My mom died on Sunday, February 7. It has been two years of watching this wonderful strong woman decline and succumb to dementia and years worth of health struggles. My heart has broken many times this past year starting with Larry’s death, but being able to do really nothing except keep her comfortable this past year has killed a part of me that will never come back. She was never the same woman she was after the surgery she had in January 2019, in which something triggered and broke something inside her. I not only had to watch as my husband struggled and fought to live in 2019, I was there while my mom seemingly forgot how to do that.
She isn’t summed up by what she became these last two years, and I won’t let that be what colors my love and memories of her. Just like Larry, I won’t let what their end was be all that defines them for me. She was my mom, someone who I loved and someone who will forever be that person that was always in my corner and loved me and supported me. She was that woman who when I came out to her in my late 20s immediately embraced me and let me know nothing had changed. She only ever wanted what was best for me and did everything she could to help make that happen. I tried to return that love and care in the later years, after Harv died, and I hope I was able to.
I know that after Harv’s death, it was not the same for her. The love of her life had gone, and now it was up to her to rebuild something new. At 65, that isn’t the easiest thing to do. But she did, and she joined Silver Sneakers at the YMCA and made some friends. I was so proud of her to not only get out there and exercise, but to be social and just find something new.
Growing up, she was such an instrumental force in me becoming who I am. Her hobbies became mine: reading, watching musicals (Cabaret! Sound of Music!) and sappy movies (Somewhere in Time! International Velvet!), music, drawing, studies…. These were all formative things that still drive me and provide me some kind of comfort. And she provided this for me while going through a divorce, moving us out back to Southern California, staying with family to get back on her feet, and doing everything she could to make sure we’d be okay. She ended up meeting Harv and they fell in love, and eventually they married and I had a stepdad and step-siblings and more. I now had a ‘staircase’-sister, Stacie, who became just sister over the last 35+ years. Mom and Harv built a life, found their own successes and were able to build a home together in Monrovia, where I got to grow up and thrive with friends I still have to this day from MHS. They ended up able to finally buy a home in Duarte, which just 10 years before would have seemed impossible.
Mom had a hard childhood but managed to fight for a bright adulthood. Full of ups and downs, it was a good life for many years. I hate that her body and mind betrayed her in the end, and that these last two years are what happened to her. I’d say it’s not fair, and I mean that, but I also know the concept of fairness is stupid to apply here. But I have a lot of anger and sadness at the way this all happened at once, and I’ll have to learn to let go of that over time. I’ve lost my husband and mom in the course of a year, and I can’t help but feel sadness, anger, occasional despair and enormous resentment at what life has turned into lately.
Those feelings are for another post, but they’re part of this. Just not the only part. I loved my mom, I know she loved me, and I miss her so fucking terribly. I’ve missed her for two years to be honest, but knowing it’s final just hurts in a different way. I can only hope she’s reunited with Harv in some way and maybe even is able to send my love to Larry.
I know where she wanted to be laid to rest and that will come in the next few months. I’m not sure what I’m doing about a memorial just yet as this COVID nightmare makes things a whole lot more challenging.
I love you, Mom, and I hope you’re finally at peace. Of anyone, you deserve so much of that.
It’s been about two weeks since last I posted – as anyone knows, the pandemic and associated social distancing, etc is still going on, and probably will be for quite a while longer. Things really aren’t that exciting, in other words. But Nicki has come over every weekend and that has made the time go by a little better, as the weekends don’t feel just the same anymore. I’d probably have lost my mind even more if we didn’t start doing this.
So, since you know this bitch loves to post pictures, here are some from the last few weeks. Keep scrolling though as I will go into the things I’ve added. I promise.
PwC gave us a 4-day weekend for the Fourth of July. It was much needed. On Thursday, July 2, which most people didn’t have off, I decided I’d finally make myself go out to Target. I hadn’t been since the lockdown began, so some time in early March? I was worried a little, but happily, everyone had masks on, it wasn’t super crowded, the lines were organized, and people respected each other’s personal spaces. I spent more money than I probably should have, but that haul included getting two more Ticket to Ride games, Europe and NYC. Spoiler alert, Ticket to Ride Europe is fantastic, challenging, and the only I’ve really got a shot at beating Nicki at. Anyway, on Thursday, I also cleaned the house pretty good, including mopping the floors with my favorite mop. Larry is rolling his eyes somewhere.
