Saturday, December 04, 2010

New USPSA look "On Line"

In the last issue of "The Front Sight Magazine" ( the house vehicle for USPSA), Executive Officer Dave notes that the website has a new look.

New is the correct word. There are several new features, not the least of which includes to ability to enter as a personal logon, and no more "member area".

I've only just ventured into the 'invent your logon' concept. In fact, I've tried to create a logon ID ... but I have so many logons and "helpful" software installed, I can see my logon but I have no idea what my password may be. And there is no indication of how to get help from USPSA.

They will certainly get past these petty problem, and with Rob B. spearheading the effort (along with others such as the now-skinny Bruce G.) I'm confident that USPSA will be able to find and defuse all the annoying little characteristics of a new website design.

Either that, or I haven't paid enough attention to the details, and that's always the first place to go when I'm trying to accustom myself to a new webpage design.

Still, even though I'm kinda cranky and very old, I'm betting that USPSA's new webpage design will prove to be a great improvement over the old "frame" design.

My best advice is for you to go there and see how it works for you. And if / when you find the obvioius helpful hints that I miss, I do hope you will pass them on to this easily confused self-named Geek.

Friday, December 03, 2010


I have received so many, many words of sympathy here. It is impossible to thank you all personally for the comfort you offer, although I would want to do so. And those of you who live in this area, I will hopefully be able to tell you personally how much your loving concern has meant to me ... not only this week, but during the two and a half grueling years when you were almost all the support I had.

No, that's not fair, entirely. My family and Sandie's family (who are now my family, too) have been as helpful as anyone fighting such a desperate, but ultimately hopeless battle, could ever expect.

It's amazing to me that not only our family and close personal friends should rally at this wretched hour, but also people who I not only don't know personally, and also many whose names I have never known before. People who have never known me or Sandie except remotely through the wretched internet.

Oh, I know I'm saying all of this badly. I'm still a mess, though I will be better ... later. Soon, but later. So forgive me if I am even less erudite than usual. You know all of this is too overwhelming and I am too weak to stand it by myself, so please accept this as my own personal version of the MacDonald Clan's "Group Hug" ( which, given their years of support, I suppose I will someday be forced to endure finally; because you know, I owe you all but I can only directly repay a few).

Yes, that was a run-on sentence. So sue me.

Still, in all of this horrid, horrible darkness, I would like to single out one special comment, and this from a total stranger. Please bear with me, I'll run out of tissues soon and I can get back to Having A Life.

This is a note I found on my comments page, from an exceedingly kind man who knows exactly where I am because he is ... maybe ... just emerging from that dark place:


We have never met, but I have read your blog for some time. I have enjoyed your humor and wit. Most of all I have enjoyed your videos and have watched them perhaps hoping to gain some insight to help my pathetic shooting. About three years ago my wife developed ALS and I lost her about 6 months ago. I hope you might find it comforting to know that reading about Sandie and her illness and bravery in the face of that illness, as well as your love and caring for her, helped give me the strength to be the caregiver for my wife. I heard the expression "sorry for your loss" so much that it almost became trite. But at this time I don't know what else to say except that I am, truely, sorry for your loss.
This is a man who knows exactly what I and my extended family are going through. He had the compassion to understand, the courage to speak beyond his own grief, and the humanity to so perfectly express himself that we can only imagine, if not understand completely, the soul-depth of his recent loss.

I'm not there; I'm not man enough, or human enough, to drag myself out of the pit of dispair. Not quite yet.

But this kind man has given me such a huge boost, I know I will never be able to thank him sufficiently.

I am awed, to realize that there are such people in this world. Perhaps there is hope for us, after all.

Now I think there may be hope for me, and a tomorrow that I can anticipate in hopes that there are good things to be found there, beyond merely praying for an end to the hurt and the loss

This will be the very last time I will weep in public. I promise. You have all been very patient with me, but now I've had an example -- a standard of courage -- which I cam only try to emulate. It's something worth trying for. Besides, if I couldn't pull myself together, Sandie wouldn't like it.

