Category Archives: just a post

A Good Day

Yesterday was a good day.   Unexpectedly a good day.  I had made a plan to do a slow-cooker recipe for carnitas, and that honestly was the expectation for the day, in addtion to playing Railway Empire and Horizon Zero Dawn (which both are awesome and I’m obsessed).   I got the morning started off right with some yoga (I’m honestly past counting the days anymore as it is a daily habit now, and I intend for it to be that way from here on out), and then I got the slow-cooking started.

Slow-Cooking Carnitas – Aug 16, 2020

Larry would’ve been proud.   Used a pork butt that ButcherBox had sent to me (I’m still not sure what else to do with a pork butt besides carnitas), then got the mise-en-place done and about 8 hours later, I had delicious carnitas for dinner.   SOOO GOOD.

The main thing though that made the day surprisingly good was that I was taking some supplies over to the home where my mom is living.  It has been off limits for visitors so I expected I’d just get to drop the stuff off in the lobby but when I got there, guess what, apparently I should’ve read my emails from them as visitors are allowed again as long as you have a mask.  So I got to see mom again for the first time in over 5 months.  Even typing that just makes me sad.  She didn’t even recognize me at first as she obviously wasn’t expecting me there either – I had Gatorade in hand and she asked me to put some in the refrigerator and then asked a nurse for her phone to call me and then she realized it was me.   We hugged but I kept the mask on as it’s still an issue.   We spent some time together but neither of us are long-term visit folks, so I left and we knew that I’d come back the next weekend.   I took some pics of us together but she asked me not to post anything so I won’t.  But I really was glad to get to see her.

The evening was good as I had an amazing dinner and then I went and set up the rooftop cinema for another movie:

It felt appropriate to watch it as it was definitely one of those movies that my mom and I watched endlessly when I was growing up.  The soundtrack is still the best.  Footloose was already in my head to watch again as the Number Ones article series this past week was in 1984 when “Footloose” the song topped the charts.  Anyway, it was a fun way to end a good day.

What Else is Going on Besides Yesterday?

A lot of not much?   But I’m passing the time.  Most importantly and awesomely, Big Brother is back.  I’ve of course been posting about this All Stars season as it’s just something new but also something I have loved for so long.   I’m sad Larry isn’t able to enjoy it with me (despite his annoyance it he always would get sucked in).  I do have my friends Mel, Nicki, and Sarah to text about it while episodes are going on, so that’s fun.

With Nicki visiting frequently on weekends, we’ve taken to playing the hell out of Ticket to Ride, and so I’ve gone and bought some of the board game expansions for it.   We will have our enjoyment, dammit!

I re-discovered this picture of Larry from when we lived in Santa Monica (March 2013).  It was when Stacie and Trent had come over for the day and he was cooking dinner.   Larry looks so handsome here and has a great big smile while doing what he was amazing at, cooking and entertaining.

It’s my phone background now.  It makes me happy.

I’m going in reverse-chronological order through my pictures since my last post and while if I was better about frequent posting the pics would make it, now it’s like, eh, no need.   But I did try another recipe in mid July that was a Larry special:  the cajun chicken pasta recipe modeled on what Chili’s makes.   It’s soooo good.  Larry had the recipe in Paprika and I decided to go for it.   Honestly, it was really good, but not as good as he made it.   But I can always try again.  I was really happy to play with cooking chicken breasts though – butterflying them and then frying them on the stove makes them taste so delicious with a proper seasoning on them!

Cajun Chicken Pasta via Me – July 19, 2020

BTW, when Jon & Alyssa were out for last Thanksgiving, Jon, Michancy, and I went to pick up supplies.   One of the stops was Mission Wine & Liquor and thank GOD for that journey as it really is one of those fantastic liquor stores that actually carries a ton of wine with many options and always always has the MONTEPULCIANO.   I don’t think I need wine.com anymore although I did make sure to get my money back on that membership that gets your complimentary shipping!

I love Mission Liquor

Superman & Sound of Music – July 16, 2020

Watching movies on the roofdeck is awesome.   It’s a little bit of work to get the screen up and the projector and sound all put in place, but it’s just so worth it.   One night, I had it in me to want to see Superman up on the roof, because it’s awesome.  It’s also long, and I made an intermission for myself as I was getting a little tired.  I had posted a little about that online and Wendy brought up that maybe I could have The Sound of Music on the roof this year?   Part of me reeeeally wants to have that singalong here, but part of me is also like, is that irresponsible?   I don’t know what the best answer is.   I could see having a few people, maybe?  But it’s like, I think we could wait too.  I don’t know.   But for a moment I was excited and I decided to watch a few scenes from TSOM to make sure it worked up there!  I also discovered you really can’t go up and watch anything until it’s actually dark.  lol

I guess one last picture set to put up is actually what I ended up doing the night of my last posting, which was back on July 12.  I set up the movie theater again for myself (knowing how to do it was half the battle!) and watched The Empire Strikes Back which was having its 40th anniversary and amusingly was the #1 movie in the nation that weekend because everything else is shut down.  It’s quite awesome to watch on a big screen!

The Empire Strikes Back – July 12, 2020

One weekend when Nicki was here, we watched The Goonies up on the roof deck, so it’s been fun to watch some classics in that venue!

Those are the main pictures I’ve got.   Everything else?   Work is work, so that’s good.   I dream about Larry every now and then, and it’s nice.    Sometimes I want to post about those dreams so I can remember them later, but I usually don’t.   Some have been funny – a while ago I dreamt about us trying to get a table at brunch and it was so vivid.  Sometimes I can vaguely remember that he’s actually dead while in the dream and it makes it that much more surreal.  Like, do I tell him?

Alright, I think I’m caught up.  It’s close to September.  It’s crazy to believe Larry’s death was over 7 months ago.  I can’t really understand that 5 months have been lost just being stuck at home.   It’s fucking stupid and I hate it because if our nation had had a coordinated response that made the pain last just 1-2 solid months, we’d likely be in a position now to be rolling things out properly.  But no, that’s not this country.   We’ve got “freedom” to act as selfishly as we want and god forbid your “freedoms” are infringed upon by being asked to wear a mask.   People are just so fucking dumb.   We deserve all that we are getting.

Black Lives Matter

As a white man, I know I have privilege just due to the color of my skin.   It is not a surprise that across our country (hell, the world) massive protests are occurring against the police brutality and systemic racist policies in place that keep this 400+ year system in place.  It’s always been rigged to favor whites and/or the rich, and things have only gotten glaringly worse with income inequality gap growing ever wider as policies are pushed by governments to enshrine that.

This video featuring Kimberly Jones is amazing – the end of the video has gone viral, but the entirety of this 7 minute video is quite worth watching:

I’ve been blown away by what’s going on.    The shocking videos we see of police brutality, not just of George Floyd’s murder, but throughout our history, have desensitized us to the fearsome police force that has been put in place.  I’d love to believe it’s just a few bad apples, but not enough good apples are doing anything about it to stop or improve things.   I can’t write a dissertation on all that ails us as I do not have that experience or knowledge, but reading and listening and doing what I can (I’ve donated for money for bail funds, campaign fundraisers and more to help with the protests and to ensure that on November 3, we get that fucker out of office and most of his friends too) is where I’m at now.

This past Monday when we had our first curfew and that fucker threatened to use the military against American citizens (and yes, I say citizens and not just the “rioters” and “looters” – we can all see for ourselves that the police are NOT making a distinction between peaceful protesters and troublemakers) was not a good day for me.   I got far too drunk and got really emotional about everything – not just our current fucked-up state, but Larry, my mom, the Covid pandemic…it’s all a lot to deal with, and it’s not like there’s an ending in sight.    But I, as are we all, am persisting, with the help of friends, coworkers, and some family.  Let’s hope and work so we can all through this together, in a better place.

5 Years Ago & 2001

Today marks 5 years from the day when I asked Larry to marry me.

Engaged! (the whole story)

It had been a long time coming, and honestly long overdue on our part to finally make that leap, but we did. We leapt.  And 11 months later, we got married.   It was amazing times, and we had our life together, and then cancer came and ended it.  I can mostly ignore the end months nowadays, but those memories don’t truly go away.  It was awful.  It makes me cry when I do think about it.   I’ll never not cry when I think about that.

But the times before that, engaged or not, won’t be forgotten.   I’ve got pictures, blog posts, memories to help me remember those good times.   Nothing was ever perfect and I won’t claim that here, but god damn, it really was just wonderful to have found someone who got me.  I got him.  When we needed space we figured out how to reduce getting on the other’s nerves.  We helped each other live more full lives.   It wrecks me to know I won’t ever see him again.

Larry’s birthday is tomorrow.   A group of friends and family will be getting together on a call to celebrate.  Not everyone will be there, and I completely understand.  I’m not even sure how I feel about it – I want to see people but “celebrating” his birthday doesn’t sound right – he’s dead.  I just want him back and for the last 2 years to be undone.   It’s naive.

I am not in the same emotional state as I was earlier this year.   I don’t know how to really describe it.   I am used to being alone more than I was.  I guess old habits die hard, as yeah, I have been alone before Larry so it comes back to you.   The bed is all mine.  All this room is mine to manage, and not share.  Cooking meals is up to me.   If I get lazy, I can order and Larry isn’t there to mock my laziness.  No one is.  It’s just me.  The scar tissue is building up.   The good memories fill me with melancholy, but don’t hurt as much as they used to.   The bad memories rip me apart as I mentioned above just as much as when they were new.  I guess it’ll be about managing how to deal with that going forward.

I loved him so much.   I will always be so happy we had that time together.   He was the best husband I could have asked for.

I found myself reminiscing about times pre-Larry – basically, Air Force times.  I dove into looking at Azores memories – especially as I realized that my site links to those primitive HTML pages and small-res pictures still.   Those pages were also written when I was under DADT so it felt good to actually write a little bit more with that added context gone.  I’m going to keep diving into these older pictures and keep updating, but here are some recent ones I’ve posted – good times had by all!

Halloween Party at the Salga House

An Initiation to Tropical Point

So young!   I then also was thinking about my San Antonio summer in 2001 right before I left, and the fact that I jumped out of a plane that summer!   What a trip.  I found the official video that I bought through the company as it’s like, who knows if I’m doing this again?   Let’s get the video!

It doesn’t look like there’s a previous time I posted pictures and such from that time, and I guess when I get to it, I’ll do a proper post there and include this video again.   But it was too good to pass up and not show immediately.  Again, the youth of me back then, and I remember how much I hated how I looked then.   People are always so stupid about how they look – just give yourself 20 years and you’ll realize how cute you were!

A random thing that I was entertained by – while I’ve been heavily playing the game Anno 1800 (as it is amazing and addictive), I also work in occasional playtime of The Division 2, which I’ve talked about before.   So, there’s an expansion that puts you back in NYC, the site of TD1, but this time in the southern tip of Manhattan.  Anyway, you can wander around Battery Park and the Castle Clinton area, and I was doing that in the game when all of a sudden it looked and felt very familiar.  It’s not surprising, as the videogame makers did a really good job of recreating the city, but it was particularly jarring.   Then I remembered – oh yeah, Larry and I had walked around this park one day in February 2009.   I didn’t have a post about it but I did take pictures!  And I remembered a particular picture and was like, can I find that angle again in this game?  Yes, yes I can.

So here are the pictures from that day (Feb 15, 2009) so long ago – note I had just moved into the city so I was totally a local by then.

It was a nice day for that kind of a walk, and memorable.  And then I played the game, and you can take in-game photos:

Contrast with this:Crazy, huh?   Well, it’s not insane, but I just remember tripping out realizing I’d taken pictures right there!

I’ve been keeping sane by still doing yoga – in fact, this was Day 96 straight of Yoga w/ Adriene.   I’m currently doing her 30-day Dedicate series, and I gotta say, it’s a lot more intense than the previous programs.  I like it.

TV-wise:

  • Devs:  FANTASTIC.  Very visual, very interesting, and highly compelling sci-fi that while the main premise is highly improbable, everything else around felt right at home in 2020.
  • The Clone Wars:  Wrapped up my accelerated/targeted watch of this series and it was amazing.   The story of Ahsoka is amazing.  Obi Wan proves to be one of the more bad-ass Jedis, and I was here for it.  Made parts of the follow-up series, Rebels, much more emotional.
  • What We Do in the Shadows:  Season 2 is on fire, and it’s honestly one of the best comedies going.  I love that crazy crew but every time Nadja speaks, I just laugh.
  • The Great:  Another fucking amazing show, and while it may appear that it’s some kind of costume drama, oh boy you’d be wrong to overlook it.   Loosely it’s the story of Catherine the Great while she’s still married to her husband, the Emperor Peter (not Peter the Great, who we all agree to hate as he was the subject of my Final Jeopardy question, agreed?  HUZZAH!).   It’s one of the funniest shows I’ve seen in quite a while, and the performances are all wonderful.  You’ll love it.

Alright, this post had a lot of schizophrenia in it.   That’s me lately.  Up, down, all around.   Stay safe.

