Happy Father’s Day 2012

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Even though Father’s Day is one of those “Hallmark Holidays”, it got me remembering this morning that ten years ago, in 2002, we took a wonderful family vacation to Norway – and to the original Loftesnes (spelled with just one ‘s’ on the end over there) homestead.

On June 18, 2002, we took a high speed ferry from Bergen to Sogndal – about a three hour ride up the largest fjord in Norway. A beautiful trip indeed! This photo shows my Dad (age 80) and me out on the bow of the ferry after we docked in Sogndal. Brings back lots of great memories about what a great Dad (and proud Granddad) he was.

Over the next few days, we toured the area around Sogndal and he had such a great time – his first trip to Norway. One of my best memories is sitting out on the lawn at our hotel watching the bonfires around the Sognefjord burn late on Midsummer evening. Dad was in his element!

Dad passed away just over two years ago and we miss him every day! He was especially one from the greatest generation!

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Remembering…

We lost my Dad on this day just a year ago – March 11, 2010. In some ways that seems like just yesterday – as we were gathered around his bed in the hospice home. In other ways, it seems like a long time ago – as other memories flood in.

Curiously, yesterday when I was updating iTunes, it brought up an audio notes file from late 2009 that I had recorded on my iPhone at a family get together (his 88th birthday celebration). I had forgotten all about that file! Hearing Dad’s voice again brings back even more of those memories… We miss him dearly!

Yesterday would have been my late good friend Chris Gulker‘s 60th birthday. His wife Linda writes about the day in her blog post – with two great photos of Chris – both with cameras in his hands – he was “always shooting”. He was such a good friend over the last few years.

It’s curious to me how these two days are juxtaposed together – Chris’ birthday yesterday and the day of Dad’s death today. Life is mysterious indeed. March will never be quite the same, I’m sure.

Quite a Year – 2010

As we’re winding down 2010, it’s quite a rainy and windy Tuesday evening here in Menlo Park.

Just took Lily out for the last time tonight – with blustery winds and sheets of rain coming down. We got it done!

Tonight’s weather sort of summarizes 2010 for me. 2010 was a very poignant year – with the loss of my Dad and my best friend Chris. Yes, life does go on – but I miss them both every day.

Yet, we had lots of good times – a couple of trips to Yosemite (including one special one with David), cooking classes with Chris and Tracy, great family get togethers – and lots of photography expeditions hither and yon.

One of my favorites was the trip that Chris and I took in early September to see the Ansel Adams – Portrait of America exhibit at the Monterey Museum of Arts La Mirada facility. Chris was quite the Ansel fan – and taking the time to walk through this exhibit with him was just wonderful. He blogged about it here.

2010 was also a great year of learning at work with new clients, great projects, and new challenges. We published our first ever book about the US payments systems, expanded our payments education curriculum and expanded our web commentaries. I went to Austria, India and Ireland in 2010 to talk about payments – some fascinating trips! And, naturally, we’re ending up the year being more than fully engaged!

I hope your 2010 was a good one – in spite of the inevitable ups and downs! Let’s try to get together in the New Year and compare notes!

Thoughts on Thanksgiving 2010

One of the great joys of blogging is looking back at what you wrote. Seems sort of silly to say it quite that directly – but, as with a handwritten journal, a blog captures your current thinking – and, at least at my age (!), you may not quite remember all of those details a year or three later. Having a blog helps you remember – it’s that simple. Sometimes those rememberings bring back floods of unexpected memories…

This evening, after a wonderful family Thanksgiving celebration at my Mom’s earlier today, I took a brief look back at earlier Thanksgivings – as I recorded them here on my blog. Frankly, I didn’t get very far – just to last year – before I was brought up short by the image below – which I had used for my Thanksgiving post from 2009.

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As I said in last year’s post, this photo was taken following my regular Tuesday morning walk with Chris Gulker early in Thanksgiving week 2009. Chris and Linda have always had beautiful flowers on their kitchen table – and, when Chris and I came back from our twice-weekly walk and shared coffee, I usually took a photograph of those flowers. Last year’s lilies were especially beautiful – and I used that image for my Thanksgiving 2009 post.

