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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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

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.

Word Vomit

I’ve spent the past week cat sitting at one of my friend’s place. The cats are adorable, and one lets me rub its belly.  And the other is mistrustful of me, doesn’t let me touch her, and tries, in general, to not be too close to me.

I feel like the second cat.

Last week I discovered that there were a few people in my life that I held relatively close were, in their own ways, using me, lying to me, or otherwise abusing me in some way. And it hurts. Dear gods did figuring this out hurt.  And it’s left me very unsure of the vast majority of people in my life on who is okay to trust and open with, and who is not. Some are people who are okay with me making massive amounts of effort to be there for them, but when it comes to me needing someone. Something always comes up. Something always prevents them from being there for me even part of the way they expected me to be there for them.

Except for the core group of friends I have. They have made me feel so loved, so cared about, and shown time and time again that I will never be able to not know they will be there. And if I am in a situation where I need help. They’ll do it. Without hesitation, without expectations. I’ve been friends with the majority of them for eleven years now. And this is still new to me. It’s still something I am so unsure and terrified of losing.

And I think it’s because of the people I’ve let in that are like the ones this bit of rambling began with. I don’t know the point of this post. Other than. Some people suck. Some people really suck and I need to learn to stop letting them in. And to stop caring about them. And focus on the fact that I have some of the best people in my life.

And… and that’s it I guess.

Hopefully the next time I sit to write publically, I will be in better spirits.

The Annual Bash

For the past seven years, there has been the Bash.

The Bash takes place over President’s Day weekend, Saturday through Monday. There is a theme set. Food is decided. A movie is picked. And the party commences.

The first Bash I remember was the Ulitmate Zelda Bash. We played and beat through as many of the Zelda games as we could, watched the old television show, and feasted on Deku Scrub Balls, Octorok Balls, and Kokiri Salad. It was an amazing time.

This year, the theme was Spooky Horror. The main game was Silent Hill 2. It was beaten Sunday. Other games played included Pony Island, Betrayal of the House on the Hill, Resident Evil 7,  Left 4 Dead 2, and You Don’t Know Jack murder something or another. The movies watched were Hellraiser and Hellraiser 2. The food was in no way themed, but for the first time since I started cooking for the bash, there was more than enough food to feed everyone for two days and still have some left over.

The best thing about the Bash is how many of my friends come together for this event. It’s something we know we can count on happening, and people will make plans and take days off to be there. It’s a chance to see friends that we normally won’t see for the rest of the year. And it has the added bonus of it being a sleep over. Which, as an adult feels way more fun than it ever did growing up. The memories that get created there last for the years to come. We still talk about events from bashes of years past. We’ll probably talk about events from this bash.

I strangely really enjoyed when we broke off the theme and started playing Smash Brothers and Artemis. I discovered that I really enjoying being a Captain. I think I am terrible at leadership roles, and yet I find myself in them and enjoying myself in them more often than not. It’s something for me to ponder more.

Now to move on to more planning for secret mission, and have hopes for the next year.

Cheers!

February Blues

When I started writing this entry, I was sitting at Tortilla Joe’s restaurant in the Downtown Disney District, taking myself on a much needed me date. This year is going by so fast. It’s kind of unbelievable. A lot has happened. To start, I have a temporary job. I am a data entry technician working from an office in Gardena, which is nowhere near where I live and entirely too close to Disneyland. Which is why I wound up stopping there to avoid some of the traffic nightmares on my way home.  I’m still going on interviews for other positions. I have one tomorrow, in fact. This year feels like a good year for getting interviews compared to previous years. In fact, I’ve already gone on more interviews in the past month and a half than I did the first half of last year. With any luck, one of these will stick to a job that will last longer than one month.

But I’m not going sit and spew that all has been nothing but hope and searching and trying to get employment. I’ve felt so lost this year. I am trying to find the path that my life is supposed to go on, but I can’t remember when or where I got off the path. I know it’s happened, the current state of my life is a huge indicator that Hey! Somewhere where you got off track. I’ve been taking these huge and tiny steps towards getting to a place where I think that I will be better. Where I won’t feel my anxiety creep up my spine and choke me.  Operation Secret project is a huge portion of that. It is, without any hesitation or doubt, the biggest thing that can be done to get myself aimed at a better place.

I took one of the hardest steps towards that operation. I told my dad about it. He wasn’t exactly what could be called supportive. He told my mother, who in turn responded in a manner that was beyond unsupportive. Which, is confusing. The thing I’m trying to make sure happens. It’s something that should happen. It’s something that should have happened a long time ago. I don’t understand why my parents seem to be trying to sabotage or bribe me to prevent this from happening. But it’s going to. Sometime soon (next month hopefully) I’ll be able to talk about it more. With better news.

Laller is getting progressively worse. Most days, she won’t really get out of her bed unless I carry her out and set her in the living room to socialize. I worry that the doctors and nurses were wrong when they said that she should have another five years in her. I don’t see how anymore. It’s terrifying and heartbreaking seeing how much she has regressed. I can’t take care of her anymore. I can’t handle the pressure or the responsibility and still manage to take care of myself. I’ve tried to do so, but it gets harder and harder to care for a woman who goes dead weight when I try to pick her up to feed her, or punches me repeatedly when I have to give her a shower, or bites when I need to move her to change the sheets that she’s soiled again. I found a home that could take her and do so much better for her than I am able to provide, but there is resistance from others to putting her in it. Which, I understand too. Laller was very vocal about not wanting to be in a living assistance home. But no one saw how badly the Alzheimer’s would affect her coming. We didn’t predict that within the span of a year, she’d go from someone who could take care of herself (feeding, bathing, cleaning, using the toilet) to someone who on some days just refuses to leave bed for any reason. It’s heartbreaking.

School starts next week. I have a few courses and a couple that is not in my normal major. But something that will hopefully help me get a job in the business field while I continue pursuing the education field goal. I know I what I want to do in life, I just also know that I can’t afford to sit and keep trying and only doing that one thing. I need to do more.

There things to look forward to. I have the Bash this weekend, my friends are wonderful, Opereation Secret Project is still going, despite opposition. And there will be more lovely rain soon. Gosh, that rain was needed.

There are things I have to keep holding on to hope for. There are reasons for me to be happy. I just need to keep reminding myself of that.