Living La Viudez Loca

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Until (a) death (certificate) do us part, Part 1


Gather 'round, one and all, to hear a tale of one of my greater facepalmingest moments1.  My step-daughter had just given me my wife's urn and ashes along with her death certificate and some other papers concerning her cremation (my wife's. that is, not my step-daughter's... just thought I should make that clear).  I proceeded to put the ashes on the floor beside and place the papers in my coat's inner pocket shortly before she (that "she" would be referring to my step-daughter this time) and her husband drove me to the North County Transit Center to await the train that would take me home to Los Angeles.  Shortly after we said our goodbyes, I felt too warm and took my coat off, folding it over my arm.  As the train arrived, I put the coat back on just before I boarded.  Finally I got home, took my wife's urn (with the ashes still inside) over to my sister-in-law's place, where I spent some time before going back to my apartment.  I checked for the papers and discovered they weren't in my coat pocket.  Ok, so maybe I left them at sister-in-law's, but asking her reveals that's a dead end.  So I search my room, but turn up nothing.  So part of Sunday is spent searching once more and finding the e-mail addresses of lost and found for MetroLink and the North County Transit Center and explaining what happened and asking them to get in contact me on the off chance someone has turned them in.  Long odds, I know, but better than no odds at all.
Monday comes, but it's Memorial Day.  About the only news concerning the death certificate is that I discover I cannot order it online.  Looks like my only option is to go down to the Los Angeles County Public Health building (LACPH; remember that acronym- I'm probably going to be using it tomorrow) and buy a new copy (or two, since I'm already going to be there, I might as well get an extra).  But that part of the tale is for another day....

1 I would add "of my life" here, except that would be redundant. I don't think I've ever had a facepalmingest (or any other) moment in anyone else's life but my own.

Monday, May 30, 2016

I just learned how to change the cover photo on my Google+ profile

Words cannot describe how beautiful she is to me.  And the emotions every time I see it: love, pain, joy, sorrow, blessedness, betrayal (how dare she leave me alone?), and too many more to sort them all out.  Then there are the questions to which I do not know the answer.  I have to restrain myself from punching the monitor so that I no longer can see it while at the same time wanting to linger on it, caressing the image of her face (why can't it be the real thing?).
I hope that no one reading this is bothered by my remembering this Memorial Day someone who fell in the battle against cancer.  I didn't plan it this way, it just happened.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

She's Baaaaaaaaaaaaack!

Finally, the Lorena has returned to Los Angeles1, 2
And for one brief and shining moment,she was even here, back home in what was previously our apartment.3  But for better or worse, I took her over to her sister's place... and tears began to flow4.  And when that was all over, they began to flow again.  In between, there was time for me to eat three chicken tortillas and some reheated Mexican-style pinto beans interrupted by periods of comforting her sister and our (i.e., my and my wife's) niece and answering or declining to answer questions from our 5(?)-year-old grandniece5 (Is that tía Lore in there?  Can she get out?  Can you open it?).  Some time during all of this, I offered to let them keep her ashes for a brief yet unspecified amount of time and they agreed.  Thus, she is currently being memorialized in a vigil there with the whole burning candles around her "urn" 6.

1 And not only can't I smell what the Lorena is cooking, I doubt that she is cooking.
2 And, yes, it is time to play "how many cultural references can you spot and identify in this post".
3 The "where she belongs" is, of course, implied.
4 As a male, I can neither confirm nor deny that any such tears proceeded from me, but let the reader(s) figure it out.
5 This is the same grandniece who once (when my wife was still alive) asked me "Is your tía Lore home?". In an effort to correct her, I explained that Lorena was not my tía ("aunt"), but my esposa ("wife").  After which she asked, "Oh, so is your tía esposa home?".
6 It looks more or less like this7:
except:
  1. it's dark blue instead of black;
  2. it has a label with her name and the name of and information for the cremation service (Cremation Services, Inc., 2570 Fortune Way Suite D Vista, CA 92081, 760-727-8906); and,
  3. most importantly, it is closed and possibly sealed.
7 This is in no way meant as a criticism or complaint against the service. On the contrary, one of the things that most impressed me about them is that while they offer (more expensive) alternatives, they didn't try to upsell any of them to me by suggesting that paying more equates to loving my wife more8, which I have read is a common tactic among funerary services. Not the most creatively named, but highly recommended by yours truly.  Now if they only offered a referral fee if I can get someone to mention that he or she heard of their service here....
8 Then again, that was probably a smart and/or fortunate move on their part when dealing with me because I would have immediately asked them whether that was what they meant if they had.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

9 minutes to go and I better finished getting my socks and shoes on and turn off the computer.

