Friday, December 31, 2010

Live Life Out Loud

My mantra for 2011 is "Live Life Out Loud."

Years ago, I was the shy guy. I stood back and observed and once I got really comfortable with the situation I'd slowly make my way into the fray. Fine, except there are those tmies when doing so means you've missed a lot.

In more recent years I've managed to be a bit more proactive in getting involved, being a part of the party, and speaking up. Admittedly I still have some room to improve, but I'm happy with where I'm at these days.

So for 2011, I've decided to live life out loud. I've defined that to include but not limited to the following:

-Speak up for yourself.
-Speak up for others.
-If you don't agree, say so, but be polite about it.
-Don't wait for things to happen, make them happen.
-Dream big.
-Have faith.
-Go for it.
-Make a difference.

2010 was a big year for me - lots of ups, a few downs. I'm hoping that 2011 will be bigger and better. I know that I'm starting off the year on a bittersweet note, but there's no place to go but up, and I have no intention to sit around too long before I work to make that happen.

So, I wish each and every one of you who read this blog, some of whom take the time to leave me comments which are so sweet, a very happy, healthy and LOUD New Year. Live, love and learn.




Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2010 in Review

This is the time of year when all the media outlets put out their year-end reviews and highlights of the past year. This is mine.

New Music

"Crazy Love" - Michael Buble' - More of the same from the crooner from Canada and I like it. With his smooth voice he pays tribute to some classics and performs some new songs, too. This is a good record to play when you just want to relax a bit, but you also might find yourself tapping your feet along to some of the songs.

"Flamingo" - Brandon Flowers - This is the first solo record from the lead singer of The Killers and he does not disappoint. This truly plays like an album, each song tells a story, and the entire collection is an homage to his home town of Las Vegas, Nevada. His clever lyrics and the beautiful arrangements of the songs make this a joy to listen to from start to finish.

"Greatest Hits...So Far!!!" - Pink (or do you say P!nk?) - Okay, this is a bit of a cheat because it is a greatest hits package so it includes songs from previous albums, but it's a fun retrospective, an it includes 2 fantastic new songs, including the infectious "Raise Your Glass."

"100 Miles From Memphis" - Sheryl Crow - I've been a fan of hers for a long time, I enjoy her voice and her songwriting. For this record she takes a step back and delivers a softer sounding record. It's another good record to just chill to. The song "Summer Day" is truly a sweet summer song.


B-52's at Ravinia - July 2010 - My friend/coworker Sonny had never been to Ravinia. In early April, when the schedule was posted, we picked a show to see, that show was The B-52's. Sonny wanted the complete Ravinia experience - picnic basket filled with wine and cheese and crackers and snacks. So that's exactly what we did. We had a blast. Truth be told we couldn't see the stage from our vantage point, but we could hear the show and after a couple glasses of wine, and then a couple cocktails, we were up dancing and shaking our cosmic things. As an added bonus, I flirted with a guy during the train ride home.

Pink - Funhouse Tour, Austrailia - Okay, I wasn't at this show but I bought her concert DVD and LOVED it. That girl can put on a show!! Start to finish, she gives 110 percent! You can tell that she's someone who loves to put on a good show.

Margaret Cho - Margaret came to Chicago back in October to perform at the beautiful Chicago Theatre. My dear friend Steve took me as his guest. It was an evening filled with laughs. Margaret was brilliant that night. She was fresh off of her elimination from Dancing With the Stars, so I was curious to see what she would say about it. She held back a bit more than I expected but did share some funny moments about her castmates.

Brandon Flowers - Flamingo tour - November 2010 - He toured in the summer and I waited too long to get tickets. I was disappointed. But as luck would have it, he announced another show in Chicago. I bought tickets in mid-September. At that time I'd just started dating Anthony. When I bought the tickets, I envisioned taking him to the show. And I did. He was not familiar with his music except for the song or two I'd shared with him, but he enjoyed the show as much as I did. It was a special evening.


There is no shortage of street festivals in Chicago, especially during the summer months. The first and the best is Andersonville's Midsommarfest, a big crazy party that is thinly veiled as a Swedish celebration. I don't care what you call it, it's a great time. This year's was a blast. Sadly my camera didn't think so, since after a number of adult beverages I hurled it to the ground. It survived, but it hasn't been the same ever since.

Pride fest/Gay pride weekend was another fun time in Chicago. Dan and Luis play host to a big backyard cookout after the parade. It was a fun afternoon of just relaxing with good friends after watching a parade that went on for a bit too long. The festival that preceeded it was also a great time, filled with fun bands, vendors and of course food and drink.

The other event held in boystown is called Market Days. It's in mid-August, so you get to see a lot of barely-dressed people (for better or for worse), doing stupid things. What's not to love about that?

This year we added a new festival to our list. We attended an Oktoberfest which didn't start off being really fun since the weather was windy and raining, but we fought our way through the crowd, made our way inside the big tent and had a blast dancing to the band 16 Candles. They never disappoint.

Mission Accomplished - A Star is Born! Back on July 18, I posted THIS PIECE OF NEWS, announcing that The G0-Go's had received their Star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame. This is a project I've been involved with for 8 years. We're still waiting to learn about the placement ceremony and any events planned around it. I'll be there!

I traveled to Los Angeles in July. It was supposed to be for one of the final Go-Go's shows, but due to Jane Wiedlin's serious injury after a fall, the shows were postponed. They will take place next year, most likely tied to the Star placement ceremony. However, I went through with my trip and had a great time wandering around Los Angeles. I did some touristy things, and I saw a few friends, and made a couple new ones.

My second trip of the year was to Miami to attend the wedding of a family friend. The gorgeous Bride was Giselle, the daughter of my former manager. I've known Giselle since before she was born. I'm close with her Mom, Alina. I consider them my Cuban family. My date for the weekend was my sweet friend Denise. We spent a long weekend soaking up the sun and the sights of South Beach. The wedding was breath-taking, the bride was gorgeous, and it was so nice seeing my Cuban family. Denise and I also made friends with the wanna-be cast of Jersey Shore during a drink-fest at the Clevelander Hotel. Thankfully the only fatality that weekend was the washcloth that got thrown out of the bathroom window. Poor washcloth.

Anthony - Perhaps you've seen his name once or twice during this post. Perhaps you've seen his name a couple times in other posts in my blog. ;) He came into my life back in August. It has been a joy having someone with whom I connect on so many levels become a part of my life. Getting to know him has been a blessing. Sadly, he's moving in a couple weeks and at that point our relationship will end. This isn't to say that he won't always be in my life. I will always consider him a friend. I've learned a lot from him, and I would like to believe that I've made an impact on his life and he has learned from me.

iPad - I've had this thing for 5 days and I love it. It was definitely an impusle purchase but one that I don't regret. I'm still learning about how to use it. Anthony is well-versed in all things gadget, so in the next week or so, we're going to sit down and he's going to show me all the cool things it can do.

That's my list. Here's hoping your year was filled with many highlights. The way things stand right now, 2011 is going to be off to an interesting start. Here's hoping that overall, it's a great year, for everyone!

Wide Awake

"You can't walk in your sleep, if you can't sleep."

It's 2:50 am. I've been awake for about 30 minutes. Tried to keep my eyes shut and fall back to sleep but I opened them and I've been wide awake since.

Thinking about the next couple of weeks. New Year's eve. New Year's day. January 2nd. That's Anthony's going away party. I'm off on the 3rd.

He posted in the invite for his party that his departure date is Sunday January 9. Seeing it written startled me, made it real.

I wish things could be different. I really do.

I deserve better. I'm having trouble grasping the idea that better is out there. Right now it doesn't seem like it. But if this is part of the journey, this has been the toughest road so far. As weird as it may sound though, I'm glad I'm on this road. I wouldn't have changed a thing so far. There's a reason for it, I'm sure.

Okay, no tears. This is good. Maybe because I'm too cold to cry. No really, I'm cold. I think I'll crawl back in bed under the covers.

"I think I need sleep. Maybe then I can dream. If I could just sleep..."

Sunday, December 26, 2010


And now the anger sets in.

I'm not one bit angry at Anthony. If I were in his shoes, I believe I would do the exact same thing.

I am angry at the situation. No, not that moron from MTV, the situation I'm facing.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I fall hard and fast. Show me some affection, show me that you enjoy spending time with me and I'm yours. I could go on and on listing things that endear me to others but you get the picture.

I'm angry that I met someone with whom I connect on so many levels and he's leaving, and now I have to start over. I was going to type "decide if I want to start over," but I think it's safe to say that I WILL start over, eventually. Easy as that sounds, it never is.

I don't have good luck. It truly is a "needle in the haystack" thing with me. There are a number of tests that one needs to pass to win my heart. The funny thing is, I can usually tell if they're going to pass after the first meeting. Will my family like him? Is he someone I'd bring to a work function? Does he make me laugh? Will he fit in well with my core group of friends? Is he worthy of my heart?

Anthony is all those things and more. But, in two weeks, he'll be 2000 miles away, starting a new job and a new life. A life that won't include me the way it does today.

