planck’s Constant. Apollo 17, the final Apollo, launched in 1972. Galileo spacecraft passed the North Pole of the Moon in 1992. The final flight of STS 80, Space Shuttle Columbia, ended with her final landing in 1996.

And in 2002, my father died on this day. By comparison, it doesn’t seem like it’s on the same scale of those events and yet, it overshadows them for me. It also seems so appropriate. So many science firsts on this day. So many giant events.

He picked his day with care. You can’t tell me that he didn’t. For those things to be significant on this day? Things that mattered so deeply to him? No.

He chose well.

I miss my father so much today.

The girls are running around and making noise. He would have given me such gleeful hell about being run ragged by them. He so would have delighted in their quick minds and argumentative natures. Gods, he would have fed and fostered those traits. Goaded their competition. Challenged their views and beliefs in the nature of the Universe. And demonstrated just how damn stubborn our family can get by his own intransigence.

So much to never exist. So much. But in my imagination, it does. In my mind’s ears, I can hear his chuckle as he teases and teaches, see him writing equations on little sheets of yellow paper from Grace’s collection, interspersed with his Acme cartoons. Diagrams on napkins for Jane and music from her room as he sits down at her piano keyboard, strains of Misty and Gershwin and ragtime.

Coffee and eggs and newspaper at Jinky’s in Studio City, too early in the morning, because I finally found a good breakfast place and me growling at him as he pokes at me, all perky and awake and me not before my first coffee. Margie Mom smiling indulgently at us both.

I can imagine it so well.

Sometimes, being a writer is a curse.

I can see it so well. But I can’t touch it. I can’t touch him.

All I can do is tell that enormous full moon out there how much I love him. Ask Her to carry my words to him, wherever he may be. Pray that he can hear me somehow. Because I need to believe that he can hear me this year. I have to believe. I have to.

Oh Daddy.

I miss you.

This year is hard. My brain and body are not as resilient as they once were and I am at war with both. I can’t breathe and my brain is trying to kill me. You’d probably poke at me about it, and piss me off, but honestly, that abrasiveness might very well be what would help. It so often did. You’d piss me off and I’d stomp off to prove you wrong. And there were equally times that you just told me that you loved me and we’d talk physics and space flight and future.

You would have adored Interstellar and Gravity. You would have had bones to pick with the first two films.

He could never let the science in those things go unchallenged. But he’d be so on fire by their existence. So delighted in their depictions. So impressed that they got made.

I so want to sit and talk with you again, Poppa Bear, a pot of tea between us. I so want to hold you one more time. Tell you how much I love you.

So I just tell the Moon.

I love you, Old Bear. I love you, I love you, I love you. Till the stars go out and beyond.

Tell him for me, Lady Moon. Tell him. Please.
angela_n_hunt: (Poppa Bear)
Today is, again, Pearl Harbor Day and the day that my father died, eight years ago. For those of you new to the blog, only this year though did I finally begin to write the memoir about my father, the high energy physicist.

So here is another excerpt from it.

Sleeping in the Closet

From the ages of two to five or so, my parents were separated. I don't know if discussion of divorce ever came up at that time or not. What I do know is that my mother, Evelyn, and I lived in a second floor apartment in Fremont, California where from time to time, my father would come to visit and where from time to time we would go to visit him, in Berkeley, where he studied both Physics and Mathematics. He was a double major and working at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

When we visited, since he could only afford a studio, I slept in the closet.

Before you freak out, it wasn't like that.

This closet ran the length of the studio. There were floor to ceiling shelves inside and more than enough room for a toddler to sleep on a mat and Army sleeping bag. It even had it's own light! I would pack up my little tote bag to go there and when I got there, I would unpack my stuffed animals (Mr. Bear primarily and Mr. Rabbit), make my nest and stare raptly at all the fabulous objects in that closet.

See, this closet was to me what the Wardrobe was to Lucy.