Since I wrote that post a year ago, we lost my Dad, his niece and my cousin Ruth Ann, and Chris. Losing them was hard – yet I have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving – especially for my memories of the times I shared together with all of them. Good memories. Such good memories. Missing them as I do, life has to go on without them – while they’re always in my thoughts.

Today at Thanksgiving, we celebrated our shared life together across four generations, providing us with renewed sources of joy and thanksgiving for our lives ahead.

Thanksgiving really is the best of all the holidays. The very best indeed. Hope yours was as special as ours!

Remembering Dad!

Carl J. LoftesnessI heard somewhere that today is the 100th anniversary of Father’s Day. For my sister and me, this is our first Father’s Day without our Dad. Dad passed away just over three months ago and we miss him dearly.

We had a wonderful family get together today at Mom’s place – sharing in the warmth of each other’s company. It brought back memories of Father’s Days with Dad watching and playing with his grandkids – always with a big smile on his face.

That’s how we’ll remember him – and these special celebration days help us reflect back on all he did for us every step along our way. We love you Dad!

Remembering Dad

This afternoon we held a memorial service to remember my Dad, Carl J. Loftesness, Jr. Dad passed away on March 11, 2010. At his passing he was 88 years young.

Carl J. LoftesnessToday’s memorial to Dad was truly a remarkable event. In addition to us family members, so many of my Dad’s friends came – including his good friends from the Berkeley Rotary Club and the Odd Fellows. We shared many memories of how he influenced our lives with his competence, his unconditional love, and his modesty. A common theme was how he was universally liked by all who knew him.

Pastor Jack Niemi of Hope Lutheran Church in Rossmoor officiated. Jack is a very special pastor who, along with his wife Ruth, my Mom and Dad had gotten to know over the past several months.

Jack said to me on the morning of my Dad’s passing that “Heaven’s an even better place now that your Dad has arrived.” Indeed it is. Today helped us all understand just how much.

We miss him dearly – his smile, his reassurance, his confidence, his quiet joy and love of family. Today’s celebration of his life was very, very special indeed. We all love you Dad!

Balance

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been reading two books – roughly at the same time. The balance between them is pretty amazing. And, they’re best – I think – when read together in much the way that I read them. How I ended up doing so in parallel is totally coincidental – but full of serendipity.

The first book is REWORK by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson of 37signals.com. Famous for their Signals vs. Noise blog, Fried and Hansson have written loosely organized short essays about how to do business in a new way – one that emphasizes building private and profitable businesses from the get go, not looking to outside sources of capital. To those of us who seek to remain our own bosses, REWORK is a manifesto of ways to try to do that.

The second book is LINCHPIN: Are You Indispensable? by Seth Godin. Seth is pretty amazing – he dispenses great advice on a daily basis on his blog – and his book builds on those snippets but in a more organized fashion. He’s striving to get us to realize our uniqueness – suggesting we learn to push away our “lizard brain” responses so that we can actually deliver on what we’re truly capable of. He’s an inspiration.

In the midst of reading these two books, I lost my Dad to his struggle with prostate cancer. While his life was truly a gift to all who knew him, our sense of loss was very real. In a way that I can’t really articulate very well, going back and forth in reading these two books has helped me along the way in dealing with the loss of my Dad and in reflecting on what’s important – along with the strong support from our family and friends.

I commend both of these books to you – and hope that they similarly provoke your thinking about your life – and your future.

Carl J. Loftesness – 1921-2010

We lost my Dad this morning…the result of prostate cancer which had spread into his bones.

My Mom, sister and I spent an hour with him before he passed – in our arms. He was the last of his seven siblings to pass away.

Carl J. LoftesnessDad was 88 years young and had a wonderful life. He was much beloved by his family and his many friends.

We felt his love for all of us, as he reminded us of his joy and love for our family. He was a great husband, Dad, GrandDad, and GreatGrandDad! His grandchildren and great-grandchildren especially gave him so much joy – and kept him young in spirit.

Dad’s pastor said on the phone to me this morning: “Heaven’s an even better place now that your Dad has arrived!” Indeed it is!

We know he’s already hard at work in the garden up above, trimming the trees, raking the leaves, shaping things up! We really miss him.

Many, many thanks to the Hospice of the East Bay for the amazing work that they do. Dad – and we – couldn’t have been in better hands for this most difficult of transitions.