Retro

Tonight I finished up archiving Matt’s original WordPress site. It was using a really old version of WordPress and last week I discovered that Google and OpenDNS had blocked the site completely (and this one) after finding malware. It didn’t take too much effort to back up the databases, remove all of the files, upgrade the software and start new with fresh php, css, and html. I did not want to spend the time to recover the old site exactly as I had it, so I used the theme Misty Lake which is the updated version of Mistylook. Once I got everything back up I took some screenshots of the original classic WordPress theme from way back who knows when, as well as some shots of the administrative pages from WordPress 2.2, the version current to the time I set up the blog for Matt in 2007-2008. (Images to come.) Take a screenshot of a website for posterity before changing it? It’s like taking a photograph and I find myself similarly emotionally attached and thus embroiled in the art of web archiving. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any screenshots before everything went down.

These days, apps and the iPhone camera have turned old camera imperfections and mistakes into filters and effects that are considered retro. I wonder if website designs from yesteryears like Web 2.0 will at some point become retro. Not just what we record but how we record it has become food for nostalgia. I certainly found it difficult to kill the WordPress 3.5 installation on www.matthenson.com tonight. All the while knowing that it is all practice, practice to set about a project to web archive LiveMosaic if I can and to still shut it down if I can’t, practice to do it with minimal effort on my part and to be open to what that archive may or may not look like, practice to continue on.

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37 – Matt’s Birthday

In honor of Matt’s birthday, I deleted his Facebook account. Probably not the sort of gift he would have appreciated if he were alive, but I learned my lesson with LinkedIn.

In an emotional fit one week not long after my birthday I updated his LinkedIn profile to indicate he was deceased. Later that week I was dismayed to be informed by a friend that the update had meant an email was sent to all of his connections asking them to “congratulate him on his new job” as deceased. Looking back over my emails, I discovered that I had received such an email, unfortunately several, but in not as large font size as I feared. After letting this unforeseen consequence sink in, I find that I don’t regret the decision. Maybe it sounds irreverent, but I believe Matt making it to heaven is a rite to congratulate him on, even if not so for his surviving loved ones. Also, it was much easier to update his profile than to respond individually to 30+ connection requests from the past two years and anyone looking him up in the future will now learn about his death. I want people to know. As I told my friend Mark M, there is also something worthwhile in the experience of “connecting” with Matt [through LinkedIn].

Facebook is a different story. (Someone told me people will write vitriolic things on the walls of deceased patrons.) Matt was not as invested in his Facebook account and it’s just not something I want to deal with, not having an account of my own. Unfortunately, I discovered too late that his Facebook account was necessary for Facebook login on LiveMosaic to work.

What have I done the past two years for Matt’s birthday? The first year (35), I had party which felt both like a celebration and a funeral. Matt loved having birthday parties for himself. Last year, I had a new deck and patio built as a birthday gift to myself. I spent a long time deciding what to do about the grass because it was so expensive and I wanted the deck most. I decided on replacing the Bermuda Tiff with Zoysia and it turned out to be the best part of the yard. I realized later that it was my birthday gift to Matt (36).

View More: http://pinkletoes.pass.us/henson-13

Wince

This morning I was sitting in mass listening to the cantor and feeling pained at how terrible she sounded. Out of the blue, an image of Matt popped into my head, the image of him responding to a singer who was painful to listen to. I wish I had a picture or a video, and even now if I try to grasp the image in my head, it melts away. He would wince with a slight comical effect and say “Ay!” I remember always thinking that he was overly sensitive to these sorts of things.

This week is a hard week, the week that begins with Mother’s Day, goes through our wedding anniversary and ends with Matt’s birthday. This year it also includes Cole’s kindergarden graduation. There have been a lot of tears this week and that memory of Matt brought up once again the terrible pain I experienced over the first year. How do I forgive such pain? I suppose the therapy is writing the stories of our lives here.

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Sneakers

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Did you know that for Matt and my wedding reception I wore sneakers? I wore white pumps for the ceremony and they would not stay on my feet. I had predetermined that it would be more comfortable and cool to just have a pair of sneakers to change into and that is exactly what I did after the wedding. They were white canvas with a two-inch sole and I don’t think Matt even thought twice about them. I even danced our dance in them.

Cousin Benjamin B. Bell

Hello, Family, one and all,
I’m in contact with Cynthia Bell Anderson, daughter of Ben, brother of Bill Bell. Benjamin Bell’s obituary notice appeared in the Sunday ed. of The Tennessean, a Nashville newspaper, and online via the funeral home. He chose to be cremated, and there will be a memorial service at a later date.

This is very sketchy. I had only met Ben once, in my memory, and that was many many years ago in an unknown time and space…
Sorry I cannot add more at this time, signed, Jonatha

In Memory of “Benjamin B. Bell”
Benjamin B. Bell, husband, dad, uncle, grandfather, great grandfather, caregiver, friend, age 80, of Bon Aqua, TN passed away peacefully at home on Thursday May 16th surrounded by loved ones.
Born November 2 1932, in Buffalo, NY parents Charles Bell & Helen Griffith. Brothers, Bill Bell (deceased) Jerry Bell, Leonard Bell (deceased), Richard Carter (deceased) John Carter, David Carter, Paul Carter.
He leaves his wife of 29 years, Nancy (Ingle) Bell; his children, Robert Bell, Kathleen (Bell) Lackey, Nancy Cox Lamb, Debbie Bell (deceased) Charlotte (Cox) Johnson, James Bell (deceased), Joyce Cox Staggs, Cynthia (Bell) Anderson, Patricia (Bell) Singleton, Steven Bell, Pamela Bell, Andrew Cox, 28 grandchildren, 19 great grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements to be made at a future time

(Published in The Tennessean May 19, 2013)

Running

Today I went and bought new running shoes, which is always hard and begins a long story.

The last time I bought new running shoes before Matt died was the summer of 2010. I remember being dressed in a dress and heels (maybe after a piano recital?) and Matt wanting to replace his running shoes. He also wanted me try the fancy running store that a friend at work had referred him to. Matt was trying to get me into running, just as he always wanted to share with everyone the things he thought were good. Matt knew the pair he wanted and was finished quickly. Then he watched the kids, while I demonstrated my stride for the salesperson and tried on several pairs of shoes. I settled on a pair without even asking the price and we checked out, only to discover that I had chosen the $200 pair of shoes. Matt didn’t say a word, but it wasn’t my intention to spend so much on running shoes so back we went for me to choose a less expensive pair.

I did get into running, only 5 to 6 miles a week, but I’ve been very consistent. After Matt died, I went a long time knowing I needed new running shoes. Finally, in late spring 2012, I decided I was going to go to Runtex which was convenient and get new shoes. It turns out the Runtex on Town Lake was gone and I couldn’t figure out where it was relocated to. It is such a little thing to just choose some shoes and run, but it was a mental boulder for me. I finally located the new Runtex which was near where I work. They had just moved in and had two pairs of shoes for me to try and nothing else in the store. When I was explaining that I hadn’t bought new shoes in two years, the salesperson actually said, “You haven’t bought new shoes in two years? Well, life happens.”

The shoes I bought then broke this spring, and once again finding new ones was energy I did not want to spend. Once again, Runtex was gone. I finally settled on the Running Store, near where I work and went in over lunch. I tried traditional styles, the new low profile styles, sale styles and the untraditional style I currently had. Six or seven pairs, “speed dating shoes over lunch” as the salesperson described it. I easily settled on the standard pair of Mizunos, just as much because they are comfortable as because Mizunos are what Matt wore.