20 days in

Hey guys!

Well, here I am again.  I was planning on writing sooner, but even though I’m not working at the moment, I feel like my days are still filled.  Kind of odd to me, to be quite honest.  I thought that I would be bored or something by now.  Today is day 20, by the way. In these 20 days, I’ve actually really not had a boring moment at all, and sadly, I haven’t given myself time to write with the exception of last week and now.

The one good thing that has happened lately is that my emotions have calmed way down.  I’m still taking Buspirone, but only when needed and it hasn’t really been needed lately.  I’ve been constant with my walking, but with the infection rate here in El Paso spiking again and the park that I know is relatively quiet a ways away, I think I might scale back my walking just a bit in order to save gas and keep myself safe.  Maybe the idea of getting a beach bike or some other fixed gear bike like I had the idea for during April and May sounds good again.  I just don’t have the space in my flat to store a bike in. I’m sure I’ll feel better once the infection rate starts to go down again… if it does.  For now, though, I think I’m going to scale back my walks to conserve fuel and to keep myself safe.  One odd thing that’s been happening lately is that I’ve started to get a little lonely.  What the hell, right?  Like why the hell now?  I don’t get it!  There’s nothing that I can do about it, nor do I really want to, but it would be nice to have a non family member/ non friend relationship to have and care about to go through this madness.  Maybe I’m just talking crazy talk, but that’s how I’m feeling at the moment.

Now that I’m thinking about it, I think I’m going to take today as a mental health day and be lazy.  I know that most people I know would be disappointed in that, but screw it.  I just don’t feel like doing anything today.  I’m not going to go outside or anything.  I think today calls for podcasts in bed.  I’ll get back to my normal life tomorrow.

There’s more to write, but right now my brain is focused on relaxing.  I’ll be back later on this week with more of what I really wanted to share with y’all!

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Coronavirus and me… part one

Hi y’all!

It feels like it’s been forever since I’ve talked to you, but here I am again.  It’s been a long and insane journey even from the last time I posted a blog.  I don’t know about y’all, but 2020 has completely changed my life.  Everything has turned upside down in my world.  Honestly, I don’t even know where to start, so I’ll just start typing and we’ll see where this blog goes, alright?

So, I’m thinking back to March 25th.  That whole week leading up to that was pretty tense for me.  Words were being said at work that we might be shut down, so I was afraid that I’d be out of a job right then and there.  One of my bandmates/best friends had just lost his job that he had only started a few shorts months prior to that point and he was in the midst of chaos and fear.  We had a meeting a day or two prior to Wednesday the 25th where we were assured that we would be paid if we were sent home and everything was going to be cool.  There were plans in place.  Fair enough, right?  So, the email goes out that Wednesday morning that we were being shut down for our safety’s sake.  Great! Go home, shelter in place, and wait for this coronavirus to do its thing and screw off.  Well, that didn’t quite happen as we all know.  I stayed home a total of 81 days. 

In those 81 days, though, my life began to change.  My relationship with my sort of girlfriend (long story) really just died within those first nights.  I was pretty much tripping out over the fact that my job, as of that fateful Wednesday, was to stay home and be safe until further notice.  It was so crazy to me to think that because a lot of other people in my country weren’t getting afforded the same luxury that I was.  I’m bad about spontaneous wording and as it was this woman that I was dating is a gaslighter, so she took my raw thoughts and turned them completely against me.  I was sick of fighting with her by that point, so I just told her that I’d shut up about what I was thinking about and leave her be.  I haven’t spoken to her since.  That still breaks my heart, honestly.  I didn’t want our relationship to end that way, but I guess it was for the best.  We were too different when it all boiled down.  She is an extroverted party girl that doesn’t share the same morals as I do, and as you all know, I’m the quiet Catholic introvert who knows a lot of people, but rarely goes out into the real world.  I really thought that I had a shot with her, though.  I thought we could meet in the middle.  We had it for a minute there and were committed to each other, until she wasn’t.  I think about her often… dare I say daily, but the ache is slowly going and is barely there now.

I started to get into a personal routine in those 81 days too.  I found out that my body clock likes to run from 9-10am to about 12am daily with that required at least 8-9 hours of sleep nightly.  Things at home were great.  I finally was able to catch up with the pro wrestling programs I watch, which are WWE’s Smackdown and Raw (and some of the PPVs), and AEW Dark and Dynamite. I also had the time to catch up with my streaming services shows and I also got back into listening to the podcasts that I enjoyed.  I walked my neighborhood for a few weeks until I started to notice plantar fasciitis really set in on my left foot so I stopped that, but I tried to be active every day.  I shampooed my carpet, rearranged my living room and dining room area, and fixed my blackout curtain to seal up all the spots were light was coming in.  I was also visiting my grandparents who live 30 minutes away more often and helped them out with more things that they need since they are now at the age where they need help with everyday tasks.  Overall, things were ok. 

