Friday, October 15, 2004

At Peace

Morning weigh-in (Thursday): 180#, 8% BF

Wow! hope those numbers are, ummm, anomalous...

My grandmother's funeral was yesterday in Brooklyn: Mass at St Patrick's in Bay Ridge, burial in Holy Cross Cemetery. Sad, but I think I'm OK with it.

Been out from work since Monday (a 3 hour fly-by, coming in at noon after renting a car, then leaving early), wakes Monday night and Tuesday afternoon/night, playing catch-up here as well as everywhere else in my life.

Saw a few people I haven't seen in a long time, one major one being Maureen C: her mother was, in some indirect way, my grandmother's cousin, and they also lived in Englishtown; her family and ours were friends especially when we first moved there. I think she and her older brother were my babysitters when I was little. I didn't recognize her but she introduced herself at the gravesite, and we talked for a while before she went with another cousin to visit her own grandmother's grave, which she had never seen. Apparently the area near Holy Cross was where my grandmother's family had settled: multiple generations of her mother's relations, all within a four-block section of Flatbush, lots of aunts & uncles, in-laws, cousins and 2nd cousins...

My grandmother was born (in a house) on Veronica Street, grew up on Cortelyou Rd, married and moved a few blocks away to Snyder Avenue, moved back to the Cortelyou Rd house after her mother's death, living there with her sister and brother (and her husband) before they all moved together to Bay Ridge when the Flatbush neighborhood deteriorated. We drove past a lot of the "old neighborhood" on the way to the cemetery.

UPDATE: wrote most of the above Thursday, finished it today. The current sitrep is that my car is still out getting fixed, my house is a mess, and I feel very run down. TGIF.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Eileen Marie Cecilia (Haran) Barth, 1915-2004

Morning weigh-in: 177#, 13.5% BF

On Thursday, a co-worker said she noticed smoke from my car's exhaust as I was coming up Jugtown Mountain, and on Friday on the way home the temperature gauge pinned itself on hot. When I parked the car I could also smell an ipecac-like smell, probably burning antifreeze. It's very likely that I have a blown headgasket, and possible that the actual head may have been warped by the overheating. Gasket = expensive, head = need new car. OK, so it's going in Monday.

Friday night, riding the towpath, ran into Doug & Lori, rode with them back to Bethlehem and made arrangements to eat at Which Brew, but when I got home, I saw they'd called and left a message: we were going to Porters, to meet Eric & Kris for dinner. Brian eventually joined us, and Leather & Lace played that night (and dinner was delicious), so it was a very enjoyable evening.

Saturday morning at 7:30 -- never a good sign -- I get a call from my mom: my maternal grandmother (my last surviving grandparent) had passed away overnight. My parents got the call at 4:00 AM from her caretaker that something was wrong (my grandmother had live-in assistance, like a nursing home only at her apartment), and I guess she passed not long after. Grandma had her health problems (the worst was a case of Parkinson's, but she'd been very sick with abdominal-surgery-serious situation a number of years ago), but wasn't really sick per se, she just seemed to gradually be getting frailer as she got older, and she actually seemed better than usual lately. But, though she was lucid (hearing problems complicated this) and enjoyed having/being company, her thoughts were halfway into the next world I think. She had a long and pretty decent life, and she passed easy, so I guess that's OK.

Monday and Tuesday will be for the wake, and Wednesday is the funeral. Everything will be in Brooklyn, and she'll be buried next to my grandfather. I'll drop off the car tonight, rent a car probably this afternoon or tonight, and take off part of Monday & Tuesday and all day Wednesday to go in to the city.

Anyway, I hit the gym yesterday, riding there -- stopped along the way for breakfast at that coffee shop -- bringing sneakers and running before lifting, then rode home with a stop at the other coffee shop (Quadrant) for lunch. I got home and totally vegged out for a few hours, then walked to Which Brew where I met Brian for dinner. His uncle just died as well (dad's youngest brother, father to the cousin he always visits in Boston), so we were both a little bit on the somber side for partytime Saturday night.

Some interesting facts about Mrs. Barth:

  • She once told us, reminiscing at Christmastime, that she remembered delivering her mother's homemade whiskey as a child.
  • She never learned to swim, and I'm pretty sure she never learned to drive, and I don't think she ever lived outside of Brooklyn.
She grew up in a different world.