Oh thank fucking God you guys. I have been enjoying blogging again but at some point in the recent past, I let WordPress lead me down a dark alleyway to a seedy gin joint called “block editor”. WHY, I DO NOT KNOW. I am an “early adopter” (short for galloping optimistic looliebird) and I like to try new things. “Ok, you say it’s new and improved? Go ahead, sign me up.” ‘Twas a fool’s errand. For months, I’ve been annoyed at this block editor because I feel like I don’t know where anything is nor how to publish anything. The thing I liked about the “classic editor” is that I felt like I had more control over my posts and to edit the HTML if I needed to. With the block editor, I eventually got the hang of it but it’s fuckery for people who want something as low effort as possible AND it takes a lot of ability to make manual changes out of your hands.
Look at dis tail on chest! Plus those little wet eyes!
One thing that has been driving me ABSOLUTELY BONKERS is photo captions. For the past year or so the captions to my photos are the same exact font size as the rest of the blog post so it looks like a goddamn mess when you go to read it. I’ve been on and off investigating how to fix it to no avail. I finally found the solush today and that’s just that the stupid bollocky block editor isn’t compatible with my theme. So, I looked up premium themes that ARE compatible with block editing and there was ONE. There are more when you go to free but COME ON. Boo, why are you pushing errybody into block editor when you barely have any options that’ll work with it?
Look at that paw on that pink belly! They’re sister brother friends.
Okay, this is, probably by far, the nerdiest blog post I’ve ever made but take a whiff of that small caption. Smells good right? I’m in love with the font size of my captions. That’s because I changed to “classic editor” and suddenly my entire WordPress looks normal again. Thank ye Goddesses.
Okay, now I had better go clean this dump. I’ve really let it go to seed.
P.S. If you want to remove block editor, just start a new post and it’ll give you the option to move back to the classic editor. I searched fugging EVERYWHERE in WordPress before finding it here. Whew!
P.S. #2 For those who don’t care about WordPress, hopefully you got a lil’ thrill out of the babby photos.
No, what my issue really is is that, in some ways, I AM fine. My stitches (both internal and external) have healed excellently. I have lost 60+ pounds (~10 prior to surgery and ~50 post-surgery). I look and feel better than I have in a long time. The “feel better” part is that I can bend my body in ways I couldn’t at my heaviest weight. It also feels better to have shed that 60 pounds in a way that I can only explain by saying that you should imagine what it would feel like to carry a 60 pound backpack on your back for seven years and then finally get to take it off. Yeah, it feels fucking great.
So yes, I feel great. HOWEVER, I feel “great” in fits and starts. When I feel great, I feel GREAT and I’m capable of darting around, cleaning things, having LOLercopter conversations with people, chatting, going out and seeing friends and family, etc. BUT, there’s a price to pay for it and that price is settled by exhaustion. The exhaustion is not like I’m unconscious but more like I am tired, a little foggy, and lethargic. I have no energy or motivation to get up and move, to shower and get dressed (although I always force myself to shower every day), or to talk to anyone. Both the physical and the mental/emotional take a toll on me. I’m an “ambivert” which means I have both introvert and extrovert qualities. I think that most people in my life would categorize me as “definitely an extrovert” but that’s because they know me and I feel comfortable being extroverted with them. In situations where I am not comfortable, I am not so confident or outgoing which are introverted qualities. Another introverted quality about me is that I need time to recharge after being around people. I get easily worn out in crowds, do not like public speaking (because it makes me nervous and also takes it out of me), and I also get an emotional hangover after being with people for too long. That said, I love to go to parties. I’m nervous before going and the introvert side of me always panics before hand and tries to get me not to go but once I get there, just try to get me to leave. It ain’t happening. But then, the day afterwards, I need to lay the fuck down for an entire day and be silent.
And so, I’ve been “stuck” in the house for months; mainly just resting and doing some light tidying up but that’s the extent of it. This week, I went into work twice and worked from home twice and then took one sick day. It was a nice way to re-acclimate. On Monday, I worked from home because I had no meetings and only really had to catch up on some inbox stuff. Tuesday, I went into the office and it was a lot of fun seeing people. Then I overspent my spoons and was sosososo drained on Wednesday so I worked from home. That was enough so that I felt great to go into the office on Thursday which was so much fun. Again, I chatted and LOL’d all day and worked with people and had a generally great time. But then Friday? EXHAUSTED. So exhausted that I just laid down and went to sleep.
I don’t know if I’ve said this on this blog or not but I told my Grandma on Christmas (on our way home from the party) that I feel guilty because I know I look and seem fine but I’m not. I told her that because I’m not visibly ill or, like, riddled with bulletholes (something you can see is CLEARLY WRONG), I feel like it’s “wrong” for me to say that things aren’t right. She knew how I felt because she’s felt like this before in her life.
This is stinker head sleeping on her Mommy.
In November, I thought that perhaps the two year anniversary of my brother’s death was adding to my physical/mental/emotional exhaustion and that’s probably true. With distance, I think it’s mainly that I was taking in so few calories AND this is a major surgery which just means it takes time to heal.
So, I worked four days this week; two from home and two from the office. I ended up taking a sick day today because I’m just worn out. It feels so good to be back to work but I just gotta take it slow to start what with my fatigue from the surgery plus the bronchitis. Both are getting better every day which is good. I’m coughing less and moving around more. It’s been nice to see everyone at work and to get back to a kind of normal. I walked into a meeting this week and people cheered for me which was so nice. I had lunch with a pal and LOL’d with people I haven’t seen in a long time. I also got some werq done getting myself back up to speed. We have off on Monday for MLK day so that’s a nice way to ease back into things. I feel bad about taking a sick day today but I just couldn’t get out of bed today. I didn’t do anything physically demanding whatsoever yesterday but I WAS there until 9pm finishing up my end of year review and I DID talk to a lot of people yesterday. I think I just overspent my spoons. I’ll be bright and shiny on Tuesday. I’m lucky to work in a company that offers me things like medical leave and sick time to get through this. Although it’s taken me longer to heal than expected, I’m glad for this experience and how much better I feel post-surgery. 10/10 would recommend.