We had a few call in meetings with work every now and again, but nothing was ever set in stone for any return.  That changed for me in the middle of June.  I got the notice that I was part of the small group of people that were designated as mission critical, so I was asked to return to work on June 15th.  I’ll be honest, I wanted to stay home.  We were still in the middle of the big spike in virus cases here in town and I was still having mini panic attacks being around people, but I could not say no, so I went in.  Things were cool.  That first Friday, I actually felt happy walking back to my truck because it felt like normalcy was returning to my world.  Not that I minded staying at home, but it also felt cool to go back to my routine.  I was happy.  That all changed for me again on July 11th.  I went to my dad’s house because somebody decided to kill my prized coir mat that I had JUST purchased a month prior.  It was hilarious.  It said in fancy cursive “Thug Life”.  I’ve used that term in hashtag form for years since watching the silly comedy Pineapple Express when the actor Danny McBride said it.  I thought it was a hilarious way to turn the phrase around and make it funny, so I took it for myself too.  Anyway, somebody decided to kill my thug life coir mat and for as heartbroken as I was, I knew I had another mat at my dad’s house that I was going to use for camping.  Sadly, the Rona took this year’s camping season away from me too, so I figured that I might as well take the mat that I already had and bring it here instead of buying a new one.  That day would cost me. I got to my dad’s house and was told by him that his wife was sick.  She was showing signs of COVID-19, but had been feeling similarly sick for a few weeks before that, as had my father.  I still made sure to keep my distance from her just in case, but didn’t space myself that much from my dad because he said that he didn’t feel all that bad.  I was there for 7 hours.  I came back home and never felt sick, but sadly within 3 days my dad was severely ill with COVID-19 and the double pneumonia that it ended up giving him.  He went from going to Urgent Care on a Saturday night, to being admitted to a hospital within a couple of hours of that, to being transferred to another hospital’s ICU unit by Sunday afternoon.  I was terrified.  I didn’t know if I was going to lose my dad or not and I sure as hell wasn’t ready for it.  There was still a countless amount of hours of conversations to be had, booze to be shared with him, and music, movies, and sports to watch with him.  It was all made worse with the fact that I self reported close contact with him, so I was sent home for 14 days from work too.  Thankfully, I had 13.5 days of paid time off that I was forced to use, but I was going to be able to cover my bills and rent.  I won’t bore you with the details, but after an 8 day stay in the hospital, my dad made it home.  He’s still recovering from the damn illness, but my hopes and prayers are that he continues to make a full recovery.  He’s already about 96% recovered in my opinion, thank God!

I went back to work and things got back to the new normal again for me.  I felt cheated that I had to use my own paid time off to keep from missing bills and rent, but oh well, at least I had a job to go back to.  By that point, they had started to rotate people in that were still at home since March 25th, so it was great to see some friends of mine that I hadn’t seen in nearly half a year.  At some point in August or September, though, things started to change.  We got a funny looking email from the higher ups in the company telling us that there was a chance that layoffs would need to happen.  Of course some of us got scared, but I honestly didn’t at the time because I thought that the fact that I held a unique position in the company and the fact that I was the longest serving employee there (9 years and counting) would mean something.  Loyalty should mean something, right?  Well, we went into another call in/meeting and were told that nevermind that downsizing thing because it thankfully was not going to affect our location.  WHEW!  …Then came the week of September 21st. We got another funny looking email about unexpected cuts that were going to have to happen by the end of the month.  Within a few days, we had a meeting where our managers told us that our office was indeed going to be affected by this round of cuts.  Again, I thought because of the 2 things in my favor, I’d be safe.  *Spoilers* I was wrong.  By the end of the week, my manager was acting kinda funny around me.  She has always been horrible about hiding emotions, etc, so I knew something was up.  I thought I was safe, but also had a sense of “oh shit.  I’m fucked!” about me.  I only let a little bit of the thought of “what if?” in my head, but just kept on going.  Sure enough, two of us that were currently in the office along with 10 others still at home were told “thanks, but you’re done.”  I could not believe it.  In the 20+ years of employment, I’ve never been fired and up until September 30th, I’d never been laid off from a job either.  I was in complete shock.  I had no idea what to do.

