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It's Been Ten Years

It's been ten years since I lost the love of my life. For several years, I tried to gather friends at our nightly haunt (Jay's diner) to celebrate his birthday and mine (we were a day apart). People were almost never interested. No one was interested when they said it was for his birthday. When I got people to come out for my birthday, I was always talked over when I tried to toast Paul. Hell, I created a facebook group for those of us who regularly spent time together at Jay's, just so we could orchestrate an official get-together. Like old times. I guess I had to wait til it was ten years since Paul's death. I had to wait til his sister decided to make it happen. Paul was my soulmate, and I could never get our friends together for him.

But the affair was really nice. And I got to see a whole bunch of photos of Paul. None with me in them, though. I took several pictures of him, but the only photo that existed of the two of us was lost to the annals of myspace, never to be recovered or found on hard-drives. It breaks my heart to feel the way I feel about us, and to not have any photos of us together. And flipping through these picture albums, seeing a bunch of photos I'd never seen before... I really hoped that one picture would have shown up on the next page-flip.

Oh, You Boys

Ron invited me, Charles, and Jeff out to see a play with him in special reserved seating at the Lyric Opera House on Saturday. It took a lot of convincing and a free ticket (courtesy of me) to get Jeff to agree. Jeff is the reason Ron and I are friends, but with him living in the middle of family health and well-being issues, he is too ridden with guilt to ever go out to enjoy himself with friends. So it was an extra special treat to finally have him say yes to an invitation.

Jeff and Ron show up in a lot of student/indie films together. Five years ago, Jeff asked me to be an extra in a film called Literally Figurative, and Ron approached me the moment I came on set, flashed me that sweet pie-man smile, and instantly, my life got a lot brighter.

They play off each other really well, so it's always fun to stand outside their bubble and watch them interact. You might not get a word in between them, but it's really nice to see them together outside their acting careers.

I tried to take as many photos as I could, but they just wouldn't stay still, and the lighting wasn't always stellar, and Charles got in the way half the time. But I got a few good shots.

I really wish other people took pictures. There aren't enough photos of me and friends (a fact that devastates at specific times (see next post). But I was dressed to the nines, spent an hour on my victory curls, and felt fabulous. And there's no proof. No proof I was even with them. That's the peril of being the picture-taker - you're always on the wrong side of the camera.

Troubled Student

(pretty much directly taken from an email I just spent a half-hour writing)

I just dealt with a very troubled student. I believe he is schizophrenic. He definitely behaves like my schizophrenic friend, but this guy is not my friend, and I’m having a hard time dealing with him. I’ve dealt with him on numerous occasions, but I really feel like I can’t handle him anymore after today.

He comes in and says things that almost make sense (sense enough that I can figure out that he forgot his password, but not sense enough to make out what else he says – this is hard to explain, but for instance, he said a lot of things, like he was having a hard time explaining himself, but somewhere in there he says “that’s my birthday,” when he didn’t mention a birth date, but also says he knows I’d need it). He plays games, like not giving me his name, but laughs it off as a joke. This takes up the first five minutes.

The next five are waiting for him to rustle through his bag for who-knows-what because the only items he actually uses are already right in his hand when he gets here (a notebook), while I try to calmly explain that I need him to fill out this form. He goes off saying I need to be more patient. I am patient, but I also have the phone ringing off the hook and can’t wait here forever (I don’t tell him that, but continue to urge him to take care of the form). He can tell I’m on edge at this point, and he finally gets to the form.

Today, he took a call, and I said I can’t help him when he’s on the phone. Thankfully, he told the person he’d call them back quickly, but not before telling me to wait even more.

He got very flustered about having to answer his security question, which I recall helping him set up (favorite color), because he “doesn’t have a favorite color.” I told him to give it a shot, and I typed in the first color he mentioned (among 5 or so). He also immediately gave up on trying to come up with a password, so I gave him a default, and then wrote down his user/email and pass so he could copy it into his notebook.

He took the next 10 minutes to copy it in his notebook and reprimand me about my attitude – I wasn’t giving him an attitude. I just wasn’t acting like his best buddy and was making him fill out a form. He tried to make it about race, gender, status, and about some other things I didn’t even understand. I didn’t think I should tell him it’s because I’m not his personal assistant and he can’t take his dear sweet time meandering around and throwing weird jokes because he’s not the only student I need to help today. I told him it wasn’t any of the things he said, I don’t know what he means, I’m feeling attacked and I’m sorry if he’s feeling attacked too. I apologized, he apologized, and that was it. He took five more minutes to keep writing and finally packed up and left.

