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May-June, 2006

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June 27, 2006

Some people have a great passion for their favorite baseball team. Now they can take that passion to the grave. Eternal Image, a designer of funeral products, has reached a licensing deal with Major League Baseball to reproduce all 30 team's names and logos on a customized line of urns and caskets. Eternal Image Chief Executive Clint Mytych says the logoed caskets will appeal to, quote, "a market that is just waiting for a way to make team loyalty a final statement of a great passion in their lives.'' The MLB casket and urn line will be available next year and run between 600 to three-thousand dollars. An MLB offiicial says the agreement allows them to control and be sure tastefullness is exercised in the product's design.

I'm a huge Red Sox fan, but I don't think I'd go this way. But, to each his own!

Story here -

June 26, 2006

My Mother, Jeanne GilbertApparently the obituary our family wrote for my mother caught the attention of the staff at the Kansas City Star. They did a followup article/tribute and spoke with my brother Doug and my Dad. (It was online for a time, but is no longer available).

June 20, 2006

It has obviously been a while since I posted here. There's a good reason for that. My mother, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer just three months ago, passed away on June 15.

When I traveled to Kansas City to see my folks for Mother's Day weekend my mom was alreaady spending most of her time in bed with some hospice care and friends and family to attend to her. However, she was lucid and we had good talks and a very special time together on Mother's Day morning. I knew then that if it was the last time to see her alive it would be fine. We shared our love and there were no unresolved issues.

Back home in Albuquerque the call came from my sister a week and a half ago that Mom's condition had worsened considerably and she was getting closer to death. It was time to come out if possible. So I made the decision to drive with my wife and two children. It's a long drive, even when spread over two days. Oh, but it was so worth it! Even though Mom was nearly comatose she responded to us with hand squeezes. We spent a few days with her. My brother came in from Virginia. My sister lives in Kansas City, in fact, just down the street from Mom and Dad. Her husband and children, Dad, my brother, my wife and two children and I all shared in some precious moments in that room with Mom. Also some other good friends came to say goodbye. It was sad and joyful at the same time.

If you ever have the opportunity to be with a loved one when death is imminent make sure that you do it. It is very important for all involved. We all need to know how powerful love is and that letting go, while hard, is essential and part of the process of dying. I miss my Mom and I know I always will. But I also know she lived a beautiful life. She helped lots of people and her ripples of kindness are spreading still. One of those final acts may well have been holding on long enough to make it through her 55th wedding anniversary (June 14). She died the next day, so she gave Dad a full 55 years of marriage!

Her obituary (which all of the family helped to write) was in the Kansas City Star on Friday, June 16.

May 30, 2006

I hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. And I hope you took some time to remember the reason for the holiday - to remember and honor our heroes.

A couple of days ago I sent out the latest issue of the Your Life is Your Story newsletter. I thank those who have sent me comments. And I appreciate the support for me and my family during this time as my mom is ill with cancer and transitioning from this life. She has taught me much about living, and now she's teaching me about dying with dignity and grace.

If you want to see the latest issue go here.

May 22, 2006

History can teach us much, if we are willing to honestly explore and research it. I knew that during World War Two there were internment camps for American-Japanese. The United States, in fear after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, rounded up these citizens and put them in camps. I didn't, however, know that one of these camps was in Santa Fe, New Mexico, just 50 some miles north of where I live in Albuqueruqe.

I learned about the camp, Casa Solana, from an article in the Albuquerque Journal. An opera was created about it featuring children from Carlos Gilbert Elementary school. A grant from the History Channel for programs that engage children in their local history helped fund it. There was also collaboration from the Office of the State Historian and the Santa Fe Opera.

Kathy Byrnes, a Carlos Gilbert gifted program teacher who worked on the project said, "I was touched by the sense of history, of being able to capture that history and save it for future generations."

May 19, 2006

Today my eldest child graduates from High School. It seems like just yesterday that my daughter, Kristen, was about four years old and looking up at me with her big, brown eyes in that way that instantly melted my heart.

Parenting is a skill that you learn "on the job". My wife and I have discovered this and through the ups and downs we've grown right along with our children. What a gift! I'm so proud of our daughter and I realize what a special time this is in her life. It also has me reminiscing about my own high school experience and graduation. Cherish these times! Preserve them, too. I am currently doing that for Kristen with a tribute book and I'm using the great iMemoryBook process.

May 12, 2006

Our mothers give us so much. The maternal instinct is strong and nurturing is something we need to be healthy and to live. Studies have shown that babies deprived of the warm touch of loving arms suffer. Ongoing nurturing is the lifetime job of mothers.

This weekend I travel to Kansas City to see my parents, and in particular, my mom. There may not be much time to be with her, both this weekend and in this life. But she is always with me and her nurturing has been truly present and ongoing in my life. I will always be grateful for that.

May 10, 2006

He loved his city. He was a regular guy who knew Albuquerque well. In an age when most politicians and people of power are suspect, if not corrupt, he was a breath of clean desert air.

Harry Kinney, twice mayor of Albuquerque who also drove a cab for five years after he left office (and previously was an appliance store owner and Sandia Laboratory engineer) passed away Tuesday at the age of 1981.

He was an interesting guy, no doubt about it. Read this article from the Albuquerque Tribune - here.

May 7, 2006

Going on a cruise is a popular vacation for a lot of people. I've never done one (yet), but I would love to. Visiting exotic ports of call, traveling the high seas, enjoying fantastic food, dancing and music all sounds fun.

The popularity of theme cruises has grown greatly in the past few years. I was suprised to discover that one of these themes is scrapbooking. That's right, people spending countless hours onboard their cruise ship creating elaborate scrapbook albums full of memories and personal history. Many of the cruise lines offer workshops.

An interesting article about this popular activity appeared in the May 5th issue of the NY Times. | here |

May 3, 2006

There has been a great buzz and much controversy over the immigration issue in the United States. The large number of people living in the United States without proper documentation or legal entry is a concern for a number of reasons (national security and economic impact among them). Yet, we must give pause and look at this very large issue with some eyes of compassion. America is a country with more opportunity than many others. It is a land that has been built on the backs of hard working folks who've come from elsewhere. Despite the fierce challenges many people want to come to America.

On Monday, May 1, nearly a million people across the country attended "Day Without Immigrant" rallies. There was a pretty big one here in Albuquerque. Congress is debating the issue and working on new legislation to deal with the large number of undocumented workers and illegal aliens. How we proceed with this will be an indication of our ability to plan wisely and yet show care and concern. I think anyone interested in their family and personal history should try to view today's immigrant issue with an eye towards the history of America over the past couple of hundred years.

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