Fat Lil’ memory Notebook

Lots of time on buses and what not running errands and dealing with Dr’s shit and, forgetting my Kindle in my friends car meant some quality time with the ole Fat Lil’ Notebook today. I bought it a few months ago for on the fly notes and what not as it’s essentially only a little bit bigger than two Post-Its (5 1/2 x 3 1/2).  You see, I have a little bit of a Post-It fixation as previous co-workers can attest to… but that’s for another entry.

On occasion I will flip back towards previous entries. Today was one of them as I realized my book was beginning to get a bit thin.  There’s only about 20 or so pages empty left in it and so, another is likely needed in the pretty super near future.

This notebook says so much it’s a bit crazy. There’s notes on an abundance of things from the everyday directions list to meetings to.. little snippets and memories of things from when I first found out I might be pregnant.  Reading the entries brings about thoughts that, although fragmented, show just how much brevity can still weave a story.  Reading this I’m able to watch the excitement and happiness I felt initially to…my latest entry which is, suffice to say, not.

I’m curious how much one could assess about my mind and it’s inner workings from seeing these little notes and blurbs. About the other notebooks that have been lost in moves. Who knows what happened to those old pages? Perhaps they never saw anyone else’s eyes before they were tossed into a trash. Perhaps they weren’t. Perhaps it’s for the best either way.

These pages are evidence of a life lived. They are a reminder of why I ALWAYS will have a notebook and a pen on me… and why that hasn’t changed for as long as I can [not always] remember.

These pages are why I know that I know that what I am before anything, first and foremost, is, and ever shall be: a writer.  Till death do I part.  And that ain’t bad even when it is bad.

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Remembering Arnie

Navyman Arnold Munchalfen

 

Arnold Munchalfen died September 13th, 2010.  It was a sad time for my mother’s side of the family and we all gathered together at my uncle’s home next door to my mother’s to celebrate and honor his life.

My grandfather had nine children, was the grandfather to twenty one, and, at the time of his death, had twelve great grandchildren.  (My oldest son would be his first.)  He left a huge heritage to follow in his eighty one years of life.  A heritage which still is growing strong and thriving now three years after his death.

Grandpa Munchalfen was a very quiet and reserved man.  He didn’t seem to talk much at all.  I remember hearing a few stories here and there, but for the most part, he was pretty quiet, at least from my perception of him.

My grandfather loved to work on watches and spend as much time with his wife, who spent their last years cross country in Florida, as possible.  Their marriage would last over six decades before he passed.  It would leave my grandmother very bitter and broken, as some pieces could be expected.

In my childhood I was given an army shirt with his last name.  The day he died, I wore it proudly.  For the longest time, I thought that was his.  It wasn’t.  My grandfather served in the Navy.

Now, I always knew that grandpa had served in the military, but again, he really didn’t talk about it too much either.  He was glad that he did it but glad it was long over.  He told all of us grand kids that getting a tattoo was the stupidest thing he ever did.  (Of course that was one of the things we found coolest about our grandfather.)

I might not be the best person in the family to write this memorial.  I was not very close to him.  I know that many of my family remembers more of him than I do.  It was something that was brought to my attention quite often growing up.

A couple of weeks before he died I did something to start the path to change it.  I have sent my other grandparents postcards frequently on my travels around Los Angeles and other places.  This time after attending a classical concert in the park, I started to draft a postcard to Grandpa Munch.  I had unfortunately forgotten about it, as it would get buried in stacks of papers on my desk.  When I returned from his funeral however, I found it.

Today, on Memorial Day, I want to thank Grandpa Munch for his time serving his country.  No matter how much I remember of the man aside from that and his nearly always smiling face, today grandpa is your day.  Thank you so much for what you did for this country and my mother’s family.  Know that you are not forgotten.

 

Behind the wheel again

Yesterday was another edition of Techzulu‘s Tech Crawl.  This time, people hit the streets of tech startup playground Sillicon Beach.

I didn’t know exactly what to expect.  In full disclosure, I haven’t been going to as many events over the past year.  It didn’t feel as shiny.  I didn’t see the need to go to five nights a week… like I used to once upon a time when I first arrived in Los Angeles.

A friend of mine offered to drive.  He didn’t know anyone in the startup scene and was also looking for a new gig.  His experience is different than mine (in IT and networking), however, and so this was even more so a whole new crowd for him to explore.

It was really amazing seeing some of the older faces from my tenure and love with this industry.  It was also amazing to meet new faces (or new-to-me faces) behind the ever growing sector that is Sillicon Beach.

I goofed around and thought that when someone puts the words tech and crawl together, there would likely be booze.  As with any networking event, some was to be expected.  Holy hell that was a lot more than I remembered… or maybe it partially because I was extremely sober and recovering from dating an alcoholic.

As the night progressed there was more and more booze at each stop on the crawl.  Some of the crawlers exploited this and went to town.  Others were extremely moderated.  That was not the case, however for my friend.