A happy consolation is that we'll always be friends. This is ending on a good note - I refuse to have it any other way. He'll become yet another friend that I'll want to visit when I'm in California. But, this isn't about being happy. I'll try that later.

So, they process starts again. I hate it. I'm angry.

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Rough Night

Anthony is home for Christmas and won't be back in Chicago until Tuesday. This break is a good thing as I feel it may be a practice run, preparing me for the first weekend we won't be together after he leaves.

I was off work yesterday. I ran some errands during the day. Dan called me and we planned to go out last night. I finished up my tasks at home last evening, then I headed to Jackhammer.

Upon arrival it was as if I walked into a different bar. It was loud with BAD 80's music (and I LOVE 80's music, this was just not some of the stuff I was fond of). I could normally tolerate it but there was an obnoxious group of revelers singing along, badly I might add. I downed my first drink quickly in hopes of dulling the torture.

Dan arrived and he acknowledged that it definitely felt different in there. However, we made the best of it.

My friends and former neighbors Joseph and Nayra texted me, and eventually joined us. The four of us had a blast hanging out, talking, laughing and drinking. 5 drinks later and 3 tequila shots later, it was finally time to go 3:30 am.

Earlier in the evening, I had been watching VH1 Classic, and they played Taylor Dayne's hit from the late 80's "Love Will Lead You Back." I loved the song back in the day, and so I stopped to listen and the words struck a chord. For some odd reason, I came home, logged on to Facebook, and then found that song on YouTube. I listened to it...BIG MISTAKE. Tears immediately began to flow. Before I knew it, I was crying uncontrollably, for nearly an hour. I don't recall stopping, I just know that I woke up this morning at 9:30 and my eyes were red and swollen. However, I was NOT hungover, so perhaps I was crying out all of the alcohol.

Today has been a decent day. I needed to run to the grocery store. Before getting my act together and getting out of the house, I was chatting with my friend Debbie on Facebook and via Blackberry messenger. She mentioned her iPad and how much she loves it. Well, that put the idea in my head that I needed one, too. Okay, maybe "need" is a strong word. I however WANTED one and there was no talking myself out of it.

Merry Christmas to me. Retail therapy is good!

I'll probably go out again tonight, I think I'll avoid tequila.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The real meaning of Christmas

I know this isn't just a Christmas season thing, but in this time of giving and receiving gifts and waiting in long lines at stores to buy stuff, sometimes the things on which you can't place a price tag are the most valuable presents one can receive.

My friends are aware of my current situation. If you've read my previous posts, you are too, but if you're new here and have yet to scroll backwards, here's the short version of the story. Boy meets boy, they have a great 4 month romance. Boy informs boy that he's taken a job in California, leaving boy feeling crushed inside, but boy also understands the need for boy to take this opportunity so there's not much he can say. Boy and boy are currently together until boy leaves town, somewhere around the first half of next month.

Knowing my situation, my friends have been nothing but sweet and supportive and are promising me many fun times ahead. I think my weekend calendar for the entire month of January may be booked thanks to kind offers from Dan, Steve, Vahona and Sonny, among others. I'm feeling the love and I want them to know how much I appreciate it. I'm lucky to have them in my life.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

One More Last Kiss

Sometimes songs say it better than I could. This song is performed by a band named Ivy. Not only are the lyrics extremely poignant, but it's also sung beautifully.

To hear the song, click below.

One More Last Kiss

I'm not afraid to start over.
It's just a feeling that we shared.
They can't take that away.
I'm not afraid to be lonely.
It's just a question of how long, how long I have to wait.

So one more last kiss like two prisoners.
One more last kiss to hold on to.
One more last kiss just to remember you
Before we fade away, before we fade away.

I'm not here making excuses.
But no apologies could change
The way this all will end.
We're only just what we're made of.
I'm only sorry that we can't have this chance again.

So one more last kiss like two prisoners.
One more last kiss to hold on to.
One more last kiss just to remember you
Before we fade away, before we fade away.

So one more last kiss like two prisoners.
One more last kiss to hold on to.
One more last kiss just to remember you
Before we fade away;
One more last kiss like two prisoners.
One more last kiss to hold on to.
One more last kiss just to remember you
Before we fade away, before we fade away.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Monday 12/13/10

(This was a post I wrote a couple weeks ago. Why am I sharing it now? Because I've shared everything else up to this point. Unsure if it will actually post in order or land at the top of the list. )

Today was an interesting day. I woke up feeling like I was in a haze, as if I had dreamt the entire weekend. When I was in the bathroom shaving, I realized that none of what I remembered was part of a dream. Reality set in and I was bummed.

During the drive to work, Mariah Carey's Christmas song "All I Want for Christmas is You" was playing on the radio. Tears immediately began streaming down my face. Go ahead and laugh. there are many reasons why it's funny to be crying to that song. I'll admit it.

Andrea, our AA saw that I looked upset. She knew from the look on my face what was happening. She let me get settled in my office then she came in and hugged me. She said "I hurt for you, I'm so sorry." I couldn't speak, I just whispered "thank you."

I had to present benefits at our monthly orientation class today. Our benefits have changed for 2011 so much of my presentation required a rewrite of the script. I didn't do that so I had to wing it. About half way through, I began to lose my voice. My coworker looked at me and was ready to step in. I cleared my throat and was fine. I finished and even managed to be witty during the Q and A portion.

Back at the office, I saw that I had a text from Anthony. We exchanged a few sweet messages. This caused round 2 of tears. I'm sure my eyes looked like hell at lunch. I read my paper during lunch. At the 30 minute mark, I got up and went back to my office and round 3 set in. Shortly after, my boss called me into her office. I brought what she needed and she asked me if I was okay. I said yes. She asked if that was true and I said no, but let's just accept yes as the answer and move on. She smiled and said that was fine.

Later, she came into my office. She quizzed me about my weekend. I told her about how we had a birthday dinner for my mom, and my boyfriend joined us. This was the first time I've openly discussed any of my relationships with coworkers who aren't friends. Immediatly she looked over at my cabinet where I have a picture of Anthony and I and she said "that's really nice. How long have you both been together?" So we talked a bit about things and I clued her in to what was happening.

I'm a firm believer that people should keep their personal lives at home, whenever possible, and not let things get in the way of their work. I told this to Diane, and told her that I was embarrassed that I was becoming one of those people. I guess it's a control thing for me. My "Type A" personality demands order and control and this is something that I can't control - both the sitaution and how I'm reacting to it. She was supportive and sweet and said that she understood that sometimes our home and work lives overlap and not to feel bad about it. Then she said "we're all here for you." I held back round 4. Truthfully it felt good discussing my life with her. My life is really no different from my hetero coworkers who discuss their spouses endlessly. It's nice to have a boss who doesn't judge, and who truly cares.

The remainder of the day was nice. I came home, had dinner, then met my friend Steve out for drinks at our favorite martini bar, Marty's. It was a really fun evening. Even Anthony came out for a drink and we all just talked and had a really relaxed time. I don't expect that all nights are going to be like that; hopefully they will.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Journey Through Life

Life certainly takes us on some interesting adventures.

As I said in my previous post, I'm thankful for so many things that I have. I try really hard not to take them for granted because they could be gone in an instant.

I came out as gay later in life. I had some gay friends, but none whom I confided in about my feelings, or from whom I sought advice. I was 30 when I finally came out to my family. Before telling them, I had some encounters, but I never allowed myself to explore a relationship because I wasn't ready to admit it to myself. In a way, I think I did myself a favor by doing so. I'm sure I wasn't ready to be out, to explore relationships, or to consider the definition of "safe sex." By not having it at all, I was "safe." By the time I started being with men, I knew better and took proper precautions. When I did come out, I felt liberated, but by that time the landscape had changed and one could not help to know all of the precautions that needed to be taken. So there's the silver lining.

However, the cloud that had formed is the fact that I hadn't been in a relationship. I hadn't even dated. My first relationship was when I was 32 years old. It lasted just shy of a year. It ended amicably, we're still friendly to one another when we see each other on the street.

I can't tell you the countless dates I've been on that have been disasters. Each one reminds me that the dating pool is very shallow, both figuratively and literally. Sure, I'm far from perfect but I bring great qualities to the table. Finding someone who complements me and also contrasts me is a daunting task. I think doing this later in life adds another dimension to the equation. People become set in their ways, I know I have.

The ones who would have been a good catch ended up with other people. One who got away is someone with whom I clicked the minute we met. In the beginning our communication was very sweet and flirtatious. Yet I didn't really know how to ask him on a date. By this time I had formed a friendship with Dan, my best friend, and he got tired of watching me go back and forth with the guy and just blurted out "would you two just go out on a date already?" There was nothing left to do but ask if he would. Unfortunately, he said that he had just started dating someone. I was crushed. For the record, he and I are friends, and he's still with that same guy.

Meanwhile, I've watched as my friends have played the dating game and won. I've been the friend and confidant for many, I've even been to a few weddings. It's all very exciting for them, but selfishly I've thought "when is my turn?"

