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רגב אליהו ניוסטרם-יונג's Journal

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Saturday, November 28th, 2015
8:51 pm - The office / the office / the office is on fire
Did I mention that, before Hallowe'en this year, my apartment's rental office caught fire? Again? This is the second time in three years that the thing has burned. Ironically, they had just renovated it and were about to open it when it burned, far worse than the first time. I was coming home from the gym, and a police barricade prevented my bus from going past a certain point. So, I walked the rest of the way. When I turned into the rental office, I saw what seemed like every fire truck in the Peoria area in my complex. I live a bit of a way's down, so my first thought was: "Please don't be my apartment. Please don't be my apartment. Please don't be my apartment." And gladly, it wasn't, but wow, that was so bad we ended up on the local news.

When I went to pick up my keys for my new apartment the lady working the (temporary) rental office was on the phone discussing the damaged rental office/clubhouse, and at one point said, "No no no, that was the other fire."

I think you have a problem if you need to differentiate between fires.

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8:29 pm - Mudarme
So I got the keys to my new apartment on Wednesday, right after work. I have done most of the move myself, so it's been unbelievably pokey. One of the hardest things has been having to intentionally rid myself of many things that I have (which includes a lot of Carl's stuff). The apartment I am moving into is far smaller, which meant that I needed give away a deep freeze, a dining room table, a dresser, a storage table, and a few other things. Almost all of Carl's movies were dropped off to a game resale shop. I literally had a trunk full of movies, and I warned the clerk ahead of time. When I dragged the trunk in, she gave me a dirty look. Hey, I warned her! Many guys already took me up on taking Carl's clothes. I just need to mail that out. A friend of Carl's in Chicago is taking back his PS3 (which he initially gave to Carl). I am hoping a local comic shop will have luck with a lot of Carl's nerdier stuff.

I moved the big furniture all today with help of a friend. My God. 1) I am glad I lift now or that shit would have never gotten up and down those stairs. And 2) Even with that, it took 25 damned minutes to get my fold away couch down three flights of stairs, across the street, and back up three flights of stairs.

The only big piece of furniture I have left is my bed, which I need to dismantle, somehow. -_- I have never been particularly good at things like this ^^;;;;

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Monday, November 16th, 2015
11:05 pm - Not necessarily moving on, but moving ...
Carl and I shared a two-bedroom apartment until the day he died, and I continued to rent that apartment until now, when my lease came to an end. I had very much wanted to pick up and go elsewhere, but where? I would need work; going somewhere with no work is just stupid. I know a friend who went to Portland and couldn't find work for two years. I can't do that.

Instead of keeping the two bedroom, I told my rental office that I would go into a smaller apartment. I would be saving $1400 a month doing this, though it is much smaller than I anticipated, meaning that I need to pare down.

And part of that is getting rid of Carl's stuff. His movies, books, clothes -- it all needs to go. It kind of makes me feel like a grave robber going through his stuff but I need to do this.

Earlier this week, on my walk home, I somehow -- a year and some months after losing Carl -- had some "realisation" that he was gone. I am not sure how, but that realisation filled me with so much sorrow. I wonder if this means, that I'm not at a "total realisation" yet?

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Monday, June 29th, 2015
8:22 pm - Life, or: why are you not here??
And life goes on. But that lingering anger still remains of Carl not being here. There's no reason he should be dead now, in my mind. Had he started caring for himself -- rather than assuming death was inevitable because of his weight -- he would still be here. And that still upsets me to this day.

I recently went to Milan, Italy -- a trip that we talked about going on together. And Italy was great; don't get me wrong. I had a great time there. But there was still that lingering knowledge that this was supposed to be our trip. This was supposed to be for US, and yet he wasn't. And that gutted me. I remember telling this in a rather raised tone with Urso in a subway station late at night, and he didn't know what to say to any of it. I can't say I blame him.

Recently the Supreme Court has led to same-sex marriage being legal in every state in the country, and while initially I was thrilled, I remembered Carl. We had just gotten marriage before he died, and we took our time because we assumed that we had time. Carl talked about getting married all the time, and we had even guessed years back as to when it would be nationwide. Carl's response was, "Pfft, I'll be fucking dead before that happens."

