Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Taking Chances

Back on December 31, I said that 2011 was my year of Living Life Out Loud. I'm doing just that. This year has seen its share of challenges and now I'm hoping for a bit of fun and adventure. Next week I travel to NYC to see my favorite band perform a couple times. The Go-Go's are embarking upon their "Ladies Gone Wild" tour in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the release of their debut album "Beauty and the Beat." It'll be so much fun to see them on this tour, see some old friends, and celebrate a new friendship. I'll share more on that at a later date but suffice it to say that 2011 is my year of going for it. It's time to look outside the box and go for it.

Stay tuned...

Phone...the winner is

The iPhone.

I love it. I already felt like I knew how to use it the second I picked it up, thanks to my iPod and iPad. The first couple times I received calls I had no clue how to answer them and instead of hanging up I started pushing things that I didn't need to push. It's fun, it feels good in my hand and I'm so happy with it.

Sorry it took me so long to weigh in about the phone. We're still on our honeymoon.

More to come...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Phone vs Phone

I'm counting the days until April 22. What is April 22? It's the day that I qualify for a new phone with my wireless carrier. I currently have a Blackberry and I HATE it. Oh sure, almost 2 years ago when I got the phone, I believe I blogged about it being the best thing ever. I was so excited to have it. It could do everything, or so I believed. I soon learned that it's cumbersome to use and it has quirks. It freezes on me from time to time. The track ball sticks. The case smells like turkey burgers. Okay that's a very recent event as I had it in the kitchen with me when I was cooking dinner Sunday night. About a year ago, I had decided that the moment Verizon added the iPhone to their lineup, I was going to own one. Then I met Anthony who designed apps for Android based phones so I was introduced to a whole new world of phones, because he always had new phones that he was testing. It changed my thinking. The Android platform is very impressive and my friends Dan, Steve and John all have Android phones and they like them. They seem to function similarly to the iPhone, but they are more customizable. Then I got my iPad. I love my iPad. A lot. It does all the great things I'd like a phone to do. It's intuitive and super simple to use. Using it has given me a preview of what it will be like to use an iPhone. But...here's the twist. Apple has released a new version of their phone each year. All signs point to the iPhone 5 coming out this summer. But, if I want the most current phone, I would have to wait until maybe June or even July, which would mean another 2 - 3 months with the Blackberry. I don't think I can do it. And there's no guarantee that Verizon will even have the iPhone 5 at the same time as AT&T. I don't think I'll wait. I think that if I go iPhone, I'll be satisfied enough that I've dumped the Blackberry and enjoy it, even if a newer one comes out a couple months later. I talked to someone at the Apple store, he said "you're always going to be behind a generation because you're under a 2 year contract. A new phone will likely come out during that time." True. I posted on my facebook page that I was counting the days, and contemplating Android vs iPhone. I got lots of votes for both, but nobody actually stated their case. What are your experiences with these phones and why did you choose the phone you're using now. If you're using an iPhone and wish you had an Android, why would you switch? And vice versa. Make a compelling argurment for your device.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Glitter shows up in the most unusual places...

The other day I was at the gym. I've been going regularly to try to tone up a bit for summer. I'm never going to be svelte or have a buff body, but if I can minimize my belly and maybe firm up my chest so I don't have middle-age moobs, I'm going to certainly try. Anyway, I finished a decent workout and decided to sit in the sauna for a few minutes. It was kind of crowded that night but there was a seat on one of the benches so I was happy. I looked down and happened to focus on the foot of the guy sitting next to me. A rather attractive European guy speaking with his friend in some Slovic sounding language. On his foot was one fleck of bright red glitter. It was a really small speck actually. Not the big, cheap glitter, but very fine, like the Martha Stewart stuff. But it got me wondering, how did it get there? That's a rather odd place for glitter to appear. I glanced carefully (so as not to be noticed) at the other foot and his legs, to see if there was more. There wasn't. I wasn't convinced that there wasn't more glitter on him somewhere so I carefully looked at his upper body as he was shirtless. No glitter on his back. None on his front, none on his nipples (where had there been glitter I would have had to contain laugher and applause), none on his face. Thankfully he and his friend were engrossed in conversation (perhaps about glitter) and didn't notice my glitter inspection. I then decided that perhaps the fleck of glitter came from his friend, so I looked at him, carefully, to see if he had any on him. Not that I could tell. Mind you, both had on shorts so there were parts that may have been covered in glitter that I could not see. What was the source? Is he a crafter and had he been glittering things for Easter? If so, he was using the wrong color, he should have been glittering in pastels. Maybe he kicked a drag queen. If so, then shame on him, I hope she kicked back. A stilletto can do a lot of damage. Maybe it was a random drive-by glittering, but was he the glitterer or the glitteree? Perhaps he's a Mariah Carey fan.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Grown-up Reckless Abandon

Camp Go-Go has been buzzing with rumors of a Summer tour and this got me thinking back a few years, to when The G0-Go's released their last CD. The band was sent out on an insane promotional tour, taking them all over the United States and throwing in a stop in Turkey for good measure. One day they would be in Los Angeles, the next NYC, then Florida, then St. Louis. Not so fun for them, but lots of fun for fans. This one included.

