Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Return

News of my death…

… Has been highly overrated.

This is probably the most I’ve written in one week in a bit but this one isn’t a self reflecting blog.
Lick King came out last Thursday and DROVES of people went to buy it, I wasn’t one of them.

Not like with Burning Crusade where I was standing in line at midnight waiting for my copy. In this instance I really didn’t even know if I would ever play Warcraft again. Don’t get me wrong, I love the experience and as you can obviously see I’ve thrown plenty of time into the game, I just didn’t know if I’d have the resources and time to continue to play.

Divine Forsaken has been my home for the better part of almost two years now and I’ve made some very outstanding friends. One of them is Forester, or Don in RL.

When Don and I met, we were in Aerie Peak, the default server at the time. We were in the same guild together and for the life of me I can’t remember what it was called at the time. I met some awesome people and at one point some of the people I met, who were just trying out a new server and were going back ‘home’ invited me to come with them. I refused. At the time I thought that I would always be at Aerie Peak.

So Don and I were on the same guild and you have to understand that if I have something on a character and someone else needs it, I don’t think about gold, I think about how I can help someone. Don was new to the game (And honestly so was I, I think I had been playing two months at the time.), had an extra of some weapon and went onto guild chat to try and sell it to some other guild member.

At the time, and still, I held that ‘help others’ first motto and I blasted into him basically about how there’s honor in guild and you don’t sell to a guild member to make a profit, you help them. From that moment we were inseparable. We quested together a lot, we did some dungeons and started new characters together. Then one day I was just sick of Aerie Peak and the wait times and I moved to Nordassil. I’ve been on that server since. Yes I trekked the other servers and hung about but home has been Nord and Divine Forsaken.

I raised four of my 70s there. One was a transfer from Aerie (McGregor) but the rest, home ground from that soil. I’ve watch the server mature if not get more populated. I’ve watched friends come and go and when I left M and the house that she and I ambled about in, I thought that I was done with the game.

Then I get a text on Monday from Don. He’d already gotten the expansion and wanted to know when I was going to start playing and I told him that I may just not play with the expansion at all.

Then I heard nothing for a day.

Then he asked if it was available for download, the expansion, yet. I said it was.

He sent me that Serial number and a 60 day pass card number through a text. He didn’t ask for payment. He didn’t ask if I could give him something in return. He just sent that and then the following text, "See you in game bro! LOL"

People who don’t understand gaming like to make fun of World of Warcraft players and how they don’t have any friends in the real world so they create an account. The question is, how much more authentic a friend are you going to find here in ‘real life’.

I think many of you would understand my thought process, here is a person who I’ve never met in person or ever had a meal with and they went out of their way to get me a game and time to play it with. Might not seem like a big deal to the naked eye but think about it.

I just wanted to share that with you because I think that’s the kindest token I’ve received in a supremely long time and I’m feeling very blessed with the true friends that I have, even the ones I didn’t realize I had.

So be prepared to have a smattering of WoW again and the adventures I’m bound to have.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Where are you?

Honestly I can say that in this life I don’t know what I’m doing.

I’ve been:
A student
A teacher
A lover
A fighter
A writer
A preacher
A wanderer
A healer

And still I don’t know what my life is going to look like. It’s not about labels however, it’s not that I want the world to look at me and say, “There’s So and So and he’s a (fill in the blank)” it’s about wanting to know who I am within myself.

Each aspect of who I am within my life has been a heartstring, something I’ve felt adamantly about. In one way or another I’ve felt righteous when I’ve taken the stands that I’ve taken. I’ve never looked back at them and thought, “What a waste.” Instead, I’ve felt proud of standing my ground when that choice has been made.

Even today with the wreckage that I’m slowly leaving behind in my life I feel like I’ve made the right choice, the choice that will help me reach whatever ultimate goal it is I’m supposed to fulfill in life.

I’ve had several people over the years tell me that I’m here to do something wonderful. Something that’s going to change something in the world, that everyone will know about in some way.

I don’t live for that.

I say, we’re all here for something wonderful to be done. It’s the definition of the word that changes, the outcome that’s different.

To some the fact that they’ve gotten that type of thing said about them would make them proud, arrogant and eager to see what tomorrow brings, to face the world with a smug look in their eyes that says, “I got this.”

I can’t say the same. Oh don’t get me wrong, I look to tomorrow with an eagerness that’s only surpassed by the imagination of a nine year old who doesn’t really know that the world’s going to chew them up and spit them out. But proud and arrogant? Not a bit. Instead I tread lightly and realize that the choices that I make not only affect my now but those around me as well and the future that might happen if things go well.

One of my favorite arguments is free will vs. pre-destination.

Hear me out. If God knows you’re every move and where you’re supposed to end up, how is it that you have free will?

Answer: Just because God knows each and every spoke on the wheel of your life it doesn’t mean He knows which direction you’re going to pick until you pick it.

Think about it. You know that at some point your child is going to run into drugs or alcohol. You KNOW this, it’s a fact of life. The question is what your child is going to do with it once that choice is in front of them. Sure there’s something that you want them to do, a choice you would prefer for them to make but in the long run it’s a decision that’s out of your hands and you can only hope that you’ve instilled enough in them for them to make the right choice.

Mother/Father is the name for God in the lips and hearts of all children.

God is no different. He is the perfect parent but even He has to leave some of the decisions of life to us.

So in this thought I sit. What does my Father want me to do? I know He’s not angry at me for my choices, He honors them, even if He doesn’t agree. But is there a way that He would have me go. Is there a road that I should be taking? Will I ever stand before the mirror and know without a shadow of a doubt that my choices are the ones that I’m supposed to take, I don’t know.

What I do know is that those burning questions are what drive me in my everyday life and they are what I think about when I’m making a choice, good or bad, right or wrong.

How about you? Does any of this burn within you? Do you dwell on these questions in hopes of finding something better in your life? I’d love to know if you do, I’d love to know that I’m not the only one.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Road Map

Life is funny isn’t it? In a sense we’re born into this world without a road map of our lives and are expected to make the right choices without knowing what that choice is going to do to the people around you or to you long term.

As children we’re told about the golden rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Basically if you want people to be nice, be nice to them. It’s something that over the years we forget because we all want respect. We feel that we DESERVE respect and as such, won’t give any out until some is given your way.

I’m thirty years old as I write this. At this age I’m still asking the question of, what now?

I’m sure none of you are surprised by this if you’ve read any of my blogs. I’m constantly trying to figure things out. Constantly trying to use this space to make myself a better person and by the same token, show you how a person can grow and what are the obstacles that he’s facing that force him to do so.

One of the things that I’ve come to realize in the current past is that with as much bitching as I do about change, I handle it better than most people.

I have to wonder sometimes if there isn’t something broken inside of me. Something that’s sick or twisted that doesn’t feel that I deserve happiness or that I put myself in situations where in the long run I won’t be happy.

Am I perhaps torturing myself because I feel like I don’t deserve anything but malice and anger in my world. I honestly don’t know. I know that I keep getting all of these chances thrown at me and each time I balk, bitch, or decide it’s not for me.

Sarah had me watch Brokeback Mountain just last week. I hated it. Not for all of the ways that you THINK I would hate it but because it made me look in the mirror (Shut up and just keep reading, it doesn’t mean I’m in the closet.) The two characters are Ennis and Jack. They work together one summer high up in Brokeback Mountain watching over sheep and become really close. So close that the line between life long friends and life long loves gets blurred and they cross it.

The thing about it is that they’ll two sides of the same coin. Ennis is unwilling to look past his fear of what would happen to allow the love to take on fully what it should be. Jack on the other hand is willing to drop everything for Ennis thinking that a future with him would be the only thing in his life to make him happy.

They go on like this for 20 years.

Something happens and Jack’s life is snuffed out, leaving Ennis to pick up the pieces. He realizes that Jack has always thought highly of him, enough to talk to his parents about Ennis and the dream that he has for the two of them.

At the end of the movie Ennis is left with nothing but regret, longing and loneliness.

I realized at that moment, watching the screen with Heath Ledger tearing up thinking about his best friend and possibly only true love Jack and how he missed out on a wonderful life long adventure because of his own fear. Because of his own inhibitions and because of his own stigma. He lost everything, without ever reaching out to it, even though it was right in front of him.
Am I living my life like this? Are my own stigmas about myself and life holding me back? Am I constantly looking back instead of forward, worried that I’ve left behind something wonderful and will never find something to equate to it?

I was angry when I finished the movie, I was angry that the mirror was staring at me and that I had to see the cracks in the image. (no pun intended)

I look back at M and I know that I made the right choice but honestly can’t help but be angry and hurt over the fact that I know, I know, if she had followed through and grown with me, there would be something magical between us still.

Now? Now I live in fear that even capturing a glimpse of that will be impossible. That I’ll not live up to anyone’s expectations or someone won’t live up to mine. I’m afraid that I’m just some cipher that was hiding carefully behind someone with more issues than myself.

Do I fear life? No. I fear failing at life and I won’t know whether I did or not until it’s too late.

I asked Jen if she sometimes wished she had a crystal ball, she said yes.

Personally? I wish I had a road map to tell me which way to go.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

All Hallow's Eve

All Hallow’s Eve has come and gone, the goblins, ghosts, princesses and pirates have all been put to slumber for one more year. In that time everyone will be a year older and in that we can all rest assured.

