Saturday, June 28, 2008

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Out and Proud

File Under: Pride

This is Pride month, and this weekend is the big Pride celebration in Chicago. Saturday is Pridefest, Sunday is the Parade.

This will be my 7th pride parade. Prior to attending my first parade, I wanted to attend celebrate, but didn't have the appreciation for who I am. I accepted it and had been out to my family and friends for a few years but when it came to the parade, I was intimidated by all of the "in your face" displays. The first year I attended, I did so on a mission, my friend Vahona and I were doing promotion for the Go-Go's last CD release (God Bless The Go-Go's) and we were distributing flyers, buttons and a bunch of handmade promotional goodies. We were working, so the parade happenings were just background.

Each year became more of an event. My friend Chuck would throw a party so it became an entire day long event. Now it's something I really look forward to.

My best friend Dan was someone who helped me appreciate who I am and proved it was a good thing to celebrate it. He has always been an inspiration to me and I admire him for being forward, for standing up for his beliefs and working to make a difference. I look forward to celebrating this weekend with him and our friends

Unlike Dan who has posted on a daily basis on his experiences growing up gay, I've not shared as much, only because there hasn't been much to share. I don't have a slew of songs that shaped my gay youth. However one song does come to mind because its general message is about living life to the fullest each day of your life. I've droned on and on in the past about The Go-Go's and about Belinda Carlisle. They are the soundtrack to my life. Earlier this year I obsessed because I was seeing/had seen The Go-Go's in concert and actually got to chat with both Jane and Belinda a bit backstage after the show.

One of Belinda's solo albums was titled "Live Your Life Be Free," the single of the same title was released in the UK and was successful. It didn't garner the same success here in the States. What I like so much about this song is the message of going for whatever it takes to live life to the fullest. In the bridge she sings "And when you free your mind, you will leave your past behind." Truer words have never been spoken (or sung, in this case).

Belinda has performed at pride celebrations in LA and at gay clubs in the UK. This song has become her anthem for the audience, she always performs it. I'm posting it here, again because it's my message to anybody who might be holding back and fighting what they feel. Don't wait, go out and enjoy. Live your life, be free!

Happy Gay Pride, everybody!

Sunday in the Park with Maria and Robert

File Under: Friends who lunch.


Pictured with me are my friends Maria and Robert. We worked together at Kindred a few years back. Robert was the A/P manager, Maria was our Staffing Coordinator. Robert and I had offices next to one another, Maria's desk was in an open space outside of our offices. We have another friend, Priscilla who could not join us for lunch but was part of our day to day routine. We were each others' sounding post and kept one another sane and laughing. They left, I'm still there. I've survived.

We still get together a few times a year. We catch up, we laugh, we hang out and eat and sometimes we drink.

Last Sunday was one of those days. We lunched at Grand Lux Cafe. Afterwards we went to Millennium Park and walked around, watching people and enjoying the scenery and the day. It was a great day.

Behind us in the picture, above, is the famous Cloud Gate sculpture, otherwise referred to as "The Bean." Maria had never visited it. We sat at the bar below it and had a drink.

It was one of those days that makes me smile when I look back on it. I love those days.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Green Day

File Under: Saving the planet one footstep at a time

I have two offices. One is about 7.5 miles from home, the other is about 1.25 miles. I generally split my time between those offices 50/50, meaning I'm at one office one day, the other office the next day. Depending on the week, there are days when I have to be at both offices so I do a lot of driving. Granted they're not really long distance trips, but I look forward to days like today. I walked to work. It was nice to leave the car at home and set out on foot. At 6:40 am, people are just starting out. It's not very crowded on the roads, the sidewalks are quiet. It helps that it's summer and school is out so some people are on vacation. Today's walk to work was nice. The walk home was nice too but it was warmer, more humid and more crowded. But I'm home now, I feel like I got a bit of a workout and most important, I saved some gas by leaving my car at home. Not much, but every little bit helps.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Last Weekend in Andersonville

File Under: Friends and Fun

Summer in Chicago means lots of outdoor fun. We don't have year-round warm weather. Quite the contrary, so when we can be out and about, we make the most of it. For me that means street fairs. Now mind you, I don't attend one a weekend, or I'd be a 400 pound alcoholic with a really great tan! Sexy, I know!

The second weekend in June brings us Midsommarfest, a street festival with Swedish roots held in my neighborhood, Andersonville. While there is still a strong Swedish presence in the neighborhood and in the fair, it has become more of a big gay street party. Nothing wrong with that in my book.

Saturday, the weather could not have been more perfect. Sunny, 80 degrees, light breeze. Warm enough for some shirtlessness (no, I kept mine on...mostly). This is one of those days where the whole group of us met up and extreme fun ensued.

