Rest of the Fall Foliage Dinos

Two of Dinosaur Land's original dinos at the front entrance

Two of Dinosaur Land’s original dinos at the front entrance

Fall is over; winter began a week ago. 2013 is nearly gone, and I must say, “Good riddance” to the bulk of it. I pray 2014 will bring more blessings than curses.

Iguanadon

Iguanadon

A friendly Bronto Jr.

A friendly Bronto Jr.

These are all photos taken on Levi’s tenth birthday in early November, so they are all bittersweet for me to contemplate. Still, with the passing of fall, it is time to clear my palette (and my blog) of these now out-of-date images, colorful though they may be.

Tyranosaurus claims Gigantosaurus as a victim

Tyranosaurus claims Gigantosaurus as a victim

Allosaurus

Allosaurus

One of those nasty venom-spitting dinos from JURASSIC PARK

One of those nasty venom-spitting dinos from JURASSIC PARK

I enjoyed two visits with Levi at his hospital over the weekend. He read to me from his journal, which is his version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, complete with cartoons. He is almost painfully honest in all he writes, and many of his jokes have real bite for anyone who is familiar at all with his situation. He shared with me his character descriptions for a story or series of stories he wants to write about a group of future Boy and Girl Scouts from eight different planets, his version of the Legion of Superheroes. From hearing him read from his journal and listening to his story ideas, I think he is at least as talented a storyteller as I was at his age. His “Uncle” Barry N. Malzberg asked me to try to dissuade Levi from becoming a science fiction writer, but now that the kid seems to be bound and determined to follow in his dad’s footsteps, I promised Barry I would always enforce the dictate, “Don’t ignore the day job! Writing science fiction financially supports about two percent of the people who make the effort to write and publish it (and two percent may be overstating matters).” Of course, by the time Levi reaches his earning years, the publishing paradigm may have changed half a dozen more times.

Iguanadon and Triceratops

Iguanadon and Triceratops

I’ve found that I enjoy giving Levi “Grandpa Frank’s Magical Back Rubs and Back Scratches” as much as he enjoys receiving them. There is something simply marvelous about that sort of rhythmical body to body contact which is meditative and soothing, both the the giver and the recipient. Plus, it has been a pleasure to introduce my mother’s father into Levi’s life; after all, my Grandpa Frank was my best friend until I reached the age of five, when heart disease stole him from me.

Giant Ground Sloth munching on some autumn leaves

Giant Ground Sloth munching on some autumn leaves

Vicious Allosaurus

Vicious Allosaurus

My brother Ric gave me the gift of clarity and closure today regarding my relationship with my mother and stepdad. Essentially, I learned that there is no relationship anymore, nor any possibility of reconciliation, so I am finally free to grieve. They have chosen to believe their own self-absolving lies, and it sounds as though this transaction has transformed them from the decent and mostly kind people I once knew into hollow shells of their former selves. They are pitiable to me now, as sad as this is for me to admit. But even if they continue to delude themselves — especially since they have chosen to do so — this does not mean that I can allow myself delusions of my own. It is time for me to grieve the relationships I once had.

Another shot of the Tyranosaurus-Gigantosaurus battle

Another shot of the Tyranosaurus-Gigantosaurus battle

All kudos to my wife Dara, who has ensured that not a single visiting period has passed since Levi has been in the hospital during which he has not had either me or her as a visitor, often with Levi’s siblings along. And additional kudos go to my father, Levi’s grandfather, who has called Levi nearly every night he has spent in the hospital. I’ve told Dad that Levi will never forget this kindness, ever.

A fall gathering of thunder lizards, featuring Apatosaurus and Styracosaurus

A fall gathering of thunder lizards, featuring Apatosaurus and Styracosaurus

I’ll be returning to work and to at least a portion of my former writing schedule the day after New Year’s Day, this Thursday. I have been away from work for nearly two months now. I enjoyed my first extended writing session at Panera Bread on Sunday before visiting Levi. This was my first long writing session since two weeks prior to Thanksgiving. It’s hard for me to believe I’ve been away from my laptop for that long (with the exception of keeping this blog updated). Many thanks to all of you who have stuck with me throughout my “recovery blog” series. I’ve enjoyed every comment I’ve received. Your feedback has been extremely gratifying. May all of you enjoy a happy, safe, and prosperous New Year!

4 comments

  1. Laura Rowland says:

    Andy, it sounds like things are going in a positive direction, and I’m so glad. Also glad that Levi has inherited his dad’s talent. Re your mother and stepdad: if they aren’t willing or able to work out a mutually acceptable relationship with you, it is their loss, because you and Dara and the kids are people worth knowing. I’m wondering if your mother and stepdad have issues related to age and dementia. Those can really worsen family problems and there’s not much that can be done about them, sad to say.

    • Andrew says:

      Dear Laura, thank you for your extremely kind and compassionate message. I wish for you and Marty a 2014 at least twice as wonderful and prosperous as your 2013 has been. God bless you both!

  2. Phyllis says:

    Andy, it has been a very long time since Snowden and I have missed you. Still working on getting my head screwed on right, but this week has been super positive. Please let me know how Levi is doing now that it mid March. It’s really interesting watching you blossom into a once more healthy, vibrant gentleman. Love you and miss you … Phyllis W

    • Andrew says:

      Phyllis, what a terrific surprise to hear from you! About your question regarding Levi, he has been having his ups and downs, unfortunately. We’ve got him in a new school situation, which is very positive for him, but unfortunately his crying and anger fits have continued. Dara and I just had to deal with one of them last night. We’re trying out some new medicinal remedies to try to get a handle on his problems, but thus far, we haven’t yet found our “magic bullet,” sadly. As for me, I’ve been doing pretty well. I returned to work full-time as of January 2, and everyone here at the office has been very kind and supportive. Do you belong to the Facebook group which Rich set up, the Angry Birds Group? That is how we set up our monthly get-togethers (although we’ve only done one since I saw you last). Give Rich a call if you haven’t yet been roped into that Facebook group and he’ll get you set up. Take good care! I miss you!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: