Category Archives: on life

“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.

Final Fantasy VII Remake Keeping Me Sane

The last two weeks or so have been more of the same while staying ‘safe at home’.  If it’s Monday through Friday, I’ll get up, I’ll get myself going and do yoga with Adriene (as of now, it’s been 56 days straight – go me).  Shower, then breakfast, and then I’ll head downstairs (I honestly thought the word ‘downtown’ in my head while typing, lol right – I honestly wonder when I’ll see downtown again) and get to work at my desk.   I’m happy that I did make my desk a standing desk via the on-desk Flexispot thing I bought and put on it late last year:

I’m using a webcam to then dial in to any meetings that we have, as that is now basically kind of our default way to do meetings, which is using video.  Before this, video calls were never really part of the paradigm and it was just voice and maybe sharing your screen.   Anyway, I’ll then continue that until around lunchtime, and by now I’ve kind of gotten into a rhythm of ordering a big family meal of El Pollo Loco, and then spread that out through the week.

They turned out delicious!

Then back to work until 5:30 or so, and then the excitement begins as now I can relax at home.   Home, which I haven’t left except for small things for nearly a month.  If I’m not ordering food in, I’ll probably make my chicken-rice-beans or broccoli combo, or if I have a particular meat in mind, I might grill that up.  It’s good.   The image above is how my pork chop turned out – it was spectacular (I even used Larry’s cast iron skillet to do it – intermediate level skills there).

Lately for fun, I’ve been continuing to rewatch Twin Peaks, as I’ve mentioned multiple times previously.  I’m right now right at the penultimate episode of Season 2, right before the crazy 2-hour season finale (now season instead of series!).   Or I may watch a Marvel movie in my rewatch – I just watched Age of Ultron this morning and that movie still is a slog.  Some fun stuff in it, but it’s just a big meh.  Or I play video games, and honestly, that’s a huge part of my time lately, as it just lets me get lost in something else besides crying over Larry, whether it’s thinking about missing him, thinking about him dying, thinking about if I’ll ever have another relationship again, thinking about if he loved me, thinking about if he’s watching me somehow (it sometimes feels like it when I dream and he’s there – this morning I dreamt I had come home and while trying to turn the alarm off, realized it was off already because he was there.   I didn’t think of him as dead, so I was in a rush and he told he had to talk to me, but I was in the middle of something and that I’d get right back to him in a sec but of course I woke up.  Fun.).  Anyway, some video games have helped me tune the world out.

The latest game is Final Fantasy VII Remake. It’s a thrilling remake (I know, I know, that’s in the title) of the classic 1997 Playstation game that got everyone in the US excited over RPGs – Final Fantasy VII.  Indeed, I was amongst that group of folks who had our minds blown when playing this game – my UCLA roommates Ryan and Rolondo and I played this that year, and it was a blast.  I’ve replayed it throughout the years, but I don’t think I ever finished the whole thing again as well, it’s a lot.  But since 1997, there’s been talk of getting a remaster or a graphical update of this classic game whenever new video game hardware emerges, and every time, it’s always a no-show.   But in 2015, it was formally announced, and by golly, in 2020, we got it.   And hot damn, it’s amazing.   The early news back in 2018/2019 was the game would be episodic, and the first game is set only in Midgar.   That riled up a lot of people as episodic games can sometimes leave a lot to be desired.   And Midgar’s opening 5-6 hours in the original game are literally just an intro, as the whole world opens up to you after it.  And now this whole first game in the Remake is only there?   Potential concern – but the final product has shut my whore mouth.   It’s fantastic – the graphics are spectacular, there’s voice acting now, and the city of Midgar is immense.   A whole lot has been added to the game and it’s all been entertaining.   My first few hours though were spent gawking at the completely stunning and HAWT side-character named Biggs who is just….dayum…..

I didn’t make this image but it captures my feelings completely – thanks, Reddit.  Biggs’ looks and his voice performance are all so damn sexy, and honestly, this whole game is overtly horny and honestly, I’m here for it.  But yeah, Biggs.   Nice.

Anyway, I’m loving playing this game for just the fun of it and for the escapism.   I’ve continued getting through the end-game-ish stuff of The Division 2 as well.   I’m done with the main campaign (although they keep re-invading Washington DC and it’s annoying) so I now am playing the add-on episode content (National Zoo, Pentagon, Coney Island) and I’ll then get to the New York City expansion (which is where The Division 1 was set).   After that, I think I’ll be content to move on to other games.   Anno 2205 is also a background play for me when I need to zone out (you get to build on the moon, ffs!) as is No Man’s Sky (in VR this game truly is just spectacular; in non-VR it’s another addictive, zen game).

So yeah, that’s my life.   I chat with my friends over text and WhatsApp, we have occasional video calls, and it’s just who knows where this all goes.   I’m tired of it, but the alternative isn’t that great without treatment or a vaccine.   So yeah, great year 2020 is.   We manage to have birthday celebrations via Zoom video chat – earlier in April was Paras’ birthday, and it was fun, but it sucks that 2020 will be a do-over year. 

I bought a new Dyson vacuum as I wanted a cordless one so that I didn’t have to schlep the canister one I also have up and down the staircases.   I went all out on it and got the latest, nicest one, and I gotta say it’s pretty fantastic:

Ta-dah

It even came with its own stand and a couple of attachments.   I also bought a film negative scanner that I will use to go through a lot of my old pictures as what else do I have to do?   And while I do love the Google Photo Scan app for a quick way to effectively take a picture of a picture, actual scanning of the negative will get really good quality.  That should come this week.