Thank you all. From me, and from Sandie.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Sandie Memorial

I talked to Sandie's Sister today ... the one who shares Power of Attorney with me, as we work to resolve all of the mundane issues related to Sandies estate, will, and wishes.

Sandie has told her sister that there will be no funeral, no memorial service, no "Remembrance Ceremony" or "Celebration of Life".

I'm not certain that this is the best possible decision, but it is not mine to make.

Those who remain behind -- friends and relatives of the deceased -- have been assured that funerals are for the friends and family, so they can find "closure". And perhaps it also serves the purpose of allowing people to eulogize a loved one, but that's just a guess.

Nobody knows what Sandie was thinking when she made this decision, but I have an idea about that.

Last Christmas ... December 26, 2009, I attended a memorial service for Sherry Orpwood, a friend and a member of the local IPSC community. Sherrie had been fighting cancer for a year, with various ups and down, and finally lost her long fight. Sherrie had been very helpful when Sandie was first diagnosed with Cancer, and gave Sandie suggestions on how to deal with the various road-bumps of chemotherapy (which we later discovered can not be made any easier ... it's all bad.)

When I went to the service, I discovered that it was all too immediate, and too personal for me to handle. Her husband (Loren, whose name I suspect I consistently manage to misspell) was working to handle his emotions but it was all too raw for him.

As the service continued, I found myself becoming increasingly emotional. At the end of the service, I bolted out of the church, into my car, and spent ten minutes in a supermarket parking lot just trying to find an emotional level which would allow me to drive safely.

When I got back home, I told Sandie how traumatic I found the service. She said nothing at the time, but I suspect this is part of the reason why she decided against a public ceremony. She is still trying to protect "other people", regardless of the cost to herself.

She has always been the most unselfish person I have ever known.


In the aftermath of my attempt find and notify every person whose life has impinged upon Sandie's life (and she, upon theirs), I have been comforted by the outpouring of dozens upon dozens of letters of regret from those who not only knew her personally, but who knew OF her. She has been the subject of prayers for the past 29 months, and I know that they have helped both her and me.

One of my best memories of Sandie may have been the time a couple of years ago, at an IPSC match at Albany Rifle and Pistol Club, when Sandie was RO'ing a stage at a club match.

Most of us were chatting with each other inside the covered bay when Sandie realized that nobody was "working the stage" after the shooter completed his run.

Her response was to face the squad and shout: "Hey, you guys! Get off your ass and get out here and tape these targets!"

Just in case anyone wonders why I called her "She Who Must Be Obeyed".

Not just everybody gets to be a Legend.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


I'm sorry that I have to use a stinking blog to say this.

Sandie Fae Smith died this morning about 6am. She was at home, her sister was there helping to take care of her.

Her passing was not unexpected, but I honestly thought ... well, not this soon.

She was diagnosed with lung cancer on July 7, 2008. Her doctor only gave her six months to live. She visited her doctor last July, just to throw it in his face that she stretched that six months into two years, and she wasn't quitting yet.

I do not want anyone to think that she went gently into that good night. She went kicking and screaming all the way, though perhaps in the last couple of weeks not quite so loudly. The spirit and the flesh, you know how it goes.

She made so many friends while we were going to pistol matches, and this is the only way I know that I can reach most of them. It's undignified, I know, but this is part of where the legend of SWMBO was born, so perhaps it's fitting, after all, that this is where it ends.

For those of our friends who live nearby, I'll publish here the details of funeral arrangements whenever they are made.

But to tell you the truth, I don't know how I'm going to get through it. Or through this day, for that matter. I'm a mess now, I'll be a mess then. Somehow, though, I'll be there to say my final goodbye to the finest person I have ever been privileged to love, and whose love I never deserved.