Death, inspiration, Life, love

Memoirs of My Grandfather

This is the last part of my Grandpa’s small memoir that he recorded before he died.  Reading the whole thing, I can’t say I knew him very well… but he and my Granny made a huge impression on me when I was young that I still think about very often, even today.  More on my Granny another time, there is too much for me to say.  Anyway, here is the excerpt:

”  About this time, that is, 1987 Tom met and married Laura Butler in Sonoma. Two beautiful girl twins (fraternal) came along eventually, (Ashley and Erika) to enhance our lives. They were followed by Claire who was as challenging as you could imagine.

In 1995 our consulting careers ended and with that our ambitions and, I believe, our pride and confidence. Health problems rule. Our friends are plagued by health problems.

Time passes remarkably fast, much faster than before. We run to stay in one place.

I have developed a philosophy which, I believe, is very simple; namely, the Ten Commandments condensed to avoid the religious references i.e. “remember the Sabbath to keep it holy,” etc. I am an atheist, not an antitheist. These are six items including “do unto others”, etc. I can run you a copy if you want one. Perhaps we need religion because we are all afraid of living.

Along with the above, I have adopted an attitude of forgiving myself for acts and words I regret to varying degrees including profoundly. It is very hard to do! Also, I value the things I DIDN’T say.

We seem to be alone, but many others around us also seem to be alone. We seem to be waiting for the unexpected and inevitable. (An oxymoron?)

Old people are a dime-a-dozen!  “

 

The last words of his succinct autobiography were, “old people are a dime-a-dozen!”

I was holding his hand when he died, I’ll never forget it as long as I live.  He was trying to tell me something, he tried writing it down (I still have that paper), he tried saying it but the words wouldn’t form into a sound… and then he finally gave up.  I try not to dwell on that and for the most part, I don’t… I’ve come to terms.  But sometimes the what-ifs get to me and I wish I knew what he needed to tell me.

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Adventures, Death, Parties, San Luis Obispo

Garnish With Carrots

2 days ago, a friend of my roommates (and also of mine) who used to live in the loft that I live in, surprised us on his way home for Thanksgiving.  He brought us a bottle of homemade beer and a painting that his roommate painted.

Without knowing any sort of a tiny piece of the horrible bunny-death fiasco, the painting he gave us depicts a dead rabbit, partially covered in a blanket, with a bottle spilling orange colored liquid just next to him.  There is a shopping cart in the background and the painting is called “Homeless Rabbit Dies of Carrot Overdose.”  It’s hanging on our living room wall.  It absolutely spectacular,  I really love it.  I want to buy another one of his paintings.

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So after we had a little chuckle about that, Mckenna and I went to the house we were at right before the little car incident happened.  This group of drunk people were there, and one girl remembered me from a party I threw because I had bunnies in the back yard.  Mckenna told her that, unfortunately, the bunnies died…

She started screaming at me, “YOU KILLED YOUR BUNNIES!! YOU KILLED YOUR BUNNIES??!”  and no one else knew what was going on and so they started asking, shocked, “You killed your bunny rabbits??!  Why did you do that???”  The girl continued to yell this, and then the guy standing next to her realized he had a rabbit emblem on the back of his t-shirt and the girl was pointing to the shirt yelling, “You killed your bunnies!  You killed this little animal!”

It was so dramatic, I didn’t know what to do… I was shocked.  This was before I’d taken any shots, by the way.  My eyes welled up,  not because I felt sad but because I felt overwhelmed and infuriated! Mckenna was frantically trying to defend me, yelling back, “The bunnies DIED!  THEY DIED!  She did not kill them!”  

And all I got in edge-wise was, “I’m trying to have a good humor about this but I’m having a hard time.” 

And then I caught my reflection in the window, wearing a wife beater, a cardigan, dark eyeshadow and a black manicure… and I wondered if I was coming off as prudish and stringent, like some sort of soft animal lover, or if I was coming off as a bad ass since I had black nail polish on.  But I decided it was neither.

So now I’m kicking myself for allowing ANYONE to speak to me the way I let that obnoxious slut speak to me.  Maybe she was a lost cause anyway, and I don’t negotiate with obnoxious sluts.  Moral of the story is:

When an obnoxious slut makes you feel upset, perhaps you should follow your instincts, ignore your better judgement, pound a couple shots, and pound her in the face accordingly.  Garnish with carrots, serves 10.

 

This is me, Warholized.

This is me, Warholized.

 

 

So tonight Mckenna and I hot tubbed in Avila Beach for an hour and a half, to soak our sore, battered bodies.  I feel more sore now than I did before we dipped, but hopefully I’ll feel better in the morn. I’ve got some gnarly bruises and some major swelling on my booty/hip but I’m thankful it’s not a lot worse like it could have been.  Happy Monday everyone.  We’re almost there, the holiday break is close.

