Friday, November 27, 2009

Everybody should have a Tina in their life

Tina's one of my close group of friends. Here's the connection. She, Luis and Polo were friends long before Dan, Denise and I knew them. When Dan and Luis began dating, there was a meeting of the two sides of the family. Thankfully we all got along famously.

Tina's the go-to girl. She's there if you need a ride. She can throw together an elegant party in a matter of minutes, even if all that she has to work with is cocktail weiners, a cabbage and a box of grape Jell-O (mind you, that has never been the case, but she could, I know it!). She is tireless and always has a smile on her face. She's a friend who is there for you when you need one. My point is, she's awesome.

Tomorrow we're celebrating her birthday. We've been throwing dinner parties for each other whenever there's a birthday. Tina has chosen a Tex-Mex theme. The menu is set, I have been assigned dessert. She said "oh, anything chocolate is great. Well, she's getting Tex-Mex inspired cinnamon chocolate cupcakes with chocolate cream cheese frosting. I wish I had time to bake her a cake but I think the cupcakes will be fun and festive, just like Tina.

I'll let you know how they turn out.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Today is Thanksgiving, and it seemed like the right time to sit down and share my thoughts about today as well as a bit about all that's been going on since I last posted.

Thanksgiving one year ago was much different. My mind was in a different place. Things change, life goes on and you learn from experiences. I learned just how much of a support system I have in my friends and family.

Obviously my core group of friends mean the world to me and I'm thankful that they're always around. Never have I had such a group where I could just let myself go and be myself. They love me and my quirks.

Another friend who has always been there but only in the past year really gained more of a presence is my friend Steve, whom I often refer to as "my dear friend Steve." In the past year, we began getting together more often. Whether it was a planned day of shopping or just running into one another on the street and spending time together, it's been a great pleasure getting to know him better. I'm thankful to have him as a friend.

Last weekend, he and his partner had a bad experience at their home. It left them shaken but thankfully not seriously hurt. I, being the friend who wants to help and protect all of his friends, felt completely helpless and angry over the whole incident, even though there's not a thing I can do except wish them well and hope for justice. I'm thankful that they are both alright.

My mom has been on the road to recovery for about 4 weeks now. She's getting around with the help of a walker. Home health professionals have been visiting her. The one issue that she's had to deal with is a bedsore which developed in the hospital. It was healing when she was discharged but since she sits a lot (it's not like she can be on her feet for a long time), it opened back up. The home health nurse has been treating it. Mom's got a donut cushion which keeps pressure off of her tailbone, and again, it's healing. I'm thankful for that.

I'm also thankful that my mom, my sister and I had a nice day, we finished having dinner together a couple hours ago and everything turned out great. My sister and I cooked and my mom ate just about everything on her plate. It's nice to see her eat such a big meal.

I'm off from work tomorrow, and I've got plans to run to Target for the 5 am madness. I'm hoping to get some deals, including the GPS unit that is on sale for $97 bucks.

So back to Dancing With the Stars, I was pleased with the way the season ended. The semi-finals came down to Joanna, Kelly, Mya and Donny. Surprisingly Joanna was eliminated, I thought for sure it would have been Kelly. Joanna was a better dancer, but Kelly has a big fan base. It was hard to see Joanna go, I found myself really liking her. But I liked all of them. I was not surprised to see Kelly finish 3rd, however, similar to last season, the best dancer did not win the trophy. Mya proved she could dance all of the dances with grace and artistry, but Donny won due to his overwhelming popularity. He has a better on-camera presence and the fans are drawn to it. He wasn't a bad dancer at all, just not the best. But he sure was a gracious winner and that alone makes it OK in my book.

I think I'm back to blogging now, I'm going to try to post a few times a week. This is a busy season, but it's also one of my favorite seasons. The fun and excitement of it all offers much to discuss. And speaking of thankful, I'm so thankful to have this forum to air my thoughts, and I'm thankful for all of you who have read my blog, left comments and been supportive of me.

I hope you and yours had a very Happy Thanksgiving, and here's to a magical holiday season!!