Picture it - May 2001. I'm doing my payroll thing at work, having been on the job 8 months. I was pretty well settled into my routine, I had some PTO time built up and I could schedule a day off here and there if I wanted. I don't recall if it was a phone call or an email, but Vahona, my partner in mayhem contacted me. It went something like this:

V -"Hey - The Go-Go's are doing that show in St. Louis on the 30th. It's a Wednesday but I figure if we leave work at noon, it's a 6 hour drive but we can probably make it in under 6. They'll probably go on at 8, be done by 9:30. We see the show, drive back, sleep a few hours then go into work the next day. What do you say? do you want to do it?"

J - "That's insane!"

V - "I know."

J - "Let's do it!!"

V - "YAY!"

Minor problem. It's payroll processing. I process payroll every other Wednesday and Thursday. Tasks need to be done on Wednesday before Noon, then Thursday morning. After some thought, I decide I can do it. After all, we're leaving Wednesday afternoon and we'll be back Thursday. I just have to make sure I get to work by 9. Easy!

On the 30th, payroll processing tasks were completed without any problems. I packed up my desk at 11:45 and was out the door by noon. I packed a bag of snacks and a cooler of cold beverages and loaded the CD player with lots of discs. I picked up Vahona and our friend Faith downtown and we hit the road in my pretty little Jetta. Off we went, on our crazy little adventure.

The drive was completely uneventful. We talked and laughed and shared stories and zipped down I-55 and made it in record time. We found the venue with no effort what so ever. I can't even tell you the name of the venue or the type of neighborhood it was in, all I can say is that we found street parking and then found a bunch of our friends in a restaurant which I believe was attached to the venue. There had to be 15 of us around the table. Why St. Louis was the meeting place, I don't know. Rusty and Rick from West Virginia, Heather from Las Vegas (or maybe at the time she was in CA), and others who had traveled a long distance for this show. We had time to laugh and chat and hang out before the show.

Doors opened and we rushed to the front of the stage. The equipment on stage didn't look familiar. That meant only one thing...opening act! CRAP! We didn't have time for an opening act!! There was nothing we could do about it. They started to play at 8, they finished at 8:45. The Go-Go's didn't go on until 9:30. UGH!

The show was excellent, despite Jane not feeling well. She saw us there and smiled and waved. Belinda even came over by us and appreciated seeing some familiar faces in the crowd and she waved. Kathy, always cool and polite hopped over and greeted us as well. They had fun and we had fun. The show ended and we spend a few more minutes talking with our friends before deciding it was time to hit the road and begin our journey back to Chicago. The time was now 11:15. And we had to stop for gas.

Faith took the back seat. She decided to sleep so that if I needed someone to drive, she would take over. Vahona's job was to navigate and keep me awake and entertained. Not a problem, she and I could have fun at a funeral. We played games on the ride home. One was "Hot Air Balloon of Love" where, starting with the letter A, we had to recide the names of celebrities who were all riding together in the hot air balloon of love. Each person takes a turn, and adds a name to the list. We played a couple rounds of that game, then started on a similar game naming movies. Vahona and I were going back and forth with names when out of nowhere (well actually the back seat), Faith just blurts out "Blackula!" We laughed for about 5 minutes. Then it started to rain and instead of driving 70 mph, we were driving 50 mph.

Somewhere, about 50 miles from the city, at about 4 am, the road we were on was closed. There was bridge work being done and supplies and equipment were being brought to the site. We sat there for about 30 minutes, waiting. I was tired, I had to pee and I was panicked about payroll. When the road finally opened, we proceeded and got Faith home safely. Vahona asked me if I wanted her to drive, I decided to just go the rest of the way.

Without incident, we returned back to the city. As I dropped her off, the sun was rising. It was 5:40 am. I got home at 5:45, walked in the door and got into bed. I slept until about 7:45, got up, showered and made it to work by 9. Surprisingly I was awake and alert the entire work day. Payroll was processed without incident and I had a fun story to tell my coworkers. All were shocked that I had spent more than 12 of the previous 24 hours driving.

After work, I even managed to go do laundry. The last thing I wanted to do was go to sleep after work, for fear of messing up my sleep pattern. Laundry was not without incident. Sadly, I left all of my socks in the dryer. I guess exhaustion was setting in.

When I think back to that adventure, it makes me smile. In a heartbeat, I would do it again.

As an adult, what adventures have you experienced that you would file under reckless abandon?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Crazy Nastyass Honey Badger

Honey Badger don't care. Honey badger don't give a shit. He just takes what he wants!


Reckless Abandon

Two weeks ago today Chicago was under a blanket of snow some 20+ inches deep. The days that followed were cold and grey and ugly. Then the warm up began. Since Sunday each day has been a little warmer and the snow has been melting. A welcomed sight. This afternoon as I was driving home from work I saw two kids running, their coats were open and they were running into a Walgreens. They ran right at the bars that keep the shopping carts from leaving the front of the store and instead of going around them, they grabbed them and threw themselves over them, twisting around, landing their feet and laughing. No fear, no hesitation. It got me thinking about being young and having all that energy and some reckless abandon.