See, I’m a person who operates on a routine.  I have my schedule and have it mapped out long in advance.  I have my job, I have my responsibilities, and I try to shelter in place for as long as possible on my off time.  Sure, I have debt, but I always knew that I’d have my rent paid, my utilities paid, and money for food to stay alive at the very least.  To have that all taken away from me within the matter of 20 minutes was earth shattering for me.  That entire phone call where they had some clown from HR on the phone telling us that we’d still have our benefits until the end of the month then asking if we had any questions all while acting like it’s just another day at the office felt so horrible to me.  Honestly, all I could think about was “How fucking DARE they do this to me!  I fucking gave 9 years of my life to them!  I NEVER once complained about anything!  I did everything that was asked of me and then some!  I was always happy and had great relationships with my fellow coworkers there.  Why was I not one of the 9 people that got to stay there?”  My now ex-boss as of that moment apologized to the two of us there.  That was nice of her.  She said that we could use her as a personal reference and the main manager of the place was gladly offering to be listed as a professional reference.  Nice of them as well.  She also said that if we wanted to leave right then and there, we could.  They understood.  My now ex-coworker asked questions that I wanted to know too, but honestly at that point couldn’t have cared less.  My heart was shattered and I just wanted to escape.  We stayed in that office for about another 5 minutes and I went back to my desk to collect my things.  I had taken a canvas tote with me that day just in case I was going to be laid off, so I just started to collect all my things.  I was so hurt that I didn’t want to talk to anybody there.  There was about an hour left in the workday, so I decided to do a bit more work, but with half an hour left, I realized that I just couldn’t do it anymore.  What was the point, anyway?  I asked my direct manager if I could leave and she said yes, so I was on my way out until I was being stopped by other managers in the office telling me how bad and sorry that they felt.  All I wanted to do then was cry, but I tried to keep on as good of a brave face as I could (thank God for facemasks, by the way!), but I just wanted to leave.  I felt like I was suddenly in my home but somebody had already moved in and I was an unwelcomed guest.

I had warned my dad and my sister that I may be laid off, but when I texted them as soon as I was walking back to my truck, things quickly became real.  My sister couldn’t believe it and insisted that I go to her house, and my dad sent me a heartfelt text message as well.  That entire drive back home was surreal.  Knowing that I’d never make that drive again just hurt.  When I parked in front of my flat, it felt like I was a complete failure as well.  Like what the hell, right?!  I opened the door and just felt completely useless.  I was on the phone with my sister and told her that I was going to change into some more comfortable clothes before I made it over to her house then got myself situated at home.  For the first time, I was completely lost.  What was I going to do now?  I had no idea of what kind of job I wanted to get now.  What could I do?  I mean, I loved the job I had.  It was a Monday – Friday gig, holidays off, set time, no overtime, and it was generally fun!  It worked for my regimented lifestyle.  There were never going to be surprises.  I always knew the road ahead and that’s the way I needed it and loved it.  Now I was violently thrown off that proverbial road into the darkness with no survival gear or lighting into a pitch black void.

I called my dad on the phone and to my surprise he actually told me to possibly take the rest of the year off and start fresh in January.  With the pandemic still to make its fall and winter return with a vengeance and the uncertainty of the national election, it would be the safest bet to just stay home to rest, relax, and reset.  I couldn’t believe it that he’d suggest it, but I was thankful and grateful that he did.  It’s odd that he did as well because for at least a month prior to that, I had noticed the beginnings of burn out.  For as much as I need structure in my life, I just couldn’t find the time to schedule in downtime.  I was posting on my social media platforms via memes just how much I just needed a time out. That, and the feeling of being ostracized by my company with some of its new policies/”celebrations”/etc that directly contradicted my strong Catholic faith had me thinking that God found a jarring way, but a way nonetheless of getting me out of that situation.  Overall, it’s been my faith in our Lord Jesus Christ that has honestly kept me going through this and all the other bad situations that have happened in my life.  I know He will never leave me nor will He let me fail or leave me.

So, I got to my sister’s house and ate dinner with them.  I saw my nephews and honestly I don’t even know if they knew what had happened to me, but I immediately felt comforted by the presence of my family.  I stayed for a few hours and talked and saw my nephews playing video games then made it home after about another hour or so talking with my sister in the front yard of her house.  I thanked her for insisting on me going over because it distracted me from my situation.  I realized that even more when I got home 10 minutes later.  I was right back at facing the situation presented to me.  I was now unemployed and had no real reason to wake up early the next morning.  I had filed for unemployment before leaving to my sister’s house earlier in the evening and since that was already in process, I just had nothing in front of me.  Naturally, I didn’t sleep very well that night.  I woke up 2 hours after laying down feeling like I had slept the entire night but then the anxiety crept in.  All of the unknown was attacking me and I had no defense against it.  Stupid too, when I think about it.  What was done was done, you know?  I had a temporary plan in place and I had just paid the rent for the month.  I was fine for at least a few weeks if not months with the money I had in my 401k, so why stress?  Well, I slept on and off again until a reasonable hour early in the morning and started my first day in the unknown.  Honestly, I can’t tell you what I did because I really don’t remember.  I’m sure I made breakfast, but I was so numb at the time that I just don’t recall what else I did.  I think it was either that day or the next for sure that I cleaned the flat and did laundry.  My sister came over that next day and we talked for a bit longer.  We got into a bit of a religious argument, but she quickly apologized for it.  I knew that she was going to my grandparent’s house on that Friday, so I asked if I could go with her so that I could break the news to them in person because I knew that they would take it hard.  My grandparents, especially my grandmother, worry so much about all of us in the family and she has hypertension problems, so I wanted to tell her in person so that she could see that I had a plan and everything was going to be okay.  It was still tough telling her and talking to them about it.  Grandpa actually cried and said “we’ll get through this.”  I nearly broke down with him.  It sucked but at the same time it was great to know that I had support and was surrounded by love.  Not that I didn’t know that already, but it was good to see it.  Speaking of that, a few of my friends from work also reached out and were making sure that I was okay.  It meant so much to me that they did that.  I was joking to my sister that it felt like I had died and was experiencing post-death me.  So many people told me just how much I meant to them, how much they love me, and the great and positive impact I have made on their lives.  It felt great to know that I’ve had such a positive impact on people’s lives.