Denise and I started things off. We wandered for a bit, then found my friend Anthony who wandered with us for a while. He became distracted by some shirtless guy and we lost him. Next we found Polo, who was finishing up his eye exam (please keep in mind, 4 blocks of a major street are closed for this event but the businesses are still operating). With dialated eyes and dark glasses, Polo then called Tina who was just arriving. Tina called Luis, he and Dan were approaching from the other direction. Soon after, I got a call from Patrick and by 3:30, our core crowd had formed.

So there were drinks. We decided each would buy a round. Our drink of choice was our usual, the Clark Street Lemonade, a mixture of lemonade, vodka and raspberry liquor. Sweet and refreshing, they go down very easily. They're pretty, too. So I'll cut to the chase and just say that before long we were feeling very happy. Yes, we wandered back and forth, looking at the wares sold by the various vendors, greeting people we knew, checking out butts and chests, etc.

And there was food. One of my favorite neighborhood restaurants, Ole' Ole' had their usual appetizer items for sale so Denise and I opted for empanadas most of the time. At $2 a piece, they were an inexpensive and somewhat substantial filler and they're really delicious. Then there was the stop at Huey's, the hotdog place where we actually went in and sat down for a while. We finished our evening with some ice cream from Sweet Occasions and More.

Of course there was music. We first went to see Trippin Billies, a Dave Matthews Band cover band. I'm not a big DMB fan (right, Vahona?) so I stood off to the side with Patrick while the others watched for a while. While the band warmed up, there was the underwear check. Dan's were the cutest. We left that band to go see Hairbangers Ball. They were great and did lots of fun covers of 80's hair band songs. The band scene is fun because Patrick and I were checking out guys in the crowd. I picked out my new sweetheart.

Day 2 was a much smaller gathering, just Patrick and I met up for more fun. Again with the drinks and the laughs and the wandering and the food and music. Sunday's music highlight was the band Sixteen Candles, an 80's cover band that I adore! I watched them for a while with my upstairs neighbors. Patrick's buzz was wearing off and he decided he needed to go home, get food and walk his dog, and get ready for the work week. I didn't stay for the band's entire set, I walked home and could still hear the crowd cheering and awaiting an encore.

Here are some pictures from the weekend. Please enjoy.

The drinking begins:



The drinks:

The CELEBRITIES - Top Chef season 4 finalist Dale Levitsky:


The hijinx!


The food...or what's left of it:


The underwear:



The shirtlessness (I'm so sorry!):


The future ex-boyfriend (green shirt):


The little person:




Crazy dog! (I don't approve of dogs at street fairs, but this funky pet won my heart)


So there you have it. Another street fest on the books. Next up, Pride!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Early to rise

File Under: At least Starbucks was open

My alarm went off at 4:10 this morning. I was dressed and out the door by 5:05 and at Starbucks by 5:09. By 5:12 I was back in the car and I got to work at 5:20. I was the first one to arrive at work.

Soon after, my coworkers arrived and we began by inflating helium balloons to do clusters to flank doorways. Then came the gold swirls that we hung from the ceiling in the cafeteria, the lobby and by the employee entrance. So at 6 this morning, on barely 3 sips of coffee I was climing up and down a ladder (which I don't like doing any time of day). In the end, the room looked nice. The cafeteria management brought in some great flower arrangements with yellow orchids and ferns. The linens were off white with gold runners and napkins.

By the time the party started, everything was in order and all I had to do was sit back and look pretty. I'm good at that.

Although, it's difficult to look pretty shoving food in your face. I don't think I held onto my promise of eating $200 worth of food, but I did okay. I had a mini bagel with cream cheese and lox, 2 small sweet rolls, French toast, bacon and sausage, 3 glasses of juice and a cup of coffee.

The party ended at about 8:30 and I went back to the cafeteria to swipe one of the flower arrangments. :) (actual camera phone picture! Nifty, huh?)

The remainder of the work day was uneventful. I actually got a decent amount of work done, but I ran out of steam at about 2 this afternoon. I managed to stay until 3 I came home and slept for 2 hours. I made the decision to skip the gym tonight.

I won't skip going out for drinks tonight. I've earned them! :)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Early to Bed...

File Under: Call a Queen

Tomorrow there's an employee awards ceremony at work. They're having a breakfast to celebrate the employees. It begins at 6:30 am. Ths afternoon I got a call from one of my coworkers requesting my presence early to help set up. Seems that things today didn't go as planned so they need some help. I have been asked to be there at 5:30 am. This means I'll be up no later than 4:30. And i don't even know what I'm being given to work with. If I get there and find construction and a bag of glitter, I'm chucking the paper and sprinkling glitter on everything and calling it done.

