R.I.P. AJ

•September 20, 2013 • Leave a Comment

AJ PicI lost my dear friend AJ yesterday.  She was my cranky and regal feline companion that I have had the great fortune to share my home with over the past 13 years.  When she was younger, she looked like she was a descendent from the great cats of Egypt…dark gray…full of pride and royal beauty.  I inherited her from a two year relationship that ended back in 2002.  While the relationship ended, the friendship with the previous parent did not…and she was also very saddened to hear of her passing.  AJ was very loved.

Our best guess is that AJ was around 18 to 19 years old.  The entire time she was with me she was full of spunk and attitude.  She would sleep under the covers with me and poke her head out of the blankets like any person would…and walk around the house like she owned the place.  She was moody…but so was I…and it worked for us…we were a great fit together.  About 5 months ago she stopped sleeping with me because she could no longer lay on her side…and she would only let me pet her for a few seconds before she would walk away and start to cough.  I took her to the vet and they said its a growth in her lungs and since she is so old, there is not much they can do…but she was otherwise still healthy.  So, both her and I adjusted.  She would sleep by my legs and I would pet her for a few seconds on her head and under her neck several times a day.

Then, on Wednesday night when I got home, she was coughing non stop and could not lay down to fall asleep.  I stayed up and talked with her all night as she would doze off here and there while sitting on her belly by my legs. I started to cry a little several times throughout the night…sensing what was coming. I sent an email to work saying I would not be in…and she finally fell asleep around 4:30am…and I shortly after.  I woke up around 8, which is when she usually wakes me up to feed her breakfast and she was sitting in her usual spot.  When I fed her…she only took a few bites and then walked away.  I knew something was up…so I called the vet and explained the situation.  They told me to spend time with her and bring her in later that day…so I did.  We walked around the house…laid in her favorite places…and we sat outside on the deck in the sun (something she loved to do) in what was likely the last really nice day of the summer.  When I went to give her more wet food…she again, didn’t eat very much…and then it was time to go to the vet.

On the ride over she didn’t meow at all (and she always meowed in car rides)…but again she could not stop coughing…so I talked with her the whole time and put my fingers in the cat carrier holes to comfort her all the while starting to cry a little more along the way.  The vet examined her and said the growth has gotten bigger and causing her to have a very hard time breathing and that the end was very close.  Faced with her suffocating to death in the next few days, I chose to have her go in a more peaceful and painless manner to her final resting place….which the Vet and the Vet assistant completely agreed with.  They asked if I wanted to stay in the room and I said yes…after 13 years of companionship, I was not going to let her go through this alone.  As the vet was giving her the shot, I kept saying “you are ok sweetie…it’s almost over” as I would pet the top of her head…now full on weeping.  The Vet was very stoic and deliberate, a true professional…making the process as peaceful as he could for AJ and me.  The vet assistant was doing her very best not cry…her eyes were big and she was looking at the wall.  And then it was over…AJ had taken her final breath and she was gone.  They left me alone with her for several minutes…and I kept petting her, talking to her…telling her I loved her.  I put a towel over her so only her head was exposed and closed her eyes…all the while still talking to her…and sobbing…much like I am now as I type this.  The vet sent me flowers today with a personalized note about AJ…which was nice of them.  I suspect it’s standard practice for them when they put down a pet…but it was still very thoughtful.

I have never lost a family member, friend, or pet before…I didn’t know my grandparents, or my father…I have not lost any friends or other family that I am close too…and all the pets I had as a kid were given away before I ever had to deal with their death.  AJ was my first pet as an adult…and she is the first being I have ever loved that I have lost to death.  This is all new and very painful to me. I am a 38 year old man and for the first time in my life…experiencing real grief.  Funny the things you never learn how to deal with when you don’t let anyone get close to you.

I know it will get better and time will help me think of all the many good memories we have shared over the last 13 years…but that does not stop me from picturing her as I walk by her favorite spots in this large and now empty house.  It didn’t stop me from waking up this morning at 8am thinking she would be waiting for me by the kitchen to provide her breakfast.  It didn’t stop me from crying when I walked in the door today and she was not there to greet me and meow hello like she has done for so many years.  I took the day off of work to collect her things and vacuum up all the cat hair around the house…and at each of her favorite spots…I would start to cry and think of her.