I recall episodes of reckless abandon. Not to say that some kids live their life in a constant state of it, though I guess it seems that some do. Those are the kids at the next table at the restaurant who you wish were duct taped to their chairs. As a kid, I can remember days at the playground, swinging on the swings as high as I could, or playing on the roller coaster slide (a tall metal slide that consisted of a long row of bars that spun as you rode down it, creating a really quick trip down. These days you wouldn't see one of those slides, they would be deemed too dangerous. I probably wasn't the most daring kid, thanks to my overprotective parents. I never had a bicycle but managed to teach myself to ride a neighbor's bike. I doubt I could do it today if I tried. I never learned to swim, in fact I have a fear of deep water thanks to an unsuccessful bout of reckless abandon. I was running on the steps of my grandmother's pool and I fell in and went right to the bottom of the pool. I think my uncle pulled me out. From that point forward I never had any desire to go into the pool.

Do adults lose their sense of reckless abandon, or do we just temper it? Maybe it's just a different form of it. You don't often see adults climbing a fence (unless you're watching "Cops") or playing on the swings at the park (unless they're with their kids). Maybe our brand of reckless abandon is calling in sick, or skipping a meeting, or ordering in dinner when there's food in the house but you just don't feel like cooking. Maybe it's asking someone out after meeting them online. Perhaps it's buying that new sweater at full price even though you know it will go on sale in a couple of weeks. These are the things that we deem exciting and make life fun.

Have you practiced a bit of reckless abandon lately?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

It's That Time of Year

My least favorite Hallmark Holiday is here. Tomorrow is Valentine's day. And I did just check my blog, the three previous years I posted a similar sentiment. I HATE Valentine's Day.

I have for a long time. Only 1 year in as long as I can remember was I with someone on Valentine's Day. 2002, I was dating a nice guy name John. He bought me a box of chocolates and we went to dinner. I forgot what I gave him. Well, I remember part of what I gave him but I'll let you figure that one out.

Perhaps the bitter is dialed up a notch this year. Chances are I'd be less vocal about the day if I were in a relationship. However, I am not so let the bitter begin!

Tomorrow's attire for work will consist of black slacks, a black and white striped shirt and a black tie with a small skull and crossbones pattern on it. I think it conveys my feelings in a subtle and elegant way.

I've even put together a playlist that I will listen to. Rather than let my iTunes library do it's thing and play songs that speak of love and romance (there's a lot of that in my music collection, believe it or not), tomorrow's playlist is all songs that speak of heartbreak, being alone or celebrating ones' independence.

Here are some of the songs on my list. I won't list all 4 dozen that I have selected.

"Jilted Lovers and Broken Hearts" - Brandon Flowers
"Here's Where the Story Ends" - The Sundays
"Why Does it Always Rain on Me?" - Travis
"These Boots Are Made For Walking" - Nancy Sinatra
"Fuck the Pain Away" - Peaches
"Rolling in the Deep" - Adele (her new single...have you heard it? Amazing!!)
"Valentine" - Belinda Carlisle (Valentine/I know you're not mine/You're somebody else's flame/But when those hearts and flowers fade/Oh my darling, look my way.)
"Someone Else Not Me" - Duran Duran
"Forget You" - Glee Cast w/ Gwenyth Paltrow (I love this cleaned up version of the song)
"Unforgiven" - The G0-Go's
"Remember (Walking in the Sand)" - The Shangri Las
"Fading Fast" - The Go-Go's
"Blue Period" - The Smithereens

You get the jist of it.

I want to add a disclaimer here. I'm not sad, not angry at anybody and not depressed. I actually have fun hating Valentine's Day. As long as I'm single on this day and am forced to face endless TV and radio commercials and print ads about things to do or gifts to buy on Valentine's Day, I'm going to be bitter about the day. Maybe next year I won't feel so hateful about the day.

Cupid, bite my ass!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


My name is Jim and I am an addict.

I'm hooked on Breathe Right Strips.

I got a coupon for a free box. I redeemed the coupon about a month ago and the box has been sitting on my dresser. The other night, on a whim, I decided to try one.

Wow. I can breathe.

Okay, I sound like a commercial but seriously, these things do just as they say. YAY!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Blizzard 2011 - Tsnownami!

Right now we're having a blizzard. It's going to be a mess once it's all over but right now it's kind of amusing. Major thoroughfares are shut down, both of our airports are closed. Wind gusts are at about 60mph. the prediction right now is anywhere from 16 - 24 inches of snow. My office closed early today, and we're closed tomorrow. Well I shouldn't say "we." I work in a hospital and it's not closed, however I was told I didn't need to be there. I would have gone, I was going to walk to work.

Right now I've got the heat on high, hoping to get the house warm enough that if we lose electricity it'll stay warm for a while. I've also got a lot of blankets down from storage. That part of the storm is not so amusing.

Friday, January 28, 2011

What's Next?

Third Friday that it hasn't been date night. This is the first one where I stayed home.

I hadn't intended upon staying in tonight. All day at work I was looking forward to going out. I didn't know if any of my friends were going out, I suppose I should have made some calls or sent some messages. Dan and Luis usually have date night on Friday night so more often than not they don't go out. I did check in with Steve, he was in for the evening. I knew that it wouldn't be a late night anyway because tomorrow I'm headed to Indiana to hang with Vahona. But the idea of venturing out on my own seemed appealing and exciting, something I haven't done since last summer. Wow. I guess it has been a while.