Oh, did I mention that every employee is receiving a check for $200 for their achievement? The best part is, since I'm not on the payroll at the building that won the award, I don't get a check. I get to just look pretty.

That's okay, I'm going to eat $200 worth of breakfast foods! YAY!

Time for bed. Goodnight!!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sending Happy Thoughts and Best Wishes

File Under: Friend in need

One of my best friends is dealing with a family drama right now. She is dealing with a parent who has been hospitalized and had a after-affect from a surgery that initially went without incident. The recovery process has been slow, has had some setbacks and in the mean time, my dear friend is worried sick and feeling helpless and just wants her father to get better. She's handling this pretty much on her own since her one sane sibling is somehow too busy to be there for the two of them.

A few of you know her, some do not, but please join me in sending big get well wishes to her dad and some happy wishes for her, too. They both can use some positive vibes. Thanks.

I Need a Manicure

File Under: buffed, not polished

I need a manicure. My nails are just ghastly right now. Ghastly I tell you!

Okay, that was a lame excuse for a blog post. I'm sorry. I'm trying to get better about posting stuff on a regular basis again, but I didn't really have anything interesting to share this evening, unless you want to hear about my trip to the laundromat.

Didn't think so...

Monday, June 9, 2008

It's Gay Pride Month

File Under: Show Your Pride

I am very fortunate to live in a city with a large gay presence. Chicago is a very welcoming city, and the Lakeview neighborhood is the center of it all. A few years ago, rainbow spires were installed throughout the neighborhod, permanent markers that say "you are welcome here, you are respected."

Last evening I was out. The sky was clear, it was twilight and the spires were glowing. They looked beautiful. I was inspired to take this photograph.

Yes, that's Gnome up there. He's proud too.
Happy Gay Pride Month, everybody!

The Visitors

File Under: Friends from far places

In addition to Patrick's surprise 40th birthday party, I had friends visiting from out of town.

I met Steve back in 1997, via an online message board. Both of us are Belinda Carlisle fans. He posted a question on an AOL message board and on a whim, I emailed him and answered it. I love chatting with fans and figured it could create an opportunity to meet another fan. Good move on my part. Steve and I became instant friends and have stayed in touch ever since. He lives in New Jersey. I've visited a couple times, he's been here a few times. The last two visits, he brought his partner, Eddie. He's sweet and adorable and very funny.

Friday evening, we went to Ole' Ole' for dinner, then met up with Patrick where we made the round of Andersonville and Rogers Park bars. It was a very fun night out with the boys.

Sunday we got together again, this time for what seems to be an annual tradition, afternoon drinks at Sidetracks. The last time they were here, it was winter and some how a large group of us gathered at Sidetracks. We began drinking at about 3 and didn't stop until around midnight. To this day, Patrick and still talk about how fun we had that night. While yesterday's event was a smaller group (another friend, Travis joined us), it was lots of fun. As it was a work night, we ended a bit earlier, Patrick and I left shortly before 8 to have some dinner.

Here are Eddie and Steve. Gnome was along for the ride and met the boys.

Patrick left the house with his sunglasses but not his regular glasses. As a result, he couldn't see much when he took off his sunglasses. Here we all are wearing our sunglasses, just for Patrick.

Good times! I miss those boys already.

Patsy Turns 40

File Under: Friends
Last week, my friend Patrick turned 40. His best friend Gillian asked me to be coconspirator in the planning of his surprise birthday party. Over the past 3 weeks we exchanged numerous emails, discussed different menus and decorations and put together a rather lovely party. Gillian hosted it and did most of the work. I created a collage of pictures, Phyllis did a lot of legwork. The end result was a very successful event. Patrick was surprised and everybody had a lovely time. Here are some pictures from the event.

The Guest of honor arrives and is greeted by Gillian:

Lesley and Phyllis:

Happy guests:

Look...BOOZE! Fun Nancy and Patrick and a giant bottle of Effen vodka:

The collage:

Happy 40th Birthday, Patrick!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Summer is BACK

File Under: It's HOT!

They teased us with the 5-day and 7-day forecasts but it's true. Today the temperatures reached the upper 80's! I got home from work and took a shower to cool off. Now I'm sitting here waiting to hear from my friends who I'm meeting out for margaritas (trouble!!) and I'm thinking I'd like to take another shower. Oh well, a couple drinks and nobody will notice that I don't smell great and I won't care. HA!

Today is my friend Patrick's 40th Birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PATSY!