Double Birthday #2

In Life on 6 August 2013 by pondsponderings

Today I’m blessed to celebrate my second “double birthday” — fifty-three years since I joined the community of the living, and two years since I suffered a stroke (or three, depending on who you believe) and died once during emergency surgery at Shands Hospital in Gainesville.

It continues to be a wonderful life, highlighted by another eventful year that nobody promised to me. It dawned with the finding I’d need forty-six radiation treatments in twenty-three days, a regime I’d wish on no one. Short walks with a cane down a side street led to the ditching of my cane in November. That work continued, as many of you know, until I was regularly logging over 100 miles of walking each month. Finally, the year ended with the best news we could’ve hoped for: no tumors are currently present in my head. (YES!!)

I continue to be surrounded by conscientious doctors, unspeakably incredible friends..

And of course a family whose love, strength, and patience defy description and belief. Thank you Gale, Zach, Kyle, Alex, Crystal, Chris, and Steve for sticking with me while we got me this far, and for joining me on the journey ahead.

The year until my next birthdays is sure to be nothing short of fascinating. I’m ecstatic to be able to share it with you! See you there..



Two Years On

In Life on 18 July 2013 by pondsponderings

I’ve been a perfectionist all my life. In technology and in music, it works in my favor. In my current set of challenges, not so much.

Two years ago today, my family watched, confused and worried, as I underwent a five hour operation to remove a benign cranial frangioma tumor which was discovered four days prior (on our tenth wedding anniversary) but had been present since I was very young.

Life is very different after the surgery.

Given my current set of gifts and limitations, it’s pointless and unconstructive for me to pursue classical perfectionism as I did for so many years. Far more useful is to consider what fools we’ve made of the “medical experts.” They said I’d never communicate. They said I’d never speak. They said I’d never walk.

I’m driving regularly and without incident. This morning I walked over 10 kilometers (and passed 400 miles on my New Balance shoes). I get to spend every day surrounded by a loving, supportive, and attentive family. I can see the sky and smell the trees and flowers. When I’m home, I’m never more than four feet from an overaffectionate dog. I laugh and dream and cry and love.

I LIVE. It’s awesome, and I am so blessed and thankful for the prayers, love, and support we’ve revived over the last two years, from inside our home and around the world. I don’t think I’d be here, in the shape I’m in, without them.

Today is a great day to turn away from the perfectionism of my old self, and embrace the pure joy and perfection to be found in this life that God has granted me.

It is indescribably wonderful to be among you. I love you all.


Happy Birthday, Dad v85.1

In Life on 6 December 2010 by pondsponderings Tagged:

This past Saturday would’ve been my father’s 86th birthday. We remember him, every day, with joy and love. We also miss him. Every day.

RIP, Dad.



In Life on 13 October 2010 by pondsponderings

In a year full of transitions, here’s another one: Friday is my last day at Microsoft.

We’re still licking our wounds and trying to find what’s next.  More details as they evolve.

If you’re looking for SQL Server expertise, drop me a line..


Way to Go, Anthony

In Life on 8 September 2010 by pondsponderings Tagged:

My high school buddy, Anthony Coates, has marked my Dad’s passing in his column.  My thanks to him for sharing his recollections.



More About Our Dad, Thomas Alexander Pond

In Life on 4 September 2010 by pondsponderings Tagged:

We’ve posted Dad’s obituary online at my website. Please stop by and read it. He lived a remarkable life.



RIP Thomas Alexander Pond: 1924-2010

In Life on 2 September 2010 by pondsponderings Tagged:

I’ve been down, but not like this before
Paul Barrere (Little Feat), All That You Dream

It’s a very disturbing trend in one’s life when so much of one’s writing begins with the three letters which this entry does.

Dad It’s an even more disturbing event when the subject is one’s father.

It’s my sad task to report that my father, Thomas Alexander Pond, passed away early Sunday.  He was eighty-five.

All, all that you dream
Comes to shine in silver lining
And clouds, clouds change the scene
Rain starts washing all these cautions
Right into your life, make you realize
Just what is true, what else can I do
Just follow the rule
Keep your eyes on the road that’s ahead of you

My father was a gifted educator whose work touched thousands of people.  You can read more here about his contributions to Rutgers University, one of the institutions he served.

We’ll have more to say soon; in the meantime, I’m with my sister, sharing memories and making plans for Dad’s memorial.