I don’t know how to process this loss…I have never had to before.  She was just here…such a big and important part of my life.  Always checking on me in whatever room of the house I was in…making sure that if I was up to no good, she would be a part of it.  And just like that…she is gone.  I can’t go back to yesterday when she was here…I can’t pretend this is a bad dream and wake up to find her sleeping next to me as she has for the past 13 years.  She is gone…forever…and I don’t know how to deal with that.  I have to get on a plane tomorrow for a 14 hour flight to the Philippines for work…and I don’t know how I am going to do it without periodically bursting into tears as I think of her.  I just keep telling myself that she was loved and lived a long and good life…and remember that someday, the memories of her will make me smile…instead of cry.

Goodbye AJ.  You lived a very long and comfortable life…with a warm bed to sleep in, a full belly of food, and spent your life with someone who cared very much for you and gave you love every day.  You have been a great and dear friend to me for the last 13 years…and I hope I was half as good a friend to you.  You are loved and missed.

The wisdom of hippies…

•July 24, 2010 • 2 Comments

So I hired a guy named Max to do some work around my house, install a ceiling fan, do some light electrical, that sort of thing.  Turns out…Max is a flaming hippy!  I don’t have much experience with hippies other than knowing Cartman from South Park does not like them because they hug trees.  But Max here seems pretty cool…he has lots of stories to tell about concerts he has seen, women his has been with, and drugs he has tried.  He even drives a cool van with curtains in the windows…how awesome is that?  He is old…probably around mid 50’s, says “man” and “dude” a lot…and likes to work with his shirt off…which was awkward at first but I have adjusted and learned to keep my distance.

I was just outside watering my lawn when he stepped outside to “take a quick break” and headed to the back of his van…at which point he promptly closed the windows and doors only to pop out about 10 minutes later smelling a little funny and seeming much more chipper and friendly.  I feel I have a lot to learn from this relic of the past.  There is something to be admired about a man who knows what he likes and the time frame he likes to live…even if that time frame was 40 years ago (yes…that is right…1971 was 40 years ago).  I was born in 1974….so I pretty much spent the 70’s burping up on myself and dropping dukies in my disposable diapers.  But, after some reflection, I’m thinking me effectively missing the 70’s  was a good thing.  I mean, if I was a teen in, or even in my twenty’s  in the 70’s…I just don’t think I would have made it.  To many drugs, to many political fights to fight…to many girls to fall in love with…and then lose as they move on to the next guy…which from my understanding and what Max is telling me, happened a lot.  As Max is installing a ceiling fan in my bedroom…he is reminiscing about how the 70’s were a simpler time..no one worried about getting an STD that killed you, everyone he knew was always willing to share weed, and he had no trouble finding a place to sleep when he needed one.  He said he still tries to live that way of life as much as posible…but everyone today is so focused on money and their jobs that more and more he is feeling isolated and alone.  I have nothing to offer him except money for working on my house…and an ear to listen to the stories that he tells. 

This is the first of many days to come where Max will be doing work for me…and I sense that I’m going to get an education in a lifestyle that I know very little about and a time that I can only reference through movies and Hunter S Thompson books.     After all, I’m a 90’s child…a generation Xer.  Give me a micro brew (which I don’t really like), a rerun of saved by the bell, and music that makes me want to kill myself and I’m a happy boy.  I’m off to inspect Max’s work (from a distance) and see if I can glean anymore insight to the life and times of a hippy who misses the 70’s.  At $20 an hour…this is a lot cheaper…and truly educational…then most of what I learned in college!

“If it feels good…do it!”

Unknown  

Corey’s not dead…well…not yet anyway…

•July 10, 2010 • 3 Comments

…hmmm…Corey’s not dead…that is a fantastic band name.  Over the last several months, I have received many emails and text messages, even a hand full of phone calls  inquiring as to my health, well-being, and current state of living.  I can assure you…I’m alive and in moderately good health.  I have just had a lot on my mind and really didn’t have it in me to put in all into words.  First of all, it would have been a whole lot to write, and second of all, I’m not a good enough writer to do it.  Thanks to everyone for checking on me though…it’s nice to know I have people in the world who care about me and want to make sure I have not thrown myself off any large buildings.   I have missed writing…and it feels good to just sit down and type out my unedited thoughts again. 