To get this completely out there as well-  I’m not one to judge with how anyone attends an event.  In other circumstances, I’d have loved to indulge in a couple of beers or what not as well.  We’re all adults here after all.. even though there were some underage kids looking for internships there as well.  Hey, not everyone was there to drink and I give those kids a lot of credit for being brave and attending to look for work like that… it’s great.

At one point I confiscated my friends keys.  I wanted him to be safe.  It wasn’t a big deal if I had to drive us back.  Except that, well, he drives a Prius, and it had been over a year and a half since I’ve been behind the wheel of a car.

It was, suffice to say, mildly humorous.

Some of you may have had the pleasure to drive a Prius or a Mini.  Both have some weird ignition systems.  Late at the end of the night with my friend in no way able to help me, it was a rather comical sight.  In hindsight, I wish I had filmed that.  I was extremely nervous.  I fumbled around with the keys looking in the dark for how to turn it on, how to shift it to reverse, etc.

I felt like I was sixteen again.

I did, however manage to get a little snippet of video on the drive.  Note, I apologize in advance for the format.  I was more focused on driving and less about the phone, which, I’m sure that the other drivers on the road could probably appreciate.

I haven’t had the best luck with cars to say the least.  My last car, in particular, had a couple of “lovely” incidents due to its age.  So did the truck before that.  And, well, so did my freeway legal motor scooter which I had the pleasure of popping a tire not once, but twice, and in both parts of those videos you will see that I had heels on.  Needless to say, I have come to have a little bit of a fear attached to driving any vehicle really.

I should know better.  Fuck that Fear crap anyway.

Driving is not something I hadn’t done obviously.  This was a moment that I had been anticipating returning to for a long time.  It was, like so many other things.: nerve racking frightening, exciting, exhilarating, and empowering.  I was hoping it was going to be behind the wheel of a new Ford Fiesta as part of the Fiesta Movement.  Maybe that still will happen.  Maybe not.  But if it does, it was good to get some practice.  Not just at driving, but about facing my fears over silly things.

It’s good to be finally getting back behind the wheel navigating potential again… one way at a time.  

Food for thought: On birthdays and the detached connected generation

So this week I turned the page on yet another chapter of my life.  I officially entered my 30s.  Last year was the BIG “dirty thirty” turnover and this was the step in.

As I had been not single for a majority of this year, I haven’t seen as many of my friends as I’d have liked to.  Add to it last year’s awesome birthday trip to Seattle was not in the works as I’m currently a Muse for Hire as well as teensy bit pregnant.  (Read: not even showing just yet)

As things have been a bit all over the map and tumbling down as well as riding up (I will go into them in other posts but you can start by reading this one here and this one here to get an idea of where to start) I started to have a few rain cloud thoughts about this year’s birthday.  A couple of shitty phone calls later from my past and, well, I wasn’t exactly feeling the most bubbly about everything.

Granted: there were TONS of birthday messages on my Facebook wall and a few of you even reached out to me on Twitter.  And that was fantastic and completely appreciated.

Despite the TONS of friends and wishes, There were only a few people who even asked what I was up to… less than I could count on one hand… and one of them lived cross country.

I felt crappy about it.  Silly as it were, and knowing that I had dropped off the radar a bit with my relationship, I still was bummed.   Moreso, I felt bad about being bummed- worried that it was potentially just another case of pregnancy hormones trying to get the best of me on my otherwise productive day.

It wasn’t until I ended up telling my current roommate about my plans for the evening that things really came into view.  As it turned out, he had talked to another friend of mine who also knew what was going on and they were trying to arrange a small little outing for me.

I felt like a total asshole.

“People probably assumed you already had plans because, like me, you’re always so busy.”

I bucked up a bit and helped pull the reins.  I reached out to a few close friends and asked them to dinner.  As it turned out, there will be more dinners in the works in the next coming days.  Friends were happy to go and hang out with me and have dinner and what not to celebrate.  They, like my friend commented, just assumed that I had other plans.

At dinner I mentioned the whole thing to friends as well.  It was a unanimous thing said amongst everyone.  As active as we are in our daily lives, how often, unless you have a set group of friends that you do things with CONSTANTLY how often do you take the time to ask someone what they are doing for their birthday?  Really take a moment and step back and think about it.  You might be incredibly surprised.

In a day and age where we are so digitally connected, we too often forget just how much it means to someone (who yes might totally be busy a lot of times) to even get asked the question of what they’re doing.  It may seem petty in a the scheme of things, it could mean the world to… even the people you think might think are social rockstars.

Special days are special because of the people we share them with.

While it’s true that social media is a great tool to stay connected with friends it doesn’t replace the power of going one step further and showing you are also real life person outside of a page.

 

I loved you at your Darkest

Half of me. Half of you.

 

And last night was a very very dark night.

I’m frankly ashamed of how it went.  It was not something to be proud of.  It was something that I hope that my coming child will never do to someone no matter how poorly they act to them.

