Thursday, June 19, 2008

Thoughts on my wife

Stephanie has her final radiation treatment today and I want to dedicate a post to her.
--Feel free to skip if you're not in the mood for mushy. It's that kind of post.--

I was madly in love with this girl already when I married her. I must have been...we got married 8 months earlier than planned after all. And then came the cancer and all of the trials of the last 8 months. Through it all she has been amazing. She has bulled straight ahead through cancer like it was just something on her to-do list. Her attitude has been positive, and she has managed to simultaneously grapple with a life-threatening illness, incorporate a new husband into her world, acclimate her kids to a new stepdad (and vice versa), learn and adjust to a new job with expanded responsibilities in a new therapeutic realm, buy and move into a new house, and deal with the loss of a 14 year companion doggy. I thought she was a tough cookie when I fell in love with her. I had no idea.

That's not all there is though, obviously. She's just a wonderful person, loved by (almost) everyone in her life, smart, happy and fun to hang out with, kind, loving, caring, a great mom and a wonderful partner (not to mention damn sexy). I had suspected back when we got engaged that this was the case, but I didn't have the perspective on it then that I do now. The surreal feeling of "Wow, this girl married *me*?!?!" has only grown with time, and I feel lucky every day to be included in her life.

I'm glad we got married when we did. The last 8 months might not have resembled the First Eight Months Of Marriage I envisioned in my head growing up, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. We have grown stronger through this, individually and as a couple and as a family. The post-cancer years will only be sweeter for having been through all of this up front.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

KS 107.5 Summer Jam

The big Summer Jam was last night...Lil Wayne, Ice Cube, Wyclef Jean, Danity Kane, Day 26, Ray J, 2 Pistols, Colby O'Donis, Flo Rida, David Banner...basically this was the hip-hop event of the year for Denver. Stephanie gets free 'events' from the Diana Price-Fisher foundation due to the cancer thing, so she requested 2 tickets. There's something intensely odd about being among the older demographic in the place, in the minority racial demographic, and in the handicapped seating section for the gang-banger event of the year. But it was an entertaining evening that was certainly memorable.

First the music...I've never been to this kind of show before. I'm used to rock concerts, with instruments and such. Obviously this is not the case with rap, but what a difference it makes. Instead of getting up on stage and creating music, the performers (specifically Flo Rida, Ray J, and David Banner) get out on stage and show off their CDs. The DJ plays the hit track, and the rapper sings along with himself, throwing in the odd Unnh or unhhuhh. That's weird to me. There's the occasional freestyle moment, but that's not the same as musicians jamming, at least to my admittedly raised-on-rock ears. To me it felt like the show was more about the artists showing off (look at what I recorded!) than musicians sharing their music with an audience. It's a totally different vibe. Later in the evening Wyclef and Ice Cube performed in the "old skool" way, actually rapping the lyrics to their music over a music-only backing track. So maybe it's just a generational shift, and the newcomers to the music scene are just more afraid to forget the lyrics. Wyclef even got out a couple different guitars for various songs!

So then there were the was an amazing evening for people watching. Memorable folks:
The mid-40's ish white woman who sat down next to me for 10 seconds while she dumped what looked like an 8 oz. bottle of vodka into her coke before running away.
The 13-15 year old gangsta wanna-be girls who intruded on our space for almost the whole show, until I snapped at a girl who decided that she could jump up on Steph's seat to watch a fight.
The Mexican kid in front of many memories of him. His girlfriend started the evening shoving her tongue down his throat, but by the time we left she wouldn't touch him. He was flashing the "Westside!!!!!" sign constantly (including persistently to show support for Wyclef...who is from way of New York). He bonded over something gang-related with a couple big-ass dudes next to us and spun a purple bandana over his head off and on (the Crips are in Aurora. Yep.). His girlfriend was not amused.
The attitude of most people was quite respectful, notable only because most rock concerts I've been to have inevitably involved some asshole being an asshole. Looking back Steph thinks this might have been because so many people recognized the potential for a violent outbreak and didn't want to piss anybody off. But the crowd was cool, until some guys behind us on the lawn started messing w/ the event staff. We saw a trashcan lid thrown at one point but we couldn't see the whole drama. By the middle of Ice Cube's set the crowd was starting to get louder and more tense and it felt like something could break out at any minute. Steph was exhausted anyway from the radiation, so we headed out. (Neither of us were there to see Lil Wayne luckily.)

All in all it was an enjoyable afternoon/evening. It was a fun experience, if a little out of our element. Good time though. I don't know that I could do a Jay-Z concert though, as much as I'd like to.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

History is made

I haven't mentioned politics on here in awhile. Tonight Obama has clinched the nomination, by all counts that matter. His speech from Minnesota this evening was everything that it needed to be and the man has proven once again how eloquent and inspirational he can be. Put up against McCain (or Clinton for that matter), there is no question who is the more electrifying presence. It's 28 minutes, but watch if you can spare the time:

There are moments where you just *know* that you're watching history happen. The fall of the Berlin Wall, the chaos of the 9/11 coverage...there are moments that have that sense that kids will be learning about them for years, and political science classes will be dissecting them for a generation. Tonight was one of those. K1 and K2 sat down with Steph and I for a good 10-15 minutes to watch Obama speak, and I think K1 at least will remember this for a long time. It's a magical feeling, knowing that a chapter in history is beginning before your eyes.

I don't know what will happen with Clinton. She practically submitted her resume for VP consideration this evening, while refusing to concede. We'll see where that goes...a joint ticket would be a dream for party activists, but whether that would appeal to people outside of the Democratic Party is a different question. Obama may have to look elsewhere for a veep, and after her comments tonight Hillary would be hard pressed to NOT bust her ass on the campaign trail supporting him. Her actions will have an impact on what her followers choose to do. I hope that if she's not the VP candidate she'll do the right thing with respect to Obama.

So we'll see what happens in the general election. I think I'll request the Monday and Tuesday of election week off so I can do my part on those days at least. This is going to be an exciting election, and I have to get involved where I can!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Tattoo forthcoming

Way back when I started this blog, I mentioned that the image over there to the right was going to be my next tattoo. This is still true, but the meaning has evolved a bit.

The original reasons for the tattoo still hold true. Humans are amazing creatures. There's more now though. When I sketched the artwork during staff meetings, I always started with one person in the middle of the image, bearing the brunt of the weight. At one point that was the person leading the effort to lift the burden. Now though I think it's the opposite...the person in the middle is far too close to being overwhelmed with the burden placed on their shoulders. That person has realized that they can't achieve their goal alone...they need the support of the people on the sides, or they will inevitably be crushed by the task they have undertaken.

The sun now seems to represent cancer. The person in the middle...well, depending on your point of view it could be Stephanie or anyone fighting such an illness. It's all about perspective. Any major stress in a person's life is made easier to bear and overcome by the presence of outside help and understanding. For me, on my body, if that guy in the middle is me, the people helping are Stephanie, K1, K2, and my family and friends. I haven't been going through chemo myself, but I've certainly had my own stresses with my new wife doing so. It would have been crushing, had I not had the support of amazing people in my life. This definitely includes my new family, who have supported me through this with acceptance and love. I can't think of a better thing to commemorate in a tattoo.

Heard louder than a gun
The sound they made was love love love love love love love love