It hasn’t been all lollipops and booze, though.  That anxiety that I mentioned a little bit ago?  Yeah, that monster came to hit me with a vengeance over the past 2 weeks.  The anxiety attacks were so bad that they were reminding me of similar attacks I was getting at my previous job that I had for 9 months in 2014-2015.  I was getting the same horrible feelings.  Terrible anxiety, loss of appetite, panic attacks, anxiety attacks, with no help in sight.  I had old Buspirone pills that were prescribed those 5 years ago and I decided to start to take them again.  I didn’t have very many of them, so I tried to get a new prescription from my new primary care physician.  Sadly, though, I had to go see her in person as she had never prescribed those for me before, so it cost me $72 dollars just to see her for 5 minutes in person so that I could get a new prescription of the anti-anxiety medication.  I didn’t have that money, but thankfully my dad paid for the visit.  I’ll be forever grateful for him for that.  I learned one thing, though.  Buspirone and I aren’t that good of friends anymore.  It sorta takes care of the anxiety, but at the same time it makes me feel horrible too.  It raises my blood pressure and it makes me drowsy now, so I’m learning to only take it in dire emergencies and not as a regular pill.  We’ll see how that goes.

You know, there’s one big thing that I’ve wanted to talk about in regards to this whole situation.  It’s the fact that this global pandemic, COVID-19, has really affected the entire world.  I never thought that I’d lose my job over it.  I never thought a direct family member would get it and be so affected by it either.  Both of those things have happened because of it.  I know I’m not the only one, though.  Oddly, the world crisis has been put right at my front door as well.  It’s even more real to me now.  Those news stories that I’d see and read about where people were losing their jobs, having their lives turned upside down, etc… I am part of that now.  I never thought I’d say that, but here I am.  I’m less than 2 months from my 40th birthday.  I should have been getting ready to make my trip out to Las Vegas to celebrate, not worry about having to find a new job and start my life over again all while worrying about catching a deadly virus and hoping I survive it too. 

I thank God for the podcasts that are currently in my rotation, especially The Joint with “Uncle” Joey Diaz.  I can’t remember if I’ve ever talked about Uncle Joey here before.  For those that don’t know who he is, he’s a stand-up comedian/actor/podcaster and as he proclaims “all around bad motherfucker from North Bergen, New Jersey”.  He isn’t lying either.  He’s lived quite an insane life.  He hosted a podcast for 8 years called “The Church of What’s Happening Now” that I was just completely in love with.  He gave out life advice and cheered people up in comedic ways all while pouring his heart, soul, and past out for everybody to see and hear.  It was inspirational.  Honest to God, it was freaking inspirational.  Well, to me it was.  When the pandemic hit, slowly the messages were being dropped on the podcast that it was going to end because Joey was going to move from Los Angeles to New Jersey.  He wasn’t alone.  He was reporting first hand on how there were lines of moving trucks all throughout the Los Angeles area.  I mean, who can blame them?  The entertainment industry, that drives most of the economy there, was gone.  Comedians were leaving by the handful because all the clubs were closed.  Film and TV productions were halted for the same reason.  The Hollywood dream was slowly dying, and the homeless population exploded out from Skid Row to overtake much of the city.  Crime was going even more up than it already was and since Joey has a young daughter, there was no reason to stay there.  One of the last guests on The Church was the comedian Sam Tripoli and right off the bat, Sam was crying because Joey was leaving.  It wasn’t just Joey that was leaving, but pretty much every other comedian of note in the L.A. area was either going or gone already.  It was heartbreaking.  I cried too just feeling so sad that lives were being forever changed.  Little did I know that a couple of months after that podcast aired, I would be counted amongst the affected.  I mention all of that to say that Uncle Joey just came back last week with a new podcast and it’s just him flying solo.  He’s still pouring his heart and soul and giving out inspirational pep talks.  What he said on his first episode really stuck with me.  He said something to the effect that the virus has killed all of our jobs, our lives, and everything, but we need to stay strong.  There’s no debtor’s prison.  There’s ways to survive and we’re all in it together.  Get a journal and write.  That last part really struck a nerve with me.  I’ve always used this blog as my means of escape and to release my demons.  I’m grateful for you all who read it.  It makes me aware that people out there care.  I know that I haven’t been as active, and now since the first of the month, I really haven’t had the excuse, but I’m here now. 