A couple years ago, I was in a short but rather unpleasant "relationship," except I didn't think it was unpleasant. I was just happy to be with someone. When he ended it, I felt betrayed and blindsided, but the truth is, he did me a favor. However, I walked away with a lot of emotional scarring. I doubted myself for a long time and trusted nobody outside of my inner circle.

All that changed recentely. Anthony came along and has been wonderful. He's been reassuring and kind, and a joy to be around.

Unfortunately, it seems all that is about to change. For reasons I won't disclose at this time, it would appear that our relationship will need to end. When it does, it will be amicable, but that doesn't make it any less heartbreaking. This morning we discussed the situation and decided we would remain together until the last day. Apologies for being cryptic, I will divulge further information, as appropriate, later.

I spent a good part of the afternoon visiting with Dan and Luis. Immediately Dan insisted I come over for a while. It was nice to spend time with them, talk a bit. I felt like my head was in a fog. When I got home, I sat down and the tears started. I've been crying on and off all afternoon.

This evening, my dear friend Steve called and insisted I hang with him this evening, he enticed me with fresh baked cookies and wine. While I've lacked an appetite all day, the idea of spending an evening with someone as opposed to crying in my bedroom sounded nice. As always, he was both comforting and reassuring.

Just to make things abundantly clear, to all who read this, including Anthony, there is no anger in any of this. I understand the situation and I am 100 percent supportive of it. All things happen for a reason. Right now, that reason is just not clear to me.

I find myself wondering why I'm on this journey. I've never been lucky in love. (I guess that's a relative term, considering that two out of the 3 guys I've dated are wonderful people) However, I've never been in a relationship where I've been told "I love you." Without exception, I'm always the first to say it. There's a line in a song by a band I know that says "Someone always loves a little more, and I think it's me." Don't get me wrong, I've felt loved. Some people just express it differently.

I wonder if I'll ever meet the one who will look at me and know I'm the one for him. I wonder if I've already met him but for whatever reason, we just haven't reached that part of the journey.

I keep asking myself why do these things happen to me? Did my past actions create some sort of Karmic debt that I'm now paying back? Am I some cosmic lab experiment, being studied by a higher power to see how far I can be pushed before I break? Like I said earlier, I believe things happen for a reason, and so many great things have happened as a result of meeting and knowing Anthony

Ultimately, if he's not the one, I just want to meet someone who is happy and mature, secure, grounded and fun. Perhaps his clone.

Anybody out there?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks

Today is Thanksgiving. It's the holiday that we all consider "the food holiday." I would agree with that, There seems to always be a gathering and a feast. But it's also a day to give thanks.

I'm thankful for my health. We certainly don't know what tomorrow may bring but today I woke up and my back didn't hurt and my sinuses were clear. While this isn't the case every day, that's pretty much the worst of my chronic ailments.

I'm thankful for my family. My immediate family is really small. My sister lives nearby, she's got a son. I see them often and we all get along. My mom lives with me. She's elderly and doesn't get around very well so holidays are held in my house. We gather here and cook and have a good time. Then we sit around and eat and enjoy a nice conversation.

I'm thankful for my fantastic group of friends. Dan and Luis, Denise, Tina, Polo. When we're all together it's magical. We laugh constantly and we're there for one another through thick and thin. I love them so much, they are like my family. There are a lot of other friends, too many to mention, but all are special to me for their own reason.

I'm thankful to have someone new in my life, Anthony. When we are together time flies because it's so much fun. When we're apart, it feels as if time is standing still because I can't wait to see him again. We can make each other laugh, we offer each other a fresh perspective on thing when either one has a decision to make or a problem to solve. I learn something new about him each day and it excites me. I hope I do the same for him. It's fun, as opposed to past relationships where I spent more time feeling uneasy about things.

I'm thankful that I have a job that challenges me, that frustrates me, and keeps me intersted. Some days are more challenging than others but often there's a sense of satistaction when I'm presented with a daunting task and by the end of the day I've completed it and everybody's happy.

What is it you are thankful for on this day?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Time Flies...

One lonely evening last August, I was sitting quietly, staring at my iPod. It's one of the fancy ones that allows me to download apps and do things online. It functions somewhat like an iPhone but I need to connect to a wifi network to make it work. Anyway, that's not the point of this blog. The point is, I logged on to a *ahem* "social networking" app. As I often did, I would click on the pictures, read the profiles, initiate a chat and never hear back from the person to whom I reached out. That evening, I clicked on the picture that amused me. Some guy with neon wings. I think I said "Hi. I love your picture." Then I logged off.

The following morning, I was sitting at Starbucks and I logged on. The guy with neon wings was on and replied "Hey cutie, how are you this morning?"

All this began on August 15.

Flash forward 3 months and Anthony and I are still dating. I was at Starbucks Monday morning (the 15th) and I sent him a text about the events three months prior and he said "well imagine my surprise when I got your note. The cute ones never said hi to me." Had I not been sitting in a crowded room, I'd have probably started blubbering like a girl. As it was, my eyes welled up a bit. We had a brief but sweet conversation, then I left to go to work.

I feel infinitely lucky. I count my blessings every day. And I marvel at the fact that three months feel like they flew by. Time really does fly when you're having fun.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pretty song

The singer is Landon Pigg. (yes, that's his name) And yes, I first heard part of the song playing during a commercial. Today I looked up the lyrics. Sweet. :)

Falling In Love At A Coffee Shop

I think that possibly
Maybe I've fallen for you
Yes there's a chance
That I've fallen quite hard over you

I've seen the paths that your eyes wander down
I wanna come too-

I think that possibly
Maybe I've fallen for you
No one understands me
Quite like you do
Through all of the shadowy corners of me

I never knew just what it was
About the same coffee shop I love so much
All of the while I never knew-

I never knew just what it was
About this old coffee shop I love so much
All of the while I never knew-

I think that possibly
Maybe I've fallen for you
Yes, there's a chance
That I've fallen quite hard over you

I've seen the waters that make your eyes shine
Now I'm shining too-

Because, oh because
I've fallen quite hard over you

If I didn't know you, I'd rather not know
If I couldn't have you, I'd rather be alone

I never knew just what it was
About the same coffee shop I love so much
All of the while I never knew-

I never knew just what it was
About this old coffee shop I love so much
All of the while I never knew-

All of the while
All of the while, it was you

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Random Thoughts

Well gosh, just when I planned on blogging a bit more, I realized I didn't have much to say. I went from blogging about every little thing to realizing that I don't really have that much to say. So rather than bore everybody with minutiae every day, I've collected those thoughts and gathered them in one (hopefully not so) big blog post.

In no particular order...

Autumn is upon us and generally this is the time of year when I start to feel a bit blue, just because the "social" season has ended. By social, I mean steet festivals, outdoor parties, etc. Luckily there will still be some social happening through the end of the year. Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are always enjoyable.

Tonight at dinner we decided that our Halloween theme will be vampires. Each year we pick a theme for all of us who will be celebrating it at Dan and Luis' house. Dan and Luis will be out of town that weekend, we're basically the house sitters who make sure we hand out lots of candy to all the kids, thus preventing the house from being covered in eggs and all of the trees and bushes from being wrapped in toilet paper. Last year we handed out close to 1000 pieces of candie. We were Witches (I was a Warlock). This year we will be vampires. What kind of vampires is yet to be determined. I'm thinking classic vampire (red cape, brocade vest, white shirt, black pants, and of course fangs). I'm not really feeling all Twilight-like, I don't have the body for it. Whatever I decide, it'll be fun. We have a blast at the house.

Tonight we celebrated Polo's birthday. His actual birthday was last Thursday; tonight we went to dinner and had a great time. I love our get togethers. We're all busy and they don't happen as often as they once did (at one time we were all together on a weekly basis), but when we do, it's as if we haven't missed a minute. We've got a couple more birthdays coming up before Christmas, and I'm sure we'll gather a few times before the year ends.

So, a funny thing happened on the way to the dentist. Back in mid-August I was clicking around on a social networking site and found a picture of a guy that made me laugh. I clicked it, liked what I read in his profile and sent a quick note. I think it said 'Hi. Love your picture." I hit SEND and then I logged off.

The next morning I was scheduled to go into work late because I needed to take my mom to the dentist. I was awake at my usual time and had time to kill so I went to Starbucks, and I logged back on to the same site and he was on. I got a reply that said "Hi cutie, how are you this morning?" We chatted a while. He was getting ready for work, I was killing time while waiting until it was time to go get my mom. We exchanged numbers and continued our conversation via text messages during the day. That evening, we met at Starbucks and chatted. It was perfect. From that point forward, we've been seeing each other regularly. It's nice, relaxed and fun. At the same time, it's exciting. We share a lot of likes, but we each bring new things to the table. It's different than previous experiences with dating, I feel comfortable around him because he's happy, and he makes me happy.

