Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Years Eve

Tom and I loved New Years Eve. We usually stayed home and I rarely made it to midnight but it was always an evening when we were together cuddling on the couch. Sometimes we would get real yummy food like cheese and special crackers from Specs and drink Champagne and Jack. Sometimes it was pizza and a movie. There was always a couch and my head in Tom's lap.

Last New Years eve we had a busy day. My mom and dad and Uncle Pat came over and Uncle Pat shined up Tom's Merc like it was brand new. Tom got tired and laid down in bed and then proceeded to entertain visitors all afternoon. David came to visit and so did Ann Ronn and Gil. Tom was so happy and lively and conversational. Then he napped until evening when Michael and Theresa came over bringing all kinds of sushi and hummus and other food highly indicative of the celebration it was.

It was a perfect evening and when they left Tom and I walked them out and looked at the Christmas lights Tommy had hung under Tom's direction. They looked beautiful. We went inside and went to bed and Tom told me how he wished the night would never end. I held him as he fell asleep.

Hours later he woke up coughing and by morning he was on his way to the ER. New Years Eve 2008 was Tom's last night at home, in our bed, with me. It was well spent.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Pick the Right Knife or Else

Tonight I was emailing with my sister Cris. I was making a calendar for 2010 with pictures of Tom but I could not find a single picture of Tom and Cris together. I wrote Cris and asked for pictures and the only one she had was the pub roll above. (Tom upper right, Cris second row from top second from right). How in the world Tom was in my life for 20 years and he and Cris only made it in one picture together was amazing and sad.

But when I was upset about this Cris reminded me that it was the memories that count not the pictures. She shared the following story with me.

One time Tom was in the kitchen cooking. At the time I didn't really think of him as someone who enjoys this domestic duty. Actually, I'm not sure I've changed my mind since then either. Anyway, Tom needed a knife and was looking everywhere, so Theresa went over and gave him one. It was the wrong knife and Tom continued to look for "the knife." Theresa and I audibly joked about him looking so intently. This precipitated Tom going into a short and intense one-way dialog on the necessity to use the right tool for the job! I was really cracking up now because I had never ever seen anyone get a rise out of Tom and we just had. I could tell Theresa was about to bust out laughing also, so the two of us didn't dare look at each other.

It was a rare occasion to see this wonderful, even-tempered man get excited about something like the right kitchen tool. Then again, he did take his pancake-making pretty serious also. Maybe he did enjoy cooking."

Thanks Cris. Man I miss Tom.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Gotham Image Works (

Tom loved his profession. And he was good. He was a good producer, a very good shooter, and a fine editor. I fell in love with him in an editing room (but that is another story). And he loved his job. And the people at Gotham loved Tom. He was a hard working, creative, dependable team player.

When things got tough his friends, David and Alan, Mikon and Suzanne, Robert and Asher and Alex, took such good care of him. David and Alan paid Tom for many months. David met with me and talked with me and we hugged and in our own ways prayed. Suzanne gave Tom wonderful help and gifts, Mikon and I had talks at the hospice, but David and I connected in ways which showed how deeply he really loved Tom.

And now it comes back again. Each year Gotham Image Works sends gifts to its best clients. Tom and David would head to Tiffany's at Christmastime and shop and shop. For several years though Gotham has changed its pattern. This year instead of gifts it gave a very generous donation to HomeAid Houston ( in Tom's honor. It is a charity that Tom respected and supported. HAH helps the transitionally homeless; underdogs that Tom wanted to help.

The love this company showed and continues to show Tom swells my heart. Thank you Gotham so very, very much. Tom loved you so much and I am so grateful you are in our lives.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tom's Albums

Everyone comes with baggage. Some figurative, some literal. As I may have mentioned before Tom had both...but mostly literal. I on the other hand have mostly figurative. But anyway...

Tom had stuff. A lot of stuff. Boxes and boxes of stuff. Stuff he loved and stuff he did not know he even had. Five wallets, 18 feet of CDs, notes from high school, six guitars, two turntables and albums. Lots and lots of albums.

We never had the turntable hooked up and he never played an album. But he had cases of music which he moved from apartment to apartment and house to house. And when he died they took up more than a closet.

At one point, copying a display, I got eight album frames. Tom picked his favorite albums and we placed them in the frames. We hung them on the wall using all the math skills we could muster. It looked wonderful and Tom was so happy seeing his music every day. The artists, the songs, the memories Tom so loved.

Today, there are different albums hanging on the wall. The albums Tom loved are with his sister now. His second tier is on the wall. Bruce Springsteen, a concert we went to and loved (he listened to me talk about Bruce's butt the entire show). The Blues Brother that cracked Tom up every time he saw them. And Shawn Phillips who Tom and I saw on our first real date at Fitzgerald's. Of course there are the Beatles and Donald Fagen - Steely Dan was the last concert we saw together.

But the truth is, there are a few others that were far more in tune with Tom's music than I. Donna, Hugh, and I and would go to dinners and within minutes I would be bored out of my tree as they talked music. For hours. And hours. I would change the subject to running and it would come back to Rush. I would talk about traveling and it would come around to the Rolling Stones. I would talk about politics and they would talk about U2.

Soon, Donna and I will update the wall of albums. It will reflect share experiences, musical taste, and a love of music shared by Tom and close friends. I'll keep you posted. Cheers.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas B&B 2009

Every year for over ten years Tom and I and my mom and dad would take a Christmas trip to a bed and breakfast. It was usually a small town in Texas that had a parade and market and lots of beauty queens. We have sat on more curbs in more towns in the cold and rain, smiling and having a great time.

We have had some adventures and lots of memories. Once we starting eating fresh hot tamales and between the four us ate at least 30 steaming little packets wrapped in tin foil before the parade started. When it started the lead vehicles were ATVs with kids riding in cammo!

We have been to Waxahachie, and Cold Spring, and Marshall and even San Antonio. A few weeks ago we went to Comfort. This year it was just the three of us. It was a wonderful B&B and a terrific small town parade. There were dozens of floats and at least seven floats were full of beauty queens.

My mom picked this hill country B&B because it was right next to a small Texas river. She took Tom with her and early Sunday morning we walked down to the flowing water and mom left a Tom's pebbles there.

I'm sure he enjoyed this Christmas B&B trip very much and although the water was moving pretty quickly, Tom settled to the bottom and relaxed. He was still there when we left. He is in all of us and everywhere this Christmas season. And in a Texas river.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys

I was looking through some old CDs I found in Tom's office. One was called "Funny and Cool Stuff". I opened it and found some jokes, some compromising pictures of cheerleaders at a pro game doing very high kicks, and some cute pictures of dogs and lion cubs.

Then there was a Word doc called "from Theresa" dated 6/17/02. It said:
Hi Tom,

I was driving into work this morning listening to The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys and they sang the line: "if they offered you one final wish, for something simple as this, would you ask for something like another chance..."

So I thought about what my final wish would be. And I thought about world peace and a large Wendy's fries but realized that within the scope of a reasonable final wish there was only one choice: a long hug with you. Now if it ever comes to that know that they would have to rip me away crying and screaming but would I be ever so grateful for that hug.

Thank you for being part of my life. Love T

And it really cracked me up that over seven years ago, I knew that Tom's hugs were the greatest thing in the world and I never stopped thinking that. I don't recall writing this to Tom, and I sure did not know he saved it but it still so very true that if I ever get that final wish, I will never ever let go.