memorial service

it’s not often that i write a post so soon after an event happens, today i’m making an exception. as you know my first cousin mandy had passed away a week ago. she had suffered from kidney failure for decades and was getting treatment so that she could recieve a transplant and she developed cardiac arrest and died. for many years she had resisted doing a transplant and was just fine with doing dialysis until her young daughter convinced her to go for it.

like i said already there is some drama – with things like there are – but i’m trying to write this without drama. in the grand scheme of things the drama is so minor and petty, however, that is not the post i want to write.

it was sad to me to see mandy’s remains in an urn and next to her remains is a poster of her image on an easel. we had missed most of the memorial service as well my mother got lost on the way – she somehow passed up the point where we needed to go on the expressway. and then she decided to change routes again instead of going the way we know and we got further and further away from where we needed to be.

eventually we arrived at the funeral home in indiana and we saw mandy’s mother – my aunt – in a pose of sorts. she was of course grieving but my mother noted that she had just spoke at the service. not a lot of people there are the service other than her boyfriend, my other first cousin tasha and her hubby, her oldest son, another one of my aunts. everyone else i had no idea who they were.

when i finally sat down after using the jon a wannabe reverend was speaking. he was winging his remarks hard. a lot of you knows and this that or another. no coherent message to be remembered here, he just stumbled his way through his message. sorry to say was not impressed, but it is what it is.

her young daughter who was ready to donate her kidney organized the service and of course the drama somewhat involves money – there will be no elaboration because no drama for this. also i’m sure the family grandchildren and my aunt held up well for the moment even if one wanted to be more involved than they other.

as usual i avoided hugs or any deep conversation at least. and in some respects people wanted to speak and i barely say a word. i tried not to get too involved with it, but at the same time i saw this as a very sad day my first cousin mandy reduced to ashes in an urn. i knew this, but wasn’t entirely ready for it.



life cycle

well this post was prompted by news that my first cousin – mandy – wasn’t doing very well. she was waiting for a kidney transplant – she’s had kidney failure for years and always resisted getting a transplant – and she had a serious cardiac arrest while going for a treatment. then i heard over the course of a week she remained on life support.

now i feel quite sh*tty, i don’t really remember the last time i saw her it has been a few years. we weren’t close, however, i knew mandy mostly while she remained with her mother. her mother whom i discussed briefly here has a bit of a controlling streak which as my cuz got older wanted to get away from.

she would try at least in the years she had been apart from her mother – they weren’t estranged as i knew it, but she wanted to go – to be touchy feely with me. unfortunately i’m rarely cooperative with that. me and her had no real issues though i knew that she could have a very bad temper which could come out unpredictably.

all the same i couldn’t describe our relationship as warm. alas she had a health condition that for many years i may have erroneously blamed on her own mother because she wasn’t the relaxing type. i could say she had the same tendencies as anthony who on occasion came in at the right time, but sometimes will just go rogue  and can never predict what they’ll do next.

which brings to mind, while writing this post i evoked the memory of my dad. my cousin had some serious kidney issues that required dialysis. my dad on the other hand just couldn’t quite settle his alcoholism and even worse had severe high blood pressure he needed to treat. unfortunately my dad chose alcohol instead of really treating his high blood pressure. the comparison is that my dad could’ve controlled his condition on the other hand my cousin had controlled her condition and lasted quite a while.

unfortunately after a week on life support mandy passed away. so as far as i know she’s the first cousin of my generation from my mother’s side to die. quite a blow i’ll say. it’s hard to believe that after living with her condition for no more than two decades and on her way to a kidney transplant she’s gone.

i won’t write anymore about the potential drama that could involve my aunt. as for the brief write-up about her a few years ago, she was involved with drama then. this time imagine the drama when her only child dies before she does. very sad…

btw, i wanted to really talk about the life cycle. the life cycle is really something. now i don’t remember what else i would’ve written after that. i just know that i’d have talked about some of the deaths in my relatively large family. regardless i wish you all good health for as long as we have it.

odds & ends

lately my mother had another cook coming around the house of as late. her sister-in-law (my aunt) drops by every now and then to cook. she was already known as a cook. for the most part i stay in the other part of the house as her and my mother are in the kitchen.

with this said i learned something about my father’s side of the family. the reason i talk of my dad and his addiction issues is because the drama on that side of the family caused his issues. and my aunt – we’ll call her nadine – said she had the chance to come to grips with them when they brought their father up to chicago before i was born.

