Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Rest in Peace Robert Sweeten

November 4th, 2008

I feel cheated by the universe.
I feel like I'm much too young to have lost this many people.
I'm aware that it's a very selfish way to feel, but I can't keep from feeling it.
I'm tired of burying my friends.

It wasn't long enough. It never is.

I have a lot of memories of Bob. They are fragmented because he drifted in and out of my life over the years. I'd always kept him in my thoughts, even when I hadn't seen him for a few years. I hope that he kept me in his thoughts as well.

Bob worked with computers, he got me interested in them and convinced my mother to buy our first one when I was in the third grade.

He worked for Parsons in Pasadena, CA as a network administrator. His job took him all over the world and he was full of stories. Years after returning from the Middle East, he still checked under his car for sleeping Arabs. He spoke many languages and appreciated many cultures.

His character was larger than life for me. I saw him as sort of a super-hero of the technological age.

He loved taking pictures. He had all of his photos transferred to slides so he could display them on an ancient projector in his tiny kitchen. I remember spending almost four hours clicking through his photos of Saudi Arabia and Beijing. He had a story for every slide.

No matter where he was in the world, he always sent us a huge box of See's candies every year at Christmas.

He was a collector. His house was full of artifacts from his travels as well as trinkets from everyday life. There were rare paintings and sculptures alongside bottle caps and baseball cards. He kept everything. I once collected over $75 in loose change from bowls and jars around his place.

He gave me the first thing I ever owned: a tiny stuffed polar bear on the day I was born. I still have it.

We watched the Rose Parade together and he took me to a soda fountain for french fries and a chocolate coke. He said it was his favorite place, but I think he just said that because he knew I would like it.

He took us to Hawaii one year for no reason other than he wanted us to have a good time. I remember his face lighting up when he took me and his neice Chelsea for ice cream on the beach in Maui. He was so happy to bring joy to children.

He had a wicked sense of humor that you would completely miss if you weren't listening.

We shared a peaceful nature and a desire to help the people around us. Bob always had good advice for me and always understood where I was coming from. He never once made me feel bad for being overweight like every other adult in my life did. He never made me feel like a child. He never talked down to me. He constantly encouraged me to pursue art and computers.

He had no children of his own.

He loved my mother. My dad always said that they should have been together, not in a jealous or angry way, but just as a statement of fact. She only saw him as a friend.

Some people in his life drew on his kind nature and sucked him dry.

At the end he was living in the pool house of a friend. Barely getting by. He had to take a second job to support the leaching personalities with which he had unwittingly surrounded himself. The economy had him worrying about losing his first job. He had exhausted his savings, sold his painstakingly gathered mementos, dipped into his IRA and 401K accounts, and been saddled with a debt that he didn't deserve.

Even for all of his travels and experiences, he had not done enough living to be ready to die. Or maybe I have not done enough living to be ready to let him go.

I can't console myself with the idea that it gets easier, because it doesn't. I've been here enough to know.

You just push it further back to keep it at bay, but these are the wounds that stay fresh, no matter how long you leave them to heal.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


August 12th, 2008

I hate to complain about my job, because honestly what I do is awesome, but lately it's been destroying me. Staying up every night until 2am writing code and cutting out images is not how I wanted to spend my summer. It's already August and we haven't had a chance to do any of the fun stuff we planned, like camping, or spending the day at the lake with the dogs.

We did get to go to the Warped Tour this weekend, and that was a good time. The show wasn't as good as last year, but I always have fun hanging out with everyone. Knowing that I had ten pages of web edits, a brochure re-design, and all the promotional materials waiting for me at home kind of put a damper on the event though.

I feel like I've obligated myself into a corner by trying to be nice to everyone. Whenever someone says, "Can you do this? I know it's last minute and it's a ton of work," I just can't turn them down. It's true that I do some of my best work under pressure, but it makes me a really crappy person to be around. I like myself a lot better when I'm not stressed.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Kudos! (not the chocolate bars, but still delicious)

August 8th, 2008

A collection of positive thoughts from clients:

"In Selina's skills, our organization hit the “trifecta” of graphic design: technical skill, artistic conceptualization and patience with those who are technically and artistically deficient. She is a pleasure to work with and we have enthusiastically referred her to friends, family and professional colleagues."

Nikki Cole, Speech Language Pathologist
RiteCare Spokane

"Selina was amazing to work with. We called her and she was always there to offer a helping hand. She was incredibly flexible; offering multiple suggestions and willingly taking the suggestions we gave her and building on these. Her work was professional and eye catching because of her artistic talents. And most of all she is efficient; finishing on or before she said she would."

