How can my heart keep breaking when it's already lying in a thousand pieces in the pit of my stomach?
Today marks one week since my maternal grandfather, my Papa, passed away. Sometimes it feels like it's been a year, other times it's still not quite real to me.
I consider myself so lucky to have been able to be here in Michigan for the past three months, helping to take care of Papa and be with my family. I will always cherish the time I got to spend with him toward the end of his life, although I hope that these won't always be the strongest memories I have of him...I want to be able to remember his face filled with a smile instead of pain; his body strong and sure instead of weakened and bruised.
I'm sure I will, one day.
This is one of the toughest weeks I have ever had to endure. Yesterday was supposed to be my final day to drive Papa to his treatments before a ride service took over so that I could head back to L.A...instead, I sat by the window for hours, not knowing what to do with myself now that my entire reason for being on this side of the country is gone. I felt so lost. I still do.
I cried myself to sleep last night, unable to stop thinking about Papa - how my time with him is finished, how I won't be helping him put on his jacket anymore, how he looked as he slipped away.
Why is it that no matter how much we do, or how much time we spend, in the end it's just never enough? There is always something we wish we had said or done. I wish I had stayed at his house to eat lunch with him more often after treatment...I wish I had shown him the photo of us at my wedding, instead of saving it as a Christmas gift.
But one thing I can't - won't - wish is that I had told him I loved him more often. Because I know that I told him absolutely every time I said goodbye, whether on the phone or in person - and I know that even if I hadn't, he still would have known.
I try to find comfort in this, that for all of his simple means, Papa was rich in what matters the most - love. He had such a warm heart, he loved all of us so very much, and we adored him in return.
Because of this, and because he lived a long, full life, I don't want waste time being angry at the universe for taking him away. But I can't stop myself from hurting.
My heart aches. I feel like I'm drowning in sorrow. Just when I think I can't possibly cry any more, the tears just take over.
I know that he, of all people, wouldn't want me to stay this way. He, who told his own sisters not to visit him in the hospice during his last days because it was too much trouble for them, saying, "don't worry about me, I'll be fine."
I don't know exactly what I believe about the afterlife, but I do know that wherever Papa is, he'd want to tell all of us that exact statement...and I'm trying like hell to be strong like him, so that I can tell my family and friends the same about myself.
There are so many things going on in the good ol' U.S. of A. right now that simply boggle my mind...so many issues being debated that are overwhelmingly pointless.
How can any senator (or other person) look at the results of the Pentagon study on the potential repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' and say that there isn't enough information?!? How can someone possibly think that an act that discourages ANY person from doing something honorable (such as serving their country) isn't reprehensible? How can someone listen to the highest leaders in our military make their case against this disgusting law and then continue to argue FOR it?!?
I'm also stymied whenever I hear a blue-collar worker supporting the notion of extending the Bush tax cuts to the wealthy. Look, I get extending the cuts to all of us "norms" - the economy is suffering, unemployment isn't budging, the middle/lower class can use all the help it can get. But that's not the issue - evil socialist Obama and the democrats ARE in favor of extending those cuts. They simply want to eliminate the cuts for the rich folks, the ones making over $200K/year. And a lot of those people have come out in SUPPORT of this plan. Everyone likes to bitch that we need to save/make money somewhere, well, here's a dandy place for it. I don't get it. We're not even RAISING their taxes, per se - we're RETURNING them to where they were several years ago.
To all the people who use the "trickle down" argument (i.e. if we give more money to those in the higher income brackets, they will then spend that money and it will trickle down to the starving masses): I call B.S. All of our top economic minds have said time and again that the notion of a trickle down effect is, for the most part, false. And besides, we already gave the fat cats a chance to make trickle-down work, when we first put the tax cuts into play - and they didn't do a damn thing. Trickle down didn't happen. So why continue to keep the game the exact same if THE GAME DOESN'T WORK?!?
Another thing that's absolutely blowing my mind is this statement being made by the Republican party, that they will absolutely, without fail, deny any attempt at bipartisanship by the Democrats/Obama. That they will automatically, without fail, vote down any attempted legislation. I understand that everyone has their differences. But it behooves no one - NO ONE - to act like a bunch of pissy 6-year-olds saying, "well if I can't have the red balloon then I'm just gonna pop ALL the goddamn balloons so that NO ONE can have one."
