Tag Archive: death

It’s nearly 2:00 am. I’ve just returned from Katie’s apartment. She has four cats, and her roommate and her roommate’s boyfriend both smoke in the house. I haven’t been able to breathe for quite some time and I itch all over. I just took a Benadryl. What better time to finally write my review of the past year?

Yeah. I’ll make this quick.

This year was pretty eventful. In January I got out of a long-term relationship. I’ve spent the past year chronicling my dating life, which has been mostly humorous. I seem to have found someone who isn’t interested in stupid games, but this post is about 2012, not this year.

It was a year of loss. In February I lost my grandfather on my dad’s side, three months to the day that my grandmother on my mom’s side passed away. In September I lost my other grandmother. I drove to Fayetteville for my grandfather’s funeral and saw how completely and utterly insane my family is. I decided to stay far away when my grandmother passed. In the interim, my aunt has severed all ties with everyone else in my family. She even un-friended us all on Facebook. Is it possible to “un-family” someone? Holidays haven’t quite been the same since then. I’m pretty glad I live on the other side of the state from her and the other nutcases I’m somehow related to.

On a professional level, 2012 was a year of triumph. In late 2011 I set a personal goal that by my birthday I would have my art career off the ground. I bested that goal by several months, putting together a website, a Facebook page, a shop, getting business cards printed up, and being booked for my first solo show in Asheville by the end of April. My show started in August and ended up running for over two months. I sold a lot of prints and an original. In November I was booked for a group show, and while that ended up being a disaster thanks to the complete unprofessionalism of the “gallery,” it was still something. Not only this, but I was given a raise and promotion at the art supply store, enabling me to quit the gas station, gain an extra day off, and not lose any pay. On this end of things, I really have nothing to complain about.

A lot else happened. I got sick a few times. I most certainly did damage to my liver. We survived another election campaign. Justin Bieber still exists.

In the end, it was like any other year. It had its share of ups and downs. I met new people and watched old friendships dissolve. I laughed and had good times. I got my heart broken. You win some, you lose some. But returning to the world of blogging has helped me to keep things in perspective a little better, and be the introspective sonofabitch I was designed to be. So far 2013 is off to a smashing start – a potential new girlfriend, a new roommate, a new bank account. But like any other year, there will inevitably be low points ahead. That’s really about all you can say about life. I made it through another year, and this new year will be one hell of a ride. Life is a journey, not a destination. I’m not sure if that was Coleridge or Aerosmith, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is that the Benadryl is kicking in. The End.



Ray Ortega, Sr. R.I.P.

I was just awoken by the phone. My mom called to tell me that my grandfather passed away. He had a massive heart attack, they tried to revive him but it was no use. I don’t know anything about the funeral plans yet.

Growing up we weren’t quite as close to my dad’s parents as we were to my mom’s, who lived with us for years and helped raise me and my sister. We always thought that grandma and grandpa were a little loony, but we loved them nonetheless. Grandpa has had countless heart attacks and bypass surgeries over the years, and every time he would get some new medications and change a few things in his diet and be fine. I guess this time his heart had all it could take and gave out completely.

The whole thing is a bit surreal at the moment – losing two grandparents in the space of about three months. Grandpa was always good for a laugh, with his recycled vaudeville era one liners and Cold War era Polish jokes. It sucks that he’s gone, and I’m sure eventually it will set in, but right now it just doesn’t seem quite real. It was so sudden, and before when I found out he had another heart attack or was going in the hospital it was almost a given that everything would be fine, because it always was. It really sucks for grandma, because she grew up in a time and culture where women didn’t really do much for themselves, and he was her everything. Even as his health was failing, he still took her places and did everything for her. Even as they were cracking jokes at each other and telling each other to shut up, you could see how much they loved each other. I’m worried about what will happen to her now that he’s gone. I’m also concerned about my dad’s side of the family, most of them were pretty close to grandpa. It’s life, people die, but that doesn’t make it suck any less.

Well anyways that’s about it for now. I need to start getting ready for work. I’ll post more details when I can.