A lot has happened since my last post…I don’t even know where to begin.  Lets see…I got a new job…Operations Manager for a technology consulting firm in Kirkland (it’s not near as cool as it sounds…and come to think of it, it doesn’t sound all that cool).  I got dumped…a girlfriend with whom I reconnected said she met someone new…which was very da ja vu for me because she said the same thing 5 years ago.  This time she ended it with compassion and respect…a stark difference from the last time.   As far as dumpings go…this one was definitely in my top 3…if we had goodbye sex, it might have even been #1…but, sadly, we did not.  I had a really good time with her…sitting in her living room debating about love, sex, food and music.  Reading out loud to one another from various books we found enjoyable.  Unfortunaltely…she found the proverbial Mr. Right…and it wasn’t me.  She was quite pretty to look at…and I could listen to her passionately talk for hours about how to properly prepare a steak and how John Mayer is the prophet of our generation.  Red wine and ambien make for great conversations!  I will miss that…and her.

My best friend moved to Texas….thats right…fucking Texas!  A god damn red state for Christs sake.  We still talk via IM and send one another drunk texts (we are not gay I swear)…but it’s not the same.  He moved to Texas for an awesome girl…now before you say “what the fuck!…you should know she REALLY is an awesome girl…and totally worth it…but it’s still Texas…and I still miss him.  No more late nights of drinking and talking about girls…or what super power we would pick and why (note to self…future post about what super power I would pick and why)…and knowing he was around when I needed him…which was quite a lot.  There is no way in hell I’m visiting him in texas until winter though….way to damn hot..and I’m not sure how I will fare in a red state…thought getting my ass kicked in Texas would make a great blog post!  I’m going to be best man at his wedding in the Bahamas in September though…which is going to be sweet.  4 days at a luxury resort with all the top shelf liquor you can drink included in the price.  Oh yeah…this has international incident written all over it.  One last adventure with my best friend as he transitions from one life to another…I can’t wait!

I’m open to exploring new and old options in love…taking things one day at a time…but feeling good about it…no expecations, no presure…just enjoying the thought of being with someone I care about.  If it works out… great…if it doesn’t…that is ok too.  I feel like I’m finally at a point where I can leave my many many demons in the past and think only about today…and maybe even tomorrow.  It’s early..and maybe I’m way to optimistic…but at least I can go into something with my eyes wide open..and know I’m not going to sabotage things like all my other relationships over last 10 years.  Well…that is my hope anyway…wish me luck!

If I have any readers left…thank you for staying with me.  I needed some time to sort through changes in my life and prepare for changes in the future (complete career change…more to come on that).  I feel like I’m ready to start writing again and putting my thoughts into words I can share with those who care to listen.  I make no promises on how much I will be able to post…but I can honestly tell you that it’s really great to be typing into WordPress again.  Thanks for reading…

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”

– Maria Robinson

The High Road – Favorite Song On The Radio Right Now…

•April 23, 2010 • 2 Comments

The Shins are a fantastic band.  I was first introduced to them via the Garden State soundtrack when I heard and instantly loved New Slang.  It has a melancholy sound with lyrics and a melody that were simple but very appealing and I could not get enough of it.  A little later I heard Australia and Saint Simon, both of which I liked but not as much as New Slang as they were more upbeat and fun.  Then, one night about 2 years ago, I was driving home from work and heard Phantom Limb on the radio for the first time…once again I was enamored with the Shins.  Phantom Limb had a sound and feel that spoke to me and it was one of, if not, my favorite song of 2008.

Why am I sharing all this with you?  Because my favorite song on the radio this month is by the band Broken Bells…which consists of producer Danger Mouse (produced albums for Beck, Gorillaz, and formed the band Gnarls Barkley) and James Mercer, the lead singer and song writer for the Shins.  The song is called the High Road and it could very well be a Shins song except it’s a little more advanced then their earlier stuff.  I’m sure the other members of the Shins are great musicians…but it’s really nice to see what James Mercer is capable of when working with someone who is more experimental and creative with sounds.  The collaboration between James Mercer and Danger Mouse (fantastic name by the way) has worked out brilliantly…at least on this one song  I have heard…the video is pretty cool too.  Once again James Mercer has created something that really appeals to me…even if it’s not with the Shins. 

My favorite song on the radio for the month of April…The High Road by Broken Bells.  Enjoy.

Squat The Parking (and now speeding ticket) God…

•April 16, 2010 • 2 Comments

The West Seattle bridge sucks.  Well, actually, I have nothing against the bridge,  I just hate the 45 MPH speed limit.  In the immortal words of Sammy Haggar…I can’t drive 55…or 45 for that matter (the speed limit on the West Seattle bridge)…my car, Kate Winslet, will get mad at me if I do.  Also it’s ridiculous to have a speed limit that no one but grandparents and nervous, pimple faced, kids who are taking driving tests follow…but I digress.  The point of this story to highlight how sometimes believing in a God, Squat The Parking God in particular, allows for divine intervention, even though this intervention had nothing to do with parking. 

