The End of Phase 2 Pt. 1: Izzy

Seemed like yesterday. Sorry, that’s a cliche. And she deserves more than just a cliche. And no matter how much I figure out the way to write this post, there’s no way to describe the feeling. Because it does feel like yesterday when people confused her for Jeanna’s and my daughter. How can a couple of handful of years seem like an eternity? The vivid memory of carrying her to the car when she fell asleep on the couch lingers. Most of those times, she pretended sleep. Ruben and Jeanna and I called her out several times. And try as she might, she could never keep that smile from crawling across her lips. Isabel. Izzy. The youngest. The girl who asked silly questions grew up into a orator in her own right. As a tween and teen, she talked to me about religion, faith, and philosophy. I shiver whenever people say it, but Isabel was (at times) mature of her age.

Even after the decay of the relationship, I still looked at her as something of a younger sister. When a certain coworker made a pass at her, I felt my blood boil. Was this what older brothers felt? Always assumed it was something of fiction.

And just like a snap of a twig underfoot, the years of treasure days came rushing back to me. The word whispered in hallways of hospitals and rooms of clinics. People who never had it stutter and tiptoe around it. A four-letter that expands to a sixth. The big C. The “blind, emotionless alien.”

Izzy is nothing if not a fighter. Well, that’s not true. But for this post, Izzy is nothing if not a fighter. I never doubted her strength. Never doubted the love that carried her through this fight. This battle. This constant war fought by solo soldiers across the world.

And today, the doctors gave her the news. She’s clear. A few more treatments and her battle is over. She goes home a survivor.


Weren’t We Something Though?


A Walk to the Park


In a patriarchal society, my grandmother was the matriarch of the family. The glue that held us together, if you will. Last Saturday, Jyg, Esmer and I had our annual Thanksgiving dinner sans Jerry – who was in San Antonio. It’s not so much a tradition that’s been going on for a while – well, at least not with them – but it’s something I’m hoping to conintue for years to come. Anyway, we got to discussing family rituals of Thanksgiving. Jyg commented on how her family doesn’t have dinners every year and Esmer went on to say that since everyone was grown up, it was hard to get everyone together. I laughed, remembering my grandmother’s hold on her family. Because that’s what we were – her family.

Granted, we might not have subscribed to the same dogma, philosophy or whatever – half the time we probably didn’t even like each other with sibling rivalries or whatever. There wasn’t anything more important than Thanksgiving, nothing that kept you away. And if you questioned it, she’d give you the worse tongue lashing you can imagine. You didn’t go against abuela, didn’t question her. You did what you were expected to do and showed up on time. Otherwise there’d be hell to pay. Things weren’t the same when she passed away. We all drifted in our directions, allowed our rivalries or whatever to get in the way. We became too busy to do things. We were strangers at the table, not a family.

My mother isn’t as headstrong as home was – despite the stubbornness that she inherited – which I inherited, as well. Whether my apathy about the world or my misanthropic view point on the world – my family – rubbed off on her, she doesn’t like to meddle in the affairs of others. Chismes, my grandmother would call it; the family had no place for gossip.

When I decided to revive the Thanksgiving tradition, I didn’t know what to expect. For a while, we had all three brothers gathering at Mom’s house but we dwindled. Jay started working on Thanksgiving, Melissa would shuttle the kids to her mothers. Martin and his family would still come around, until it was decided that we would split the holidays – Martin had Thanksgiving, I had X-mas and Jay had New Year’s. Eventually, Jay got the latter two holidays and I would only be responsible for the main course for X-mas. Due to some misinformation this year, I was back behind the stove preparing Thanksgiving dinner. Once again, chismes befell the family.

It’s not my place to butt in my thoughts on the affairs of others. My grandmother most certainly would, however. She’s give her grandmotherly advice, remind you of the vows you took before (G)od, etc. If it didn’t work out, then it didn’t work out. It was just the way it was, the way it was written. I never had the impression that she liked Javier much so whether she talked to my mother about divorce back in the day is beyond me. If anything, she was the gravity of my mother’s decision. Again, there is no evidence to conclude this.

