The Places That are Mine, Where I Lived

I’m not talking about houses.  I’ve never owned property.  Given how shitty my luck is with finding jobs and financial success, I probably never will.  But I was watching a video by the YouTuber Anime Abandon.  I’ve often talked about how I get ideas from other people.  Does that make me a plagiarist?  Not whole-sale.  I take ideas of others and offer my own spin.  Since there isn’t a single thing that is truly original anymore, I don’t think too long on it.  In his video, he talked about a video rental store that just recently closed in California that was his childhood home.  Where his love of anime and old childhood memories of sleepovers were associated.  It got me to thinking.

Over the course of my life, I’ve lived in a lot of places.  In each of those places, there are the memories that are associated with them.  The places that felt like my own, to one degree or another.  Not that I felt I lived there, but that I felt the most comfortable.  Wait, that’s not right.  How do I put it.  You ever have those places where, regardless of where you are, it is where your memories are associated?  Like if you live in a house and you have a tree fort that you spent a ton of time in?  It’s like that.  So here we are, and I figured I’d talk about the places from where I’ve been that felt like mine.  Maybe it’s telling that I haven’t had a house I’ve lived in after the second from my childhood that feel like mine.

When I was really young, the place I most associate with that time was my Grandma’s house.  She and I were incredibly close.  A maternal figure in my life.  It helped that I was not a fan of the grandmother on my mother’s side at all.  We butted heads almost routinely.  But when I think of my grandma’s house, there are so many good memories associated with it.  Her and I talking about whatever.  I would go on about whatever random thing, and she would listen.  Kinda like my old man does, even though I know he isn’t much for it.  He took a lot from her.  Probably we get along so well.  That’s not to say my mother and I don’t.  It’s just different.

All the memories, of my time there.  Visiting my grandpa, who was in his basement.  The man was a chronic alcoholic, and his health was abysmal because of it.  Living on disability checks from the VA, he was kept cozy.  I would often go and talk to him.  More often than not, he’d be outside.  He would just sit in his chair and be in the sun.  Or he’d spend hours mowing the big lawn they had.  I could tell that was one of his favorite things to do.  Groj knows, their lawn definitely benefited from it.  It looked immaculate.

There were also the memories of my time with my brother from another mother.  He was like a brother to me.  In reality, he was my cousin.  All the time that he and I would be in the back room, playing pretend.  Good memories.  From the days before he stabbed me in the back.  Wish I could hold on to those days.

The last thing I associate with that place is the first girl I ever loved.  She moved in there, and I would always go and see her.  When we were younger, I could go up, watch our favorite childhood show.  We would talk about nerd stuff, jam out to 90’s music, listen to these new age CDs that she had that I still listen to to this day.  Time went by.  We grew up together.  One day, I started to notice that she was becoming a woman.  It didn’t slip past me how beautiful she was.  Thus began the tragic story of how much I loved her, but could never tell her.  In hindsight, I wished I had.  To Hell with the consequences.  You only live once, after all.  The thing I would most change, if I could go back and do this all over again.

Upon moving away to the old family homestead that my parents bought after my mother’s family had to move because they couldn’t handle a three-story house at their age.  There, the places I found I most gravitated towards were the lake and the field.  The home was a lake.  There are a ton of memories from where I would go there when I was very young.  I have always had shitty balance, so I flopped out of the boat onto the raft like a fucking beached whale.  That puts a smile on my face.  Memories of when her and I were on that raft, just the two of us.  I wanted to kiss her so bad.  But I never did.  Why not?  Questions that have no answer.  That never will.

I could wander down to the lake, or through the field, and let my mind and imagination wander.  But more than that, there was the mowing the lawn.  Surprising, I know.  But Sally had me get on the riding mower because this place also had one hell of a big lawn.  I was damn good at it, so I would take my time.  It never stopped being enjoyable.  So many stories that played out in my head.  Getting to ponder whatever fiction I wanted to.  Making and destroying universes, all in my mind.  So many of my big idea documents on my computer can trace their origin back to those days on the lawnmower.

After high school, I started out in a local community college.  That place became something of a port of mine.  Often I would walk around.  Then there was a time when I was really tight with a girl who worked there.  She was a student worker at the library, and virtually every day I was there, I would drop by and visit.  Even with how it all ended, and the fact that she hates me now, I still smile at the memories.  Makes me so angry at how the whole thing ended, because if she had just come and talked to me, I know that we would have worked things out.  Like so many people in my life, she kept all her anger at me bottled up, and now it’s done.  Still, those were good days.  When I felt the world at my fingertips, and all the people in my life with me.