“All Out of Love”

I know this is a sappy title, and while yes, my heart is utterly broken still by everything that’s going on, I’m not necessarily saying I’m “All out of Love.”  The issue is that Air Supply is in my head because one of their songs, “The One That You Love” is the #1 song in the current Number Ones article, and jesus that song is awful.   The video though, if you can deal with the song, is pure 1981 distilled into it’s heroin form, or so I’ve heard from “20/20”.

Anyway, Larry loved him some OTT melodramatic songs, and Air Supply was a band that provided those by the metric fuckton in the early 80s.   “All Out of Love” is simply fantastic, and is definitely the song I think of when I think of Air Supply.

It hits all of Larry’s song requirements, especially the powerful chorus allowing you to really belt the song out.  I miss Larry for different reasons at different times, and this morning I miss his singing.   He had a wonderful voice and really could hit those notes.   Anyway, as I sing along to it today, I get verklempt, but not inconsolable.  I’ve noticed a lot of love songs can work as grieving songs, except for the part where it’s just that the object of your affection thinks you’re nuts and isn’t dead.  I’m both happy and sad singing this song, in other words.

Yesterday (Mother’s Day) was a rough day for me.  I’ve told that to those who I talked to yesterday – and it was noticeably harder because I wasn’t prepared for it to be hard.   I first woke up and stumbled upon this article in social media, and damn, it hit hard, as yeah, many of these exact moments were ones we felt (and are still feeling).

Great way to start the day.   Then I tried calling mom with Stacie and she wouldn’t pick up the phone.  Gave up trying to talk to her with Stacie and repeatedly called, hoping she’d pick up.  Finally, after about 6 tries, she calls me back, without any sense of impatience or annoyance.   Just, her default state nowadays.   All that time waiting had already built my anxiety and emotions up and I couldn’t help but start crying on the phone.  She obviously was now aware I was not doing okay, and after talking for about 90 seconds (our average phone call time, nowadays), we disconnected.

I hadn’t really anticipated how much mom’s incapacity was going to hit me yesterday, so it came on like a freight train.   I was not good for most of the day.  I resent all those who still have a semblance of family that cares, that is still coherent, even in quarantine.   Seeing all the social media posts made me rage and cry and yeah, I cried a helluva lot yesterday.  It all sucks.   My friends and Stacie called me and that definitely helped – even just getting some of these emotions out, as painful as they are, helps.

It wasn’t until last night that I kind of turned the corner, when I started making dinner.   I hadn’t made one of the Instant Pot recipes since quarantine had started, and I wanted to do my fave, which is the Coq au Vin recipe.   I had ordered groceries via Instacart on Saturday, and they arrived Sunday morning, so I had everything I needed.   The mise en place always takes the longest time, but I managed to not fuck it up.  Watched videos on how to clean and slice a leek, as well as how to quarter a mushroom.   I was chatting with my friends during this time, and once I started cooking, I had opened my windows.   Across the way, my neighbors were also cooking, and we ended up having a brief conversation.  Having that really short moment of interaction, in person (but separate), was like a revelation.  It helped so much.  Other people interactions.  Go figure.  The dinner turned out fantastic, and while I was taking photos of all the prep and cooking, I ended up having a FaceTime dinner with Nicki so I actually didn’t take a picture of the finished product. D’oh.

Well, it’s back to the grind today.  An emotional day yesterday, but made it through.   The rest of the weekend is kind of a blur, tbh.   I played a lot of both Anno 2205 and Anno 1800, watched more of the The Clone Wars series (it’s so fucking good it’s shocking), watched Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Spiderman: Homecoming and ate food.  Go, me.

Anniversary Blues

This past Thursday was Larry and my fourth wedding anniversary.   I still have so many emotions about it all.   Today, it really got to me a big part of what hurts so much still:   Larry was my best friend, in addition to being my husband.  Today was May 4, which is also the day co-opted by Star Wars to become “May the Fourth be with you”, and I bring that up as there was all sorts of fun, cool news from the Star Wars arena that if Larry had been alive, we’d have been talking all about.   We got each other at that base, nerdy level that only reminds me how much us meeting each other, for me, was like catching lightning in a bottle.  We just fit.  Our relationship was solid, and happy, and comfortable.  Of course, cancer really couldn’t give a shit.  I’ve been seeing news about a lot of other people losing their fights with cancer as well, and honestly, it just breaks my heart.  Cancer has become more aggressive and harder to fight and catch in lots of cases.  Our oncologist told us that most people don’t die from cancer itself – it’s the treatment (chemo is basically targeted poison) that ends up ultimately killing you as your body just doesn’t have the energy to support you anymore.  i don’t know, I just figure I’m probably going to get something even worse and then it’ll come down to what will I want to do?  Fight, or see what happens?   I don’t know.

