Saturday, January 16, 2010

a quick update

The memorial service went about as well as could be expected. I'm operating on only an hour and a half of sleep right now, so I'll write more in detail tomorrow or Monday, when I'm more awake and alert. Tomorrow, as you'll recall, is Dad's birthday. Like Muhammad Ali, who is the exact same age (give or take a few hours), Dad will turn 68.


Friday, January 15, 2010


Most or all of us guys will be at the church around 8AM tomorrow, even though the service starts at 10. I've heard that a Korean contingent will be arriving with finger food around 9:30 (so that they can set up in time for the reception, which will occur immediately after the memorial service). Members of the congregation are also bringing food, so in true Presbyterian fashion, no one will be going hungry.

We've been busy all day today. Sean practiced at home, went into DC to pick up the violinist, and had an 8:30PM rehearsal at the church. He won't be speaking; his music will speak for him. David's writing his eulogy, and has been out on various errands, including picking up his suit from the tailor's. I had to do that as well; the tailor told me today that he saw the news about Mom in a local Korean-language paper. Perhaps he'll show up at the memorial service tomorrow morning.

Dad and I are each toiling away-- Dad on his eulogy, and I on my albatross, the PowerPoint presentation. At some point, I'm probably going to have to throw in the towel and declare the job finished, whether it actually is or not. The amount of scanning we've done (I had a huge amount of help from David) is larger than any scanning task I've done before. It's been complicated by the fact that, at 300dpi, the images show dust motes all over them, which has forced me to spend long minutes using Photoshop to clean up every single picture. Minutes easily snowball into hours. On top of all that, I still haven't gotten beyond two paragraphs on my own eulogy, and am thinking that, since I'll be speaking for only five minutes, I might just carry some notes up to the lectern with me. I've started and deleted the eulogy text too many times to count, so perhaps this is a hint that I need to stop holding on to the notion of a scripted talk.

We're all tired and stressed, but we're chugging away. As you might imagine, we're just looking for Saturday to be over. I don't mean that as a slight to anyone-- certainly not to our relatives, who have all taken the trouble to come up from Texas for a single night and morning; nor to Mom's many friends, who will be attending the memorial service; nor to the hardworking people who have been helping us put the service together. I guess I'm just saying that we guys are all exhausted, sad, and just hoping for a bit of a breather.

The very next day, Sunday the 17th, is Dad's birthday. We'll likely be treating him to a nice meal somewhere in town; I can only imagine that, for Dad, occasions like birthdays and anniversaries shouldn't be celebrated alone. At the very least, we sons should do our best to offer him our presence and companionship. We did it for Mom; we can and should do it for Dad, too.


merci, mes enfants!

My French brother Dominique sent me these lovely drawings from his kids, who created these for us after he told them about my family situation.

What amazing kids. Merci à vous tous, les enfants. Vous ne vous rendez peut-être pas compte combien votre geste m'a touché. Je suis ému.


Flickr photos: a hitch

I had wanted to put photos up on Flickr before I made the PowerPoint slide presentation, but we've got a major problem: Flickr is free, but has a 100MB storage limit. Because it would have taken me far too long to reduce file sizes on the hundreds of files we have, I've been using un-reduced photos for the PowerPoint slide show. This shouldn't be a problem for what we're doing at the church, but with several gigabytes' worth of photos (and my thanks to those who mailed, emailed, or handed pictures to us), there's simply no way I can upload everything to Flickr without a massive campaign of file size reduction.

I'm sorry, but that can't happen in the time I have left before the memorial service, so please expect the Flickr slide show to occur a few days after Saturday.

Thanks and sorry.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

quick update

We'll be visiting the church tomorrow (Friday) afternoon at 2PM, armed with all manner of things to set up for the memorial service. Our thanks to the church staff and congregation for their past and future help in making this service go smoothly. A lot of people are working behind the scenes; I can't give them all credit here, but They Know Who They Are.

Thank you. And see you Saturday.


Monday, January 11, 2010

slowly but surely

We're meeting with Pastor Jeri on Wednesday to discuss matters related to the upcoming memorial service. I've turned in (1) my draft of the liturgy (with plenty of red-font annotation), (2) my Photoshop design for the church program's front cover, (3) a two-page bio about Mom, and (4) a photo to go along with the bio. I've also been working on organizing all the photos of Mom for the pictorial tribute, and am at a point where I can begin my massive scanning project. This promises to take more than a day, even if I scan several pictures at once, and there's still a great deal of photo editing and manipulation to do (e.g., photos that have been scanned together will need to be cut into separate individual shots; labels will need to be applied to give credit to the people who have contributed pictures to the tribute; red-eye corrections need to be done, etc.).

I'm doing my best to respect my original idea: the division of the photos into decades (see the bottom of this post for details). However, I can't promise that all the photos truly belong to a given decade. As it turns out, we have a pile of un-stamped pictures showing clothing and hairstyles that could well be interpreted as era-straddling, making it hard to assign them a proper time period. I also have no plans to order the photos within each decade, i.e., a photo from 1999 might appear well before a photo from 1993, and a photo from September 2002 might appear before a photo from May 2002. I'm pretty sure that people viewing the tribute will forgive this peccadillo.

There's plenty more to do, but it's being done, slowly but surely. David has bought a suit and is having it tailored (I urgently need to do likewise). He's also going to help me arrange physical displays of Mom's photos for the lo-tech aspect of the photo tribute. Sean, who instead of speaking will be performing some of Mom's favorite classical pieces during the service, is working through the nitty-gritty of recruiting fellow instrumentalists. Along with all the funerary paperwork (and the regular paperwork that comes with having a house), Dad's doing some necessary grocery shopping today, and will be devoting himself to the cleaning of the house this entire week. He, David, and I also need to write our eulogies-- a task I hope to begin tonight.

Far from being a time of rest and meditation, things have been hectic here. And despite all the activity, the whole affair seems to feel hollow at its center, as if, somehow, Mom should be here to help us organize everything. Just the other day, I was struck by the weird feeling that we had left Mom stranded somewhere, and were supposed to pick her up. I guess this is an improvement over what I'd been feeling the day Mom died. On that day, I wondered why my heart was still beating. It didn't seem fair, somehow, for the world to continue without her.

See you Saturday, I hope.