July 2nd, 2005


Personal: Regarding Photos

I just wanted to say "thank you" to everyone who commiserated about my screwing up (I still can't figure out how) and erasing all of my personal photographs for the last two years. I'm amazed at how many of you share that kind of personal woe about data that were very important to you. The fact that I managed to do this with data that were on two harddrives particularly allows me to amaze myself. Some of you had good ideas about how to recover the files, and I'm going to follow up on that when I get back to Milwaukee: I think there may be a good chance of recovering what's on my external harddrive, as that still has 75 or so unused gigabytes, so I doubt the data have been written-over.

But currently, I'm visiting my Mom in the village of Verona, southwest of Madison, Wisconsin. I'm going to be hanging with her for some days, enjoying her company and trying to coach her on using my digital camera. She and my Aunt Pat are about to head off to Ireland, for what will be my Mom's first time back to the the country of her family. We kids pitched together to buy her the trip (or I guess part of it, as she's gone and spent more) as a gift for her [significant] birthday the other year. Even though I've been over there twice, I was always part of groups that weren't making it into the northwest, where the Sweeneys are from in County Sligo, so I've never been able to visit the family over there, but she'll be doing so. She and Pat just asked for a bunch of CDs to give to folks, too, which I happily showered them with.

My Grandpa, Bernard Sweeney, who died when I was one, so I have no memory of him, came over when he was a young teen, I think, with only one of his brothers, the both of them being told by my great-grandfather Thomas that the family couldn't afford to support them any more and that, even though they were still so young, they needed to go to America. I can't even imagine what they had to have felt like. Yes, we coddle and perhaps even spoil our teens, but the extra years of childhood and education pay off with other advantages. It's easy to forget how fast you have to grow up in some parts of the world, and in some periods of our history. So, my closest relative over there is a great aunt, I think, and the cousins descended from branches two or more generations back. I am eager to meet them myself, someday, but in the meantime, I'll have to content myself with my Mom's report. The families share a letter once a year, around Christmas, but I think I'll get a much more detailed "feel" for them from her.

In one other item of family news here, because the development from Madison has been booming so much, the housing has swept out from the city and made it here to Verona. Things have been going up everywhere for the last few years. Now it has come to the far side of town and our little family farm has just sold to developers for $12.8 million! $12.8 million for little more than a slice of hillside! We're all rather amazed. But we'd be more excited if we hadn't gotten rid of it in the 1950s. Sorry. :-) Had to try to play with you on that one....

Personal: Hanging with Mom

Well, if you've ever wanted to see a theologian--or me, in particular--really lose it (or come close to it, I guess), then last night was the night to be here. I dread visiting my Mom's for only one thing: using her computer. She's working off a 233Mhz processor on dial-up, and it is the most aggravating thing in the world when you're used to speed. Or even used to reasonable performance. I logged on to LJ and was able to respond to some notes from there in reasonable time, but when I went to my AOL account to get my email, I got the kind of performance I've come to dread. I had a note from my friend Kevin Fleming, just a cool little thing about his wife and son gone to bed and he now taking a late walk around Central Park in NYC and sitting in a cafe people-watching. I clicked "Reply" and suffered through 75 MINUTES of the thing straining to open the reply window for me. In fact, I gave up at around 45 minutes, and restarted the computer and logged in back to AOL to start over: a process that took only 30 more minutes. In the meantime, I had to convince myself not to go on a killing spree/therapeutic outlet around the Senior Citizens Apartment Complex....

So after a restful sleep (hours later than I could have gotten to bed, I had a cool, quiet, hanging-out day with her: the biggest things we did being Mass and watching that "Live 8" concert. Low-key. Some good talk about music with her, actually. A lot of aging rockers tonight might be a sign that rock and its descendants might be moving away from being strictly marketed as "youth music" and might just become *a* music: that people will listen to quality more than anything, even if it's from a geriatric Pink Floyd. We'll have to see when or if the marketers of the industry really see this.