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?