It was filled with camera gear. And books. And his easel. A palette and brushes. Acrylic paint.

For those who know me, you're already nodding in absolutely no surprise.

My first memory of my father isn't Physics or Math, or any Science per se.

It's cameras. And developing trays. Bottles of developer and toner and stop. The smell of emulsion and old paper. Writing this now, gives me a bit of a chill, realizing either how impressionable I was, or how guided I was, that this was my first delight as a child. This closet? This closet was so special and so wonderful to me that I would climb in it the first chance I got when we were there, turn on the light and slide the door closed behind me. It was a virtual Cave of Wonders.

In that closet, I learned to dream.

In that closet, all things were possible.

* * *

A shorter excerpt today. Reading it, I see where I want to expand, but it tells you a lot, I think.

Randomly, my iPod played Loud and Clear by All Rise on the way in to work, the song we danced to at my wedding.

He always finds a way to let me know he's still around.

This year is hard. This year, I miss my father like breath.
angela_n_hunt: (Default)
In honor of the annniversary of the First Lunar Landing and my father's birthday this past Saturday, as promised, I give to you, the beginning of, which is really just the introduction:

The Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter - A Memoir

I am the Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter.

Doesn't matter if I'm actually Beautiful, but the tradition and cliche is that when Mad Scientists have daughters, they are, by definition, Beautiful.  Go back and watch all the Mad Science movies from the 50s.  I'll wait.
See?  Beautiful.

All of them.

So we'll ignore for the time being that I could stand to lose 40 odd pounds, my hair needs help, my nails are a nightmare, and I don't think I've worn make up in over six months.  

In the shadow of a Mad Scientist, sometimes it's okay for the cliche to stand.  And sometimes it's not.  It's rather the definition of conflicted.
In the so-called Real World, my father, Hugh Marvin Hyatt, was a high energy physicist, specializing in Electrostatic and Electro-overstress Events, up to and including Electromagnetic Pulse Events, better known as EMPs, the kind generated by high altitude detonations of nuclear warheads.

I told you he was a Mad Scientist.  

He played with lightning.  For fun.  He blew things up and got paid to do so.

And on top of all of that, he was just my Dad.

It rather warps your sense of perspective as a child.  
December 7th, 2002, around 10 in the evening, my father died. 

It's actually harder to write those words, even now, all these years later, then I can adequately describe.
Here's the thing about those Mad/Big Science films.  They never focus on the children of those great men.  After all, it is about all the Mad Science, usually with a healthy heaping helping of Apocalypse.  They don't talk about them much, unless that child's a boy, and usually he grows up to be a Great Man of his own.

But those daughters?

Well, she usually marries the Dashing Journalist/Hero who shows up at some point and is never seen nor heard from again.

I'm about to change all that.

Yes, this is about my father.  But it's also about finding your way when the pole star that always drew you home is no more.

This is my story.
Imagine, if you will, an electronics fabrication bench.  A tall stool.  On it, a ten-year-old girl in cut off jean shorts, a blue and white striped tank top, flip flops hanging off her very dirty and very tan feet, medium length mousy brown hair falling in her face.  In front of her, piles and piles of resistors. 

There I am.  Everyone wave!

Ostensibly, the resistors are being sorted according to their correct electrical engineering color codes on their barrels.  And they are.  But that's not the only thing that's happening to them. 

Right now, they're an army.

I tell you this story first for a reason.  Given the opportunity, any opportunity, any object was merely a vehicle for Story or for Art.  It still is, as far as my brain is concerned.  In the incubator of my father's many shops over the years, while I absorbed the many lessons he tried to teach me, I also absorbed observations and experiences that he never intended.  Whether he intended it or not, I was my father's greatest experiment, a fact that I continue to come to grips with even today.

And deep down, under everything?

That resistor army is still waging the battles I set for it.  Chess before I even knew how to play chess.  Because back then, I often felt like a pawn.  Luckily, pawns become queens when played to win.

