Category Archives: pictures

Another Week

Going through each week is definitely an up and down experience.  I’m blessed to have the friends I do, as they are happily keeping me engaged and doing stuff.   As you’ll see in these pictures, I do have fun.  And I can at times not think about Larry’s death, and I don’t feel bad about that, as I know it’s good to embrace life however I can.   There are points of each day though that still break my heart and I need a moment.  Like today.  I decided to do another little bit of cleaning.   Last week I worked on streamlining some of Larry’s stuff out of the bathroom cabinets.  I thought that would be the easiest to do, and it probably was, but it was still emotional, as there were still some medicines and things that he had to use during his cancer fight.   There was also stuff from before that, like LONG before that, that Larry should have thrown out years, if not decades ago.   So at least I could laugh at times.  Today though, I tackled the top of the dresser in our bedroom, as it was stacked with the clothes that he could wear at the end.   It hadn’t made any sense to try to organize the while he was alive and needed them, as sometimes it was necessary to grab a quick change of clothes to keep him clean.

The dresser before I finally went through and cleaned it up

Obviously, this was harder than cleaning his bathroom stuff.  I did clean it up, and decided which things really weren’t worth keeping, but I couldn’t get rid of it all yet.  I kept some things for myself, and some things I folded and put away.   Larry’s side was on the right in the dresser, and just opening those drawers up was painful and caused me to cry.  I really don’t know when I’ll be able to move to the phase of getting rid of his stuff.   There’s obviously no need for me to immediately, but I also recognize it has to happen some day.

I then was in the office trying to just straighten some stuff up down here as it’s admittedly a small mess here with a lot of paperwork and things kind of anywhere there is a flat surface.   I looked in his small drawers there and found a small Hallmark bag – apparently he had gone and bought a few cards for me, including a birthday card, a Valentine’s day card, and an anniversary card.   That did the trick, and I had a full-on meltdown.  The cards hadn’t been written in yet.   But it was nice.  Then of course at that moment, work called about some bullshit thing that just was like, thanks for reminding me I hate everything.  I’ll never get rid of some things, and those cards definitely aren’t going anywhere.   Glad I was able to see the Valentine’s day card today – yesterday sucked but it was never a holiday that Larry and I went crazy for, but still, a “holiday’ about loved ones still hurts a lot.

Anyway, I had a full week at work, although I only made it into the office once.   Had a few days where I just couldn’t make it out of bed early, which is not good.   One night I had a full on panic attack about everything going on, so yeah, couldn’t quite get the energy to go in.   But as I was getting to at the beginning of this post, my friends are really my rock and my strength at this point.   I don’t want to take advantage nor become solely dependent on their presence, but some days it’s just good to be with them.  I am on my own again at this point, and I am finding the strength to be okay with it.  I’m sad of course, as I don’t really see me finding anyone else with how I look and my age, but I can still find things to occupy my time and be happy with, especially with friends, and hopefully just find some kind of meaning or purpose until it’s time for me to die.

So here are some pics from the last week or so – there’s been some really fun stuff.   To start, here’s what I was doing last week with friends.  Rekha was celebrating her birthday in WeHo a little belatedly, but it was a blast.   Started at Rocco’s WeHo for a drag brunch, and it was flamazing.  A few hours later, we walked over to the Abbey to enjoy the ambience and fun.   Can’t deny by the end I was a little drunk and got melancholy, but my friends were there to help and support, understanding exactly what was happening.   Just miss Larry a lot.

Rekha’s WeHo Birthday Fun – February 7, 2020:

The next day, I was a bit dehydrated from Saturday’s activities!   Nicki and I had gone to dinner afterwards, so it wasn’t like I had been drinking until the late night, thank god.   But still, a lot of beer (which is what I focused on that day) has consequences.   Anyway, on Sunday, it was the Oscars, and Ken had invited me to his annual party.  It was a lot of fun and I got to see the whole family, of course.  Before then, I had been assembling my Lego Empire State Building (which is massive, btw) and making my world famous chocolate chip cookies for the party, while watching Arrival.   What a movie that is, and it keeps rising in my rankings.  It’s easily in my top 15?   Such an emotional movie, and even more so with how I’m feeling.   What a weird thing to contemplate – would you go through something having the knowledge of how it will go and end?  I know I would, and that’s why I know that the 11 years I had with Larry were magical and worth it all.   I wish the cancer hadn’t been part of his story, but that’s neither here nor there.