Although I am run down a bit, I don’t really want to spend the day sitting in a chair (although it’s cold as a witch’s tit outside–and therefore in here–so it would be a reasonable thing to do). Maybe I’ll putter around and put some clothes away and then read a book or do a craft. I’ve been in the mood to make something lately and I’m trying to get through reading The Watchmen. I’ve been trying to read that for ages and can’t really get into it. I’m just not into super heroes and the art style doesn’t appeal to me although I loved From Hell and V for Vendetta which are also by Alan Moore. At a friend’s house recently, some people started talking about The Watchmen tv show, which I’ve heard is great and scored by Trent Reznor (who I love) BUT it’s a continuation of the book which I have trouble reading SO I’m a’forcin myself. My friend Dave said, “If you have to force yourself, maybe don’t do it?” But, honestly, my friends “forcing” is something I’ve always done to finish books. I love reading but sometimes you have to force your way through the beginning to get to the good part; same with binge watching TV shows.
Speaking of which, we just finished the Dick Van Dyke Show (which started out painfully on the original pilot starring Carl Reiner–who I also love–but improved immeasurably with Dick Van Dyke). But that show just got better and better and better. SO fucking hilarious. And now we just started The Bob Newhart Show which also started out painfully but is now getting better and weirder (and therefore funnier) about 5+ episodes in. All the best shows are like this: The Office (both UK and US versions), Parks and Rec, Maude, the Golden Girls, Schitt’s Creek, Last Man on Earth, The Good Place, Brooklyn 99, etc. For literally, ALL of those shows, I felt “meh” about at least the first episode, if not the first season (ahem: Parks and Rec) but then they got SO good. You gotta give people space to get their bearings before something can really take off. I LOVE sitcoms. They make me happy and are so comforting IF they’re done right.
Anyway, whatever. I’ve gotta go straighten up and maybe get back in bed to stay warm and rest. It’s 20 degrees outside and maybe 60 in here even though we have the heat up to 80; literally. I put sweatshirts on Shirley, Monster, and Elvira. Giles won’t let me put a sweater on him or rather, he will, but he removes it as soon as I turn my back so why bother? Shirley, Monster, and Elvira love a good sweater when it’s cold. Monster and Shirley love them no matter the temperature. Elvira doesn’t love it. She walks like an old lady with a sweater on but she’s happy to have it when it’s cold. The second it warms up though, she slinks out of it. Shirley and Monster will actually bite you if you try to take their sweater off. Once you put it on them, they’ll only let you remove it when they’re about to die of heatstroke. I have babby clothes horses for pets, what can I say? G’bye.
UPDATE: I ended up spending the entire day in bed reading for a long while and then sleeping for a few hours. I was so tired and also sosososososo cold. It was so cold in our house that, eventually, I had to put the heat up to 90 JUST to get it up to 70. We have turned it down to a reasonable amount now. Also, it was nice to spend the day sleepies. Partytime, excellent.
Okay sorry for the super closeup on my mug but this is a selfie I took to send to Kristyn when heading into werq yesterday. I don’t know if you remember, but we send each other a selfie when we get safely to work and this was mine. I worked from home on Monday and went into the office on Tuesday for the first time since November 22nd. So crazy.
I had a nice day and actually, my energy and focus seemed much improved! We’ll see how the focus goes because bitch has been REAL unfocused lately so it’s hard to say whether or not that’s gotten better. What I WILL say is that it felt great to be out of the damn house. I have essentially been in self-imposed exile for approximately three months while I healed. I’m glad I took this time because I was definitely NOT healed when I went back in early November. While I was getting ready for work yesterday, I had a moment of self-clarity where I checked in with my self to see how I felt. I was like “Okay, this is a vast improvement to how I felt the last time I took a crack at going back to work.” Good to know that I’m not going to forever be stuck in a “Low Energy Jeb”-type swirl. (P.S. “Low Energy Jeb” is (and will forever be) the only thing that Donald Trump has ever said that made me LOL. The LOL has nothing to do with 45 or Jeb but I like the idea of a person insulting someone else as being “low energy”. It’s a bizarrely specific crack and those are always the ones where, even if it’s directed at you, you’re like “Okay, good one.”)
I also got a new yoga mat yesterday and tried it out today. I’ve had my old one for a while now and it’s not in great shape anymore because the cats love to dig their claws into it and Shirley likes to zoomieson it. It’s the sun (masculine) and moon (feminine) and kind of also the mother, maiden, and crone. It’s also sacred geometry. Interesting and pretty.
Okay, I’m tired and babbling now but I also have to head out the door. Bye!
For all of these years, I’ve barely paid attention to YouTube. I mean, whatever, I’m not an idiot. I know it exists and I have watched videos on it from time to time but I’ve never been an avid YouTube watcher LIKE I AM NOW.
It started with UNHhhh. Kristyn and I watched every single episode of UNHhhh twice. Clearly.
And THEN we moved onto UNHhhh. From there, we went to looking up all kinds of Trixie Mattel and Katya videos. We then moved onto Sharon Needles and Alaska videos and literally any other drag queen.
Then we (mostly me) got deep into a Jeffree Star/Shane Dawson swirl and I watched Shane’s whole documentary on Jeffree and then yes, I bought the Conspiracy pallet. (If you do not know what I’m talking about, it’s probably for the best. *sigh*)
Then, because we were over-indexed in gay men, we took a break and watched the entirety of The Real L Word (which was a LOT to take in).
From there, it was back to YouTube to watch Tig Notaro interviews. Went through a bunch of those; focusing on all the Ellen interviews she did.
