Sunday, August 28, 2016

Move Achieved!

Whew! I got wifi up and running so I can finally blog. We're officially moved into our new home here in East Lansing!

The move itself, sucked. I knew it would. Last time I moved my stuff, I was 50 pounds lighter. So I knew my being severely out of shape would hamper how much I could physically help. I share that with a lot of shame but confident that we are working to change it. So most of the moving relied on Kitty D's strength. With her stuff finally added to mine, we had quite the pile to get through.

See? Both our lives in one big ass pile!

I've been preparing for this move for a few months now. I hate living in boxes. I really do.  We got our keys Friday morning and moved over some stuff we didn't want to get damaged in the move. Tv's, Comp, etc. Saturday was the big tuna. We rented a 15' Uhaul and started loading at 9am. Around 10:00 my pal Jacob came and man was he a lifesaver! He brought all the boxes down as we loaded them. Then Kitty D's friend Kyle showed up and then we doubled our efforts. We did all this as it was constantly raining! That kind of sucked, but kept it cool as we went about our work. We got the truck fully loaded at 11:45. Record time, I thought! I cannot thank them boys enough!

After that, the 30 minute drive to East Lansing, where we started unloading the truck. Around 1pm, my pals Damian and AC showed up and man were they bringing it! By this time, Kitty D and I were totally destroyed from moving all day. But they came and really got us going. We got everything unloaded by around 3:45. It was awesome! Again, still raining but then it finally let up toward the end, natch. I cannot thank them enough either.

I took a mini bath in the sink because we couldn't find the shower curtain yet and did a much needed change of clothes. Then we drove and dropped the Uhaul off and hit up Harrys for some food. We actually had not ate anything all day! So eating something was quite welcome.

We came home and started tackling the unpacking. She napped for a bit while I set up my comp and desk area. Then we tackled the bedroom.

DVDs, NES games and Blu-rays! The nerve center for all things US!

Still so much to get through. About 75% of these boxes are books!
We got the bedroom mostly set up and unpacked the kitchen. Today I am going to be working on the living room and making this place feel like home.

Next weekend I got the kids Sunday-Monday as I have Labor Day off. I will be celebrating their birthdays with them in one shot to save time. So either today or tomorrow I gotta head out and look for presents for them. Once I get everything set up I'll share some more pictures and all that.

I'm glad this move is done. Its weighed heavily on my mind. And there are aspects to it that aren't exactly ideal and some minor disappointments to the new place, in all honestly, I like it. Its laid out exactly like my old place over here was a year ago. In some ways it feels like I never left. I guess I wanted to recapture that feeling in some way. Like here is my new home. Fresh new start.

2016 has been a rough year so far. I don't need to recap it for you. But this move to me represents a clean slate/fresh start that I sorely need right now. I want to get back to a rhythm to re-drop the weight I have gained and get my head back into finishing my projects in comics and writing. I got no excuses now. Kitty D and I are going to make many great memories here. Definitely going to make the most of our time here and just enjoy it as we can. We got a plan to emerge from here a year later as better people in many ways. But for now, I will continue to open up the boxes that contain my life and find new homes for them.... preparing for what is to come.

Let's kick some ass here in East Lansing!

p.s. Fuck moving.

---T

Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Work Continues pt. 2

I hadn't planned on blogging again so soon, but I got a round of info that needs to go out regarding my friend Caleb Stevens and the benefit for his family.

First up the GO FUND ME is still active. Every dollar helps. Please consider tossing them anything you can right HERE - There is so much to pay for in the future. Medical, Housing, Schooling, etc. The list is too great to really fathom. So far the goal has been beaten twice but there is always room for more! Please help out my friends if you can.

Moreover, if you want to get something for your money donated, my offer still stands and will stand through SEPTEMBER 11th: ORDER ANY BOOK OR COMMISSION THROUGH MY ONLINE STORE BY CLICKING HERE AND ALL MONEY EARNED WILL GO DIRECTLY TO THE GO FUND ME! Thank you, I appreciate it. Help me, help you, get something cool. Thank you.