When I was in state college, the place that was mine was the walk around campus.  I walked absolutely everywhere.  Didn’t drive anywhere on campus, if I could avoid it.  That was pretty much always.  I can only think of one or two times that I absolutely could not walk to where I needed to go.  Hell, I’d walk to events on campus.  The reason I would do that is because I lived in the dorms.  The walk was always really nice.  Jamming to my favorite tunes on my iPod and getting a little time to let my mind wander.  Noticing a pattern?  The places that are mine are the ones where my mind gets to wander and go to myriad places.  Where my creativity can take shape and fly.

My first apartment had no place like that.  The neighborhood was unsafe in the extreme, and I didn’t trust anyone in there.  But I was living with someone I was dating, and that satiated it.  Her and I could talk long into the night about whatever.  She loved to watch me play games and we could watch movies and make fun of them.  So many good memories.  Just like all the loves in my life, it’s from another existence.  Memories that have no home.

Then there was my second place.  My last apartment sucked.  It was a shit-hole.  But there is one thing I miss.  Because I was having difficulty finding a job (a story that has never died in my life, even when I already have one), I got cooped up in there.  So what did I do?  Easy – I went for walks.  The one I miss there – the hospital.  That was my daily walking route, and I loved it.  Every single day, without fail, I would go around it.  The place is pretty big, so my route never felt short.  In fact, it kept growing as time went by, and I decide to extend the walk.  All those days, during the warm and breezy afternoons of summer, and dark and bitterly cold days of winter.  Even with all of my problems, it was a warm memory.  A good walk, too.

Which brings me to now.  I’m in a much nicer apartment, yet it doesn’t feel like home.  I have a walking route for when I’m not at work.  At work I take multiple walks a day, but it’s always centered around my job.  I don’t feel like that’s mine.  Well, not completely.  The people I hang out with there and the good times we have are awesome.  Makes that I have to leave to find a better job that much more frustrating.  To have to go from an awesome job because of financial need just pisses me off.  That’s not how life should be.  But then, there are a lot of moments like that, in my eyes.  Still, there are no places in my life currently that feel like mine.  When I leave her, nothing is going to stay with me.  It’s all just going to slip away.

All those memories.  So many of them are from places that either I’m not there anymore, or they aren’t there anymore.  My grandma’s old home has been completely remodeled from the ground up.  You genuinely wouldn’t recognize it anymore.  The house on the lake is owned by my uncle now when my parents sold it for the same reason my mother’s parents did.  My apartment is now probably being rented by some undergrad like me.  My first apartment is a shithole that I won’t think twice about.  The second home I lived in, which felt like a place I could call mine was sold and then totally fucked up by the people who lived there.  The vast lawn we had, the garden my mother grew, the beautiful brick walls in front of amazing flowerbeds that merged with the upper tier lawn that my father spent so long making and my mother maintained so studiously are overgrown with weeds.  It kinda broke my heart when I took a couple pins and broke into the joint after those people had to sell it.  To see the empty halls of my youth, decaying.  It made me sad then, and it makes me sad now.

I’ll never get to go back to that back-room, or when that girl moved down the big basement room and we jammed out.  I’ll never get to be next to her on the raft after we went swimming.  I’ll never get the opportunity to tell her how I felt when it really would have meant something.  When the truth finally got out, we already were frayed and it was abundantly clear that that damage was already done.

What are the places in your life that you have memories attached to?  Let me know in the Comments.

Until next time, a quote,

“Nothing is completely safe from being lost forever.” – Bennett the Sage

Peace out,

Maverick

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The Merits of Years of Cooking

I haven’t posted very much lately.  There isn’t much that I have wanted to talk about.  Politics has sucked the life out of everyone.  Social justice just isn’t that interesting anymore.  What more can be said?  Hell, now it is turning on itself.  I like to do reviews.  So close to the release of Horizon: Zero Dawn.  Though, I get the feeling that that review will come out a long time later, because I am going to play as much of that game as I can before I put out my review.  I want you all to know if it’s good or not.  All the reviews i am seeing thus far are giving me lots of hope.  However, something recently came to my attention today.  Something that worked the cockles of my little black heart.