It's been fun.  I might do this again sometime.  Then again, probably not.  Y'all come back now, ya hear?

18 minutes.... guess I'll find clothes to wear

I would tell you what I found, but either:
  1. you wouldn't find it all that exciting, or,
  2. if you did find it exciting, I probably wouldn't want to tell you because you seem to get excited too easily.

20 minutes and checking Phins.com didn't turn up anything worth reading

Then again, it is the off-season, which means mostly fluff pieces.

Ok, 24 minutes now, I'm going to check my email

Bleh... nothing interesting.  Guess that's it for this post.

I've got 29 minutes to go before I leave, let's start blogging

Slight change of plans since I got off of work an hour early and it gave me time to go home.  Good thing, too because I left the clothes I was going to take at work.  Yes, work was that rough last night.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Going to pick up my wife's ashes

Not really much to expand on from the post's title.  Just put the finishing touches (namely, calling my step-daughter to make sure she doesn't have any plans that would prevent me from getting the ashes) to get off of work at 6:00 a.m. (Inglewood) ⇒ Union Station (Los Angeles) ⇒ Oceanside, CA via MetroLink ⇒ Stepdaughter's house ⇒  get ashes and return home.  Or at least that's the plan.  Hopefully Mr. Murphy won't make an appearance on the trip.
So everyone behave until I get back, hear?

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Just another difference between pre-widower life and post-widower life

While I was out shopping today (according to the scheduled posting date, which would be about a week ago by the time I actually got around to posting this), I saw a multiple picture with "Together is my favorite place to be" written across the bottom.  Before, I would have viewed it as merely a charming sentiment and some small part of me can still recognize it as such.  Now it mostly delivers a gut punch with the subtlety of a sledgehammer, a painful reminder that my wife's death bars "together" as a "place" I can visit with her in the present.  I'm not quite sure why I share this other than to point out 1) how differently I perceive an innocuous message before and after my wife's death and, 2) how randomly a "bad moment" can appear.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

They could have told me this in the first place (or at least, if they did, I don't remember seeing it)

According to an e-mail I just got from BlogCatalog:
Thank you for submitting your blog Living La Viduez Loca (http://beeljo.blogspot.com/) to BlogCatalog.

Unfortunately upon reviewing your blog we are unable to grant it access to the directory.

The most common reasons for not getting into Blog Catalog are:

    We could not verify ownership of your blog.
    A link back, widget or meta-tag is required to verify site ownership. visit: http://www.blogcatalog.com/buttons for more information.
I would think they would want the "BlogCatalog Approved" badge displayed only after the blog was actually approved, but c'est la vie and que será, será and a whole bunch of other non-English phrases like that.  So I added the badge, resubmitted the blog and let's see what happens.
Death, Dying and Loss Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory
Oh, and the other funny thing about the e-mail? It's addressed as follows: Dear donotreply@blogcatalog.com.... =OP

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

We are not cameras!

The good news: my "1 Million Love Messages" message finally appeared.
The face palm news: the photo I attached to it is titled "[image: OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA]"
91888181d6c7215dc9bd1e6da4c784c7146dce01fdf6f04d
I'm pretty sure the photo I included in my message depicts two people about to cut into their wedding cake... or at least that's the way I remember it.

(Photo source)
(Photo I wanted to use)

Monday, May 23, 2016

A site that might be even more amazing than mine...

Sometimes an idea is just so great, yet simple, that you wonder why you didn't think of it first.  Such is the case with a site I found on BlogCatalog called "1 Million Love Messages".  My review is as follows:
I don't understand how anyone could rate this site less than five stars. Words cannot express how wonderful an idea this is. 

 Furthermore, I dedicated the following message to my deceased wife:

Te amo, te quiero, te necesito.
Te extraño.
Siempre estarás en mi corazón.
============
I love you, I want you, I need you.
I miss you.
You will always be in my heart.

I will probably update this post once I see my message appear on the site to add more details.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Suffering from PWRD

I don't know how prevalent Phantom Wedding Ring Disorder1 or even if anyone other than myself suffers from it.  I do, however, know that in my case that is altogether too real.  After growing accustomed to almost sixteen years of brushing my thumb against my wedding ring to check that it was still there, it is now gone from the fourth digit of my left hand.  And even the knowledge that it's gone (and why) doesn't stop me from rechecking- just in case I misrembered or dreamt both the real and symbolic reasons for its absence.  But what can one do when she's gone from one's life, but not from one's heart?

1 I was going to call it "Phantom Ring Syndrome" before learning that name is already taken for an entirely different malady.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

(NS)FAQ #2: Why "Loreto"?