So despite the turn of events this year, I can only think of one thing. Yesterday was a good day. Jyg, Izzy and I took my nephew Jaycob to the park. In his hand, Jaycob dragged a cat toy tied to a shoelace behind him. It belonged to Dexter, whom Jaycob loved – though, the feeling wasn’t mutual.

“In memory of Dexter,” Jyg said. Izzy made a comment to which Jyg replied, “I think it’s sweet to do something in memory of someone.”

Yeah, so do I.


The Importance of Family

via: WeHeartIt

I’m sure we’ve all been there at least once in our lives. Your sitting with your family and the sudden realization that you’re actually related to these people seeps in. You hope that you are adopted because it’s the only logical explanation why you’re so odd compared to the rest of them – or rather, you’re not odd enough. I’ll admit, there are times that I hoped I was adopted. But the evidence of my biological attachment to these people was damning. I looked like my older brother when he was a kid; I resembled my mother; I have my father’s chubby cheeks, inability to grow actual facial hair and his temper. The creator or mother nature has one hell of a sense of humor when it comes to choosing who shares our DNA.

And for those who know me, I’m not big on family. But once upon a time, I was. Not that I’m saying all I ever wanted to do was spend time with my family – no, nothing like that. It was just at one point I looked forward to the holidays, Thanksgiving especially.

Thanksgiving meant cooking at grandmothers, starting at the crack of dawn. My uncle Danny and his family coming down from Midland to spend it with us. And me actually tolerating my family – for a day’s worth of feeling related to these strangers. That was tradition, anyway, up until 1997 when my grandmother passed away in October. That shattered my idea of what the holiday should be.

Uncle Danny stopped by a two more times after her death before announcing he wasn’t going to spend Thanksgiving with us anymore. What followed was what I called the dark years. I spent Thanksgiving with an ex-girlfriend (who wasn’t an ex at the time, obviously) but I was the stranger again. There was no attachment. My mother, who worked for an elderly lady at the time, spent Thanksgiving working on other people’s dinner. And I would spend it listening to radio and drinking cough and cold medicine for a cheap buzz.

Frustrated with the fact that I felt even more distant from the people I should have some biochemical bond with, I announced one day, a few years ago, that we were a goddamn family and should start acting like one. We had our first Thanksgiving with a motley crew of individuals including my immediate family, Joey, Jyg, Izzy and (possibly) Ruben. This idea bled into having X-mas together as a family, with yet another meal.

Now there are three brothers and each needed to do something. It was agreed upon that Martin, the oldest, would have Thanksgiving, I, the youngest, would have X-mas and Jay, the middle child, would have New Year‘s. That way we all had to deal with each other three times a year and enjoy it. Then the rat incident happen and our oven died. So Jay consumed X-mas as well, though I would provide the main course.

This year, Martin’s wife announced she wouldn’t be doing Thanksgiving this year. The reason was a long term struggle that I had known about and kept to myself, for the most part. The marriage was crumbling and she saw no reason for it anymore. Fine, I can take the helm of Thanksgiving and Jay can have the other two holidays, main course included.

So where we are again. At the beginning of it all. Thanksgiving crumbled and I fear X-mas will follow suit (New Year’s is safe as my family tends to be filled with raging alcoholics – with the exception of me and my mother). What was my foundation of normalcy is now the tombstone upon its grave.

I might not be a family guy, but I know the value that should be placed in one. Sadly, I might be the only one who sees this now. In this family, anyway.


This Post Is Lost In Confusion

I’m just gonna ahead and blurt this out – I miss Amy Winehouse. I miss her crack-addled, drunk swaggering celebrity. I dedicate this blog to her memory. As I type this, I’m listening to her album Back to Black.

I called Texas Car Title and Payday Loan earlier. Still no news. L told me that the regional manager was coming in tomorrow and they’d discuss the interviews then. She also stated that she’d call me tomorrow with the news, if any. I hate calling to see if I got a job because I feel like I’m coming off as desperate, but I know it’s expected. It shows that you’re really interested in the job. That’s why I played it safe and called today and not yesterday.

