Going on to 2018, with a brief look back on 2017

When this uploads, it’ll be January 1st. I spent a good portion of time examining the different tools and aspects of WordPress. Something I should have done years ago but never actually bothered because I am actually the worst.

This past year has been a rollercoaster. I did so much. I gained so much. And I lost just as much.  I suppose, per tradition. The goals I set for myself last year:

  • Do either a secret Los Angeles walk or stairs walk twice a month.

Nope! Now, I did do a lot of walking. But that was my own rambling paths I was following.

  • Fill out the Happiness Journal as it’s meant to be.

Also no. I started off great, but it stopped being a thing around April…

  • Keep applying to jobs.

I did do this. I even have a job now. It’s.. it sure is something.

  • Make one new friend.

I have made several new friends. It’s nice.

  • Dance more.

:: dances around bedroom ::

  • Finish the writing projects I’m working on, or at least one of them as much as I can.

This is hard to quantify. I did finish a first draft, which I hate. I started a new project, which I’m enjoying. Though I find it stressful. So. Yes, and no? I guess. I don’t know.

  • Read 30 new books.

Ding ding ding.

  • Update here more often

Sorta? I do think this year was the most I’ve ever uploaded here. Still not where I’d like to be. But an improvement.

Other accomplishments for the year include:

  • I have had three jobs this year. My current one pays me more money than I have ever been paid before for work. I’m actually mostly okay, sans emergencies, financially.
  • I moved out of my parents home. I have a nice room in a lovely apartment in Los Angeles. I don’t deal with the same, constant level stress and anxiety I have for years now.
  • I actually received the hard, physical copies of my degrees. I have degrees. This is mind-boggling on so many levels.
  • I started playing in two new campaigns.
  • I stepped out of my comfort level in two different ways. I participated in a LARP – specifically, Dystopia Rising – and I signed up for and have been attending drop-in D&D games at comic book shops in the valley.
  • I have regularly seen my friends. I’ve regularly spent time with folks that keep me calm and keep me happy.
  • I got an annual pass to Disneyland.
  • I got over a crush on someone I’ve had for years. And fell in love with someone wonderful. To which…
  • I have a boyfriend. He’s neat. And lets me bite him a lot.
  • I joined a gym. I even go semi-regularly.
  • I hit a weight loss goal I have had for years.

 

I also lost my grandmother. I feel like I’ve lost my sister. I’ve lost friends. As petty as this sounds, I’ve lost my favorite shirt… the yellow one that made me feel comforted and invisible when I wore it.

This past year was hard for so many people. It was difficult, at times. But I did so much that I never actually believed I would be able to do that I can’t hate the year 2017 the way some of my friends are.

And to look forward… For 2018 I would like to accomplish the following:

  • Get my passport.
  • Pass my CBEST.
  • Celebrate my 30th birthday at Disneyland, staying at the Disney hotel.
  • Get treatment for my growing general anxiety, OCD, and bi-polar.
  • Make a deposit on a cruise line trip for 2019.
  • Start my own Dungeon and Dragons campaign.
  • Get more progress done on the Legends story, especially now that the game is finished.
  • Read 35 books.
  • Stop reaching out to the people who do not make anywhere near the same effort that I do to maintain the friendship.
  • By the end of the year, have a minimum of $1,000 in savings.
  • Write more. In just, general. Write more.
  • Continue my weight loss journey.

 

I am hoping that I can do this. Some of these goals feel impossible. Some feel totally doable.

So here’s to 2018. Let’s have this year be at least as productive as the last, if not more so.

Cheers, and Happy New Year.

M

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Halloween Horror Nights 2017

Addendum: I remember posting this. I remember finishing it and posting it. However – clearly my brain is a lying liar who lies because it’s December 29th, and here this post is unposted. I blame the foxen.

***

The time for the annual trip to Universal City Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights is now upon us. And I made that trek early this year, with the largest group of people I’ve ever attended one of these events with. The event seemingly gets better with each passing year. Though there were some notable differences between this year and the last. For one, getting the pass for handicapped people capable of walking but not necessarily constant stop and go was more of a hassle this year than really ever in my memory. Rather than going to Guest Services as is the norm, I was directed further into the park. Where there was an unexpected line of people waiting to get this pass.

We did every maze. By far my favorite was The Shining. Not for the scares, because really there wasn’t a lot of actual scaring going on. But the total layout, the design. It was really neat. It felt like we were walking through the hotel, and then the frozen tundra outside the hotel.

But by far, my favorite thing about this year was the people I was with. We were a group of ten braving monsters, ghouls, and psychopaths. I had my best friends, my roommate, and the person who would shortly after this date become my partner. This was a great trip, and I can’t wait for next year.