This was the first Halloween where I wasn’t home for five to six years. Instead I was taken to a concert for a band named “Smoochknob”. Seems they’re a local band that recently got signed by the same label who produces the Killers. They have a good sized following and they have great stage presence.

The concert itself was at a club in Downtown Portland named Dante’s, as in Dante’s Inferno. If you try to picture the type of people you would find there, you’d be wrong. From industrial, to older, to my age, to younger, all walks of life were there for this concert.

The atmosphere in Dante’s is a mix between upscale posh and downtown punk. The walls are covered in a red crushed velvet, there’s three bars with about six bartenders and one roaming waitress. I’m told that usually there’s tables and chairs but for this party, it was standing room only. There were a few bar stools that were never unoccupied the entire night, I was there for over four hours.

The sound board is by the front door, next to that there’s an open fire, it is Dante’s after all, and beside that there’s a door for the kitchen. You pick up your food, no one to serve you. To the left of that is the first bar. It’s right in front of the freezer and dishwasher, there’s always one person coming out with steaming hot crates of clean glasses. To the left of that there’s the stage which is probably a third of the club itself.

Then there’s the smoking section. At the beginning of the year Oregon is going to a smoke free environment which means that soon smokers won’t be able to even have a smoking section at a restaurant. So they have a bar that wraps around two pillars, essentially making it two bars, one for the smokers and one for the non smokers. In the smoking section there’s some slot machines, and of course the bands set up their wares there to be sold.

The concert was three local bands.

The first: Cellar Door. It appears that it’s a local band that’s been together for three years or more. The concert was a Halloween theme party, so everyone was in costume. The lead singer of Cellar Door came in and wore something that everyone else was going to wear but took it a step further. He came dressed as the Joker, in his nurse disguise. Definitely one of the best costumes of the night, he wore it like he was Ledger’s stunt double. The band itself was kinetic as they were a mix of Fuel, STP, Black Crowes and Live. They did a five song set and sold me instantly on them, the songs were full of lyrics that make you think but can be fun as well.

The second act: Sinnergy

Another local band, they delved right into the hard metal that many find inspirational but I found to be drab as a follow up to Cellar Door. I mean, they were complete opposites in energy and musical styles for the most part. They did one song which I enjoyed the version of, Possum Kingdom, originally done by the Toadies. They captured a lot of that essence that made that song so bad ass to begin with and they did rock it well. The rest of the set wasn’t as memorable.

The main event.

Smoochknob. If you haven’t heard of them yet you will next February when they’re major label debut comes out. They were just recently singed and I can see why. They have a good gimmick and a good hook. The songs are short, much like many of Green Day’s songs were back in the day. Energetic, silly lyrics and great stage presence, the majority of the crowd was there to see them. It was already midnight when they took the stage and they were going to play until closing, so about a 2 hour set. The songs that I heard were funny, the crowd was extremely interactive and they also have their own type of groupie, smooch grrls. Still, even with them being on stage, I really feel like Cellar Door just took the cake that night and it was hard to live up to the energy they brought to the gig.

I will admit that I felt extremely out of my element. Most of the people came dressed up for Halloween, the largest group was in their twenties and were looking to get high and find some free love. It’s never been the biggest part of my scene. Sarah saw just how, odd I felt in the whole situation and understood. We meet two of her friends there but a concert is not the best way to get to know someone you’ve never met, I mean it’s loud as shit for crying out loud!

In case you’re wondering, not sure if you are can’t tell anymore, the relationship is going well. There’s a lot of respect by both parties and our sails are set for the same course.

We have our moments don’t get me wrong. It’s not like we walked into this from the best of situations, either of us. We both have doubt, we both have fear of the things that have fucked us up in the past. Both from relationships and just overall past, it happens right? No one walks into a relationship freshly minted.

One of the things that I have noticed about her is that she’s unsure a lot. She worries about the past, the things she’s done. She looks at the future and it’s almost too much for her, she looks at the big picture. I don’t have to tell you guys that looking at the big picture will swallow you whole, you have to look at small chunks.

I look at my past and I cringe. I know I’ve done some messed up things. I know that I’ve made some mistakes and I know that I’ve been used as an emotional punching bag one too many times but I can’t let that rule me. To do that would be to basically admit that I can’t live my life, that I’m so stuck on the things that have happened that I can’t move on. I’m sick of being stuck in neutral and I know that’s how I felt for so long with M.

Shannon asked me once, “Hoovey, how do you fall in love with people?”

It was a good question, it still is, occasionally I think about it and I still hold true to the answer. I look at the person, the REAL person, not the personae they want to portray, not the person everyone else says they are, I look at the things that make them a complete and unique person and then I look at their potential. The potential of a person and the overall good of a person is what draws me to them. It’s what shows me just the type of person that they are and from that is where I usually make my determination about how I will feel in the long run.

Sarah, has oodles of potential. Here is a woman who’s coming into her own, fresh ideas, great beliefs and an overall good person. Don’t get me wrong she’s made mistakes in her past, there’s things that she’s not proud of just like there’s things that I’m not proud of but I can see the overall in her and the good definitely outweighs the bad.

Still, she lives in fear. There are times when I catch her and she’s so caught up thinking about past mistakes or feeling like she won’t accomplish anything in life because of the things that have happened to her. The times that she does that are few but when they happen I see just how fragile she can be. I see that she’s still in a state of flux, that she could go either way if allowed. Sometimes that scares me.


Basically and simply, I don’t want to see her waste that potential. I don’t want to see her become stagnant. I don’t want to see us drift apart. In the time that I’ve known her, she’s shown me a lot of fun, a lot of truth and a lot of herself. I don’t want to give that up.

Does that make sense?

All Hallow’s Eve. Halloween, where people dress up and pretend to be something their not. Occasionally we do that in the everyday aspect of life but the rare time when you can have someone take the mask off they wear on a regular basis? That’s when you’re blessed.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Halloween Campfire Stories (Kinda)

Next week is Halloween, the best time of the year to pull a nice prank, to go around and have a great party or to just run around collecting candy.

I’ve had my moments during Halloween just like the rest of us. I can think of a few times where I’ve really enjoyed Halloween.

When I was ten, I was living in the Miami area, we had just moved to a house and the area was ripe with kids about my age. We never sat and completely associated with each other but we knew of each other’s presence. To this day I can’t remember anyone’s name from that night but I know that we decided to go out and have some fun.

I never was very good for costumes; I usually just tossed something together at the last minute and hoped for the best. This year my best was basically one of my sister’s dresses and a basketball. I was a pregnant woman. (Yea I know super sad.)

So me and two or three other ghouls got together, grabbed about 3 dozen eggs and walked the streets. We’d pick our targets at random. Perhaps a kid walking on the other side of the street, maybe a house that didn’t have any decorations. Whatever. The point was that we wanted to have some fun… DAMNIT!

At one point we decided cars would be the best bet. We lived in an area that had a main drag right next to it and a service road running parallel to it. We found some bushes, squatted low and waited for what we considered to be the best cars… the newer ones. We managed to hit three or four without incident, the drivers either didn’t feel the eggs, weren’t sure WHAT was going on or weren’t willing to stop in case there was trouble.

Still, the rules of probability state that just because things happen one way, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t expect it to stay that way. An Accord was driving through the service road, we tossed three eggs on it and it screeched to a halt. The tail lights burned bright red like the eyes of a demon who’s found it’s prey. The four of us took a quick glance at each other and booked it. The Acura peeled some rubber and headed forward, made a right and started to double back, they were going to try and catch us on the other side of the street.

I took the district bus to get to school every day and it so happened that my stop was on the little connecting street between the two roads. I knew the owners of the house by my stop because they let me sit on their front porch until the bus got there. I jumped over their fence, lost my basketball and hid behind the front porch pillars. The Accord sped past us, stopped, backed up and cruised the area slowly. He did this for about twenty minutes. His passenger side window down, the driver side window up, the windows were tinted. He was concealed in the shadows. We weren’t worried that he was an off duty cop, we were worried that he HATED the cops.

That last car was the end of that night. It just wasn’t enough fun.

The other time I can remember I was living away from home. It was my junior year and I picked up Moshe, Omar and Mick and we were driving to Miami’s Haunted House extravaganza. It was chilly I suppose. All the windows were up and we were driving along when we felt that all too familiar impact of eggs hitting my car. I came to a stop, pulled to the side of the road and surveyed the damage. Four hits, passenger side and it had happened within a hundred feet of where we stopped.

I didn’t get back into the car. Not me, I decided we would WALK back and see who had caused the issue.

The unfortunate part of that decision is that this was Omar’s neck of the woods and well, he wasn’t very well liked by some of his neighbors. They had seen us pick him up and when they saw us walking toward them, well that just made their evening.

To make a long story short, we showed up to the haunted house and while Mick, Moshe and I came away clean, Omar looked like Humpty Dumpty AFTER his fall.

You can always bet on at least one good story from Halloween experiences.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Thoughts of the year so far

If you ask some people, change is a four letter word. It instills dread and fear into the hearts of which it takes place. Humans, as a rule, are creatures of habit. They do the same thing day in and day out. They go to the same haunts during the weekend and mingle with the same people over and over again. In some circles, people become so comfortable with each other that the inner circle knows each other intimately.

This year has been about change. I might have already touched on it before. I’m not willing to search older blogs to know for sure but I know this much. Change affects everyone.

