Saturday, February 08, 2014

Saying goodbye to Cade, the only way I know how


About this time today my wife Alene is attending the funeral of a very special young man. His name is CadeSnegirev and he is from Palmer, Alaska. Cade tragically passed away last week and it's shaken hi s family and his community to the core, as well as Alene, our son Caiden, myself, and many others that understand his importance to us. I've tried to stay busy this past week while she's been gone (she booked the next flight to Alaska she could when she heard the news) to keep my mind off what is going on because every time I look at a picture of Cade, I see Alene and all she represents: A wonderful smile, kindness, accountability, a sense of adventure, compassion.

Alene is Cade's birth mother. 15 (almost 16) years ago she made the brave decision to give him up for adoption when she was young and unable to provide him the life he deserved. She was able to select the family he went to and she selected the most wonderful parents you could possibly want, who raised him in a wonderful place on this earth. Over the first few years she was able to receive pictures, updates and letters on his life and she too was able to send letters to his family about her life and what she's doing. At about age 3 that communication ceased due to the adoption agencies policy.

Flash forward to 4 or so years ago and Alene received a message from her younger brother that a woman had contacted him via facebook asking if he had a sister that gave a child up for adoption. We immediately knew it was Cade's mother and had an insane sense of excitement. His mother, Lori Snegirev happened to have seen Alene's last name on a piece of paper somewhere in the office that she was finalizing the adoption (she wasn't supposed to see it) and remembered it all of these years, not really knowing if it was actually her last name or not.

Lori immediately gave us many updates and through facebook, we were able to see pictures of him and his life. It was such a great moment to connect for Alene and I was happy to be a part of the experience. Lori had made a visit out here (she is originally from Utah) to visit family and made it a point to visit us and let us meet Cade. I've heard him described as “quiet”, but always chuckling about something funny. He was polite, well-mannered, easy to talk to. Just everything you would want in a son.

Alene and I both knew that us meeting him did not mean that we were suddenly going to be a huge part of his life because he had parents and a huge family that loved him dearly. Still, we were so grateful for the experience and the opportunity to meet him and get to know him. Over the years we had been able to see him another time on a visit they made here again, plus watch him grow through the power of facebook.

Last winter we received our tax return and Alene immediately mentioned that she really wanted to use it to go to Alaska and visit them (they had given us an open invite). I was hesitant, only because of how expensive it was ($2500+ to fly there, and that was if you were lucky enough to get tickets that cheap). I had figured that Cade was going to be living here in a few years anyway when he goes to school (he had planned to go to BYU) and we would have plenty of time to visit him then. Eventually I caved and said I was down with the plan and told her to start watching for the cheapest fares. We booked for a trip last July and had a wonderful time.

When we arrived I was surprised how much taller he had grown and how much older he had seemed from the last time we had seen him (a year or so prior). He had a job working on farm, he played recreation soccer, he was involved with activities at church and scouts. He was just a great kid and we were so fortunate to spend a week with the Snegirev family.

We got to know his family better because they invited us to stay with them in their home. We were also introduced to his extended family, all of whom were so warm and kind to us on our visit and you could tell they provided so much love to Cade over his years growing up there in Alaska. His grandparents took him on a trip a year or so ago to Europe and the Holy lands, which Alene was so excited for him as she had spent time in Israel while in school.

I personally have to say that I really enjoyed spending time with his parents, Lori and William. They made me feel completely welcome and almost like family, despite me really not having any sort of physical connection to the situation. William and I got a long great and had several of the same interests. William and Cade did so many things together, including finishing their first marathon last year. They were heavily involved in scouting and did a bunch of high-adventure stuff. I really look up to William.

Lori is the sweetest person and you could tell that Cade loved her so much. He never hesitated to flash a smile her way (or anyone's way for that matter). I loved how she took things in stride with the large family she had and for the most part let Cade learn and grow and make decisions for himself.