I had had a very difficult few days.  Mother’s Day had come and gone… but not without leaving its own marks and scars.  I’d get into it, but I’d rather not get into it right now.  Perhaps I will when I’m ready.

Let’s just say that the events that occurred this year cut that much deeper as one of them relates to my unborn child and my current relationship (or rather near complete lack thereof) with the father… a man who I had no intentions on meeting and falling in love with in the first place

But life, of course, often has other plans.

Bear and I have gone through some very difficult and dark points throughout our relationship.  We have been off again, on again, so often it’d make your head spin.

Oh how my head seemed to feel like I were spinning we were so in love.

Once upon our time.

We were supposed to have been broken up (again) when I found out that I was pregnant.  However, after the news, we “tried again” (albeit briefly) and… it still ended up failing miserably.

In hindsight, I know what went wrong.  We were trying to conquer the same problem but we weren’t actually doing anything differently.  It was, the very definition of insanity.

One night, several months ago, he came to me in a mess of emotion.  I asked what it was.

“Darkness.” he cried to me.

And for a bit we held each other tight throughout it.

I hoped it would be over.

I know you did too.

It continued to get darker as the months went by.

We fought and fought.  We thought we were fighting the darkness but we were mistaken.

The darkness enveloped us.

It blinded us.

It was so difficult on our own and united we were too scared to stand.

I know I loved you at your darkest.

Unfortunately, in the process of trying to save us both from all of that, things only got worse.  He slipped further and further into the shadows.

They consumed us both.

Especially last night.

Our love had hit its expiration date even if the child inside me hadn’t.  The killing blow had been on Mother’s Day when Bear texted and later called me.

“Happy Mother’s Day”

He did not seem to understand how this “kind gesture” could be taken poorly.

So yesterday I made some phone calls and worked on things.  I consumed myself in other things.  The things that transpired throughout the day continued to beat me down.

So this is what it feels like to be alive huh?

The day had been a repeat of heartbreaking events.  Little did I know that it would be nothing compared to how it was last night… to the wee hours of the morning.

There was more crying.  More and more darkness.

I’m embarrassed.

How did it get this bad?

In the morning I would text him an apology.  I got up and sat in the quiet.  And then there was beauty. First the music.  Then a call from a recruiter again.  I was smiling.  My world had changed and I was still so sad but… why the hell was I smiling?

A friend messaged me asking how I was feeling.  She had just recovered from strep and yet, she was curious how I was.  If I’d slept much.  It was like… she knew.

Today was spent at the fashion district in downtown Los Angeles.  Curious… the little girl in the big city that loved and had her heart broken downtown was… going home to surround herself with… color.

Today was a reminder that no matter how dark it feels there is also color. (*See pictures from it by clicking the link*)

A part of me will always love you.  No matter how much pain and hardship we have gone through together, and apart, nothing is ever going to change that.

Someone once told me a phrase that I, in turn, flipped it around. “Where the light is brightest, the shadows are the deepest.”

Maybe part of the reason it got so bad is that we are so alike.

My friend Karissa summed things up wonderfully yesterday in private.

“No one’s a monster.  We’re all traumatized in some way… some more than… others… just looking for a way to heal.  That’s ultimately the purpose of all relationships– to serve as a mirror so that we may understand what is unbalanced within ourselves.”

Maybe we are both in that darkness… but in the light at the same time.

No wonder it scared the crap out of both of us.

The Sound Blogs: There is still music

After a very difficult night gone and seeped into the morning I felt emotionally obliterated.

But then in the quiet, when I woke up this morning I heard this in the distance… I had to follow and find out where it was coming from.  In the wash of an otherwise normal Tuesday morning on the West Side this was an uncommon but beautiful occurrence.

Even in the chaos.. there is beauty.

 

If I hadn’t left that night

Sometimes (read: often) I think about that last fateful night when…

And I wonder… what would have happened had I not left that night.

But I needed to leave.

You needed to feel my absence a bit.

I needed to feel yours.

When I left that night, I was just as upset about it as you are now.

I didn’t want to leave.

I didn’t want to fight.

I just wanted things to stop.

I’m not sure you would have done anything to change those things

If I hadn’t left that night.

I wanted you to be better.

I thought that by me leaving, you might appreciate me more.

That I might appreciate me more.

In several ways I have found one of those things to be true.

As breakable as I feel like I can be

I’m not.

There are amazing souls that appreciate me.

I used to be one of them.

I should have been more of them than I had been.

I don’t know if I could have remembered that as strongly

If I hadn’t left that night.

In the midnight hour I still dream of you

Of the person I believed in you

Of the love that I hoped would return to me

Of the happiness that I thought might appear again

But likely couldn’t…

if I hadn’t left that night.

And the texts keep coming

The answers are painful

So very very painful

And knowing might be half the battle but it still hurts wondering

Would it have been different?

Would we have been different?

Would I have been different?

If I hadn’t left that night.