Some fun stuff is coming up – wine.com has virtual video wine tastings and the first one I signed up for (along with some coworkers and friends who I sent the invite to) is Tuesday – to taste a French Pinot Noir and a California Pinot Noir.   Wine is also what gets me through the day.  So there we are.  Other than that, no pictures I took are worth showing as it’s just sunsets and looking outside.  I look like hell, and what’s the point anyway.

3 Months Now

Yesterday marked 3 months since Larry died.  Yesterday was not a good day accordingly.  I spent most of the non-work day in tears.  Part of that was also watching the series fucking finale of Schitt’s Creek and it’s just not fair that such a wonderful show is ending.  It of course ended wonderfully with David and Patrick’s wedding and the Rose family achieving their happy endings.   It broke me up to see the beginning of a wonderful marriage with all the sentiments that I remember feeling.   But my marriage ended in death as Larry fought and lost his battle with cancer.  “Till death do you part” is a bitch of a thing, especially when it applies to you.   I think about death frequently, whether it’s the hopes that Larry is around in some form or fashion or if coronavirus, if and when I get it, will be how I go.   I think about all the things that probably need to be taken care of and who would actually handle those things, and then I remember that oh yeah, you’d be dead so it wouldn’t matter.  It’s morbid, I know.  But being alone with your thoughts while grieving is a fucking nightmare.  Highly not recommended.

It’s like week 4 of the coronavirus physical distancing / safer at home order we all live in within Los Angeles county.   It’s unbelievable that we’re in this situation.  Our national leadership is abdicating all responsibility for the matter, and today tweeted the hope that we’ll all forget about what we’re going through.   Yeah, not gonna forget that you were aware of the threat since January, took no action, delayed action because you considered it a hoax and a hurdle to reelection, and still just make shit up that you think sounds about right.   There honestly was an opportunity to solidify your re-election:  be a leader and lead the nation through this, and be aggressive and own the situation and help.  But nope, that’s not who he is.  Has never been.   And people who voted for him and will again can go fuck themselves.

So yeah, week 4.  I’m losing my fucking mind, honestly.  It sucks.  I have been doing yoga consistently – in fact, today I count 45 days straight of me doing yoga to start the day off.  That was even before the quarantine had started.  It has helped to calm me down, and frankly it has been great with regards to my overall lean muscle mass.  I definitely feel stronger.  It’s nice.  I play video games a lot – lately it’s been The Division 2, Anno 2250, and some Rise of Nations too, which is such a comforting game to play.  I have a lot on the backburner, especially a lot of my VR games and new ones I’ve bought.  I’ll get to them.  TV too:  Twin Peaks rewatch is in full effect (in fact, today is the 30th anniversary of the premiere of the pilot episode!  There was a rewatch led by Kyle Maclachlan and Madchen Amick which was fun.)  Westworld season 3 is still amazing.  Schitt’s Creek just ended but this past season was phenomenal.  Survivor is kicking all kinds of ass.  So I do have my distractions.  But having no human contact beyond the occasional delivery person (which is a risk in itself!) is no way to be.  I never considered myself that much of an extrovert, but yeah, I am.

Here we are though – I miss Larry unbelievably and talk to him still, as who else do I have to talk to.   I have plenty of texts and calls with my friends and some family.   Mom is safe, but she’s so unconcerned with me or anything besides her own immediate needs so that’s just what it is.  I just have to continue on – do I know what is in store for myself or the world?  No clue.   Honestly I don’t think this distancing will end anytime soon, not until a vaccine is created.   It sucks, but this coronavirus is a bitch.   So that’s my rambling.   I had hoped to have more cogent thoughts or something approaching organization, but nah, that didn’t happen.   Here are some pictures from the last few weeks to tide you over, most from me but also some from my friends too.

Entering a second week

Well, the world is in the midst of something I don’t think anyone in modern times thought would ever happen – a pandemic is shutting down a huge portion of our lives.   The economy is cratering accordingly.   Our president is deciding to pass the buck and not take any decisive leadership or try to ensure that testing and PPE is widely available, so what may have been something much more preventable is just going to get further and further out of control.   I honestly can’t believe this is what’s happening in the world.

I am ridiculously lonely and at times, I get unbearably emotional.  Wine definitely exacerbates those emotions, but I’m not about to be sober during this period.   My friends have been wonderful – we have a text thread, which recently migrated to WhatsApp as Mila and Nicki’s texts were coming in super-delayed for some reason.   Last week my coworkers at PwC DRS in LA all had a virtual Happy Hour via Google Hangout/Chat.  It was amazing – we all had video up so you could see people and it really made for a nice two hours. I got drunk.  And then continued by having a video chat with the girls right afterwards – yeah, that was a fun night, until it wasn’t when I just was drunk and emotional.

I can’t see my mom for obvious reasons, to avoid getting her and anyone else at the assisted living home from getting sick.  So I play lots of video games, I watch TV (Westworld really has been killing it in this new season; I’m also rewatching all of Twin Peaks, which is fantastic), I watch movies, and then distractions end.

I had a dream about Larry last night that felt more than just a dream.   Sveta had let me borrow a book called “Be Here Now”, which is an older book that dives deep into eastern spiritualism.  I’m not going to try to summarize it, but it did help to let me have some perspective on death, life, living and embracing now….etc.   I was reading that last night, and I think it stuck in my head.  I ended up having a dream where Larry and I were just hanging out.   In the dream, I knew he had died, so I knew this was after-death Larry.  He was all smiles and content.   We talked about the Stereogum Number Ones article series I’ve written about earlier that he loved, and I told him that I’d been keeping up on those articles now because of him.  He liked that.   And he smiled.   The dream ended, and I never have ever not wanted to wake up as much as I did during that moment.  It tears me apart to even write about it, as it was both exceedingly happy and devastating to feel this.  I miss him so much.  Not sure I’ll make it through this whole period, but I will try.