i never met my grandfather as he died before yours truly finally arrived on the scene – here’s some minor trivia my dad is a junior which makes his dad a senior. according to my mother, nadine said she had a talk with her dad and they hashed out some issues. alas not much was said about the convo, however, she came out feeling better whatever was said or whatever was accomplished.

my mother futher told me that my dad was having trouble with school because not only his mother left home when he was 8, she died relatively young – as my dad did years later. in fact nadine was scheduled to graduate on the day her mother passed away unexpectedly! so unfortunately the son could never really reconcile with his mother and i also heard he was about to move with her. because she died it wasn’t going to happen!

the cooking has been excellent, there’s no shortage of cornbread around these parts now. last week we had some salmon patties with potatoes. we’re not short of collard greens with turkey wings and ham hocks. another time we had a cornish hen which lasted us a few days. one time she brought a lemon meringue pie which i never touched because i for whatever reason don’t like pie.

another visitor lately has been one of my mother’s old coworkers from the bank. she also lost her job when the bank was shut down by the feds and sold to another company. she’s been coming over to help clean up the basement and the closets. for the most part i find somewhere to go when she’s here though last friday i stuck around. didn’t really help out unless asked although my mother and i could knock out some of the clean-up. besides i would like to clean up my closet in the future!

finally i have another interview. trying to get back into the movie theater business – not “the show” of course although things might have changed for the better by now who knows. either way my first interview was a bust but i hope to retool try it again and hope to be successful this time around. perhaps do the reverse of what i did the last time.

also i have a post that is locked and am still working on writing it. hopefully it will be fully available in the near future. just trying to tighten some things up with this story, which i will admit will be quite awkward. i’m thinking about doing this sometime after thanksgiving.

there are some other things worth sharing, however, i’ll just wait until next month to tell you this. somethings have changed for me recently, unfortunately it doesn’t involve a woman at the same time these still are some important changes. unexpected though i hope to bear through them at this current time.

meanwhile wish me luck on this interview this week!


my dad’s birthday has just recently passed. it’s been 20 years since his untimely and unexpected passing. his addiction to alcohol for the many years i knew him took its toll on him.

as often stated on this blog, no one is sure what triggered his addiction. my suspicion is the fact that his parents split when he was young. this was something he never entirely got over even into his adulthood.

one thing to bear in mind with this is that my mother realized she wanted a car, thankfully she could afford one. my dad didn’t want her to have a car and had an attitude about it. perhaps he just didn’t believe my mother should be independent of him.

it occurs to me that perhaps he feared that my mother would get away from him if she had a car. that was unlikely but if you were insecure in the first place, your mind runs wild. if someone was going to leave you keeping them from having a car is the least of your worries. if a person is determined to leave they’ll find a way regardless.

as for me my dad had the idea that my brother wanted to bequeath one of his cars to me. for most of the time my brother lived with us his choice car was a honda. i remember his late 80s to early 90s honda civic colored burgundy. i may not have cared for his choice of a honda, but looking back it was an attractive car and if it was to be i’d have one. someone my dad didn’t like it and queried me on it.

all i could tell him wsa that i knew nothing about it and that was an answer he didn’t like. “DON’T YOU LIE TO ME!” he says, but the truth was i knew nothing about it and my dad didn’t believe it. my brother never said anything to me about it. perhaps my dad didn’t want me to be independent of him either!

i recognize that my dad had some severe issues which he proved unwilling to truly overcome. it’s a shame, because dealing with his addiction and ultimately the underlining causes could’ve saved his life.

wedding season

going backwards in time just a tad from going away to "mission college". very recently my brother shared some pics of his family. this month he's celebrating his 17th wedding anniversary. the year he married he returned to college and finished his baccalaureate degree. he also gained admission to a law school in texas and after getting married would move there.

you know what this means he's getting married and i have to join his wedding party. it was expected i suppose, but never something i wanted to do. perhaps it was the introversion as i knew eyes would be on me. well not entirely but my family both sides definitely had their expectations.

funny party was that i danced with someone at the wedding and cousin natalie who came up for the festivities just decided to force herself to giggle at every unfunny thing i said. wasn't in the mood for her no matter what. even funnier still no one laughed at a random remark she made upon learning i was going to a bar to meet with an uncle – who for some reason was absent from my brother's wedding. and i wasn't going by myself my mother and two other uncles were coming. i was still underage at the time.

now to set up what happened way before the wedding my brother and i had been at odds. my time in community college was a bit of a struggle, i wasn't working and my brother chose to ding me on both at the time. he saw something wrong with the picture. perhaps there was – and yes he was coming on too strong – at the same time well i was a bit aimless at the time. my brother never gave me something to work with at the time, no one did other than their expectations.