So, that’s where I’m at right now.  I’m taking things day by day.  It’s been 15 days since my life was thrown into chaos.  I almost said it was ruined, but it’s not ruined.  God has a plan for me.  He has a plan for all of us!  I complained that I needed a break and He gave it to me.  He knew that I was uncomfortable with the immoral things that were being celebrated there at this job, so He took me out of the situation as well.  God has a plan for me, I just have to take the current time to rest, relax, pray, and go into this new chapter of my life.  I’ll write more about my feelings as they come.  I have ideas about what I want to share. 

One last thing.  Stay the hell home, y’all.  I know you miss your old life, friends, and family, but don’t go out unless you need to.  If you do need to go out, wear a mask.  Don’t complain about it.  You’re NOT invincible or immune to this virus.  Take it seriously.  Even if you have a personal death wish, protect yourself for your friends and family if you see them.  They may not be as indestructible as you are.  It’s not a political thing and it’s not a personal freedom thing.  Stop making it about that.  Care about those around you and protect you and them.  Life is only blessed to us for a short amount of time here on Earth.  Don’t cut yourself or anybody else’s life short because you can’t wear a freakin’ mask because of freedom or some other BS excuse.

Love y’all!  Talk soon!

Seeking happiness

Hi y’all!

I hope today has brought you and your family peace and God’s blessings.  I’m feeling compelled to write because I am feeling good again about my short term life outlook and I feel I need to share it here because I feel that I won’t get push back here putting it out on front street, as it were. 

I’ve been having a bad week in terms of energy again.  I’ve actually been fighting this since I came back to work in mid-June, actually, but this week really got me.  I was leaving the house really late and barely making it to work on time.  Part of it is because it’s been taking me about 10 minutes from my alarm time to actually getting up and the time slippage just gets worse from there.  I’m walking the most beautiful park in my city early in the mornings because it’s just too freakin’ hot to do it after work and quite honestly, I need that downtime post work for my own mental health.  With that, though, I’m finding laziness to get to bed on time to give myself 8 hours of sleep.  I need that as a minimum to even function the next day, but that’s still a work in progress.

Since my hood cat, who was renamed Chuy (or Chewy) by my former neighbor, left sometime in March, I’ve missed having that cat equivalent of a niece or nephew.  Chuy wasn’t really mine, but I loved taking care of him and having his company.  Funny thing about him was that he’s turned me into a cat person too.  Go figure, right?!  I mention all of this because I now have a really soft spot for strays like Chuy was, and now that I’m walking my favorite park super early, I’m there early enough to see that there are 2-4 stray cats around my park.  Thankfully, somebody is leaving them food in spots and a bowl for water too.  Since I still had some of Chuy’s food that I was giving him sealed up, I’ve taken it upon myself to help feed the strays too and give them water in bowls as well in hidden spots around the park area that I’ve seen at least one of the cats come out of.  Since I can’t afford to properly care for the cats myself or afford the pet fee in my apartment complex either, this is my way of helping these poor dudes out.  It’s the least I could do.  I’m hoping that they start to trust me and notice that I’m one of the ones helping them so that they at least acknowledge me a bit without fear.  One of them kinda does already, actually.  It’s funny.  I’ve said good morning to it and given it friendly hellos and it’s meowed back, so I know it knows I’m not out to hurt it.  The other one, who is noticeably smaller/thinner is still really scared of humans and runs away from me, but it’s all good.  Sadly, I don’t think the pandemic is going away any time soon, so my morning park walks will continue.  I’m hoping the cautious one will take note that I’m there out of love for it.  Time will tell, right?

In other park news, I’ve started to make going to the park on Saturday mornings after laundry a thing.  It’s beautiful out there.  The park I love and that is close to me is a World War I memorial and “desert oasis” designed primarily by landscape architect, George Kessler.  It was designed as a desert oasis because there were roughly 80 trees planted when the park was being built nearly 100 years ago and those trees have now grown out to make a beautiful shaded greenspace in the middle of the desert that is far west Texas. George Kessler designed some other great places too from what I read on him.  Check out his Wiki here if you want more info on him.  Anyway, I’ve been taking my awesome zero gravity chair, clip on umbrella (because with the movement of the sun, the shade from the trees I like goes away), water, and portable electronics with me and as of yesterday, I’ve decided with all the stuff I take, I should invest in a portable folding wagon.  If I ever invite my sister, husband, and my nephews along when this pandemic ends (God willing it does), said portable wagon would come in handy to take even more stuff.  For me, it’ll just save the headache of carrying all of these things and pulling it all in one shot itself instead.  I won’t just use it there either; I can use it when I go back to Oceanside for my beach outings there too!  Cooler full of water, beach towel, blanket, chair, umbrella… it’ll be perfect!  I might even be able to use it camping, but I don’t think I take too much with me to need to use it there, but point is it’ll be used and I don’t think that I’m going to stop going to the park on Saturday mornings for my decompression/nature/contemplate the beauty/peace sessions, so regardless, the portable folding wagon will get used. 

