Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Birthday of the Beast

Many moons ago, there were signs and portents...

It was said that a horned figure was seen playing an electric guitar at the Villa of Monsters, where there was no place to plug in...some say He was playing the song 'Black Sabbath'...

...some say that all across the continent of Africa, lions all began to roar, all at once, bewildering zoologists and tribesman alike...

 the cold North, three gigantic swords arose from the ground, as if by the hand of Odin Himself...

...old breweries around the world came to life, suddenly bottling beer when no one had turned on the machines...

...were all these signs a fortelling of a fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse, the birth of a true son of Odin, or just another drunken blogger? tell me.

February 25th, my B-day.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


My cat Raven is doing much better. She started eating on her own last Tuesday night, and I took the IV catheter out on Friday. She was her usual perky self on Thursday morning... I got up to feed her and stayed with her in the computer/writing room. She wanted pets for a while and finally laid down beside me to sleep for a couple of hours. I ran a blood test on her liver values on Friday, and they were still high, but going back down. I'm so glad she's doing better...after euthanizing my cat Anna last november and having my Grandmother pass away a couple of weeks ago, I needed a bit of good luck for a change.

Thanks to all who wrote and commented with kind thoughts. I really appreciate are the best.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sometimes... just never stops. My cat Raven is having issues with her liver. She's only four years old, and the doctor isn't sure what caused it. We started treatment today (meds, IV fluids, injections, and force -feeding since she won't eat on her own right now). The one sure way I know she's not feeling good is that she's just sitting in the corner instead of tapping me with her paw for attention. She'll go back tomorrow for more treatment. Now, I realize that things could be a lot worse, but I think I've had enough bad luck lately.

Just so this isn't an all-downer post, I did get my tattoo finished. Still, the Raven I care most about is the small, furry one. Wish us luck, please.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Winter, Storms, Greetings, Goodbyes Pt.3

As I walk by myself down the roads near my parents' place in Michigan on a cold Winter's morning, I try to let the familial negativity of the preceding two days wash off me in the cold Winter wind. The chill air brings tears to my eyes, and the sun shines off the snow. It's very quiet here, and I enjoy the silence for a while, but I can't resist putting on my Zune and listening to some Immortal. Immortal is a Norwegian Black Metal band, whose songs deal mostly with frozen , icy realms where swords clash and tyrants rule from raven thrones. They are the only band I know that : a) used the word 'permafrost' in a song, and b) made it sound evil. As I listen in the cold wind and walk throught he snowy landscape, it 's an appropriate soundtrack. After a few songs, though, I turn it off and return to the silence. On my solitary journey I come across a tree stump with two empty beer bottles inserted into it. I think, was this where two friends toasted one another? Or perhaps two young lovers sneaking off in the cold Winter night to see each other? Or maybe a lonely fellow, drinking and pondering life's mysteries as he sits on a stump on the side of the can only wonder.

The next couple of days are spent with my parents. Comfort food is made and eaten, as we use each other's company as a balm against the loss we've shared. I know that us being there is especially good for my Mom. She and my Dad(and to a lesser extent, us kids) took care of my other Grandma(my Dad's Mom) after her husband passed away, and when she died, my Mom said it was like losing a parent and a child. I'm sure she feels the same way now, especially since it's her own Mom. I hurt from my own sense of loss, but I hurt even more for my Mom, because I know she must be hurting more than anyone else right now. When I saw her at the end of the viewing, kneeling in front of the casket and starting to cry, my heart brioke. I hate situations where there's nothing that can be done...the animal in me longs for something tangible to lash out at, to smash and break and kill, to pull the hurt out and choke it, tear it apart, to stop it...but things like this are intangible and unstoppable, and only time can make the pain lessen.

We pack up for the trip back to Texas. We plan on going straight through. My brother suggests we go through Oklahoma, since Kim and I haven't been on that route before, and it's about the same distance and time. As night approaches, we discover the weather is getting bad. On the satellite radio and on my laptop, we confirm that the path we've chose is right where there's a storm brewing...damaging winds, rain, possible tornadoes, etc. We decide to press on, and if the weather gets too dicey, we'll pull over and tough it out. As we head into the rain and wind, the song 'Into The Void' by Black Sabbath comes on the radio...oddly appropriate, I think to myself. It's windy, and the rain is harsh in spots, but as we finally cross into Texas, the clouds part, and the Moon stares down like the eye of Odin upon us. As on the trip up, snacks, energy drinks, and the occasional stop for something resembling 'real' food keep us going. As on the way up, I sleep little, as it's uncomfortable in the truck and I always feel the obligation to keep awake to keep the driver company even if I'm not driving. We see the afternmath of the storm on the way down...we saw accidents (some bad) in the rain at night, and in the daylight in Texas we see a trailer deposited on a chainlink fence, smashing it, and a large sign for a car dealership torn apart like so much paper.
We finally arive home late this morning. I'm so happy to see my dog Odin, and he's just as happy to see me. I miss him and the cats (Pict, Raven, Loki, and Phoenix) when I'm away. I call my folks to let them know we're home safe, and I gratefully flop onto my own bed. I know there's still a lot more grief to get through, but at least I'm home again.
I want to thank everyone and anyone here among my fellow bloggers who expressed sympathy and condolences. It really does mean a lot to me, and it does help. Thank you all, you're the best. Take care, everyone.