When I got home from work, the mail carrier was just parking his van at the corner so we had no mail. After dinner, I went to the gym so as I passed the mailbox, I opened it to see if there was anything good. Bill from Best Buy, bill from RCN, and a card...from Anthony, addressed to my mom and to me. I opened it. It was a card thanking us for our hospitality. There was a handwritten note inside, to both, then a paragraph to Mom. He said some really sweet things to her about me.

I pushed the card back into the mailbox along with the bills and went to the gym. When I came home, I almost forgot to pick up the mail. One of the torn edges from the card's envelope was sticking out so I was reminded there was mail. I read the card again as I walked up the stairs.

Now, it's been nearly 2 weeks since I've cried about any of this. While I didn't launch into full-on waterworks tonight, reading his words stirred emotions and I got teary-eyed.

I also felt a little angry. Not at Anthony, but at the situation. I'm angry that I jumped through all the hoops and did the whole boyfriend thing very well and ended up back at square 1. I feel completely defeated by the whole thing. I've reconciled the other issues in my mind, but I'm just not happy with yet another false start. *sigh*

Anyway, back to almost going out. After I put my groceries away, I sat down for a few minutes and checked in with my friends on my message board. I had my iPad in my lap. I was yawning. The next thing I know, it's 20 minutes later. I had fallen asleep sitting upright. It seemed pretty clear at that point that this adventure I was planning on wasn't going to happen.

Tomorrow I'm visiting Vahona. I'm taking the train. Even if I take the later train, I still get back to the city by 8:30. I should be home by 9:00. Tomorrow night, I'm going out.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

It's Oh So Quiet

Notice how quiet I am when I'm not whining about something? Sorry I've not been active this week but I'm kind of at one of those loss for words moments. Things are good, work is keeping me busy (ugh!) and I'm pretty much over winter. We haven't had a very bad winter but it has taken its toll. I'm not a fan of January in general, this one in particular has been a wild ride. Glad it's almost over.

What's new with you?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Favorite New Show

I've been loving Modern Family and Cougar Town, but the show that's really got me laughing these days is:


The writing on this show is so great. It's clever, edgy and so funny. the acting is excellent, the characters are brilliantly cast.

I was skeptical at first, I figured this would be some silly show that got lucky with their casting and that they would cart Betty White through each episode for a line or two and some laughs. That's not the case. Even Betty has an interesting and hilarious story, she adds so much to the show.

Tonight was the season 2 premiere. It was so funny! I'm glad it's back. If you haven't seen this show, check it out.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mending Fences

Friday ended up being a very interesting day. I knew it would be...

Flashback to last Sunday. My friends all gathered at Steve's and did a really nice job of keeping me distracted and entertained after Anthony's departure. It was a rough day made a bit easier by their presence...but something felt "off."

Tuesday I decided that as a "thank you," I invited the group to dinner on Friday. Steve and Dan accepted. The others were busy.

I heard from Dan later in the week and he suggested that we get together to talk before dinner, he said that things have been unsettled between us and we needed to figure things out. It made me nervous but I felt a sense of relief that we would talk.

Then I got to thinking...during my relationship, I spent a lot of time with Anthony and we did things with his friends. Trying to be the pleaser, I opted to not rock the boat and just do things with his friends for a while, rather than put my foot down early-on and insist that we make plans with my friends. As time went on, it got easier to just go with the flow. I saw my friends from time to time but rarely with Anthony. I hate to admit it but I didn't give it a lot of thought. I was concerned from time to time but I took for granted that my friends would be patient and be there when I could make it work. Then when Anthony's decision to move was made, I went into "spend as much time as possible with him," and I stopped really trying to get everybody together.

And I got to thinking...here it was 5 days from Anthony's departure. I spent 5 months with him only to be single again. I felt lost, and like I had failed.

Also on my mind was the mess that had piled up at work. I had piles of paperwork all around my office. Various projects have prevented me from completing some of the more menial clerical tasks that unfortunately are also mine to do. Multiplied by 2 because I have 2 offices.

Add to that the usual worries about home, finances, etc...

All off that bubbled over at about 11 on Friday morning. I took a deep breath and realized I couldn't. I just started to cry. I couldn't stop. I realized that I had royally fucked up everything in my life and I was going to wind up miserable and alone. All of a sudden I was dreading everything and my stomach was in pain. I texted Dan in a panic and he was reassuring, telling me to relax. I managed to get to lunch and eat a couple bites of food. My coworker Andrea was sitting next to me and she rubbed my back. I guess I looked pretty pathetic.

I met Dan and Steve for drinks. We chatted and I heard nothing that surprised me. I had let my friends down and had been doing so for the past few months. I was sad but my first thought was how to fix things. Dan was firm but reassuring about everything.

The three of us ended up having a nice dinner. The conversation was fun and relaxed. We were all tired so after dinner, it was decided that we were heading home. Dan drove me home. He made me promise to talk to him about things...everything, and he promised me that he would not wait 4 months to smack some sense into me if I start falling into a similar pattern again.

I accept full blame for things. I really wish I had been more assertive with Anthony right from the start and worked to bring him into the fold. I would like to think that they would have gotten to know the Anthony I knew and fell in love with. I think they would have seen how funny and sweet he is. But, hindsight is 20/20 and it's something I will work on next time.