My cousin believes that men and women can’t be friends.  He’s stupid like that.  The proof came from nowhere else than having a girly-mate over to my old place for one last good meal there before I leave it to its folly.  In my new apartment, and it is fantastic.  This girly-mate of mine is married, quite happily.  We worked together at my job at the college library.  There is absolutely no sexual tension between us.  We make each other laugh, and have fun just talking and enjoying one-another’s company.  Since it was the send-off to my shitty old place and the shitty “kitchen” that I had, I wanted to go big.  Decided to make something really special.

On Facebook, I follow a TON of the pages that have the little cooking videos from an overhead angle.  I love that shit.  Since I love to cook, it appeals to me.  And now I FINALLY have a kitchen to do it!  You all have no idea how happy this makes me.  Already got a ton of ideas.  And since I am now interviewing for a job that is a step up from where I am now, my hope is to get ahead.  Needless to say, things are pretty alright.  My new place doesn’t have a microwave.  That is a problem.  One I will solve on Craigslist, eventually.  Along with a mixer and other things.  And a slow cooker.  Definitely that.

Back to my story, I had this friend over, and I made something really unique – Tuscan chicken in angel hair pasta.  Here is a pic I took of it.

tuscan-chickenIt was a giant pain the ass.  It took a lot of patience and being willing to test myself.  I didn’t measure things out specifically.  I winged a lot of it, and you know what – it was worth it.  The final product was one of the finest things I have ever made.  It was a fantastic night.  The two of us were stuffed to the point that we couldn’t even have the fantastic dessert I had planned.  No complaints.  Was awesome.  However, I am going somewhere with this.

The thing I have learned after years of making food is that nothing makes a social gathering come together more than homemade food with good conversation and laughter from people.  Just getting to talk about the process of making and sharing in the meal that I made with another person was some of the most fun I have had in years.  With a proper kitchen, I truly want to see if I can make something fantastic with as many people as I can.

Over the years, I have watched my cooking talents go from strength to strength.  Sure, there have been mistakes along the way.  Some truly amazing fuck-ups that blow my freaking mind.  But in the midst of all of those have come experiments in taste that blow my mind.  The first time I made bagels from scratch.  Laborious, time-consuming, but getting to bit into the final product made that all worth it.  Every holiday I make a new kind of cheesecake.  Last year it was pumpkin cheesecake.  Okay, but not great.  I am planning on doing stromboli, one of these months.  As I sit in my new place, and eat a fresh naval orange, I am inspired to see what I can come up with next.  Experimenting with fruit salad, the kind of salad I actually like.  Making pan-fried potatoes for a guest, something that I am so fucking good at.  Just ask my old man.  He likes my kind of pan-fried better than my mother’s, and that’s saying something.

Good food is a gift.  One that I want to share with as many people as I can before my death wish comes for me.  And for all you guys out there, if you’re single, there is no excuse.  Learn to fucking cook!  Women will swoon if you can make their taste buds ring.  Then you might be able to get their pussy to follow suit.  I got a cousin to prove wrong, and all the time in the world to do it.  What are you all’s thoughts?  Let me know down in the Comments.

Until next time, a quote,

“Much like traveling, meals eaten alone are dull and without flavor.” – The Count, Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo

Peace out,

Maverick

The Failed Apartment

We’re sitting here, waiting for our dinner to finish cooking.  It’s just some fries that we got from the freezer section of the store, but it’s food.  Gotta love being poor, right?  Watching Breaking Bad and waiting for a friend to come over so I can shoot the shit for a while and forget about how unbelievably lonely this apartment is when my roommate is gone.  She’s at her ex’s place, where she will be for the rest of the night.  She’ll be moving back in with him sometime in August, while I am going to be moving back home right smack dab in the middle.  This is the story of the apartment I own and how it all went to pieces.

Chapel of Thanksgiving, DallasI first got this place in April.  Towards the end.  I was living in the dorms at the time and couldn’t have been more excited to leave that place for good.  For real, I’m never going back.  Ever.  I’m done with that.  I only have one semester of college left anyway.  No point going back to that dungeon.  I’m not sure if the parents are going to get a lot more hardcore about me coming back home, but I hope not.  I know that I’ll have to get a new job and everything.  I’m down with that.  I mean to try and get a real job this time around, rather than a job doing retail.  Unless I can get my gig back at the Fred Meyer bakery back.  That was the most fun job I’ve ever had.

