Good evening....its a warm,wet and humid Michigan summer day. The rain has been falling since early this afternoon with several thunderstorms racing across the sky. Guess we're supposed to be dealing with storms all this week...which isn't a bad thing,mind you,we really need the water. So glad I cut my grass after I got home yesterday,there would have been no way I could have done it today...
Like to thank my guest blogger Jessica Clackum for writing such a interesting column and I really like the guest blogger idea quite a bit,so much so I have already invited another guest writer to drop something hot in the near future....no pressure Rich but you are now on the clock...
July 25 is coming up very rapidly....it seems every month there is a emotional hurdle for me to clear...Lori's dying in May,our anniversary in June and now her birthday on 25 July. She would have turned 54 this year. Only 54....its very sad to think about this,I know I am a strong person but sometimes this really overwhelms me and I just lose it for a while. The tears come and I just sit and weep. Every day feels like 20 May....every single day. I bounce off the walls here or I go walk around the block 2-3 times. My sleep pattern is still very scattered,my CPAP machine works when I turn it on but my mind is racing with memories,things we did,places we visited and dreams we dreamed but won't be realized on this Earth. I am thankful for my friends who even now,despite their own problems,still support and care for Derek and myself. Its a saving salvation I can assure you and I do my best to pay it forward...because its the things we do for others that help define who we are as human beings...a kind word or email or phone call. Its when times are darkest that we need to reach out and give back. Doing a kindness with things are flush is easy,its when you are in that dark room that you help guide someone first to the light. Its what I'm working very hard at doing now,it really surprises people,good people,to find out that they still have a lot of love in their heart to give when they seem to have nothing left but tears to share.
I got a call about 10 days ago from a old friend (hell,he was almost like a brother to me) whom I had not seen or heard from in about 28 years(!!) When I answered the phone and heard him start to talk...I met Javier back in Ontario when we moved into the neighborhood. He was a very quiet but a avid fanboy in the fact we loved to read comic books,sci-fi and fantasy books. We went everywhere together,church,the bookstore,just knocking around. His home life was pure dogshit,no father,a mother who really wasn't around..a little brother who you see was already in the grip of the gangs and drugs that were always lurking around. His older sister was beautiful but she had no ambition other then to party...which led her getting pregnant by the time she was 18. She hung around gangbangers as well because it was almost expected. Javier never was approached,the loco vatos knew he was different and left him alone.
Soon Javier moved in with us after my older brother left for the Navy and he became part of the family.
As we got older and saw all of our friends slowly being destroyed by the neighborhood,we decided to try and join the Army. Javier was accepted but because of my poor eyesight,I was denied. Javier went in on a delayed entry program so we were able to hang together for a while...which almost proved our undoing.
His now 17 year old brother had been messing with a girl who he thought was 15 but in fact was only 13. He was facing some potential serious trouble. As we drove one night,Javier and he started arguing about what was happening,his brother became very upset and started crying while driving. Not a good thing as he started talking about crashing the car....I'm in the back seat scared out of my mind and asked him to pull over so I could get out,I wanted no piece of this. He refused and sped up....as Javier tried to calm him,I watched the speedometer and when his brother hit a turn at 25 mph,I jumped and rolled out of the car. I felt my glasses fly off my face as I tucked and rolled over and over.
That brought his brother back into his senses as Javier screamed at him to stop. The car stopped and backed up...both brothers got out and asked if I was okay...I only had a small cut on the back of my hand. I picked up my glasses which somehow survived and put them on. I turned to Javier's brother and shook my head and without saying a word started walking the 3 miles home. Javier walked with me and he kept on apologizing .
I soon moved to Santa Clara and Javier went to bootcamp. We exchanged a few letters but soon we lost contact. I knew he moved with my family to Washington and that he went AWOL but I never talked with him. And soon after he moved back to California and that the end of any contact we had with him.
Until about 3 weeks ago when he called my mother in Washington...they talked a couple of times and she gave him my phone number.
I was surprised to hear from him...I told him briefly what had been happening and he then shared his story.
My friend is homeless. I mean,really homeless,as in sleeping outside in the park homeless. He is married and has a 3 year old son and they are homeless. It wasn't always that way,he said he had worked for DHL for 17 years before taking a chance to live with his older brother (which I never knew he had!) in Colorado..he quit DHL and went to Colorado. It didn't work out and he came back to California where he was out of work for two years before landing another job with a subcontractor with DHL. That lasted two years before he had a mental breakdown and took a medical leave. Of course once he came back,they dropped him as fast as they could and with his wife also losing her job,it quickly fell apart for them.
