I awoke this morning to find that my freelance client and friend, Stephen Nadal
, had passed away. He was an amazing person who died of a sudden heart attack - apparently it was related to a birth defect. His life included vista work, the nurturing of Arts Corps
' tech needs, the opening of his pay-what-you-can massage business specifically for non-profit / community workers, and he had spent the past few months with the SEIU, as well as getting the Asian/Pacific Islander community to vote. I started working with him at Arts Corps, and later bartered web design work for massage when he moved to that. He will be sorely missed, the world was a more just place when he was here.
I spent my morning shower thinking of his passing, and how my eternally optimistic mom always says death comes in threes. A friend of a friend's, Pink Afro Dave, killed himself a couple of weeks ago, and I was a bit shook up thinking of a possible third person. Really shook up. After leaving the shower I decided to check my cell phone, for really no good reason other than fate, and saw that my mom had left a message for me merely saying 'Michael, please call home'. Turns out that my grandmother on my mom's side died this morning, about the time I was learning about Stephen.
My grandma Naomi was a great person born right after the turn of the century. I remember her best when I was little - I still lived in California near her until I was five, and we spent some good times together. She was always a source of artistic inspiration for me, even later in life, as she drew and especially painted countless works of art. In her younger years she would take trips to Europe, often Italy, from the proceeds of her art sales. After my family moved to Oregon she would send monthly packages of the funnies from the LA Times, since we didn't get much variety where we lived. I think that secured my love at an early age. She lived a full life, and was very loved by her large family.
So, I'm doing ok with it all. I go in and out of emotionland with this sort of thing.
I did get my Threadless shirts in the mail today, and a great compliment on the 'Afternoon Delight' unicorn shirt from a door-to-door political activist (who also liked my disco ball). In other news, I've misplaced my checkbook which is driving me insane, and it looks like I'll be in California from Thursday -> Monday for the funeral and wake. After I get back on Monday I turn around and fly to Oregon for Turkey Day on Wednesday... flight madness. I so need to finish Brants
at work, or all of North Texas will mess with me.
Here's a little sampling of my grandma's art. She mostly did fairly abstract watercolors, but covered everything under the sun at one point or another.
Chickens spilling out of their coop, from my home in Oregon
Painted in Firenze, Italy. She sure loved that Italy.
* Update - I am enraged at KING 5, our NBC broadcaster, for deciding to perform maintenance on their transmitter only 5 minutes before Eddie Izzard was going on Conan! Rage, blind rage!
Won-Ton, 11-23-2004 with $17.49
Yo Mike, sorry hear bout losing your other friends too. Sometimes when it rain it pours huh? Your Grandma's stuff is sooooooooooo tight dude! Awesome stuff. My grandma painted too & taught me all about art. It's good to have stuff like that to remeber her by. Have a good vacation man. Keep your head up.
Elicia, 11-19-2004 with $6.47
Michael, I'm sorry to hear about your recent losses. Hang in there, kid.
Alfredo, 11-17-2004 with $9.54
Sincere condolences concerning the loss of Steve, Pink Afro Dave and Grandma Naomi. Seeing some of Grandma's paintings lifted me up today, just as reading your clip from 11-03-04 did. You'll have the spirits from all who love you, with you there in California. Take care. . .