The impetus for this memoir was not mine.  It came from outside, a prompting from various friends when I would tell stories about my father.  I resisted it for years.  When I first capitulated to the idea, it was originally meant to be a film and fictional.  A story about a father and daughter set alternately in a black and white world and a color one, learning to see the other one's World.

But the concept never gained traction.

I know why.

Fiction, a story version, wasn't what I wanted to say.  The resistor army wasn't enough for this one.

And then my father died.

I resisted still, the promptings, the questions.  The insistence of some that this story, more than any in my queue, needed telling.

And then my eldest daughter turned five.  One day, she asked me about rainbows.  And I began telling her about the property of light, and refraction, and the spectrum of visible light, reciting almost word for word, the lecture my father had given me when I had asked a similar question.  Over the years, due to the number of times I had heard it (and it had not varied in word or delivery), I had named it, Lecture Number Two - The Property of Light.

I am my father's daughter.

My daughters will never know their grandfather.

In the face of that, I could no longer resist, no longer hide from my past, or make my shadow battles in story form with the current incarnations of resistors, whatever they might be.  I had to tell the truth, shame the Devil, and put it all in one place.

For my girls.  Both of them granddaughters of a Mad Scientist.

So here we go.  Carrying the cliche forward, everyone says it's not easy to start.  But here's where the cliche breaks down.  The minute I gave in, the minute I started to put fingers to keyboard, the words have flowed.  Years of stories pent up inside me, pouring on to the page.  Things and stories I'd never told anyone and more importantly, truths I'd never told even myself.

I've judged.  I've second guessed.  I've somehow managed to not delete the manuscript as I've worked. 
Because every time I start to think about stopping, I hear myself telling Jane about rainbows and prisms and refraction, and in my mind, I hear the echo of my father's voice over my own.
* * *

I miss you, Daddy.
angela_n_hunt: (Default)

Me on my wedding day, originally uploaded by quennessa.

Since a lot of people have recently asked to see pictures of me in my wedding dress (from back in the day), here's one! It's fairly low res at large size, my apologies, but here it is.

My father took all the photos at the wedding. It was his wedding gift to us (among too many to count) and that smile there? I'm smiling at him.

He would be gone not even two months after taking this photo.

I'm going to finish the wedding scrapbook. I've been working on it for the last month or so.

The gown is Chinese silk and taffeta. The train was about ten feet long with a knife pleated hem and the entire dress, beading, veil and sewing took me over a year to complete.

I can still remember what it felt like, holding his arm, the wool of his tuxedo over his arm though my white gloves, the incredible heavy weight of the dress, the way I felt. My heart can hardly still contain how it felt.

When my father walked me down the aisle and we walked over the cobblestones of the courtyard, when the taffeta rustled on the stones, he said, "It sounds like water falling."

It's a memory I hold close to my heart and will forever.

angela_n_hunt: (Default)
This is the American National Standard from the ESD Association for Electrostatic Discharge Sensitivity Testing - Charged Device Model (CDM) Component Level, approved as of 2001:

My father was part of the Working Group that approved this standard and he is acknowledged as such on the fourth page of this standard.

It covers what happens and how to test and harden components from having an ESD event or, translation: keeping your iPod from frying from static electricity when you accidentally rub it against your wool sweater.

Yeah, Pop. I paid attention to the lectures.

This Working Group was one of the last ones my father participated in before his death. It is, in many ways, one of the last pieces of his life's work, in conjunction with these other people.

In his life, he created 22 patents.

22 separate patents.

It's all "small" technology. But it's in every electronic device on the planet. If not his work, other's that use his research and patents as their foundation.

I remember him telling me a story about hearing his name called out of a presentation hall at an IEEE convention one year. He stepped inside, thinking someone was looking for him, only to discover that it was the end of a presentation and the presenter was giving his references for his paper. Out of ten citations, seven of them were citations from seven different papers my father had written.