It’s all part of a new normal for me.  I’ve realized over the past few weeks of going through wild emotions ranging from depression and loneliness, to seeking peace and happiness that I’ve realized just how much I’ve needed to get away, sit back, relax, and be happy.  Sure, watching TV and films at my flat are great fun, but I’ve realized that I need to see just a bit more of this beautiful creation God has blessed us all with.

Another part of that new normal is a renewed yearning to travel.  I still need to go visit my dear friend in South Australia, I’ve always wanted to see Rome, and I want to make another cross country road trip through my country from Washington D.C. back home, but now I’ve really solidly added Japan as a place I want to see and experience.  Honestly, Japan has always been a place that I’ve wanted to visit, but after really starting my journey watching one of my favorite professional wrestlers’ (Asuka if you’re wondering who I’m talking about) YouTube channel where she goes back home to Japan a few times, seeing it from a former local’s prospective just really makes me want to go see it.  Everything from the old architecture to all of the new technologies, and vending machines for EVERYTHING, it just looks like a beautiful country that I want to explore myself.  I don’t have the means to go right now, but I’ve gone as far as to investigate Rosetta Stone to see how much it would cost to learn Japanese, because although I see some signs there in English, I don’t want to rely solely on that and the hopes that some Japanese people may know English in order to go there.  I want to know how to speak and read the language decently enough before going to really understand people and to be able to read signs, menus, etc. at shops and restaurants.  I hope it will happen.  It’s a goal that’s out there, but not something that I’m setting firm timetables and rules on.

I’m on my way to being happy again with everything in my life.  Happy to live out a quiet life with the few friends I have.  Happy to play my drums in the band I’m in when I can.  Happy to live out a quiet life by myself discovering the simple joys in life, and finally I’m happy that God has blessed me with all of these blessings to enjoy and be happy with.

Enjoy your weekend y’all!

Still here

Hello all!  Yes, I’m still here.  I’ve wanted to write for 5 months now (no joke), but every time that I’ve wanted to sit down to stop and type something out, I’ve either run out of the inspiration or something else came up.  I’m here now though, and what an insane year it’s been.  I don’t know how things are with the COVID-19 pandemic, but things hit pretty hard with me.  My dad contracted it when it was brought to his home and after an 8 day battle in the hospital (3 of those were in ICU that caused me even greater concern and panic), he’s been back home resting and recovering.  Although I was exposed to him, I thankfully did not contract the virus myself, thank God.  A lot did change in my world since the end of March, though.  I, along with a lot of other people in this country, were sent home to shelter in place to do our best to social distance and not contract the virus.  I was one of the lucky ones who was still getting a paycheck during all of it, so my only worry was taking care of my grandparents and trying to stay as safe as I could.  In total, I spent 81 days at home.  I was calling it a retirement test run.  That’s what it pretty much was.  I won’t lie either.  I loved it.  It took a few weeks for my brain and body to get out of my routine as far as awake times went but when it finally did a lot of things changed for the better for me.  I had been struggling with my energy levels in regards to tiredness, fatigue, and that sort of thing, but once I started to sleep when I felt sleepy and wake up naturally, that rested and rejuvenated feeling everybody else that had experiences with CPAP therapy either directly or indirectly finally started to hit me.  I was regularly sleeping 8-10 hours, sometimes more and waking up with that rested and rejuvenated feeling.  It was so great.  My 7 day and 30-day therapy hour average on my CPAP machine was finally at great levels and I was feeling great too.  I got a lot done in my flat as well right off the bat.  I finally cataloged my DVD/Blu-Ray/4K UHD Blu-ray collection for my own insurance purposes, rearranged my living room and dining table positions, shampooed my carpet, added wall art, and really eliminated 98% of the light into my bedroom by sealing up my blackout curtains and valance up with a mixture of command tape and push pins.  Now all that comes in is a very faint and thin line through my valance and that 1-2% of light that comes in through the blackout curtain itself, but essentially if I’m in my bedroom and face the other wall away from my window, I cannot see my hand waving in front of my own face.  I love it!  I NEED that level of darkness to rest and sleep properly.

So, another change happened within the first week of my stay home, stay safe orders.  The final death nail was struck into my latest romantic relationship.  I will admit that all but that last one was struck that last weekend of March of 2019, but I was trying so hard in the 12 months that followed to keep something going that was clearly dead.  Stupidly, I’ll admit, and I fully knew at the time too.  I’ll be honest, I was the only one of us two trying to save it and I should have stopped a long time before then, but I finally gave up with one last text of misunderstanding.  The only big reason I even mention this is because I’ve been thinking about her again lately.  I really don’t know why either.  Those handful of great times and great memories keep haunting me and they are coming at me a lot more frequently.  Maybe it’s a mourning period in my brain that is giving these memories one last good run through before archiving them?  I wish I knew, but it sucks because I honestly don’t think I’ll ever find another relationship again. 