Lastly, if you are in the Indianapolis, Indiana area on September 10th, you can come see me at HORRORHOUND Horror Convention for the Caleb Stevens Memorial Fundraiser. I will set up that Saturday at the 12 Gauge Gore booth where they will be raffling off prizes, doing silent auctions for awesome rare collectibles and exclusives. But I will be setting up at times throughout the show where I will do drawings for donations. Sketches, full pieces... whatever. And hey, maybe even get them TATTOOED at the show by one of the artists there! Who knows, man. Just come out and help support the Fundraiser. All donations and money earned go to the Stevens family. And if you are at the show, hit me up either Friday or Saturday night and we'll have a drink or ten together! I'm looking forward to it.

Here is the Flyer with all the info on it.


_____________________________

Well, this weekend was a whirlwind of emotions for me. I attended the funeral for Caleb and it was easily one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. But I'm glad I got to talk to his family and meet some more of his friends. It was good therapy for all of us to do that. I think all our fellow co-workers were there. We've never had to deal with anything like this before and certainly, our world has changed. The main message I got from the talks there was that Caleb was someone who lived in the present. And often I fail at that. I'm always dwelling in the past or worried/disappointed about my potential future. I just shadow through the here and now. So I am going to try and make a concentrated effort to change that. I have the gift of time and who knows when that will end for me. I need to spend it more wisely. And that is what I will do. For him. For myself.

After the funeral I went to a wedding my girlfriend was in. I felt completely out of place there because I was still reeling from the funeral. She wanted to go with me, but I urged her to continue to be there for her friends while I did for mine. I could tell she wanted to be with me, but so it goes. We went and I managed to crack a smile or two there. But I did feel so out of it while I was there. And I didn't want to be the sour puss at a wedding. But I got by fine.

A few hours later, we came home. I sipped on a few cocktails and just vegged out. I was just enjoying the silence with my girl. We fell asleep in each other's arms. The lesson of this weekend hasn't been lost on us.

This next week will be full of things I got to get done. So barring any major event that comes up, I won't probably blog until after this coming weekend. SOOOO much to do. But now we wrap up our time in Grand Ledge, Michigan and I return to the Eastern side of Lansing. Onward and upward, as always.

But this time, the spirit of my friend rides with us. He will light our lives each day. While this funeral does offer "Closure" to some extent... I know there still is much more work to be done. There will be Horrorhounds. And the Drive Inn show we planned to go together to in Mid-September. I'm still going. Because he'd want me to. And his spirit certainly will be felt there. It will be hard. The days ahead will be hard for us all. But we'll get through it. And we got three people to help out for him for the rest of our lives. I won't forget that. Nor him.

Thanks for reading, my friends. Onward.

--T

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Work Continues

I didn't think I'd blog again this week, but I am. Seems like its my only outlet sometimes. I have so much to do, so little time and the clock is ticking.

Today has come a day I have been dreading. I'm going to a funeral for a friend. I know I will cry. I know it will hurt. I'd rather get 10 teeth pulled without pain drugs than to face this, but I have to. Its hard to truly express my sorrow and anger at this moment. If you've heard any of my latest podcasts you can hear it in my voice. I know he wouldn't want me to feel any of these things. But one thing I've learned about grief of any kind is that you have to let yourself feel it. You cannot run from it. Getting it out in any form is a good thing.

Today will be a demonstration of the two extremes one can face in life. First a funeral for a dear friend, and then going to a wedding for my girl's friend that she is in. Death and new life, all in the same day. This morning, the bride is getting ready and she's excited for her life ahead. Meanwhile at my work, Caleb's cubicle is cleaned out. His loved ones are preparing to gather to say bye (for now) to him.

It's all so surreal when you reflect on it. Love and death, its all a part of this existence that we dwell in. The ride goes too fast. You want to get off it and take it in once in a while, but sometimes you just don't have the time. Maybe indeed, time is the fire in which we burn. (Star Trek reference there, for those who care about such things)

As for me, life will move on. One week from today I'll be packing a truck full of my things and taking it 22 miles East to my new temporary home in East Lansing. Back to the same apartment complex as I was in over a year ago during my divorce. I liked the place well enough to go back. In the end, it was a poor decision but one I had to make. Because in a year I have to move again back to this area for my kids. So it goes. At least I got a free deposit out of it and the rent is decent. The place is smaller, but it will do. And I am sure I will make some good memories there again. As opposed to last time when I was crying everyday and barely getting any sleep between the two jobs I had to work to rebuild my life. But I survived that.