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Death, epiphanys, Nineteen

The Evil Monkey

I woke up abruptly in a fever this morning, my body sticky with sweat and my heart hurting. I felt this deep sense of grief, I felt like crying. And moments after I wondered why I wanted to sob, why I felt so carved out and empty, I remembered my dream.

This is really fucked up, this dream I had and I’ve been thinking about it all day. It’s haunting me and I’ll never forget it as long as I live. How can something that never really happened except for in the caverns of my midnight mind have such a resounding effect on me and the rest of my life.

Since Sampson died, I’ve been having a few dreams per night about losing something after I’ve neglected it. They’ve alerted me that there’s something much greater behind this bunny than the situation might initially convey.

I’ve only ever felt apathy toward animals. It’s always sort of been a joke in my family… “Erika can never remember to feed the cat’s!” and my mom alllllways had to remind me time and again not to forget to let the dog in the house, and she even gave my cat away because she knew i wouldn’t really mind either way.

This is something that I’m ashamed about. I hate that I have been this way. I’m a loving, passionate, considerate person toward (most) humans. Why do I become so selfish toward animals? It is a selfishness that I want to be able to correct. My biggest fear is the reflection this might have for raising my children someday. Among all the things I want to do and become in my life, I’ve always know that above all else (undoubtedly)… raising a few amazing children and being the best mom that I can possibly be is my purpose in life. Underneath almost every decision that I make, I’m already considering my children. This might seem strange or difficult to understand, but I live my life striving to be the best possible person so that I can be the best possible mother. And the thought that I can’t even care for an animal unravels fears that I wouldn’t be able to care for a child someday.

Sampson the bunny became this ascribed symbol, without even myself realizing it, of a pivotal change that I craved for; learning to have feelings for an animal. I want to care for and love something, but humans are quick tempered and unpredictable with their emotions, so why shouldn’t and why wouldn’t I be able to truly love an animal? These were my thoughts and hopes. I loved Sampson, but I still neglected him. I failed to notice what he was blatantly expressing. And so I lost him.

These dreams I’ve been having for the past few days touch on these fears I’ve just elaborated about. And my dream last night was so vivid an symbolic I’ve been really, deeply effected by it.

I dreamt that I was hiking somewhere beautiful near my home and I felt really happy, and all of a sudden I came across this beautiful baby in a beautiful basket. The baby was naked and warm and she wasn’t crying, just looking at me with these huge, amazing brown eyes and this calm face and I fell in love immediately. The child was remarkable. I had to care for this baby, it became my child in my mind. I was going to raise this baby. My thoughts never considered that I should take the baby home with me. We belonged out there, together. So i ran home to bring things back for the baby and for me, and when I returned a big ugly monkey with stringy brown hair and an evil face was devouring it violently right in front of me and the child was screaming and that’s when I woke up.

It makes me cry whenever I think about it, and I can’t seem to really erase it from my mind if i’m not being productive at work or doing something that consumes my thoughts. This post is sort of written in the midst of my grief about it, and I don’t have anything further to say except for I hope I see that happy baby alive and well in my dreams tonight.

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Adventures, Death, Friends, Goodbye, Sonoma

I LOVE MY DAD

Last night around 10:13 pm I arrived at a friends house to visit… we talked about 8th grade and watched the end of No Country For Old Men and at 11:37, upon leaving, we discovered that my car had been broken into.

It really isn’t a big deal at all, none of the windows were broken (and I’m actually %100 sure that I locked my car) The only things that were stolen were papers (easily replaced) and 6 of my friends CD’s. The neighbor’s car was also broken into (she was sure that she locked her car), and there were at least 5 other reports last night, said our friend who listens to the police radio on boring Sonoma nights.

To give you a feel for how small my town is, I knew both of the officers that came to the scene and we chatted about the Easter Bunny and joked that this would be front page news today. Then after the whole debacle, as we were turning onto 5th St. W. a car flew by going 46 in the 25 zone. We knew the 4runner, so we called them to harass them about their speed and inquire where they were going so quickly. Our narrow escape from death by the hands of a petty thief was delightfully recounted and they took an equal amount of interest in our plight.

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Death, Heath Ledger, SLO-Town & My Academic Adventure, Thoughts

This Article Stole The Words From My Mind; It’s BEAUTIFUL:

A Soulful Talent: Cherishing Heath Ledger

Intelligent, sensitive star made every part uniquely his own

By Kim Morgan Special to MSN Movies

There’s a moment in Heath Ledger‘s far too short, sometimes brilliant film career that makes me so teary eyed, so filled with wistful emotion, that no matter how many times I watch it, I’m still taken aback by its deceptively simple power. No, it’s not a scene from Ang Lee‘s “Brokeback Mountain” (his transcendent performance there makes me weep — for more obvious reasons); rather, it was his final scene in Catherine Hardwicke‘s “Lords of Dogtown,” that underrated skater picture featuring one of Ledger’s most poignant performances.

