Monthly Archives: January 2015

Rising from the ashes

It’s been a very strange six months since my mom’s passing. In that time, I’ve quit one job, started another (including a couple of weeks doing both), came into some money, and delivered what many people consider a beautiful eulogy. But I’d be lying if I said a lot of it didn’t feel like white noise. I look at myself and see a shell of the man I was. Even at my worst, I never felt trapped, and I never felt so connected to my own mortality. I guess because my mom had a very sad story to tell, part of me wonders if I’ll follow down that path she set. I hope I never get like that, but admittedly, it wouldn’t surprise me all that much if I did. People tell me, “You deserve to have some happiness in your life,” or something to that same effect. I appreciate the good words, but deserve has nothing to do with it. It’s never had anything to do with it. My mom deserved the same things, but she never got them, or got them when they were too late to help her. For better or worse – often for worse- I am my mother’s child.

But in these six months, I think I found an inner strength that I never knew I had. I wouldn’t say I underestimated my inner toughness, but rather didn’t define inner toughness that way. I can look back on some of the things that I did during this time- including working both jobs for 70 hours in the same week, on almost no sleep, catching a severe cold in the process. Even in the lowest moment (or what felt like the lowest moment), I survived. I began standing up for myself more. I took the initiative that I probably should have taken five years ago, even two years ago, making the phone calls, taking the extra shifts, trying to salvage something out of a tough situation. I’ve had great friends along the way. My friend Emma has been a guiding light through this process, and I think it would be fair to call her an angel on my shoulder. I can say the same thing about several other friends of mine, particularly my childhood friends who either grew up in the same neighborhood or did many of the same activities. To any of you who read this, thank you for your kind words along the way, or for sitting with me and letting me pour my heart out. Even if I haven’t always been able to reach out, know that I carry you in my heart. I hope to reconnect with many of you in the near future.

I am grateful for many things- I have a job (and this is also the longest consecutive time I’ve actually been able to keep work, including school breaks and seasonal positions), my own apartment, no debt, and an amazing set of loved ones, familial or otherwise. Much like the empathy argument, I may have trouble showing it, but it’s there. Please don’t mistake aloofness for antipathy. Sometimes, it takes that extra push. I think right now, reconnecting and having my own phoenix moment is going to take a little longer than anybody anticipated.

I may have crashed, but I did not burn. Even if I have to stay down for a while, I think I am learning to pick myself back up.

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88th Oscar nominations- WAY too early predictions- acting ONLY

Best Actor

1. Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant
2. Joseph Gordon-Levitt – The Walk
3. Tom Hanks – St. James Place
4. Ethan Hawke – In a Valley of Violence
5. Bruce Willis – Rock the Kasbah

Best Actress

1. Anne Hathaway – The Intern
2. Kate Hudson – Rock the Kasbah
3. Jennifer Lawrence – Joy
4. Natalie Portman – Jane Got a Gun
5. Emma Watson – Regression

Best Supporting Actor

1. Kevin Bacon – Black Mass
2. David Dencik – Regression
3. Tom Hardy – The Revenant
4. Ethan Hawke – Ten Thousand Saints
5. Christoph Waltz- Spectre

Best Supporting Actress

1. Ellen Burstyn – The Age of Adaline
2. Emily Mortimer – Ten Thousand Saints
3. Amy Ryan – St. James Place
4. Hailee Steinfeld – Ten Thousand Saints
5. Kate Winslet- Triple Nine

Nine MLB games I’ve seen in my life

Dates, parks, scores, and starting pitchers in each game (visitors listed first):

1. June 16, 1993 at Riverfront Stadium (6th birthday)- Giants 6, Reds 5 in 10 innings (Trevor Wilson vs. Jose Rijo)
2. June 30, 1995 at Wrigley Field – Cardinals 3, Cubs 1 (Tom Urbani vs. Frank Castillo)
3. July 20, 1995 at Astrodome- Astros 11, Giants 4 (Terry Mulholland vs. Doug Drabek)
4. June 28, 1997 at Cinergy Field – Cardinals 12, Reds 6 (Fernando Valenzuela vs. John Smiley)
5. July 16, 1999 at Wrigley Field- Cubs 11, Twins 10 (Eric Milton vs. Jon Lieber)
6. June 15, 2001 at Enron Field- Rangers 12, Astros 9 (Rick Helling vs. Wade Miller)
7. June 16, 2002 at Cinergy Field (15th birthday)- Pirates 5, Reds 1 (Jimmy Anderson vs. Jimmy Haynes)
8. September 24, 2006 at Great American Ballpark- Reds 3, Cubs 2 (Juan Mateo vs. Aaron Harang)
9. August 10, 2009 at Busch Stadium- Cardinals 4, Reds 1 (Johnny Cueto vs. Kyle Lohse)

I’ve seen two Hall of Famers in my life- Barry Larkin in my first one, and Craig Biggio in both Astros game (he had a hit in both games); three if Ken Griffey, Jr. is inducted next year (he pinch-hit and flied to right).

Other highlights:

Barry Bonds homered in both games I saw the Giants play.
Sammy Sosa hit a 3-run homer against the Twins.
Jimmy Anderson pitches a complete game Game #7
Aaron Harang pitching a complete game in Game #8
Tom Urbani, a pitcher, homers in Game #2
In Game #5, four Cubs homered (Sosa, Gary Gaetti, Henry Rodriguez, and Jeff Blauser), and Rodriguez later hit a walk-off single to score Mark Grace.
Royce Clayton hitting a walk-off single in Game #8
Albert Pujols going 1-for-3, and Matt Holliday with an RBI and triple, later scoring a run
Even though the Astros lose the second game, Moises Alou hits two home runs.

One thing I know: I’m overdue to see Game #10 in my life. Maybe in an AL park for once.