I will have one year there to get my life on track. There are several things to focus on: Artworking, Diet, Exercise, Mental Health, Finances, My Relationship, etc. So much "adulting" to do. The big questions must be tackled and wrestled down to the mat. The time to truly "get busy living or get busy dying." A lot rides on the next year of my life. Its a transition, that is for sure.

I'm going over there to live my life as best I can. I hopefully transition to the better "me," whatever that means. Because in a year, I'll get my kids back living with me like it was. Well, what it WILL be. A new normal for them. I'll get to feel like a full time dad again. I'll find a new rhythm of life and try to be great at it. While around me, the craziness of the world keeps ranting and raving.

But in the end, I'm still me. I will hang my new movie posters and a picture of my friend on my wall. I will reorganize my Cds, Games, Vinyl, Comics, DVD and Blu-ray collection for myself. My prized possessions. Oh, and some of my nerdy toys too. All of it proudly on display next to my books and art. I'll make room for my girl's things and she gets to find a new normal for herself as she decorates her first home with me. Those will be happy things. I look forward to it.

Of course right now, mentally, I'm a mess. So, I spent time with myself last night just listening to old podcasts from eight years ago. All my old comic friends in my head as I picked up a pencil again finally. I was gifted with seven pencilled pages. I made borders and inked some of them partially. Pages for Starslam 3. Secret Project. Etc.  While I drew, the thoughts of everything going on left me and I was just in the work. The pages came out great. You'll see them one day soon. The work continues.

That's what I gotta keep reminding myself. Tragedy and sorrow is not the end of the story. Especially Caleb's story. Yeah, it sucked what happened, and it will suck for a long time. But we will get through it. Because life does continue. And taking on his best traits and remembering his spirit we live on and become better people. We still retain who we are and we do evolve and grow. We stand up to tragedy and face everything thrown at us. It's our best trait as humans. Our will is strong and it gets stronger as we carry those we love with us. Its like the Quickening in Highlander. We get stronger to defeat what's next. And the work continues.

Today I will feel sadness. But I will also feel joy for those two lovebirds who will tie the knot. I will come home and spend time with my girl. And tomorrow I will get my boys and hug them tight. And pack a box or two, to get ready for next weekend.

...and maybe I'll find time to pick up the pencil again. Because the work will continue.

Onward and upward,

T

Thursday, August 18, 2016

I'm Trying To

Hey friends.

Last time I posted an inspirational post called "I'm Ready to." But today is another day and the roller coaster that is my life has me back down low. So I've titled this one: "I'm TRYING to." And I am. I'm trying the best I can with what I got.

As much as I am ready to face everything ahead, I'm still struggling. I fell off the dieting train this week. No gym, bad food but still no soda. There is that. I just had a bad couple of days. A bunch of drama and other stuff. I'm just feeling really beat down. Yesterday I was practically useless. I'm working the day shift for a week at the day job while my partner is on vacation this week and part of next. So my sleep is kinda out of wack. I got a million things to do before next week Saturday and no time table as to when I can get them done. A bunch of minor things but they keep piling up. No rest for the wicked.

I'm down on myself a lot as of late. Sometimes my stitches break. One day I feel like I'm barely holding on. Other days I feel stronger. Maybe I need more therapy. I'm not sure.

This week I'm working day shift and my friend isn't there. I keep looking behind me and he's gone. I'll joke with my co-workers and start to turn toward Caleb's desk to get him in on the joke before I stop myself and think, "Oh yeah." Its gonna be that way for a long time. This weekend is the funeral. Some closure perhaps. But then those of us left behind have to scramble a life together from the pieces. I'm sure I'll be fine. But my thoughts resonate with those closest to him. I just simply ache from how they must feel. Because I know how I feel, and that is not even a tenth of what they feel.

So I haven't been feeling normal. I haven't tried as hard as I should with my life changes. For every two steps forward I take, I get pushed back four more. Bills from my old life pop up and haunt me. I can never get clear of it. I can never get ahead. I so badly want to finish building my life but the bricks get knocked down so easily. So yeah, start again. Keep going. But after a while, I sink and sulk. Its all too much sometimes.