my mother during this period randomly suggest "don't you want to join the national guard?" not sure where this came from and besides i wasn't sure what i wanted to do, got this college thing stuck in my head. though ironically enough i did speak to the navy that summer, but never made a move at all. funny thing is we did discuss this and she was somewhat involved with my meetings with recruiters from the armed services, however, her expectation as wrong as it turned out to be at the time was that i'd be very successful in college.

soon the wedding was over and the "pretensiousness" of the new couple were moving to a whole other state. no more ceremony, pomp & circumstance, family, or even snooty bridesmaids. time to get back to reality.

which reminds me, during the course of that year after my brother and i had a serious falling out wholly unnecessary might i add i called an uncle who lived in virginia. we talked for a couple of hours and suggested at random that i come out there – perhaps a week, perhaps a summer. then i told my mother. became a whole drama that in small ways i attempted to quell.

didn't happen that way! my mother brought it at random to her sister in-law when i told her to "keep your mouth shut". then we went up to visit a great-aunt in wisconsin and it came up again. this time i said nothing but i really had no intention on talking about it. but it was something very exciting and again another expectation that i would go out east to visit with him.

my mother even told people at work and as i handed her my resume to look at just quickly changed subjects saying "you won't do what i ask you to do" quickly pivoting to making reservations to head out east. she mentioned someone at work asked her about the trip and my mother well had no answer as i was still at home and the summer was almost over.

my thinking on why i didn't just go out to visit my uncle. it may have had little to do with the fact that my mother starting talking about it. at the time i thought about money i had my savings account but it would be my first trip without my mother since my dad passed away. she would've paid for the ticket to go out there, however,, what else would i have to contribute. i suppose the random mentions of this when i least expected damped my interest…

one finally coup de grace was claudine my retired military officer aunt who started to take an interest in this. early that summer – before my brother's nuptials – my mother met claudine and her daughter in our southern hometown. at the time claudine lived in maryland and she was already talking about sites we could visit there.

and my thought really was i was out there to visit my uncle not you. what are you doing getting involved with me going out there and trying to convince me to come out. claudine even went so far as to note "you better come out here, the summer is almost over". she wanted me to come out there and made the same level of effort as mu mother.

meanwhile my uncle was silent we never talked about me coming out there at least since the phone call. he didn't encourage me one way or the other he put the idea out there and the women in the family after knowing about it started working on me. essentially it didn't work as i wanted to discourage this behavior.

btw, i never figured out how claudine found out about it. perhaps her and her brother talked about it or perhaps my mother brought it up to her at random. she decided to put on her own pressure. other than that the summer of that wedding, was laregely uneventful


going back to my stream of thoughts that began late last month allow me to give a timeline. during the month of july, there was a family reunion in georgia which came on the heels of my attempt to go away to school at "mission college". the liberal arts school that "mission" represents is in georgia.

that experience was cool but academically and financially it didn't do me a whole lot of good. had more freedom but little experience in dealing with it. even met a young lady – nicole – whom i wanted to meet again even if there was uncertainty if she actually did like me like that. though that story came to a very hostile end much later.

before going back home in a state of uncertainty about whether or not i'd be able to return i went to a family reunion meeting picked up by an aunt from campus. then was sent back to campus via cousin natalie and her husband who attempted to talk my head off the whole way back. then on to the reunion where i still had uncertainty about my eventual return.

not long after the reunion my mother went on a cruise so i was at home for a whole week as she sailed around the Caribbean with her sisters. even still have a t-shirt from that period of time. then eventually my mother came back and not long after that one quick question, "are you going to register for classes at the community college?" well my answer was negative basically and she mumbled under her breath that i needed to finish those last few credit. before saying very clearly "it's your life".

little did i know, this was a warning sign. she was setting her expectation without just coming out and saying that this is what she wanted. she already hinted at it before i left for "mission" i was a few credit shy of an associate's degree and had little interest essentially in attaining it. perhaps this was me being 21-22 years old and trying to have it my way.

then because i hadn't yet found a job right away she started sitting me down convinced that i needed help strategizing. she starts putting on the pressure, though sadly finding a job takes time. bottom line this would ultimately help me return to "mission" although it was decided at this point it wasn't going to happen that particular year.

one thing that came up during those "strategizing" sessions was i needed to have this sense of completion and finish the associate's degree. my inclination was to reject that to my mother's disappointment. and i came up with excuses to not go back and clearly this is something that was just on her mind no matter what i said. it really bothered her that i could get a degree just like that and i wouldn't do it! unfortunately trying to convince me didn't work.