I THINK that’s how we got heavily into Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard interviews because they’ve been on Ellen A LOT. But then, of course, the Kristen Bell/Dax Shepard-a-thon went in lots of different directions because they are funny and they go on talk shows a helluva lot. Guys, this is STILL going on with no sign of a slow-down.
Then, because we got into watching It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia at night, we had to watch interviews with the cast on YouTube while we dine. We’re still only a few seasons in on this show so I can’t see the YouTube obsession dying down.
Then, somehow, I came upon “mental health YouTube”. Lots of fascinating areas to cover here.
The first channel I watched was Living Well with Schizophrenia. This gal just talks about what it’s like to live with this condition and how to live well with it. She talks about how her condition affects others and her husband does an interview. It’s pretty cool that she’s putting her knowledge and experience out into the world. Then I got into:
The Entropy System is a channel hosted by a person with Dissociative Identity Disorder or DID. Wyn refers to herself as a “system”. Essentially she explains what it’s like to realize that prior trauma has formed different identities within you in order to shield your mind. Super interesting.
All of this has brought me to Katie Morton who is a licensed therapist in California who has a channel dedicated to all different facets of mental health. She has over 1200 videos and so many good ones like: “What is Gaslighting?” “Am I being manipulated?” “What is BPD?” “What does your therapist really think about you?” “What’s it like to be a therapist?” Just all kinds of interesting stuff about therapy and the human mind. I find it really fascinating and I’ve watched a bunch of videos that have actually helped me with regards to situations in my life and my own anxiety and depression. Highly recommend!
Anyway, if you’re thinking watching the above was a waste of time? Sure, I was wasting time but I was also LOLing and eating meals and taking vitamins and learning shit. So, pretty cool. Also? YouTube is not a platform that I’ve ever given much thought but it sure seems like lots of other people have! Guuuuuurl…everything’s going down on YouTube. A whole new world. Speaking of which, I’m going to stop fooling around on the compooter and go outside for a little while. I go back to work (again) tomorrow so I might as well get some sunbeams on my D-deficient flesh.
How did I get here, my friends? To a place where my throat, lungs, and stomach forsake me? I ask you, but in truth of fact, I know the answer and I’m gonna share it with you.
Let’s start with my throat and lungs. Diagnosis: bronchitis. Miriam Webster defines bronchitis as “acute or chronic inflammation of the bronchial tubes”. Lexico (powered by Oxford) (?) defines bronchitis as “inflammation of the mucous membrane in the bronchial tubes. It typically causes bronchospasm and coughing.” I include the second definition because it is clearly more dramatic.
I know exactly how I contracted this “dis-ease” and the culprit was me. I mean, really, it came wafting from my sister but I’m the asshole who shared a plastic cup full of wine back and forth with her at the Great Wolf Lodge KNOWING she had a cough. I wasn’t concerned at the time because I felt like I was bound to get sick anyway and I might as well get it done with while I was on leave so that I wouldn’t have to deal with it when I returned to work. Incorrect. Turns out that the symptoms faffed about for a few weeks and only emerged the week prior to going back to work and then REALLY took effect just as I was about to go back. Stupid stupid stupid.
Now, I am on Amoxicillin, DayQuil, NyQuil (dependent on time of day), and something called “Benzonatate” to stifle coughing. Let me tell ya, as long as I’m hopped up on these goofballs, the bronchitis is doable MEANING that yes, I’m still coughing but no, I’m not actively dying. Morningtime is a different story entirely. In the morning, my body has used up every single ounce of the medicines that make it bearable to live and I am now a zombie that has a bone rattling (yet unproductive) cough. During the day, my cough is bad from time to time but that usually tells me it’s time for more DayQuil. I’ve been going to sleep around 11pm and not waking up until around 11am this week. The NyQuil is the culprit there. My mistake was that I bought DayQuil and NyQuil “Severe” (or as I like to call it “Intense”). I went straight to that because the last time I had a cough like this, I was fooling around in the minor leagues with regular old DayQuil and NyQuil before realizing there was a professional option. Once I skittered up to the “Intense” version, I was like “This is IT”. However, I think with this illness, it’s sort of like using a bulldozer when all you needed was a hammer. It’s a little much is what I’m saying. Like, I don’t need to be unconscious for twelve hours every day. I think tonight, I’m going to take DayQuil before bed and just see how I do with that. If I wake up at a reasonable hour, maybe I won’t be so much of a hacking zombie.
Now let’s talk about what happened with my stomach. Guys, it’s my own damn fault. As you know, I recently had gastric sleeve surgery. This is a surgery where they laparoscopically go into your abdomen, snatch out half of your stomach, and staple up the tube that remains. This is in the service of losing weight. WELL, I’ve had some complications since surgery even though I’ve healed well. It’s extended the amount of time I’ve been on medical leave by quite a few weeks as well. Most of my complications have been fatigue and focus-related however, I was also having trouble swallowing pills or any kind of dense food like meat, eggs, or veggie meats. The docs thought this might be the cause of my fatigue because I wasn’t able to get proper nutrients. It turns out that wasn’t the issue. However, I think I did have some swelling that went down over time. I had an Upper GI Xray that showed that it was narrow but fine in there. In fact, I’ve been eating much better lately and able to eat a wider variety of foods. This is something I’ve been very grateful for and I’ve expanded into trying new things because of it. Not all of these things have been good for me but it’s important to know my limitations for what I can have.
