Category Archives: Life

My Oma

A week and a half ago my grandma, whom I have always referred to as “Oma” (the German word for grandma), passed away in her sleep. She was 93 years old. I feel pretty fortunate to have had her in my life as long as I did, she was truly one of the most beautiful and loving people I’ve ever met.

During her memorial, my family asked if I would give the eulogy for her. I’m quite honored to get to share my view of Oma and the relationship that we shared, so of course I said yes. Since then a few family members have asked me for my notes on what I said, so I’m posting it here. Liz encouraged me to talk about Oma’s character, and I agreed.
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Less is More

If you read my Twitter or Facebook updates then you may already know that I’m selling some of my guitar equipment. Earlier this week I listed all of my effects pedals. People keep telling me not to sell my guitar or amp, that later I’ll be sorry. I’ve spent a fair amount of time thinking and praying through it, and I’m pretty confident that I’m going to sell the whole lot of my gear, with the exception of my acoustic guitar. I’m just not playing anymore, and I’m not really interested in playing in the short term. I do think that I’ll be in a band again someday, but that could be next year or 20 years later. I’m also cancelling my Netflix account and downgrading my cell phone plan.

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Road Rage

I got some stitches in my chin yesterday. While I was driving home another driver flew into a rage and chased me down. I’m being vague here intentionally. I debated about whether or not to post this here at all, and finally decided to leave out any identifying details. This isn’t the place for that. If you’re dying to know the full story then call me.
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This has been a great summer so far. Time with my girlfriend. Time with friends. Fun in the sun & water. Work that I really enjoy. And time to clean up some personal things as well. And family.

The Leonards haven’t had a family reunion in decades. Never in my lifetime, actually. But we did in June (I know, I’m late in writing this). 28 Leonards from 5 different states plus Europe arrived, and we had a blast visiting and playing with kids and eating and catching up.

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I’m picking up writing for my blog again after a break for the holidays. Mine were great, I really enjoying seeing family and having some down time to enjoy life. It wasn’t my intent to wait a couple of weeks before posting something here. I originally planned to write a couple of long entries, but when the time to write came my heart wasn’t in it.

After returning home from Colorado, my girl & I spent Christmas Eve with my family, and it was really fun. I missed seeing my grandma, which I was a little bummed about, but I really enjoyed time with my brothers. As always it was too short, but we had a great time together. True to form, my Mom had the holiday feast set out for easy grabbing. I was able to give some really fun gifts, and I got some really good ones, too.

Christmas day we went to my girlfriend’s family, and this was also a blast. Way more food than anyone could eat, lots of fun visiting with her family, playing with children. Once again I received some great gifts that I wasn’t expecting. It was awesome.

In the week between Christmas and New Years we got to see my Dad and some of my aunts & uncles, which was also fun. We all went to a fancy burger joint for lunch, and I think I had the biggest burger I’ve ever eaten. I think the patty was a half pound or something like that. Later that night my aunt Mary beat us all at dominoes and enjoyed taunting us through the entire game. She won’t win next time…

For New Year’s Eve we spent the night at my girlfriend’s parent’s house, along with her brothers and their families. We did some small fireworks with the kids, which was pretty fun. Once the children went to bed we broke out the cocktails and played poker. I didn’t get my $5 back, I over-estimated one hand and gave most of my money to my girlfriend’s Mom. It was still a total blast, and the game lasted a lot longer than any of us expected.

One night we went to see Night at the Museum, which I also really enjoyed. It isn’t as funny to me as Meet the Parents, but its still classic Ben Stiller.

Originally I thought I’d post some of the gifts that I received, but honestly it was a bit overboard this year. I got some really nice gifts, and I also had fun giving some nice gifts. At the end of it all I sort of feel materialistic. I totally appreciate everything that I got, and I’ll put it all to good use, I just wasn’t expecting Christmas to be this big this year.

Add it all up, and I’m feeling pretty spoiled. I’ve added a couple of pounds from all of the holiday food, and I’m sporting some new things that I probably never would have purchased for myself. It really was a great holiday.


One of my Dad’s hobbies is geneology. As far back as I can remember we’ve known that our family descends directly from both Davey Crockett and Oliver Loving. He’s done quite a bit of research on Oliver. More recently he’s been looking into his father’s (my grandfather’s) side, which we haven’t known as much about.

His efforts have gotten a boost from the information age. Hours of research on the web, combined with phone calls and vacations to key spots have filled in some major holes in our understanding.

One of the things that we’ve always thought was that our familiy name was Leonarducci. Not long after arriving in America, the family dropped the “ucci” from our name and no one ever bothered to change it back. Turns out we were wrong.

Recently his search turned up the records of several of our family members landing at the port in New York, including my grandfather, his mother, as well as several siblings, aunts & uncles. Their names were recorded as Leonarduzzi, not the Leonarducci as we had thought. That’s pretty cool.


Check out that record. It shows the date that they arrived, the ship they came over on, and the entire passenger manifest. We aren’t entirely certain of who this Leonarduzzi is, but we do know that we’re related. And, its still pretty exciting to learn exactly when one of the Leonaduzzi’s arrived in America.

We can’t account for the difference in spelling, other than to say that someone in the family incorrectly assumed the spelling of the name before it was changed. Learning of this difference unlocked a lot of other information. Last month my Dad and my aunt travelled to Iowa, which is where our family initially went when they arrived in the states. They found the graves of several ancestors and saw the spot where previous businesses owned by the family through the 1920’s and 1930’s had been. He also found several images of family members during that same era. Below is a photo of my great-great grandfather, Anthony Leonard, who lived from 1864 to 1943.