I mean, seriously people?!? Is this how you teach your children to behave? Because if so, this country's headed straight down shit creek without a paddle - with a big fucking hole in bottom of the boat.
A certain senator said that his number one goal during his next two years in office was to prevent Obama from being reelected. Really? REALLY?!? Not fixing the economy, huh? That one too rough for ya? 'Cuz I'm fairly certain that if we don't continue to work on that son-of-a-bitch, we're not gonna have much country left by the 2012 elections.
There are plenty of other issues that I have a hard time believing are still being argued over in this day and age - gay marriage, right to choose, global warming - but for those I have at least heard some intelligent debate. There are people out there who have their reasons for arguing against those matters, and even if I don't agree with them, I have to allow that those reasons exist.
But the support of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'...the stand against bipartisanship, against working together for the good of the country...the determination to extend tax cuts to people who don't need them -
I just don't get it.
Times are starting to feel pretty fucking desperate, people. God (or whoever is out there) help us...
Not sure what I want to write about here, hence the "blanks." Just felt that it was high time I sat down and wrote SOMETHING.
I've been going through a pretty major period of burnout - total exhaustion wouldn't be a bad way to phrase it. Temporarily moved home to Michigan to help take care of my grandfather who was recently diagnosed with leukemia and given 3 months to live (a month ago)...very glad to be here, and VERY thankful that circumstances are such in my life that I am able to do so. Big cheers to the hubbers on that score...he's a saint, and a trooper, and a whole bunch of other great things. :)
We drove my car across the country so that I could have it on hand for all of the many doctor visits, etc, and also so I could bring our dog here to stay with me - just easier than B having to board her every week while he's at work. And I'm really glad we made that decision, because having her here is like having a little piece of home, and I definitely feel a little less lonely because of her presence.
I miss B terribly - don't even have the words to describe it. It's like I'm trying to live without arms. Seriously. It sucks and sometimes I can't figure out how to function properly...a part of myself isn't here and it just doesn't feel right.
I'm also going through some depression in regards to leaving my life behind for the next few months...I miss my friends back in L.A. and feel very detached from everyone and everything that I've come to know and love. So if you wanna email me or ship me some sushi, please feel free. ;)
I am hoping that these next few months will lead to a sort of re-awakening of my professional goals, or at least the discovery of new ones, because I've been so darn lost lately on that score...we shall see.
Right now, just focusing on family and the lovely state of traffic in Mid-Michigan (nonexistent)...not all is doom and gloom.
Keeping my head up, taking one day at a time. Peace out.
Rather, I'm referring to the type of people who are so self-involved that they float through life with full-force blinders on to the concerns and/or cares of others they encounter.
Point in case: the jack@ss driver on Robertson last week, who swooped out from behind me and into the left lane - missing my bumper by mere inches - honking at me as if his life depended on it, waving his middle finger out his window...all the while apparently blind to the fact that a FIRE TRUCK was rapidly approaching us from the other direction - hence my stopping in the middle of the road. (I couldn't pull over completely as there were occupied parking meters on this part of the street.)
I mean, how on God's green earth did this guy not take the time to wonder why every other vehicle on the road had come to a full and complete stop?!? Look, I get it, sometimes it's hard to hear a siren, especially if you're blasting your poor taste in crappy 90s music at a ridiculous volume out of your sh*tty car's windows, but the flashing lights were pretty G-D obvious, not to mention ALL OF THOSE STOPPED VEHICLES.
But no. Clearly I was in the wrong here. Obviously I was the one who deserved to be flipped off - the obscenities which were thrown in my face were pretty well-deserved, I guess . MORON.
I had a modicum of satisfaction when the guy had to pull over after getting a whopping 20 feet past me, but it took me the good part of an hour to fully swallow my indignant rage and accept that I'd never be able to find this jag-bag and shove my steering column down his throat.
Boy, I'm glad I don't have a problem with road rage. :P
So be forewarned, jerk-wads. Next time you feel like laying on your horn, maybe take a second to use those eyeballs you are so blessed with having and check out your surroundings for a possible REASON for people to be doing what they're doing. Or else your stupidity might very well result in someone getting hurt.
In a completely different if not polar opposite vein from my earlier post today, I have been struck with an idea for a new blog, one which hopefully will show how a simple act of kindness can maybe bring a little peace, love, and harmony back into our daily grind.
