Camilla Wins Softball Championship 2016

May 20th, 2016

Mary Ellen Steussy Shanahan, 1937 – 2016

May 11th, 2016

Mary and Larry undated

My aunt, Mary Ellen Steussy Shanahan, passed away today at the age of 79. She was an English professor, married to Larry Shanahan, another English professor. She had a wit, a tongue, an education and a taste for the good life.

Wedding_1965Her Official Obituary: Mary Steussy Shanahan, born January 30, 1937, passed away on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 in New Glarus, Wisconsin after a brief illness. She was the daughter of Edwin and Helen Freitag Steussy and was predeceased by two brothers, Robin and Calvin Steussy. Mary is survived by her husband Lawrence Shanahan. She was born in Madison, Wisconsin, attended West High School, and graduated with a Ph.D. in English from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. After she completed her Ph.D., she taught at Nebraska Wesleyan in Lincoln, Nebraska and Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma. After retirement, she taught for more than 10 years at Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin. Mary is survived by a large loving family of cousins, nieces, and nephews and an even larger family of students whose lives were so enriched by Mary’s gift of teaching. Mary’s two passions in life were teaching and beauty and she leaves a rich legacy of each.

Mary married Larry in 1965 in Monticello, Wisconsin at her grandfather’s stately rural home. Larry was her companion and her muse, always present and always devoted, for the past fifty-one years.

I’ve known Aunt Mary all my life. I remember her brief visits to my childhood home in Indiana, as well as our many visits to her in Wisconsin. She introduced me to good cheese, wry conversation and martinis.

She taught me cocktail party banter and etiquette. Her wry sense of humor and education mixed seamlessly. This was also true in her everyday life, as she had a cat named Fitzgerald and a car named Lord Byron. I will miss her.

With Mary’s passing, a generation of Steussy’s have left us. The void they leave behind, Robin, Cal and Mary, is vast and deep.


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Mothers’ Day 2016

May 8th, 2016


Mothers’ Day at the new house. Daniel is still asleep; Dad is fresh back from New Glarus and Aunt Mary. We’ve been living in the house for two weeks now.

15th Anniversary

February 7th, 2016






Yes, today is our 15th anniversary. The photos above were chosen from an algorithm on Facebook, but I think they are appropriate. And what do we get for this milestone?


A new house! We close escrow on March 14.

Harbin Hot Springs gone?

September 13th, 2015





Harbin Hot Springs was part of our first honeymoon, a honeymoon trip we took by motorcycle from Los Angeles to Northern California. We spent two days at Harbin Hot Springs, a favorite hangout of mine from the 1980’s. We just heard that it has likely burned to the ground in the wake of fires spreading through the area. While we know people have lost much more (homes, pets, etc.), we will certainly miss this idyllic place in the mountains of NorCal.

Jurassic World

September 13th, 2015

jurassic world

Last weekend, Daniel (12), Aaron (7), Camilla (10) and I went to see this movie.  Despite being PG-13, Gabi and I determined that these three could see the movie, Nika (6) was too young.  Mind you, the kids harangued us all summer to see this; it was popular enough that it was still in theaters three months after the opening. Not only have the kids seen all three movies from the 1990’s, but I’ve been reading them the original novel at bedtime … and they’ve loved it.

I’m writing since this was probably the most enjoyable movie experience I ever had.  The movie was just fine, but the kids’ reactions were even better. Camilla was hiding behind a seat for parts of the movie, bobbing her head out to look every few seconds.  Aaron had a different reaction. Just as the dinosaur attacks a pair of kids in a spherical plastic golf cart, Aaron looks at me and says, “I need to go to the bathroom.”  He does this three times during the movie; I’ll have to wait until we rent it at home to find out what happened then.

The experience brought me back to Michael Crichton, one of my favorite authors. I read Pirate Latitudes for the first time (quite good, very much like playing Sid Meier’s Pirates in book form); I re-read Sphere, a book that does not do well on a second reading. Very much in the Michael Crichton vein is the new book, the Martian, by Andy Weir. Solid, well-researched, informative. I miss Crichton.

Father’s Day 2015

June 21st, 2015

Penultimate cigar

Dad died five years ago. When he passed away, he left a stash of recently purchased cigars. As the sole family member with any interest in cigars, these boxes passed to me as part of my inheritance. I’ve smoked Dad’s cigars on special occasions: law school acceptance, graduation, passing the bar, being hired. Yesterday, I smoked the next-to-last cigar remaining.