Tonight, I spent some time with my art. After a much needed nap, I scanned all the pages I have done for Starslam 3, as well as some other stuff. I worked on the files, cleaning them up digitally and just making adjustments here and there, getting them ready for coloring. They look good and quite promising. No idea when the book will be completed. But I'm trying as hard as I can to keep progressing.

Its me I'm fighting with. It's all me. I don't know why I feel the struggle so passionately. I don't know why I feel so angry and sad. I'm sure its everything... and nothing all at once. The constant roller coaster I put my mind through. It never ends and I'm the only one on the ride.

The tide changes. This week I found out that my only monthly comic read is going away in a year. So thus ends many years of solid reading. No new books interest me. I only buy books if people I know are on them. Nothing tickles me anymore. Its a shitty feeling. But at least I'll have an extra $4 a month. But I hope I don't spend it on double cheeseburgers.

Some days I want to lose weight so badly and be able to actually shop for clothes in regular stores. Instead of wearing the same pants and rotation of 15 shirts over and over. But then the next I'm like, "fuck it" and just give up. But I'm trying to, folks. I'm wrestling with that demon. I haven't given up completely. Its round 8, and I'm on the ropes, but I am still standing. Somehow I've survived up til now. I don't hate my life, but I certainly have lost value in it sometimes.

I don't know what I need. Maybe a fresh start. Certainly some peace. I'm hoping after we move to East Lansing I can slowly unpack my stuff and just learn to breathe better. I can get into a rhythm at the gym. I can live easier. I can get to work on my stuff. I can finish all the things I want to finish. I'm going to try, friends. As always, I am trying to.

A puppet once said: "Do or do not, there is no try." Let me work on myself to turn this TRY into DO. We all need to work on that, don't we?

--T

Monday, August 15, 2016

I'm Ready To

Hello friends. I'm up early on a Monday morning so I thought I'd write again.

There is so much to do in the next two weeks. I've been dreading a lot of it. Let me try to unpack it all for you.

First up, I've retooled and finished the Caleb piece I showed you guys the sketch of last week. Here is the finished version:


Joe wanted to use that as the basis for the fundraiser flyer that he needed built. So I did it and here it is. If you are in the Indianapolis area on September 9-11th stop by the 12 Gauge Gore booth at the show. I will be there Saturday drawing for donations to go to the fundraiser. If you know someone going to the show, pass this flyer to them. I appreciate it. 

One last drawing of Caleb: I did this commission piece from a friend for a friend of his. I gotta go deliver it today. 


It's going to be a long week preparing myself for this weekend. There is his funeral and then a wedding to go to. I have to go find a nice shirt that will fit around my massive gut. But I'll get it done and get through it.

I'm ready to. 

___________________________________

As life starts to chug along, I'm back to finishing commissioned work. Here's a sketch of an image for a client. A 17th century seductress, of sorts. I plan to finish the final two drawings this week for him. I HAVE to! 



Meanwhile, I'm working hard to get myself into some sort of routine for dieting. I'm six weeks off of soda and exercising when I can. Its been a crazy week so my routine fell off. But I'm showing up and getting it done when I can. I gotta get rolling on it more this week.

I'm ready to.



Then next weekend: THIS....


I've been living with my crap in boxes for months. Well, all my life it seems. In two weeks I will do my 31st move. And one year later, my 32nd. Its already pre-determined. But I will make the best of it. Kitty D is ready to also unearth her things and make the new place "Ours." I'm ready to share the space of my life with her.

I'm honestly tired of looking at that pile of boxes. I'm tired of packing and unpacking my things over and over again. One day, I'll get a final house. That's all I want. A place that I can finally call HOME. I want that so much. I'm ready for that.

As I weed through the stress.... The pain all around me, the boxes filled with my life, the drama of changing tides, the weirdness surrounding old lives, the death of a dear friend, the ever-tightening belt line, the emptying of my wallet, The plans that don't come together, the dreams that always take the back burner, the plans of travel that get put off....

I know I'm just ready to hunker down and get it all done.

It's time to do it. Seriously. It's time.