I had to step away for a little while after that. I’d already dealt with one hostile student just moments before this [a student angry with me that I tried making her do her own work, with my assistance, instead of me doing everything for her]. What is it, a full moon?

I talked to Dennis and he suggested I write this email – he suggested future action with this guy involve calling security to keep an eye on the situation when he’s here. He suggested seeing if someone (an advisor or something) can come here with him next time he needs help. All good ideas, I think. My best friend may be schizophrenic, but that doesn’t mean I’m good with wrangling this type, especially when the person in question is not my friend.

Fridays are supposed to be dead. What gives…

Cheater Cheater Anxiety Eater

John holds a Super Bowl party every year at his house. I attended my first one two years ago, when it was held at Ron's house, because John was too sick to throw a party. Last year, I stayed home, feeling unwelcome and unloved and just throwing a fit to the point where I declared it a video-game weekend in my fortress of solitude (I made a blanket fort in front of the tv).

I expected to gorge myself, so I started early with chocolate and candy I got at Xmas. The sugar diagnosis turned out: don't care for chocolates anymore, except Lindt. And I still love Starbursts and Skittles.

At the party, I ate pizza. So much delicious pizza. And butter crackers! I miss those! I had an assortment of other foods I'd not normally eat. It made me so happy. Until it got crowded.

I tried very hard to stay in low-traffic areas, because I felt myself getting stressed about being crowded. There were children at the party. Only three, but one was a hyper-active kid. I mean, this kid's blood must have been made of pure cocaine! Now, I'm a social introvert, so I love people, but sometimes it drains me. Just watching this kid jump off anything he could climb upon drained me of any energy I had. I started to stress out over being around people.

At one point, getting a soda from the fridge, I got bombarded by two people - two friends, one to whom I feel close enough that if he did accidentally pin me between himself and the open fridge, I wouldn't mind. But today? I started to panic. I ducked and dodged and shouted, "please don't crowd me!" as I slid my way to the safety of an open corner.

I found myself seeking lone spots around the house, while still trying to remain slightly social. There was a teenage couple at the party who wanted a moment of privacy, too, so anywhere I went, they seemed to deliberately follow, which put further pressure on me. I started shaking with anxiety. I never thought I'd have an anxiety attack among friends.

After the amazing half-time show, Charles got my coat and purse and we took our leave. I felt really bad, but at least I wasn't stressing anymore. And I got to eat all that delicious food!

Long Time, No See, part 2

Brian calls often, but I can never pick up because he either calls during work or when I'm busy. I try to pick up at least once a week when I can (seriously, he calls a lot, and once a week is my best - it's nuts), because I've finally gotten to the point where I'm past the hurtful things he said to me in a schizophrenic rage, and past the avoidance phase, and I actually miss him. And this coincided nicely with him being hospitalized and going back on the medication, which brought him from raving lunatic, to chattering non-stop about things that don't make sense (even by Brian standards), to chattering non-stop about things making a little more Brian-like sense, to finally pausing occasionally to allow for conversation.

I went to visit him at Rochester Psychiatric Center (RPC) on Friday. I haven't been there in about 8 years, since visiting my friend Keegan. When I visited Keegan, I was ushered into a large room, like a prison visitation room, with lots of tables and folks visiting at each one. Visiting Brian was different.

I had to take a small labyrinth to get to where I could visit him. Brian came toward me with excitement and handed me his headphones and CD player, and told me to hold this while he ran to get his stuff, as an orderly unlocked the music room for us to visit in.

He was excited that I brought him coffee. It made me happy to see him enjoy something, instead of spitting and dumping it. He emptied a pillowcase full of papers and notebooks and books onto the table, being careful of the coffee, and showed me a bunch of things he was working on. Reading a couple of Plath books, writing a new novel (he's a good writer, and his books are popular among his friends), and he even drew me a valentine, in case I didn't get to see him again this month. It was so sweet.