We spent our time there going to various places, hiking and taking pictures. Cade was a great sport tagging along with us and showing us a good time. I kept thinking about how cool it was going to be to watch him grow up and to possibly forge a bit of a relationship with him, without interfering with the role his parents played (maybe more like an uncle).

Then tragedy struck. On Thursday, January 30th I was on my way to work and I missed a phone call from William. I had his number in my phone from when we were there last and I had not talked to him since the trip so I thought it was odd. I listened to my voice mail and it was William in a shaky voice saying, “Tyler, this is William. I need you to call me. It's an Emergency.” My stomach cramped up and I could only think the worst: Something happened to Cade. I called him back and he didn't answer, but he called me back a minute or so later sobbing and trying to tell me that Cade was on life support and was brain dead and he had shot himself in the head. I started crying with him, it was the only thing I could do. I could not believe what I was hearing, almost like it was a bad dream. Cade was not the type of person that I would ever think would do something like that intentionally, in fact I never believed it. When we ended the call I immediately headed home to give the news to Alene. I'm so grateful William thought to call me first so I could get Alene in a situation where she could hear the news.

On my drive home I was in shock and I thought about how I was going to tell her. I came in the house and sat on the couch. When she came in the living room I asked her to sit down and. I told her there has been an accident and Cade is on life support. She immediately started crying un-controlably and all I could do was hold her. Waylon was in the room and started to worry so I grabbed him and ran downstairs to put a movie on for him. It seemed like the longest time from me getting him set up and and being able to run back up and console her again. She then asked how it happened and I had to tell her. She couldn't believe it either and it made her cry even harder. It was so confusing. I know there are kids that do this that have deep, dark secrets, but Cade really was a well-adjusted kid and just could not believe it. As of this time it is still being investigated and temporarily being ruled an accident.

Later that day Alene was able to talk to Lori a bit more about it. Alene, with the help of her father and his sky miles, was able to get a flight the next day and get to Anchorage so she could see him before they took him off life support. They ended up donating many of his organs to those in need including his heart, his liver, his pancreas, as well as some tissues they could use for testing. I've felt terrible that I could not be there to mourn with them, but one of us had to be with the kids.

Every time I see a picture of Cade, I break down. All I see is Alene and her holding him in her arms before she gave him up, her hopes and dreams for him to have a better life and at some point I'm comforted because he DID have a better life. He lived such a great life and his parents did such a wonderful job of providing everything she wanted for him.

I want to thank William and Lori from the bottom of my heart for allowing us in and especially making Alene feel so loved and welcome. You are both amazing people that I'll forever cherish our friendship.

I want to thank my wife Alene, for sharing her story about Cade on our first date. She trusted me enough to share something so intimate and I think that was the time I immediately fell in love with her. It was a sign to me that she was a strong woman and an honest woman, and someone who was willing to make the right decisions, even if they were hard decisions. She has been such a great mother to our children and I'll forever be grateful for the wonderful job she does. I'll also be grateful for how much she loves me and how hard she always strives to be close. I love you Alene and can't wait to have you back home with us. 

Photos of our trip to Alaska

A farm, near where he grew up

Butte Alaska Farm

Hanging out on a boat at a local lake


11:30pm hike up at some old mines (it was still light out)


Hiking with him and his younger siblings to thunderbird falls



The boys, hanging with a grizzly bear


Hiking up "The Butte" with William, Alene, Cade, and Caiden


View of the place he lived from the Butte, Pioneer Peak in the center, and a glacier on the far left


Up at Alyeska ski resort


Ever the dare devil, Cade jumped into this FREEZING glacier fed lake up at Hatcher Pass


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Zero posts in a year

I'm not sure if this personal blog will last. In a perfect world it would because I think the idea of "blogging" is more important than social networking, which I sadly spend most of my time "sharing" my life with. I intended to blog to share my thoughts/life with and hopefully create a type of journal that would go on forever for my family, children, grand children, great grand children, great-great grandchildren, great-great-great grandchildren, anthropologists (you get the picture) go back and see.