Floor is Lava: During this weekend, I binged the Netflix series, Floor is Lava. Holy shit, it’s amazing. Imagine a big obstacle course you take on as a 3-person team, but the ground is instead “lava” that you have to not fall into. The goal is to get to the exit on the other side of the room, and holy shit it’s not easy. I loved every episode. The first episode had those 3 guys in the American Flag tank tops above, and I loved them all. All the episodes included plenty of attractive men, and the winners were often surprising. Anyway, amazing show. Give me more!
Ticket to Ride – Europe: This game is so fun, and so perfect. The core USA game is also a blast, but the Europe board really adds a lot of complexity and a forced ‘long route’ means you can’t avoid a painful cross-continent route. Tunnels and ferries are also a great addition to the challenge. I’ve played these on the app before, but the real thing is just so fun.
On Friday, July 3, I then got the courage to go to Ralph’s for the first time since March too. I do appreciate Instacart’s convenience, but man, that got expensive quick. All the surcharges plus you don’t get the discounts from store memberships really add up.
Nicki came over on Saturday for the Fourth of July, and we had a nice rooftop afternoon of Ticket to Ride Europe and music and drinking. For dinner, I fired up the grill and made hamburgers and hot dogs. Made hamburger patties from one of the ground beef packets I got from Butcher Box, so happily I’m chipping away at all the meat I’ve been storing up. I actually had to go down to every 2 months as I just don’t get to the meat that regularly. So to speak. In the evening, we began our watch of Search Party Season 3, which is amazing and continues the show’s slide into darkness (while also mixed with hilarity). We took a break though, as Nicki had to experience what fireworks in the SFV are like. That’s shorthand for fireworks (illegal or not) being launched EVERYWHERE you could see from the roof. I’ll have to post the pictures I took last year when Larry and I enjoyed the festivities from the roof and update a link here when I do, as I didn’t bother this year taking pictures, but anyway, her mind was suitably blown. It really is ridiculous.
Search Party, Season 3: This group of friends wades ever deeper into the holes they keep digging, and it’s impossible not to binge this entire season at once to see what happens. These 4 characters, as well as those that get wrapped up in their orbit, can at times be the worst, and it’s just so watchable. Of course, it ends on yet another really surprising cliffhanger, and online it sounds like the 4th season has already been filmed? Let’s hope, because jesus.
On Sunday, July 5, Nicki and I ended up also binging one more show before she went home, which is a wonderful show called I Am Not Okay With This. I’m not sure how much to reveal, but the trailer here should be enough to make you want to watch, as it is another really fun show and one where it’s like, I’m ready for the next season:
I’m a sucker for anything Fireball Island, and I found out that another expansion had been released. Yes, I realize that I have played this game only a handful of times as it does take a lot of setup and a lot of explanation of rules, but it is just the funnest fucking game to look at and once you play, and those fireballs start flying? HELLS YES. I got the latest expansion and had to put it together, and here are the results. One day we’ll play this.
I took pictures of how the board pieces have to stack to fit in the wood crate I got
So many pieces – and that’s not all of them as the big pieces I forgot to take a picture of
All the expansions in place. I didn’t put out all the treasures, ember fireballs, bees, spiders, etc as I’m not entirely insane
On Sunday night, I also challenged myself with another ambitious (for me) dinner recipe, making a ribeye steak, using a recipe I found online. It included making it in the cast iron skillet, along with creating a thyme, rosemary, and garlic in-pan sauce, which omg was amazing. I documented it as what else do I have to do?
Bought this bad boy at Ralphs
Here’s the smashed garlic and the thyme and rosemary
Hot stuff, too
Getting that crust
and now making the sauce that you keep drizzling on the steak
It was enough for two nights
The work week, like all work weeks since the pandemic, is a blur. It was particularly painful this week coming after a 4-day weekend. Fuck that. But every day, more yoga (yay, Adriene! I’m currently in the True 30-day program and up to 140 days now? wow), and while I backed off of my every day also doing jump-roping and/or band workout, I still do my best to add one of those at least after yoga. Then it’s work work work until around 6? Then cooking or something, and I’ll watch TV or play video games. I’m back on my Railway Empire kick after over a year not playing it. I started playing that back when Larry first got sick – I was terrible at it, so i gave it up. Then there was an association with Larry being sick, so I kinda didn’t play it again, but I did pick it back up as Anno 1800 can be so overwhelming. Anyway, that has been my game of choice lately, and it’s a satisfying thing. I think I want to start another of my action-adventure games soon. Will have to figure out which one.