I'm definitely putting it out for all to see, including him. He knows that I have a blog, I'll post on Facebook that I've updated this. I don't think I've disclosed anyting new. I've been pretty forthcoming with him about how he makes me feel. This whole process makes me nervous, given my past history, but I'm hopeful, and excited. Wish me luck with this one. :)

Last weekend I was in Miami for a wedding. The daughter of a good family friend got married. I've known the bride from practically the day she was born. The wedding was beyond gorgeous. Every bit of it was perfection. I invited my dear friend Denise to join me. Denise and I travel well together, we shared a room when we all went to Puerto Rico. Denise is fun and easy going. She puts up with my neurotic ways and my assorted quirks. We spend more time laughing than talking. The theme of this trip was friends and booze. We arrived Thursday evening and by 11, we were checked into our hotel and had found a restaurant to have a light snack and 3 drinks. the trend continued through Friday, when our dear friend Steve met us and we all sat down for the first round. By the time the evening was finished, we lost count. Neither Denise or I were completely wasted, but we had a happy buzz going.

Saturday was the wedding so the drinking was light. We sipped champagne and wine at the wedding but decided to save ourselves for Sunday.

We started Sunday with Bloody Marys (2 each). We met up with my Aunt and visited with her for a while. Afterwards we found ourselves making a brief stop at a tea dance (there was neither tea or dancing taking place) before finding The Clevelander Hotel. What we found once we were there was a sea of young, fun, drunk boys, bimbo women wearing giant heels and tiny bikinis, fembots, 60-year-olds pretending to be 25, and random freaks. We decided we had walked into the real life Jersey Shore. We even had names for a lot of our favorites. We learned a lesson too. If you're in a similar crowd and want to talk to someone, yell out "Duuude!" Someone will answer and they'll think they've found their oldest friend in the world. Each time I did this, someone else greeted me and Denise and I would laugh. Oh, maybe the humor was in the half dozen rum runner drinks we consumed. Eventually, it began to get dark and the cute boys all went to take naps (must have been a curfew thing) and the crowd shifted to people our age or older. This was our signal to leave.

Monday we awoke surprisingly chipper and ready to face the reality of coming home. We got our breakfast, packed our bags, gassed up the rental car and said goodbye to South Beach. But we didn't leave Florida without first having one last drink...margaritas at the airport. OLE!

Florida was by far one of the best trips I've ever taken. So much fun!

There you have it! We're now all caught up.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Dancing With the Stars - Season 11 "Stars" Announced

Dancing With the Stars returns to television on September 20. This will be their 11th season, and they're really stretching the term "Stars." Here's the list. (Thanks, USA Today!) The comments that follow are mine.

Singer Michael Bolton, 57 - zzzzz hope his dancing is more exciting than his catalog of music.

Actress/singer Brandy, 31 - I hope her dancing is better than her driving skills.

Actress/comedian Margaret Cho, 41 - OK, I like Margaret Cho. She should be fun to watch.

Actor/retired L.A. Laker Rick Fox, 41 - Sports person. Sorry...don't know him.

Actress Jennifer Grey, 50 - Baby is 50? How old is her nose?

Actor/singer David Hasselhoff, 58 - His professional partner can motivate him with a bottle of Jack Daniels and a cheeseburger.

Actress Florence Henderson, 76 - Mrs. Brady! Aww...she's the senior in this season's cast. Hope she sticks around for a while.

Actor Kyle Massey, 19 - No clue.

Bristol Palin, daughter of Sarah Palin, 19 - Seriously? what realm is she a STAR???

Reality TV's Audrina Patridge, 25 - No clue.

Reality TV's Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino, 27 - Wow...he's 27. I would have thought he was in his early 20's. I hope he and Bristol hit it off. If you know what I mean. ;-)

Retired NFL quarterback Kurt Warner, 38 - quarterback...that's football. Still no clue who he is though.

Not a very exciting cast. I'll watch though. I always do. Will you?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Speaking of The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck (see post below)

There is now a theme song for The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck. It was written by the lovely, gracious and extremely talented Jane Wiedlin. Doug is a good friend of hers. I feel very priviledged that I can also call her a friend and because of this, I will now shamelessly promote her song. It can be downloaded for a mere 99 cents on iTunes. You'd be a fool not to add this happy little song to your music collection. After all, how many pop songs can you name that have the sentence "All of New York is swallowing" in the lyrics?

I'll even make it easy for's a link right to the song on iTunes!

The Great Food Truck Race

As you all know, my friend Doug (The Big Gay Ice Cream Man) has a food truck in NYC called "The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck." Doug's truck is part of a long list of trucks included in the voting for season 2 of "The Great Food Truck Race," a show on The Food Network. Through September 10, you can visit the site, simply by following this link, and cast your vote (actually 10 votes per day!!) for The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck. Winners receive $10,000 and a chance to appear on season 2 of the show. There's something in it for the voters, too...a chance to win a trip to The Food Network NYC Wine and Food Festival. How bad can that be?

Vote early and vote often for The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck. I appreciate it and so does Doug.


I know, not the most exciting topic to come back with but that's what I've been doing on and off for the past four days.

A week ago, my throat was scratchy. I didn't feel sick, just annoyed by a scratchy throat. I didn't let it slow me down though. One night I had coffee with my friend Jim who was visiting from Wyoming (or Montana or some wilderness state...some place where chickens come knocking on his front door but that's a different story). The next night was dinner and theatre with Dan, Luis, Polo, Denise and Tina, then the next night was dinner with my pal Debbie who works for the same company and was in Chicago doing some training and education at our buildings. Each night was a delightful time. Well Thursday was laundry night and by the time it came time to do laundry, I just wanted to crawl into bed. I didn't though, I toughed it out and got my chores done, then I came home and went right to bed. I called off work on Friday. I just felt icky. My head was congested and I was tired. It never felt like I had a cold, though. It seemed more like allergies.

Case in point, Saturday morning I got up and felt great. I went shopping and had lunch with a new friend. Afterwards we hung out for a while. I did decline the opportunity to go out that night with him, deciding to err on the side of caution and just rest. Well at about 9, the flood gates broke and I was sneezing and sniffling and coughing. Sunday, most of the water works stopped but I was still stuffy.

Today at work I felt OK...not great but well enough to go to work and be productive. I'm still not convinced it's a cold, because of the on and off pattern. For my friend's sake I hope it's not a cold. That's all I'm saying. :)

I just took a couple Benadryl tablets. I'm sure I'll be asleep shortly.

Really exciting post, huh? Well at least it's not another "Dancing With the Stars" post. OH WAIT....

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Yes...still here. Just haven't had a lot to talk about lately. I just get the feeling that what I do discuss really only interests me, so until I have something really great to discuss, I'll just stay quiet.

But, just to let you know what I've been up to, I took a trip to LA last month, had a great time. I've been enjoying summer in Chicago. It's been hot and sticky and it's just the way I like it.

Mom's doing alright. The cat is fine. My sister is back on track with her weight loss and is down 20 pounds.

I saw the Joan Rivers documentary, I liked it. I actually went to see it when I was in LA.

Okay...guess that's it for now.

Friday, June 18, 2010

A Star is Born

Yes, this is yet another post about The Go-Go's. But I've got actual news to share. Rather cool news, in fact. At least I think so and since this is my blog, I'm going to write about it.

Picture it, February 2002. The Go-Go's had recently released their fourth CD and I, along with a couple friends decided that they deserved a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. DeDe, who lives in San Jose, Joseph who lives in Las Vegas and me, here in Chicago, decided to research how one goes about getting a star. I won't bore you with all the details about what qualifies a celebrity for a star, but there has to be a nomination document prepared, the celebrity has to be willing to appear at the ceremony (unless they're dead), and the nominating party has to be able to write a check for $15,000 over to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Hmm...

So we brainstormed and came up with some ideas. We contacted members of the band and since they were scheduled to perform a handful of shows around the country, we asked them if they would let us auction off "Meet and Greet" events at each of their shows. They were 100 percent on board and agreed. We set up a Paypal account and created a website and people donated. Much to our surprise, we raised OVER $15,000 in 34 days.

Then it was up to us to write the nominating document. It was a labor of love for us. We poured over articles that chronicled their Los Angeles roots and their rapid rise to fame. The end result was a great presentation. We even solicited for celebrity testimonials and we got them. Finally, we got a letter from their management stating the band's committment to appear at a ceremony, should they receive a star. I organized the box, which included CDs and a DVD of their work and sent it to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. We were thrilled with our work and felt like we were a shoe-in.


Undaunted, we knew we needed to do nothing but send a letter during the next year's nomination period to have our nomination renewed. We did, again feeling very confident.


Each year, we kept it up. We tweaked the nomination, updated it and kept submitting it.


Back in 2008, I spoke with their current manager, who was committed to see this through. By now the fee had been increased to $25,000. He said that the balance would be raised elsewhere. At that same event, I had a brief chat with Belinda Carlisle about it and she was so surprised that they hadn't been awarded their star but thanked me for my continued efforts. The nomination period came and went and again, no star.

2009 - no star.

Earlier this year, it was announced that the band, who had been working together a few weeks each year, would embark on their final tour, dubbed "Happily Ever After - The Go-Go's Farewell Tour." The Star would be a do or die effort as far as we were concerned. Having raised the money, thereby making a committment to all of the investors, we knew we would have to continue, but with the band finished, the chances of getting the star would have been even worse.

The band's management has been doing their part to keep the nomination alive. Not having seen what was submitted, we were nervous but hopeful.