Right now, I've got my work cut out for me. I need to concentrate on mending fences with my sweet friends, those, who on a really difficult day, put their hurt feelings aside and rallied around me.

The work begins now.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Enough about me. How you doin'?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

All The World's A Stage...

“All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players:

They have their exits and their entrances;

And one man in his time plays many parts…”

- William Shakespeare - As You Like It, act 2, scene 7

People come in and out of our lives all the time. Some you encounter for a brief moment (the random person standing behind you at Starbucks last Tuesday, or someone who picks up the glove you just dropped on the ground). Others are there for a long time (a childhood friend who you’ve known since you were both in kindergarten). Some aren’t around long enough (a parent who’s life has ended, who at times you really need to hear their words of encouragement).

I think that all people come into our lives for a reason. They guide us along our path, providing wisdom, support, or an opposing view, causing us to think about our journey. We build bonds with family members. Those bonds may weaken at times but they remain our family and our connection to each one of them is unique. We make friends along the way, and if you’re lucky enough, like me, those friends are there for you through thick and thin.

I’ve said it all too often yet never enough, I have an amazing group of friends. Some step back and allow me to go along my path and make my own decisions. Others will tell me if the steps I’m about to make are the right ones, yet they allow me to choose the steps I make. All will be there for me if I’ve made a misstep and I need a hand to hold, a warm body to hug, or a shoulder upon which to cry. And when all is said and done, everybody has learned something new, about ourselves and each other.

Relationships happen when you least expect them. I’ve not had many, but those I’ve had have taught me great lessons. As I’m now dealing with the end of my current relationship, I’m thankful for the opportunity that I’ve had with a very special man. I’ve learned that I’ve faced one of the greatest challenges in my life so far. The ability to say goodbye and let go of someone I love.

Anthony’s entrance was defiitely unexpected. During our first meeting, I felt completely at ease with him and there was a sense of excitement. I could not wait to know more about him. He made me laugh and he made me think. I believe I did the same for him. Each outing that followed brought more laughs and warm feelings. Not once did I feel the need to pretend to be someone I’m not, nor did I worry about my family or friends welcoming and accepting him.

In the nearly five months we were together, he played the role of friend, lover, jester and confidant. He taught me about living life, about how I feel about myself, and about my ability to feel for others. He caused me to laugh until my stomach hurt, and caused me to cry until my eyes were red and swollen. He made me think about what I want out of life.

Anthony moved to the West Coast on Sunday. We ended our dating relationship on the best of terms. We both agreed that we will be a part of each other's lives. He has checked in on me to see how I'm doing. I've talked to him about his house hunt, we've both laughed about pictures of lunch and funny wigs.

The last days Anthony was here, he stayed with me. It gave us a lot of time to really talk about things and it turns out we were very much on the same page with a lot of things. Had it not been for this amazing job opportunity and the lure of a fantastic adventure, it seems likely we would have been together for a long time. Yet, I'm not sad when I think about that. Oddly enough, a feeling of calm came over me because it took me back to my friends all telling me to relax and enjoy, something that as much as I say I did, I never fully did. Oh I was probably 92 percent there, which is a heck of a lot more than when I was with Matthew. Though to his credit, I discovered Xanax so a shout out to him!

Now it's on to new adventures. It's time to look across the stage and see the next act. Like any great book, I'm sure there will be unexpected twists and turns in the story. I welcome them. It goes without saying, that I'll probably prattle on about them here, too.

Monday, January 10, 2011

24 (plus a few) Hours After...

Saturday evening, Anthony and I were supposed to go to dinner together. His plan was to dine downtown and have drinks at Trump Tower. Unfortunately he came down with a cold on Thursday and by Saturday, while he wasn't down for the count, he was tired. I sensed this in the late afternoon as we were returning home from a trek to Best Buy. I suggested we toss our dinner plans, order in and relax. He suggested we still go out, but dine in the neighborhood. We did, and had a nice dinner. Afterwards we stopped off at Marty's for a drink. The bar staff in there is so nice. As crowded as the place was, they made room for us at the bar. I credit my dear friend Steve with that. Having been in there with him enough times, they give me much the same sort of attention, which is pretty darn cool.

We came home, talked for a while, looked at pictures and went to bed. I won't lie, it was not an easy night for me to fall asleep, only because I was feeling emotional about it being our last night.

Sunday morning came and we were both kind of quiet. He gathered his things, I fetched us some coffee. He had made a reservation to meet a couple of his tech friends for brunch and I went along. While there, I had a signal on my phone that there was a Facebook message.

Belinda Carlisle
sending you my thoughts and lots of love....xxxx
Yesterday at 10:38am ·LikeUnlike · Comment · View Feedback (16)Hide Feedback (16) · See Friendship

I about fell over. I gasped and Anthony asked what was wrong. I showed him the post and he had a very similar reaction.

Brunch was nice, but it was over quickly. Now it was time for him to come back, gather his things and get to the airport. My very sweet friend Tina graciously offered to drive him. He was unable to secure a ride from any of his friends so he gladly accepted Tina's offer. I chose not to go. We spent a few minutes saying a quiet goodbye, then Tina was here. Before I knew it, the car was driving away. He was gone.