I’ve said this before many times, but it bears repeating: if it’s cosmically possible, please call your parents.



RIP Richie Hayward: 1946-2010

In Life, Music on 12 August 2010 by pondsponderings

Richie HaywardSad, sad news today from the worlds of music and friendship: Richie Hayward – founding member, drummer, writer, and singer in the seminal American rock and roll band Little Feat – lost his year-long battle with liver cancer today.  He was only 64.
 I first became familiar with Richie and Little Feat when I was in the tenth grade.  My neighbor and surrogate older brother, Erich Swartz, returned home for Thanksgiving and brought with him a copy of Time Loves a Hero.  To say I was hooked was an understatement – within a week I owned their entire discography, and I’ve been a passionate FeatFan ever since.  Thirty-five years, in round numbers, including the lean years in the eighties when there was no new Little Feat music.
Like all great American stories, Little Feat had an incredible second (and third..  and fourth..) act, reuniting in 1988 to great acclaim.  By then, I had moved to Los Angeles and hooked up with the Maltose Falcons Brews Band.  Our bass player at the time, Dennis Fink, knew the band!  He lived near several of its members in beautiful Topanga Canyon, which is also home the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, an amazing open-air theater in the woods.  Dennis came to rehearsal one night and told us that Little Feat was playing a benefit for the theater (“Feats for Seats”), as several of their family members had served on its Board of Directors over the years.  He also relayed an invitation from the band – if we schlepped their gear in and out of the theater, we could join them for dinner and watch the show.
My response now would be the same as it was then.. what’s the question?
That night, I met my musical heroes, and I was welcomed into the amazing Little Feat family.
In the mid-‘90s, when Little Feat took over their own promotional work and used fan volunteers to great effect, I was the regional FeatFan coordinator for Oklahoma, Mississippi, and Arkansas.  When I moved to Seattle in 1999 to work for Microsoft, I sent an email to the community informing them why I was resigning my post.  I shortly got an email from Paul Barrerre, asking, “hey, can you get software?”
Paul being the generous man he is, he offered to trade me back-stage passes for the software.  Pretty soon, he stopped asking for software and started asking how many passes I needed.  These folks who I’d regarded as titans of rock and roll since I was fifteen became, in my late thirties, my friends.
Every time they come to town, Gale and I go to the show and hang with the band, and every time, we spend a little more time there.  I recall particularly a gig they played at the Triple Door in Seattle.  Richie was in fine fettle that night, and he probably spent half an hour with us after the show.  Gale took particular interest in Richie’s tour book, a minute-to-minute guide that the road manager assembles for each member of the band when they’re on the road.  Richie went over it with her in great detail, and confessed that he’d never seen anyone outside of the band quite so interested in a tour book.
The best musicians show you a clear path to their heart through their playing.  The expression on Richie’s face in the photograph to the right says it all.  When Richie would come off-stage after a particularly epic show, his sweaty face would split into an ear-to-ear grin as he said, “man, that was fun.”
It sure was, Richie, for you and for us, for your entire career.  Who’d’ve thought that a five-word want ad placed by Lowell George in 1969 (“Drummer wanted.  Must be freaky.”) would lead to such an incredible forty-year-plus ride?
My thoughts and prayers go out tonight to Richie’s incredible wife, Shauna, his son, Severin, and the rest of the Hayward and Little Feat families.
The world is slightly less syncopated today than it was yesterday.  A great talent, a beloved husband and father, and a cherished colleague has left us.  Rest in peace, Richie, and thanks to you and your family for all the years you spent on the proud highway, bringing joy through your music.
Now that you’re up in heaven with Lowell, there must be one hell of a jam going on.


Theme Change!

In administrivia on 20 July 2010 by pondsponderings

For those of you viewing this space on-line, I’ve changed the theme to DePo Square.




We All Know How Painful That Can Be

In Polls on 18 July 2010 by pondsponderings

Whenever David Letterman tells a joke related to the results of a poll, he always says, “we polled six hundred people, and we all know how painful that can be.”

Well, I’ve been poking around on WordPress this evening and it turns out there’s polling technology here.  My friend Paul S. Randal has run some great polls over on his blog and I thought that was pretty cool.

I’ve created my first poll..  let’s see if I can figure out how to post it.

Oh look!  There’s something called an embed code.  If I just paste it into my post..


This could be fun..  but now it’s time for bed.