Unfortunately, The Go-Go's had to cancel their "Farewell Tour." Guitarist Jane Wiedlin was injured in an accident while hiking near her home and tore the ACL in her left knee. Surgery was done on July 16, she is recovering at home.

Thursday July 17, a headline appeared online that The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce announced their 2011 nominees for Stars. 30 recipients were announced, the article named about 10. I glanced through the list, shrugged and went back to my work.

I received a text message from a friend who said "Jane just posted on Facebook that The Go-Go's are getting their star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame. Is it true?"


I began to search online, I could not find a complete list of nominees. Thankfully the work day was over so I left for home, but before I got there, I had an email from DeDe telling me that it had finally happened.

The Go-Go's got their Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame!!

I still can't believe it. If it hadn't been for us brainstorming one night, this would never have happened. Because of our efforts, the band that has meant so much to us for nearly 30 years will finally be immortalized in the very pavement where they, as a band, were born. Let me tell you, it's a great feeling knowing that I played a part in that.

Next up, the placement of the star. It probably will be a few months before it happens. I will be there. I can't wait!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Summer Reading

On Tuesday June 1, Belinda Carlisle’s book “Lips Unsealed” was released.

I first heard about this project over a year ago. There had been some talk on the internet that Belinda had signed a deal to release an autobiography. Much discussion ensued. Would it be a tell-all about her days as a member of The Go-Go’s? Would she reveal secrets about her band mates or would this be just about her. Well, the latter is more accurate. In the book, Belinda discusses growing up while dealing with feelings of insecurity, coping with losing her father, and finding her place in the world. It’s a journey that walks the reader through the forming of The Go-Go’s, their rise and fall and reforming, and all of Belinda’s personal demons that manifested themselves on and off for nearly 30 years. Ultimately it’s a story of redemption and healing.

Having heard so many of the stories over the years, it was really cool to read them as told by someone who was there. There are glimpses into the recording sessions of her solo albums. And, as she has been most candid about in press interviews, stories of drug and alcohol use, including during her pregnancy.

Belinda opens up about motherhood, and dealing with the regret of not being home with her son as much as she would have liked.

She even mentions "Dancing With the Stars." :)

I read the book in 3 days. I paced myself, as it would have been easy to not put the book down. The book is truly her voice and her sense of humor. Yes, there are parts of the book that made me laugh. Overall it’s a pretty fair balance of ups and downs but by the time I got to the end I was feeling happy for her.

As a fan, I would recommend this book to everybody. It may not be to everybody’s liking so I would qualify my review by suggesting it to anybody who is interested in a story of someone’s journey to find who they are and creating an eye opening journey along the way.

That’s the first of my summer reads. What’s on your reading list this summer?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Asian SPAM

Does anybody else get Asian spam comments to their blog posts? How do I block them? They are actually links (which I have not clicked).


Thought I'd share with you a letter that arrived in my mailbox at work today.

Today's letter comes from Deloris XXXXXXXX in Chicago. It's actually pieces of paper, folded with one staple holding it shut. It has 2 badly placed postage stamps. It is addressed to Payroll at my place of employment.

I will type the letter as it was typed, including typos. I've X'd out some of the identifiers but she has street names and addresses included.

The first page reads:

Hi my name is Deloris XXXXXXXX, I worked at XXXXXXX XXXXXXXXX in 1999-2000,

I was the supervisor of the medical record dept.

I'm the one who suggested for you to move the physican's lounge to the first floor.

The second page reads:

My name is Delores XXXXXXXX, RHIT I am a

Witch - casting spells on you and your family

Voodoo Queen - putting the roots on you and your family

Devil worshipper - doing evil things to you and your family

I will do what ever I want to you and your family if you don't do what I tell you to do

I go back in to you and your family's pass

I will make you unable to work your job, I will make you crazy and go into a mental hospital
I will cause problems with your legs, eyes, ears. arms, feet, neck, pain all over your body
I will fuck up your hair, make it come out, cut it, tangle up
Make you unable to sleep
Pain in your penis and vagina and discharges
I will have peoples mess with your child/children
I will make your family sick
Problems with your teeth
I will break up your family or relationship
I made you use cocoa butter on your face and made your face black
I will mess with your speech
I will not let you take or pass your state test for coding
I will take your social security check or ssi or ssa

I work at XXXX X XXXXXX Jr. Hospital at Cook County Hospital, Chicago, IL 606XX
Medical records dept. located in the lower level of the XXXXXX XXXXXX Center
At XXX S. XXXXXXXXX Avenue, Chicago, Il 606XX/XXXX W. XXXXXXX at XXXXX Ave 606XX
1-312-XXX-XXXX Medical records dept.

I live in the Chicago Housing Authority / XXX or XXX W. XXXXXXX Ave / 312-XXX-XXXX
7010 or 7410 N. XXXXXXX Road, Chicago, IL 606XX

American Health Information Management Association - AHIMA
Register Health Information Management - RHIT
Medical Records
XXX N. XXXXXXXX Ave. Chicago, Il 606XX, 312-XXX-XXXX

I shared it with my bosses this afternoon, we all had a hearty laugh. Later my CEO came in to tell me that I wasn't so special, she got one too. However, hers did not include a photograph of the woman. Mine did. I win!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Dancing With the Stars

Season 10 has been good...not great.

Pam Anderson continues to amaze me. She's really taking this very seriously and it quite the dancer. She assumes the character and gives it her all. Her quickstep to Dolly Parton's "9 to 5" was cute.

Nicey Nash is bubbly and charming. She's always talking about being a big girl and working her "jiggly parts." Funny, in a recent issue of People Magazine, they said she's a size 8. Sad that a size 8 is considered fat. She's curvy but is very attractive. She's not the best dancer and won't see the final 3 but I enjoy her very much and will continue to vote for her.

Jake Pavelka was voted off this week. He was the most recent "Bachelor" from the ABC series that preceeded this round of DWTS. He was super-cute and fun to watch.

Kate Gosslin was miserable to watch and was voted off last week. I didn't like her at all and was amazed at how long she lasted. I felt bad for her professional partner. He was polite and said nice things about her each week.

The three to watch are Erin Andrews (ESPN reporter), Nicole Scherzinger (Pussycat Doll) and Aaron Lysacek (Olympic scater). I'm not a big fan of Aaron and I think he and Nicole have an advantage so if that ends up being the final 3, I'm going to root for Erin.

Are you watching this season? What are your thoughts?

Okay, Okay, I'm a Gleek Too

Blame Dan and Steve. Both of them have been telling me how great Glee is and they couldn't believe I wasn't watching. I had caught most of one episode and I was impressed but I kept telling myself I couldn't take on another show. However, I was strolling through Target one Sunday and saw the DVD set for the first part of Season 1 on sale. I bought it because otherwise I wouldn't have reached my required minimum purchase amount for trips to Target. You know, you go in for one thing and spend $50 bucks. I came home, unwrapped it, admired the cute guys, and began watching.


I watched all 13 episodes over 3 days. Work days. I watched a few that Sunday, then woke up Monday morning and watched one before work, then watched a couple before bed, then one the next morning and the rest that night before bed.

FUN!! FUN!! FUN!! I love it.

Now I'm watching the new episodes weekly. The Madonna episode was cute.

Are you a Gleek?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Kids Say the Darndest Things

Saturday I went to the post office. The line was long, there were a number of noisy kids in there. Everybody seemed pretty orderly in line. Working their way through the line were two kids; one was about 4. He was piloting his very small sister through the crowd, she had to be just over a year old. She was walking, barely. More of a semi-balanced stomp, but she managed to stay vertical and was having quite a time with it. She babbled, mostly incoherently, it appeared that she could barely talk. Until...out of nowhere, rather loudly and clear as a bell, she blurted out "WHAT THE FUCK!" Everybody heard it, most gasped, I shook my head and said "wow, nice." A couple minutes later, the parents came along, and then it made more sense. They were aruging as they were walking out the door.

It's Springtime and The Kitties Are Horny

I have a feeling that seeing "Horny Kitty" in my title will make Dan giggle. That's because it relates to someone we used to see at our hangout, The Jackhammer, from time to time. When you're a regular, you spot the other regulars and semi-regulars or the "irregulars." One guy in particular would come in with his friends, all dolled up for a night on the town. He was tanned, had his hair all whooped up and usually wore either a tight t-shirt or button down shirt with most of the buttons unbuttoned. In other words, he was looking for some action. His technique was very forward. He would focus on someone he wanted to know better and get really close and rub up against them. One night he did this to Dan. It was rather humorous to watch. Dan read him like a book and played along for a while but grew increasingly impatient with him. I leaned in and said "he's like a horny kitty - MEOWWWWWW!" Dan and I both laughed, while the guy was boucing around and doing his mating dance for Dan and a number of other guys in close proximity. And each time he would rub up against another guy, I'd let out another meow, much like a cat in heat.

I think the warmer weather brings out the "horny kitty" in a lot of people. Well, in everybody, though they express it differently. Some are very obvious about it, rubbing up against everyone to let them know that it's mating season. Others take a more indirect approach as the stalk their potential mates until they find the right time to approach. But it's definitely happening now.