Thanksgiving is looming closer and now that we have a new stove, we’re doing it here this year. That’s not the only reason, but I’m not going to get into familial issues at this moment. That’s for a later post, if I ever can stomach the subject. Mother wanted to make a turkey roast, which, I’ve learned, is just a nice way of saying a boned turkey breast. While at HEB, I saw a duck and thought that’s what we’re having for Thanksgiving dinner (or lunch, as we always make it for lunch). Now it’s just a matter of finding a good duck recipe.

Thanksgiving this year will be made up of the usual suspects: Mom, Jyg, Izzy, (possibly) the kid and me. My brother and sister-in-law aren’t attending, as will my niece Selena. My other brother, Jay, and his family (except the kid, of course) will also be absent, but that’s something I’ve grown used to.

I’m not going to discuss why Thanksgiving is important to me at the moment. I’ll save that for another post. Oh well, I’m almost finished with Death Troopers, so I’m gonna go ahead and finish that up.


The Walking Dead


The Dead Shall Inherit The Earth


Nothing on AMC has caught my attention like The Walking Dead. Mad Men? I never gave it a chance. Rubicon? Eh, conspiracy shows aren’t my cup of tea. Breaking Bad? I wanted to get into the show, but I couldn’t divorce Bryan Cranston his Malcolm in the Middle character (I’m still working on that). And it’s not a big surprise that this series, of all the great ones that have premiered on this network, grabbed my attention. Can’t guess why? ZOMBIES, MOTHERFUCKERS!

The premiere wasn’t a let down, but it’s too early on to tell if the show will manage to remain fresh past the first season.

Change of subject: It didn’t feel much like Halloween. Jyg and I didn’t do our Halloween thing. We went to JoDi’s party last night along with Izzy, Esmer and Jerry. We headed out to a rumored haunted cemetery, but it was locked up. We built ourselves up for disappointment. No matter, the party was fun.

I started writing my little side project, hoping it sparks some more creation along the way. I’m not stating that it’ll be something worth reading, but at least it’s fun writing. Don’t ask to read it; it’s going into my vault.

Music · Writing & Writers

Zombie Post

Zombies as portrayed in the movie Night of the...
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About a week or so ago, some douche bag decided to announce how zombies do not exist, how they’ll never exist and how those of us who talk about the zombie apocalypse aren’t cool. Well, I’m sorry buddy but we all don’t listen to crappy music to pass our time (this guy was a Blink 182 and as we all know, Blink 182 sucks). Truth is, I expect zombies to exist before Blink 182 actually sounds good.

Preparing for the zombie apocalypse is just a pastime. I don’t know anyone who actually thinks that the dead will walk again only to hunt down love ones and eat their brains. If I were dead and brought back to life, I’d wouldn’t waste my time devouring people, or riding buses complaining how I’m bored. Anyway, our “lameness” is no different from compiling our suicide playlist. It’s not that we’re actually planning our suicides, it’s just a way to showcase how awesome we are when it comes our taste in music (note: Blink 182 never shows up on any worthwhile suicide playlist for a reason).

I started writing a zombie short story. It was meant to be a post apocalyptic story that somehow managed to allow the undead into it. I suppose it stemmed from a dream that I had several nights ago in which Izzy and I were traveling down an open road searching for a lost Jyg. The world was a wasteland. Burning bodies and automobiles littered the roads. There were others that we met, but no one that I knew personally in the real world. I have the habit of dreaming about zombies a lot. A few years ago, I had one in which Jyg, Ruben, a few others and I holed up in an abandoned theater. And in another which Monica and I took over our high school alma mater – this actually stemmed from a conversation we had that night. During a study group, I day dreamed of what it would be like if the zombie apocalypse happened during philosophy class – it would only make sense, wouldn’t it? And then once at the stadium – which I also jotted down for a future reference.

And while I’ve been a fan of zombies since I can remember, I’m sorta irked by the sudden popularity. With the series The Walking Dead premiering on Halloween and the boom in the box offices, zombies are appearing just about everywhere – including novels. My only fear is that some Mormon would-be, hack of a writer will get her grubby hands on the subject and fag-it up by making them sparkle or something like she did with Vampires (though vampires have always been on homoerotic side, and for good reason).  And by writing my short story(ies), I fear like I’m just jumping on the wagon – which I’m not, by the way.

Anyway, I’ve focused too much time typing this post than the story I’m talking about. Until next time…