At a bar a few nights ago, I witnessed an interaction between two strangers, a man and a woman, both mid to late 20s, neither of particularly astonishing looks (either good or bad). The man approached the woman with a bit of small talk, she responded in kind. But when he attempted to move into the "now I'm officially hitting on you" range, she quickly turned into a viper, flinging mean bits of dialogue his way that clearly got under his skin and poisoned the conversation.
I was quietly horrified - what happened to the good old days of politely rebuked romantic overtures? Isn't there a way to tell someone "I'm taken" or "sorry, not interested" without partaking in a full-fledged verbal assault? Surely there's a way to tell someone "no" without tearing their self-confidence into itty-bitty tiny little shreds and strewing them across the floor for everyone in the room to step on.
(And no, I'm not talking about that sleazeball who sidles up to any girl he can get close to and makes lewd comments - that guy deserves a good dressing down.)
Then I started looking at my friends and colleagues and realizing that this isn't just a gender-based matter. Somewhere along the Gossip Girl-soaked line, our society has learned that having "frenemies" and being nasty to one another is a more fun, admirable, and socially if not morally sound way to live life.
A bit of self-deprecation and fun-poking can be healthy, but we've fallen so far down the rabbit hole of rude behavior that calling a girlfriend a bitch or a well-meaning potential suitor a moron is not only acceptable, it's considered amongst many to be the highest form of wit. Your social standing is only raised by another person's being brought down low.
And it bums me out.
So I wanna do something about it.
My idea won't change the world, and it's doubtful that even a handful of people will read the blog, but I want to start a blog/site where I take the time, each and every day for the next year (yes, another "365 Days" sort of endeavor...what can I say, they're popular) to pick a person and say something nice about them.
It doesn't have to be earth-shattering. The person doesn't need to be a saint or the inventor of penecillan (good thing, since that would end my work at Day One). I'll probably choose a lot of friends and family, but I'll also sprinkle in some love for passing acquaintances or even complete strangers. Hell, maybe even a celebrity or two, if I feel like it.
But before I begin, I'd be muy interested in hearing some feedback from y'all. A good endeavor? Even if no one ever reads the thing, I've gotta think that hearing that someone said something nice about you for no apparent reason has to make you feel good - right? Or just creepy? Would YOU be weirded out?
...and I feel - well, "fine" doesn't seem like quite the right word. "Blackly depressed," perhaps, or maybe just "bleak" would be slightly more apt.
Having been stewing in a vat of career confusion and financial worry for the past few months, I've found myself drawn to movies and books of a similar theme - apocalypse. Most of these works are rather shoddy and not particularly well-thought-out, but between the handful of them that are great and the nuggets of wisdom one can still collect from the aforementioned crap-fests, you can still come away with a pretty significant feeling of doom.
Top this all off with an article I read this morning concerning several leading scientists from around the world who agree that the human race (at least as we know it) has little to no chance of surviving the next century, and you've got the recipe for a really upbeat f*cking day.
I mean, anyone with a head on their shoulders (and a decent brain in said head) should realize that the continuation of our species is no longer a definite. The problem of vast overpopulation, and hence over-farming, alone is enough to make one question the possibility of mankind's future. Need I quote the countless studies about what year the world's tuna supply will run out, or how little farmland will be left in 50 years if the population continues to rise at the percentages which it has been? The fact of the matter is, we're running out of room, food, and natural resources, and instead of slowing our worldwide reproductive rate we're increasing it on a daily basis.
I'm not trying to say that people should stop having babies, so don't get all human rights activist on me. I'm just saying that we need to figure something out if we want the human race to survive...as geeky as it sounds, off-world colonization is pretty much the only option we've got going for us at this point, but sadly we seemed to have lost our hunger for the great space race back in the '80s.
Say we figure out a way around the overpopulation problem. Great. Now you simply have to worry about the threat of nuclear war, our dwindling supplies of natural resources like oil or clean water, and of course everyone's favorite, global warming.
To save us all from a lot of eye-rolling and name-calling, I'll avoid the topic of an intelligent computer uprising (a la "Terminator"), but our dependency on computers should frighten you in any case. Do you have any idea how quickly our country would fall into complete anarchy if somehow all of our computer systems came crashing down? Everything is stored in computers, on microchips - how much cash do YOU have sitting around your house? That's right, not much...it's all stored digitally in your bank or on your credit cards, and with the flick of a switch - congratulations, you're officially bankrupt.