when it came closer to registration it was less of a discussion than simply a command – "go and get registered". ultimately i did, however, it was only for just enough classes where i'd still be short of the degree. when it was time to pay for the classes i went to the college that afternoon just to wander because i hope that at the end of the deadline it would be too late to pay. so i came home and not long after arriving my mother shows up from work unannounced. she wants the phone number and when they close which i complied quickly, however, she expected more from me and in a huff told me that "i wasn't even trying". she went back to work to get those two classes paid for.

during my time at community college, she was never in a huge rush to pay for me classes. she was giving me everything and i offered very little in return, taking it for granted. however, i showed little enthusiasm and she wanted this more than anything.

sometimes i wonder if her family put a "bug" in her ear. two of her sisters called the house and outright asked me if i was getting my associate's, and for the most part i only offered a bullsh*t answer. put without proving it my first thought was she was telling them that i would return to finish my associate's and they decided to make it part of the conversation.

as my mother just made it clear i needed to finish the associate's degree she advertised this as a way to really help me find a job. she also used her future demise as an argument. and of course as my reticence to really have this as part of any job application – perhaps in light of my naive belief that an undergrad degree would solve everything it didn't – she merely suggested just leaving it off my resume which was a direct contradiction to this would help me find a job.

all the same at least i never had to answer for my response to this attempt at parental coercion. i was very tempted to tear up this degree in her face to show how i'm not proud of it at all. she probably wouldn't have been entirely moved by it as she got what she paid for. it was what she wanted and for my young mind that wasn't enough for me. thankfully this never happened.

to continue my stream of thoughts what happened when i returned to my community college in spite of myself. what was the difference between spending one term at "mission college" vs. starting my undergrad career and a community college.



natalie has been a feature of this blog off & on since roughly the beginning. natalie is my first cousin whose first post was regarding nicole – a young lady I met at “mission college” who attended the all-girls “hillman” – though that post was more about her asking about this fabled young woman i had told some family about. but nat making a whole deal about it made that situation ultimately uncomfortable.

the main reason i’m writing this post was to talk about a story my mother told me about natalie as a child. thanks to my rather cold and distant relationship to her – and believe me my reason for that is quite petty to be honest – i feel shitty for learning about this episode. i blow her off for my own reasons and now i recognize once upon a time she needed someone to reach out to her.

well not to disappoint you guys, but even though for the most part this blog isn’t known to my immediate family it would be in bad taste to tell the story relayed to me. there is a reason natalie told my mother whenever that was and not me. who knows who else knows this about her other than the other individuals involved. regardless i have little idea who else she told as my mother clearly hadn’t known.

what i can say is that in that initial post i noted that nat had a rough childhood and developed nicely as a wife and mother working in health care. that rough childhood involved a mother suffering from mental illness and natalie herself was raised by her grandmother in the family’s southern hometown. nat has a sister named tasha – with whom i had been far more close – found herself in the same situation except she ultimately remained in chicago to be raised by one of our aunts.

natalie developed to work in health care, get a college degree in nursing – from a southern college, and married with husband & children. my mother told me she had been at one point introverted and considering her background this makes sense. the nat i know and has been illustrated on this blog overtime is often extroverted or gregarious.

so i note that often in the moments where she can come on too strong trying to relate to me she may force herself to laugh. she may even force herself to get excited to see me and often i’m not feeling the same way. at some point she learns to back off – the story about nicole from “hillman” is one case. now i can see this gregariousness as a mask, she’s probably still suffering some pain from her childhood.

my general relationship to her will likely not change, but my view of her will be significantly different. it won’t be pity, but with the realization that her mom wasn’t in a stable mental condition to raise her daughters i know for sure she had a rough childhood. furthermore, now i somewhat understand her better now than i had ever. often she’s just a happy family member who seems to seek attention, now she has a truly sympathetic background. which now helps me feel quite sh*tty for our relationship.

when i learned this story i wanted to publish it immediately and then i realized it’s bad karma but my decision was to let some time elapse. now it won’t see the light of day and the post i wanted to write was overwritten by the post you see now. it’s good karma to keep this to myself.

BTW, let me clarify something. this blog isn’t known to my immediate family although names have been changed on this blog, the stories seen here are base on true stories. it important for me to take some pains to not allow anyone who knows me to connect the dots as to my identity however i do what to fudge the distinction as far as what character written on this blog represents as far as a real life person.