Fuck you Carl. Fuck you for being right. You should have been here for this, and you weren't.

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Wednesday, May 27th, 2015
10:04 pm - Eurovision 2015: the wrapup
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Click and take a look at the wrapup!Collapse )

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Monday, May 11th, 2015
7:18 pm
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Eurovision rehearsals start this week! As cheesy as it is, I always look forward to this time of year!

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Monday, May 4th, 2015
9:14 am
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Last Sunday I once again did on-air duty for WTVP's yearly auction. I have become known for my beard styling yet I have not done so since I bombed terribly last July. Losing Carl certainly didn't help matters any, as my desire to do pretty much anything had been killed.

I asked a friend of mine to help me. "Well maybe you should ask someone who knows hair?" he said, suggesting a mutual friend who is a hairdresser.

So I posed the question, "How comfortable are you with beard styling?"
"Maybe you should ask a barber?" he replied.
"I don't mean regular maintenance. I mean this."

I sent him a pic of my beard being styled in Sacramento.

"... yeah, I wouldn't know where to begin," he admitted.

So I went back to the first friend, who then contacted me the day I needed to be on air and said that he couldn't show up until an hour before air time. So, I was on my own.

With that, I showed up at noon at the station. The lady who let me in said, "You're not on until 5!" I explained that I needed enough time in case something horrible happened.

And it didn't. For not styling in almost a year, it turned out pretty damned well.

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Thursday, April 16th, 2015
10:58 am - Birthday
Sunday would have been Carl's 45th birthday.

The fact that he's not here for this not only saddens me, but routinely infuriates me. Carl seemed to think that, since he was heavy, he would just die, and seemed content in that. Frequently he would tell me, "Well it's okay. When I die, you get my life insurance money," as though somehow that would make the pain and depression of the last eight months magically vanish.

His death seemed so pointless. It didn't need to end this way, at all, and the fact that it did has me frequently looking back at all the times where Carl disregarded his own health. When he became insulin dependent, he at one point just stopped taking it because it was "inconvenient." He developed a very sedentary lifestyle, to the point that walking around at a comic convention caused him pain afterwords. Yet, any attempt to change things or improve things would be met with ambivalence at best and disdain at worst.

I wish I understood why Carl didn't love himself enough to just care about his body, and that is perhaps the worst part of losing him.

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Thursday, April 9th, 2015
9:50 am - It has been a long time ...
I am still around, and I apologise for not posting to this sooner.

Man, being a widower is so so so difficult. I have such a new-found understanding of how my mother reacted when she lost my dad. There are times when all you can do is collapse and weep. The stupidest things still set me off, after all this time.

Next week will be eight months since I lost Carl. In a way, it seems like no time at all. The time seems to have blended together, with huge swaths of time becoming indistinguishable from one another. I am still no closer to finding what my next steps are. I have become seriously discontent with my job and the city I live in, and continuing to stay in the home that Carl and I shared can, sometimes, be unbearable.

Yesterday I took a stack of his mail, wrote "DECEASED – RETURN TO SENDER" and finally sent them. The moment the envelopes were released from my hand, I felt my eyes well up, and I can't even explain why, but an enormous amount of grief came over me the moment those envelopes hit the mailbox. And in a way, it makes me feel stupid for that even happening -- it was merely mailing a letter. Why would this be so hard?

I tried to go to a bear run in December, and I'm not sure it was really the best thing for me to do. I have felt very nonsexual since Carl died -- I haven't done anything with anyone since before the event -- and at one point was even confronted about this by a man who I turned down. "Well if you're not gonna fuck, why are you even here??" Further awkwardness occurred when a friend of Carl's saw me, apologised for not going to his visitation, and started bawling, which then made ME bawl. Did I mention we were at an indoor water park? Because, really, what better place to cry over your dead husband than a water park?

I hope, with time, that I can finally find a path towards finally being happy. Yet, my clueless as to how to get there has caused me an immense amount of frustration, and the feelings of failure -- how could it not be a failure on my part, after all, that I have no solid plan to fall back on? -- just make the feelings of sadness and of being trapped even worse.