I know that sounds cliché, but I really mean it.  I think I’ve finally learned my lesson to not even think about getting involved unless my criteria are met.  I don’t have a crazy list, but pretty much it’s this: 

  1. I would like to meet a woman who is not only Catholic, but also follows the traditional rite of the Catholic faith as I do.  Maybe be a bit relaxed on some of the hardline issues like forms of entertainment (i.e. music, films, standup comedy, etc.) and be okay with the occasional off color joke I may throw out every now and again, but otherwise adhere to the traditional Catholic lifestyle including the Tridentine Latin Mass, dressing modestly (especially attending Mass), and holding a bit more of a conservative view than what a large portion of our world currently holds.
  2. I know this is pretty much a rarity these days, but how about not having any children yet?  It’s not that I don’t like kids, but I just don’t want to get attached to said children without not being certain of any potential long term relationship, and I really don’t want to deal with baby daddy issues or the “you don’t have kids, you don’t understand” thing I’ve heard before.
  3. Please, please, please be mentally stable.  Again, I know that sounds so rude of me to say, but I’ve had to deal with so much mental abuse from women who themselves dealt with mental and physical abuse and don’t ever come forward with it until it’s too late or instead of trying to address the issue lash out at me instead.
  4. Be open to a long term committed relationship and possible marriage.  I do not want to get involved with somebody just to hook up with or whatever.  Again, refer to point #1. 
  5. Please be an introvert or at least respect the fact that I am one and do not try to change that of me.  As a side note to this too, I’m too old to be some sort of social butterfly / barfly dude so please don’t be one either.  Partying and all that stuff is what I sorta did in my early 20s.  I’m going to be 40 in 4 months.  I’m acting my age, and I hope you will too.

See?  Not too bad, right?  But to me, I think that’s almost impossible to find.  So, with that said, I’m going to just enjoy me being me and continue to work on my relationship with Christ.  I have such a long way to go and I keep messing it up, but I’m really making an effort to try.

Along with that thought and in the same breath of enjoying being me, I’ve taken up a new passion of mine.  That passion is going to the most beautiful city park in my city (in my opinion) and lounging in my zero-gravity reclining chair while listening to music or podcasts.  I live about 8 minutes from this park and have for the past 5 years and never really took the time until recently to do just that.  I feel so much at peace just being out in the open (social distancing of course) while sitting back, enjoying nature, and just thanking God for all of the beauty that He’s created for us.  It’s a rare thing to just stop and notice it, but it’s there for all of us to take in and enjoy.  I’m going to continue to do just that and pray for this insane virus that has taken so much from all of us away.  It’s doing that, and doing our part to either stay home, or if you go out to socially distance yourself from others that’s going to help us get back to as close to the previous normal that we had back.

I’ll try and be more consistent in writing blogs, but for now, stay safe y’all!

Strikes and Gutters

Hi y’all!  Here I am again barely getting a chance to write some random thoughts about the things that have been going on in my life.  Holy smokes, what a crazy time it’s been for me lately too.  It seems like nearly half a lifetime since I’ve gotten the chance to jot down my thoughts, so I apologize for the randomness of this blog.  Actually, this blog has always been random, so I suppose I should apologize for the randomness of it all.  Ha!  Anyway, I don’t even know where I left off last sometime last month, so I’ll just pick up my life story from sometime this month.

The biggest thing I can say that’s been going on is my ongoing struggle with these mood swings of mine.  I know the cause of them by the way, but damn it sucks to have them!  I’m happy and content some days, ready to break down and cry the next.  It’s amazing what the influence of other people’s energy can do to your soul.  My soul happens to take the energy of people around me and convert it to my own and sometimes in the very negative.

Lately, it’s been due to a woman who I am (I should say was to be honest) romantically involved with.  For some insane and completely stupid reason, I keep trying to have this thing survive even though it’s on life support and brain dead.  Stupidly, I keep holding out hope for a miracle and that she’ll come to her senses and at least reciprocate my actions towards her, but so far nothing.  Honestly, I’m positive that she’s moved on from me and when I confronted her on it, she of course turned it around on me and made me the bad person, but I had the proof I needed in her words and from what I saw on social media.  It felt like I got punched by a life-sized boxing glove, but with the slightly positive things in my life that have been going on, I deflected it and only let it completely destroy me for a short time.  Spoiler alert, she again refused to let me go on with my life and I’m still stuck.  UGH.  I should just shut up about it until something more concrete happens, but just know that it’s the worst thing that has happened to me in probably 9-10 years, since the other bane of my romantic existence “Lady Voldemort” was in my life.

