Nine years

Jun. 29th, 2015 12:22 pm
greatbear: (me and mom)
Yesterday marked one year of wedded bliss between Jeff and myself. Much more happiness and oh-so-cool levels of awesomeness from not only the day before with the WIN at SCOTUS, but even more so seeing quite a few couples here, not to mention countless others everywhere else getting married on our same day. We're proud to be a part of the "anniversary surge" that will inevitably occur.

As such things go in my life, with much celebration also comes much sadness. Today marks the ninth year from the day I lost my mother to cancer. I know she would be enthusiastically taking part in all this celebrating were she still with us. It was quite by accident as we were planing our big day and how it best would fit in with the plans of ourselves and our guests. It was only after we had gained some momentum that I realized these two dates fell next to each other. As it turned out, because of the slip-up, a good part of our wedding celebration was made to include a tribute to our moms, who couldn't be there with us in the seats, but who were definitely there is everyone's hearts.

I miss you so much.

Six

Jun. 29th, 2012 07:08 am
greatbear: (me and mom)
Six years ago, but still seems all too recent. Still miss you terribly, Mom.

Five years

Jun. 30th, 2011 02:05 am
greatbear: (me and mom)
Today marked five years since I lost my Mom to cancer. Five years already. It seems like it was just last week. I tried to keep a positive outlook, and that was made a bit easier by focusing on trip preparations and picking up a camping guest. But it finally started to get to me when everyone else went to sleep. It's not a bad thing, though.

I'm finally able to stand aside from my loss and the heavy mental baggage it comes with, and make solid moves with my life. I am able to do the gardening and other tasks that were so close to Mom's creative and recreational side, that I am able to have them make me feel better and enjoy those things in the way that she used to. I think she would be proud. And I am no longer feeling so much that I am "raiding her territories."

I still miss my Mom terribly, and I will do so until my last breath. I also won't say that I have "moved on", it's more like "moved along", carrying with me all the good she imparted into my life.

RIP RJD

May. 16th, 2010 05:19 pm
greatbear: (candle)

Ronnie James Dio
1942 - 2010


\m/ indeed.
greatbear: (jeff and me)
Often is the time I regretted getting to know someone. In this case, it was [livejournal.com profile] danbearnyc, whose erudite commentary seemed found in so many friend's entries. Being already saddled with an overly large 'friends list' and having trouble keeping up with everyone as it was, I have been hesitant adding even more folk to my alphabet soup knowing that it would undoubtedly result in my missing compelling content. It was either that, or spend even more time than I had keeping up with LJ, time which seems more scarce every day. While I had been keeping true to my feeling that I should get to know more people as I find them interesting (and have done pretty recently, and been very grateful), Dan's near ubiquitous presence throughout a good part of my sphere of LJ interactions kept me in the loop of his influence, reminding me that one day I'll step into his world.

Now it's too late.

So many unexpected things happen in life, and, as I have painfully discovered in recent years, there's always a chance that someone you'll want to get to know, or get to know better, might not be around tomorrow. I place a high value in those relationships, even if they exist solely in the electronic realm. Meeting someone for the first time that I have gotten to know well through being "cyber pen pals" is a magical experience. Few things in life have such a profound effect on one's self as coming into contact with someone you had never met in person prior, yet the feeling is that you have known this person for years (and indeed this can be the case). The joy I have felt in these meetings is palpable, and stays with me. I have promised myself to continue with getting to know people like this who enrich my life and make being on this rock floating in space a happier experience. It reached a peak with Jeff and I. Events in my recent past regarding my health, circumstances and such have put me into somewhat of a retreat mode, but I at least can peer out among the prime of humanity through my little electronic bedroom window and feel enriched by their presence and maybe, hopefully, befriend these folk and feel I belong. With luck, the electronic will become real, and that enveloping joy will be mine (ours) to experience time and time again.

And hopefully, before it's too late.

For Michael

Jul. 7th, 2009 02:22 pm
greatbear: (Default)
I guess I should broach the much talked about subject these days of Michael Jackson. Even at an early age, I had a fairly sophisticated taste in music, tending towards classical music (I played violin in school and was damn good at it until I gave up in middle school because of the sucky music teacher) and progressive and heavier rock. I still immersed myself in constant music from the radio, and that meant hearing a lot of the Jackson 5 and later on MJ's solo stuff. Here was well produced, catchy pop music that a lot of people felt accessible. Heck, even my Mom used to like some of his stuff. The numbers of the time don't lie, all the way through Thriller his popularity grew worldwide, and the moniker of "The King of Pop" was deserved.