Case in point - I went out Friday evening, to Jackhammer, to have a couple drinks and see my friends. I ran into a few, and then I started making new friends. From across the bar, a handsome guy caught my eye and winked. I smiled. He was with someone so his flirtation was taking place when the guy he was with was looking away or had stepped away. I was flattered, so I smiled and okay, maybe I winked back. This went on for over an hour. Then I was closer to them, and I heard their conversation with the bartender so I made a comment. Immediately I was invited over to participate in their conversation. Turns out they were visiting from out of state. They found the bar on the recommendation of others they had met in boystown the previous night. Well, I love out of towners, I find it so interesting to hear the stories of their experiences in the city. The three of us had a nice conversation. And yes, the flirting continued, the other one seemed oblivious to it. They shared with me the fact that they were both 29. Eventually I took them to the downstairs bar, their curiousity got the best of them and they wanted to see what was going on. Let's just say it's a friendly part of the bar. We stayed a few minutes. There was potential for things to become *ahem* much more friendly but I decided to keep things a little more "proper." We eventually went upstairs and then to the bar next door. They each had a drink and decided it was time to go back to their hotel. The end of a fun and friendly evening.

Saturday, I went to the grocery store. I had a short list. Good thing, because I had to be to dinner at Dan and Luis' in 90 minutes. I turned down an aisle and noticed a handsome guy pushing his cart ahead of me. I continued down the aisle, he turned and smiled. I smiled back. When I continued up the next aisle, he was at the end of it, watching me approach. He was smiling. I smiled again and nodded. A couple more turns, there he was again, all smiles and watching me. Okay, I knew this wasn't a fluke, I knew someone wasn't behind me, but I hadn't decided what to do next. All I knew is that I had to get finished because I was on a schedule. So I went down an aisle, stopped and wrote my phone number on a slip of paper. I had it folded and in my hand so that the next time I passed him, I would hand it to him. I turned up the aisle and he wasn't there. I searched a couple more aisles and he was gone. I finished my shopping and got in line. I then noticed he was a couple rows over and smiling at me from checkout. In front of me was someone I know from the gym, and he was yapping about something...I don't know, maybe weather, maybe sports, maybe world affairs...anyway flirty guy was finished and wheeled past. He waved. I waved. My phone number was still in my pocket.

I got out of the store and saw him across the street, walking with his groceries. I loaded mine in the car and since he was going the same direction as I needed to go, I watched for him. I found him walking up the street where I had turned to head home. He saw me, smiled and watched me drive by. I parked, got out of the car and he came over. I said "Listen, I am flattered by all of your attention in the store. I would love to stand here and chat but I have to be somewhere very soon. Here's my cell number, I hope you'll call." He smiled and said "wow, that's sweet, but I have a boyfriend."


So I sighed and said "well, you've got the number, do with it what you will. Throw it out, wrap your gum in it, call, text or send pictures." Thanks for all of the glances and smiles." He laughed and said "well you're very handsome and hard to resist. Sorry for the mixed signals." I smiled and said "yeah, me too, but it was nice chatting." I got back in my car and drove off. All the way around the corner to my house. As I was unloading groceries, he stopped at the corner and watched, then waved as we continued to walk on.

An hour later he sent me a text message.

We exchanged a few messages Sunday evening. Unsure what's up with his boyfriend, but I'm neighborly so I'll chat. I'll keep you posted.

I'm sad to report, there were no encounters with horny kitties on Sunday. Hopefully though, it's the start of a very interesting spring and summer.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Dancing With the Stars

This week saw some improvements and some missteps. Those who improved were Shannen, Jake, Niecy, Pam and Erin. Nicole was fantastic again, and Kate was awful. Buzz was fun to watch but didn't fare so well this week. Chad was a disappointment.

Pam came out and did a fox trot and was captivating to watch. She was charming and fun and hit the steps with precision.

Niecy also did a fox trot and did very well. She was elegant and smooth.

Shannen did a jive that challenged her but she showed growth.

Kate did a jive and showed fear. I kid you not, the look on her face was terror. She was not happy to be there and hopefully everybody realized it and won't vote for her.

Tomorrow is the first elimination. Hopefully it will be Kate.

Better Late Than Never

Okay, I'm on board.
Sunday I bought Glee, Season 1 Vol. 1 at Target for the low, low price of $17.99. Low and behold, I like it!! Now I just have to catch up before the second part of the season resumes on April 13.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Dancing With the Stars - Season 10

Tonight was the premiere of season 10 of Dancing With the Stars. I see Belinda Carlisle has already been voted off. With that said, I won't be recapping. I'll watch but I won't take notes. Maybe I'll toss out a comment or two each week.

New set this year, the backstage lounge has been replaced by the celeb-aquarium just up a few steps from the stage.

I enjoyed Niecy Nash, I think she'll be fun. Pam Anderson is a hot mess and totally a blast to see dance, and she's not bad!! Evan Lysacek thinks he's great but I'm here to tell you, he's not all that. And that Kate Gosslin was awful and a bitch on top of it.

No results show this week, they'll all dance again next Monday and then someone will go home on Tuesday.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Imagine my surprise...

...when I was looking at my own blog and realized that I have 22 followers. Stop laughing, Daniel!! There was a point in time when you had 22 followers, perhaps on day 3, but I digress. Maybe you've all been there a while, just waiting for me to say something, maybe tomorrow I'll have lost some of you. I hope not though. Thanks for following!! *kiss*

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Happy List

Welcome back to another chapter of me. There's no good explanation for my absence. I haven't been abducted by aliens, I have not been swept off my feet by an attractive and wealthy suitor, I haven't been traveling the world. I just haven't had a lot to say. Winter drains me of energy and creativity I guess (is it boastful to call this blog "creative?"). But, spring is rapidly approaching, the weather is changing and today on my drive home I saw hints of green sticking out of the ground, telling me that in a week or so we should start seeing tulips and daffodills.

But I haven't crawled under a rock, either. I've been out and about, doing stuff and keeping busy, finding things along the way to celebrate and smile about. Allow me to share. In no particular order...

"Telephone" by Lady Gaga, featuring Beyonce - I'm kind of at a loss for words on how to describe this video. It's more than a Music video, it's a mini movie, that's a cross between 70's blacksploitation and women in prison films, but the women are heroes. There's dancing and poison, and tough prison guards, kitchy hair and hats and the Pussy Mobile. It's 4 quarts of crazy and I can't stop watching it. Find it on YouTube. You'll be amazed.

I've become the primary cook in the house ever since my mom broke her hip last fall. It's been a challenge coming up with things to cook that we can both enjoy. Part of the task is getting mom to eat so that she'll put on weight. I could prepare the things that she would normally fix but I've found that I have better success with new things. Big flavors, things that are different but familiar. I take recipes from online, from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food Magazine, and from The Food Network.

Yesterday I picked up Rocco Dispirito's new cookbook "Now Eat This." I paged through it briefly at the store but took it with me to Starbucks where I paged though it and studied each recipe. Luckily I took a book of Post-It notes as I now have over two dozen recipes tagged that I want to make. Rocco has taken over 150 favorite foods and reworked the recipes so that each dish is 350 calories or less per serving. Dishes like macaroni and cheese, chicken cordon bleu and chicken fried steak with sausage gravy. Rocco surveyed fans on Facebook and Twitter and received feedback on many of his ideas so fans got a sneek peak at the recipes he was perfecting. I'll let you know how they are as I make them.

Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland - I had been hopeful that this movie would be good and I was not disappointed. I went on opening weekend wtih Dan, Luis, Tina, Denise, Polo and Steve. We all enjoyed it very much. It's in 3-D, and it's the first film I've seen in a theatre in the "new" 3-D. I was amazed at how vivid it was. I'm a fan of the technology and of this film. If you have not seen it, definitely go see it!

ABC Comedy Wednesdays - I have a problem taking on new television shows. I'm no television snob, I'm not someone who allows himself only a couple hours of TV a week. I only limit myself because I don't need any more distractions that will have me sitting on my fat ass every evening. However, there's that hour of television on Wednesday that I adore.

Modern Family is well written, it mingles the lives of three separate families, who all happen to be related, so their stories often connect with one another. It's just a nice portrayal of three very different family units.

Cougar Town also makes me laugh out loud. I've been a Courtney Cox fan for years and it's nice to see her back on TV and in a show that is smart, clever and showcases her comedic timing. She works with a great cast, all of whom bring something great to the show. If you watch Modern Family but turn off the TV after it ends, consider watching this show, too.

I'll admit it, I waste a lot of time on Facebook. Much of that time is taken up by FarmVille. I love my little farm, looking at my animals, tending to my trees, planting and harvesting crops. It's mindless and on more than one occasion I've come home from work after a bad day and my farm has put me in a good mood. It's silly but then again, I tend to be silly, too.