For my two friends Jen and Travis the change has been one that has forced and is forcing both of them to grow. From the rubble of both their lives they realized that had something special in each other and have decided to follow it through. In doing so though, they are challenging each other to grow and change out of the way that they’ve handled relationships before and try something new, learn something different. If you ask them they’ll tell you that they’re the happiest they’ve ever been and I believe it , but I also know that change can be daunting.

Ryan, one of my oldest friends, has had several changes this year as well. He’s gone from a single man to a husband, he’s moved into a better location and he’s managed to go back into school to study for a field he has always had interest in. All of those have ups and downs attached to them. In walking that path though, he’s becoming a better person, a better husband and a better friend.

Shannon, the immovable object, has finally found the unstoppable force and decided that while her times alone have been fun, perhaps there is more to life than that and made the decision to try and remember what a relationship can look like.

I’ve got several other examples that I can toss out. Several things that I noticed this year and I know that many of you are saying, "Life is about change." Yes. This is true but so much change at such a quick pace? That’s not something I’ve ever seen. Most cases, one person’s life changes but everything remains status quo until that’s been absorbed and everyone can cope. Not this year.

This year, which is rapidly coming to a close, has really tested everyone’s ability to grow up and move on. It’s trying and difficult, it’s brought me to the verge of tears a couple of times if you know me at all.

Personally? There was a point in the year where I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to see the end of it all. I seriously had doubts whether my sanity or my desire to live would continue to hold and if it wasn’t for excellent friends and fantastic people around me that lent me some support when I didn’t think I could do it alone, that I’m still here.

The beginning of the year was rough; I don’t have to tell you. My misadventures during the summer could’ve put me in the grave (Insert Ariel jokes here). Because many of my choices were self destructive. I went against everything I was being told,, everything I was taught to do and I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off.

I think that I started getting it right a little over a month ago. I got all of those bugs out of my system, the partying, the bed hopping, the everything that you’re told to do when you’re young.
I think the accident was my catalyst. In that moment, in that specific moment in time, I think I saw everything crystal clear for the first time since the buzzing began in my head. The buzzing that told me that my life for the last 2 ½ years had nothing to truly show for it except hurt, pain and the feeling that I wasn’t enough.

In that moment, I felt it all melt away and I felt centered again. Stupid as it sounds, I felt like it gave me that straight shot to where I’m supposed to be in my heart, where my brain is supposed to be centered on, and what my soul should be trying to accomplish.

The year is drawing to a close and I find myself better off than I was at any other time this year, or for several years in point of fact. I have my own place. The first place that’s been mine in I don’t know how long. I don’t have to depend on someone else to have a roof over my head.

Losing my car cleansed me of so many things I was holding onto from my past. The more time passes the more I remember other little things that were the car that I didn’t bother to try and grab. Did I forget that stuff because I didn’t care? Did I forget it because it was blocked from my memory? Did I forget it because holding on to it would have been holding on to a past that caused me hurt? I’ll never know, at least not in this life.

My perspective of this life that I live is much different now. I feel more solid. I feel like there’s something for me to accomplish now. I feel like, time is on my side.

I’ve got a beautiful girl by my side, a nice flat, a great ride, a stable job and great friends. It’s more than I could ask for at any one time and I’m getting it all at once.

Life is good. Don’t stress out about the same things in life. Money comes and goes, places to live and cars can be replaced. Feuds within family are common. Love, Health, and Happiness, those three things, no matter what you may hear, are priceless. Don’t ever take them for granted.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


I’ve been asked about the mysterious Sarah and we’ve gotten enough time under the belt where I feel more relaxed in telling you about her. Part of the reason that I’ve waited so long I’m sure I don’t have to spell out for you. The Ariel fiasco left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth and honestly after the complete and utter fool I made of myself with that whole thing, I considered taking this blog back to what it originally was, just a WOW blog with stupid little factoids that I found interesting and though no one else knew just yet.
As you can tell, I’ve decided to continue to share my exploits. Not because I’m a sucker for punishment but because I feel that since I’ve already started this, I should see it through. If you’ve read this steadily you’ve seen me at my worst, it can only get better right?
So, after the Ariel fondue that I ended up mixing, I decided to take some time to myself. For about a week I went about my business, I did a lot of writing, I got together with friends, and I just spent time by myself. It was great. I was very thrilled to just me. I got some good story ideas going and everything. (I’m still dabbling in them)
Remember, this was also the week of my birthday. I spent three days getting happily buzzed with friends and family. Then on Sunday I was supposed to rest. Travis and Jen recruited me to help them move some things but as it turned out we got a stay of execution. So I didn’t have to go.
At this same time Sarah’s going through some shit. See, Sarah ended up in a similar situation like I did in the same time frame. While I was burning life away with Ariel, she was getting played a rag named Troy. A Juggalo (Points if you know what this means, if you know what this means and you ARE one…well then….ick.)
Troy won the fair lady’s heart in a cheap way. She was already wounded; he swooped in and made himself look like the knight valiant. Trouble is that he couldn’t keep up the front just like Ariel couldn’t keep up hers. He strung her along, promised marriage, kids and the whole kit and caboodle. Does that sound familiar? So that weekend the façade drops and Troy walks. He’s been living with her this whole time but still had a fiancée that had just had surgery waiting for him as well. It was some sick game, a game where they find ways to make each other so jealous they figure out they can’t live apart and Sarah had been caught in the cross fire.
We’d been keeping in contact for a while now. She would root me on with my relationship with Ariel and I would do the same for her and Troy, send updates and when my bubble popped and found out what was truly what, I let her know. So when it happened to her, she did the same. That’s when we decided to meet up for a meal. We both needed to vent, we needed to talk to someone who had been through something similar and would understand how we felt.
Meeting her was like falling back into routine. We’d been messaging back and forth on MySpace for a bit but it was our first encounter. There wasn’t any of the awkwardness that you usually expect to encounter when meeting someone for the first time, it was like we just hadn’t seen each other in a bit and things were back to status quo.
We went to Shari’s, the local eatery, and just talked. We talked for about fourteen hours straight that first day. We spent a good while at Shari’s, then went to a park near her house, decided we were hungry again and went back to Shari’s.
Okay, you’ve read this far. At least I hope you have. If you’re anything like my friends Jen and Travis you are at this point shaking your head and thinking, "Dude, what are you doing?"
Before I left to meet Sarah I had Jen and Travis over at my place. We had just finished some beers and were hanging out. I told them I was going out to counsel someone, which is exactly what I was headed out to do, that was my mindset. That’s all I had in mind. They warned me. They told me to just do what I was going to do, talk to her and then head home.
Here I am fourteen hours later and I have spent all day and night talking to her. I head home and get some sleep. In that conversation we covered a million topics it feels like and it went from coming out to counsel to having found a good friend to realizing that there was something more than that there, to understanding something pretty fundamental about each other. We matched. Plain and simple. Our frame of reference, our humor, our sense of honor and truth, our ways in handling certain things.
I went to see her again that Monday. I had the day off of course cause of my birthday and used it to my advantage, we spent another long day and half the night talking about things, sharing pasts and secrets and anything else that might come to mind.
Tuesday I met with Jen and Travis and it didn’t go like I thought it would. It was another ‘intervention Tuesday’ where they sat me down and told me what’s what. They of course voiced their concern.
"Bro, you’ve been spending a lot of time with this girl. Are you getting serious again? Are you falling head over heels? Leading with your head?"
What do you say to something like that. I admit, leaving M was the best and worst thing. I left her in hopes of finding someone better and up until that Tuesday I had possibly ONE or two people that I thought could fit the bill. How do you tell your best friends some song and dance they’ve heard before. At one point Travis told me he thought that having Ariel in our place had turned it into a crack house. My judgment has obviously been impaired when it comes to women.
"No, I’m not. I’m just taking it slow, seeing where it leads."
"What is it about her that you feel you need to keep seeing her?" Jen asked.
It was a question I didn’t want to answer. And I didn’t answer it for a while. We had been playing the question game about Sarah for hours now, there’s only so much you can take before it gets annoying.
"Notice how he’s not answering the question?"
That tore it, "Notice how I’m not answering cause I’m done answering your questions and this fucking game?"
Any other time, I probably would have laughed it off but for some reason, the line of questioning and mocking behind their voices really irked me. Jen and I went outside alone to talk after ten tense minutes.
"What was that about? Are you mad at me?"
"You kept pushing Jen."
"I always push. Why won’t you answer the question?"
Sigh, "You can’t tell Travis this. One of the main things that I like about her is that she reminds me of you. I didn’t have a lot of great role models when I was growing up and obviously my taste in women sucks. In many ways you’re my ideal. Not that I feel that way for you, you’re my sister. But I see how you are with family, with your daughter, with Travis and that’s the standard that I set my bar to. Sarah, in more ways than you know, is very much like you."
Does that make sense? Think about when you were single, or if you’re single now, who did you use as your standard? Who did you measure others by that you were interested in? For girls, it’s usually their dad. For guys, usually their mom. I can’t say that I felt that strongly about either. In my adult life Jen has been the one that points things out to me about a relationship that works. Why not use her as a measuring stick. Thing is that with Sarah, she was honestly and genuinely meeting the bar and surpassing it.
That answer quelled that uprising and I left their house with a bit of a bitter taste in my mouth. I felt like I hadn’t said enough, but they understood that it had to see it through. That night I went back to see her again after Jen and Travis and I talked to her about everything that was said, everything I thought and more. I had my first deep spiritual conversation that I hadn’t had in months. I was able to be silly, I was happy again.
The rest of the week went the same way. I’d want to hear her voice so I’d go see her, or call her. It wasn’t that puppy love feeling. It was a feeling of a cauldron finally being stirred up enough to be able to produce molten lava to seal up wounds.
That Thursday Sarah met Travis and Jen. Softball is a great place to talk. Jen liked her instantly, Travis not far behind.
That weekend I had her spend some time at my place alone. Talking, enjoying the company, feeling everything out to see if we would drive each other nuts. We didn’t. Instead we grew closer. We were willing to be honest with each other about everything.
When M called that weekend, and asked for money for more medications, Sarah was there holding my hand the entire time. She didn’t tell me what to do, she listened.
When I had my accident a couple of days ago I didn’t get one recrimination, what I got was love, support, understanding and respect. After everything settled down and we were able to talk in private, she cried. They weren’t tears of anger like I expected but of fear losing me.
For once I feel like it’s a partnership. I feel like I’ve found someone who gets me but also more than that, gets things about me that even I don’t see. If you notice though, this is very different for me. It’s mature in a way that there isn’t a bunch of bickering, nit picking or placing blame. We’re working together on everything that comes our way.
Next Tuesday the 14th will be a month since this started. I have known a lot of peace in that month. I don’t feel like I have to showboat or pretend and neither does she.
I’m hesitant to say more of anything because I’m cherishing every moment of this time with Sarah. She is truly one of a kind and it’s something that I’m cautious with. I will mention her more often and now that you have some of the background hopefully you’ll get it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