People who become famous in relatively benign ways such as music, movies, writing, etc. tend to handle their fame in many ways. Some burn out early. Some freak and take their lives. Others deal wonderfully through their lives and downplay their fame for a greater good. And some tend to exaggerate odd behavior and if not brought back to a generalized reality they will head off into a world of crazy-go-nuts. This is where MJ ended up. The reasons have been all put forth time and time again. Abusive father. No childhood. Vitaligo. Blackmail. Etc. With all that static no one will ever know the truth. And MJ surrounded himself with lots of enablers that can also foot at least part of the blame.

All in all, I will simply separate the man's life from the man's career. His musical legacy will be around till the end of time. What he's done in his private life essentially is of no concern anymore except in an academic sense. Unfortunately, people will keep dredging up the latter as long as there's a buck to be made from it, and those busybodies who have nothing of interest in their own lives will be there to poke their noses in as usual.

Turning this completely around, upon hearing of Gary Glitter's sexual pecadillos with children and subsequent airtight conviction thereof, I was not-so-secretly hoping that this would finally rid the music and sports world of that horrid "Rock and Roll Pt. 2" song once and for all. And it did so for a while. Now it's back as strong as ever. People have limited memory capacity when it comes to things like this. The product will always tend to separate from it's creator. This is what will always be the case with Michael Jackson and his career of hits, his stage and screen personality and his legacy. The music industry will profit from his work, and the tabloid industry will profit from his life, the latter living parasitically on conjecture, lies and very little truth. As long as there is a market for either of these, it will thrive. History will remember the music most.
greatbear: (Default)
Another Hillside camping weekend has come and gone. Somehow all the effort that goes into these weekends - the packing, driving, setting up/tearing down, cooking, etc - almost makes us wonder if they are all worth it for the relatively short time. But, meeting up and spending quality time with old friends as well as making some new ones offsets the efforts. This outing had [livejournal.com profile] churchbear and his beau "The Pork" plus Jeff's good buddy Dean staying on site 22 with us, along with Kodi the WonderPooch. Across the road from us once again was [livejournal.com profile] rockybear02 and his beau along with a mutual friend staying in their newly acquired luxury pop-up trailer. Aside from some rather intense rain on Friday afternoon, it was pretty decent weather overall. [livejournal.com profile] climatebearnj and [livejournal.com profile] churchbear both had their chances to feel up my arms. Meals were total awesomeness as the two Jeffs, Dean and "The Pork" were almost playing "Battle of the Food Network Stars". I bought three radios from Hillside's little 'treasure store' (basically a permanent yard sale) for five bucks and took a few minutes tonight to clean the pots and switches to make them work like new once again. We delivered the trailer to it's summer home in Jeff's parents' driveway but not before Kodi tossed his cookies half inside and half outside my truck along with half all over Jeff. That's three halves simply because it was that much. We drove home in light traffic with no incidents at all for the whole weekend. I give it all a B+.

I look forward to these weekends as a chance to unplug from the world's events. I did bring my hugeass laptop along, but I mostly did a lot of updating of the system and installed programs since I had not touched the thing since last August. On the radio we had heard about the deaths of Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. Along with the loss of Ed McMahon, that was three big names from my younger years that are now gone. This prompted a lot of discussion among us as well as with our friends the entire weekend. Thus, the weekend was weighed down with talk of death at a time when I had hoped to not have it on my mind, being that tomorrow, the 29th, marks the the third anniversary of losing Mom to cancer. I had warned my supervisor at work that there'd be a chance I would not show up on Monday if my frame of mind was in shambles. I'm still not sure how tomorrow will turn out in that respect.

Once home and back online, Jeff found out that loudmouthed infomercial pitchman Billy Mays died too. It's ironic, in that "But wait! There's more!" respect. Unreal.

That mostly sums up what has gone on with me during my LJ absence. A lot of really good trying to stave off the specter of really bad with the memory of the absolute worst standing by. My brain is an awflly small batteground for such things.

More loss

Feb. 11th, 2009 08:01 pm
greatbear: (blackness)
My best friend John called me a little while ago to tell me that his Mom had died late Monday. She was is failing health and staying at a nursing home. Though she had other conditions that put her in the facility, it was discovered during medical tests for organ donor viability that she had an abdomen full of cancer that no one knew about. This is a shock to everyone.

Mrs. Z. was such a wonderful soul. Almost like a second Mom to me, she was always friendly and inviting me for dinner when I was nearby. A constant fixture in my life since middle school, I really will miss her and her effervescent personality.

The last few days I had been in a pretty deep funk, one which I naturally blamed on my Mom's birthday being yesterday and the elevated feelings of missing her. But I had nightmares and other feelings that bothered me, and perhaps this was the reason. I could not even make it to work today. I slept late today and later went out in the nearly 70 degree weather and put more trim on the garage. Something was just not right.