Before I dive into the story, a little background on Squat The Parking God is needed.  Many years ago, my wise and wonderful sister educated me as to the ways of Squat.  She informed me that Squat provides true believers with excellent parking spaces.  But, like relationships with most Gods, it comes at a price.  If you are blessed with a good parking space, it’s important to thank him right away, otherwise, it could be months before you find another good parking spot.  Squat is nothing if not a vengeful god.  For those of you who think I’m making this up, google “Squat The Parking God” and you find many links detailing the wonders of his power.  Now, it should be noted that in most of those pages, Squat is refered to as a “she”…and while this may be correct, in my 15 years of worship, I have always refered to Squat as a he, and this has never offended the proprietor of good parking.  Giving praise to Squat as a “he” or a “she” is not as important is just believing.  So there you have it, some background on Squat The Parking God…though I’m going to start referring to him as Squat The Parking & Speeding Ticket God from here on out…and for good reason. 

There I was, minding my own business, driving east bound on the west seattle bridge, trying to pass a very plan looking gray car going 45 (the speed limit).  When I tried to pass on the right, another car cut me off, so I was stuck behind this 45 MPH speed racer grandpa in front of me (which I was tailgating a little close too…I’m not proud of it, but he was going really slow).  Once the car on the right turned off, I made my move and started to pass the slow gray car at a very quick clip.   Suddenly,  I heard a short burst of police sirens…confused, I look around and see no sign of a police car anywhere in my area…so I continue my acceleration and leave said plan looking gray car in the dust (yeah…I really am that dumb).   

Awww…sweet freedom.  With no cars in front of me…I speed up to 60 MPH and sing along  to Forgot About Dre blasting from my stereo.  Out of nowhere, I hear the police sirens again and look in the mirror to see where the lights and sirens are coming from.  Sure enough, the plan gray UNMARKED COP car that suddenly found his gas pedal quickly catches up to me.  Frustrated at being so stupid (he gave me a warning for Christs sake) I start swearing like a porn star and look for a place to pull over.  Since we are on the West Seattle bridge, there is no place to pull over…so I continue to drive until an exit comes up…him tailgating me the whole time.  Now, to be fair to me…this slow ass gray car did not look anything like a cop car…if it did, I would not have acted like such a jackass.  It’s “unmarked” status was very effective.

Coming up to the north and south i5 off ramps, I resign myself to my fate of getting my first speeding ticket in over 10 years. Given how I was just tailgating him for a solid 3 minutes until I passed him at a speed well outside the accepted speed limit…I figured my chances of getting out of a ticket were slim.    As I start to take the i5 south exit (the first to come up) I look in my rearview mirror and see the police officer, still tailgating me,  lights and sirens going full blast, looking down at something (maybe running my license plate)…and drive right past the exit I had just taken.  My eyes are now the size of dinner plates and I  look out my side window (because we are now driving parallel and see him look up, look at me to his right, and notice the big cement blocks now separating us.  Merging on to i5…not really sure what just happened or how I could possibly be so lucky, I do what seemed the only logical thing to do…I thanked Squat The Parking God for this most fortuitous turn of events.                   

I was already a big believer in Squats powers…but now I’m a full-fledged, card caring disciple.  So just remember, the next time you get a great parking spot, or get out of a speeding ticket that you clearly and most righteously deserve…be sure to thank Squat The Parking & Speeding Ticket God…for he (or she depending on how you roll) is a good God to have on your side.

“I can believe anything…provided it’s incredible.”

– Oscar Wilde   

I Think Someone Is Shrinking My Pants…

•April 11, 2010 • 1 Comment

I refuse to believe there could be any other reason as to why my pants are feeling a bit snug lately other than my pants are getting smaller.  I’m quite sure it has nothing to do with the fact that I have been eating ice-cream for breakfast the last several days.  It’s hard work being as out of shape as I am…I mean, how else am I going to be able to keep my professional bowlers figure? 

