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Luke Melia


On Saturday evening, after a long emotional day, Jeanhee and I were camped on the couch at our friend Alan’s house in Orlandao, Florida watching 50 First Dates. Jeanhee, grabbed my hand and put it on her (now prominent!) belly. Within a minute, I felt a hard quick jab right into the middle of my hand.

Thanks for saying hello, Huckleberry!

Anne Melia, In Memoriam

Today, we laid to rest my grandmother, Anne Patricia Melia. I was asked to give a eulogy on behalf of my generation, the grandchildren. What I said was roughly this:

Anne Melia
Dear Grandma,

It’s my honor to speak today on behalf of 20 lucky people. With me, we make 21, and our good fortune is also our pride. We are your grandchildren, and we will miss you, Grandma.

As a little child, I thought you were superhuman. Every year, you remembered my birthday with a card and a check. Multiply that by all the cousins and it’s understandable how I suspected a superhuman memory, and a superhuman bank account.

But later I realized that you were not superhuman exactly — the truth is that you were a super human being. You did that unique human thing called love better than anyone I know.

You built us, quite literally built us, with love. When told by doctors that you might not walk if you got pregnant again after your first baby, you ignored them and relied on love. We’re lucky you did. Otherwise, Matt would be a very lonely cousin. But ignore them you did, and ended up two generations later with 21 of us grandkids. And you made each one of us feel special, remembering this one’s favorite food, teaching that one to play cards, and always being there for each grandchild’s big events. You wore your pride in us on your sleeve, and it gave us pride in ourselves. And always, you loved us.

Love was a constant. From the days when I couldn’t speak well and you could, to the days when you couldn’t speak well, you never had trouble letting me know how much you loved me.

What makes our group of 21 lucky is not just that we shared a loving relationship with you, our grandmother. It’s that we have loving, supportive relationships with each other. It’s easy to forget sometimes that to have a close-knit family, somebody had to be a talented knitter. You were the one with those knitting needles pulling us close to each other. You used to arrange to have two grandchildren come visit you and grandpa in Florida; two grandchildren close in age but of different parents visiting at the same time. Relationships formed and grew during these visits, and of course at family vacation after family vacation. You taught the older cousins to take care of the younger ones. You taught us to compete together, to laugh together, and to love together. You and Grandpa taught us what a good marriage was. What partnership is. What family means.

We will carry your love, Grandma. It is already with us everyday. We take it with us as we study, as we teach, as we make movies. Carrying your love as we write stories, as we pray, as we prepare for battle. Carrying your love as we work to improve government, as we organize, as we explore other countries and continents. Carrying your love as we sing and dance, as we get married, as we become parents. Carrying your love as we hang a certain christmas ornament each year. Carrying your love as we try to make our little corner of the world a little better.

All 21 of us are here today, Grandma. 21 lucky people. Our good fortune is also our pride.

With our love, our thanks, and our best wishes,
We are the grandchildren of Anne Melia

Back to the Beach

We’ve had a couple of gorgeous days here in New York. So, on Sunday, we woke to an earlier-than-our-typical Sunday alarm, collected our gallon of water, beach chairs, volleyball and net, Sunday paper and some fresh bagels, and headed out to Long Beach with Zak. A few other people had the same idea.

Long Beach

There were about twenty nets up, and easily north of a hundred people playing. It took us a good forty-five minutes to rake the court clean of glass deposited by the winter’s high tides. I was proud of our contribution when I tossed a Whole Foods bag half-full of glass into the trash can.

My sister Jessica and her friend Jen came out got a little beach volleyball experience. Jeanhee and Huckleberry and I won a couple of games. The wind screwed with my game like a long lost frenemy, forgotten in so many months playing inside at Chelsea Piers.

The best part was simply being on the beach again, feeling the warmth of the sun, the fine sand beneath my feet, and appreciating the clean line of the ocean’s horizon. I love that.

Announcing MeliaFamily.com

meliafamily I recently launched a website that I built for the business my dad, aunt and uncle run. The Melia Family is the moniker of the sales team that they run for Pre-Paid Legal Services, a cool company with an innovative product. The site is the next generation replacement of a site I built them three or four years ago.

In contemplating the site, I wanted to empower them to keep their content up to date and fresh. In the previous incarnation, I had some simple perl CGI that wrote out files that were included by some site templates. Power user authenticates, updates HTML in a web form, and clicks submit — wa la, site is updated. The problem was, they didn’t get it. They didn’t want to mess with HTML and were afaid of messing something up.

So I went digging for a content management system that I could host on a pair.com account. In sourceforge, I found exponent. Nice PHP/MySQL solution. Open source. Well-built, mostly by the obviously brilliant James Hunt. Lots of good clear layers of abstraction in the PHP code that make it pretty straightforward to enhance plug-in style, which I did for a section of the site in which my dad wanted to profile his team’s most successful members. I’m planning on writing another module for displaying a Flickr photostream or group pool. That one would have some broader appeal, and I hope to contribute it back to the sourceforge project.

My biggest disappointment with the site as it stands now are the awful URLs. That’s a subject of hot and heavy discussion on the exponent forums, so I’m sure some solutions to that issue will be forthcoming. Overall, though, exponent is damn cool. I look forward to using it more for future projects.

A baby on the way

I’m going to be a dad. And Jeanhee’s going to be a mom. And a little person currently referred to as Huckleberry is responsible for it all.

Huckleberry at 36mm

Little Huckleberry, like his (or her) namesake, is on a big adventure! So far, Huck’s been fearless, going with mom to her new job every day, and hanging out while she plays volleyball, swims, and even dances at weddings. Huck was also influential in getting mom to fall asleep on the couch every evening at 6ish during her first trimester. I chat with him or her through Jeanhee’s belly many nights before sleep. I fancy that I feel the presence of another person around. A really sweet, wonderful person.

In the picture, Huck is just 36 mm, but by now is a lot bigger than that. We’re currently about half way through the pregnancy — it seems fast and I know the next four and a half months will go quickly, too. Can’t wait to meet you, Huckleberry!

LukeMelia.com created 1999. ··· Luke Melia created 1976. ··· Live With Passion!
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