Learning about where we came from is fascinating. Learning of the interests of ancestors, what they did for a living, where in Italy they came from, how they dispersed throughout the United States, seeing pictures of their faces and the businesses that they ran. This is so cool.

Welcome Back

I haven’t blogged in a while. Mostly I’ve been busy. I’m working as many hours as possible before school slams me, so that I have some cash through the rest of the year. I also haven’t really felt as much like blogging lately, though I can’t explain why.

I still love my job. I work with a great team, my boss is fantastic, and the work is varied and interesting. Its been six years since I’ve had a job that I fully captured my attention. I feel pretty fortunate. And, because I’ve been working so much lately, I actually have some financial margin again. Remember a couple of months ago when I was flat broke? God is good.

This fall semester I’m taking some heavy material, so I’m not sure how much bandwidth I’ll have for blogging. It feels pretty danged good to be challenged academically and keep up. I have struggled with this degree at points along the way, but I’m still in it. I’m going to be a rocket scientist. My perspective on this goal has changed over time, but I still think its pretty freakin cool to be able to understand why something that weighs more than my house can travel near the speed of sound, or why satellites don’t fall to the ground.

I recently bought Sea Change by Beck. I am speechless. I’ve been a distant fan for years, but I had this perception that he’s too “out there” for me to fully embrace his music. Sea Change is more relaxed than his other efforts, which highlights his depth and diversity. His guitar work, simple and powerful on its own, is accentuated by some nice other instruments. I know I heard a dulcimer at one point. And his vocals and lyrics are icing on the cake. You have to hear “Sunday Sun”. I’m now a fan.

Over Now

After leaving my last company, I still had the chore of collecting my last paycheck. The management team is notorious for creativity in non-payment, so it wasn’t easy. I finally started contacting attorneys and preparing for a lawsuit.

The process of a trial is unbelievably draining. I avoid conflict by nature anyway, so arguing in front of a judge does not sound like fun to me. My anxiety level has been pretty high over the past few weeks as I prepared.

Once I was certain that I had a case, I sent the management team a letter with a proposed payment plan and gave them two weeks to reply. It only took them one day. The CEO wrote a brusque reply saying that I would be paid immediately, chastised me for threatening legal action and reminded me that I was never an employee.

I have to admit, I was pretty tempted to post my letter and his reply here. I think most of my readers would get a kick out of it. I finally realized that the only thing in his entire note that matters to me is the fact that I’m getting paid. I’m glad that this is over.

For a complete twist of events, my new boss got me a sweet birthday present! Not only does he pay me on time, there’s an unexpected gift! This came on the tails of the terse exchange mentioned above, so the fact that he wanted to give me anything at all floored me. But, its not just any gift, he did some research and got me something he new I’d like.

God is good. I’ve been praying about my job and paychecks for literally over a year. The intensity of my prayers has increased over the past month while preparing for a legal battle. He answers by giving me a job, paying me in full and giving me gifts.

Next time you catch me having little faith, send me a link to this post. Seriously.

Happy Go Lucky

I try to make a point of not talking about my job here, mostly because this is not about work, its about me. But, my job has not been very fun for the past several months. Its not so much the work, really, its the management. I have chosen to stick with it because they are very flexible with my schedule. But all of that changed in the blink of any eye. I didn’t even see it coming.

Last week B-Dub mentioned to me that his brother-in-law was looking for summer help, so I called him. We had a very encouraging talk on the phone. Then a great interview. And then I started working there. All over a matter of 3 days. I still have a little more to do at my old position, but I’m almost done.

Here’s the cool part, the work is awesome. And, I can work from anywhere. Coffee shops, campus, a park bench, anywhere. Somehow I landed in a job that’s even more flexible than the one I had before. And now my boss isn’t even really like my boss. He’s such a neat guy that its more like working with a friend.

I’m excited, and I feel like a whole new person. This is what it feels like to smile :). Say hello to the now happier-than-ever-before-in-2006 Lenwood.


I’m a week into my break between semesters, and so far its been great. I did go skiing on Friday afternoon. It was my second time so far this season, and for some unexplained reason, I’m doing better on a slalom ski than I ever have before. I don’t understand it, but I sure am enjoying it.

Saturday I woke up early, went for a run with BK, then packed for camping. That afternoon my girl and I went to Enchanted Rock and camped in one of their primitive camping areas. We got a nice hike in, which helped a lot when I was trying to sleep that night.

Sunday we hiked to the top of the rock. There was an older couple that hiked all the way to the top and back. We guessed that they’re both in their 70’s, and it really was awesome to visit with them as they hiked up & back. Its no small feat to get to the top of that rock, and it really was encouraging that they completed the hike!

On the way back we stopped in Llano for some Cooper’s BBQ. Mmmmm. When we got back to Austin, we showered and went to her folk’s for dinner. Her Mom is a great cook. We had steak with garden fresh veggies, followed by home made key lime pie and home made vanilla ice cream. Sound good? It was. You should be jealous.

This morning it was back to work. But, after work, I went to Jack & Adams for core strength training. I’m now in training mode. And I feel it. I’m sore.

Was majorly bummed to watch my Spurs lose to the Mavericks tonight. I had hope in the 4th quarter because most of the Mav’s starters had fouled out. But they dominated us in OT, and we didn’t recover. I’m bummed that my team lost, but the Mavs totally earned it.

As I write this game 7 of the Suns-Clippers series is on, and the Suns are up in the 2nd quarter. I say crush the Clippers.