Friday, October 10, 2014

Introductions.. and Flat out Theft.

Now, I'm not one for theft, or theivery, or stealing anything at all..but?
I did have to change my moniker to something that suited me better these days.
And? As an added bonus? I'd Love to thank my friend and besty in weirdness as children for a catchy Header..and if I could? I'd like to think that I have so much to write about these days that's it's only fitting that I should own this... and in the event we get to bickering about it? Well, I plan on expresso in a dark alley restaurant... I'm thinking New Orleans.. to hammer out the details..

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

58 Words For John

you came into my world,

and nothing was the same.

the world became smaller.

the sun shone brighter.

food tasted better.

we shared our music and laughter.

we became something bigger.

puzzles were easier.

people seemed closer.

and everything was made more fun.

now you are gone,  and nothing's the same.

but how wonderful what you had done.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

My 9/11.. or? Why I left work early that day.

I arrived to work on September 11, 2001, it was the first day I'd been back since losing my Mom on August 26th, and though my boss suggested that 'getting back into my routine would be the best thing for me', I had other plans the second week I didn't return. We'd graciously been given Labor Day weekend to remove her belongings from the assisted living apartment she had inhabited for less than a year, and they HAD to have it rented out again at the beginning of the month, that was VERY important.. but? They'd give us til Sept 5th, and both my sister and I pondered their 'thoughtfulness' about the same way we mustered up our 'thankfulness' for the nice Ambulance service that told us our Mother owed a thousand dollars for not booking the ambulance prior to her surprise fatal heart attack 24 hours in advance, but that they'd give us til the end of that month to pay it.

That experience alone would be enough to put you on the offensive; Her best friend leaving a list of Christmas and Birthday gifts over the years that she would like returned probably destroyed what was left of our superficial smiles and passivity. One day past our Mom's funeral? We had nothing left in the way of mourning and apologies and good will. It was 'back to business' and Charlene and I were both 'done' mentally and physically, we were tired of telling people how sorry we were for their loss, we had work to do, bills to pay, and time to mourn properly would have to wait. Neither of us knew how long, or that a series of events were going to take place that would postpone our mourning for while, let alone confuse our mourning, increase our mourning, or catapult the both of us to a place where we were more lost and in shock than we were on the morning of August 26th that year.

Both of us had jobs that couldn't be performed by stand in or replacements, that we got the time off we did punctuated our thoughts during a time that we had little or no time to organize what we were doing or what came next in the process. Putting our to do list together involved a lot of tasks, none of which were personal in nature. So? In between packing boxes, soothing friends and relatives, and organizing a wake and funeral for our favorite person, every so often one of us would look at each other and laugh and say 'I can only imagine what my desk looks like right now'. There's never a good time for a tragedy. In the event you all ready have one to deal with? You start to get a mixture of feelings. "What's the worst that could happen now?'  all the way to "Nothing could possibly shock me anymore these days". We'd  all ready had offers on my Mother's car, lovingly referred to as 'the car'.. and when someone said <before we'd even put our Mother into the ground, mind you>  'I know somebody who wants to buy 'the car'. My sister and I dealt with this kind of behavior just as our Mom taught us, with laughter. We looked at each other and said 'Hmm, what do YOU want to do with 'the car'?'/'I don't know. What do YOU want to do with 'the car'?'/'I think we should turn 'the car' into 'a box', I don't want to ever see anyone else driving it, what do you think?'/'Ooo, I like that idea. Sorry, tell your friend 'the car' is not for sale, we're turning into 'a box'.' We may not agree on much; That was the easiest agreement we'd come to at the time.

By the time I returned to work I was resolved that work was probably the best thing for me, it was something I could control, I liked my cube, and I was not surprised to find two weeks worth of work piled all over my desk, untouched by anyone during the time I was gone. It's nice to be missed, it sucks to return to your desk to find that you have two weeks worth of work to catch up on. It was a good thing I had no one left to lose for the rest of the year <or so I thought> because it would take that long to get caught up, what a great 'gift' to return to. I courageously moved the files that were on my desk, my computer, my chair <REALLY? My chair?> and turned my computer on and plugged my headphones in. At the time? Howard Stern hadn't sold his soul to the devil for 80 million dollars and was merely entertaining rather than be the 'whatever the hell he turned into'. Sorry Howie, go to digital radio, but go without me. Where I come from? Radio is still free to listen to. On September 11th, Howard was on my headphones, for free, and making sure radio was devolving to levels that New York and Boston radio to this day has never recovered from... but I digress.

It should be no surprise that when I stood up from my chair and said 'A plane just flew into the the Trade Center', the first question was 'where did you hear that?' and less surprising would be the response of 'What WILL that Howard Stern guy say for attention next... it can't possibly be true.' A few minutes later when I said "It's happened again.. a plane flew into the second tower' the fact that I was freaking out stirred my boss to turn on the television, or search the web for confirmation. Getting a bunch of accountants to awaken from the number stupor we were always in is difficult. This did that. I started putting on my jacket.