It’s been a bit since I made an entry. I figured now would be the best time to do it.
I’m going to start backwards, instead of catching you up.
These last two days have sucked and been good in their own ways. Monday morning I woke up ready to go into work. I got dressed, new shirt, jeans, fedora, and sprung sneaks. I make my way out of room to the living room, getting ready to leave and I suddenly feel like a guy at a restaurant. I got all the fixings but I need a steak, I can’t find my keys.
My keys, my ever loving keys that start my car, my Saturn, my Betty and get me to work.. I can’t find them. I spent the weekend at the house of my girlfriend, it’s a high likely hood that that’s where they are. Unfortunately her mother lives forty five minutes away in the wrong direction. My day is shot. I call into work and I explain to them how I lost my stupid keys and I can’t come to work.
I call my insurance and they send pop-a-lock who is able to make me a spare key, for 65 dollars. Money I don’t have but NEED to spend since I use my car EVERYDAY! By the time I get my key done it’s 3 o’clock, the day is wasted but I spend the time to make dinner for Sarah for when she gets home. Why not right?
Tuesday is a brand new day. It’s also my late day. I wake up on time, get dressed and head out the door for work. I’ve got my spares in my pocket, a full tank of gas, half a pack of smokes and a nice cold beverage to keep me company. I head down the rural road (Hogan) that I take to hit one of the main drags (212).
Speed limit’s 45, so I’m cruising. I’m smoking a cigarette, rolling down in fifth gear. Hogan has two Y splits in the road. The last one takes you over about a country mile and then leads back down to 212. The difference is that Hogan has a school zone at the end of its bleed into 212 which slows you down considerably. Normally I would take the last Y out of Hogan and just continue to cruise.
For some unknown reason I didn’t take that Y turn yesterday morning. When I do I usually slow down some since it’s a bit of a curve and the road itself is windy. Instead I continue down Hogan, I hit the small hill and come down on the other side and I can’t feel traction on my wheels…at all. I swerve into oncoming traffic where there’s three cars coming. The first one is maybe one hundred fifty feet away. I can hear Cross Canadian Ragweed’s "Hey Hey" playing on my Ipod. My cigarette was tossed out the window and I’ve got both hands on the wheel. I try to correct the slip into the other lane, manage and then slip back. I figure at this point the only thing that matters to me is that everyone be safe.
I manage to keep the swerve going into the median, which is someone’s front yard. I end up spinning out of control, I spin probably twice, the thing that stops me is a giant oak pole that’s being used by the Hay Barn that I’ve driven into. It smashes my windshield and destroys my back end. I hear the pop of my radiator and see steam coming out of my engine. My air bags don’t deploy but I feel each impact as it happens all over my body.
You know what though? My life didn’t flash before my eyes, what did are the people that I care deeply about. I thought about Sarah, her smile and how she makes me feel. I thought about how I wouldn’t get to see Jen and Travis get married. I thought about how I wouldn’t see Annika grow up into a young woman. I thought about how I wouldn’t be able to see Ryan and Kristin’s first child. I thought about Jeremiah and how I wouldn’t see him become a man. I’d never see Shannon settle down.
The things that mean the most to us, the things that touch us and mold into who we are, are the things we cherish the most. I know what means the most to me, it’s the people that are in my life. The people that matter, warm my heart and help me become who I am supposed to be slowly.
So I shook off the glass from my hair and did a quick visual check, all limbs accounted for. The people running toward me kept saying something about how bloody I was, even though I didn’t have a scratch. The paramedics didn’t believe it, the cops were freaked out and the rubber neckers kept waiting for a stretcher that never came.
I’m alright. I’m stiff, a bit upset that I’ve totaled my car and I definitely have a respect for rural roads. I’m in the market for a car, any help? LOL

Friday, September 26, 2008


There are certain things that are certain in life. The Sun rising in the East and setting in the West; Spring leading to Summer, then Fall and then Winter and the fact that whether we can see them or not, the stars shine brightly over our heads.

I can look at that small list and tell you that every single one of those is true, but I can’t tell you much else.

My living situation is changing again. My whole year has felt like it’s all about change. Change to grow and stretch me to become a better person. Change to help me realize that I can strive for more, I don’t have to settle and I can accomplish much if I set my mind to it.

Travis is moving out. The bond between Jen and him grows stronger everyday and I get to watch it with my own two eyes. There are times when we’re hanging out that we play the question game and they’ll ask tough questions. About a week ago, we’re in our cups and sitting at the table of truth, asking our questions.

“Gabe, how does it feel to know that you brought us together?” Travis asked. (Paraphrase I believe)

That’s a loaded question.

I’ve already told you their story, at least I think I have. They’ve become my shelter because they’ve been so honest with me. Because they’ve been so genuine. Because they’ve decided to let me in. Yet they both look at me like I’m the reason they’re together when in all honesty, it was and is the ardent love that they have for each other that brought them together. Watching them is like watching a supernova. Bright and full love light, but also hot and dangerous in a sense that getting too close will scorch you.

I explained myself as best I could. They are my family. They are the world to me in that they show me that there’s hope in this fucked up world. They show me that even though we all have a tendency to screw up, we can still have a happy ending. For that I’m always grateful.

So today I’m emailing back and forth with Jen because that’s what we do and we’re both talking about our exes.

The whole conversation came up because M called me last night. She heard through the grapevine that I would be losing a room mate and she sent me an email a few days ago. The email was the type that you never want to read. She wanted to try again. She wanted to move in with me, get a job and see how things went from there. The thing is, even in the email she wasn’t the woman I remembered. I’m not a grammar nazi BUT I do know the writing styles of the people close to me and the way that she wrote that letter made me sad because I KNEW that she wasn’t the same.

I didn’t answer right away. Honestly I didn’t know how to answer that question without sounding like an asshole. While it doesn’t really matter I suppose, I didn’t want to hurt her more than I already had.

So she called instead, five times yesterday after work.

I was having dinner with Sarah, no you don’t get an explanation yet. And I explained to her what was going on and how I was trying to gauge what I should do exactly. She helped me out, she knew I had to make the call but she was my moral support while it happened.

The person on the other end of the line was NOT my ex-wife. She couldn’t be. Recently she had a shunt put into her brain because the doctor’s felt that there was too much brain fluid in there. According to her they haven’t perfected it yet.

Still, this isn’t the first time I talk to her in weeks. I just spoke with her on Sunday. She called then too. I took the call, not sure of what to expect and what I got was hit up for forty five dollars for her to pick up pain meds. Something that I was not willing to do.

In this call she’s trying to present her case, however, I had to ask her to repeat herself more than once because I couldn’t understand her. It sounded like a severe case of cotton mouth and it just crushed me more. I know that some of you may think that I’m crying over spilled milk but I hold by the fact that I will always love her. I am not IN LOVE with her and I haven’t been in a while but still, she was an important part of my life for a long time. Hearing her the way that she is just killed me.

Then she asked if I had found a roommate and I said yes. She asked if it was a male or female, I told her it’s a female. That’s when things went very south. She started asking some personal questions that I didn’t feel comfortable with answering or telling her about. I explained that to her and she seemed okay. We hung up with me promising to call her back today, why? Cause I couldn’t listen to her like that anymore.

The texts started an hour after that. Full of recriminations and accusations, full of frustration and anger I’m sure. How I never truly loved her because I was trying to move on, how I never gave her a chance and I didn’t give her an opportunity to clean up.

I texted back and forth for an hour and finally gave up. It wouldn’t matter what I said to her, she would feel that way.

Back to today and I’m talking to Jen and she says something that clicks, “Now that I know what it’s like to really be loved, I know for sure that my ex didn’t love me.”

Okay, am I the only one that’s like, “FUCK?”