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Thursday, October 16th, 2014
9:25 am - A note to Carl
Dear Carl,

It has been two months since I lost you. There isn't a day that I don't think about you, or think of the things we wanted to do and share together. I think of how excited you were when it became clear that we could finally get married together, and how we assumed that we had the time to do so. I wish I had more time with you.

There isn't a day when our home isn't eerily quiet. When our bed feels painfully empty. When I see the computer desk that you sat at, wishing you were once more sitting next to me. When I think of things that I want to tell you, and suddenly I remember that I can no longer do so. When I see someone who looks like you and, for a brief second, I get excited with the thought that you're still alive, only to be brutally brought back down to earth, slapped in the face with the cold reality that you will never once come through the front door.

I can't tell you how many tears I have shed over you, or how many times I curse your having been taken from me. People say that you would want me to be happy, but there's still such an immense weight over my chest, and I can't seem to remove it from myself no matter how hard I try. I can't tell you how much of a wreck I became this past Yom Kippur as you were the one I prayed for during the yizkor service. I can't tell you how lost and aimless I have become without you by my side, nor can I tell you how difficult sometimes it can be to just go on with life.

Even writing this note has been emotionally devastating, as though writing it makes the fact that you're gone that much more real. I have had to stop a few times and wipe the tears from my eyes. Someone suggested that I pen my feeling towards you – well, actually, that's not quite it. Someone suggested writing to a lost love, and I think in that case he meant "break up," but I think that this would count, wouldn't it? Besides Yom Kippur, this note was amazingly one of the harder things I have done since I lost you.

It will take a long time before this isn't so emotionally torturous, but know that I think of you every day, and I will never stop loving you.


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Wednesday, August 27th, 2014
12:46 pm - Carl's service
Wow, the crap that has happened in the last week.

So, Carl's dad came over with an octogenarian gang of old ladies, to discuss Carl's visitation. We had agreed that Carl wanted to be cremated -- at least we didn't nee the MIA will to know this, as Carl had mentioned it a few times -- but apparently there was ALSO to be a visitation. Which, to me, makes little sense. But whatever, he paid for the thing so ...

It became clear that none of these old ladies had a clue about Carl. "Does he have a Bible?" "What kind of church music did he like?" Really?? Carl??? They even mentioned that he was a congregant at the "Church of Christ in Peoria." I'm sorry??? There's no need to make crap up.

Thank God Carl's friend Johnny was there to back up what I was saying. It was just awkward to feel like I was being steamrolled by these people the entire time. Amusingly enough, when the conversation veered towards the confirmation that, yes, we WERE a couple, one of the octogenarian cast members of West Side Story would then speak VERY LOUDLY in a desperate attempt to change the subject.

I got to the funeral home on Wednesday, and got about fifteen feet into the door, saw Carl in a casket, and my legs just gave way. Any time I looked in that direction, I couldn't stop bawling. This was the confirmation, that he is really gone. Because he was right there. At one point I grabbed his arm, and was horrified to feel an odd unnatural solidification. I know how Carl feels, and this was not it. It's hard for me to explain, really, but it was unsettling.

Later, we were dragged back to an office to talk to a pastor, who asked us to talk about Carl. Again, it was Carl's dad, the same octogenarians, and myself. And no one could say anything about Carl. Again. Nothing. I was appalled to see that the same people who were putting together this service. So I spoke about Carl in detail, and each little tidbit got followed with a "he did??" or an "I didn't know that." At one point I mentioned that a friend was going to Milan and wanted us to see him next year at the World Expo. "Of course," I said, "I have no idea how we could have done that, but he wanted to do it."

Carl's dad finally spoke up. "Yeah, he would have bugged ME for the money."

Really? THAT is the two yen you're going to add to this conversation?? Wow, helpful. Seriously.

So the pastor started to speak as the (many!!) people gathered. Did I mention he sounded like Jason Stackhouse from True Blood? He seriously said "that's jacked up" at least three times during the Mad Lib in front of him that he called a sermon. We knew things didn't bode well when he pointed to the 11 year old girl facing us and said, "This is my daughter Maya. She's excited to be here." Insert girl sighing, rolling her eyes, and texting here.