My blog has never been popular. Every now and then I would have a random one get an insane amount of hits because of the content, like this one, and that wasn't the intent of my blog anyway (to be popular), but I feel like I've failed myself.

I hope to get back into it, but I can't even promise myself that. Facebook is the easy way out because your history is technically stored and it's so much easier to share pictures, thoughts, etc.

I'm sad because I never even blogged about the new addition to our family (Waylon, born 10/10/11), but I shared it everywhere on Facebook. Crossing my fingers I can make this a more simple routine for me......

Monday, April 16, 2012

Spike Jonze music videos

I own the Spike Jonze collection of music videos he did back in the day and I love watching them. Some of my favorites from the collection:

Wax - California

I loved his use of the slow motion of the burning man running to catch his bus along with all the on-lookers in the video. What a great vision for this song. I also can't imagine how cheap it was to shoot this video.

The Pharcyde - Drop

I was a HUGE Pharcyde fan when this video came out. I was so "proud of myself" because not only did I live in a rural area where everyone only listened to either 80's hair bands, grunge, or country music, but even when I'd go into the "city" there were still people who had not heard of the greatness that is the Pharcyde. The video is pure genius with the members of the group performing everything in reverse in real-time, then the video was played backward with the lyrics over-dubbed.

The Beastie Boys - Sabotage

When this video came out I was a little confused because the Beastie Boys were playing it like rock (I wasn't much into rock at the time) when they were known as a hip hop group (at the time I had no idea their roots were based in punk rock). I loved the play on 70's cop shows.

Daft Punk - Da Funk

Again, an odd fixation with dogs (check out weezer's "say it ain't so" video and the feature of a dog suit in the "Drop" video above). I'm guessing Spike likes dogs. This was funny because even when people looked at the dog odd, it wasn't because he was a dog walking around with a cast, but because he looked so out of place in general to everyone.

Fatlip - What's up Fatlip

Fatlip was a former member of the hip hop group The Pharcyde and in this video it shows a true representation of all the bad things going on in his life. It was really filmed in his apartment, on the streets, etc. The song itself talks about the struggles in his life and how he has to try to keep a decent image of himself despite things not being so good.

Weezer - Undone (the sweater song)

This was Weezer's first music video and I had actually seen their "buddy holly" video before this one and loved the retro idea (even though I wasn't into their type of music at the time). I read somewhere that Spike approached the band with this idea "A blue screen, you guys playing, and dogs" (or something to that affect). Since Weezer went on to be one of my favorite bands, I learned the technique they used in this video was by playing the song twice as fast and the band having to emulate that, while it was filmed at a higher speed as well. Then they slowed it down and it looks like they're playing fast, but at regular speed at the same time. These types of things are what made Spike such a good music video director.

Fatboy Slim - Praise you

By far one of the most hilarious videos, yet genius at the same time. Spike actually appears in this video. It's great because you know they took some serious time to choreograph this thing, but at the same time, not enough to make it perfect. I love all the "characters" dancing; the dorky looking spike jonze, the dude with the parachute pants and a fanny pack (because you need a fanny pack when you're dancing), the heavier dude trying to look good, the chick in her aerobics gear, etc. This video ended up winning the video of the year from the MTV Music awards. They also performed at these awards and there is an awesome 34 minute documentary called "torrance rises" on the DVD that shows their preparation for the event. You can view it HERE if you have 34 minutes.

Weezer - Buddy Holly

Probably one of the more recognized music videos. This had an awesome unique take on the TV show "Happy Days". Spike was able to make it look as if the band was actually on the show. I remember first seeing this video and being hooked by the song, but also impressed at how authentic it appeared (even if there were no bands playing music like weezer back then).