He said that was when he realized just how much he had done in the field.

It was when I realized that he was one of the founding minds of ESD research and development and it bent my brain.

He was just my Dad.

I'm writing these things down every year, and acknowleding this day for a lot of reasons. One, I can barely write this without crying and once a year, I steel myself and I make myself remember. Because when you go to search engines and put in my father's name, not a lot comes up. His work in many ways exists outside of the Web and is not well documented. He's not in Wikipedia. But he should be. Like the current he played with his whole life, he's everywhere in the world, but invisible. This is my way of making him visible, if briefly, like lightning. A shock to the retinas, but remembered.

Because that was what he was like. Lightning. Incredible from a distance. Close up, if you weren't grounded, he could leave you charred to a crisp. If you held your ground? Well, ask a survivor what it's like to be struck by lightning or someone who's felt what it's like to feel 100kV run through their body harmlessly.

It's exhilirating. But a bit hard on the nerves.

And yet, he could be the world's biggest softie. Generous beyond measure when he was flush. Gregarious to a fault and could talk your ear off into the wee hours of the morning and then be right back up with the dawn, insisting that it was time for coffee and eggs and the paper, and get up, get up, get up!

I am the woman I am today largely because of him. We were often in opposition as I grew into adulthood.

I joke that I am the Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter.

I miss him horribly.

My daughters will never know him.

So I write. I record. I remember. For them.
angela_n_hunt: (Default)

Hugh Hyatt & Hans Melberg, originally uploaded by quennessa.

Today would have been my father's 65th birthday. Official retirement age. Not that he would have. My father was not the type to retire. Retirement would have been just working on his *own* projects, his own experiments and devices, not anyone else's. Maybe he would have finally gotten around to working on the big projects he kept putting off for bread and butter money. The truly big science projects that he would occasionally talk about and jot on restaurant napkins to explain to me and the Ant.

I wish I'd kept those napkins and paper placemats. No napkin or placemat was safe from him. He'd get to talking and the next thing you knew, the pen was out and equations and diagrams were spooling out on flimsy paper, sometimes bleeding from the ink, unable to contain the strength of his thought.

I kept some of them for many years, but over time, they degraded and would fall apart. I didn't have a scanner back then. It was before the technology was available. It's not a great regret of mine, but it is a regret.

I do have all the cards and the few brief notes he wrote to me and to my grandparents over the years. They comfort me, though I can't look at them very often. It's like the photographs I have of him.

But today I'm going to try and look at the photographs again. I want to remember. I want to celebrate how much I loved him, even how much he aggravated me and how much he challenged me to be the woman I am now. I am who I am today because of how often I was pounded against the anvil of his intellect.

He wasn't an easy man. But as I grow older, raise my own girls, I grow to appreciate more and more what a gift that challenge was. The fact that he wasn't easy. That he didn't make it easy for me. He never let me skate.

He always forced me to think. Above all, think.

This picture was taken in April of probably 1976. This is the first shop that was in a tooshed in our backyard of the house in Walnut Creek. The man next to him was his then best friend and business partner, Hans Melberg. The picture came to me in a huge padded envelope from my Aunt Rosie, along with all the other pictures that apparently my father had sent back to my grandparents over the year.

I know why he sent it to them. It was his first official shop, the second generation of Hyatt Tool Company, the first of which was my grandfather's machine shop, the first generation Hyatt Tool Company.

When I founded Hunt Press, I actually struggled for many days over whether or not to name it Hyatt Book Company. I am a third generation entrepeneur. This life is in my blood, a gift from my father and my grandfather.

I love this picture.

It hangs on the wall of my house, even though I don't know who of his friends took it. The signature isn't hugely clear, though the date, 4/22, is. Plus or minus the beard, it's how he looks in my memory and dreams now. Forever young. He aged wonderfully over the years, but that's not how I remember him. I remember him through the eyes of my younger self. When he was a giant and the center of my universe.

