Category Archives: Family

My Children’s Treasury Of Helpful Misinformation — now downloadable/printable

I drew a book for my niece Lucy for Christmas 2007, based on an anecdote from her mother Tessa: Tessa was in a bookstore in Park Slope Brooklyn with my niece Lucy, who was two and a half years old. Lucy tells Tessa “Mommy, let me read to you!” So Tessa sits down with Lucy, Lucy holding a random book. Lucy began to read with the title “American States In The Thirties and Forties.”

So I decided to write that book, and fill it with as many lies and as much misinformation as I could muster.

Today I took all the scanned images and stuck them together in Word and made a PDF file out of them, the better to print out or browse through on a computer.

http://www.cornwarning.com/xfer/AmericanStates.pdf

Lucy's Favorite Page
Lucy's Favorite Page

It’s still available as individual images on Flickr.com.

Theme From Ozone Avenue, by Lucy Kent Blake-Williams

My niece Lucy began taking music lessons. This is her first attempt at manuscript. And since she put in more intentionality than, for example, goldfish swimming or birds on telephone wires, I thought it deserved to be arranged.

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He watches Project Runway so I don’t have to

My Brother Ian, Preaching on the value of Niceness Among The Ambitious

“…you’re never going to sell a book entitled “The REAL Secret: The Universe Doesn’t CARE What You Want” but I’ve seen enough nice guys (and girls) finish first to wonder why everyone else is being such a dick about it.”

I’ve resolved to post something every day, both as a careerist blogger move, and because I’d like to impose at least that much discipline on this effort, no matter how pallid and wan an activity blogging on this level is. So this is day 1…

Carol Audrey Rosvald Malcolm

Tomorrow is my mother-in-law’s 80th Birthday! She has lived a remarkable life — her mom died when she was quite young, and her father couldn’t take care of her, so she bounced around, living with several relatives and family friends, and was living on her own before she was out of high school. She taught school, raised four remarkable children, and ran her own small business for over thirty years. She has always been wonderful and supportive to Melissa and I.

This picture was taken sometime in the early 40s, probably 1943. It was a creased wallet photo that I spent some time restoring; the fact that it scanned and blew up so well is a testament to the amazing quality of black and white film photography.

Carol Audrey Rosvald, Age 13

Hunter C. + Ian Williams, Live @ Altamont UT

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My cousin Jana’s daughter Hunter singing “Put Your Records On” accompanied by my brother Ian. I’d never heard the original version by Corinne Bailey Ray before recording Hunter singing it.  She’s 14 years old, but I think she really has a fresh take on it — she sings it in her own voice, without aping Ray’s mannerisms.

Recorded with the Zoom H4 hand-held.  I had 2 takes to work with and comped a few bits from the 1st take into the second — mostly where Ian invented some strange chords.  Given that the 2 takes were the 5th and 6th time he’d played the song total, he did nicely.  A little EQ and Reverb and Compression, and there you have it.

Family Reunion

This was kind of a rough family reunion, what with my cousin’s son dying 2 weeks before the reunion. It was mostly what a reunion should be, modulo occasional breakouts of tears, though I think it was net positive for my cousin, because grief shared is a little easier.

My favorite moment was pretty much entirely inappropriate. I was talking to my cousin’s husband and said “I’ve known J_ all her life. I used to change her diapers.” He replied “you saw my wife naked before I did?” and without thinking I said “yeah, but she had poop all over her butt.”

Fun facts from the Worsley reunion:

  1. 2nd cousin once removed Sven, 11, made his comedy debut at the talent show, and he was so uncomfortable and covered in flop sweat, it was like Albert Brooks wrote a routine for Andy Kaufman.
  2. 2nd cousin (o.r.) Hunter is going to be a huge pop star. She’s 14, beautiful, sings like an angel, and is a born performer.
  3. Cousin Melissa is Toodee on Yo Gabba Gabba! How cool is that?
  4. If you’re not used to riding horses, cantering kinda smarts in the nether regions.
Toodee!
Toodee!

Those we lose we keep forever

Our dog Marge who has been with us since 1996 (at least, we don’t remember) died yesterday suddenly. I don’t mention this because I want sympathy, or because the world needs another ‘death of pet’ eulogy, but because some of you who follow my blog have actually been to my house and met Marge.

If you met Marge, you know what we’ve lost. Pour one out for her tonight. We will miss her very much.

Marge was afraid of thunderstorms, walking across unfamilar surfaces, and cameras, so these are the only two pictures of her we have. The first is canned from a Mother’s Day card I made for Melissa with our three dogs saying “We love you.”

Marge, contemplating an impending treat.
Marge, contemplating an impending treat.

Marge,rampant
Marge was afraid of cameras

To all y’all mothers out there.

First off, my wife Melissa, in addition to her many other talents, is a fantastic mother. She’s so good at it she doesn’t stop with our own two kids, but will mother just about anyone she thinks needs it — our dogs, neighborhood kids, random sketchy teenagers, Lucas’ college friends he brings home to hang out on breaks, and of course, me. As a parent, I would rate myself a pretty mixed blessing, but I think anyone would be lucky to have Melissa as a mother.

Second, my mother is awesome. I got off the phone with her a minute ago, and felt a little sad because she’s been through a lot of little health problems adding up to her feeling like shit the last couple weeks. I’m hoping that her reactions to her meds settle down, her root canal stops aching, etc.

The thing is, when we were kids, things were pretty tough and chaotic for all of us, for reasons that I won’t go here. Those few of you who know something of my mom’s life story, know that there’s been a lot of lurching from one pretty awful thing to another, and if you knew her 30 years ago, or 20 years ago, you’d get the impression that she was hanging by a thread. Her true brilliance was that she always managed to keep it together, for us kids. Even when she really was losing it, everyone got fed, kept from wandering out into traffic, and loved.

Now and for the past 15 years or so she seems to have found her feet, and has been able to live a relatively calm and happy life. Unfortunately that same period has brought trials, notably dealing with macular degeneration, which has slowly wrecked her eyesight. Luckily this started for her when the research into MD has started to pay off. She can still see well enough to do her work and get around. She walks everywhere around Astoria and the city, she goes to the gym, she walks her dog Hildy. So for someone within shouting distance of 80, she’s doing all right.

But we all know she’s only on loan for so long, and in talking to her today I think we both felt that. Woody Allen has a joke in “Annie Hall” about two jewish women in a restaurant: One says “the food here is terrible” and the other says “yes, and such small portions!” That’s the most unfair part of life: So much of it is scary and awful and hard, and you don’t get nearly enough of it.

I don’t pray but I wish more than anything that she can have as many years as possible to enjoy life, rail against those fucking Republican assholes, lose her car keys, brew cups of coffee and forget to drink them, write music, work in the recording studio, and see, however imperfectly, Barnaby and Lucy grow up. But most of all, I hope that she can continue to enjoy more relatively disaster- and tragedy-free years.