The Kt we loved

The Kt we loved
"I just might hurt you if you don't move that camera." — Kt

Saturday, December 24, 2011

So this is Christmas John Lennon wrote. This used to be our favorite time of year; now, not so much. We're gonna lie low this week.

I've read about soldiers coming back from war with PTSD manifesting as being unable to comprehend other people going about their everyday lives, and sort of feel the same way when I'm out in a store and see folks shopping for Christmas. Very strange: intellectually I realize that they of course have no idea how our lives are changed, but it somehow seems like they should.

But I do smile every time I see a Santa image, thinking of Katie coming home from second grade and telling us that Santa Claus wasn't real.

When we asked why she would make such an assertion, she explained that all of the books in the school library about Santa Claus were in the Fiction section.

Always was hard to put one over on that child!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Steely Dan

At Trader Joe's today, I heard Rikki Don't Lose That Number on the Muzak (the real version, not a Muzak version—which is scary enough, since 30 years ago I'd've bet that nobody would EVER play Steely Dan in a store).

And it reminded me of a running joke Kt and I had: anytime we were somewhere and would hear Steely Dan, the first one to hear it would ask the other, "What's this song about?" and the answer—delivered without hesitation—was "Drugs".

OK, maybe you had to be there. But if you know Steely Dan, it's actually pretty funny...

So, in her honor, I muttered "Drugs" to myself. A lady nearby looked a bit startled, but she'll be all right.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Left Coast Again

I'm back from another quick trip to the San Francisco Bay area to visit Voltage headquarters. I arrived late at night, staying near the airport.

The next morning I got up and drove 25 miles down Interstate 280 ("the 280", in California dialect). A glorious morning: only moderate traffic, sunny and pleasant. I was treated to spectacular vistas of hills, and valleys filled with morning mist. Cows, eucalyptus trees, live oaks (I think; something gnarled like that), and sun, sun, sun! (Although at one point the mist even covered the road, slowing us to a crawl for a half-mile or so.)

The 280 was built in the 1970s through what was then—and still remains, in many parts—virgin California mountainside, and is claimed to be the "World's Most Beautiful Freeway", and I believe it. Here's a recent picture that gives some idea of what it looks like, although it doesn't do it full justice:

I listened to KFOX 98.5 Classic Rock, which seemed to be playing all of Kt's and my favorites, and wished she was there with me. She sure loved California.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

It was twenty years ago today...

...that Katherine Elisabeth Hillyer Smith entered this world, to the joy of her beyond-ecstatic parents.

Missing you, little peanut girl. Today and every day.

Back last night from Detroit. In the "lattice of coincidence" department, I happen to have been in DTW on business on the day before Katie's eighth, eighteenth, and (now) twentieth birthdays. Distinct memories of each, very different moods, alas.

Grey and rainy today. Fitting.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Learning to Drive

I saw an MGB on the road yesterday, and it reminded me of when Katie was first learning to drive. There's an office park with a 4-lane, divided, semi-circular road (EDS Drive, off Mclearen across from Rachel Carson MS). It's busy during the week, but very quiet on weekends, so one Sunday we went over there for her first behind-the-wheel experience (not counting a little battery-powered car at LEGOLAND in California, where she merrily drove over painted houses and lawns!).

We spent an hour or so in a parking lot, so she could get the feel of the car, practicing driving straight and stopping more or less on a line. She only almost hit a couple of the curbs and parked cars; not bad (the first time I got behind the wheel as a teenager, I backed over a curb and ripped the gas tank off the car).

Eventually she convinced me that it was time to get on the road. Since there was no traffic, I consented, and she pulled out of the parking lot.

She was doing fine, keeping in the right-hand lane. Then we got near the end of the circle, and I told her to get in the left-hand lane, so she could do a U-turn and head back. No sooner had she changed lanes than an MGB came tearing up behind her. "Put your left signal on", I told her, "He can go around". She did, but he stayed on her tail.

"OK, get in the left-hand turn lane". She did—and he followed! By this point, she was shrieking, "Why is he following me?!?" But she held it together and made the U-turn, as did the MGB, at which point he roared past. Maybe he was testing out the car or something; we'll never know. But, while freaked out to some extent, she reacted appropriately.

She sure did love to drive.