Don’t understand? Think about it. You spend so much time loving ONE person and things fall apart and you find someone fun and then when things get heavy you realize that true, unselfish love has been something you’ve never received, you’ve only receive the pale shadows of that love but now you’ve got something so strong and powerful that it makes it harder for you to breathe.

Have you been a fool for too long? Were you blinded by some minimal attention that someone showed you? Did you settle?

The worst thing about moving on is that the past can haunt you if you let it. I’ve been trying to ‘break off the rearview mirror’ as it were, easier said than done.

I had been trying to be civil up until this point but the conversations and texts I’ve received in the last week tell me that it’s something I’m doing in futility.

When Ariel was still hanging around I tried to get the rest of my stuff and it didn’t happen. I was stalled by the MIL about how M was supposed to get half of everything. What I’ve learned? Oregon doesn’t work that way and if I call the cops, they can help me get my stuff. I don’t want to go that route, I hate to have to burn a bridge but the options are becoming less and honestly, I want to move on with my life.

There’s nothing worse than knowing that maybe, maybe you were never understood at all.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Shaman, Where are you?

Shaman, Where are you?

If you’ve noticed because you follow the blog and watched it’s mutation from a hard core WoW addict to a guy just expressing his life, you know that I haven’t posted in a while. Indeed the last post that I made had been written for a while and I had forgotten to post it. (At least here.)

I’m not neglectful. I’m burned. Not at writing, I love writing and as I felt earlier in the year this is a productive season for me. I’ve written more words in this year than I had in the last two combined. Much of that is that I’ve been left to my thoughts and the fact that I’ve been able to experience so much more than the four walls that I live in. I’ve made friends. I’ve gone through hard times, I’ve had huge laughs and I’ve figured myself out little by little.

The burn I’m talking about is the last time I wrote on here, shoving my gun ho attitude down your throats like it was going out of style. My last decision was a costly one in that I learned the hard way some truths about life and I learned some truths about myself.

I’m a believer. I like to believe what I’m told. I like to believe that there’s more to life. I like to believe.

The Simpsons have a character, Ned Flanders, and I can sometime associate with him, just not as naïve, at least I hope. He has a positive attitude most of the time, wants to have the world be happy, never a cross word to say about anyone. Don’t get me wrong, I get down, I get sad, I get angry but for the most part I love seeing the good in people and pointing it out. I’m infamous for it with my friends and family.

The problem that I’ve now encountered is that, I’m having a hard time taking things at face value. People mostly. Women especially.

Which sucks since I have a lot of girl friends, not ‘girlfriends’ just girl friends.

Hell my best friend is a girl. (both of them actually, long story)

So I’ve told you about everyone else under the sun basically, there’s a couple that I’ve left out of the loop intentionally but at this point there’s one more person in my life that I think I should introduce you to.


When I had just gotten away from the things going on with M I wanted to make friends and Shannon was one of the first ones that I made. We hit it off, became fast friends and have had a bond ever since. It’s a nice thing, we can call each other and talk shit all we want or vent, or talk about fears and blah blah blah.

She’s gotten to hear my exploits first hand when it comes to dating. She’s been the one that I’ve told about aspects of relationships and other things (more guy like conversations but I’ve been able to have them with her.) the thing is that some where along the way the edges got blurred.

(don’t worry this isn’t anything like you might think)

Recently, recently I’ve begun to notice how the friendship works, and I don’t like it. Why? Cause I’m starting to feel like second string.

Here’s the deal. Each time that I’ve met someone new, Shannon has come forward and expressed something to me that I didn’t know. When I was with Amy, she expressed love for me. When the Amy thing ended, she moved away from me.

Then the Ariel thing happened. One night during a phone conversation she said, “I always thought when I was ready to settle down it would be you and me.” Then we ALL know how that happened and then she pushed away.

Things like that, if it happened once, okay I can understand it. To have it happen several times though? Yea, not so much, then it’s a mind game and I LOATHE mind games. I try to be open and honest about everything that I do, all that I am and then here’s this lady who can’t say something straight to save her life? Yea, no, I don’t see it happening.

I think things happen for a reason and I think the reason why the Ariel thing happened was because I needed to know the things in life sometimes aren’t as cut and dry as we might love to believe. Sometimes there’s ulterior motives, be it because they want to leave the situation they’re in, they want to have control, or maybe they don’t even know what they want. Sometimes, when people who are lost and don’t really know anything about what makes them tick, they find those that have it more on the ball and they latch on or try desperately to bring that person down so that they no longer feel alone.

I’m not doing it again.

I am talking to someone new. Someone special, at least in my eyes and probably in yours at some point too. I’m not putting it out there, I’m guarding it. Why? Because I want to figure it out on my own. I want to stand on my own two feet about something for once and I want to take it slower. I want to build it from the foundation up, not from the penthouse down.

Yea, that’s me right now.


"I want to show you how he lived..."
Say what you will about Tom Cruise, this is by far a masterpiece in regards to showing us how the Samurai truly worked. The scenerey, costuming and casting really bring you into the era in a way very few movies can anymore.
It's a great movie to watch, it's a great movie to have as background noise. I've watched it a few times in the past couple of weeks.
I haven't done this segment in a while, I needed to dust off the cobwebs!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Grateful to be hitting 30 (4)

This is a bit late, my birthday has come and gone. I have this one to post and one more I'm working on and it'll be the end of the series.

A warning, this is a LONG blog but vital for the story itself. If you are going to read it, have something to drink first, your smokes (if you got'em) and an empty bladder.
Otherwise, enjoy!

This is one of my greatest loses as far as I know to date.


I had an interesting high school life. I dated a teacher beginning my sophomore year and back then I had no idea just how much power that truly gave me. Were I a different person or had a different mind set, I probably would've used that to my advantage, instead I just ran with it as fun and familiarity. I was grateful to have someone to talk to.

In the middle of my tryst with my teacher I had some people sniffing around. I was always around this teacher, I didn't really hang out with friends after a while, it started looking suspicious. So I got a beard.

You don't know what that is, do you?

A beard is another way of saying a decoy. You have two lives basically. You have your private life which you keep just that, private. Then you have a person that you show off in public. No emotional attachment, just someone that you take to functions or you want to be seen with in public so that you don't arouse suspicion to anything odd going on.

I picked a girl named Sue.

I was a Drama/Yearbook brat for the most part of my high school life for several reasons. The first, it was a creative outlet where they couldn't measure how well you did on paper, it was the involvement that mattered. The second, I had creative license to do many things others wouldn't be given the chance to; I wrote school plays and was the editor of my senior yearbook. The third was that the rooms to my two classes, which I had right after lunch, were literally ten feet from each other. So it was home base for me. It's how I met Sue.

Sue, full name Sujiery, she was one year younger than I, putting her at 14. She was from a full blooded Cuban family and had two younger siblings. She was smart, funny, great artist and bubbly. When we met, we teased each other mercilessly, much like kids do when they like each other and don't know how to express it.

When we became friends I was hanging with my little crew.

My Crew:

Rolando – Wheel man. He had an older Supra but had rebuilt the engine to his specks. The odometer was one of those electronic ones, it went up to 99 and then stopped, the car was almost always stuck at 99 MPH, we went much faster. Tall, lanky and full of hurt. He had a family situation that I didn't envy. He never finished high school as far as I know and the one time that I tried to contact him after school I called his home phone, asked for him by name and got hung up on. I wish him the best.

Martha – She was a strange one. I mean that in the best possible light I can think of. We had many long talks; she was the first sister I adopted. Petite, short hair, brown eyes, thin line lips and wide hips. My clearest memory of her was when she came and told me that she had given her virginity to her boyfriend at the time (They're now married with two children and counting.) It broke my heart, don't ask me why, it shouldn't have. We lost contact long before school ended.

Roberto – Martha's boyfriend. He wasn't part of the original crew, more of an add on because of necessity since Martha wanted him there at all times. He was quiet, kind of into the rap scene (His favorite rapper? Queen Latifa). We kind of saw eye to eye but he was threatened by me and honestly I thought Martha was WAY too good for him.

Hector – Heavy set kid that most people would pick on, except he had money and cars so he got some status off of it. He humor was crude and his jokes were lame, he was just trying to find himself like the rest of us. If we ended up with more than 6 people for an outing, he'd take some of the group in his car.

Moshe – If you've been following the series you already know about him.

Paul – out of all of us, he had to grow up the fastest. He was just a silly guy, great to have around when you wanted a good time. I saw him lose his spark when his sister was shot during a drive by. The only thing that I think is worse than losing someone to a drive by is getting to keep them but having them be different. He dropped out of school and stayed home to reteach his sister the things she would need to survive in life.

So out by the track we had a couple basketball courts, a couple tennis courts and some portable classrooms. The trail that leads to the portables was short but at the start of it had a giant tree. I'd say Elm but I know nothing to trees so I'll stick with my original description, a giant tree.

When the lunch bell rang we all made our way to the tree, and from there we decided what the rest of the day was going to look like. Most days we decided to go to Taco Bell and chill. Of course I should let you know that the Taco Bell we frequented was in Miami Beach which was a good twenty five minutes from school. So that meant that we weren't planning on heading back to school.

Now while I was with Sue, my sister found out about myself and Mick (The teacher) because I'm a sap and had kept all the letters she wrote to me… yes she wrote me letters. I did what I thought was reasonable in that situation, I called the relationship, at least for a bit and told her that I couldn't hang out with her anymore. What that did was that it left a lot of time for me to get to know Sue.