Earlier in the week, Tina asked me if I wanted to be alone that evening or if she should "gather the flock." I chose not to be alone. Shortly after, she had taken care of everything and told me where to be and at what time. Since Steve was hosting, he told me I could come as early as I wanted. I chose to go over there after Anthony left. I'm glad I did, it was nice visiting with him.

At about 5, the rest of the troops arrived, each with bags filled with stuff. Dips and chips. Drinks and mixers. And there was laughter, lots of it. It was nice. No, it was amazing. A perfectly casual evening spent with a group of people I love like family.

In hindsight, I should have done more to integrate Anthony into the group. We all went out a couple times, but not often enough. I feel bad that I wasn't more assertive with wanting to do more things with my friends. It has always been my nature to try to please everybody. In this case, I guess I felt obligated to please Anthony, figuring my friends were already pleased. Anyway, in true fashion, they were and are there for me. When I could have been at home and feeling like crap, they made sure that didn't happen.

Today was orientation. I present benefits information to the new hires on a monthly basis. I woke up feeling really good, but my mood quickly spiraled into sadness. I wanted to just stay home but I couldn't. I had actually alerted my co-presenter and my area HR Director that I might not be up to presenting. Both understood and had a plan in place to cover for my absence. As it turned out, the presentation went well, nobody knew anything was wrong, except that I kept losing my voice.

The remainder of the workday was relatively uneventful. The few who were "in the know" were asking how I was doing. That made me a little sad.

It's nearing bedtime and I feel pretty good about things. In my mind I'm at peace with everything. My heart still hurts and it will for some time. I think Anthony's will too. I know that we'll both be fine. I certainly will, my friends will see to it.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

An Online Goodbye

My Dearest Anthony,

This is an open letter to you, as it serves as the "liner notes" to the CD I created for commemorate the time we spent together. I didn't have room on the disc itself to list my reasons for including these songs, so I will instead post them here and share with everybody the music I used to say goodbye.

Before I discuss the songs, I wanted to let you know that I will always cherish the time we spent together. You taught me how to love, how to live and how to look inside myself. I have asked myself over and over, knowing the outcome, would I do this all over again. That answer is a resounding yes. I can't imagine not knowing you. I can only hope that your answer would be the same.

I don't know what the future will hold for us. I do know that we will always be friends. I can't imagine not having you in my life in some capacity. As I told you, my home is your home, and it always will be. You always have a place to stay when (and yes, I said when!) you visit Chicago. As for "us," we are ending a chapter but I don't believe the book is finished. Only time will tell. We will both go on living our lives, but who's to say that the road won't take an unexpected turn or two? I've learned to never say never.

While it may sound cliche', let's not call this "goodbye." Let's instead say "see you later." When "later" may be, we just don't know right now.

Now, onto the music -

Some songs have meaning on their own...either a shared experience or a common interest. Some are included because there's a line or two in the song that expresses so well how I feel or have felt during our relationship. As articulate as I can be, sometimes songs say it better.

"King For A Day" - The Thompson Twins - shortly into our relationship we learned that we both loved The Thompson Twins. One morning at work, this song popped up on my iPod and the chorus stood out on my mind - "If I were king for just one day, I would give it all away. I would give it all away to be with you." I texted you those words, not just because I was hoping the reference would be caught, but also because it had quickly become how I felt about you.

"If You Leave" - OMD - This is just one of those mellodramatic songs from the 80's that became the anthem of a John Hughes film, but it popped up last week and the opening verse stood out - "If you leave, don't leave now, please don't take my heart away. I promise you just one more night, then we'll go on our separate ways." With that said, even though you won't physically be near me, you will not have left my heart.

"Crossfire" - Brandon Flowers - This is the first single from his solo CD, and we enjoyed his concert together. For me it was a really special night. I love the lyrics in this song. There's a line in the song that says "And when the hardest part is over we'll be here. And our dreams will break the boundaries of our fears." When I hear it, I get chills.

"One More Last Kiss" - Ivy - Ivy is a band who I was introduced to a few years ago by a former coworker. I quickly became a fan. This song is one that I think is so sad and beautiful. There isn't one line or verse that doesn't fit this situation. Last month I posted the lyrics to this song in my blog.

"Afterglow" - INXS - The line in the chorus "touch me and I will follow, in your afterglow. Heal me from all this sorrow, as I let you go. I will find my way when I see your eyes, now I'm living in your afterglow", could not be more perfect.

"Mad About You" - Belinda Carlisle - Whenever I hear this song and the line "Mad about you, lost in your eyes" is sung, I will forever think of all the time I spent staring into your beautiful blue eyes. At random, I texted this to you one afternoon and you quickly replied "I know that one, it's a Belinda song." I loved that you knew that.

"Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop." - Landon Pigg - I discovered this song kind of by accident. It was being used in a commercial but I never gave it a second thought aside from thinking the line "I think that possibly maybe I'm falling for you," is a really sweet, endearing line. Only after hearing the song did I connect with it. The song could not be more perfect unless it was called "falling in Love at Starbucks." Our first meeting was there, and I knew at that moment that I wanted to know all about you. "I've seen the waters that make your eyes shine, now I'm shining too."