Enter: pizza. During the holidays, we had a few days (ie. holidays) where I ate fancifully and I was glad to be able to do so. But then, we went back to eating normally (or my new normal anyway). Tonight though, I wanted to try to eat frozen pizza. It’s cold and windy and we wanted something cozy and warm but also easy to make and eat. We had a frozen pizza in the freezer and decided to try it. Before surgery, we used to cut a frozen pizza into four slices and each have two. So I gave Kristyn her two and I gave myself one. I ate it slowly (while watching a video with Kevin Nealon and Kristen Bell hiking) and felt fine! I was happy that I could have that one slice of pizza and not feel uncomfortable. In fact, I felt so fine that…and you can obviously see what’s coming…that I tried to eat the second piece. I know, and so do you, that I should have put that second slice in the fridge and eaten it happily for lunch tomorrow. But noooooo…I wanted to “see” what would happen. I did cut that slice into two and started slowly eating half of the slice. Everything was going fine and I finished it. The second I popped that last bit of crust into my mouth, I knew things were definitely NOT FINE. In fact, I made Kristyn eat the other half so that I wouldn’t see it or worse, try to eat it.
It is clear to me now that this was a stupid thing to try. Pals, I’m in no medical danger whatsoever just fucking full like I ate three plates of Thanksgiving dinner. I had to pace around the apartment for a long time patting and rubbing my stomach like a pregnant lady. Learning lesson: Coleen, don’t eat pizza AND IF YOU DO just have one slice AND WITH THAT SLICE have a piece of fruit or a salad or something light if you’re still feeling hungry BUT WHAT YOU SHOULD NOT DO is have another slice EVEN IF YOU FEEL LIKE IT’S POSSIBLE for to eat that second slice IS TO SUFFER.
I will tell you about one victory I’m experiencing though: drinking water. I’ve always been a big water drinker. I never drink anything but water and coffee, really. But then when I had surgery, for some reason I couldn’t drink plain water anymore. I don’t know if it was the taste or texture or what but I just couldn’t do it. We had to start buying Gatorade Zero so I could get fluids in. Lately though? I’ve been able to drink as much water as I want. One weird thing though is that I can’t drink it too fast. I’ve actually been getting better and have been able to gulp it sometimes but sometimes if I do that, it’s a big mistake. It’s like there isn’t enough room in my stomach for all the water that I just gulped down and it feels like a drain backing up. Still, I count this as a victory because I thought I was doomed to never drink water again.
For my own edification, I am going to go through the last decade of my life STARTING with a photo of myself that I took on January 2, 2010. I was 30 years old and living in LA. I had accidentally brought my Dad’s hat to LA and sent him that photo above as proof.
I’ve had a helluva decade, you guys. Another interesting thing is that I start a new decade of my life just as we all collectively start a new decade. I just turned 40 and now we’re going into the 20’s. It feels like a neat divide.
In 2010, I was freshly 30 and we were freshly living in LA; having arrived on September 9, 2009. I was interning at Lionsgate Films doing script and book coverage, breaking down scripts by location and order for screenwriters, and logging dailies. The biggest thing I worked on at that time was the Hunger Games! We were living in the first apartment on Effie Street which was a disaster area; not of our own doing. Kristyn was working at ASEC Animal Hospital. I started interning at Stand Up to Cancer on the Sony lot later that summer, for a man making a documentary about the Nicene Creed, and for another man making a web sitcom. I went on a TON of job interviews in 2010 and didn’t get ANY of them although I got close a few times. Our days were mostly me feverishly job hunting, doing chores around the house, driving Kristyn to work, and picking Kristyn up from work. We didn’t have much of a life whatsoever. I blogged a LOT then because I had nothing but time. We went to Trader Joe’s for the first time in 2010 and started learning about LA. That whole year was kind of a total fucking blur with no money and no social life. Still, it was incredibly exciting. Towards the end of 2010, I started to lose my shit. For about a year and a half, I was A-OK with not working or at least, I was able to tell myself that I was okay with it. Basically, I chose to make the most of it and to see the bright side of things: “Lots of time to explore LA! To learn who I am and what I want to do! To intern! To watch every episode of Roseanne! To watch every episode of The Sopranos!” But then, it got old…very very old. I broke down and applied for welfare. The woman at the office said to me, “You should have done this a year and a half ago.” Honestly, readers, I should have. We got $150 a month for groceries and $100 a month for other bills in connection with a job program. This doesn’t sound like a lot of money but YOU GUYS IT WAS. Holy shit did it help and I’m so glad I did it. One last cool thing is that in 2010, Kristyn started working at an animation studio called Cosmic Toast. With that, she also started writing for LA Music Blog. This allowed us to go to a lot of local concerts with press passes to take photos which was fun. We got sosososo many parking tickets this year and ended up having our car towed. We got fleas from alley cats that year. We volunteered for the GLAAD Media Awards (which was fun). We found Giles outside our apartment. We also had to call the city on our landlord because sewage kept coming up through the drain in the bathtub. Blerg. Oh AND, we got our Associate’s Degrees. We also flew home for Nana’s 80th birthday.
I started 2011 continuing with the job program. I had a hinky experience with it in that they wanted me to answer the phone for Bank of America convincing people to take out loans and mortgages whether or not they called for that purpose or not. It was a commission job. I declined, thank God. I also started writing for LA Music Blog. In connection with that, Kristyn got to interview JD Samson and MEN as well as Liz Phair. On March 16, 2011, I got a call from Lionsgate’s HR team asking me if I wanted to do a contract job in their TV Business Affairs department. I accepted and also that night, we went to see Liz Phair! I started that job the next day and it lasted for one full year. I got to work on Mad Men, Weeds, Nurse Jackie, and Orange is the New Black (among other cool things). Kristyn interned at Extreme Home Makeover: Home Edition which was cool. That year was SO MUCH BETTER. We moved apartments to a much, much, much better one. That apartment had a balcony, an open layout, a washer and dryer, a pool, and an underground garage. We started school at CSULA. We started having a social life in that we went to some parties, were able to do fun things like go to the movies, and to LACMA. We got a season tickets to Disneyland and Universal and went often. Whenever I wasn’t working or at school, I spent my days swimming laps in the pool. We used to grill our food a lot on the balcony. It REALLY felt like we were in California in 2011. Oh, also, we went to the People’s Choice Awards that year. We flew home in November for my sister’s wedding. We also drove down to Temecula’s Wine Country. We marched in LA Pride. We had the best New Year’s Eve that year because we went to Universal Studios, had some beers, went on rides, then came home in time to count down and watch the fireworks all over LA from the balcony. So much fun. Oh, one terrible thing that happened in 2011 was that my Nana died. We went home to see her and then I went home for her funeral. I mention this last because it’s always hard to remember when that happened. That was a really dark spot on an otherwise good year.
