Tag Archives: larry

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.

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.

Coronavirus Diaries – The Beginning

All things considered, I decided to title this post ‘the beginning’ as I know that from all indicators out there, this social isolation we’re doing is likely not going to be short term.   That frightens me quite a bit.   I have the resources to get through this, but so many don’t.  I am lucky to be able to work from home, but I recognize that there’s so much uncertainty out there, who knows how long things can maintain?  We’re in unprecedented territory – the entire world is basically shutting down, for an unknown period of time.  Our government leadership is a fucking mess and are far too late and far too incompetent (accidentally, willfully, and/or arrogantly) to be trusted to manage the situation, with headlines bearing that out every moment.   A day feels like a week.  It’s just….unbelievable this is happening.

I’m relieved Larry isn’t here.   I think I mentioned that elsewhere in a post?  Maybe it’s just in conversations with others – the idea that if Larry were undergoing treatment now, and him having a weakened immune system because of it, and that if somehow he caught coronavirus from me or someone and that was what caused his death?   It’s utterly inconceivable –  my mind literally can’t deal with that.   I miss Larry so much, and I do wish I had healthy no-cancer Larry here as I am definitely feeling quite lonely and isolated.   I’m obviously not alone in that regard as everyone is feeling that, but a lot of people still have some kind of roommate or family to comfort or be comforted by.  I don’t.  I have my friends via text messages, phone calls, and that helps quite a bit.  But god I miss having my husband here.   Of course my first caveat stands – cancer Larry is not someone I could deal with having here at this moment.

Last week, Stacie and I moved mom into an assisted living facility.   Not much has gone right in my life this past year and a half, but in this case, we got that process started at the exact right (and as it likely turned out, last possible) moment.  She has her own room, all the cable she needs, her own bathroom and shower, and a big closet.   It’s a very nice set up, and there’s someone available 24/7.  She had a few nights where she was able to partake in going to the dining room and meet people, but obviously the older population (especially over 70) is at risk, so they’ve quarantined everyone into their room for safety and they get meals in their room now.   I know it’s not ideal but knowing she’s there versus being by herself at her house when the caregiver isn’t there would have also been a giant amount of stress for me.   Our timing couldn’t have been more critical in getting her there before this all started.   Mind you, the last week was very hard and there were some seriously annoying bumps doing it, but in the course of a week, I can barely even remember something that before might have driven me to still be angry about.  She’s there, she’s safe, and I was able to see her Saturday as I brought some additional things she needed, but now I know I won’t be able to see her again for a little while.

It’s crazy.  How is this happening?   I mean, I literally can’t believe what life is right now.   I watched my husband die just 2 months ago.  I buried him and tried to mourn and grieve him.   I thought that was the lowest I’d have to be, but guess what, my intuition was right.   I knew I couldn’t say ‘things can only get better’ as there’s no bottom in this world anymore.

I persist though and try to occupy my time:

  • I continue to work as hard as I can at my job – I don’t want to lose it as I’m supporting more than just me now.
  • I stay in touch with my friends, but god I miss actually seeing them and giving and receiving a hug.
  • I’ve been playing video games to pass the time.   The new VR set I got earlier this year is pretty fantastic and helps pass the time in a really immersive way (No Man’s Sky in VR is ridiculously cool).  I’m also playing The Division 2 (although the setting is a post-pandemic USA, so maybe I shouldn’t?), Dead Cells, Anno 2250 (ah, a future where things are so nice)….yeah, video games are definitely a way for me to forget the world a little.
  • I find myself falling down a Twitter hole and that is no good for my psyche.   It’s good for staying informed but the emotions there are all extreme, good or bad.   I have to take a break after a bit.
  • I’ve been very consistent with doing yoga every morning with the Yoga with Adriene Youtube channel – she’s amazing.   I found her when looking for lower back relief exercises and I have been a follower ever since.   It’s a wonderful and much needed way to start each day.  If you’ve ever thought of doing yoga, she’s super chill and a very friendly guide who is easy to follow along with.   I contrast it with Rodney Yee, whose ‘beginner’ series I bought, and man, that is false advertising, as his routines are very difficult.   So it was good to learn there are other approaches.
  • I’ve been reading.   I read Tom and Lorenzo’s book “Legendary Children” which covers LGBTQ history through the touchstone of Rupaul’s Drag Race.  It’s fantastic.  I learned so much about our history and the world of drag from it’s beginnings through to its evolution and persistence.   They’re good at telling the history and making it compelling, not that it needed all that much help.
  • Of course television is a mainstay:  Schitt’s Creek‘s final season has been fucking incredible.  I finished the latest season of Project Runway (very enjoyable!).  Just started Westworld Season 3 and am intrigued.  This latest season of Survivor (Winners at War) is epic and I love seeing an all-winner season where everyone is there to fucking play.  There’s others, but this is just me riffing.
  • I picked up the guitar again!  Larry bought me a guitar a few years back after the one I did have in NYC was stolen from our Duarte storage unit (along with my Transformers and childhood Legos, ugh!).  I never got the motivation back to get back into it as like any skill, it takes work and practice to be good at it.  But now I have time and I remember that working at the guitar was a nice way to calm down.  I found an app that is probably a little too simple but honestly, I’m here for slow and steady.   It’s interactive so it can hear what you’re playing and let you know if it’s wrong.  Kinda cool.

Just, fuck.   I was talking with folks at work on a conference call (obvs – we are all required to WFH now) and this truly is a moment that will be changing the world.  Just like 9/11, things were different after, forever.  Things will definitely have to change after this at a government preparedness level as well as how work and business function going forward.   Even just thinking about when finally we get to see other people in person again, it’s like, until there’s a cure/vaccine, you’ll be paranoid.  And then if another virus comes up, which of course it will, is the world going to be prepared and ready to do what needs to be done to prevent the world from stopping like it kind of is now?   So yeah, just, fuck.  Ha, as I write this, it sounds like I’m commanding you the reader to go fuck.  Maybe that’s not a bad idea either, if you can.   I know I miss Larry for that comfort too.   Having someone to hold and hold you, warmly and/or passionately, is something that I miss so much right now.  I didn’t know that feeling as a man in the closet, so when I did get to finally know what that was, and to now have it taken away for who knows how long?   It’s kind of awful.  I don’t know, it’s just all so much.

So why not some pictures?  Here are some from my first few days of social isolationing:

In Los Angeles, we’ve been getting TONS of rain.   There is occasional breaks which is good so it can kind of dry out, but we have a lot of rain still in the forecast!   And with less people out and about, our air quality is quite good.   I’ve seen news reports that the pollution around the world has dramatically improved due to this – maybe the coronavirus was the planet’s way of making us chill the fuck out on pollution.