Oscars Sunday, February 9, 2020

I enjoyed the Academy Awards – very glad Parasite won.   Sveta and I watched that a few weeks ago and it blew us away.

This past week, work kept me busy and in the evenings, I did usually have somewhere to go, which was nice.

On Monday afternoon, I did go into DTLA for work, but mostly so I could have lunch with Barb.  We went to the Joey’s DTLA which is the same restaurant (but in Woodland Hills at the Warner Center) that Larry & I took Fran and Joel to one of the first times they stayed with us when we had moved in here at the Glen.  Always fun catching up and talking with Barb, and one of those people I’m so glad to have in my life.  You never know when a new addition to your friends is actually going to stick, and she has.

On Tuesday night, I met up with Nicki down at the Century City mall to eat at the Din Tai Fung there.   It’s huge!  We wisely got there early enough and found a seat in their bar area.  But it gets packed, even on a Tuesday night.   That mall is a trip too – so much money there.  And lots of attractive guys?

On Wednesday, Sveta came over and I had a puff too many on the weed and got pretty fucking high for a brief moment.   I braced for a NYE 2014 situation but happily the wave crested and I came back down.   I think if I was expecting and aiming for super-high, it would be fine, but I am really aiming for just chilling out.  So yeah, two puffs is my max in a session.   That gets me to a nice place.

On Thursday, I went to a PwC going-away for a cool associate, Danny.  It was at this Korean BBQ in a mall in Little Tokyo I’d never known about – it was a lot of fun.   We walked over to the Angel City Brewery and played an epically long game of Sorry, which really is a bitch of a game.   Very funny though.  Mel and I won, of course.   And I was out till like 12, on a school night!!!  WTF.   I can’t hang like that too much.  Was way tired on Friday.

And yesterday, on Friday aka Valentine’s Day, Nicki took me out.   It was very sweet, and I appreciated it, as it is a hard day to not be doing something, especially with it being so close to Larry’s death still.  We first went to dinner at El Coyote near her house on Beverly.  It tied together with the second part of the date, as we saw Once Upon a Time in Hollywood at the New Beverly Theater, which is owned and run by Quentin Tarantino.  Kind of a cool thing.   Plus, in the movie Sharon Tate is shown having dinner with her friends at El Coyote (the real one) on that fateful night.  The movie also shows Cliff and Jake having dinner that same night at Casa Vega, which is also a place we’ve now been to.  I’m such a hipster.   It was a blast of a night and that movie does not get old, and if anything, it just gets better for me.   Still can’t get over how insanely violent that 10 minute section is.

Valentine’s Day with Nicki – Feb 14, 2020

Finally, to end this ridiculously long post, I’m sharing this video that makes me ridiculously happy and has motivated me to even buy the Just Dance 2020 game for my Switch, just so I can play this and learn the moves.   In the 2000s, some of you may remember how obsessed I got with Dance Dance Revolution – who knows if it’ll enter that level, but still, watch this video and be amazed at the dancing skill of the group and chuckle at how awesome the “Rasputin” song is!

You’re welcome.

Larry’s Los Angeles Memorial

It was a good day to share memories about Larry with friends and family out here on the west coast.  The loss is still so raw that I still find myself dumbfounded that this is happening.  I wait to wake up and discover this was all a terrible nightmare, but that isn’t the reality.  My reality is that Larry lost his fight with cancer after giving it his all.  There’s no turning back time.   His goodness and spirit no longer have a body to live in and, I am choosing to believe, are now out in the world with us in some form or fashion.  I have to believe that.   I need to believe that.   I need him here still.