The whole thing getting this apartment was fast.  Really, really fast.  We found the place, saw that it was reasonably cheap and had all utilities included in the rent.  But the biggest thing that sold the place to me – this tacky faux-leather couch.  It was already in the place, and damn if it didn’t bring the room together.  The joint was small, but that was cool.

I went looking for this place with my would-be roommate.  Her and I had formed a strong friendship that has recently dwindled some due to current events that are none of your damn business.  She had just gotten out of a relationship that had become very unpleasant, not giving her what she was looking for.  She loved the person she was with.  She still does.  But that didn’t stop it from being an unhealthy relationship.  It just meant that she wasn’t able to be happy in it.  So, since I was looking for an apartment anyway, I thought that her and I could get one together.  She’s my best friend (and one of the few true friends I’ve got left these days), and we’ve stayed in the same place together before.  So, it seemed to be perfect.

Everything happened very quickly.  We looked at the place, got it and moved in in a week.  A couple for me, but still.  Perhaps it all happened a bit too fast.  I don’t know.  I doubt that I ever will.  But I was finally out.  Out of the dorms.  The day I made it official was a good fucking day.  One of the best I’ve had in a while.  I’m never going back.  No point now.  I only have one semester of college left anyway.

At first, the apartment was great.  Since the two of us were cool around each other, none of the awkwardness of rooming with someone of the opposite gender was there.  That was really nice.  To find someone who you can be yourself around is a rare gift that most people take for granted.  Of course, my current job situation wasn’t the best, and I was planning on finding a better one.  After two years, I had gotten all that I was going to get from that job, and now it was time to move on.  But things were good and I was happy.

Flooded TreeA new thing was also happening in my personal life.  I was gradually getting closer with someone and it was going really well.  After so long without love, I was actually feeling really excited to be a boyfriend again.  But, just like all the things in my life, it all fell apart all at once.

See, the roommate couldn’t handle my snoring.  Because she’s an incredibly light sleeper, and I can’t help this little problem, She ended up having to sleep in the other room.  The lack of sleep had her being short with us repeatedly, which was making things more and more unpleasant.  Then, the relationship I had finally built fell apart in an instant.  I had just changed my Facebook status and everything.  But some unresolved emotional issues with the person’s ex and them destroyed things before they began.  I realized too late that I had been a rebound guy.  The fact that I had been unable to see this hurt.  Everything was crashing around me, and then the roommate tells me that she is going to be moving out.  I know that I can’t pay for this place on my own, especially with my current job situation.  Trying to find a new roomie and a new job and a dozen other things, I couldn’t even keep track of it.

With everything that happened, there were decisions to make.  I made mine.  I am returning home.  Moving back in with the parents is not something I am proud of, believe me.  I was finally trying to do this adulthood thing.  To grab life by the horns and be responsible.  Instead, it blew the fuck up right in my face and now I was left alone.  I’m alone at the apartment now.  The roomie is sleeping elsewhere.  I have been enjoying some Mushi-Shi and letting the sad emotions slip out of me.  We also got to have a good conversation with one of our oldest friends.  He came over and we hung out.  It was something that I haven’t gotten to do in a VERY long time, and it was a good night for it.

I am trying not to blame the roommate.  This is a tiny one-bedroom.  My snoring would be an issue no matter what.  And that isn’t the thing that hurts.  The thing that hurts is the personal side, which, as I said before, is none of your damn business.  Maybe you’ve figured it out.  Good for you.  Whatever.  It’s like nothing in life wants to work out for me, no matter how hard I try.  All the things that improved with a roommate are back.  My insomnia returned with a vengeance.  I am listening to the wind outside, wishing I was far away.  Far away at my old bed, with my kitty, listening to the wind and able to sleep.

Me and the roommate’s friendship has survived.  It’s taken a hard hit, to be sure, but it has survived.  I have no doubt that the two of us will be just fine, once all this is done and we have had a chance to let the dust settle.  For now, I think I’ll keep watching Mushi-Shi and wishing I was in that place, where sleep wasn’t such a burden.

Until next time, a quote,

“Maybe I’m too young to know what the world is supposed to be. But it’s not supposed to be this. Can’t be this.” – Huey Freeman, The Boondocks

Peace out,

Maverick