He turned to his younger brother and sister....but that pointless,both siblings while making it out of the neighborhood,took along a pet with them as a reminder of their time there,a pet Horse. Yep....both his sister and little brother are heroin addicts. When things were good,he had let both of them stay with him while they struggled with their lives and addictions. But it wasn't the same now that he needed their help,his little brother let him stay but at the first fight,he kicked them all out,including tossing their clothes and other items on the street.
He never asked me for a dime,he just wanted to "have someone to talk to". 28 years and I am now the person he wants to talk too....I know he had burned up and used every social resource to him. His wife called the local VA and they told him to come out to see them,he didn't have the busfare to even get out there...I volunteered at 2 homeless shelters in San Jose and I can't ever recall seeing a whole family out on the street like this. My heart ached for him but I could offer him advice,when he said his mother-in-law had gotten them two days at a fleabag motel...I just didn't know what to say,I have no money to spare him,not with my own sketchy situation here..I am so hard pressed myself. But I told him to go to the largest Catholic Church and simply ask for the bus fare to the VA. Simple and small requests go a long way to getting more help. You have to be willing to take anything and everything that is offered to you jobwise. You can't say no...with no transportation,this will be hard but as I told Javier,just get there...you can always walk home,I used to walk everywhere before I moved to Michigan and learned to drive. I used that logic when I started working in San Jose,just get to the job and worry about getting home later.
I know of one friend in Ontario who might be able to help but I have no way of contacting Javier...so now I wait and pray.
Our neighbor just rang my doorbell,she brought me 4 homemade sugar cookies. She said she wanted to go into business for herself but didn't want to go through the hassle of getting health permits. I may have to rethink eating these cookies....
I got a nice email from famed blues singer Candye Kane. I was blessed to have worked with Candye on a couple of shows at the Agenda Lounge. I had first seen her sing at the Cactus Club and was completely blown away by her voice,its a beautiful and bouncy voice with matches Candye perfectly.
Candye herself has been battling cancer for almost 5 years herself,she has undergone several major surgeries yet has still managed to tour and put out new music every year. She is a true warrior in so many different ways.
This was her email to me
My neighbor has gotten serious about defending his garden from the rabbits this summer. He has put posts up and chicken wire around the posts. He then put several heavy stones around except for one weak point where he set up a live trap...I had to laugh when I saw this but when he mentioned he was going to get rid of them for good,well.....that is how his cage got sprayed with animal repellant. I can respect his not wanting to share his cabbage and carrots but not at the expense of killing our bunnies. Its one of summer's biggest highlights,coming home and seeing a couple of rabbits on the front lawn.
Last but not least,so my good friend Monique Parent has put out some new SortaHealthy videos on YouTube. A couple of summers ago,I made her chimchurri sauce and it was amazingly good. She comes up with several great ideas built around the VitaMix blender and they are pretty much all winners.
But she launched this one today and I am finding myself completely torn about trying this:
I'll let you know how it goes!
Getting pretty jazzed for the huge Save Ferris show on the 27th. Despite some inner-band fussing and feuding,the show is going and by the look of things,the fans are siding with vocalist Monique Powell as tickets are selling at a nifty rate..
I am still holding out hope that someone will record this show...and post it on YouTube or maybe the band will sell some CDs of the show. One can hope anyways.
I like to wish my friend Sheri some inner peace and healing during the next 3 weeks.
Went to renew my tags for my car today at the Secretary of State. I got there at around 10:30 am and the line moved quickly until the customer two persons ahead of me,then the line stalled. I waited 20 minutes for just that one person to be helped,the line behind was curled up and through the front door.
Finally it was my turn....I brought all the paperwork except the title. See,we registered both cars under Lori's name. It wasn't planned that way but since it made things easier,we never changed it. Now I have to change my tags to my birthday.
They gave me a form to fill out,I was number 87 and they were at number 64. When I walked in 30 minutes earlier,they were on 62. I decided to bail out,come home,get my title and come at it again tomorrow. Save me some sanity to say the least.
Caught this song while surfing YouTube. The band is Nikki Sixx's new band called Sixx AM and this song is called "Van Nuys". This is a great song and I hope you like it as much as I do.
New "8 Questions with....." coming very soon.
Renee,glad to have you back. Loved your story today.
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