I let him do most of the talking, and he talked about angelic items in his throat - a cupid's bow on one side, and seraphim on the other. He even touched me to show me on my own neck, which is a really big deal - he doesn't touch. He'll tap you on the arm or leg or something to get your attention or something, but other than that, he doesn't touch and doesn't like being touched, so yeah. Really big deal. I admit, with his fingers and thumb at either side of my trachea, I did think for a nanosecond that he might choke me.

But he didn't. And the conversation was really nice. Like we were back at sitting outside Java's and not in some sterile room being monitored.

It was so nice, I might just go back this week.

Riverdale

It's no Oscar-worthy show, it's not like the comic books, but I still really liked Riverdale. The show isn't mind-blowingly memorable, but that first episode will definitely have me coming back.

Jughead, who is writing a book based on the murderous summer bang that opens the show, is the narrator (whose presence is otherwise pretty lacking in the first episode). Cole Sprouse (possibly best known as one of the twins from Disney's Suite Life of Zack and Cody, all grown up into a proper 'teenage' heart-throb) is worth a follow on Twitter. He's delightfully nihilistic. Equally important: he fought for Jughead to be asexual (there are insinuations of it being a losing battle, but it's the fight that's fierce).

I had a hard time accepting internet theories of other possible sexual orientations for Jughead - gay or ace/gay. I have no problem with that being the case in the show, but I prefer him aro/ace - I myself am axexual and panromantic. But Jughead being asexual and aromantic is the closest representation I have for me. I ranted on the subject of not accepting the other theories, and I got assholishly defensive to the point where two people called me out on my gatekeeping bullshit, and I snapped out of it, apologized, and deleted the whole thing. But now I understand gatekeepers a little more, I guess.

Anyway, moving on.

The characters are just how I imagined they'd look outside the comics. The attitudes are a little off, some enhanced, some diminished, but the spirit is there. I mean, look. I love Afterlife with Archie (the Archie zombie apocalypse storyline), and I love the beautiful reboots. I love pretty much any universe as long as it's got the spirit of the classics. The show may be extremely CW with hyperdriven drama, but what shows aren't? I read so many complaints about it not being Archie enough. They all saw the previews and publicity on it, right? What were they expecting? Dude, go watch the cartoon if you want classic adventures. It's still syndicated on Qubo.

My theory, upon first hearing about the plot (and discovering who the murdered kid is), is that Cheryl killed him, and possible false-lead suspects will be: Reggie, Jughead, and maybe even Archie.
After seeing the first episode, I'm now 99% sure Cheryl killed him in an incestuous fit (1% thinking it was Betty's mom). But I'm adding Kevin, Betty, and Polly to the false-lead suspect list.

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Date Night

Somehow, I managed to convince Ron to join me at Boulder for Open Mic Night. Our weekly Open Mic is Tuesdays at the Lovin' Cup with a group of us. Occasionally, I like to catch up with just me and him, so I try to get him to come out to a cafe I can walk to.

He got there before I even left my house - we decided to meet up at 8, so I decided to leave at 7:30 (I was lollygagging up til he texted me at 7:24 anyway, but it only takes 15 or so minutes for me to get there. Voltaire put up a contest to win a date with him, so I had to enter it). I arrived and my glasses immediately fogged up, so I removed them and texted him requesting his location. "Turn around," he replied. He was right by the door. We always sit on the entrance-side of the cafe, rather than the stage side, because the stage side is always way too crowded, and too loud, and we like to hear each other talk when it's just us.

We got to talk about our goals for the next year (well, mostly it was him - good thing he loves to talk and I love to listen to him talk). We talked about music lessons (he wants to take trombone lessons, but is apprehensive). We also talked about our friend John (his best friend). We're a little concerned about his health. He's morbidly obese and that's caused a lot of serious physical and mental health issues, and every time we get together, we rack our brains trying to figure out a good first step. And we talked about feminism - healthy adult debates between people we know about certain issues, and how Ron stood up beautifully for a woman's bodily autonomy. That made me smile. That made me love him. That made me trust him enough to say out loud that I'm asexual, because it was on topic while discussing pregnancy. I made a mitosis joke. He looked me dead in the eyes. Through me. And I couldn't tell if he thought I was taking the piss or being serious, or feeling upset like so many others had when I said it out loud to them. But I think he respects that.