My boss turned to me and said 'Where are you going?' and I replied 'Today is 'Anything can happen' Day obviously, and all I can see is the Prudential Building outside my window, and the only thing between me and the Prudential Building is a sheet of glass... so, I'm going home now before a plane flies into it'. A few people looked at me and said 'Good idea, and my boss said she agreed and that was that'. I went downstairs to the retail print store and saw that leaving and closing shop was all ready being organized and people had all ready left. We worked on Boylston Street <coincidentally VERY close to a certain marathon bombing, but? Also another story for another time> and I was lucky enough to live on Boylston Street, and though I'd always take the train home? THIS day would be unlike the rest of the days before it or after it. I WALKED home in a crowd of dazed people. I imagine it was the sort of daze, loss, and confusion that occurred when JFK was shot.

I bought a bottle of rum at the corner liquor store before it closed and walked into my apartment by 9:45 a.m. and was pouring two Rum and Cokes and my then partner heard me and got out of bed and said 'What do you think you're doing?'

I said 'Turn on the television. The entire world has changed forever.'

Sunday, May 18, 2014

When Life gives you Lemons... make Chocky Milk!!

Let's catch us all up, shall we?

About a week after I'd broken my arm, I got a call from a chemist saying that John had "fallen down and couldn't get up; Should they call him an ambulance??"

After trying very hard to not respond with 'Duh?', I said that would be fabulous and that I would meet John at the local hospital. The chemist was not able to supply any more information, and unsurprisingly I got to the hospital before the ambulance did. He was suffering weakness in his left side and was a bit confused and scared. The immediate thoughts were he'd had a stroke by his medical team and he was sent in for a scan.

The scan revealed a lesion in his brain that's been since diagnosed as advanced melanoma.

We've had surgery, radiation, and we're currently recovering while we wait to begin chemotherapy.

We're not in the way of posting intimate details about ourselves on social sites, but I have asked John if it was possible for me to write about what we've been experiencing lately... neither of us has ever focused on 'gloom and doom' aspects of everything, but let's face it? Funny is where you find it, and I can't deny that this journey has brought us some laughs. It's also brought fear, despair, and terrible thoughts to keep all of us awake at night. That having been typed? I think it's those moments when pointing your attention away from the obvious pink elephant in the living  room is when humor and conversation can really be appreciated for what it is.

If you can manage to laugh while you're experiencing something horrible in your life it can be viewed as your strong will.  If you can manage to make someone you care for more than yourself laugh during their horrible experience? If only for a moment you may have erased their fear, despair, and terrible thoughts that keep them awake. If you can manage to do this? You can also remind them that although terrible events have happened, when the fear of the unknown tries to take your mind hostage at night? that there IS still hope.. and that they are safe... and cared for... and not alone.

John has chided me for speaking in hallmark greeting card snippets.. he's rolled his eyes at Dr.'s when I ask questions them that maybe neither of us really wants the answers to.. and we've been making slow daily adjustments to accommodate our current 'life style'.

Something as little as a glass of chocolate milk can put a smile on your face. It's nice to not have to ask for it or whatevever other symbol a person can favor; That someone knows you well enough that they see it and think of you, make sure it's the way you like it, and that it just might be the first thing you see in your waking moments instead of pills, ointments, and other constant, frightening reminders of what challenges you face that day. Instead you see it and hopefully your first thought for the day is 'I am loved'. Shalom.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I Typed This With One Hand. Here's Why.

After an afternoon of a great lunch and friendly chat with a Turkish carpet salesman, I loaded myself and an area rug on the local bus, ready to cover up a space on our newly wooden floor because it's what you do after you realize the new wood floor makes the entire room appear monotonously wooden.
I will admit to being more than a bit overconfident in not changing the rolled up carpet from my right foot to my left foot when the door opened, and to guessing the distance from the bus to the sidewalk. When you don't see out of the lower parts of your visual spectrum you rely on memory rather than creep like a disabled person to the edge and peer nervously down contemplating how stupid you look to other passengers. Rather than appear that stupid, I trumped my own expectations entirely and spilled out onto the sidewalk looking less intelligent than I presumed I had the capacity to; I recovered nicely while explaining to the entertained-on-too-many-levels bogan couple behind me that:

A. 'I'm fine, no worries' and
B. 'no, unlike you I'm quite pleased your camera wasn't at the ready'

and while I was saying those things a completely embarrassed person utters to disperse the crowd?

C. my body shot a quick message to my brain.. 'arm broken, arm broken, call 911'

John, who was with me at the time but had walked to the front door (where all people who missed the opportunity to be my hero had also walked), saw my quick recovery and met me near a railing where I was smiling dimly and assuring people that it looked worse than it was and that indeed it was also spectactularly humorous; He got a confused look on my face when I whispered those three words every spouse never wants to hear:

"Call the police.","My arm's broken","Where were you?" Any of these would easily apply.