Happy birthday, Poppa Bear. I baked you a cake. I'm afraid you're granddaughter's eaten most of its frosting though.

Wherever you are, I hope the test bench has all the 220 you can eat and all the tools you can use. After all, the Universe itself has to be the greatest lab ever built.

I love you.

angela_n_hunt: (Default)
Today is the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 launch for the Moon. Tomorrow is my father's birthday, though he's no longer with me to celebrate. For me, these two things are always connected. They were for him too.

My father was 26 years old when Apollo 11 went for the Moon. The next year, a few months after July, he would hold his second child in his arms. Me. Old enough to be a father. Old enough to be finishing his degrees in Math and Physics. Old enough to be vibrantly alive and excited at the achievement NASA accomplished. He never said, but I always suspected that to him, this was the ultimate birthday present. He'd been making model rockets since the age of 11. Rockets were what made him pursue Physics, photography and optics as his passion. Rockets, Astronomy and electricity made his life what it was.


Without the space program, my father wouldn't have been the man he was. He wouldn't have made the contributions that he did where he became not only my father, but in many ways, the Father of ESD/EOS Measurement & Maintenance. His paper on Human ESD Events is still the ground work that all other engineers and physicists use to this day. His patents the ones that all other companies use for every computer and television on the planet for ESD suppression and hardening.

So I don't want anyone to tell me that the space program doesn't matter.

You have no idea how much it matters.

Out there, right now, somewhere, is an 11 year old. Girl, boy, doesn't matter. That child is hungry for the same things that my father was.

We cannot fail that child. That child, with the right inspiration, can change the world. After all, I saw how my father did.

Are you listening, President Obama? Are you listening, Burt Rutan?

I'm counting on you.

Don't let me down.
angela_n_hunt: (Default)
This gave me a sad thrill this morning.

Boing Boing links to this:

A video story about a visit to Lightning Labs, where they test air safety by zapping model airplanes with about 2mV of electricity (2 million volts of caged lightning).

What does this have to do with my father?

This was the exact work he pioneered. From basic ESD (static) events, to the Mother of them All, high altitude EMP events triggered by high atmospheric detonation of nuclear warheads. Work that could be safely modeled in a lab, to prevent catastrophic failure of machines and electronics when hit by any of these events.

And looking at their set up, all I could think was, my gods, look how far it's come, Poppa Bear.

From the suitcase sized generators my father designed and sold, to the tower rig they now have at Lightning Labs, which is a baby version of what's at Empress, able to generate that much lightning in seconds; when he was told at the beginning of his work that it could never be done...

Lightning in a cage, released on command.

My father, the Mad Scientist. His dream realized in every way. Lightning at the service of humanity.

Wow, Pop. Look at that.

It's days like this that make me miss him horribly. He was a lifetime member of IEEE Spectrum and highly respected by that community. This kind of work would have tickled him pink. I wish he were here to share it with me.
angela_n_hunt: (Default)
I dreamed my father right before waking this morning.

I can never decide how I feel about these dreams. He was helping me ship boxes of books from my press to a show in Dubai. The custom forms were killing me. And as usual, in the dream, it made perfect sense that he was there, filling out forms in his strong handwriting, and I was wrestling with boxes and thanking him for the help, while MM got other things together for the shipping.

A really unremarkable dream, all around.

Until the alarm went off, and as usual...I had to remember that he's not around to help me pack books for anywhere.

I feel comforted and grieved at the same time. The number of times that we worked together on things, me at his shop, helping him pack probes for a customer or a show... Copying his papers for a presentation at an IEEE symposium... Hell, soldering circuit boards or running the drill press... I spent every summer between the ages of 10 and 17, working in his shop. It was how I earned money to go to the conventions.

It was like old times. Except he was helping me in *my* "shop" this time. In life, it's not something that ever happened.

Today, is hard. I want my father back.
angela_n_hunt: (Default)

Hugh M. Hyatt, originally uploaded by quennessa.