So on April 30, Nicki graciously set up a Zoom call with friends and family around the country.  It was very nice to see everyone at once, even if it was brief.   A few of Larry’s family were there, as were a lot of friends from out here.  We toasted to Larry.  No big speeches from me as I’m not really able to do it anymore.  I loved him, I love him, but I lost him. It’s hard to get over that.

Nicki got me this wonderful artistic rendering of one of the wedding pictures.   I love it:

Nicki got this made for me / us – I love it

Here’s a link to the Youtube video of the wedding ceremony – it’s linked in the wedding posts, but I watched it again.   I’m glad we at least did get that part captured on video – I have regrets about not hiring a videographer now.   But who would have thought that the clock was ticking as loud as it was?

On the Number Ones article series I have written about before, they got to a song that Larry and I bonded over when getting to know each other through chemistry.com:  “Kiss On My List” by Hall & Oates.  The author gives the song credit for what it meant to Hall & Oates but wasn’t a fan, overall.   To me, it signifies one of the very first points during getting to know Larry before even meeting him when I realized we might be on the same wavelength.   Well, I guess I’ve been morose for as much as I can deal with on this site.   Sometimes I want to reach out to someone about things like the above, and then it dawns on me that no one can help.  Only time, and even then, who knows.  All anyone can say is, “it’ll get better” and I don’t have that confidence anymore.  “Larry wouldn’t want you to be like this” is also true, but can’t help it.

Anyway, I have continued with some retail therapy.   I got a fun Kodak negative scanner and had a blast last week scanning negatives from 1990 to 1995.   Talk about feeling like the world has completely changed.  I got some choice pictures from MHS and UCLA AFROTC as well as some Puerto Rico pics scanned in.  It’s so easy to get done and finally I’m building up my digital pictures from before 2000, which seems to be when I finally got a digital camera.

This is the scanner, and you feed in negatives on the right side.

Ah, good times.  I love the yearbook that I was the editor for.  It took the approach that MHS books had been wedded to and finally opened it up to be editorial and interesting.

Another bit of retail therapy was buying some additional Philips Hue smart bulbs for the theater area of the living room.   I saw this random tweet below:

And I was immediately inspired.  I love the use of lights on the side and around/behind the TV.  So I got two bulbs and had every intent of putting them behind the TV too, but then I realized, hmm, I could easily fuck this up without having someone else here to provide help and a viewpoint.  So I ended up instead placing the lights I got below the TV to shine up and back.  It’s a different look than the one above, but one I still very much love.  I think to do what my inspiration did, you have to have a full strip of lights that will go the entire perimeter of the TV, not just two lights.   Anyway, my results below –

Note, the Apple iPhone camera has gotten very good, but still for some reason, I could not get it to take a picture of the lights without it looking like a harsh spotlight on the wall.  Imagine that instead of what look like spotlights, it’s instead a much more subtle lighting effect.   Anyway, I know Larry would have loved it.   As you may see, the lights are fully configurable in terms of color and intensity, so I change it up depending on what I’m gonna watch to match the mood.  After that successful installation and an inaugural run using them while watching “The Devil Wears Prada”, I got drunk as hell on montepulciano wine.  I had myself a little dance party that Saturday night – in hindsight I realize I was celebrating the wedding reception anniversary a few days late, but on a Saturday night just like our wedding.   I played the wedding reception playlist on random shuffle and had myself a fucking blast.   I got all social and texted and interacted with people online, danced a hell of a lot, and managed to probably keep my hangover on Sunday from being as bad as it could have been, although the delayed headache Sunday night wanted a word.  I’d like to think it was a way to celebrate with Larry’s energy somehow.   Who knows.  Anyway, I took this picture of me in glasses which I like:

Larry always liked when I wore my glasses, and with my lack of hair on the top of my head and me having somehow destroyed my ability to grow a beard full on my face, some visual interest is needed.  And frankly, while I don’t need to (thankfully) wear glasses for reading and office use, when watching TV, it’s such a better experience for me wearing them.

I think that’s a wrap for me for now.  I’m sure other stuff is on my mind, but just wanted to check in here.