So that’s the mindset I find myself in now, and it was the mindset I still had this past Sunday.   Regardless of the loss and grief, having this event with loved ones was wonderful.   Barb and Jack completely went above and beyond hosting us at their gorgeous home in Newbury Park, and my friends dove in and provided the goodies and the work to get everything ready on Sunday.   I am a very lucky, blessed guy that this was all done for Larry.  it shows the impact he had on so many.

We had time from 10-3 on Sunday, and during it was just a good time catching up with folks I hadn’t seen in a while (the Barnes family!  NBC friends!  Larry’s coworkers and friends! ) and just being there with everyone.    I did want to say something while most people were still there, so here’s what my notes were from that day – I cried many tears trying to get through this:

Thank you for being here – I wrote something for Larry’s funeral that isn’t right for today.  While I still feel a lot of those emotions – the rage, the sadness, the loss – I know I can’t dwell endlessly on them.  So I grieve day by day, with some days easier than others.

What I want to share instead is just that I was so filled with love when I was with Larry.  And with his death, there’s a hole in my heart that I don’t know how to deal with. But each day, the love from my friends and family helps.  I know the pain won’t really ever go away but with time, there will be healing and so I hold on to that and smile when I think of things Larry would have loved or try to cook a meal knowing Larry is probably shaking his head at all the things I’m doing wrong.

There are still going to be tears and I don’t try to avoid them.  All I can do now is try to convey what I’ve learned – please embrace and love those in your life as often as you can.  None of us know the time we have left, so try not to let life slip by without appreciation.   And for the love of god, take care of your health and be proactive.  Don’t hide from the colonoscopy because it makes you uncomfortable.  Not that it would have saved Larry as he was still too young for it to have been done, but don’t ignore your body.  We caught his cancer too late, so please, just don’t ignore your body and put your head in the sand.

I love you all and thank you for coming and thank you so much to Barbara and her family for letting us enjoy this day at her lovely home, and to my friends who helped make this whole event happen.

There were some clever and emotional ways that people were asked to contribute while there.   Two guestbooks were there for people to write messages in – one for me, one for Fran.   There are also letters that people can write messages in that will be sent to me and Fran.  Also, people could paint on rocks and Mila will assemble them for something like a memorial we can have on my roofdeck.   Tim also provided me a frame with one of his student films with Larry starring as “The Maestro” and it’s amazing.  Just seeing his face in action in much younger, happier days was so nice.

Anyway, I am thrilled at how it all turned out.  I’m torn though as part of me feels like this was a way for most people out there to have closure on Larry.   I’m only just starting on that journey – there will never be closure.  I don’t even know how to imagine life without him.  I’m living it, I guess, but it’s a nightmare.  All I have are memories now and to think about somehow “processing” them all away depresses me.   It’s all just so fucked.

Here are pics from the day – pretty fantastic.   Weirdly enough, the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant happened literally while we were driving through that area to Newbury Park, as it happened in Calabasas right before 10am.   It was so foggy that day (and it was cold the entire day while the day before and the next day it was sunny and great).   Insane how life can be just so fucked for any- and everyone.

Diversions: Sveta in the City

The next day, on Saturday, we checked out at 8am, and headed right into the city.  The weather was unseasonably warm for NJ/NY in January, with the temps hitting the high 60s, which followed the prior days being in the 30s and 40s.  It was a perfect day to show NYC to Sveta, as there was no traffic going into the city and very little tourist traffic in the city.   We parked at 53rd & 6th, then walked up 6th to look for a breakfast place.  Walked by Rue 57 and had to laugh as we were there around 8:45am and the hostess inside just glared at us while we futilely tried to open the door, realizing it wasn’t open till 9am.  We strolled up another block to see that Jam’s Restaurant was open, so screw you Rue 57.  It was a delightful breakfast and had mostly nice ambience to give Sveta a taste of fun NYC restaurants, although the shrieking toddlers in attendance made us want to do horrible things.  Ah well, you can’t have it all it seems.

After a nice, leisurely breakfast, we continued walking up 6th and into Central Park, meandering around the lower section of the park, with me pointing out the area landmarks that I knew, and reminiscing about Larry’s love for running there.  Seeing all the runners around made me miss him more.  He loved his weekend runs there.  Made it to Bethesda Fountain, then headed west to 72nd St, where we were able to see the Strawberry Fields area, the Dakota, my old apartment, and then turned south on Broadway to walk back to Midtown.