One question I have received several times, especially among hispanohablantes ("Spanish-speakers", for you English-speakers) is why my wife's name was "Loreto" rather than "Loreta" since "o"-ending first names tend to indicate males and "a"-ending names tend to indicate females.  When someone first posed this question to me, I thought it might have to do with her being the eldest child in her family and there are quite a few guys who want their first child to be male.  However, that overlooked a more obvious answer, one that came to me the night before her final viewing as I sat my sister-in-law's living room in Vista, CA and saw a poster for this city:

(That would be Loreto, Baja California Sur, Mexico)

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

One more post to go to fulfill my BlogCatalog quota

The day is finally here.  I am at the cusp of fulfilling the ten-post minimum needed to submit a blog for approval in the BlogCatalog directory.  As for the other criteria, my blog must:
  • be a blog... Check!
  • not have pop-up nor pop-under ads... Check!
  • be verified... nothing I can do about this one but wait
  • have unique content... I doubt I could make my content any uniquer, so Check!
  • not be adult only content... the content seems more childlike than anything else
  • have value to readers... this one, unfortunately, seems a bit subjective.  However, if someone who didn't know about BlogCatalog were to read my blog and find out about that way, I would think that would have value to him or her (does flattery count?).
Now if I just had something to write about in my tenth post.  I guess I'll just have to think of a topic.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Nothing Compared 2 Her

Let's get right at with another installment of (insert drum roll here)... Recent Widower's Reviews®.  For those who have not already guessed it by the post's title, I will be looking at a song by Prince that was popularized by Sinéad Marie Bernadette O’Connor by the name of "Nothing Compares 2 U".

Nothing Compared 2 Her

Let's get right at with another installment of (insert drum roll here)... Recent Widower's Reviews®.  For those who have not already guessed it by the post's title, I will be looking at a song by Prince that was popularized by Sinéad Marie Bernadette O’Connor by the name of "Nothing Compares 2 U".

Monday, May 16, 2016

When is a party not a party?

One of my tendencies that people who know me- whether personally or through reading this blog- might recognize is that I often have difficulty putting times, such as dates, months or even years, to a lot of events that I otherwise remember quite well.  For example, some time back before I met my wife, a female co-worker (yes, that's one of the reasons I wanted to emphasize the above) asked me if I wanted to go to a party she was having at her house, if I remember correctly, that night.  Since I didn't have plans for whatever night it was (or pretty much any other night, come to think of it), I agreed after making arrangements for her to pick me up at my apartment as I don't drive and it was quite a distance away.  After work ended that day, I went to pick up some juice just in case the refreshments weren't to my liking (while I don't have anything against drinking per se, it's something I have never developed a taste for personally) and then home to change.  She arrives later on and we drive over to her house.  After awhile there, though, it appears that no one else is going to show up and eventually she takes me back to my place.  I think nothing of it until....

Sunday, May 15, 2016

A cautionary tale

I cannot recall the month, much less the date, it happened.  I thought I had narrowed down the time frame by finding a purchase made at the Salinas Amtrak followed by another at an Inglewood Costco, but their date of April 25, 2011 marks them as about a year too late.  While the exact "when" remains a mystery, the "what" I remember all too well despite dismissing it as trifling at the time.  My wife had returned to our Salinas, California apartment after visiting her sister in Los Angeles.  While there, she said, she went to the hospital with abdominal pain and the doctors discovered a lump/mass (masa) in that area of her body.  Maybe it was fear of the effect of hospital bills on our financial situation (we weren't too far from almost losing our apartment due to back rent we eventually paid off and both of us being temporarily unemployed) or perhaps I didn't want to believe that it was what it almost definitely was, but I should have rushed her to Natividad Hospital or pretty much anywhere to have it checked out.  I didn't.
And so I am left here to wonder: would they have caught it in time if I had?  Would it have made a difference?  Would she still be alive, perhaps even well?  What kind of husband was/am I, to allow that to have happened to her?
 I cannot prevent questions like these from haunting my thoughts or wounding my heart.  But that is as far as I will let them go in crippling my life and destroying my future.  Yes, I made those choices.  Yes, I own up to my failures.  However, I am human.  I recognize my imperfections.  The past remains unchangeable, but I can repent of what I have done and use the knowledge I have gained from my errors to make better choices now and in the future.  The story has not finished and I feel joy over that.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

I just saw my (dead) wife

After I got off the bus at Crenshaw Avenue and Hyde Park Boulevard (hollow black dot on the map of Los Angeles, CA above) and crossed the street while returning home from work around 6:15 this morning, my eyes beheld the vision of my wife rounding the corner of South Victoria Avenue (hollow light gray dot to its left; the black circle with the dot was close to my destination) and heading towards me. Yet, inexplicably, as we approached, the woman I identified simply by her hairstyle slowly and agonizingly transformed into a complete stranger who I doubt I had ever seen before and appeared almost nothing like who I originally thought she was.
Silly, stupid, foolishly desperate me.