I treated myself this year when I got my income tax refund. I was responsible and bought tires for my car, but I had enough remaining to buy myself a new iPod Touch. My previous iPod still works but the charge wasn't lasting as long. Since I didn't pay for my previous one (I won it at work for meeting a recruitment goal), this is the first one I bought in 6 years. I can see the screen when I'm working out, I like the touch-screen capabilities, and I have apps! It has most of the functions of an iPhone, minus the ability to make calls, take pictures and endless wireless connectivity. I can use the internet features anytime I can pick up a WiFi signal. It's fun to sit at Starbucks with it, listen to music and play online.

This last item is not something that I have right now, but looking forward to it makes me happy. Belinda Carlisle wrote her memoirs and the book Lips Unsealed will be published on June 1 2010. Unsure if it will be a complete tell-all of her life, but she has said that it's inspirational. In recent years she's been a practicing Buddhist, she's taken up yoga and has been living a healthy lifestyle. The book should be about the journey to where she is now. I feel like I know a lot of it already, but I'm guessing that much of it will surprise me.

There's a short list of the things that have me feeling happy and excited. What's on your list? Do you enjoy any of the things I've been enjoying? Do you have any suggestions for me? Please share!

Monday, February 15, 2010

This and That, continued

I know, not very original. Oh wait...I think the TV game show Jeopardy would call this "potpourri."

It's been a while since I've posted and I know I said I'd do a better job at posting regularly. I'd like to say that I've been busy but I just haven't been inspired to write. There just hasn't been a lot to talk about. But, I've got some stuff so we'll just go with it.

A couple weeks ago, Denise informed me that her television broke. Not good, knowing that the Winter Olympics were fast approaching. She was going to make it happen, work some magic and have a new TV by the opening ceremonies. Polo came up with a great idea, he suggested that we all buy Denise an early birthday gift. So we pooled our funds and surprised Denise by presenting her with a new televsion set. We all went out to dinner and as nearby table was celebrating someone else's birthday with a rousing rendition of "Happy Birthday" we sang along and Tina threw a card at Denise, confusing her. The timing could not have been more perfect. We celebrated with delicious food and margritas.

Unrelated, a couple days later, I found myself sick in bed with food poisoning. I say unrelated because there was too much time between that dinner and when I got sick. I'm attributing it to a jar of preserves that I had in the pantry. It was sealed when I opened it but perhaps the batch was not properly preserved. All I know is that I don't recall ever being so sick. No details, but it was UGLY. My knight in shining armor, Dan saved the day by bringing me Gatorade, which was about the only thing I could stomach for about 36 hours. I was in recovery mode most of the week.

By Friday I felt fine and I'm glad because I got to enjoy an evening out with my dear friend Steve. Since he travels back and forth and spends half of each month out of town, we get to go out a couple times while he's in town. It was a fun night, but because Steve knows a lot of people and doesn't see them very often, much of the evening was spent watching him socialize and catch up with people. I get it, I don't mind it, I enjoy watching him having a nice time, but something about Friday night left me seriously feeling like a third wheel. I would wander away for a while, seeing who I could find to chat with and I just had this overwhelming feeling that people were looking through me and not at me. It was one of those night where I felt completely invisible, to the point where if I didn't leave, I was going to lose it. I said my goodnight to Steve and I came home.

Saturday was a better day. I ran some errands and had some me time at Starbucks. I ended up not going out Saturday evening because I decided I wasn't up for a redux. Knowing that the following day was Valentine's Day, I wasn't in the best frame of mind anyway.

I've never been a fan of Valentine's Day. I'm sure I've blogged about it in the past. No, I don't feel like looking at last year's post, I'll bet I was pretty bitter. This year was no exception and I wasn't looking forward to the day. I got up early, went to the gym, then went to Crate and Barrel. Wouldn't you know it was filled with happy couples doing their bridal registries? What was I thinking? Okay, maybe the cute gay couple wasn't registering (not legal, ya know) but they were having a nice time shopping together. Needless to say, my visit was a quick one. I ended up stopping off at my friend Cyd's house to help her clear some things out of her apartment. She's moving next weekend. Afterwards I came home and prepared a delicious shrimp stir fry. I was celebrating Chinese New Year.

Over the weekend I got new tires on my car. The original ones were still on the car, they were over 5 1/2 years old but only had 38,000 miles on them. However they were showing their age so it was time. Next up will be brakes. Those will happen in the next month or two.

I mentioned the Olympics earlier. Did you watch the opening ceremonies? What did you think? I thought they were great. How exciting was it to see the team from the United States enter the stadium? I love all of the pageantry. I couldn't help but tear up when the team from the Republic of Georgia entered. They were solem and wore black arm bands out of respect for their team mate who had been killed during luge practice earlier in the day. Aside from the glitch with the lighting of the torch, I thought this opening ceremony held its own without trying to compete with the opening ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

So that's what I've been up to? What about you?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

This and That

So January is over, the first month of 2010. I hate the month of January. Always have, always will. Okay, I guess I don't hate all of January, Just the last 30 days of it. January 1st is usally fun with everybody still feeling a little of the holiday spirit (unless they're feeling like a brick fell on their head from the previous night...I've felt like that a couple times), but after that it's all downhill.

Why do I hate January? It's winter in Chicago. It's dark when I wake up to go to work, it's dark when I'm getting home from work. Everybody is back from vacation, traffic is a crap shoot. And if the weather is bad, that just makes the commutes that much uglier. Speaking of weather, and Chicago, and January, chances are it's not going to be very pleasant outside. Snow, ice or frigid temperatures are common place. People are tired of it. They're cranky because of it.

Professionally it's a challenging month because there are a lot of questions about benefits, deductions from paychecks, whether their time-off accruals are right. Then it's always a guess to see who will be the first to ask "when do we get our W-2 forms?

Thankfully W-2 forms were issued a couple weeks ago and everybody was happy, including me. I filed and already received my refund (no I didn't go and get one of those rapid refunds that take a chunk of your refund as a service fee), I filed online and apparently my taxes are so simple they didn't take much checking. Having endured such a blah month, I bought myself a new iPod. I've now got the iPod Touch and yes, I get aps! Mind you, I don't have a constant internet connection, it only works if it finds an hotspot or an unsecured internet signal. Regardless, it's pretty and I like it. I also bought new cookware. I too is pretty and I like it. While I would have loved the All-Clad, I ended up getting Cuisinart. It may not be top of the line but it's better than the old Farberware I had with the handles that were about to fall off. The problem is, it's so pretty, I'm afraid to actually use it.

Every year, I try to do something responsible with my tax return. This year, I will buy new tires for my car with the remainder of it. I've been talking about new tires for the car since last summer but kept putting it off. I have a very slow leak in one, so I don't think I can put it off much longer.

January is over, thankfully. The Groundhog saw his shadow today so it looks like we've got another 6 weeks of winter. Duh. I mean, the groundhog is cute and all, but did anybody really expect, if he didn't see his shadow, that tomorrow we'd be sitting outside in shorts? Me either.

Valentine's day is in a couple weeks. I couldn't care less about it. Bitter, you say? Yes, but I have been for years. Bite my ass, Cupid!

Anyway, that's my story. What's new with you?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Good News/Bad News

The good news is that this has been a MUCH better week.

The bad news is that I really can't think of anything to say about it.

It's been pleasant. I went to a play Tuesday night with Dan, Denise, Polo and a nice couple who I don't know very well but like I said they're very nice.

I had a birthday dinner this evening for our family friend Karen. I made a delicious lasagna and garlic bread.

Tomorrow I'm supposed to go to dinner with some of my high school friends.

But that's all I got. I'm fine with that, but it's not very interesting. I'm sorry.

I'll try to do better next week, as long as it doesn't involve a bad week. :)

Monday, January 25, 2010

As if it couldn't get any worse...

In the midst of my bad week, I heard a news report of a fatal car crash that took the lift of a 23 year old. They said the name on the news and it caused me to look up. It was someone with the same name as the grandson of a close family friend.

Unsure if it was him or not, I set out doing research, finding articles online. I had no indication though that it was him, and the last thing I wanted to do was to call this friend and say "hey, I heard something on the news today..."

Two days passed and I was still uneasy about things. I checked the obituaries, then after lunch on Thursday, I found an article about the accident. The driver survived, he was being charged with a number of things as he was driving with a blood alcohol level of 3 times the legal limit. Then the article went on to discuss the deceased. 23 years old, named his parents, where he went to school, the fact that he had served in the Navy but had not continued because he wanted to get a degree in law enforcement and marry his high school sweetheart. As I'm reading all this my eyes were starting to tear. It was my friend's grandson. A kid who when he was born, I heard endles stories about him because he was the first grandson and grandma was proud. A kid that I remember having at my house a few times. A kid I remember carrying around and playing with. And now he's gone.

The wake was last Friday. I can't begin to tell you how crowded it was. An endless line of people waiting to pay their respects. His parents looked stunned as they were greeted by guests. First on my list was to find my friend. When she saw me, she grabbed hold and just sobbed. We both did, we hugged for about a minute. I still couldn't believe it. Neither could she. We talked for about 20 minutes. I was there about a half hour. Part of the time I tried to step away from my friend so that she could greet other guests but she grabbed my arm and wouldn't let me get away.

