Eileen and me on our 20th anniversary. September 18, 2008.
By education, I should have become an English teacher. However, a lifelong fascination with computers sent my professional path another direction. It was bound to happen, really -- who in high school wouldn't have predicted that I'd become a professional nerd? I'd been programming since before I went to college, and continue to so do, although my work now is sporadic at best and done from home when it's done at all.
My professional accomplishments are only of interest to other programmers, and most of them wouldn't even be interesting to programmers who began their careers three or four years after I did.
However, my personal accomplishments are another story. My proudest accomplishment is really one that is shared with my wife, Eileen -- our work rescuing dogs. We began this work in 1996 back in Illinois with a breed called the "keeshond." Much of our work with that breed is detailed on our old rescue website, http://www.westcot.net/rescuekees. When we moved to Arizona in 2003, we had no plans on starting up another rescue. But God had other plans for us. We started another rescue group, AZ Corgi Rescue, here in 2004, and have been doing that ever since. To date, we've placed about 125 Corgis. More details about this group can be found here: http://www.azcorgirescue.com.
Eileen and me at Barnes and Noble with our "spokes-Corgi," Daisy. December 2005.
On our wedding day, September 18, 1988.
In 2002, I was diagnosed with "dilated cardiomyopathy," a debilitating, degenerative heart condition. Practically overnight, I went from working to receiving disability income. But, rather than wonder, "Lord, why me," I instead found myself asking, "Lord, why am I so deserving?" Friends turned out to help us move when we found that we needed to leave Illinois for health reasons, then turned out again to help us move into our new home in Arizona. Twice.
Losing one's income, one's home, and one's health makes one appreciate those things that don't come with an associated price tag: Love, friendship, memories, trust, compassion, faith.
I hate -- HATE -- being beholden to the Government for my income. But, there just aren't that many companies willing to hire someone who can work about 4 hours and then needs to rest for 2 hours or so. I have been exploring other options of things that I can do at home on MY schedule, though, such as writing, and I hope that something happens on that front at some point.
Off-the-wall things about you we don't know:
Our costumes for the Hallowe'en party in Romania; Eileen was Christine, and I was Erik, the Phantom of the Opera. Right - Vlad Dracula's citadel on Poienari Mountain; a winding 1500-step staircase leads to the summit. It was a rough climb, but oh, so worth it! October, 2001.
I have both a Myspace and Facebook account. The Myspace account is fairly lapsed, but the Facebook account is moderately active.
Spiritual or religious thoughts:
I am a Christian, and was brought up in the Methodist church.
Links on the web about you:
None that aren't mentioned elsewhere... I hope.
Hobbies and Interests:
I have many, many hobbies and interests. Some of them include writing, sculpting, Hallowe'en prop-making and decorating, and, of course, dog rescue already mentioned.
Part of our front yard home haunt, October 2007. "Igora," a Hallowe'en prop Eileen made for our home haunt that year.
Favorite memories from your days at U High?
It will come as no great surprise that I don't have many fond memories of U-High. Oh, the teachers were good, to be certain... for the most part. And some were out-and-out awesome; Mr. Parmantie is the reason I majored in English, for example.
But, outside of a few good friends, most of my fellow classmates seemed to believe that I'd been allowed into school for the amusement of all. Nothing like being an overweight, bespectacled smart kid to emblazon the target of scapegoat firmly on my back and to brand "LOSER" across my forehead. Then again, why would life in high school have been any different from that in junior high school or grade school?
I don't blame my fellow classmates. Peer pressure is a bitch. Those smart enough to avoid the peer pressure lemmings became friends.
Of course, it could have been worse -- I could have gone to BHS or NCHS.
Message to Jackson Harding: Where are you, mate? Let SOMEONE know your current e-mail address!
The family holiday letter I've attached (click on this link) isn't about my family, but is a newsletter PARODY I wrote many, many years ago to send to friends at Christmastime to give them a chuckle. You may or may not find it amusing.
Casper, one of the non-Corgi rescues we've helped, giving everyone a little cheesecake! June 2009.
One in a series of spectacular Phoenix sunsets. July 2006.
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Wild Rhythms Pikestaff Press Robert D. Sutherland