Kerri Baldwin, Speech Language Pathologist
RiteCare Spokane

"Thank you, Selina Shehan, graphic designer extraordinaire! Selina would have been a top candidate for RiteCare Spokane's Volunteer of the Year Award if we hadn't been irresistibly compelled in the end to hire her for ongoing projects for our organization. Selina's work has been invaluable. We appreciated her unique ability to adapt to meet the moment: generous pacing in conversation was balanced by extreme efficiency in her work; focused attention to detail was tempered by humor. Expertly blended, her technological and artistic skills and her interpersonal finesse resulted in a remarkable final product.

Selina's attentive listening allowed her to synergize a multitude of ideas into a single, collaborative, professional work of art. Although our staff was unacquainted with the specifics of website design (technologically impaired, you might say), Selina was a natural teacher who regularly educated us beyond the scope of our initial questions. She provided expert opinions when directly asked, but her insights never overshadowed our intent. Requested changes (and those dreaded “change-backs”) were greeted with professional grace. As Selina skillfully coaxed our staff's vision to life onscreen, she encouraged us to explore additional design possibilities to make our organization stand out in the community.

It has been a privilege working with Selina. She provides exceptional value, incomparable here in the Spokane area. Anyone seeking assistance in developing a website or creating print materials in the workplace or at home would be wise to consider hiring this expert in graphic design. We at RiteCare know how fortunate we are that she found her way to our door!"

Michelle Gifford, Clinic Director
RiteCare Spokane

"When I first decided I needed a Web site to promote my book, Kayaking Alone , I was a little nervous. I didn't know anything about creating or maintaining a Web site, but everybody kept telling me I needed one to promote my book. So I took the plunge.

Fortunately a friend steered me to Selina. She came to my office, talked to me about everything from domain names to hosting to how the actual site would look and work. But the most important thing was her commitment to build a site that met my needs. Selina wasn't locked into her design, listened to my ideas when I suggested some changes to the site, and then made those changes.

When Selina finished and brought me the bill for all her work, I was shocked. It was so inexpensive. I had expected, and would have been willing to pay much more. Everyone who has visited my site comments on how attractive and professional it looks. And it has proven to be a great tool for marketing my book. Thanks Selina."

Mike Barenti, author of : Kayaking Alone: Nine Hundred Miles from Idaho's Mountains to the Pacific Ocean

Saturday, July 12, 2008

i love this hill

July 12th, 2008

It's just cool, and that's all I have to say.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

More fun with Greg

July 9th, 2008

It's time again for "Greg Says!"
Yaaaaaaay! Greg says the darndest things.

We were driving home one night and were stopped at a light when I noticed a guy in a dress walking down the street. Greg pointed at the guy and I thought he was going to say, "Look, a guy in a dress."

Oh no. That's not what he said at all.

Greg says:
"Is that one of those half-man, half-horse things?"

um...a centaur?! seriously.


We spent most of this week and last trying to dye Greg's hair a crazy color. First we tried blue.

We bleached his head to a pale blond (almost white) and left the blue dye on extra long just to be sure, and when we washed it out...his hair was black with patches of gray.

Just like it was before we bleached.

The next day it was green, and kinda bluish in the light. The day after that, we bleached again, this time to a blond color. Surprisingly, he made a good blond. We got orange dye (Tiger Lily from Manic Panic) and again, left it on for the longest recommended time.

This time it looked awesome. Head on fire awesome...

...for one day.

He didn't wash it at all, but from 10 am to 6pm, it faded from orange to blond. I'll be posting photos of this phenomenon so it can be studied.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Greg says...

June 9th, 2008

To the surprise of absolutely no one, Greg continues to say the darndest things.

Here's his latest:

"They were all doing Liz...in the Garden Department."

Yep, they sure were.

Turns out, he was impressed by the flowers in a friend's garden, and wanted to remark that said friends were "out-doing Liz" (another gardening friend).

So, from now on, I won't be able to look at Liz's garden without thinking horrible thoughts.

Sorry Liz.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

I have to kill a car full of Cubans then deliver this suitcase full of cocaine

February 16th, 2008

...that's today's "Greg quote of the day" (in reference to Grand Theft Auto, mind you, not my exciting moonlighting job as a mule).

As though we hadn't sunk far enough into the digital black hole at our house, we now have a new reason to go all glassy-eyed and neglect our hygeine...wireless internet!

Beginning yesterday, we can access the www from anywhere in the house, or the yard (in theory, there's too much weather outside to go out and check), and we can play Nintendo DS with other wireless-blessed folks out there.

Payless was having a shoe sale today, but I bought a router instead, that's how much this means to me.