"Don't Speak" - No Doubt - "I really feel like I'm losing a best friend. I can't believe this is the end." In such a short time, we connected and I feel like you've become one of my best friends. I don't believe this will change.

"I Think I Need Sleep" - The Go-Go's - So I'm sharing this song with you because not only is it a classic example of a Go-Go's song (happy sounding music, cute song title but angst-ridden lyrics), but there have been nights where I've fallen asleep only to dream about you. Mind you, not quite in the nightmare fashion as described on this song. Okay, I really just wanted to include a Go-Go's song. C'mon, you knew it was coming.

"More Than This" - Roxy Music - Bryan Ferry writes such beautiful lyrics. A prime example is this verse "It was fun for a while/There was no way of knowing/Like a dream in the night/Who can say where we're going"

"Sleeping to Dream" - Jason Mraz - This is a sweet song he performs live in concert. This I guess is the opposite story as told in the Go-Go's song. I'm drawn to the lyric "I found myself in the riches/Your eyes, your lips, your hair and you were everywhere/I woke up in the ditches, I hit the light and thought you might be here/But you were nowhere/Well you were nowhere. " Often after spending a couple nights in your bed, the next night at home I found myself missing you next to me. Thinking about that right now, I'm teary-eyed. Never have I slept so comfortably next to someone.

"Blue Kiss" - Jane Wiedlin - Talk about an seemingly obscure pick, aside from the fact that Jane has been a good friend to me over the years, this song was off of her first solo album back in 1985. The song starts with "A blue kiss, coloring me goodbye/A new kiss, could never feel so fine/Tomorrow I'll be living in black and white." I think no further explanation is necessary.

"Mr Brightside" - The Killers - There isn't really a lyric here that stands out, but the title is who I tried to be for you. Often after a bad day at work, or after a worrysome conversation about family, I did my best to be there for you and offer you an encouraging word or find the silver lining in the cloud. I hope my efforts offered you some peace of mind. I hope to still be able to do that for you, don't ever hesitate to call when you need some encouraging words.

"Live Your Life Be Free" - Belinda Carlisle - Sure I could cut to the chase and say that the reason I've included this is because the point of the song is someone pleading to another peson "you should be with me," but the real reason I've included it is because the overall message of the song is about doing what makes you happy and feel free. You're doing this, taking this leap of faith and embarking on a fabulous adventure. You are doing what the song title suggests. I envy your ability to do that.

"Head Over Heels" - Tears for Fears - Simply, the first line of the song says "I wanted to be with you alone, and talk about the weather." Flash back to our first meeting, sitting in Starbucks and you were so excited to show me what you do for a living. You took out your phone and started showing me apps, one of which was a weather app. Yes, I remember these things.

"I Will Take Care of You" - The Bangles - Yes, the other "all-girl" band. This song was off of their last CD and it such a pretty, quiet ballad. There is no one line or pair of lines I want to pick out and quote. I just love the sentiment of the entire song. Had the circumstances been different, I would take care of you. Yes, that includes keeping you safe from zombies. :)

"Ne Me Quitte Pas" - Belinda Carlisle - She's back. The song title translates to "If You Go Away." Even sung in French, you know this is someone who is saddened by the departure of someone she loves. Nothing more needs to be said about this song choice.

"Dream a Little Dream of Me" - Cass Elliott - Another simple, beautiful song with a title that says it all. I can only hope, as you move away, you will dream a little dream of me. Know that I will be dreaming a little dream of you.

Please know that while I could have included "My Heart Will Go On" by one Celine Dion, I emphatically refused to do so. I'm sappy and sentimental, but that's pushing it. :)

Right now, my heart hurts, a lot. It will for some time. I want you to know that I really felt that you were "the one." I dreamed of spending countless years with you instead of just a few months. I felt a connection to you that I've never felt before. Having said that, who knows where this crazy road will lead...

I wish you happiness, success and a grand adventure as you end your time in Chicago. Know that I will always be here to lend an ear, to be a voice of reason, and to cheer you on. I want nothing but the best of everything for you. I want you to know that I have no regrets over any of this, nor do I regret being the one to have said "I Love You." Please know that I felt loved the entire time we spent together.



Saturday, January 8, 2011

24 Hours

Anthony leaves tomorrow. He's been staying at my house since last night. I love that we have this last bit of time to spend together, it makes me happy. I hate knowing that our time together is limited.

Last night we went to dinner with some of our friends. His friends, who over time have become my friends. It was nice. Anthony was asked to compare how he feels about leaving Chicago to how he felt about leaving Boston. He said he was definitely attached to Boston, he loves that city and it was difficult to leave. He said he's not as attached to Chicago, but he's leaving me, so in that regard it's difficult. He put his hand on my knee as he said that. I had to excuse myself from the table to keep from launching into full cry. I went into the bathroom, composed myself and came back.

After dinner, we came back to my house instead of going out. Anthony is fighting a cold (which in a few days I no doubt will be fighting...oh well) so it seemed wise to just come home and relax.

Today he's running some errands. I'll gocery shop and do the same. We'll meet back here later. Tonight, we'll have dinner together, alone.

This experience has been one of the most difficult things that I've ever endured. With that said, I would do it again.