Pastor Stackhouse fucked up every detail I told him. Every one. He even, at one point, read the obituary word for word. Yes, even the "special friend" part. Instead of getting the catharsis I so desired, I became furious, digging my nails into the Kleenex box on my lap. After that, he just took off. Seriously, it was almost insulting.

As I wept at the realisation that this was the last time I would ever see the man I was with for nearly twelve years, surrounded by people who had driven miles to be there to say their last respects to Carl, I heard Carl's dad yell, "YOU'RE COMING TO MY HOUSE!" before he stomped out. Carl's niece followed, saying, "We have nibbles!"

... nibbles? Apparently "nibbles" means "stale Wheat Thins, cheese, and a bit of deli ham."

While there, one of the old ladies remarked, "Wasn't that the best pastor? He spoke the Gospel but wasn't pushy about it!"

I had to cram a bunch of "nibbles" in my mouth, lest I go off on her.

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Tuesday, August 19th, 2014
3:48 pm - RIP Carl Young, 1970-2014
So Carl died on late Friday night-early Saturday morning.

God, I hate that I even need to type that. Or anything that makes it that much more real to me that he, in fact, will never come home.

He went to the house of a couple he knew, and then collapsed on the couple's stairs, resulting in the couple calling 911. The ambulance came, but the paramedics couldn't resuscitate him.

Did I mention I found out on Growlr? I didn't know the couple, but one of the guys in the couple used it to give me his number and told me that I needed to call him. Once I got the message, I had what I thought was a worst-case scenario mindset. Maybe he got into a car wreck. Maybe he went to the hospital. Clearly, my worst-case scenario mindset needs work. As I had this complete stranger telling me that "he didn't make it," I could feel my eyes well up, and all I could say was "Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God."

I had to talk to the coroner about 2am, and she asked if we were married.

"Well we talked about it, but no."
"Well this will be much more difficult for you."

His dad was thus the one that everything had to go through. For those familiar with the history of Carl's dad and I, you know it has not been friendly at all. His dad, however, has been very amiable. While I may have had a lot of bad feelings towards his dad, I now pity him. At one point he told me, "I worked to build everything up for Carl. So that he could have all of this. And now that he's gone, I don't know what to do." It's gutting.

Everything has been needlessly complicated in this whole mess.

Here is the obituary for Carl right here.

I will be using this to sort out my feelings, as I have more freedom to write here than other platforms. I need somewhere to sort my mind. Sorry to turn this into a "Death Journal," but I really don't know what else to do.

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Thursday, July 10th, 2014
10:41 pm - Madison-bound
Tomorrow afternoon, I will be heading to Madison to compete in another beard competition. Saturday afternoon, I will do my damnest to make my "zaken david" a reality. I just need to remember to be patient and give myself plenty of time ...

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Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014
8:22 am - Oh push it real good (out of your uterus)
So the other ad designer is now on bedrest, being very pregnant and expecting in September.

So the only people in my department at work are my boss, and me. That's it.

This is going to suck. I already have stacks of work to do.

I scheduled time off next week, but now I have no idea what's going to happen.

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Monday, June 30th, 2014
9:36 pm - Gymtales, vol. 7572
So multiple gym stories:

1.) I have started deadlifting weekly. the problem? My arms are very short. I mean, even for my height. Which means, the bar gets pushed into/under my balls. Yeah, TMI, but that's what happens. I have tried to get around this in a few ways, one of which was a cup. The problem is that the cup adds horizontal space, and it is, at higher weight, harder for me to go around. So the solution I have come up with for the time being: sumo deadlifts, where one uses a close grip and the leg stance is like that of a sumo wrestler. I have heard people debate traditional vs. sumo deadlifts, but for the time being, my balls are not being crushed, so that's an immediate point towards the sumo deadlifts.