Anyway, this weekend came – and it was kind of epic. Yesterday, in particular, a lot of cool stuff. First up, Mixtiles! Alright, so I may have to post the first set of Mixtiles pics that I took from last year, when I printed out 16 of my favorite LA shots that I’d taken. Larry and I then put them up on the first stairwell – and I loved them. But these weren’t people pictures – purely scenery, so you know, totally pretentious. So here’s the pictures from that fun activity with me and Larry. 🙂 I did put these on FB when we did it, and it’s posts like that which keep me from deleting FB entirely, as especially this last year, I didn’t post on my site much at all, but I would go on FB occasionally. Anyway:
June 2, 2019 – The First Mixtiles Adventure (w/ Larry)
Our fresh canvas awaits
Set 1 is up. The first set was easy but doing the remaining 3 clumps took math
As you can see, we then went to the bottom next. But then had to think how to space the middle two clumps
Larry honestly was the one who came up with figuring it out. So the 3rd clump looked great.
and the 4th clump finishes the project. Yay!
There’s that smile I miss
Closeups. City scapes.
Venues or Famous Locales
Iconic LA things
As you can see, the result was spectacular. Honestly, I was so proud of how this turned out, and the work Larry and I did to make our home special. The rest of the year went to shit, obviously, as soon after this day, Larry had an appt at City of Hope where we got the first terrible news that things were not good and then obviously it wasn’t. I’m glad that I have many memories of us and him before that, and it was those things that I realized I needed to see as well.
Last month then, I went through my pictures from the last few years. I didn’t want to go back too far, so I stuck to like 2016 or so and after. I wanted memories of things that made me happy, and to capture Larry in his healthy, happy days. Also, I wanted pictures of my friends and family up too, as I really didn’t have any printed out. I absolutely love the Mixtiles concept – they’re so easy to use (no nails – it’s all contact strips and easy enough to take down and rearrange if needed) and the image quality is really something. I ended up picking 44 images that made me happy. I finally got them delivered last week, and I wanted to wait to put them up once Nicki was here as it was good to have a sounding board and someone creative who has ideas.
My initial concept was to do something with the entry floor wall. It was unused and boring, especially facing the bright blue wall we painted down there. Then I got FORTY-FOUR Mixtiles and was like, oh shit, did I buy too many? You can see that they don’t seem big on the wall, but in the delivery box, they kind of seem bigger?
You may have noticed that these Mixtiles I chose a different format. In the first round of scenic shots, I had them add a white border (pseudo-mat). It made the pics look kinda classy. But for these people pics, I wanted as much pic as possible. So they filled the frame, and I think that also made them feel bigger. So I started to panic thinking there’s no way they’ll fit on the wall alone.
When Nicki came over yesterday, Saturday, July 11, we got to work figuring out with some rough math approximations what would work. 44 splits evenly only with 4 rows of 11 pics, and that wouldn’t work all that well. Larry and I had used the deck-of-cards trick to separate the first round of Mixtiles, and I wanted to do that again as I love that spacing. So Nicki and I settled on 5 rows of 8 pics, hoping that the top row wouldn’t seem so high. We kind of tried to approximate it before committing, and it didn’t seem too bad. Happily, we were right. We took 40 of the pictures and rocked the hell out of the entry wall – it looks fantastic. I chose the 4 that wouldn’t be part of this 4 for another area, as you’ll see soon.
The start of the Memory Wall
1 row done
All done down here
I am unbelievably happy with how well this turned out. It’s also kind of overwhelming – a lot of love on that wall, and it reminds me of what I, and all of us, have been robbed of. Larry is dead and I still can’t accept that and miss him and need him here. I also miss my friends and the ability to go be with them. Grieving in this manner is not normal and I recognize I occasionally lose my fucking mind. It’s not fun. So I do things like this to work through it – and as I said in my social media post, this is a way to walk to work and see my friends and family. 🙂
Upstairs, on the landing heading downstairs, that’s where i put the last 4 pictures:
I love these pics of us, and I can’t tell you how magical that picture of Larry looking out at that beautiful sky (and rainbow – which you can just barely see here) is. Anyway, he was and is loved, and I fucking miss him. But we had 10+ amazing years together, and that’s not nothing.
Yet this day was not done. I had enlisted Nicki’s help when she first got here, so I then allowed us to have a sun break, so back to the roof deck for sun and Ticket to Ride fun.
We headed back inside after a few hours as it was easily 100 degrees, and even under a deck umbrella, it’s still effing hot. So we watched The Old Guard movie on Netflix, and holy shit, watch that movie. IT’S SO FUCKING GOOD, and like everyone else on Twitter says, where’s the goddamned sequel because damn. Charlize Theron (and everyone else) was so good in this, and the story was so compelling, and the mythology, everything…..damn. SO GOOD.