As Skip Engblom, the crusty, aging uncle/father figure to the kids of Team Zephyr, young Ledger played beyond his years with sublime, quirky effortlessness. As in most of his performances, Ledger imbued what could have been a one-note aging stoner dude with sympathy and soul, dignifying Skip with a disarming, surprisingly heart-wrenching end note: Sanding a surfboard in the back of what was once his kingdom, in what could have been an easy, here’s-where-he’s-at-now scene. Instead, Ledger fills us with a compelling mixture of sadness and a glimmer of hope that Skip will at least survive this life OK. After his boss orders him to finish a surfboard for some kid, the past lord dutifully, but bitterly, complies. Glumly sitting down, Skip slowly perks up to the lovely opening of Rod Stewart‘s “Maggie May.” Pounding to that infectious double drum beat preceding Stewart’s passionate “Wake up, Maggie, I think I got something to say to you,” Skip, in a flash of understated joy and release, turns up the radio and sings along. Ledger is so in the moment and so naturally bittersweet that in mere seconds, he makes one remember just how much those little things in life can affect you — those times or sensations that either make you crash hard or for one wonderful, ephemeral moment, lift you higher.

It seems silly to say he was underrated since he received an Academy Award nomination for his tortured cowboy Ennis Del Mar in “Brokeback,” but in many respects he was underrated. Given that much of his earlier work was looked upon as the standard, hot young thing pabulum many actors slog through before reaching critical credibility, Ledger was often underappreciated for always being interesting…

And Ledger could work those powerful sensations in all of his performances, whether he was gleefully laughing at himself in the giddily entertaining “A Knight’s Tale” or silently, desperately pining for his beloved in “Brokeback Mountain.” It seems silly to say he was underrated since he received an Academy Award nomination for his tortured cowboy Ennis Del Mar in “Brokeback,” but in many respects he was underrated. Given that much of his earlier work was looked upon as the standard, hot young thing pabulum many actors slog through before reaching critical credibility, Ledger was often underappreciated for always being interesting, “10 Things I Hate About You,” “The Patriot” and all.

Moving his career to his own fascinating frequency, the Australian Ledger eschewed the predictable romantic comedy/action hero leading man roles that could have followed his splashy, sexy 2000 Vanity Fair cover, anointing him as the latest stud du jour. It reads like a terrific career move, an initial sacrifice but ultimately a rewarding step toward serious movie stardom. But watching Ledger skillfully slip into the skin of a depressive, soft-hearted young man in “Monster’s Ball” or embody a brash, sexy rake in “Casanova,” I can’t imagine the actor having any kind of choice. He was just too sensitive, too interesting, too intelligent an actor to not make any part uniquely his own. And exciting. Watching his psychopathic, perfectly hideous Joker in the trailer for Christopher Nolan‘s upcoming Batman chapter “The Dark Knight” gives me chills, not only for the dual thrill of seeing two of cinema’s greatest, chameleonlike talents (Christian Bale and Ledger, who were also terrific in Todd Haynes‘ stunning Dylan meditation, “I’m Not There“) pitted against one another, but for Ledger’s maniacal, edgier take on the legendary supervillain. Ledger’s ability to create a Joker that’ll out-do Jack Nicholson appears to be unquestionable, and this was clearly yet another important transformative moment in the actor’s career.

But I’m discussing Ledger’s career in the past tense, something I’m having a tough time wrapping my mind around. He was one of my favorite working actors, an actor I’ve been advocating and arguing for as someone special and different since his earlier roles, and an actor I now find myself cherishing. Like many of you, I was absolutely stunned and depressed to learn of his death. I can barely grasp the realization as I write this right now. He was only 28 years old. He was in the middle of Terry Gilliam‘s newest picture, an admirable task since, in spite of how great he was in Gilliam’s otherwise messy “The Brothers Grimm,” you know someone must have advised him against it. But Gilliam, as troubled as some of his productions have been, is an artist. And so was Ledger.

Thinking of the last movie I saw Ledger in, as the beautiful, romantic but flawed and human “live fast, die young” James Dean-inspired Dylan persona in “I’m Not There,” I was filled with sadness, recalling the enchanting, idyllic scenes between Charlotte Gainsbourg and Ledger tuned to Dylan’s “I Want You.” What bliss. What joy to simply watch Ledger engaging in such bliss. And what a magnificent, soulful talent he was, with so much more to give movies and life. To paraphrase Dylan, we want you, we want you, we want you back, so bad.

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