At 50th, we headed to Rockefeller Center to visit the Top of the Rock observation deck.  I think it’s the most spectacular view of NYC over all the others.  Got some great photos in.   Saw the Rink, we went to Magnolia Bakery so Nicki could get some banana pudding, and by then our feet were exhausted.  It was time for lunch by this point, and while sitting by a fountain out front of Rock Center, I realized Ippudo Westside was nearby, so we continued over there, enjoying the sights.  Happily, no wait to get seated there for lunch, and dammmmn it was good.  Didn’t have time for more activities as they were flying out that afternoon at 5, and we managed to get back to the car right at 2, with them dropping me off back at Fran and Joel’s around 2:30pm, and they headed off to Newark.

At Fran and Joel’s I was pretty fucking exhausted, and I ended up taking a short nap while Fran and a bunch of her girlfriends were talking.  Joel’s brother Herbie and his wife Aileen were also there, and I got to chat with them.  Pretty much there was gabbing going on until about 10:30pm, and by that point I was done, D-U-N.  Managed to sleep pretty great on the couch this time.

Today, Sunday, I was flying back home, but not until 4pm.  Joel, Fran and I had a nice talk over breakfast about the future and what it holds – I do feel that I was wrong about my initial assessment and I feel terrible that I ever said it to Larry.  This family is my family, and they’re not casting me out.  I am relieved, as my own families (by blood) are just really not a big aspect of my life anymore, regrettably.  Stacie called and during the call, got a chance to talk to Fran.  I guess Larry’s watch is going to Trent.  That’s good with me.  A second shiva was being hosted today at Fran’s, starting at 2.  But people came over earlier of course, with Herbie and Aileen coming over late in the morning, David & Donna stopping by briefly and then heading out as they were flying home to Florida today.   Jon & Alyssa, Brad & Tina were over earlier too, and I was glad to get to say goodbye to them again.  I headed out at 1:45pm and now I’m on a flight headed home.  Some part of me is relieved for this weekend to be done, but I also can’t help but brace for what is to come in the months (and years)to come.

Pics from the flight home to LA:

Sperske Christmas

Today was a day with mom, as we went up to Aunt Helen’s where she was hosting the Sperske holiday gettogether.  Last year was skipped as everyone was pissed at each other, but I guess things are better with some this year.   Well I guess Mary wasn’t happy so she didn’t come to the event, and of course Barbara wasn’t there.  As much as I was dreading it, and the associated drive, it wasn’t as bad as expected.  Luckily there was no rain during the drive as otherwise the Cajon pass could be a fucking nightmare.  Mom was okay for the most part.  Obviously not her old self, but she managed to engage with people for the most part, but she really is just not all there.  I think that it has to do with her psych meds, and I want to investigate whether we can reduce those with it being much time passed.  I loved getting to see my cousins (and cousins in law) – Lisa, Cindy, Erin, even Bob – and Helen was doing good as was Lori.  I just can’t help but resent everyone for living their lives they way they have and Larry gets cancer.  It’s fucking awful.   Didn’t get home until about 5:45 as it was a lot of driving – Larry was in no state to be able to go to the Chinese Theater to see Rise of Skywalker, so we stayed in and tried to keep him a little calm.  Not quite successful, but did the best we could.   We did watch Eddie Murphy’s SNL that night and it was fantastic.  I hope he enjoyed it.

Day After Thanksgiving Fun

This was a fun day after Thanksgiving.  No Black Friday craziness.   Jon/Alyssa came over in the morning.   Michancy, Jon & I went to Target, a pot dispensary, and a wine store to stock up on stuff.   Then in the afternoon, we went to see Frozen 2 at the Universal AMC.   Larry and Michancy stayed back.   Frozen 2 was very fun.  The first Frozen is still probably the better of the two, but undeniably entertaining regardless.  In the evening, we played Pictionary, which Larry was able to enjoy too.  Drank a good amount of wine that night.