Now, in more happy news, things in my non-romantic personal life are pretty damn gangbusters.  My band, Searchlight Needles (look us up!), is gigging semi-regularly and we’re having fun AND getting paid doing it!  We actually have another show this Saturday night that I’m pretty excited about.  Now if only we could actually slow down just a bit in order to write some new music, we’d be going somewhere!  In time, I suppose!  Also, in a related topic, I came to a realization this past Saturday night.  One of our band friends were having a show at a bar close to where I was at that night and this band loves to bring up their fellow musician friends to play a few songs with them.  4/5ths of my band was there, so 3 of us went up there and played a song with the booked band’s guitarist and when people wanted another song, said guitarist pulled a rabbit out of his hat and was able to play this second song with us.  It was such a good feeling to play music with somebody new and still have it sound great!  The best part was when I thought we were done; I was asked to stay on the drums and play with another guest guitarist/vocalist and the booked band’s bassist.  We played 3 songs.  Two Johnny Cash classics and Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb”.  I wasn’t sure what to expect as I had never even met this dude who was going to sing and play guitar, but this guy blew me away.  He was so talented.  The Johnny Cash tunes were great, and he played some awesome solos, but man, when we got to “Comfortably Numb”, he took things to another level.  I locked in with the bass player, dude sang his heart out, and played a 4+ minute solo and I was just in heaven.  I hadn’t felt so alive playing drums (even though they weren’t my drums) in such the longest time.  All I have to do is think about it and go back to that time and holy SMOKES!  It’s hard to describe the feeling.  It’s like excitement mixed in love, joy, a sprinkle of anxiety, and ecstasy all together.  The bar was packed and the majority of them were engaged and enjoying the performance and that just made all those feelings come rushing up to the surface.  It was then that I realized that playing music is what I should be doing with my life.  It’s my purpose.  It’s what God put me here on earth to do.  Nothing, aside from going to confession and Mass, makes me happier.  No offense to family and friends, but that’s the truth.  Playing music with people who are at least as talented as I am makes me the happiest.  I need more of that feeling in my life, so I hope to push the guys in my band to play more music.

Speaking of things that make me happy, camping season is coming right around the corner.  The season here in the southwest, or at least in the west Texas / southern New Mexico area is from April to October.  We (the band) didn’t really give ourselves the chance to head out last year and even though I could have gone by myself as I have before, it didn’t happen last year and now I’m dying to head out.  I stepped my game up with this year’s income tax return and bought a new tent, new air mattress (since my older one has some sort of small leak from where I assume is in the seams), and a brand-new camping chair.  I had my eye on the tent I bought for years.  There is nothing wrong with the tent I still have now, mind you, but this one that I got now is slightly larger and incorporates “dark room technology”.  That means that it’s dark in that tent all the time and is also supposedly cooler during the day too.  The only downside is that I’ve read from more than one review that the thing leaks in rainstorms.  Not good.  No bother though, I went out and purchased some seam sealer and I’m going to hope for the best.  Besides, the only things I keep in my tent when I camp are my air mattress, sometimes an extra blanket, whatever it is that I’m carrying my clothes in, my portable air pump in case I might need to reinflate said mattress, and hanging from the top, my fan/light combo.  It’s not like rain will completely flood the tent (in theory), so I’ll just put everything in a spot to keep it all dry if the seams leak and the sealer doesn’t do its job either.  I’m already happy with my purchase.  If I remember correctly, my old tent is 8×8 and the new one is 10×10, so I’m sure I’ll notice those extra two feet of comfort and darkness now, and that’s what matters the most to me.  As far as the new chair goes, I realized during my last camping trip that my chair started to hurt me with it’s support points on my thighs, so sitting for long periods of time wasn’t going to work out with the current chair I have.  It’s good for short bursts, but if I’m going to have a bit of a lounge act like we tend to do while camping, I’d have to invest in another chair.  Sure enough, I decided to buy a zero-gravity reclining lounger chair that has no points that can hurt any part of my legs (in theory).  I’ve had my eye on these new style chairs for a while now too but just never had the guts to just buy one until now too!  I figured the heck with it!  It felt awesome when I sat in one before, our next camping trip is coming up in 2 short months, why roll the dice and hope to not hurt sitting down and relaxing when I can just recline and relax instead?  So, heck yeah!  That’s what I plan to do.  Now, I just gotta get over to my dad’s house some weekend soon to pitch the new tent, seal the seams and pull out my camping gear to run an inventory and test the worthiness of it all so that I can be ready for when we head out.  I really hope that this is not the only trip we make this year.  Even if it’s the only one the band makes together, I’m planning on going out at least a few more times, even if it’s by myself.  I’m excited!

Well, there it is my friends.  A quick look into what’s going on with me right now.  A big time low being combated by two big time highs.  And that’s what really matters too.  We gotta find the highs to suppress the lows.  Take care of yourselves!  May God grant me the strength to assemble my brain’s thoughts into more words to share with you all!  I’ve been bad with that lately.

I'm just a clone, talking away while nobody listens