I was treated to exemplary service by the local ambulance; When they couldn't find a vein for the much requested painkillers, they did what they considered to be the next best thing, and let me tell you that from now on I won't believe anyone when they tell me nasal ingestion of liquid from a syringe is anywhere near the next best thing. It's clumsy; Although it did momentarily take away my embarrassment of falling in front of people, it only replaced it with a newfound embarrassment of having painkillers spray out of my nose when I exhaled. Of course I was reassured no one would speak of it, and I'd get a more traditional method and dose of painkillers upon arriving 'to hospital'; Drop the 'the', you're not in America, and only American's say they're 'going to THE hospital'. I was about to be excused from yet another American institution, one that would be a constant reminder to never injure myself on foreign soil again.

I'm going to type this as quickly as the doctor who sent me to xray would later exclaim as if it were a good thing; I was sent to xray with multiple fractures with no pill, shot, or even an acupuncturist needle inserted what so ever. I was told to man up, that five year old's had broken bones with less whining, and that my behavior was due to being previously 'spoiled by an overly-dependent-on-opiate medical system'.  I can laugh about it now, because I have a tremendous ability to block out horrible events from my memory: Ask me about my preteen years, I don't recall anything traumatic at all while I'm balled in the fetal position.

I will say it's partly my fault. It's my fault I don't revere doctors as the stereotype expects. What they say is not gospel, I do make suggestions, I'm exceptionally verbal, and I will inform anyone who deems fit that 'you, my friend, have severe likability issues'. I know I pushed all the right buttons, the nurses smiled and nodded in agreement, when the doctor left they both silently handed me what I presume to be painkillers behind his back and walked away. They worked; By the time the doctor came back with painkillers (yay! triple dose!), I was affable, apologetic and explained in my best Ferris Bueller that 'understanding is what makes it possible for people like me to tolerate someone like yourself'. He said I was incoherently babbling, but I'm quite sure I heard a concealed burst of laughter from the nurse who was signing my release papers. I was miserable for the next three days. I'm lucky, for I'm sure his misery went on long before mine began and has no foreseeable end in sight. I shall never speak of this again, that damn fetal position isn't comfortable at all anymore.

Monday, March 3, 2014

"It's not all about you" and other insightful insults.

It's been a long while since I wrote anything I've posted... Hell, maybe those last two words were unnecessary.. but? I've had an epiphany of sorts... or more like a conundrum..

Mr. Cobain probably summed up what I'm experiencing in two short lines..

"I think I'm dumb, but maybe I'm just happy."

My homelife is far from perfection, but it's perfect. I'm still in love and it's not boring, but it's hardly newsworthy. I can listen to an REM song such as 'Shiny Happy People' but I have never had the urge to write anything positive.  'You have to suffer to create' is the mantra of the wounded poet and I'm in no hurry to put myself in that position in order to be motivated;  at the same time happiness has got to be least entertaining form of entertainment and my attention span for it has never been long.

There are so many issues to sort through these days.. political, religious, and other important subjects and lately I've been noticing some cleverly placed distractions, and falling headfirst into them willingly.

"That sounds a bit devious." --  I'd thought this during an extended round of Candy Crush Saga..
Wait! Put on the brakes!

I've had an overwhelming desire to be underwhelmed lately. It's human nature when you have too many issues to ponder or to sort and sift through of what's important, what's trivial, and how you can just get back to business as usual.. or even less when you're giving your awareness a well deserved break. The most important part of 'telling a story' is to have a complete thought and the passion to express it and for the most part? I have been putting any kind of obstacle in my synapses to avoid having to think too hard in the first place. This is something I chastise people for regularly and passionately and if I heckle others for it then I completely despise myself for the loss I am for words lately, until I put it in perspective.

So what am I if I am worried about a bunch of nouns, but am at a loss for adjectives and can't bring myself to verb about them? Oh boy! I'm a loaf. I seem to have found a niche of complacency these days, I wouldn't necessarily call it boredom and 'peaceful easy feeling' isn't the soundtrack of what's going on upstairs in what seems to be the vacant space where my creative urges used to live. There are political issues I think I can still get blue in the face before I open my mouth to express my disdain but with the exception of a few distracting facebook posts I seem rather absent.. even to me.

Important expressions are for me usually based in torment and rage; I'd rather be hurling paint to the canvas in a whirl of color than precisely drawing a picture with words and the problem with advancing my technique is I become more critical of what I'm thinking before I even begin an attempt to turn it into words worth writing, let alone reading.

I believe I'm in the process of having an important life experience right now rather than feeling obligated to detangle events of my past or sort out my thoughts in a way that are humorous, profound, or even interesting to anyone including myself.

In summary?  "I think I'm dumb, but maybe I'm just happy" has never applied so completely.

As every event in life I never expected to experience? I am too caught up in this new endeavor to pick it apart, analyze it, or make sense of it... until I'm not feeling it anymore. That's a destination I'm in no rush to depart for. Ending a sentence with a preposition? That's just something a dumb guy does.