Getting to know her was extremely fun. We talked for tons of time on the phone, we were teenagers after all, we ate lunch together, I walked her from one class to another, she told me about her hopes and dreams.

Then I tried to take that big dirt nap.

Now with Moshe and Mick being there, I could understand that. At that point in time the bonds between the three of us were strong, that was our time together and I knew that they would be there for me. Sue didn't have to be but she was. In my fevered condition as my body fought the toxins that were in my system I remember times when I would look up and had my head on her lap, she was there to dry the sweat off my brow and silenced me back to sleep.

That's when I felt loved for the first time.

Don't get me wrong family love is something completely different. This was one human being looking out for another human being in a way that she didn't have to do but did anyway. She did it with compassion and tenderness and made me feel like I had someone who cared about me. In those three days, she won me over.

The time that we had together was outstanding. We would talk for hours about things in life, watch movies together and eventually we got physical. We couldn't go back to my place since my grandmother was always home and we couldn't go back to her place because of her mother and siblings. We did the next best thing, we cut class and hid in the yearbook office. That same office that had seen my twilight was the burgeoning place of our romance and lust. We could hear the classes going on outside of our door while we kissed and explored each other.

Our love his it's peak there, in more ways than one, one Friday after school had gotten out and we were the only ones left in the room. I was so scared at that moment. I remember looking down on her and asking her several times, "Are you sure?" and when she finally looked at me that certain way I knew and there wasn't any stopping us.

Meet Douglas.
Douglas was an Explorer with Miami P.D. and had a bit of an attitude problem about it. He thought that because he was an Explorer we were beneath him. I tried to like the guy but he was annoying, immature and self centered. The typical teenager and the fact that sometimes he and I were confused for one another in the hallways didn't help. He was into yearbook at the same time and we had to work together but didn't have to like each other. Little did I know he would be the Iago in my life at this time.

It was another Friday night. Mick and Moshe were in the yearbook room listening to Peter Frampton Comes Alive (A record that will always be connected to my teenage years) while Sue and I were in the office getting ready to do our thing.

There was a bang at the door. "Sue, It's your mother, open up."

Her mother was the most disinterested person when it came to her kids. She had told all of them the reason for their conception:

Sue: Oops!
Sister: A wild concert
Brother: The outcome of too much wine one night.

So for her to even be near the school when they lived in Hialeah which was a good twenty five minutes away, something was up.

Longest five minutes of dressing in my life. We weren't fully naked but enough to take time and that whole time we can't say much, the walls may be concrete but the doors are paper thin. I finally managed to get dressed and act like I was in front of one of the computers (Like that's REALLY going to help right?) when Sue opened the door.

"Get your shit, we're leaving."

We didn't say good bye or kiss, the eyes of Darkseid were upon us and we didn't want to piss her off anymore. I gave them a five second head start and then came out of the Yearbook office and stared at Moshe and Mick for an answer.

"Guys, what the fuck?"

Mick: "Dude I swear, she came in through the door and didn't even look at us, she knew where you guys were."

I bolted out the door and looked down the hall; I caught up fast enough to watch her mom hit her upside the head. I knew I'd hear from her later.
Douglas came out of the drama room and asked me what happened and I told him the bare bones story. I mean I was at a loss, I didn't know what to say or think.

"Wow, I didn't know that she'd react like that."

That sealed his fate as my nemesis for the remainder of our high school careers. It took everything in my power not to choke the little shit right where he stood. Moshe overheard the little back and forth between us and he managed to stand in between us at just the right moment.

I'm not sure what Doug thought he was accomplishing by doing that except gain my anger.

That started quiet the odd adventure for me…

The first thing that her parents did was take her out of school.

Then they forbade her to talk to me.

Alas, like most teenagers I think that made us both want to see each other more.
I jumped through the hoops that were put out before me. I excelled at school, at this point living with the teacher so I'm sure that had something to do with it, I wanted to go out with her? Fine, I needed a Chaperone, it usually ended up being her mother. First time I saw Desperado was in the theaters with her and her mom. When they came to the sex scene her mother ran out of the theater like she had never seen a naked man before. (Come to think of it, she might not have.)

It was my Senior year and I was still 'dating' this girl. We would run through hoops, call each other every night and I finally managed to get some clout in High School. I knew enough jocks that the coaches wouldn't bother me if I was late to school. I knew enough preppies that if I needed a car all I had to do was ask. I basically had the faculty in my back pocket because they all knew who my 'guardian' was. Plus, I was head of drama and editor of yearbook.

Doug and I had some run ins after that. Most of the time they consisted of me seeing him, then seeing red, then him running away. He tried to call me a few times to try and 'explain' things but it just never went anywhere. He finally transferred out of schools and from what I hear, because a corrupt cop in Miami. Good luck to my people down there, he's a real winner.

During my senior year I skipped full days of school but not like I used to. I would come into school, meet up with one of the preppies and get the keys to their car. Then I would drive forty minutes to go to the campus where she was currently attending. I wouldn't ask her to cut class, instead I hung around, waited for the bell to ring, walked her to class and had more time to kill. We'd have lunch together, I would hang out some more and then walk her to her bus for her ride home.

I kept doing this, and calling her, occasionally going out with her family and even though I had people knocking on my door, I never once bothered to even try.

One of the solicitors was Vicki. Another Cuban princess she was a transfer from Miami High on her senior year. I was also working for the school newspaper and she ended up picking it as she enjoyed to write. She drove me crazy in all the wrong ways. She was loud, obnoxious, opinionated, brash, and full of herself. If there was one person that I felt that I could unload on, it was her, simply because she was such a bitch.

I remember one day, this was right after the yearbook had come out, I had put so much time and effort into it, it was my good bye to the school as a student and I wanted it perfect. She cornered me in the newspaper room and asked me why there weren't more pictures of her in the book. I went off on her real hard. I mean I was screaming at the top of my lungs about how much of an ungrateful little bitch she was being and blah blah blah and I stormed out of the room. Twenty minutes later Ms. MacElrath sent for me to let me know Vicki had fainted.

As much of a bitch she was and granted I didn't know she had a thing for me at the time, she was always willing to let me borrow her car and on a couple of occasions she invited me over to her house to hang out during school hours when no one was home…. Yea I am that dense.

So the school year goes according to plan. I managed to get good grades, put out an excellent yearbook that many were happy with, published four issues of the newspaper with more than just fluff and had managed to keep my girl.

It was a week before prom. I had gone to the Junior prom stag with Moshe where we managed to get shit faced and almost tossed on our ass. This year, I wanted to go to my Senior year prom and I wanted to take my girlfriend with me. I was already contemplating future. Before Sue I hadn't given a shit about marriage or kids or that whole noise. Then on one day she, for no reason at all, grabbed my hand, looked me in the eyes and said she wanted to have kids with me.

Yea, it doesn't take much to get the wookiee all mushy.

So I cut class and beeline it over to her school so I could try to finalize how in the world we were going to figure this out. At the time her mom had sworn me off again, I was a bad influence so it was about stealth and planning.

I got there, it was sunny, as it almost always is in Florida, the campus was quiet, and the year was ending. We basically had the run of the place and I see her and I'm talking a mile a minute and she says:



"I've been thinking about this prom thing.."

"Yea? Do you not want to go? We don't need to, just thought.."

"It's more than that."

"How so?"

"I've been thinking a lot about us and life, what it would look like. I know what you've gone through but honestly, I don't think that I can pick you over my family. I'm sorry."

And just like that, she was gone. (Okay, there might have been some serious crying.) Sue and I did run into each other one other time before I left Florida but it was a run in I don't think I'll ever feel like sharing because I like to remember the person who taught me some things and not the one that she turned into.

Two weeks later was my graduation. I was highly drunk for my walk across the stage, Vicki and I had stop talking to each other but I could see her from where I was standing, she looked back a couple of times but I thought it was in scorn. None of my family showed up for my graduation. Only Moshe and Mick did.

As an Epilogue, I ran into Vicki one more time after that. It was the end of the summer and I was on the college campus getting my affairs in order for classes. She was taking some classes there too and she asked how things were going with Sue. When I told her the time frame of the break up she got infuriated at me. "You realize that I had a thing for you all year and I kept waiting for a chance to say something? You were so caught up in Sue that I knew I'd lose your friendship if I crossed the line. I would have been there for you if only you had asked."

I didn't and I never did.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Screwball - Conclusion/Aftermath

Ariel Conclusion

I’ve been focused on my birthday. The “Grateful to be hitting 30” segments have really gotten me going to write more about my misadventures but on my last one posted someone asked about the Ariel situation. So I’m going to try and sum things up in one post. Kind of a bookend if you will to everything that you’ve already read.

Now I was very good about detailing all the little things about the first week that she was back at my place and after that I tapered off for two reasons, first, it felt that no matter how much I wrote it just wasn’t going to catch up to what was going on and the second was that honestly I wanted to try and process as much as possible.

After the first week the petals began to fall off the flower. I know that it happens inevitably, that we go from new love to constant love to comfortable love. It’s a healthy down point where you realize that the person you’re with is going to be with you for a while and you shouldn’t burn yourself out trying to steal as much time as possible and remember to BREATHE!

When it comes to new romance my school of thought is this: you give 150% to who you’re with. You do it to prove that you have something of value that they want in their lives. You do it to show them how grateful you are to have them with you. You do it out of respect, kindness, courtesy, love and admiration. It’s a healthy 150 that you hope to get in return.