This is my father.

Six years ago, yesterday, he died.

I don't know when this was taken. Early 70s I'm thinking, juding from the beard and the shirt. Dig that plaid! Doesn't really matter. When I remember him, especially in my dreams, this is the age that he is. Not the age when he died.


Some years I cry on the 7th. Yesterday, I didn't, but it was a hard day still. Everything was more difficult, even though I try to keep myself distracted. It's like I was all knees, elbows and thumbs. Everything just a little off and left of center.

This picture was taken in one of his early shop labs. Hence the fire extinguisher on the wall and the old school perk coffee pot. Yes, a fire extinguisher was necessary. Physics does mean physical science, does mean the occasional caged lightning and or explosion and or fire. The lightning happened more than once and usually on purpose. He managed to never set the lab on fire. That I knew of.

I miss him. But then you all knew that.

This doesn't get any easier.

Camera Eye

Nov. 25th, 2008 08:36 am
angela_n_hunt: (Default)
Had a really lovely day yesterday. Only hiccup was losing a couple of pages on the novel due to some weird problem between components, but easily recoverable. It was annoying, because it finished up Ch. V. Oh well.

* * *

Crafting last night consisted of trying to put photos and momentos into various scrapbooks. I was doing fine until I found the scrapbook containing the pictures of my father that I needed to put in some kind of order.

There's a picture of the two of us in the stack. It's from several years ago, during the Christos Umbrella Exhibit that was on the Grapevine. I don't remember the year. My father is crouching, shooting the umbrellas through his Pentax, and I'm standing slightly behind him, my hands in my pocket, looking at MM, who was taking the picture. I'm not smiling. But I'm not unhappy. In the picture, my father and I are completely connected somehow. I can't explain it.

I looked at the picture and saw all of the genesis of my own life as a photographer. He was a photographer before he became a physicist. It's his camera eye that I inherited.

And I couldn't work on the scrapbook. I had to put it away.

It will have been six years this year since my father died, come December. And it's still too close and too painful. Some day I hope to be able to show those photos to my children. The number of them that show him with a camera in his hands.

Apparently, it just won't be now.
angela_n_hunt: (Default)
Yeah, so much for the English Cemetary.

I went the opposite direction.

I'm glad that I did. The day ended up being an awesome shooting day. The overcast ended up being what I refer to as God's Own Diffuser. Perfect, even light.

After that, I ended up at the cafe for a caffe americano to thaw out.

Speaking of caffe, the shit that they serve in the States is a pale joke to what real caffeine can be. I'm going to miss it when I get home.

I will say that I'm going to miss the ability to walk wherever I want to go when I get back to LA. The old Missing Persons song is still too apt. No one walks in LA, because frankly, no one can. The sprawl is just too damn spread out. And pub trans is a joke. It's times like this when I curse that LA has no real rail, the way that Tokyo and London do, or local things to walk to, the way it is here in Florence, the way it is in San Francisco.

Tonight, I'm in search of a plate of ravioli.

* * *

Today is also the anniversary of the day my father died. I lit an electric candle for him at the local church. It left a little to be desired, but it was in front of a plaque of St. Francis.

It's been five years. I still miss him more than I can say. But today, it's just melancholy and wistfulness. The painful grief stage has passed, at least today. I know he's proud of me. I know he looks out for me and for my Mouse.

But not being able to email him all about what I'm seeing here... Well, until the Summerlands get a T3 connection, I'm left with talking to the sky.

I love you, Poppa Bear. Take care of my little cat for me.


Dec. 6th, 2006 06:53 am
angela_n_hunt: (Default)

Originally uploaded by quennessa.
Turn your back on the world. Sometimes that's what it deserves.

* * *

FYI, NyQuil gives really fucking weird dreams when you're sick. Or maybe that's just me. But damn. It's all material for something, I'm sure, but at the same time, oof.