In 2012, we started the year working and going to school a lot. My status at work was on the fence because my contractor position at Lionsgate TV kept getting extended but wasn’t a sure thing. We started getting seriously homesick and discussed going back to NJ. On March 1, 2012, I got told that I was being laid off due to a corporate merger. I was given the choice to leave immediately or to finish the month. I chose to finish the month so that I could earn as much money as possible. Once I got laid off, we decided that we’d definitely move back to NJ. I didn’t want to be job hunting in LA again and Kristyn was incredibly homesick. We finished the semester and made plans to move cross-country; renting a pod, downsizing our stuff, finding an apartment in NJ, looking for jobs in NJ, applying for colleges in NJ, and deciding which route we’d drive home. After the semester ended, we drove up to San Francisco and Sonoma Valley because we wanted to see Northern California at least once before we left the west coast entirely. We stayed in a campground in Petaluma. We drove through garlic country and had garlic ice cream. We packed up the apartment and drove up the Pacific Coast Highway. We stopped at Kristyn’s family’s house in Pleasanton which was awesome. We went to Reno, stayed in Lake Tahoe for a few days, went to the Wizard of Oz Museum in Kansas, saw the arch in St. Louis, Missouri, went to a Cracker Barrel in Kentucky, and got home on July 3, 2012. We rented an apartment in Clifton, NJ and IMMEDIATELY got bedbugs because the guy upstairs was infested with them. We had to throw out our couches and our mattress. Kristyn got a job at an animal hospital right away and I spent the summer watching the Olympics and feverishly cleaning everything we own to debug it. We found another apartment and paid rent for both places in August so we could clean things and then bring them over gradually. It was a goddamn nightmare. Basically, we moved three times in one year: 1) Into the moving Pod, 2) Into the Clifton apartment, 3) Into the apartment we’re currently in. The day we got to NJ, we went to the Tick Tock diner in Clifton and knew right away that we’d made a mistake. I don’t think that anymore but we weren’t thrilled, LOL. I started working with a headhunter through Lionsgate in NYC that Fall and then Sandy hit. Parts of our town were without power for at least two weeks and so was NYC. I applied for a job at Audible and got hired. Both Kristyn and I got into Rutgers and continued to work on our Bachelor’s Degrees. Basically, we ended that year earning money and buying furniture.
In 2013, I got promoted at work. We spent all our time working and going to school. We started tent camping at the campground that my family had always gone to. We had a baby shower for my sister. In August 2013, we got engaged at Eleanor Roosevelt’s house. Gay marriage got legalized in NJ in October 2013 and we got married at the Town Hall at the end of the first week. We had our “reception” at the Argyle; our local fish and chips shop. We had a mini-honeymoon Upstate New York at The Sullivan and The Roxbury. We also put a deposit on a seasonal campsite at the campground. Foofaloo was born!
In 2014, it was all work and school. Kristyn still worked at the animal hospital and I stayed working at Audible. We bought a camper early on in the year and put it on the site. We had our first season up at the camper which was a lot of fun. We spent a lot of time gathering things for the camper including dishes, utensils, blankets, towels, groceries, board games, a TV and VCR, and all kinds of stuff. We explored the Catskills and re-learned the area. We went to Kate’s Lazy Meadow for our one year wedding anniversary. We had Foof’s one year birthday party and he smashed a cake. It was a great, busy year.
In 2015, I got promoted at work again which meant some traveling to Dallas, Texas and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Both Kristyn and I FINALLY graduated with our Bachelor’s Degrees from Rutgers. We had a graduation party at my sister’s house with a cardboard cutout of Hillary Clinton (and our family). As a delayed honeymoon/graduation gift to ourselves, we went on a 17 day long trip to Scotland and England. We met with my family there and went to Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, and Leigh-on-Sea. We drank SO MUCH WHISKEY. It was incredible. We also went Upstate all summer. Kristyn also took the GRE’s and applied to Grad School. She got in and started that Fall! This was a really good year. On New Year’s Eve 2015, I suggested that Kristyn quit her job at the animal hospital. She did and it was EXCELLENT. That job was breaking her back and they kept cutting everyone’s hours and then suddenly forcing them to do overtime. When we ran the numbers, she was spending almost exactly what she was making just to get there. We decided that it would be better for her to go to Grad School full-time. For work I travelled to Dallas, Texas and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Kristyn started working on the Queer Newark Oral History Project. LGBTQ+ marriage was legalized! We marched in the NYC Pride Parade with GLAAD. We had Foof’s 2nd birthday party and Santa was there. He hated Santa. One terrible thing is that Kristyn’s Uncle died this year. It was terrible.