Most of the food I bought to help me make it through my 3 weeks of unemployment was not of the “healthy” variety.   I purchased enough pasta to feed a moderately sized, non dieting, mob family for a week (that includes Tony Soprano…and he is a big boy).  Enough beans, tortillas, cheese, and sour cream to feed the entire mexican national soccer team during a two-hour siesta lunch.  AND Safeway had Kraft Mac & Cheese on sale for $.60 a box…so I bought 10.  They also had Crunch Berry Capt’ Crunch on sale for $2.50 a box so I bought like 4 of those…but I always do that so it’s not outside the norm.  Note to self…write post about my love for kids morning cereal.

I still have two weeks to go before I start working again…so the way I see it, I have one of three options to make sure my pant shrinking problem stays under control.  1, I stop eating so many peanut butter M&M’s…which I’m pretty sure would require me to go to some inpatient dependency program…because they are like crack…well, crack laced with peanut butter.  2, I start buying bigger pants, which I fear will only be a short-term solution as the pants shrinking will likely continue.  Or 3, I stay up late and scope out just who the hell is shrinking my pants in the middle of the night and then spray them with mace.  I think option 3 is the most likely…you hear that you pant shrinking bastards…I’m on to you!

I’m hungry…guess I will go eat some peanut butter M&M’s…my pants better not shrink while I’m gone.

“SKINNY PEOPLE TICK ME OFF!!! Especially when they say things like, “You know sometimes I forget to eat.” Now I’ve forgotten my address, my mother’s maiden name, and my car keys, but I have never forgotten to eat. You have to be a special kind of stupid to forget to eat.”

– SIOUXSIE Q

Good Friday & Steak, It’s What’s For Breakfast (and lunch)…

•April 2, 2010 • 1 Comment

I learned something new today.   A lovely lady friend of mine, whom I’m going to refer to as Beatrice, informed me that if you are a good practicing Catholic…steak, or meat of any kind for that matter, is not to be on the menu on Good Friday.  Lucky for me, I’m not a good practicing Catholic…because I didn’t get that memo.     

Since I’m not working for the next two weeks, I procured a whole lot of food in an attempt to hone my cooking skills (you know, to complement my developing Ninja skills).  One of the items I purchased was a rib eye steak (which is the best kind of steak, don’t listen to those “new york” or “prime rib” sissies).  So when I woke up this morning and went downstairs wondering what I wanted for breakfast…the rib eye was staring me down, daring me to eat it.  People eat rib eye steaks for breakfast all the time right?  Totally normal!  The steak was the size of a toilet seat so I cut it in half, 1 a test steak…or “breakfast” and the other the real deal…or “lunch”.  What?  It is my personal philosophy that you can never have too much steak.

The breakfast steak was ok…but I was a little disappointed with it.  I read online that you should tenderize the meat before cooking…and I don’t have a tenderizer.  Being the resourceful man that I am, I used the next best thing…my hammer.  After giving my hammer a good washing, I preceded to pound the hell out of the poor steak…it was a lot of fun.   I used a dry rub of fresh ground pepper, garlic salt, garlic powder, and Johnny’s seasoning salt…then coated it with some melted butter.  I then broiled the steak on high for about 4 minutes each side, then seared it in my frying pan before eating.  Steak, like sex, can never really be bad…sometimes it’s just not as good as others…as was the case with my breakfast steak.  I think I cooked it wrong…but I have always been someone who learns from his mistakes…and cooking a rib eye steak was no exception.     

In going in for round two, I decided not to use my hammer and skip the butter.  I was disappointed in not being able to hammer the crap our the lunch steak (it really was fun)…but I was quite confident in my choice to bypass the butter.  Instead I just used my fingers to tenderize the meat as I pushed in the dry rub.  Then, I skipped the broiler and just seared it in my frying pan on mid high for two minutes on each side.  It was fantastic.  The searing locked in the juice and flavor and the dry rub mix I used tasted wonderful as it caramelized on the outside of the steak.  I was really happy with it.

Steak for breakfast and lunch…mmmm.  Now I need to go downstairs and figure out what I want for dinner.  Last night I had a mac & cheese and sour cream sandwich.  Yeah…it was as awesome as it sounds…sooooo good.  I think, in honor of Good Friday, and since I already ate a whole cow today, I will have a salad…a TACO salad – extra beef.  Yup…it’s a good thing I’m not Catholic…pretty sure I would burn in hell for all the crap I’m eating today.  Beatrice, however, is a good practicing Catholic and she is celebrating Good Friday by eating a big tasty burger while on a date in West Seattle.  I hope that burger was worth eternal damnation Beatrice…because you are going to burn!  Man…I do love a good steak.

“My favorite animal is steak.”

Fran Lebowitz