NyQuil Dreams. Gah! Feel like I'm hungover and beaten.

But I feel a LOT better this morning. Thank you, NyQuil people!

* * *

I'm in a super weird melancholy headspace this morning.

Tomorrow is December 7th. Pearl Harbor Day.

And also the day that my father died, four years ago.

They say that time heals all wounds, dulls and mellows the pain. What they don't tell you is how the feeling of missing someone you love only grows.

It has not been as hard this year as it was right after he died or the first year that he died. But there have been profoundly sad moments this year. This year, my Mouse has been much more aware of Yule and the season in general.

It was always a difficult time of year for my father. I mentioned it even in the eulogy that I read at his service, a eulogy that I only really finished on the airplane as we flew to WA state for that service. The only real case of writers block I've ever experienced. I had so much to say.

And I still do.

I know he watches over my daughter. Over me. Over my step-mother, and even my mother.

But it doesn't change how much I miss him or his big bear hugs or the twinkle in his eye when he would tell a particularly bad joke. I even miss his stubbornness and the arguments that we used to have. Isn't that the most amazing part of all? I actually miss the arguments.

Because now, looking back, I realize that they were all, all of it, his only way of telling me that he loved me. He had a hard time saying the actual words, or so it seemed sometimes.

I miss you, Poppa Bear. I hope you are having a helluva good time wherever you are on the Wheel today. I love you.
angela_n_hunt: (Default)
In the energy and excitement of last week, today has snuck up on me.

Aside from the fact that it's Monday, today is also my Poppa Bear's birthday. He would have been 62 today.

It doesn't hurt like it used to. But it still aches. I miss him. I wish he was here. I wish my Mouse could know my Poppa Bear in more than spirit. I wish I could share all that has happened lately with him on a phone, rather than talking to spirit. I know he hears me. I hear him too. But it's just not the same.

As time wears on, the things you miss change and intensify. I miss his hugs, the ones where he would squeeze me around the shoulders and chuckle as he did it. I miss all of it, and all of him, but today, on the date of his birth, I miss the hugs.

I love you, Poppa Bear. Happy birthday!

* * *

Aside from today being what it is, the weekend was lovely. The husband got to come home and be home for the weekend, not work, which was awesome.

I actually got half my desk cleaned off this weekend and I started a new painting, A Wish For Wings. I'm debating putting up progress photos of it.

They start work on the new lattice wall this week, so we won't be staring straight into the neighbors and them into us in the backyard, which I think will be nice.


All things considered, I feel pretty good.

I don't know if I'd call this time healing all wounds. I guess that I'd say time has given me a better handle on things. And well, that? I'll take that along with whatever else I can get.

Peace, when it finally comes, is too precious to waste.


Jan. 13th, 2006 06:47 am
angela_n_hunt: (Default)
Went over to my girlfriend's house, the amazing Miss L, to scrapbook last night, leaving the darling Mouse with the Daddy. Had a lovely time and three years after the fact, I'm finally finishing putting my wedding scrapbook/album together.

Why three years?

Simple, really.

My father took all of the wedding photos and is in a few of them on the occasion where my wonderful MM took photos of the two of us together.

I remember when MM sent them to me, having gotten them all developed and I put them aside for a while. Then my father died. And when I tried to look at the photographs again... It was simply too painful. I stopped putting the album together.

Last night, I put photos away. Got through the pictures of the ceremony.

No tears anymore.

But there are a little series of photographs that MM took of me putting my father's buttonierre on, giving him a kiss, and fussing with the white rose, just so. I look so happy and he looks so proud and lovable and wonderful.

It was such a magical, beautiful day. I am so grateful that he lived long enough to give me away. And last night, I was grateful that I could look at those photos with fondness and love, no longer be destroyed by grief and regret.

All those beautiful photos of my wedding were my father's last gift to me. I am lucky to have them.

Miss you, Poppa Bear.


angela_n_hunt: (Default)

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