I didn’t.

Granted I gave her the first week as a type of vacation. I mean she had been describing all of the things going on with her and in her life and her depression and everything else, I wanted to recharge her batteries. She was here for almost a month.

I went to work everyday, came home and did the dishes from the night before, she would cook, I would do dishes and then we’d hang out. It wasn’t a bad routine but then I noticed some stuff and Jen and Travis noticed some stuff.

I’d come home, the house was in disarray. Nothing had been cleaned up and instead there was MORE cluttere and garbage to be had, empty soda cans, used plates, empty boxes and everything else. I’m not as much as a clean freak as I should be but I’ll be damned if I want my house to look like no one cares. So I’d come home and start doing some cleaning, thinking that maybe she would get up off the couch and help me do it. It never happened.

One of the biggest things that happened that kind of woke me up to what was wrong was three weeks ago. I work a health clinic, one of the front office people was on vacation and the other called in because her son was sick, which left me alone in the front office to check people in and out, answer phones, and answer questions that might come my way. The office doesn’t close for lunch and I had no one to relieve me for breaks. So really I’m working a straight day through, nine hours. While that’s bad, it’s also the day that I stay late, we come in at 11 and leave at 8, then come back in at 8am the next morning. It’s the hardest day I have. Made even harder by not having any real down time to recharge at work. So when I get home I’m going to be EXHAUSTED.

Jen and I talk all day on email so she heard my tale of woe as it happened. She relayed the information to Travis and I called Ariel during my first break and explained to her how exhausted I was already getting.

Okay. Here’s the question for you guys… you are at home all day, your boy/girl friend, significant other calls and tells you of his/her day. What do you do?

Personally? I know my lady’s having a shit day, I’m going to make sure that she knows she’s appreciated, maybe make her dinner or get take out, give a back rub and be ready to listen to the day they’ve had. I’m built that way, I know it’s SUPER feminine but honestly it’s how I was raised and I wouldn’t change it. I show affection by touch, by words and by deeds. I’m not going to try and BUY love, but I will show how much that love means to me.

I called Ariel at about 1pm to let her know what’s going on.

Travis and Jen have basically moved in together but Jen doesn’t have internet access and his computer is at our (Travis and my) place. So he’s got a key, he comes and goes, as is his right. He got home that day about three o’clock and Ariel was still in bed. The house was a sty and she hadn’t done any of the dishes. He was upset.

When I say he was upset I’m not talking about because the house wasn’t kept up, he was upset for ME because of the condition of the house and the fact that I was having a bad day. The possibility that I might come home and nothing had been done.

So he takes it to Ariel, “Hey Ariel, Gabe’s having a bad day at work, are you going to do the dishes and stuff before he gets in?”

“Well dishes are his responsibility and he didn’t feel like doing them last night, he’ll do them when he gets home from work.”

Travis is a gunslinger, he shoots from the hip, eyes like a hawk, reflexes like a snake, his words can bite if he needs them to and at that moment he felt like they did, “That’s pretty messed up, he’s having a hard day at work and you’re going to make him come home and clean? Really?”

He didn’t say anything else to her, he didn’t feel like it was his place. Instead he took charge and started cleaning. Jen heard about this and left work early to go help him clean up as well.

Understand that they’re cleaning up not because I’m that dirty but because they know the type of day that I’m having and they don’t want me to come home to have to do something else. They don’t think it’s fair or right.

These guys, they’re my family. I’ve said it over and over again and while you don’t know the full story yet, each time we get together that bond grows closer because we understand each other in levels that many people strive to accomplish after years. Due to the stress of our lives this year we’ve compressed that and it’s strengthened us as individuals, friends and now family. I can not say that I have EVER had a pair of my friends come to my house to make sure that I had little to nothing to do when I got home because of a rough day.

So with a fifth of Pendleton in hand they begin the arduous job of cleaning the kitchen from top to bottom. They’re both upset, I’m their friend and they feel like I’m getting shafted because the woman that I’m providing for at the time doesn’t want to make sure I have a good evening when I get home.

The best way to defuse this situation if you’re Ariel? Get out of bed, come help them and apologize, show that you care. That goes so far into how they would have seen it. Instead she closes the door and shuts herself in. She doesn’t come out until I get home and coax her out of the room.

That was the first sign.

There are other little things that got dropped on me.

We spend a lot of our time on the front stoop, we smoke and I don’t like that smell in the house. It’s a quick walk into the house to get something to drink if you’re thirsty. I just don’t want people smoking inside so I ask them to wait or they ask someone to get them a drink, we all take turns going in, it’s a friendship thing. I got thirsty and I asked Ariel if she could please get me something to drink since I was smoking. She said sure.

After twenty minutes of prodding and finally just getting up to get it myself, she went in and got me something to drink. I know it sounds petty but to me, you would think that if the person that you’re with asks you for a drink and you sit and wait 20 to 30 minutes and then you only get going after they say they can do it themselves, that’s not really fair.

While I’m showing you that let me tell you how I tried.

She likes to have foot rubs, and back rubs and to get lotioned, I did it every day. Why? Because I was putting my best foot forward and it’s who I am. When she same up she had duct tape holding her glasses together because they didn’t have the money to get them fixed, I got her new frames. I got her new clothes; I made sure that the pantry was always full. Stopped and get her flowers, made sure she had soft drinks at home and a few days I just brought home fast food so that neither of us had to do any work. I did it without complaint. Again it’s because of my personality. I like to take care of people but my flaw is that I don’t look out to be taken care of the same way.

We made two shopping trips while she was here, well three technically. Two to the local supermarket so she could have the things she felt she needed or wanted to cook and the other was to Costco to get some random supplies we thought would be cheaper there and to help Travis and Jen get ready for their camping trip.

She had a checkered past when it came to her sexual habits and while I know that no one is perfect I didn’t dwell on it. Way I saw it she was with me and the past was the past. The thing is that for that to really work, you both have to get over the past, your and the person who you’re with. She didn’t. She would talk about her exploits and while I knew stuff had happened, I didn’t need to hear about it. Still I kept my silence because I really thought it wasn’t my place.

Travis didn’t have the same issue. He tossed out some comments and seethed for me in silence. That’s when I think we realized something wasn’t right.

The thing that happened that Tuesday I was swamped? It happened all the time. I would come home and nothing would be done. She had spent DAYS watching Buffy reruns, playing on the computer and anything else that was relaxing. She didn’t really try to make the effort to help.

While she was here I did laundry multiple times after I got home from work. She never asked to help, or at least offer to switch the clothes from the washer to the dryer…. I was doing her laundry too.

The other stick point were some of my friends. I was raised by women, I get along more with women. One of the women in question is Shannon. Shannon I’ve known for about five months and we clicked, we’re good friends, we tell each other everything and we have a good time. Wednesday nights I’ve started to make it a habit to go play poker at her local hangout because she enjoys it so much.

This did not sit well with Ariel, she felt threatened and what’s more, she felt like Shannon had to be cut out of my life. She was intimidated by her and didn’t want to put up with it.

Keep this in mind. She was intimidated and wanted her gone but she was still going back to her husband. The time with me was sweet but she still felt a duty to try and work something with her husband. I can understand this but the double standard she was setting was, getting to be with her husband while I sat in the wings and waited, alone and having to be okay with her being with him in all ways possible.

There’s only so much that’s okay.

So Travis and Jen went camping this last weekend and I let them use an air mattress that I had been using for a while as a bed, it was something that Amy had let me borrow kindly enough when she heard about my situation. Travis isn’t really at our place so he has been generous enough to let me use his bed. I thought that was great, least I can do is let them use the air mattress and if Travis really liked it, hell he could keep it.

The mattress however seems to have met and early demise at the hands of a sharp object while it was still in my house, someone stabbed it. Okay, jealousy is cute but that’s bordering as far as I’m concerned. She never admitted to it but the body language gave a lot of it away as far as I’m concerned.

Immature, yes. More to the point Travis and Jen were counting on that bed and none of us knew what she had done. They took it up thinking it would work just as well as it had for me and instead the plopped themselves on an air mattress that let out all of it’s air and all they felt were hard rocks against their backs, I KNOW how much that hurts. If not for the quick thinking of one of their friends they would have had back problems for a week.

Tuesday I get an email from Jen that asks me to please stop by their place directly after work. “We would like you to swing by the house on your way home if you get a chance, we’d like to talk to you.”

That’s code for: Something’s wrong and we need to find a way to fix it.

On a side note: That same day was the day that they took Jeremiah away. I was informed that the state took him out of the home of my Ex and was going to place him somewhere else. It’s the third son I’ve lost in my life.

So I’m already having a bit of an emotional rollercoaster and the only two people in the world that I consider my nearest and dearest are calling me out to try and help me.

I beeline it over to their house as soon as I get off of work.

I walk in, “Don’t be alarmed, we’re beaners”

On the stove Jen’s making Pan Fried Oysters. In the oven Travis has, Portobello mushrooms, Baked potatoes, Asparagus, and Garlic bread. I look on the counter and there’s three dishes out.

We’re doing this over a meal.

If you don’t know by now, for me talking to people over breaking bread is an awesome thing indeed. It’s a personal thing, you only eat with those you are comfortable with. You would never eat with an enemy or someone who causes you grief, you do it with those you love and want to confide in.

So they set the table and we sit to eat and the intervention begins.