Wakes, like funerals, are sad. Nobody likes going to them. But I have to say, this is probably the most difficult one I ever had to attend.

I guess it's kind of selfish for me to complain about my bad week, considering the alternative. I think my friend's week was by far worse than mine.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

One of Those Days

I don't often have really bad days, this happens to have been one of them.

It began with the drive to work, one block from the parking lot a car pulled out of an alley and almost ran into me. I swerved and slammed on my breaks and avoided being hit. My adrenaline was pumping.

I parked, walked towards the door. I looked in and from outside, I could see an employee waiting outside of my door. So before I even had my coat and hat off, I was answering the first complaint of the day.

I finally took my coat off, and I had another employee on the phone, upset over a large payroll adjustment that had been deducted from her check. I had the explanation as to why it took place but she wasn't having it. She finally decided she was finished listening to me and hung up.

I had another employee who two weeks ago had an issue with his benefits back in my office because he still had an issue with his benefits. We resolve benefits issues by emailing our corporate office and waiting for an answer. This wasn't good enough for him, and he came back with his manager so the both of them could question me about it. Fine, the issue was valid and I was making every effort to fix it but at that point I didn't need it.

Then I had to deal with trying to fix an issue with two employees that were terminated who needed to be returned to active status, one month ago. This matter was turned over to another department at corporate.

Just because I didn't have the energy or the mind-set to do anything else in the office, I spent the day filing, my most hated task. So hated I do it once or twice a year. Today just seemed like one of those days to start on it. One cabinet is done, one to go.

It was a day from hell at work, I earned my money today.

With all that being said, I have to remind myself that I don't live in Haiti. The worst of my problems don't even compare to the least of their problems.

Tomorrow will be a better day.

Monday, January 18, 2010

What is art?

On Saturday, I met up with my friends Robert, Maria and Pete for a visit to the modern wing of the Art Institute of Chicago and dinner. Robert, Maria and I worked together, Pete is Maria's very nice and very patient husband who comes along on our adventures. He's a lot of fun so it's nice when he joins us. We settled on the Art Institute because we thought it would be a nice indoor place where we didn't have to be completely quiet and we could take our time or just stop for a while and talk without worrying about holding up a table or disturbing others. Then again, we probably disturb others just a bit, but too bad.

About a year ago The Art Institute opened a modern wing. We headed right for it.

What we found was very interesting, to say the least. It's interesting what can be defined as art. I tend to have an open mind about things. That's not to say that I don't have an opinion, and I'll let you know what it is, but I don't profess to be the authority on art. Yet I can't help but question some of it.

Take for example an exhibit in one of the rooms that consisted of a long, oval shaped installation that hung from the ceiling. On the exterior were fluorescant tube lights, arranged in a staggared pattern. It was about 25 feet long from end to end. Standing at one end, inside you saw all of the transformer boxes and wires. From a distnce it looked like a big sling. It hung in a room that had drywall flooring that was broken in spots (like a city street with potholes all over). For whatever reason, this is art. Or is it?

There was another room that was about architecture. In it were framed blueprints and sketches of famous buildings all over the country, some were the actual plans, some were just ideas, but you could see where those ideas lead. They had a number of scale models too. Is this art?

Then there was the room with the odd things hanging in it. There's me studying one of those odd things now. It's a piece of steel with a piece of yellow silk hanging inside of it. The name of the piece? Steel and silk. Art?

Another room had white metal panels affixed to the wall. The walls were white, the panels were white. Below is Robert, he's pondering all the white. Does he think this is art?

One of the most intersting installations was this room, it had a wedding dress standing in the center of it. Below is Maria posing behind the dress. Her boobs aren't quite that big. The wallpaper was a repeating pattern of someone sleeping in a bit paired with someone hanging from a tree. The description on the wall talked about prejudice and opression, marriage, gay marriage and death. The artist had a vision and shared exactly what they were thinking. Art.

When I think of art, I think of Michaelangelo, Rembrandt, Monet, Degas, Renoir, Seurat, Hopper. Picasso and Warhold are more modern but are well known. At one point, they were all "modern." But at any time, did someone walk up to "A Sunday on La Grande Jatte" and question it's worthiness as a piece of art? Were people confused by Monet's waterlillies? One wonders.

I guess art is something that stirs the soul, makes you think, and causes discussion. I may not agree with it, but it gave us all something to bond over, to study, to discuss and talk about over dinner and drinks. And as far as I'm concerned, I've turned drinking into an art form.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Modem Madness

It was my intention to be a better blogger, to post more in 2010. Not that any of my readers have stayed with me, I think everbody has moved on. But if any of you are still there, first of all Thanks, and second of all I promise I'll have more to say in '10.

Long story short, my DSL modem crapped out. It took a nearly comedic 3 days of trying different things to make it work. Tonight I finally bit the bullet and just bought a new one. So, I'm back online. It feels good. I had my Blackberry but it's not very user friendly when it comes to blogging.

It's late, I'm heading to bed, we'll catch up soon. Hope you're well, whoever you are.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Belinda's Son is Out

While I'm not fond of Perez Hilton, this was posted on his page the other day and one of my Facebook friends posted it.

Belinda Carlisle has a gay son, James. He's very vocal about it and outspoken when it comes to gay rights. They recently were both interviewed for Attitude Magazine. An excerpt from the interview was posted on Hilton's website, Belinda talks about the day James came out to her. Read it here.

The magazine is a UK publication, I haven't found it in Chicago, yet. I'm still looking...

Here's a picture from the article. Sweet, huh?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Year's Eve and Beyond...

It seems like so long ago (6 days!!) but I'm finally getting around to posting about New Year's Eve and the weekend that followed it.

The evening began with Dan, Luis and I meeting up for dinner, and then we made an appearance at a party. We excused ourselves from it so that we could make our way to Jackhammer, our regular watering hole where we were being joined by our friends Tina, Denise and Polo. I could not think of a better way to ring in the new year. Drinks were poured, laughs were had and when the big ball dropped, there were hugs and kisses all around.

Dan and I, celebrating the end of one decade and the beginning of another.

Teri Yaki, the hostess for the evening. Please note that the original picture is in landscape, but for some odd reason, this site decided the picture should be in portrait.

At about 2, Denise, Polo, Tina and I had our fill of drunk people, drag queens and messy strippers losing their clothing so we left Dan and Luis at the bar and went all of 10 feet south to the Mexican restaurant for burritos. We crowded around a tiny table and enjoyed our feast and each other's company. Alas, it was time to head home. Unfortunately, this was made difficult by the car that had blocked Polo's car in the parking lot. Tina felt festive so she left the offending driver a new year's greeting on their windows "Happy New Year, ASSHOLE!" We laughed, and hailed a cab. I saw to it that Tina and Denise got home, Polo went back in the bar for a little while.

Friday was a quiet day at home, I had company over for New Year's Day dinner. Denise joined mom and me, along with my sister and our friend Karen. Traditionally we eat black-eyed peas on New Year's Day, for good luck. My mom grew up in the South so this is something we've done every year. I've grown to like them. Denise and Karen, who have joined us in the past look forward to their yearly dose of good luck.
Saturday, I joined Dan, Luis, Polo and Denise for a movie. I don't often go to the movies, I blame it on my short attention span and the fact that a movie has to really interest me otherwise I won't sit still through it. Well, we saw "The Blind Side," and going in, I wasn't 100 percent sold that I wanted to see it but once it began, I was glued. I loved it. Sandra Bullock gives such a great performance. I highly recommend it.
Sunday was Christmas, revisited. Try to get six relatively busy people together around the holidays and it's a crap shoot. It wasn't until January 3 that the six of us could get together to have our gift exchange. We decided to turn it into an Italian feast. Dan and Luis opened their home to us and made pasta with sauce and sausage (Luis makes the most delicious marinara saucee!), along with some delicious puff pastry appetizers. Tina brought a huge antipasti platter, I brought a roasted tomato caprese salad, Polo brought enough garlic bread for two dozen people, Denise brought delicious desserts.
Knowing that we were attending this party without a Christmas tree, Denise and I took matters into our own hands and created a tree for the party. I had a gold tinsel tree in my store room at work. I brought it home, we adorned it with colorful ornaments and a giant glittery poinsettia. We stood back and were very proud of our creation. I believe that Dan and Luis were momentarily speechless when they saw it, no doubt they were stuck by it's overwhelming beauty. Perhaps a tear was shed.
The Christmas tree, and some of the delicious food on the table.
Round 1 of the food was served. We cleaned off Tina's platter of goodies and were too full to move. So, we rolled ourselves into the living room and exchanged gifts. In no time, paper was flying, laughter filled the room and a series of "oohs" and "ahhs" along with an "oh wow" or two were spoken.
Well into the gift exchange, yet there are still more gifts to go. Luis is wearing one of his gifts, a yellow down vest.
When the paper finally settled, we went back to the table to finish our dinner. Round two left us all pretty close to unconscious but happy.
What a great way to end a long, fun weekend. 2010 is off to a good start.

Me, cuddling a present from Dan and Luis. It's a beer bottle shaped sausage. Mmm...

Happy New Year!!