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Have you missed me?

Hello...I'm back, sort of. I'm going to try to get back into a regular routine of blogging again. For some this may be a relief. For others, a curse but too damn bad.

So, to catch everybody up on what's been going on, I'll summarize. Early in October, my mom injured her leg but didn't quite know what she did to it. For two weeks she hobbled around on a walker, thinking it was a pulled muscle. Finally the pain was unbearable and I had to take her to the hospital. Turns out she broke the head off of her femur. The femur is the bone that connects to the hip socket. She had surgery to repair the break and was hospitalized from 10/19 to 11/3. She's home now, and able to get around the house with a walker. For at least the next month, she'll have a nurse and a physical therapist visiting twice a week. Her goal that she has set for herself is to be without the walker by her birthday, 12/11. It's an ambitious goal but a good one to set for herself.

Meanwhile most of my time has been spent going to work, then going to the hospital, then going home to cook or clean or just try to have a bit of quiet time. It has been a lot to try to process. I let my workout routine go, and my eating habits changed. My big meal for the day was lunch at work, Dinner was usually something small since I was geting home at around 8 each evening.

Not that there hasn't been some play time. I did enjoy the fact that I was alone, something I don't often get to experience. Mind you, for the most part I was too busy to care about entertaining. Still, it was nice knowing that I could.

For Halloween weekend, I spent the afternoon and evening at Dan and Luis' house. However, they weren't home. Our friend Tina was house sitting and taking care of Ozzie, the bulldog. Last year for Halloween, we learned that their block is very into the holiday so to get into the spirit (no pun intended) we all dressed as pirates. This year, since they weren't going to be home, they left it up to Tina, Denise and I to protect their reputation (and their home from eggs and toilet paper). Tina and Denise chose a witch theme, I was a warlock. Two of Tina's Valpo gal pals joined us and we had a good time handing out candy to kids, althugh I'm still a bit miffed that they wouldn't follow my suggestion and hand out broccoli and tomatoes to kids without costumes or ones that didn't say "trick or treat." Oh well... Over the course of 4 hours, I believe we handed out about 900 pieces of candy.

Two of the Valpo Girls (it pains me to say that I can't remember their names because they are super-sweet and so much fun!), Denise and I. Three Witches and a Warlock, or three Witches and the lead singer of The Killers. You decide. Tina managed to not be in this picture she took it.

On Thursday 11/5, Reeling - The Lesbian and Gay International Film Festival began. Over the course of 10 days, a bunch of theatres in Chicago will host screenings of gay and lesbian themed films from around the world. I attended opening night and saw "The Big Gay Musical" with my friends Steve, Vahona and Anthony. In the audience was Jane Wiedlin, who was in town for the Chicago premiere of her film "Stuck!". Afterwards there was a fun party at Architectural Artifacts with a performance by The Joans, a Joan Crawford tribute band. Visit their website here!

Friday 11/6 I attended the Chicago premiere of "Stuck!", a women in prison movie shot in black and white. As mentioned above, one of it's stars is my friend Jane Wiedlin. She invited us to attend the film and the after-party. Vahona, Anthony and my friend John were along for the festivities. The movie was really good (and I'm not just saying so because Jane's in it, I swear). Afterwards, the party was held as a club named Circuit, which on Fridays hosts a lesbian themed party. this one was billed as as "lesbian lockdown," so we didn't know what to expect. When we got there, it was nothing I hadn't seen before. It was actually a lot of fun. Jane came over and talked with us for a while. We did shots and took pictures. She thanked us for being there for her. Honestly, I would not have missed it.

Pictured left to right is Vahona, John, Anthony, Jane, and me. We're about to down a round of delicious lemon drops. Photo courtesy of Anthony Meade/Bear Lens Photography

Open enrollment for benefits began at work today. I held my first three meetings today. I fared better than last year, when I had to hold meetings on the same day I had to present benefits at orientation and participate on a conference call. I lost my voice that day. Not to say that it won't happen at some point, it usually does.

Did you miss me??