Once more into the breach...

So with the current work situation being that Whitney and I are both downtown (or effectively downtown in Rosslyn) most days of the week, I’m moving from the farmland at Oatlands back to Alexandria for a while. Whitney and I have found a cute little townhouse in Lincolnia and she’ll be moving in there after the wedding next month. Back to balcony gardening and figuring out how to size down from 3500 sq ft to 2000 sq ft.

Sorry for the Absence

The house at Oatlands Mill

Sorry for my absence of late, but I’ve been busy. We’ve been pushing on developing our new product at InfoEther and I’m going to be moving out west of Dulles Airport to a place (pictured above) next to Oatlands Plantation.

We (myself and some friends) have been working on a 1200 sq ft garden and we’re going to be firing up the grill and enjoying the summer. I’ll be out that way in July.

Resolving for 2009

So looking back at my list from 2008, there’s some stuff that’s still ongoing, like the Rotoscope record. Oy veh. One day, I swear.

1. Exercize

Check. Started with InfoEther and we go twice a week to a personal trainer. Oh yeah!

2. Be prepared

Not really something to check off, just more of a mindframe shift. Getting there.

3. Clean out the junk in these boxes I haven’t seen in a year

About half of them are done. The rest are in the storage unit. So clean out the storage unit is what this has become.

4. Expand the Balcony garden

Boy did I ever.

Balcony Garden

Going to give it a whirl again this summer with some variations upon the plantings and a bit more cyclical to get it all working right. Also, continuing on canning the stuff (Jalapeño Jelly FTW!)

5. Learn to shoot (yes, a weapon)

Slightly untrue, as I’ve know how to shoot a rifle since I was ten. But I went and took a class from a Secret Service instructor via the NRA here in Northern Virginia and have been enjoying going to the range every once in a while. A fun sport for sure!

6. Relax

Fail.

Here’s the list for 2009:

  1. Zero the debt (except for college loans)
  2. Finish the Rotoscope record. For serious.
  3. Get in shape and stay that way
  4. Maintain a more positive attitude
  5. Read 2 books a month

I know those are nebulous and wimpy but whatever. I’m just happy I survived the last half of 2008.

The Cuteness... It Burns.

!{border:1px solid black;}http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3283/2942654533_45eb858908.jpg (Smokey the Cat)!

For those of you who may not know, I acquired a kitten at the farm that we frequent a little after Leanne passed away. I’ve finally gotten photos of Smokey and the sibling cat, Bandit, up on Flickr.

Smokey and the Bandit

As Tom Bridge says, “The Cuteness… it burrrrns.”

Leanne

!{border:1px solid black;}http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3283/2754262527_3d776f9433.jpg (Leanne and I at the Coldplay show)!

I’ve been a bit absent from this blog of late. The summer got very busy between Juniper Lane going into the studio to record 3 new songs and then being selected to open for Coldplay at the Verizon Center. I had a pretty busy August planned, culminating in a trip to Berlin and Vienna with my girlfriend, Leanne, for Amy Hoy’s wedding.

On August 4th, that all changed. It was the day after the Coldplay show and things seemed normal (besides leaving my cell phone at Chris Bonavia’s house after the Coldplay show) until I got an IM from my brother that Leanne’s Dad had called and that they hadn’t heard from her (she called every day to her mom). The police entered her apartment that afternoon and found she had passed (later determined to have been a brain aneurysm). You can read the obituary here.

Things have been pretty much a maelstrom since that point. I have good days and bad days. I still can’t believe that I had finally found someone that just seemed to fit perfectly and then it was gone in a flash. I still don’t know what to say about it, so I’ll just put up roughly what I read at her funeral and the memorial service a week later:

I think most of you know me, but for those that may not, I’m John Athayde——Leanne’s boyfriend. I was hoping to be meeting you all at a rehearsal dinner or something like that. I had conned Leanne into a trip up here in the fall. I think she was afraid of me meeting the parents or something. We were going to visit her friend in Syracuse, then see my cousin in Rochester, and finish it out with a few days in Erie. A good time to ask her parents blessing and all that.

Most everything I’m going to say about Leanne you already know. She was amazing, caring, intelligent, beautiful inside and out. She was my cheerleader, my sounding board, my shopping guide, my confidant, best friend and more.

Her friends had told me that even before we started dating, she thought we were soul mates. It sure felt like that the more I got to know her. She was so positive all the time. The closest thing we had to a disagreement was that she would use up the toilet paper and not change the roll. I didn’t know if she just didn’t know how to change it so I asked her if she needed me to show her how to change it up.

She worked with rescue animals and… Angela was telling me how she had signed up for a cat while they were hanging out one night, forgetting she was allergic to cats. The benefits of reading the email list while drinking wine. But that was Leanne – always thinking of others before herself. The low maintenance girl with the high maintenance dog. The fierce defender of her friends. The amazing cupcake and cookie baker. The lover of history and learning. A shining light for all in her life. A beacon to guide me home. I am sad for all of those who will never know her the way we know her. I am sad for the future generation who would have known her as a mother, aunt, grandmother, and ancestor.

She was a radiant woman who will always be a light for us.

I at least have that the last words I said to her when I dropped her off were “I love you” and I will keep that with me always.

Please consider donating to her memorial fund at Homeward Trails. Leanne was very involved in animal rescue and fostering animals and there’s a place on the top of that page by which you can donate to her fund.

In time I hope to be able to talk about this a bit more eloquently in a public sphere. Please keep her and her family in your prayers.