Winter, Storms, Greetings, Goodbyes Pt. 2

The funeral mass took place at the local Catholic church. I was a pallbearer, so I , and the others chosen for this duty, sat up front and to the right at the church. I sat next to a cousin who said maybe two words to me the whole time. Maybe it was because of old family grudges between our Moms, or maybe he was just uncomfortable with a long-haired Viking for a cousin...I don't know. I sit there in the church and feel very uncomfortable. I've always felt uncomfortable and uneasy in churches, and I'm not really sure why. Maybe I was killed by the Inquisition in a past life or something. Even as a kid, both my Grandmas had pictures of the Last Supper and such hanging on the walls, and these kind of freaked me out. So here I sit, with a gigantic crucified Jesus staring down on all of us, half expecting a buch of spear-waving Crusaders to come pouring out of the doors to round up the heathens.
Catholic functions are very well organized, I think to myself as the mass progresses. The priest says things and the Catholics in attendence respond and songs kick in at times, and the wine and wafers are brought out . I get a lot of dirty looks here in the church, for not joining in where the audience is supposed to, I guess, and especially for not coming up to partake of the Host. The guitar player in the church band in particular made a career out of shooting me the stink eye whenever he wasn't playing. I was baptized Catholic, but I never went to church as a kid, and never went through Catechism(is that the right term?) or anything. I don't think it would've worked out well.
The sharing of wine and wafers complete, the priest says something about a family member wanting to say a few words, and I think to myself,'Oh no'. Sure enough, the worst of the trouble-making relatives steps up to the podium. This person begins to deliver a speech which, at first, says some sweet things about Grandma, but spirals downward into a self-aggrandizing spiel that basically ignores anything the rest of the family has done for my Grandma over the years. To the casual, unknowing listener, it would sound like a nice little speech...but to those of us who knew the real score, it was a 'look at me, I'm such a good relative, and, by the way, I just got the last word' kind of thing. I sat listening to this, and somehow fought the urge to grab the hefty copy of the Bible in front of me and chuck it at the person spewing this bullshit. I could clearly picture it in my mind's eye, sailing across the room, making contact with the relative's forehead, dropping them like a sack of potatoes...and then throwing one at the guitar player next. But I maintained composure, for my Mom's sake if nothing else.
It was windy at the cemetary, and unseasonably warm for a Kentucky Winter. We said our final goodbyes, and went back to the church. The wind really began to blow, and the thought, 'Even the Old Gods are seeing her off' passed through my mind. Goodbyes to living relatives were said, e-mails were exchanged, and we set off for Michigan to our parent's place.

Winter, Storms, Greetings, Goodbyes

When I got the news my Grandma had passed away, calls were made and plans were formed, as they always are in times like this. We were expecting it, but it never makes it any easier. The funeral was to be held in Kentucky. As we leave Texas for parts northward, the air gets colder, and I enjoy the cold. I've been missing Winter lately, but even Winter's cold embrace can't still the pain I feel in my heart. As we travel, I see the destruction that the ice storms have wrought on the countryside. Trees are broken off, snapped as if an angry giant has walked through the land with his arms outstretched, breaking the treetops off as he lumbers across the land.

We arrive in the small Kentucky town my Grandma called home years's your typical small town, where we are greeted with the 'you ain't from around here, are ya' looks from the locals. We get to the funeral home, and find our parents there. Hugs and tears are shared as we greet each other , and finally we enter the funeral home.

It's always weird to see someone you knew in life lying in their coffin...I surround myself with images of death, skulls and vampires and such are in every corner of my house, yet it doesn't make it any easier when you have to see a loved one in such a state. She looks so small, I think to myself. She loved the color pink, and she's wearing a pink outfit and jacket...she would've liked that, I think.

Relatives soon start to flow in. Some I haven't seen in years, some, like my oldest brother's kids, I've never met until now. Most of them have no idea who I am...the last time most of them saw me, I was either a skinny kid with shoulder-length hair , or a fat guy with sligthly longer hair than shoulder-length. My oldest brother, who I haven't seen in ages, looks at me and says, 'You definately ain't that kid anymore'. Cousins and aunts arrive, some genuinely happy to see me (once they figure out who the Hell I am), others about as friendly as the locals. For whatever reason, there have always been feuds and fights amongst my mom's side of the family, and even now, at this sad time, some people have to let their egos dictate their actions instead of their hearts, so glares, snubs, cold shoulders, and even turning one's back to us happens as the day progresses. This is the last thing anyone needs right now, especially my Mom, but assholes will be assholes, I guess. As my brother succinctly puts it, 'Fuck 'em'.

Funeral viewings are one of the strangest gatherings I have ever attended, I think to myself. Here we all are, talking, crying, laughing, while a dead person in a box lies in front of the room. It's been said that Americans have a hard time dealing with Death, so maybe this is a good thing that we're all doing here, in this little funeral home in Kentucky...dealing with Death, each in our own way. I'm trying to be strong for my Mom especially, but it's hard. We manage to make it through the day, then we go to our motel room to get some much needed sleep(we drove straight through to Kentucky).

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I got the news last night that my Grandmother, whose health has been on a rapid decline lately, passed away last night. I'll be heading out to Kentucky early tomorrow, where the funeral is to be held, and possibly to Michigan afterwards where my parents live. My parents have been taking care of my Grandma for the last ten years or so, so this has really hit them hard(it's my Mom's Mom). I'll have my laptop with me, but it may be a while before I can post, or even feel like posting.
Everyone take care out there.