They’ve been watching from the side lines while this whole thing has been happening. When they met Ariel they gave their vote of confidence and I don’t need to remind you that the vote they give, WAY important.

Then they started showing me the signs.

Some of the mile markers that I’ve already explained.

Travis: “Can I say something? Brother, I love you, you’re a lot like me. You don’t want to be alone. You hate having an empty house and any port in the storm is better than nothing but I’m going to tell you this and if I’m out of line you can punch me. You’re getting played. She’s using you, she doesn’t help you, doesn’t lift a finger, eats you out of house and home, and what do you get in return?”

Jen: “We know that when we met her we told you to keep her and at the time, Hoovey, you look so happy and even though we had reservations about the situation, because you were happy we were happy but watching the dynamic, the lack of respect and caring about you. That worries us. This is a situation that we think is going to cost you a lot if you stick around. You need to cut ties.”

The conversation went on all night. They would remember things they wanted to tell me but were stuffing in the hope that it was something small and petty and they were just overreacting.

The cards laid out on the table. The image didn’t look good. The saying that started all of this? “You can’t tell there’s a problem when you’re inside the box”

I spent the whole night talking to them and having them show me the outside of the box. After a month of me putting out maximum effort to show her that I care and I got had gotten the bare minimum. It was time to change tactics, maybe giving her a break from me would help. Letting her go back home so she could see the contrast between who she’d been with for a month and who she was married to. See perhaps the difference in affection and attentiveness, maybe that would shake her out of whatever she was thinking because for all she was getting she wasn’t showing anything in return.

I didn’t go home that night. I had to think. I went right to work. I had to.

Travis the next day found the final straw. The house was tore up from the floor up. It looked like someone had come in and just let a hurricane loose. Dishes were piled up in the sink, the living room was a mess and she was firmly entrenched in the bedroom that Travis’ bed was in, which is where his clothes are in.

Travis: “I tried brother, I really tried but she’s got to go. I’m sorry. I pay half of everything and she’s using shit up and not helping and not contributing in any way. I want her out of the house.”

I got home and she was pissed. She was pissed that I had been out all night, that I had done it with my friends. It wasn’t fair, what was so important?

So I laid it out for her the best way that I could. I tried to keep myself in check, I tried to be very polite about pointing little things out but I did end it with, “It feels like I’m getting played. Like I’m being used.”

Retaliation: “Well I feel like I’m only being used for sex and food.”

That my friends, that one line was all it took to put everything in perspective for me. She’s a kid, she’s not ready, she may never be ready and in my eagerness to find something and someone of my own I looked right past it and got sucked in.

I gave her the option of what she wanted to do. She decided to go to a friend’s house in the area and they could drive her back to Eugene the next morning.

So just as quickly as she swooped in, she’s gone again. I would love to say that it’s a love story ending but for the Shaman it appears that something like that, if it ever happens, is a long way off and shouldn’t be rushed.

As always, I’m still writing. I’ll continue to blog. This is a chapter I won’t be revisiting any time soon. I’m looking forward and breaking off the rear view mirror as a gunslinger I know is wont to say.

Thanks to all who showed interest and passion in this situation, it was a fifty/fifty chance and I needed to know what was there now I know it was a mirage and I can move on.


Friday, August 29, 2008

Grateful to be hitting 30 (3)

Dipping into the way back machine is weird, if you do it just right, you actually have a lot of the emotions that you did when stuff happened come back to you as well. While the past few weeks have definitely about looking forward at what I want to do with my life, I can’t help but get introspective on the things that have happened in my past.

While most of my stories have taken place during high school, I’m going to jump ahead some time for this one.


Michael Cox was from Chicago. He was part of a biker crew down there; he did some real heavy stuff according to him. He was a short and stocky guy. He had a balding mullet thing going which was hysterical to look at. Gruff hands, plastic smile and throaty laugh. Because he was a bullshitter, he and I hit it off instantly.

Did I mention I was in Seminary at the time?

About 2 years into my being in Oregon I was informed that my calling was to be a pastor. Now I wasn’t always a believer. I really only started noticing God when I was about seventeen. I was at the theater with Moshe and Mick, we were watching Devil’s Advocate with Al Pacino and Keanu Reeves. At the time I was still heavy with Sue and we got to the scene where Charlize Theron has finally lost all her marbles and slits her own throat.

I lost it. I got up out of my chair and blotted for the bathroom where I had dry heaves. On my knees before the porcelain god I decided, if anything ANYTHING that evil could exist in life, there just HAD to be a God and I commended my soul to him. I walked out of the bathroom and straight out into open air, it wasn’t until years later that I saw how the movie ended, and Moshe was standing out there. He’d been waiting for me. He was leaning against the guard rail, lighting up a Camel and said, “You just got saved huh?”

I stood up a little straighter and said, “Yes I did.”

“Welcome to the club.” Then he handed me a cigarette and we went about our business.

I didn’t become a Bible thumper. It’s not in me to tell people how to be and what to believe. It’s in me to believe the BEST in all people. So my relationship was a loose one. I’d talk to The Man every day but I wasn’t thinking there was a calling in it for me. Seriously who does?

I come up here and someone ‘speaks’ over me and says that my calling is to be a pastor to the minorities and the people that others won’t touch, geeks in other words. So I plop down my money and as I work full time I go to school full time.

So in 2001 I’m in school with Mike and we BS a lot. We end up coming to each other for the random things in life. He’s happily married and he’s got like five kids. At this stage I’m single and enjoying it, having left one crack whore and having yet to find that kind of interest in Mary.

I was also working as a bouncer for a little Mexican placed called, La Macarena. So I worked there six days a week, Oregon bars close at 2:30 and drinks stopped being served by 2am. I’d get home about 3 or 4 depending on what was going on. Sometimes we stayed after hours and had a couple drinks, sometimes I went over to someone’s house and hung out or crashed. Still, I was renting a room from Mary’s family and I tried to be civil about the hours that I kept. They weren’t thrilled with the job, as church goers they thought it was too close to ‘temptation’ but took with a grain of salt.

That winter I got an itch. It happens every couple of years. I get the itch to FLY somewhere. I don’t care where or why but I just get the urge to travel. This particular time, due to my involvement in Seminary and helping out some other people, I wanted to fly down to Argentina. I wanted to fly down and take about 100lbs of clothing with me to give to a needy orphanage down there. Someone who I thought deserved it basically.

So I got the clothes together, got the money to go on the trip, got my passport and got out of dodge. The trip was wonderful, I have stories for that as well but now’s not the time or the place.

Instead I’m going to go fast forward. I was able to communicate with Mary and her family in Oregon while I was away. I took three weeks off. I spent two weeks in Argentina getting to know the lifestyle, the people and the fact that the nation was crazy and was at the beginning of that time period where they went through seven presidents in like three months.

I spent one week in Florida to catch up with my family. My grandma the most, I miss that old lady.

While I was away I started getting strange information. Bottom line of all that information? Michael Cox had taken things I had told him in confidence, twisted them and then told everyone about them. In his mind, for some reason, I was a coke head, a vein popper and a whore. While I might be a whore to some, I can tell you this, I didn’t get anywhere NEAR the amount of ass it would take to be a whore in that time frame, let alone my life.

Because he opened his yap two things happened. I had a full ride to seminary until he did that, so the school suspended me pending an investigation. The second thing was that the family that I was renting with didn’t want me around because they were doing foster care. So the day I flew back into Portland, there was no one to greet me at the airport. I had to grab my luggage, get on the MAX (Public Transportation Train) and ride down to my school in hope of fixing whatever was going on.

Easier said than done, the dean had been expecting me to darken his doorstep and when I did all he said was, “I can’t help you Gabriel. It would be different if the school had not been notified of these activities. As it stands you’re going to have to confront your accusers before you’re able to go any further.”

Did I also mention I was jobless? Yea. The tri-fecta: no work, no school and no home.

I called in one marker that was owed to me by a teacher in the school, Carl Culley, taught some of the fundamentals in the school and also runs one of the churches in Vancouver. It so happens that the church ground is also a camping ground, so he came to pick me up and took me up to Washington.

It was bitch cold that year. I remember seeing my breath all the time. The cabins were nice and also isolated. I would have some privacy and also die of boredom. There was only one set of people there, they land keepers. They were very nice, geeks after all, but the majority of the time I spent by myself trying to figure out where the fuck I went wrong.

Due to the constant exposure to the elements, my trip overseas and then my stay in a hot temperatures I ended up getting pneumonia. It was the worst kind that had shivers at any time, constant headache. It took me four days to sit and get the ball rolling and by that time I was already very sick. This was a time where there was NO ONE for me to turn to. My friends had betrayed me, the ones that I considered family had cut me the worst.

It took a month to finally talk to my accusers alone. Everyone thought that I was guilty long before anything was finalized. When I did meet them all they had for evidence was slip covers to Stephen King, specific comics and movies. Funnier still? The guy who started this whole thing, Mike, was no where to be found during this little confrontation so all they had was hearsay and my choices of reading and watching material.

Not enough to amount to anything.

I got reinstated into Seminary. If you ever have someone kick or get hitched, you can ring me up and I’ll help out. The rest of it, the friendship with Mike and my trust in Mary and her family, that didn’t turn out as hot.

Fast friends can be fun to have but you need to watch who you trust. Trust is something to be earned, not given and when it comes back to haunt you, it’s the worst way to find out.


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