2.) I tried to bench 225 on Friday. Note the word "try"; it was too much for me as the spotter had to do quite a bit of the lifting. A guy who works at the gym came up to me and said, "... yeah, I was going to say that you'd be able to do that much more if you pushed with your heels but your legs barely touch the floor!" I could have taken this as a short joke, but he was right. Many people say you feel bench everywhere, and I never have beyond my waist, and this would explain why. So my next bench day? That's right, I'm putting weight plates under my feet.

3.) So the Hell Week at work wasn't too bad, thanks to my department hauling ass and stepping up everywhere. I had my boss' key and locked up every night, and then after work Friday, I managed to lose the key. I thought to myself, "Oh, maybe I just left it at my desk." And insert panic here, when I see NO KEY. Why is this under Gymtales? Because, somehow, I left the key at the GYM. I honestly have no explanation, but they had it, and now I have it. The call to the gym asking them if I had it was great. The guy at the gym's front desk said, "Is it square and fat and ugly? Yeah, I got it!" :: laugh ::

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Wednesday, June 25th, 2014
3:10 pm - Weight And See
So the plus is, I am able to squat 275 pounds without need to have someone spot me. And that's awesome. For the longest time I was stuck at 185 pounds, and I have been busting my ass to remedy my numbers.

Of course, it's not all roses. After I did my last squats, I started to remove the weights off the bar, and started by taking everything off of one side. As I was racking those weights, apparently the bar was situated so that the imbalance of the bar caused the whole thing to flip over and LOUDY crash to the ground.

Insert all eyes in the gym on me here. :: BLUSH ::

Better there than while holding it, right?

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Monday, June 23rd, 2014
11:56 pm - Hell Week, or: Don't Kill Anyone
So this is Hell Week for me at my workplace. My boss is gone for a week, having taken his family to Florida. Our proofreader accepted a transfer and is now a manager in one of our branches. So, my department is covering a lot of various jobs, and it's been very stressful. It's not helped by our layout manager, who told my boss before he left that one of her proofers could help our current state of proofreaderlessness. Today she ranted and raved that she needed to focus on getting stuff printed -- which can't get done until we complete what we need to do, but whatever. We are starting to fall behind.

I made a comment about wanting to stab 8 people at work but managed to not stab any, and someone I know took me seriously (stating, "Get your head straighten our dude!"). I told him that I was very clearly not serious, and he responded, "n todays climate of violence, don't even tease about it."

Just oy.

Four more days.

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Thursday, June 19th, 2014
2:41 pm - TMI = Too Much Information, not Tell Me Indepth
Ever have one of those people that tells you way too much information, for no reason? It's certainly not that you asked or wanted to know.

A coworker insisted on telling me that she missed a week of work because she was bleeding out of her anus. I so wish I were making this up.

Anyone else thinking of Don Hertzfeld's Rejected?

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Wednesday, June 18th, 2014
4:58 pm - Bearding, once again
So I am thinking of trying to enter this contest that is on the twelfth of July. I had a great time in Sacramento (even if I came in fourth and thus didn't place), but now the wheels are turning. Just what do I do for freestyle? This category is one that I have done well in before, but I can't say I wouldn't try something else if I truly felt that I had a chance.

The idea came to my head: try a magen david, a Star of David beard. Or, as a Hebrew-speaking friend of mine called it, a zaken david (Beard of David). :: laugh :: I just need to make sure that I can actually pull this off. Curls are one thing, but straight lines? That's something else. The ad says aid products like pins are allowed, but I wonder if I can do this without them on stage?

What else could I do? I don't want to get in a rut and do the same thing again and again. This is one of the reasons I won in Chicago -- my competition has done the same tired thing over and over.

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Tuesday, June 17th, 2014
7:46 pm - Like opinions, everyone has one
"Are you going to the company picnic Sunday?" a higher up asked, trying to push everyone to go.

"No, and you know why?? I work with a bunch of assholes and I'd rather not spend time with then outside of work," I snapped.

I will probably regret that outburst, but I am just that unhappy where I'm at, and I am hoping one of my job applications elsewhere pans out.

One of my coworkers, hearing my outburst, sneered at me and said, "If you hate everyone here then why work here??"
"I like food and a roof over my head."

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