Friday, December 13, 2013

Cancer Blows

                                   It had been a particularly cold Easter when my grandfather first expressed his distain of Church services to me.  We had been standing in my aunt’s kitchen, a particularly lavish affair of a room, awkwardly glancing at each other.   That’s when he blurted it out.

                                    “Your Grandmother made me go to Church this morning.  Had an Asian priest.  What type of Catholic priest is Asian?  I couldn’t understand a damn word he said.”  I couldn’t help but laugh.  I’m sure there are more than a few people that will point out how discriminatory he was being, or how awful of a comment it was – but there, in that moment, it was fucking hilarious.  There we were, surrounded by our prim and proper family, a whole salmon, a pitcher of sangria and an assortment of side dishes, and there was Grandpa, spouting off about Asian priests and sermons.  He was really the only family member on that side that ever understood me, understood what made me tick and think and wonder.  The rest of the family would be talking about the latest pop star, but Grandpa and I would be tucked away at a table, talking about the mating rituals of the bonobo chimpanzee.

                                    We buried Grandpa last Thursday.  My mother and her sisters (Grandpa had 6 girls, despite his best efforts to have a son) did their best to console my grandmother – the woman who had been married to my grandfather for 64 years.  They had met when she was 16.  He had asked her to marry him…and she had said no.  Three times.  I guess the fourth time was the lucky one, because when she was 20 they married and got right to work on having children.  My grandmother never had any problem telling my grandfather where to go and what to do with his opinions.  He would have done anything for her – would have made anything happen for her.  Now she struggles.

                                    As I sat in an unfamiliar church surrounded by family – the people who I’m supposed to be the closest to and yet seem the farthest away from, I couldn’t help but think about how much Grandpa would have hated it.  He wouldn’t have wanted a big fancy ceremony and a bunch of flowers and people crying over him.  He would have wanted a pint and a football game to watch.  Funerals are for the living.

                                    And there I was contemplating all of this when the priest took the pulpit.

                                    He was Asian.  And very difficult to understand.  God does have a sense of humor.

                                    I should be saddened by Grandpa’s passing – and I am, in a way.  I am saddened that my grandmother – a strong woman – has been reduced to hiding in her house and barely eating.  I am saddened that my mother is unsure how to cope with this tragedy, and that my aunts and their husbands are equally confused.  I am saddened by the suffering that my grandfather endured in the months before his death due to the cancer that wracked his body - that completely decimated him to the point where he told the doctors to sedate him until he died.  I am saddened by that.

                                    But I am joyful that he is no longer in pain.  I am joyful that he was able to find some control over how and when he went, despite being riddled with a disease that tragically claims so very many lives.

                                    And so, I refuse to say goodbye to my grandfather.  For me, this is simply a parting of ways until I can join him (hopefully not for a very many years).  

                                    I love you Grandpa, and I miss you.

Saturday, July 20, 2013



Even the word is ugly.  An ugly word for an ugly condition.

It’s a dirty little secret people like to sweep under the proverbial rug.  It’s something that society mocks, something that is real and tangible and altogether far too common.

I’ve known a lot of people, been friends with a lot of people, who have it.  I have family members who have it.  I am surrounded by it, on a daily basis. I laugh.  I have fun.  I float through my life, day in and day out, drifting on waves of contentment and pleasure.  I am privileged, and I am incredibly lucky for everyone in my life and everything I have.  I want for nothing.

And yet.

And yet, there is a little part of me that I hide away.  I stuff it in a box in my mind, and lock it up and pretend it doesn’t exist.  Pretend that I don’t add a new layer of chains to it every day, pretend that there aren’t dark secrets that I don’t want other people to know.  Because, the truth is, if I’m being honest – I?  Am not perfect.  I?  Am not always happy.  Sometimes, I feel like just staying in my apartment and crying it out.  Sometimes, I just want to curl up in bed with my cats and hide away from…everything.  And everyone.  Sometimes, I  just lose myself in a bottle of Jameson.  It helps me sleep.

I think that everyone can sympathize, to a certain extent.  We all have shit, ladies and gentlemen.  We all have secrets that we want to stuff in box and pretend don’t exist.

Am I depressed?  No.

Do I feel sadness? Yes.

I cannot imagine trying to wade through life with that type of weight bearing down on my shoulders every day.

And furthermore, I cannot imagine someone ever making light of it.

Is this what our society has turned into?  Someplace where we aren’t complete until we validate ourselves with the pain of others?

No thank you.  If that’s the case, I’ll stay at home with my cats and my books. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013


Life marches on.

It’s inevitable. A lot has happened in the last two years since I posted to this blog. I’ve started other blogs, discontinued them, and then started more in an effort to replicate what this one was to me. I wanted a fresh start, someplace to chronicle life on my own. However, despite my carefully constructed places, life marched on and trampled those other sites. I didn’t connect with them, and I had gotten so wrapped up in trying to be someone I wasn’t – someone I could brag about, someone who was cool and calm and who wasn’t a neurotic mess. Someone that people would want to follow. I wanted a blog where I could post my ideas, just as long as they were politically correct and contained the sufficient amounts of wittiness, humor, and thought-provoking concepts that I found necessary for a successful site.

I found myself growing disinterested with those other blogs, and started to absorb myself into my work. It’s a little known fact that I’m a bit of a workaholic – despite my disorganization, I love to work. It gives purpose to my life.  I started working 70+ hour weeks, started to focus on that and trying to be successful. I don’t regret it for a moment – I learnt a lot during those first few months - but I started to burn out. And, in the process, I lost myself a little bit. I couldn’t replicate the bare and raw honesty that this blog provided me in the other blogs I tried. Maybe I’m just sentimental, maybe I just don’t respond well to change.

In any case, here I am. Again. I’m still with the same company, just with a different position. I like my job. I like the people I work for, and the people I work with. I enjoy what I do, and I make good money.

Captain America is somehow still with me. In the two years + that we’ve been together, he for some reason hasn’t grown tired of me yet. I don’t think he’s simple minded, but sometimes I wonder – he seems to enjoy my special brand of humor and dorkery. He treats me far better than I deserve, and he puts up with far more than any man should ever be asked to. I am eternally grateful that I’ve found someone who won’t look at me like I’m nuts when I explain, in great detail, how I plan to train my cat to fetch me a beer out of the fridge.

Speaking of cats, I’ve acquired some animals. There’s the cats – Smushie (so named because, as an extreme Persian, her face is concave), and Nomeow the Russian Blue (a very dignified animal). Between the two of them, I am well on my way to achieving my dream of becoming a crazy cat lady. Tuck the parakeet is still around, although Ash (the other parakeet) died a few months back due to a tumor. I like to think he had a good life – or at least a better one then would have been afforded to him otherwise. I’ve also acquired, somehow, an African Grey Parrot named Metoo. Metoo and I have a love hate relationship – I love her, and she responds by biting the shit out of me on a daily basis.

See?  Smushed face.

And then there’s me. I’m still a neurotic mess. I still like to stare at the stars and the moon; I still love the scent of honeysuckle and almonds. I’m still a bibliophile. But, I think I’ve matured a bit. Grown a little older, perhaps. I’m 28 now – only a hop and a skip to 30. I’m starting to settle down – an eventuality that used to terrify me. Now I find comfort in making a home (albeit a sloppy one) for myself. I’ve always been a bit of a homebody, but I’ve lost the lust I had for the grass on the other side of the fence.

It’s not that I’m not motivated. That’s not it at all.

It’s just that I’ve learnt to find comfort in the little things, and to appreciate what I have for what it is.

And, really, what more could one want?