While watching the movie, we took a break as we got a Facetime call from Alyssa & Jon because it was Rachel’s 4th birthday and she got a Travel Barbie from her Uncle Hobie (and Larry). So we got to celebrate a little with them (and Fran and Joel, who were over). I do love them all so much.
A delicious pot roast dinner was on tap for the evening, and it was wonderful. Nicki brought asparagus and it was so good, and the slow cooker was a champ with the roast. YUM.
Dinner is served!
Pot roast, asparagus, baked potato and wine
And FINALLY, something I’ve been thinking about since the first time Larry & I toured the Glen LA model homes: a fucking rooftop theater is now my reality. Seriously. So, we’d had ideas about how to do it from Day One, but of course it’s not a priority thing to do, and with everything else that happened last year, rooftop cinema was put on hold. We did end up getting the surround sound speakers installed in the living room, which holy shit, that’s still some awesome shit, and Larry definitely got to enjoy that. Actually, I’m gonna post those pictures here too, as this blog post is not nearly long enough. When watching The Old Guard in the early evening, it was stunning how good the sound was.
July 6, 2019 – Getting Surround Sound Speakers!!!!!!
Anyway, that detour into 2019 was necessary. I was so thrilled getting that in place, and knew waiting on that with the news we had was foolish – let’s just make this part of our lives more enjoyable as Larry and I both loved watching movies and he knew I’d always wanted a kick-ass experience for home.
Back to July 2020 – I’d been really wanting to do something for the roof. I can see my neighbors have done various things that i’m envious of – especially market lights, which is probably the final thing to do as Larry really wanted those. I’ve seen TVs mounted on the wall, a white sheet hang on the wall….but I’ve not really wanted that. So I did some research and a projector and screen seemed the best bet. I still didn’t want to mount anything on the exterior of my house, so I did find a solution for finding a screen that could be affixed to a stand-alone structure that could be assembled and disassembled fairly easily. The projector though was going to be key – you could totally skimp out and buy something cheap but you’re gonna get what you pay far. I did a google search and Wired had a listing of various Bests concerning projectors. My spidey-sense was tingled when I saw the BenQ projector option, and lo and behold, it’s a really popular projector. So popular, it’s sold out everywhere. Having used it myself now, I understand why. I did find a listing on eBay with a $200 markup, and while initially hesitant, I pulled the trigger. I also couldn’t find the recommended Yard Master screen anywhere (sold out everywhere) and I noticed it was kind of fucking expensive. So in Amazon, I did find an alternate which had decent reviews, and was 100 inches. YAS QUEEN. The one little thing that called out to me was that one of the reviews pointed out that the structure holding the screen is really deep – like 4 feet or so. I did the measurements where I had wanted the screen to get set up and was like, 4 feet? That’s fine.
I got the projector first and did a test run setting it up in my bedroom using the Apple TV from the guest room. Fran had made use of that Apple TV while she was here in 2019, but now it was sitting unused as Michancy and Nicki weren’t using it. So I had my entertainment streaming device, hooked it up to the projector, and prayed that I hadn’t been sold a lemon. I had not.
This BenQ projector is absolutely no joke. The picture quality is fantastic. Even against just a white wall, the image quality is outstanding. It’s not a 4K projector and I honestly don’t need that as an HD DLP projection is stunning. If you’re in the market for a proejctor, this one is well worth considering. You can see though, even in these images, that a reflective white surface of a screen is going to help the images pop, so while I do love that I actually have the option of watching something in bed, the image can get better.
So last night, after dinner, it was time to test it out! First thing was figuring out how to assemble the screen’s frame – and come to the realization that a 4 foot depth was a lie. This thing easily has a 6 foot depth, which is bigger than expected. (Thank god for Nicki btw, as I was buzzed enough and the directions and darkness were enough for me to give up, but she persisted, and yay for that!) My thought of having it in the nook of the roofdeck was not going to work. But I saw how big the triangle was of the support frame and saw it could easily fit around the deck umbrella support, and holy shit, it was perfect. The deck furniture worked facing that way, the distance was perfect, and if the neighbors wanted to watch a movie with us, they totally could (and they did, honestly. I could hear them looking which was awesome). I was trying to get the Bose speaker hooked up to be the sound, but I just couldn’t. It was dark, i was somewhat buzzed, and the projector’s speakers were fine, which is kind of awesome.