In 2016, I threw myself fully into my job and Kristyn threw herself fully into Grad School. In 2016, I travelled to Chicago, Illinois and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida for work. In connection with another work trip, we went back to LA for the first time. We stayed in Silver Lake at an AirBnB that had a hot tub. We got hair cuts, mani pedis, and massages. We went to Disney, Universal Studios, and did the Warner Bros. Studio Tour. We visited our apartments, our supermarkets, and did a mix of things familiar and fun/touristy like the Museum of Death. It was awesome. We adopted Shirley. She was a baby puppy Boston Terrier and she was so damn cute. We spent the summer Upstate, NY and took Shirley swimming in the river. Kristyn graduated with her Master’s Degree in History from Rutgers! She applied to a PhD program in American Studies at Rutgers and got in! We had a graduation party for Kristyn at her sister’s house. Also, I started therapy which was and continues to be awesome. Kristyn started her PhD in the Fall. In 2016, we also did a lot of Pride-related events. We marched in the NYC Pride Parade with Hillary Clinton. In connection with the Ft. Lauderdale trip, we went to Orlando and went to Disney with Karen and Universal to Harry Potter World. We went to the Jacob Javits Center on election night and went home when things took a dark turn. The rest of that year was a dark turn EXCEPT for Foof’s third birthday. Santa came and he still hated that but I had fun at least.
In 2017, we started the year by going to DC and marching in the Women’s March. That was a wild experience. For work, I travelled to San Diego, California. We went Upstate New York all summer; doing day trips to New Paltz, Warwick, and Phoenicia. It was really fun. I co-lead Audible and Amazon marching in the NYC Pride Parade. We marched in Newark Pride. We went to my 20 year high school reunion. We went to Kate’s Lazy Meadow for our four year wedding anniversary also. Everything was going great and then Thanksgiving weekend, my brother Charles died. That leveled me. We were all floored because it was so sudden. We think he probably died by closing off his windpipe when he was sleeping. Poor Charles. I ended up going on medical leave from the Monday after Thanksgiving to mid-January. The end of 2017 I spent crying and sitting in an armchair and trying to pull my shit together. Just before Christmas, we went to a Tex Mex restaurant with my cousin and I got food poisoning. On Christmas Day, my entire family decided to go to Scotland for our Great Uncle’s 90th birthday. We had a lot of fun in 2017 but also, two of my cousins died suddenly, then my Grandpa died, and then my brother. A fucking nightmare.
We started 2018 by going to the Women’s March in NJ with our friend, Silvia. In January, we drove up to the camper to see what it’s like up there in the winter. I’d always wanted to do that before. It was SO FNG COLD and also weird because there was snow everywhere which we didn’t expect. Still, it was nice ride and felt good to finally accomplish that; even though it was a small thing. We brought Shirley with us and I’ve never seen her so cold even though she had a sweatshirt and a winter coat on. We had to wrap her in a blanket with the heat turned all the way up. We also scared the owner of the campground who though we were thieves breaking into our trailer. I went back to work in January and had a pretty angry and unfocused year. I DID co-lead us marching with Audible and Amazon in the NYC Pride Parade again. Kristyn continued on with her PhD and Queer Newark. I didn’t travel for work at all. That spring, my Mom had a triple bypass which was scary and wild. And then in June, we went to Scotland. That was an incredible trip because it was almost my entire family on my Father’s side including my Dad, sister, brother-in-law, nephew, aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, third cousins, great uncles, great aunts, etc. The only person who couldn’t come was my Mother because of her surgery. That was terrible. We went to Edinburgh, Glasgow, and the Highlands. We went on the Harry Potter train and had so much Guinness, Cider, and Fish & Chips. Kristyn and I bought Cambridge Satchels in Edinburgh. We went to so many Harry Potter shops and tourist places. We rode double deckers. We sprinkled Charles’ ashes. We went to our Great Uncle’s 90th birthday party/family reunion. We stayed in a castle. Kristyn and I also got giant tattoos of Shirley; Kristyn’s on her forearm and mine on my thigh. After Scotland, Kristyn and I went to Ireland. We stayed in Dublin and then took a bus trip to Northern Ireland. It was fucking awesome and exhausting. Thank god for that trip. It really made our year. We also went upstate quite a bit and then to Kate’s Lazy Meadow for our 5th wedding anniversary. Oh, also, we went to Kristyn’s 20 year high school reunion. Basically, 2018 (like 2017) was one of the best/worst years of my entire life. We took Foof to go see Mary Poppins, saw Santa, and had his fifth birthday party. That was fun.
In 2019, we started the year by going to Paris for Kristyn’s 39th birthday. We only went for a few days but it was the most gorgeous few days. We went to the top of the Eiffel Tower, we took a bus tour of the city, we went to the Catacombs, saw the Moulin Rouge, and went to the Palace of Versailles. After that, I took a work trip to Southern California and we tacked a long vacation to LA on the end of it. During that trip, we went to Disneyland, Harry Potter land, the Magic Castle, to get massages, mani pedis, and haircuts. We went to see our old apartments and old haunts. We took a tour of Paramount and planned to tour Sony but that last part didn’t pan out. We went to see Busy Phillips’ talk show. We went Upstate all summer long and even took a week long vacation up there. I co-lead an LGBTQ+ initiative at work and co-lead Audible marching in NYC Pride and Newark Pride. Kristyn got published in a History journal and presented at conferences. She also started a podcast for the Queer Newark Oral History Project. We got licensed for the NJ Foster to Adopt program which was a ton of work but we did it! I also got Gastric Sleeve surgery and have lost 54 pounds so far. We went to Kate’s Lazy Meadow for our sixth wedding anniversary. It was only a month after surgery so we really didn’t do much but it was so nice anyway. We also went to the Poconos to the Great Wolf Lodge for Foof’s sixth birthday which was really fun. Mostly though, from September until now I’ve been re-learning how to eat, exercising, taking vitamins, and resting because I’m tired constantly. Still, I’m so glad I did this. I also turned 40 this year the week before my surgery while on vacation at our camper. We just chilled and relaxed all week and then closed up our camper. This year (although a little challenging at the end) has been a great but very busy year.
Okay so I’m going to end this here because I’m worried that you have gone unconscious. I considered splitting this into two posts but nah. LOL.
We had a pretty great New Year’s Eve this year. All we did was put on makeup, eat pigs in a blanket, drink Friexenet, and dance around with the pets but ’twas a good time. I love celebrating NYE like this. Going out is too expensive, too pressure-filled, and never as much fun as cleaning up the house, making appetizers, and getting wild on bubbly.
