my friend is gone

I don’t make friends easy. I might say hello, and at the most, maybe some useless back and forth conversation. But there won’t be anything telling anyone I want anything more from them. If they start getting too nosy, maybe asking about what I do, what I like, something personal about me the subject will get changed. I don’t like attention being drawn towards me and I’m really not interested in knowing you. Saying goodbye after work isn’t common. Telling you happy birthday will never happen. I really have no interest in other people’s lives.

I took a job six years ago at a retirement home. It was suppose to be temporary until I found something I’m experienced in. After a while it seemed like I was thrown into this building to take care of everything, including the people. It took almost two years before I realized this community was dumped off on me. I’m not a people person. I’m more of a “leave me the fck alone so I can do what I was hired to do” person. I kept waiting until I noticed I was one of them. I made friends and they were interested in me and my well being. We laugh and have fun together except I keep my wall up. They will only know me at work. They’ve stuck up for me, they have my back. There’s nothing more I can ask for after finding that out.

One morning when I came into work I found an envelope on my door. Inside was a card. I didn’t open it right away because I saw it as a personal invasion. It’s like when they give me Christmas cards after I tell them I don’t celebrate that holiday. I check to see if there’s anything of value in it then pitch it. When I finally opened it, several days had passed. This was from Melanie. She was thanking me and that’s all she wanted. I thought this was the greatest thing in the world. No one has ever just said thanks to me for anything. If they did I’m sure I was ignoring them like I always do. Then I found myself doing what ever she wanted done. She didn’t ask for much and I didn’t mind doing things for her. I even found myself sitting in the lobby talking to her. Just me and her until we were invaded by the loud angry heard of bitter lonesome retirees with not much to do.

The card on my door



Inside the card reads:

Mike, Just wanted you to know that I truly appreciate everything you do for us. I thank you so much.  Melanie (304)



I’ve kept this card on my desk. If anyone asked I’d let them read it. A few years had gone by and Mel was getting older and was having health issues. This is normal. But not once did I ever hear her say how bad she felt. She seemed tired and lost some weight but she always laughed at the dumb stuff I’d say to her. I noticed she had trouble walking so I kept an eye on her. Elderly people are hard to pick up. They either feel like jell-o with a bone in it or they’re so fragile you’d think they would break at the slightest touch. Last Friday I watched as she left for a doctors appointment. I went home for the week end just minutes after that. Monday when I came in I noticed a lot of trash in the dumpsters and some items in the bulk pick-up area. People dump their shit on our property a lot but this was more than normal. As people were waking up someone broke the news that Mel had a stroke and died that Saturday. Her family was cleaning out her apartment. I showed her daughter the card I always kept. She was heart broken. Mel’s family finished removing the belongings and dropped the keys off in the lock box.

This was for me






#102 Sun & Moon Face

I’m still trying to do sketch’s for the next box. Seems like I have to learn how to actually draw to do what I want. What’s good about using graphite pencils is mistakes can be erased, and I’m doing a lot of that. Also, I found knead erasers. These can be molded to any size and make good high lighters. They also don’t leave eraser dookie behind. I messed with the Sun a little bit, mostly the mouth. The moon was supposed to be identical but different. The same tone was difficult to achieve, too. The Moon’s eyes are larger. I like this after seeing PannaKosciotrupina’s art work. Next, the craters need some attention. It looks like a bad skin condition. I’ll probably spend more time sketching out objects then I’ll spend doing the entire box, but I might get good at it. I like working with graphite pencils. I’ll spend some time following tutorials if there’s any that aren’t so full of themselves. Most are giving out advice on everything like how great they are and how much everyone else sucks because they’re not in thousands of dollars of debt from paying for some shit schooling they’ll never make enough to pay back.  So here’s my beginners work.

(Sorry I keep saying I or I’ll so much, I’m not a professional)


sun-moon face




#102 sun face

I’m drawing on another box. I decided to draw on a few more until I get it right because the Cigar Box Guitar parts are around $100. The box I found to practice on this time is an old sewing box. It’s a lot larger than the cigar boxes. I wanted to put a Sun Face into the drawing but I had to practice it a few times. After I got the outline drawn I kept going.

I practiced two things I’m not very good at, faces and graphite pencils. I rarely post practice material and the low light photo didn’t make it look any better.








#101 – CBG


Everything went well. I spent seven hours today finishing the drawing. There’s a lot of mistakes and mis-measurements but no one would notice unless I pointed them out. Next I’m going to put a sealer on to keep the ink in place. I was able to get most of the pencil marks out but some left grooves in the wood grain. Hopefully the sealant will hide that.






At the bottom left of the corner. There’s my accidental Sharpie mark. Hopefully alcohol will get it off. I don’t want ti lighten the wood and make it really stand out. Now I’ll give it to my brother and let him assemble it as a Cigar Box Guitar.



#101 – progress


I have one side of the cigar box ready. Think I’m going to wrap it around to the other side of the box. One thing I’m having trouble with is the pencil guidelines. I pressed too hard and left grooves in the grain. Hopefully the acrylic sealer will help hide it.






#101 – cbg difficulties




I’m not sure what kind of wood this is made of. I’ve sanded and degreased it but I’m still getting oily spots. The Micron pens definitely won’t work on this. They smear too easy even on paper. The sharpies are drying O.K. but the tips are wearing too fast. At least they’re cheap. It took the entire day to get this far. I didn’t want to start applying the ink so soon but I was losing my pencil lines. Even pencil doesn’t stick too this wood. I have a big smudge mess going on in the center, I hope that cleans up. I’ll let it dry over night and see what happens t’mar.



#101 -a cigar box guitar


My brother makes Cigar Box Guitars. They’re pretty well made. Here’s a sample of a few






I’m going to try and do a drawing onto one of these. I tried once with a practice box and it had a difficulty factor of 8/10 because it sets up off the desk. Prepping the box helped give it the texture of paper and roughen it up to hold ink. I’m not sure if I’ll use a sharpie or a micron pen yet. I’ll finish it with an acrylic sealant to keep the ink from running.




Here’s the beginning layout. I’m going to cover the entire box, I think.







Cheap Trick – Surrender




Mother told me, yes, she told me I’d meet girls like you.
She also told me, “stay away, you’ll never know what you’ll catch.”
Just the other day I heard a soldier falling off some Indonesian junk that’s going round.
Mommy’s alright, daddy’s alright, they just seem a little weird.
Surrender, surrender, but don’t give yourself away.
Father says, “your mother’s right, she’s really up on things.”
“before we married, mommy served in the wacs in the Philippines.”
Now, I had heard the wacs recruited old maids for the war.
But mommy isn’t one of those, I’ve known her all these years.
Mommy’s alright, daddy’s alright, they just seem a little weird.
Surrender, surrender, but don’t give yourself away.
Whatever happened to all this season’s losers of the year?
Every time I got to thinking, where’d they disappear?
When I woke up, mom and dad are rolling on the couch.
Rolling numbers, rock and rolling, got my kiss records out.
Mommy’s alright, daddy’s alright, they just seem a little weird.
Surrender, surrender, but don’t give yourself away.

starting #100


Here’s something I’ve seen others do. So, I’m steeling ideas and claiming them as mine, just to show my own unique individuality. They write something inside their work. I stopped in the very middle of what I was doing and for a few days I’ve tried different ways and measurements to even out the spacing between words or letters. This shit ain’t easy, I had to think and count the little lines on a 1/64th ruler and stuff. Then when I messed up too many time I had to draw out another identical section of the original drawing where this is supposed to fit in. I’m close now, I think I got it.




One more adjustment and I think I’ll have it.