We could have watched any new movie, but I didn’t want to. I wanted to watch a Larry favorite in his memory, and so I chose Back to the Future. Let me tell you, watching that on that fucking 100 inch screen was AMAZING. Like, I do not need to go a movie theater again. The sound up there is obviously the lacking part, but honestly, it didn’t suck either. And the picture was huge, and it was crystal clear. It was magical. i’m excited to watch other favorites this summer as at night, even if it’s been 100 degrees during the day, that makes for really comfortable evenings. That was kind of a motivation for me to just get the projector too – to take advantage of the good weather.
Blurry pic of the screen successfully set up
and holy shit – this is incredible – 100 inches diagonal projection
But the projector has good enough sound, so we began the movie!
It’s amazing how big this screen feels – like you’re at the movies
Geez that was a lot of pictures and stuff. But honestly, it was an epic day. I’m glad to have had the detours back to 2019 as I remember those moments fondly and vividly.
This morning, Nicki and I had breakfast and watched the Hulu movie Palm Springs with Andy Samberg and Cristin Millioti and wow, what a fantastic movie. Groundhog Day style plot but a really entertaining twist on it with great comedic performances.
And that’s that – time to relax and enjoy the rest of this Sunday afternoon. I hope to talk with my mom a little, drink some more, and consider setting up the roofdeck cinema again for something like The Empire Strikes Back, which I heard was the number one movie in America this weekend as the only things counting towards box office gross are drive-in movies!!! WHAT THE FUCK WORLD IS THIS.
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.
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.
When we went back in January for Larry’s funeral, one of the first things I talked about with family back there was I’d like to go to Miami for the annual Burger Bash. I actually wasn’t sure if it was going to be too late to make this request, but it ended up not being the case. Jamie, Brad, and the family all made it happen, and to them, I say thank you so much. They hooked me up with a flight and hotel and admission to the Burger Bash, which was amazing. I’m definitely going to break down the weekend with pictures, naturally, but just the fact that they were so kind and able to make this happen was wonderful. Enough preamble, let’s talk about the weekend!
I flew out on Thursday afternoon from LAX, getting there in the evening. Jamie and Rachel were already there as Jamie was part of helping get everything going as the Schweid & Sons company was helping present the Burger Bash event. Brad and Tina were not in town yet and would be there Friday afternoon. Unfortunately, my late request did mean I wasn’t able to stay at the same hotel as them, but I ended up at the Nautilus, a few blocks north of where they were at the Lowe’s. It was fabulous, and the room was wonderful as well.
This min-bar was something else
Room 542 has a dick peephole
THe lobby of the Nautilus
Me alone at my restaurant the first night
This wine glass got filled up a lot
Rachel and Jamie already had dinner plans, so I was on my own the first night. I didn’t know Miami and it was already 9:30 so I was content to just eat at the hotel, and so I went to the hotel restaurant which was closing at 10. They were accommodating though, and after sitting at the bar, I was chatting up the bartender and the manager like some kind of chatty cathy. It made the time go by and Evan, the bartender, gave me some intel on interesting places to visit in Miami outside of Miami Beach, which is basically their Times Square and meant for tourists. That helped me on Saturday when I did go sightseeing! Evan and the manager definitely had a DGAF attitude by the end of the night, and I may have paid for one glass of wine but they easily poured nearly a bottle’s worth of it in my glass, even letting me pour my own glass once. Needless to say, I got a LOT o’ wine.
Anyway, the next day I wasn’t feeling as bad as expected, although a little dehydrated. I went down to the restaurant again for breakfast, sitting in the outdoor area to enjoy the weather. It wasn’t too warm which was appreciated, and comfortable enough for shorts. Rachel walked over by the time I was finishing breakfast, and we then proceeded to walk north up the shore, with Rachel giving me a tour. It was nice to catch up with her as we really don’t have a lot of time for that typically. She’s also noticeably pregnant at this point, which is so exciting. Here are some pics from that walk along Miami Beach:
My view the next morning
Topher in Miami
Outdoor table for breakfast looking towards the pool and beach
Beautiful path from the back gate
Rachel and I hung out that morning and walked up and down the beach
Colorful lifeguard stations
The clouds rolled in and out all day
Baby on board
The venue where Rachel and Jamie were going to get married
The Faena is an insanely posh hotel
It was around 1 or so when we had walked back to the Lowe’s to meet up with Jamie, as well as Brad, Tina, Zach and Jake, who had flown in and arrived by that point. Always a joy to see them, and of course my Tina, and we all had some lunch in the Lowe’s restaurant, at which point Donna and David also arrived. They live in Florida a big chunk of the year, so they’re about an hour away by car from Miami. After lunch, we then wandered around the beach a little, and I took a fantastic pic of Continue reading Miami with the Schweids!→