 

Image may contain: 14 people, people smiling

(Not pictured: One of my best friends, who is hiding like a sourpuss)

 

Memories and Loss

My grandmother, Carol Ann Duefrene, passed away on December 2, 2017, at 12:40 in the morning.

I am not okay. I’m pretty good at pretending to be okay, but I can’t with this. I am going through the motions that you are supposed to do for living life and moving on. I have continued to go on, but parts of me feel stuck when I got the phone call and just. Crumpled.

I’m not going to vent out everything I’m going through. It’s a lot, and I am still processing. Instead, I’m going to share her favorite memory of the two of us.

***

When I was roughly nine or ten months old, my parents wanted to go to Disneyland. Laller offered to come because she loved spending time with me and one of her favorite things to do was people watch at Disneyland.  Shortly after entering the park, my mom and dad took off for something, and Laller took me through the exit of Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. The exit of that attraction is a rather clean, nice, large, air-conditioned room and had plenty of time for a freshly crawling baby to wear themselves out. She put me on the floor to let me explore my heart’s content while she rested on a bench.

It’s always been unclear who came in first. After about 15 minutes, either Minnie Mouse or Daisy Duck had popped their head in briefly, before going into the room. They were followed by Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Pluto and either Chip or Dale. And all of these large headed, anthropomorphic characters surrounded the ten-month me very slowly, and very carefully, and started to play with me. We played peekaboo, I’d crawl from one to another and boop their noses. This went on for about twenty minutes before one of them realized they had to be somewhere. So they left. And I tried to follow. This was also the moment that Laller fully appreciated I was going to be a pain in the ass as I grew up.

***

She told me this story more often than she did any other one. There was also when she walked me into a pool to wake me up (she claimed I knew what I was doing – I claim nothing makes sense and I was going through the motions of getting ready). When we went to Hearst Castle and San Diego. Seeing shows around Los Angeles.

Laller helped raise me. She helped shape the person I am. She wasn’t alone. I can’t forget Val, my adoptive Russian grandmother whom I lost in 2011. But nothing could have prepared me for this loss. Knowing she was sick. Knowing she was dying. Knowing that Laller hasn’t been Laller for well over a year now.

I wasn’t ready for that call. I wasn’t ready for this.

My last moments with her was an hour before she was gone. I was injured, due to the clumsiest injury one can manage at work, and standing was painful. She was in her full burrito mode. I hobbled to her to give her a hug, and a kiss. I told her I love her.

I am going to miss her every day.

A Do/Do Not list of going to Confession

My grandmother, Laller, passed away on December 2. It’s been hard. There’s a bigger entry in the works of me processing, and my favorite story with her in her prime. But this is a thing I am dealing with. Poorly.

One of her requests was a full Mass service. I grew up Catholic. I’ve since converted to something else for a myriad of reasons. But I remember how to be Catholic. Vaguely. What I do remember is that to fully participate in Mass, I.E. ingest the holy sacraments, you need to have done a few things:

  • Gone through First Communion.
  • Gone to Mass every week. Preferably on Sundays.

Now. I did go through First Communion. I had my first Communion, Sunday school, and went through Confirmation. But I stopped going to Church about 11 years ago. You can atone for this sin by going to Confession. Something else I had not done in about 11 years.

Here’s a handy guide so you don’t wind up with 10 Rosaries assigned to you for penance.

  • Do not start a confessional/penance session with a joke.
  • Do not joke about stabbing hobos.
  • Do not criticize the Church.
  • Do not call the Pope an awesome chill guy.
  • Do cry when you get overwhelmed about why you are giving your confession.
  • Do apologize for being a dick because you cope with grief by inappropriate humor and being an asshole.
  • Do not tell a priest you are an asshole.
  • Do not try to explain the plot of the Black Jewels series to a priest.
  • Just don’t bring up the Black Jewels series at all.
  • Do not bite yourself. THE PRIEST CAN SEE YOU AND TELL YOU TO STOP.
  • Do not question whether or not the fact that the priest can see you takes away from the whole anonymity that you thought was there for confessions.
  • Do not bring up the priest that was recently arrested for murdering a woman who confessed something he couldn’t forgive.
  • Do not NICELY ask the priest not to murder you.
  • Do not ask why there are no female priests. You will not get an answer. The priest will just sigh and ask if you’re done confessing.
  • Do actually confess your sins.
  • Do not say you are confessing your sins in the eyes of the Church.
I realize this entire list falls into the inappropriate humor coping mechanism I have going for me. But it’s helping. And right now I need every ounce of help to get through this.
Until next time.
M

It; a review of sorts

I saw the movie It yesterday afternoon. And it left me with. Feelings that I was beyond not expecting.  For one, the thing I expected to be the worst thing ever was in fact. Not. So I’m left both regretting, and not regretting, seeing the movie.