The few times we did go out that I can remember are:
In our 20’s, we decided to go to Manhattan (but not to the ball drop). Because it’s expensive, we “pre-gamed” which meant that I drank a full bottle of wine BEFORE we left the house and brought almost another one in a Snapple bottle to drink “on the way there”. You guys, bish got so drunk that she was sleeping the second we got there. Kristyn, my sister, and her friend had to prop me up places and then dance around me. You know what? I think I’ve told this story on this blog before. Well, whatever, I was a MESS. All I remember doing are asking people to tap kiss me (and getting offended when they didn’t want to) and then I remember us all squeezing into a one person bathroom and knocking down bottles that were put on a shelf in the bathroom (broken glass and yelling people everywhere). What a mess.
Also in our 20’s, we got invited to a house party hosted by a couple we’re friends with. We got there around maybe 9/9:30pm and the hosts were already out of their minds intoxicated. The gal host decided to go to bed and the pal host was so worried about her that he spent all his time in the bedroom making sure she was okay. At 10:30, they told everyone to go home. It had been snowing heavily and had taken quite a bit of effort to get there via cab so we had to stand outside and wait for a cab for a long time to get back home. What a mess.
Alsoalso in our 20’s, we decided to go into Manhattan to watch the ball drop in Times Square. It was a moderately-temperatured evening; probably like 50 degrees which is unusual. We took advantage of it and got there at like 7pm. A thing to note about the ball drop is that people get there at like 7am to jockey for position. And then once you’re there, you cannot get out of that area for any reason; not to eat, not to pee, not for any reason. No WAY am I ever going to do that. So instead, we meandered lazily down there at 7pm. The way it works is this: The streets are fully closed down for blocks in every direction around the ball. You can only enter in certain areas and not only are the streets closed but there is a pretty intense system of police-enforced gates to get through. So, for example, when you’re first entering the gates, you have to get wanded by police to make sure that you don’t have any weapons. If you get approved to move forward, you have to keep going until the next police-enforced area. THAT police officer also wands you and then allows you passage into the next police-enforced area. It continues on like this until you get to an area that already has people congregating. When your section fills up, they close it off and start letting people line up in the next section and so on. WELL, where we ended up was probably about 3-4 blocks BEHIND the ball. This means that we had absolutely no visibility on any celebs, were definitely not on TV, and no ticker tape for us at midnight. It also meant that when the ball dropped, we could only see it go down for 10-5 and then it disappeared behind an area of the building blocking our view. Still, it was pretty fun; mostly because of the rowdy German tourists who were singing en masse all night. Also? 50 degrees is not cold BUT when you’re sitting outside in windy Manhattan from 7pm-12pm wearing a lighter coat than you would normally wear? It gets cold. There were pizza vendors selling pies at the side of our prison so there were pizza boxes everywhere. All of us in the cage took to sitting down on pizza boxes because our feet hurt and our butts were cold sitting on the pavement. Anyway, we saw the ball drop and then decided to head home. In fact, we drove to Clifton, NJ to our fav bar, The Loop. We got there probably around 1am and the bar stayed open until 3am. We had bought those glasses you see everyone wearing with the New Year across them. I think it was “2007”. Anyway, a guy in the bar that I didn’t know, asked me if he could put them on. I said yes and he ran away with them. When I finally caught him and asked for them back, he literally said that he was hoping I’d forget or wouldn’t be able to find him. I said “No chance in hell.” He forked them over and I have no idea what happened to them now. Pretty decent NYE.
When we lived in LA, our final NYE was actually one of my favorites and I KNOW I’ve told this story on this blog but I don’t care, I’m going to tell it again. We went to Universal Studios during the late afternoon and went on some rides. Around 10pm, we came home and at midnight, we were drinking champagne on our balcony watching the fireworks go off all over LA. That’s literally one of my favorite NYE on record.
Oh oh one more. I don’t know if it was the first NYE after my nephew was born (which would have made him like two weeks old) or the second year (which would have made him one year and two weeks old) but we decided to go stay over at my sister and brother-in-law’s house to spend NYE with them. Once we got there though, my sister and brother-in-law were EXHAUSTED (from having either a two week old or one year and two week old son). They fell asleep probably at 10:30pm. And then Kristyn, never one to be outdone with regards to snoozaroos, went to sleep as well. So now all three of them were unconscious on the couches in the living room and I’m WIDE AWAKE and ready to party. I tried, to abso-fucking-lutely, no avail to get someone anyone to get up and watch the ball drop with me or to go outside at midnight and clang pots and pans. Outright refusal. So at midnight, my sister’s neighbors started shooting off fireworks so I went outside by myself and watched them and then went inside and went to sleep on the couch. LOLs.
One more one more. Last year we had a lot of fun too. Our friend, Amanda, came over and we did exactly what we did this year PLUS we played the Game of Life. I am pretty sure that I was losing for the entire game and then suddenly won huge at the end. Hopefully, this is foreshadowing for how my life will actually go. I mean, I’d rather not win huge at the end then die. Let’s make sure I win huge with plenty of time to enjoy it.
So, I’m writing all of this because I am procrastinating on posting something else. I wrote up a MAD LONG overview of everything big we did this decade; organized by year. Basically, I think I need to break it into two posts and add photos to it. I just can’t seem to get myself to finish it though because I guess I’m not ready to close the book on this decade (although we already have haha). Well, coming soon to a blog near you (it’s this one guys).
I don’t know if I mentioned it in my last post but yesterday and today are “Snuggie Day”. Since we were so busy on Christmas Eve and Day, I decided to dedicate the 26th and 27th to straight up chilling with no goals in mind. So yesterday, we really, really, really did that. We just laid flat on our backs and watched TV; specifically The L Word: Generation Q, Handmaid’s Tale and The Office (as a palate cleanser). This marnin’ I let myself sleep until about 10:30! It felt so good. I want to be mad that the day is getting away from me but I can’t even.
