Posts that relate to family. Either mine or the metaphysical construct of a family.

Bagel Class

My family and I took a class on bagel making. Even though we killed an electric mixer (sorry, Terri!), we had a great time. Making bagels is surprisingly easy, if not time consuming. The results are pretty amazing, too. With some decent toppings, you’ll be in carb heaven.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need a nap.

Death & Taxes

That old saying: “There are only two constants in life: Death and Taxes”. Seems like the death part has been coming to us in spades as of recent. About a year ago, my father-in-law died. It was a painful thing to watch. He went somewhat quickly after we learned about his liver failure. The hardest thing was his loss of self during this time. He only had brief lucid moments. It was awful.

Now we’re dealing with a new person who is dying. Similar problems, but she’s in far away New York. With another person so close to us dying in such close proximity to her father, 2019-2020 has been a terrible couple of years. Let’s face it, not even Disney is open. I try the best I can to console Erin, but I feel like it’s never enough. It’s probably not enough, to be honest.

Death Sucks

I know that we can’t prevent death. At least not yet. We are therefore required to deal with it as best we can. I find it odd that, then, that my own experience with it that I don’t seem to be affected as many are. My best guess is that I am better able to bottle it up or just turn it all off. My defense mechanism against depression.

I wish I could do more. I wish I could be a better person for everyone. I wish I could help. I wish.

Erin doesn’t deserve the crap she gets. I wish I could take the pain for her.

Miss May

Miss May. Snuggling in the blankets.


I sometimes get to a point where I question a lot of what I do and what matters to me. Sometimes it’s because of simple things, like a broken tool, or a frustrating problem. Sometimes it’s more of a philosophy problem, where I question how I feel about something and if I should change my ideas or mannerisms behind some action.

Lately, it’s been a little of both. I use an iPhone, Apple Music, iCloud (storage, etc), Office 365, and probably other tools and services that would be considered “non-free” in the “libre” sense. This has lead to me thinking about what I actually want out of computing. It’s such a thorny question, because there are so many comfortable choices that I’m in, that upending them would probably throw my life (and my family’s) into temporary turmoil.

For instance: Office 365. I pay for just the Exchange Online component, because I don’t need the actual Office suite as we (my family) get it free from my school and other organizations that we’re associated with. Exchange Online has been fine from a end-user perspective. Very rarely do I have any real issues to speak of, other than paying for it. My real problem here is that it’s a very proprietary platform, and because of that, it’s moderately difficult to get out of and to connect to with free-software tools. The IMAP support is… functional, but the contacts and calendars are tied down.

Similarly, I have lots of Apple devices and services. Like Office 365, I don’t have any complaints, per se, it’s just that they’re extremely proprietary and that means getting out of the ecosystem is difficult, and like above, connecting using free-software tools is straight up impossible.

The reason I have these things in the first place is that my family, who don’t hold my free-software ideals, want/need access to reliable tools they can use from multiple places. This is not an unreasonable request, and is one that can be solved with enough time, free-software, capital and expertise. Unfortunately, I’m not willing or able to host all of that, or even administer it. I don’t have the time, and I certainly don’t have the specific expertise to do all of it. Hence the current implementation.

Balance between freedom, convenience and cost is a tricky one. While I’d personally like to model myself more in line with the FSF’s computing ideals. The problem is that I have family members that I have to support as well. I’d also like to move them toward more free-software systems. While I recognize their choice in platforms is their own, I also get to say what I will and will not support (kind of, family is so complicated).

I don’t have any kind of resolution for this, I’m still trying to figure out what kind of path I want to take. Is pragmatism the smarter choice? Idealism feels right, but is massively more difficult to implement. There is probably a good middle of the road, but I don’t know if I’m on it. Maybe it doesn’t matter?

What should I do?

Featured Image

“Ugh, a Mac”, by Joe Wilcox – License: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Bernard DeGruchy

My grandfather.  Bernard DeGruchy.  Passed away last night.  He was 83.

It’s hard being more than fourteen-hundred miles away from home.   Away from people you love.  It’s not that I don’t want to be here.  It’s just times like these make it very difficult to process your feelings.

I wasn’t there, I never got to say my final goodbyes.  That’s hard.  I never got to say my final goodbyes to my dog, Aften, when she died.

I know I can’t dwell on it.  I know that I need to, almost cruelly, soldier on.  Relive the good memories and don’t let tragedy pull you down.

He lived a good life, and I’m proud to say he helped make me what I am today.  He helped raise me with my grandmother and if that doesn’t get you into heaven, I’m not sure what would.

Goodbye Grampy.  I love you.

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