Here's to happiness in my new life. From this day forward, I'm not afraid. I'm not running away from it. I'm ready to face it. Finally.

--T

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Keeping it Together

Hello friends. Welcome back.

Well I made it a week. Stayed strong at work and tried to find a new "normal." I wasnt too successful.  I'd walk by Caleb's desk and be reminded of something funny he did and I'd feel that sting in my eyes. At least five times a day. But I kept my head down and tried to toss jokes around, biting my lip when I let my mind drift. Its gonna be that way for a long time. You can feel how things have changed there. He won't be forgotten, ever.

The great thing is that everyone is being graciously cool about it. Thier GOFUNDME is now over $11,000. There are other collections going. Joe is organizing a silent auction at Indianapolis Horrorhound convention the weekend of the 9-11th of August. The plan right now is for me to be at the table on Saturday doing sketches for donations to the fund. Ive already had one taker on the commission to directly fund the GOFUNDME. I wish it were more, but maybe we're all strapped. Understandable. My dayjob is planting a tree and a plaque with his name on it in our back garden. So I can go out there and see that from time to time. Thats just wonderful! Everyone is sharing stories and just being cool and caring about it. It feels good to know that in a world that can seem so fucked up and dark all the time that sometimes some light shines through.

The funeral is next weekend. Ive been asked to pallbearer. Its a huge honor for me and im trying to mentally prepare myself for whatever it is I have to do for it. And also to handle the viewing and all that. After that, there is the therapy of Horrorhound, and the weekend after that is the Drive Inn movie camping thing we all planned to go to. Im still going to it because I feel like he'd want me to go. His ghost will be with us the whole time, very easily felt. It will be good therapy for me to just do these things and celebrate all of our lives, past-future. To try to appreciate what we do have.

There is still so much to do beyond that, but its best to tackle the days as they come.

In my life, progress has been made. This weekend my ex GF came and got her things from our apartment. Now I can completely focus my efforts on me and Kitty D's move to East Lansing in two weeks. We got a lot of stuff already packed but now we gotta go down to the bare essentials. My friend Matt came up this weekend and drank Friday and Saturday with us. I really needed that and cannot thank him enough. I bought his lunch as a thank you. He's certainly seen me cry a couple times this weekend. Cannot be easy to see for anyone to deal with.

This week im going to focus on eating even better, continuing to work out and finishing commissions stuff for a client, as well as pages for Starslam 3, Pleasant Life 2 and the other secret project. Im just going to bury my head into the art again. Its healed me time and time again. The one friend who will always be there to comfort me.

I thank all of you for continuing to read this blog and care about whats going on. I'll share what I can. This will be a rough week for all of us. But we'll make it through. Onward and upward.

--T

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Focusing

Hey friends.

I've got a ton to do this week, as I am trying to finish up commissions for a client, work on some pieces for an auction to benefit my friend, regular comic work, etc. Anything to keep my mind occupied. I'm trying. Really I am.

The GOFUNDME for my friends continues. Please consider tossing them something. Anything helps, believe me. The GOFUNDME is right here: GOFUNDME

It appears I will be going to Horrorhound Indianapolis next month to do all I can to help out an auction for the benefit of Caleb as well. The organizer is getting a lot of great items that can be auctioned off, all benefitting Caleb's family. I'm looking forward to going and trying to have a good time, as well as swap stories and just focus on DOING something. When I feel so helpless, its good to know that I can do something to try to help in anyway possible. But more on that as it comes.

For now, I'm just focusing on my day job. Getting through the day and trying anything to feel normal. Its going to take a while, but I'm trying hard. I wanted to share a couple things I finished today and a sketch idea I had.

These are some pieces commissioned for a book. I will provide a link to purchase it when its complete.

This is an idea that came to me last night. My friend being greeted at the gates by some beloved horror and music icons. Just a sketch. Maybe someday I will flesh it out and make it something. Excuse the crudeness of the likenesses. Like I said, this was just a quick sketch. But one I feel good about sharing to you all.
I'm going to work again today. I'm getting things done there as I can. I'm preparing for the busy weeks to come. So much to do. Packing. Moving. Travel. Artworking...

So much to get done. Keeping focus.

Thank you for checking in my friends. Take care.

--T