Kristyn wants to go get a haircut and I kind of want to go see Little Women so we’ll probably get up and go out for a little while and then come back and watch more of The Handmaid’s Tale. I’m a little “meh” about this season because it seems to stuck in a swirl “Do we or do we not trust Serena?” Blerg. Same for The L Word: Generation Q (btw I can’t with that title). I mean, I’ll WATCH IT and be GRATEFUL WE HAVE IT but honestly, I roll my eyes quite a bit watching it. Here are the things that make me roll my eyes in a bulleted list:
The young blonde one galloping around like a Golden Retriever all the time.
The lesbian couple that’s getting married. Literally who cares about them and their non-issue issues? Like they get engaged one second into the show and then immediately introduce all kinds of “Oh but maybe we shouldn’t?” and “How DARE your Dad offer to pay for a nice place to have our wedding?!” I get that there is nuance there but it just seemed to have escalated faaaaaar too quickly without much context. Relax. Also, the one with “the Dad”; what is her entire deal? She’s spooky and I am not about her character at all.
I like the trans character but do not even understand what his storyline is so far. They’re not giving him enough yet.
Shane having enough money to “impulsively” buy a bar in LA.
Shane not being able to keep it in her pants with the bartender.
Bette’s whole sex-with-a-married-woman drama.
Bette and her daughter’s tension.
The fact that we keep hearing about Tina and yet, no Tina? We had better see Tina.
Alice’s girlfriend’s baby mama drama.
Alice’s talk show is weird and so is the logo to the talk show; although I was vvvvv into the Megan Rapinoe cameo.
Oh AND the fact that they slipped in that Jenny died by suicide after dedicating the entire final season to a “whodunnit” style caper without actually ever revealing “the murderer”. THAT was some true fuckery, you guys.
I mean, I guess that’s the entire show that I’m rolling my eyes at, really. Kristyn said “It’s always been soapy” and this is true but this is some other level shit. I hope they keep it going and we get more seasons because why not but I can’t say I’m LOVING IT so far. I hope that changes as the story progresses. I wish I could see what Cammie Esposito has to say about all of this but I don’t have a subscription to New York magazine and do not intend to get one so here we are.
One stupid (and unrelated) thing I want to say is that I finally figured out something about my bangs today. For a long time I’ve been looking at pictures of my hair when I was in LA and trying to figure out what was different about my bangs then and how to recreate it. I finally realized today that I just pushed them to the side in a different way than I’d been doing it. I swear to Goddess, you guys, I have shit for brains sometimes. I was like wracking my brain trying to think if they were cut differently or something. Nope, just pushed to the side. Honestly, I think I unlocked the secret to my bangs due to two factors: 1) Kristyn’s Dad is a barber and we talked at length about how to cut bangs on Christmas Eve and 2) all morning while I was sleeping, I was dreaming that I was trying to cut my bangs. Basically, my laziness ended up with a bang revelation. Man alive!
Merry Christmas, boos! We had a great time on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We spent Christmas Eve at Kristyn’s Aunt’s house and Christmas Day at my Uncle and Aunt’s house. We had 48 hours of Yuletide joy. I was glad that I was able to eat a little bit of party food both days. I ate well in the morning and afternoon and then tried to make the best choices possible at the parties. I overdid it a little but am fine with it. It’s a relief to know that things can be “normal” post-op.
Now let’s get to the subject at hand; “letting myself”. I have a real problem. You know how we tend to “save the best for last”? I do that with so many things in my life; even things that are good for me. If I buy a container of strawberries, I tend to let them go bad thinking that I should “save them” for some perfect point in time that doesn’t seem to materialize. If I want to go to a yoga class, I make up reasons why I shouldn’t. I do it with this blog, too.
For a long time, I stopped updating this blog because I was nervous about people that I know reading it. That was silly. But then, I got over that and stopped writing it because I didn’t feel like it. That was fine. Lately though? I want to write this blog but the problem is “letting myself”. I keep telling myself that I shouldn’t write too much or it will be annoying to others or that I have nothing to say or that I have more important things to do. None of that is true and even if it is…so what?
Me, Kristyn, and my sister Christine had made the above photos using a filter and sent them to each other for a LOL. The other day, Christine made a calendar for my parents. The above photo is what she put in November 2020. On Christmas, my Uncle was flipping through the calendar and said “OMG, imagine that there were this many of you all? I’d love that!” I said “Well, if there were that many of me, you’d get annoyed because of all the talking we’d all do.” He said “I’d absolutely love it. There’s nothing I’d love more.” It was such a sweet and loving thing to say. It struck me that I always assume that no one (besides Kristyn) wants to hear anything I have to say. I mean, I didn’t realize that I felt that way. Eye opening.
One more thing, I’ve finally lost a little over 50 pounds. I don’t feel like I look much different but I feel so much different and better. It’s made it all worth it. I heard back from the doc today that my nutrition/vitamin levels are fine but that I should up my B12 to taking it twice per day instead of once (and I’ve already done it). I also increased the Wellbutrin as of last week and am waiting to see if that gives me more energy and focus.
Today and tomorrow I’m letting myself rest after so much frenzied holiday revelry and then I’m going to go back to trying to declutter the house. First we’ll have to peel back at least one layer of Christmas detritus that has accumulated made up of gift bags, wrapping paper, and tissue. We’ve already put our gifts away but the stuff we used to wrap gifts for everyone else is all stacked up in the bedroom. If I’m feeling up to it, maybe I’ll try to do it tomorrow before I flop back into my recliner to finish watching The Handmaid’s Tale (which is what we’ve been doing all day). Okay, I’m going to push the “publish” button. Gnite!