Bjork - It's oh so quiet

Another odd music video by Spike Jonze. Again, shot at double speed, then slowed down (except the dance parts I'm sure). One little known fact I found about this is the puppeteer that plays "ernie" from "Bert and Ernie" fame plays the dude in the blue mail box.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Day at the park

Last week Alene and I decided to dust off the bikes and bike trailer and take Bailey for a little ride over to the park. It was nice to get out, although my head was burning like crazy (hot day).


Bailey has been wearing her princess dress every day since her easter pictures (hope to have those up soon)


She loves hanging and swinging from things


She likes climbing too


Ice cream truck came


Bailey and mommy were running away from the monster (Daddy)


Sunday, March 27, 2011

San Rafael Reef March 2011

Day 1

Day 2

Building a play house

I built a play house and swing set for Bailey (and Caiden, even though he may be growing too old for these things). I drew up the plans myself. It's not quite done (still need to paint, add some paneling inside to cover the bare studs, paint, and get some furniture for the inside), but it's usable. I'm also probably going to re-do the ramp leading up to the deck.

Started off by measuring out placement for the posts


Cemented in the post holders and mounted the posts and joists


Started adding the sub floor


Added some cross bracing on the bottom so Bailey could dance on the top


Framing (note, for all of you contractors out there, I realize this is not to building code :-), no king plates or proper framing for windows and door ways, but this is just a playhouse).




Roof going on (I've never built my own pitched roof before)




Added T1-11 to the front and decided to just eventually paint over the OSB on the other sides. Also added cedar to the framing and made a fancy front door



Made sky lights on each side before I roofed it and covered the wood with galvanized metal


Started making the swing set (note the door I added to the play house in the background and the shutters)




Bailey loves her play house


Side note: My neighbor is building a TALL playhouse behind us. We both started building at the same time (almost on the same day) without knowing what each of us were up to. We eventually started to help each other out. His has some SERIOUS creativity (he built that slide out of 50 gallon drums). He's still working on it (this picture shows it without the stairs or railing), but he's worked his tail off on this one.


In case anyone missed it

We're expecting a Baby this Fall. So excited.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Music project

(You'll have to copy and paste the link since for whatever reason it doesn't show up when I add link brackets)

If anyone has iTunes and cares to follow, I'm working on creating a "favorites" playlist from every year, starting with the 1950's. Since there wasn't a TON of Rock and Roll in the 50's (compared to the 60's until the present), I created a "1950's" category, then starting with 1960, I did a category from every year. I've compiled a list up until 1998 so far.

I think it's fascinating to me to see what songs I like from certain years. It's my goal to really listen to each year and even thin out my lists more. It also makes me wonder what I'm missing from each of those years.

In order for a song to make the list, it has to be a song that I personally like, it's not on the list just because it was a "hit" during that era.

Let me know if the link works and if you have iTunes, become my "ping" friend and maybe we can share playlist ideas.

My list is comprised of Rock and Roll, Soul, Pop, R&B, and Hip Hop/Rap. I think all of these genres pretty much define what I listen to. I do like Country too, but not enough to create a favorites list for every year. I'll likely just create a Country favorites from each decade.

If the link does not work, go to iTunes, then "Ping" in the tool bar on the left hand, then search my name "John Root" and I'll come right up. On the upper right corner you can sort the music by "name" and it will put the playlists in order from 1950's to present.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Oh how the mighty have fallen

I suck at blogging. I was just looking at my blogging history:

2004: 47 Posts
2005: 115 Posts
2006: 88 Posts
2007: 89 Posts
2008: 131 Posts
2009: 74 Posts
2010: 12 Posts

I blame that stupid website facebook. Now I think I'll link this blog post on facebook.....I suck.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The best Ginger Beer out there

I've been drinking this "Bundaberg" Australian Ginger Beer. By far the best, but it's also expensive. It leaves an awesome ginger after-taste, almost a burning sensation (good burn, not bad).

My favorite part of all though is the old styled cap.