I know this all makes me sound like a crazy nut-bag anti-children (hell, anti-everything) wanker, but I really don't think I am...I view most of this as pretty obvious stuff, and it shocks and scares me that more people aren't concerned about these issues.
There's definitely something to be said for living in the moment and being happy where you are, and I try to remember that each and every day of my life. But I sure do hope that there is a group of people (vastly more intelligent and driven than I) out there who are concentrating on the matter of our ultimate survival. Because selfishly, as sh*tty as the human race can often be, I kinda don't wanna see it end.
Sorry for the darkness...more pep next time, I swear. In the meantime, I suggest you go read "Oryx and Crake" or "The Road" for more feel-good end-of-time cuddliness.
My most recent spate of meaningless hours of idleness has been broken by the refreshing addition of Skype to my home. Video calls, folks...it's the wave of the future. Now all we need are those machines from "The Jetsons" that automatically get you out of bed, dressed, and fully made-up so that you're always ready for a caller to get a peek into your home life.
Sadly, since we don't currently have these fabulous machines, I am pretty sure I'm going to be keeping my Skype contact list fairly short, as there are only a handful of people out there I don't mind seeing me with unwashed hair, glasses, and sweats. It ain't pretty.
My first Skype experiment was with my friend Michele, who was gracious enough to be my guinea pig and close enough in distance that there was nary a sound lag or vocal distortion to be had. An excellent first try, saved from being a bit uncomfortable by my husband having the presence of mind to avoid walking behind me after he stepped out of the shower. These are the types of close calls that Skype users will have to take care to avoid if this thing is gonna catch on...at least among us normal peeps who aren't trying to "sho u penis bals" - a rather touching request an unknown user sent to me before I figured out how to change my privacy settings.
The second Skype was with Brad's sister and nieces - a surprise for him, as he wasn't aware they had a web cam...it was great to see the smile it brought to his face, to actually be able to see those little girls fighting over the right to talk to Uncle Brad instead of just hearing the ruckus. We're talking full-fledged face grabs and body slams here, folks - Brad's a well-loved guy. :D
And yesterday I Skype'd with my sister and niece, with whom I discovered the 21st century version of peek-a-boo, diving out of frame and jumping back in from unexpected directions. It was awesome. I'm looking forward to surprising my grandfather later today when my sister has him over for dinner, but I'm completely ready for him to believe he's looking at a video clip of me.
I've also been trying (TRYING) to fill my hours with writing projects...but it's been difficult. What I thought of as my great idea for a novel is beginning to look more like a lengthy short story - as much as I read books, I seem to have trouble taking the time to write in full-blown novelistic style...too much information makes it read like a short story. We'll see if I can fix this.
And last, I have, of course, been desperately trying to find a paying "day job" of sorts to help feed our dog and put vodka in the freezer...and the economy has come back with a heaping round of "not enough jobs!" and "you're both under and over qualified!" It's fun.
You see, having been a struggling actor/writer for the past 87 years, I don't really have many marketable skills to shop around. So I'm not qualified to do things like bake or teach or sell overpriced houses in a depressed market. But I'm also too old and experienced to get any of the entry-level BS jobs that are vaguely floating around out there...they'd much prefer to hire someone younger and dumber who they can feasibly keep around for a few years. I'm not sure how they automatically realize that a nearly 33-year-old woman who's Mensa-qualified would jump their donkey ship at the first sign of a better paying "REAL" job - I guess someone must have warned them.
One of the interviews I had was to be a trolley guide at an outdoor mall. Yes, I would have the grand honor of narrating the same 1/2 mile course of track six times every hour to a squabbling bunch of tourists whilst wearing a suit resembling something between an old-timey elevator operator and one of those little monkeys that dances around collecting money while a gypsy man plays the hurdy-gurdy.
You know what I'm talking about.
Well guess what? The interview went great. And I didn't get the job. Because, clearly, they had some magical inkling that this was MAAAAYYYYYBE not my ultimate career choice.
So I guess what I'm saying is that my ultimately pessimistic view of life and the job market is primarily at fault for me not getting one of these classy entry-level peon jobs. And the more I get rejected, the further down the slope of negativity I go.
I've decided, then, that I really should just finish writing my GD brilliant debut novel(la?), get it sold, and watch millions of people gobble it up and ask me for seconds. Because that should be easier, right?
I'm starting to think it might be. God help us all. Except Paris Hilton.