A memorial service is this Sunday. Jeff and I will go and pay our respects.

Farewell, Mrs. Z.
greatbear: (eeeexcellent)
I am ordinarily saddened by someone's death. The closer they are to me, of course, the greater the feelings of sadness. This is true for almost all of humanity. It's our nature. However, I tend to find a relief when some person dies who lived to make others' existence pure hell. When I read early this morning that Jesse Helms kicked the bucket, I was not truly overcome with joy. Rather, it was more disappointment. Disappointed that his croaking did not open a giant sucking vortex into his brand of hell taking with him all of his kind, crushing and mangling their bodies on the way. I'll just have to be content with just being rid of his stinking carcass.

The fact that he died on Independence Day is only icing on the cake.

But, anyway.

Hope y'all are having a great day, and are able to enjoy a nice long weekend.
greatbear: (tgs weirded out)
Real life is not like the comics pages.

Or is it?

Often called the "funnies". the comics section is a standard fixture in almost every newspaper, and all over the web as well. But it's misleading to dismiss comics as simple humorous sketches. Comics, after all, got their early start as political satire. You could provide social commentary and political criticism much easier in a 'drawing' than you could as an editorial piece. Sometimes the difference between the two was a jail sentence. Or worse.

These days, the comic pages contain everything from insipid humor to biting social commentary. You can often tell a newspaper's editorial slant by the roster of comics it carries. A right-wing rag is more likely to carry "Mark Trail" rather than "Doonesbury". "Zippy the Pinhead" is more likely found in more liberal, intellectual-leaning outlets (and is still going to be greeted with collective 'WTFs' on many occasions).

Among the the majority of comedy in the comics there are bits of tragedy. You'll tend to find it mostly in serial strips, where a set of established characters go about their lives much as we do every day. Serialized strips such as soap opera-like "Apartment 3-G" and "Rex Morgan, M.D." tend to be ponderous, dragged out and impersonal. But some strips involve a close-up view of the lives their character's lives. And two of these strips recently dealt with issues that hit close to home for me.

The first one, "For Better or For Worse", is one of my all-time favorite strips. Revolving around a family named Patterson, the strip's story lines and character aging follows a slightly accelerated realtime line. Readers have been treated to watching the kids grow up, newborns brought into the family and many story arcs that deal with current issues, growing pains, major and minor triumphs and tragedies, and social commentary. Peripheral characters brought in discussions of gay rights, developmental disabilities and even sexual assault. Some of the characters in the strip are based on real-life friends of the artist/author. There is even a less-than-six-degrees relationship of some of those inspirations to people here on LJ (I cannot remember specifics except it involves Canadians. lol).

The most recent storyline involves the 'grandfather' in the strip having a relapse of a stroke that occurred earlier in the year. Never one to shy away from including anything that does not happen in the real world, author Lynn Johnston has the strip as of this writing with Grandpa Jim back in the hospital and everyone unsure of his future.

The second, and more unlikely place I'd find tragedy is in the strip "Funky Winkerbean". What first started off in 1972 as a strip that followed the antics of a bunch of kids in school, the comic has moved it's characters up in age in sudden, decade-plus increments. I had not been too close a reader of the strip until recently, when I discovered one of the characters named Lisa was having a battle with breast cancer. The first story arc had Lisa discovering her cancer and going through treatments and eventual remission. Lately, though, it was found that the hospital had accidently switched her records with another patient, and what was thought to be remission had instead found to have the cancer spreading. Lisa decides to stop treatments and let the disease take it's course. Lisa is shown in subsequent strips declining, a gaunt face and weakening body. She succumbs to her disease today. The artist/writer, Tom Batiuk, tells readers that once this story arc is finished, he will once again lurch the timeframe of the strip forward by about ten years. Lisa's story has been made into a book, the sales of the book benefitting "Lisa’s Legacy Fund for Cancer Research and Education". At the end of Lisa's second story segment, another book will be published with the proceeds going to the fund.

Now, some people are not used to or like seeing such realistic, painful realities in their 'funny pages'. While so much of the Funky Winkerbean strips of late hit me very hard since losing Mom to cancer last year, I applaud writers like Johnston and Batiuk for imbuing their works with realities. They remind people of the good times and bad times, ups and downs, tragedies and truimphs that are a part of daily life. And with their deft handling of situations, they give us hope in bad times, help us cope with things that bring us down, and celebrate life in all it's greatness. Yeah, it sounds cliche, but for those who see others going through life in three panels a day, it gives perspective of our lives in living color realtime.

Question of the day to my dear readers: Should the 'comics' deal with such real-life topics such as this? Or should they remain 'funnies'?

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