We also talked about a rather intense mutual friend he was avoiding for the week - who ended up being there the whole time we were! Only, we didn't realize until after we left, after Ron dropped me off, Charles landed there and texted me to see if I was still there. He'd just missed me. He said he saw Matt, and hung out to watch him perform (he's a freestyle drummer). Ron and I sat by the door. Matt must have been in the crowded room with the stage.

I tried my best to get Jeff to come out. Jeff is how I met Ron in the first place - the three of us were in a movie together. They act in films together all the time, or at least once or twice a year, but almost never get to hang out as friends. We also talked about the real reason why that happens (the wicked witch of a mother who makes Trump look like the fuckin' Pope!) and lamented on how his mother's short umbilical leash hurts their friendship. I'll still try. I know the burden of being mentally unable to allow yourself a nice night out is lightened a bit when a friend asks to hang out, even if you still can't.

I'm trying to get Ron to say yes to a museum event date, and if he does, I'm going to buy Jeff a ticket, too, and will make absolutely sure he comes out.

Weekend

FRIDAY
The best thing about the inauguration was seeing all that empty space. The worst thing was seeing how shitty he treated not only the country, but his own wife. But that emptiness in the yard made me laugh.


SATURDAY
was busy!

I attended a rally against Lord Cheeto in the morning. Tried finding some friends who convinced me to get out of bed and go, but no luck. I did run into my friend Nick who introduced me to his friend as his first ever fan.

After the rally, I went to the museum to meet up with my mom and sister for the MC Escher exhibit. Amazing. So many pieces I'd never seen before, including some of his litho-stones and woodcarving/engravings. I did have a couple of mild anxiety attacks in the rest of the museum, owing to my last experience with my mom and sister at this museum being so extremely terrible and alienating.
Afterwards, we went to the Gatehouse Grill, on my suggestion. I told them they had the best burgers in Rochester. Nobody was disappointed. Nobody denied my statement. My sister's boyfriend was awestruck at the flavour.
Before finding our way to their new location, I ran into my friend Tempest, who owns Sweet Poison Cupcake Designs a few doors down. I visited her for a long time before my family started calling me to get over to the restaurant. Visited her after, too. Much fun :)

I invited my sister over after dinner, because I had some things to give her, but I was cutting it close to the time I had to meet Ron for a snack at a nearby cafe, so I told Charles what things to give to her and he dropped me off at the cafe. He gave them a tour of the house (my sister had been there plenty of times, but this was her boyfriend's first time over).

Ron showed up about 15 minutes after I got there, and we got some food and drinks and went into the other room where there was a table big enough for four (John and Matt joined us, too). We talked about exercise routines, names, exes, and the most fucked up porn we've ever seen. I feel like I won that one ;)

We parted about an hour after meeting up, since they had a show to attend down the street (I was too broke to join). I walked home and hopped on the tablet to join some fellow Whitechapelers in chat, before Charles came home from wherever he went and we went out again.

I enjoyed seeing so many great friends all in one day :)


SUNDAY
I spent the whole day drawing (see previous post, and/or FB).

Memento Mori

Two years ago, I made a small list of some dead celebrities I wanted to draw, starting with Philip Seymour Hoffman (he grew up in the same neighbourhood I did), and 2016 gave me a huge addition to that list. But I finally started it. I was apprehensive for a long time, because I just could not draw men. I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong.

I still don't know what I was doing wrong when trying to draw dudes, but whatever it was, it seems to no longer be a huge issue :)

So here are my first two pieces for my Memento Mori set. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Gene Wilder.



Lists!

My daily list board works! I've had to move unfinished items to the next day, but as of last night, I did everything on my daily lists I've kept from the beginning of the year!

High points:

Cleaned my sewing room!!
Made DAYS worth of dinners in one night!!
HOOVER'd!!!
Photo'd and listed new Jewelry!!
Bought my comic stash and a new planner!!
Finished touching up paintings!
Lessen'd our dishes overload.
Organized the shit out of the cupboards!
Installed the Sun Lamp.

Next things on my list:
Ship painting and other items.
Organize Pantry.
Clean out fridge/freezer.
Finally design a salad bar for the fridge.

Oh, and I also went to the gym on Wednesday! But alas, I am experiencing strange stomach cramps today, so I can't go back today....

Yay productivity!