Let’s start with this.

I am terrified of clowns. Whenever I see one I feel everything accelerate and it’s like I’m experiencing a panic attack but it’s not quite there yet. Because of this – I haven’t read the book. I haven’t seen the anthology. And I wasn’t really sure I would be watching this movie. And then peer pressure started to happen. And rather than doing what I’ve done with Stranger Things, and perhaps because I know it’s something that I want to find a way to work past. I decided that I was going to see the movie. Alone. Or as alone as one is in a movie theater.

Pennywise was by far not the worst thing about the movie. The concept of him was interesting, and though his usual form was upsetting to me (because yes, I did nearly panic my way out of the theater at his first appearance) it became so much less so as the film progressed. Pennywise is, as a friend put it, a sapient, shape-shifting inter-dimensional arthropod predator, Who happens to have a 27-year hibernation period. And Bill Skarsgard did a really good job playing on the children he tormented and ate. His smile was delightfully terrifying, and the shift in eye color was an excellent touch as a warning for things are about to go very, very badly for the Loser Club.

For what was actually more significantly upsetting. Henry Bowers. His father. Beverly’s father. The fact that the only thing I’ve heard about this movie was how it didn’t have a child orgy scene. The fact the Beverly, a character who had so much potential was pushed aside to be a literal damsel in distress.

I have to hand it to every teen and child actor on this movie because they did a fantastic job. None of them came across as high-pitched, irritating twits which sometimes happens with a child actor. Each was believable, particularly Sophia Lillis and Jaden Lieberher. Bill came across fully as someone dealing with post/current traumatic stress at the loss of Georgie. And with the implied nature of the relationship between Beverly’s father and Beverly, properly conveying the emotional stress at 15 years old is impressive.  I wish that Beverly had more to what she did in the battle against Pennywise. I think as a character, and as an actress, Lillis was beyond capable of handling a more proactive role.

Overall, I found the movie okay. It wasn’t fantastic or groundbreaking. I was properly uncomfortable with scenes. It could have been better. It’s made me curious enough to watch the anthology and read the book. Though I will give the movie credit for something I really hope was intentional.

Pennywise needs a 27-year hibernation period. The anthology came out 27-years ago, in 1990. I also hope that in another 27 years, in 2044 there is yet another remake.

Not Enough

I’m not Mexican enough.

I don’t speak Spanish.

I don’t eat spicy foods because I can’t tolerate spice that well.

My skin is too pale.

I have very little accent to my voice.

I don’t dance. I don’t sing. I have no rhythm.

I have too much love for Pumpkin Spice. And Trader Joe’s Baas

I’m not Mexican enough.

 

I’m not White enough.

I have a Hispanic accent, slight that it may be.

My skin is too tan.

I don’t really burn in the sun.

My eyes are not blue or green or brown.

I do eat food with a kick to it often.

I love food with flavor.

I’m curvaceous. Exceptionally so.

I’m not White enough.

 

These are things that people have told me. These are things family has told me.  I had a guest at my work screaming at how if I was Hispanic, I would understand family tradition. I had another get in my face and yell that if I was White, they’d treat me with more respect.

I am both. I am proud to be both. It took me so long to get to a point where I was okay being both. Because I use to hate the fact that I am Mixed race. I used to hate that I was never fully able to belong in either.

I don’t need to belong to one or another. I’m okay being White. I’m okay being Hispanic. I am enough.

I’ve been in my new home for a little over a week. I’m mostly moved in – just the odd bits and ends left to gather and bring over from the old place.

I’m simultaneously happier and stressed out like I haven’t been.

I needed this move. For so many reasons, I needed this move. The immediate effects of the move are so obvious it is rather painful.

I don’t wake up panicking anymore.

I don’t feel like there is a weight pressing down on my chest every day.

I don’t feel like the notion of going home twisting my insides like jagged knives burrowing into me.

I don’t feel like I am worthless first and last thing while I’m awake.

Not to say it’s perfect. I am worried about things like making sure I eat every day, and that I’ll have what’s needed at the end of the month.  There’s still stress. There’s even still stress from the old place. My grandmother still needs to be taken care of. I still have a responsibility there.

And I have a job now. Which makes my time to do so more limited.

Things are better, but they are also not. But, I suppose that is how life goes.