Friday, May 13, 2016

It's the End of the World As We Know It And I (Mostly) Feel Fine

Welcome to the first installment of recent widower's reviews, where I (the recent widower in question) look at some songs and possibly other media that relate- however remotely- to how I feel since my wife's death.
It should become a semi-regular feature on this blog since it's easy to do (except when I'm using it as a dual-purpose post, like this one) and I need filler from time to time.  So let's get to it.

It's the End of the World As We Know It And I (Mostly) Feel Fine

Welcome to the first installment of recent widower's reviews, where I (the recent widower in question) look at some songs and possibly other media that relate- however remotely- to how I feel since my wife's death.
It should become a semi-regular feature on this blog since it's easy to do (except when I'm using it as a dual-purpose post, like this one) and I need filler from time to time.  So let's get to it.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

(NS)FAQ: What's a "beeljo"?

Before addressing the topic referred to in the post's title, let me first explain that a (NS)FAQ is a (Not So) Frequently Asked Question- sometimes so not so frequently as to be equal to zero.  Then again, sometimes the best time to answer a question is before it is even asked.

So who, what, where, when , why, and/or how is a "beeljo"?
It's the first two letters of my last name followed by the first two letters of my middle name and then topped off with the first two letters of my first name.  Thus: "beeljo".

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Currently experiencing not-quite-technical difficulties

In my quest to provide for you, my loyal readers (if there are any such creatures) a better and more aesthetically pleasing experience, I have noticed an unsightly space between the bottom of the comment section and the Previous Post / Home / Next Post links as can be seen in the screenshot below:
I am trying to resolve this problem on the Blogger Help Forum.   Until further notice, I have removed all customizations since someone who responded to an earlier query implied that they were hindering his efforts at finding a solution.  I hope you can bear with me through this trying and troubling period.

Thank you.

Update: since the request has been up already for 7+ hours and I haven't gotten a response, I'm going to assume that one is not forthcoming.  Hence, I'm just going to return load the old template back in and assume the space is being caused by a height in an IFrame and therefore not changeable by me.

Update 2: I finally was told to try Stackoverflow.com again.  While I don't mind that they couldn't help, the first response seemed like an attempt to shift the blame on to my customizations than simply admit that the problem was with template itself.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

In which I compose why I suppose I have to propose a purpose for this blog

Welcome and I hope you enjoy reading this blog and I, for the most part, enjoy writing it. Please note that while many of the early posts will deal will have a somber tone, I will balance these out with lighter pieces later on.  This brings me to the first few reasons for my blog:
  1.  To show the pain in my life and the causes thereof in my life, especially those related to my wife's death.  I wanted the blog to reflect all aspects of my life and realistically portray my experiences rather than cherry-pick the good.
  2. I hope that by sharing such events, I can multiply the joy and divide the sorrow brought by them.
  3. To show that at least one person (i.e., me) has learned how to overcome such pain and possibly give hope to someone who thinks he or she cannot.
But wait... that's not all!  Act now (or any other time before this blog ends) and you'll also receive these additional reasons for no extra charge:

  1. To share some of my and my wife's history, both before and after we met.
  2.  To encourage myself to become more social.  A couple of consequences of moving around so much throughout my life are first, I do not know how to develop roots within a community, and, second, I have a hard time picking up social cues that would have been more obvious.
That's all I can think of for now, but I'll come back and add any more that come to mind.

Monday, May 9, 2016

My Lorem Ipsum Post

※※※※※  Please kindly disregard this post.  It is made specifically for the purpose of demonstrating a feature request on the Blogger forum.  ※※※※※


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Integer nec odio. Praesent libero. Sed cursus ante dapibus diam. Sed nisi. Nulla quis sem at nibh elementum imperdiet. Duis sagittis ipsum. Praesent mauris. Fusce nec tellus sed augue semper porta. Mauris massa.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Coming Monday, May 9, 2016 to an Internet near you....

It's... "The Blog". But not just any blog, but this very blog. I finally have it more or less set up how I want but will probably continue to make minor tweaks. However, I want to add a few static pages. Furthermore, I am considering creating a duplicate blog in Spanish since many of my step-family and family-in-law do not speak English.