I lit it using matches Dad had taken from the Baltschug Kempinski Hotel in Moscow. This was the hotel I arranged for my parents when they came to visit me when I was working for Apple there in Summer 1993. The hotel looks down on Red Square and the walls of the Kremlin; it was one of their favorite travel hotels of all time. After a few days visiting me there, he and Mom left on a train for Beijing, the most adventurous trip they ever took.

Transiberian Railway

Transiberian Railway 1993

While smoking, I’m reading what is probably the last travel book by Paul Theroux. His first travel book, The Great Railway Bazaar was one of Dad’s favorites. Thus, this Father’s Day is spent, at least partially, in homage to Dad.

Server Migration

April 26th, 2015


After much soul searching, I did move portions of this blog to a new server.  This is not for the faint of heart … the new server still does not work as well as the old one (missing our permalinks, for instance).  However, it works well enough.  It took a minimum of 12 hours of my time to get it to work here … and I am stopping now.

I moved email to an outside service, since that is mission critical.  The blog here has been largely dormant since I entered law school, but I still want it to function.  It’s rather like a very public family album and I don’t want to lose it.

This server should keep it safe through April 2019 … at least that’s the advertised expiration date.

Best, Ed

p.s. Three hours later, the dishes are washed and I got the permalinks to work.


February 28th, 2015


Leonard Nimoy died yesterday. This was not unexpected. During the past two or three years, he has appeared intermittently on some of my favorite television shows (Fringe). He was clearly not well. Further, the series actually changed to an animated format at times to accommodate Nimoy, who was able to add his voice but not his presence. 83 … he lived long … and prospered.

I’ve written here before of the deaths of some of my childhood idols. Arthur C. Clarke comes to mind. His loss, and Isaac Asimov’s before that, shook my world. When Asimov passed away, I was attending my first trade show, working as a businessman. I actually cried, thinking that I had betrayed him for not becoming a scientist (a profession that I would have done well at, but which would have left me unhappy and unfulfilled).

Nimoy undoubtedly has a hold on parts of my psyche. He was an earlier influence than either of the authors I mentioned. I first saw Nimoy playing Spock when I was perhaps three or four years old. And I am old enough to remember watching the first runs of a few of the later episodes in 1968 and 1969 (Dark Shadows was the TV show that followed Star Trek’s prime time place that year).

But it is not Nimoy that I am attached to. It is Spock. There is a part of me that is Spock, consciously or unconsciously modelling myself after the intelligent, emotionless Vulcan. God, he was great. But I am aware that Spock is a creation of Gene Roddenberry, Harlan Ellison and Jerome Bixby, among other writers. Nimoy only put flesh to other people’s creations.

As such, I am not so struck at Nimoy’s death. He was a fine actor and a good man. He filled out the role that was written for him very well and, toward the end of this life, embraced that role as part of his own personality.

That said, I will be playing at least a little of the computer game Civilization IV later today. Spock’s resonant voice still speaks to my inner child as he takes me through the discoveries of agriculture, bronze working or the building of the pyramids. I know, without a doubt, I played an extra one hundred hours or more of this game just to be able to hear his voice.

Rest in peace, Mr. Nimoy. You’ve given the world, and me, great gifts. Your influence is great. Live long and prosper, each and every one of us.








The End of a Long, Three Year Road

November 23rd, 2014

IMG_0078At long last, the End of the Road. With successfully passing the California Bar, I have no substantive barrier to becoming a lawyer. I still need to take the oath, pay fees and otherwise go through some motions before I have my Bar card, but there is nothing to stop me now.

It is almost four years exactly from signing up for the LSAT, my first move toward becoming a lawyer. The path involved selling our house in Temecula, moving to a new city, three years of classes, no fewer than four internship-type jobs, almost 100 Martini Hour parties, dozens of friends and a move back to Los Angeles. During this period, I lost my mother, my youngest child went from 14 months old to a kindergartener, I closed the business that had sustained us since December 2003 and many more transitions.

I have not been blogging, not for lack of things to say, but for a multiplicity of audiences. Do I post as a law student? As a patent agent? As CEO of a translation agency? A father and husband of my family? As the son and brother who has lost his mother? I suspect now that I have a stable, definable job (patent litigator at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe), I might be able to post a bit more.

Finding at 6:03pm this Friday that I passed the Bar is not an unadorned positive. Several of my law school friends were not so lucky; they did not pass the Bar. Overall, less than 50% of the test takers passed. And, given their native intelligence and the efforts they made preparing, it can only be luck that separated us. They will undoubtedly sign up for the next test, being offered in February. And I look forward to the opportunity to welcome them into the Bar, a welcome that they richly deserve.