I just wish I didn't even have to consider it.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Six

Meet "The Six"

I guess Polo was bored the other day, perhaps he was high on cold medication. He sent us each this file and simply titled the picture "The Six." From left to right is Tina, Polo, Dan, Luis, Denise and Me.

These images were simplified, each of us actually have our own individual pictures, with an appropriate background and a few words to describe each of us. The dialogue that was sent around about each image was priceless. I was laughing the entire morning. The funny thing is that he has captured each of us so well. Tina's blond and cute and has a warm smile. Polo has his big hair and glasses and is in short sleeves because he's always warm. Dan has "that expression," which was described as "that look you get when you pretend you're mad at Luis and Polo but really you aren't." Luis looks happy with his peace symbol necklace and fun t-shirt, just the same vibe he gives off when he's around and feeling relaxed. Denise is sticking her tongue out because she hates having her picture taken. Her hair is short and cute, and she's well accessorized. I'm in my "proper" attire, wearing argyle and a tie. Apparently I'm not smiling because I haven't had my coffee. (that's true, that is how I look without coffee in the morning!)

What I think is special is the fact that we were simply called "The Six." There's no better way to describe us. When the six of us are together, it's a pretty amazing time. We are there for each other in laughter, in tears, or just to cheer one or another on.

Sure, we have other friends. Our friend Steve travels and isn't able to be with us as often as he or we would like, but when he's around, he's a welcomed addition. Occasionally my friend Vahona will appear at one event or another and she fits in well. Others have brought friends along, but when all is said and done, we're still "The Six."

I love us very much.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Cheers and a few Tears

Here's my first post of the new year. I'm afraid it's going to sound very much like many of my posts from the last month of 2010. If you don't want to read more of the same, then turn away now.

Okay, you've been warned.

Happy New Year. 2011 is off to an interesting start, and truthfully I wouldn't mind if this was the peak of it, but I know it's not. So here's how my weekend went.

Let's backtrack to December 30. I worked, then came home and met Anthony and his 18 year old nephew Andrew for dinner. We went to a restaurant called Smoque, which is down the street from one of my offices so I'm familiar with it. This was Anthony's first time there, he was curious to try it. The line was out the door so the three of us chatted. I was thrilled to meet Andrew and learn about his time in Chicago. He loves the city and had a blast. His Uncle "Tony" showed him a good time, taking him to cool neighborhoods and tourist attractions. Eventually we were seated and before long we enjoyed a fantastic meal. Later that evening we went to an improv show at The Annoyance Theatre. It was a super-funny show and a nice last night for Andrew's Chicago visit.

Friday I did some shopping then met up with Anthony, Benjamin and Anthony's cousin Matt who arrived in town that afternoon to spend the weekend. We went to a neighborhood restaurant for dinner which was terribly disappointing. Afterwards we met up with Dan and Luis at Jackhammer where we rang in the new year. It meant a lot to me to ring in the new year with Dan, with whom I have done so for the past 8 years. It was also nice celebrating it with a boyfriend for once. After the fanfare was finished Anthony wandered off with his cousin. Eventually I found them in the upstairs section of the bar, chatting with a couple friends. I talked for a while, then suggested to Anthony that we sneak out and go home for some alone time. He liked that idea. Matt and Benjamin were having a good time at the bar so they stayed behind. Dan and Luis were elsewhere so I didn't get to say goodnight to them.

The following morning I cooked breakfast for everybody - pancakes, bacon and sausage. It was delicious. But I had to run because later that day I was hosting a party at my house. That party turned into quite the festive event. Anthony, Benjamin and Matt got to meet my friends Karen and Cyd, who I've know for a very long time. Everybody got along very well and had a fantastic time.

Somehow we found the strength to go out that evening, we wound up at Big Chicks and stayed for a couple drinks. Benjamin stayed behind, Anthony, Matt and I went back to the apartment. Sometime after 5 am, I heard loud footsteps in the apartment and someone yelling "this is fucking bullshit, I ought to shoot you right now!" Needless to say I bolted upright from a sound sleep and freaked. Anthony just sort of brushed it off. I'm unsure how he could sleep with the sound of my heard pounding. I thought someone had broken into the apartment and was ready to kill us. I was sick to my stomach at the thought but knew I needed to remain completely silent. I listened and heard the footsteps walk back towards the front of the house. At that point, I considered exiting via the bedroom window, figuring a 2-story drop might break my legs but I could survive that. For some reason I just stayed and listened. Turns out, Benjamin brought home some friends who were prehaps drunk and had become rowdy. When I finally got up to go to the bathroom, everybody (Benjamin, his 3 new friends and Matt, who just kind of got stuck in it all) were up drinking and talking loudly. I did my best to give whomever may have seen me a dirty look as I went back to bed, then slammed the bedroom door. Let's just say that I was none too pleased in the morning and sick to my stomach the rest of the day.

Sunday the 2nd was Anthony's "Bon Voyage" party, again at Big Chicks. I ran some errands earlier in the day, then came home to get ready to meet up with the boys, again. Anthony, Matt and I had dinner at Crew, a gay sports bar. We then walked over to Big Chicks. Anthony had at least 2 dozen guests who came by to wish him well and have a drink with him. I was introduced to each one as his boyfriend, and we graciously ducked the "oh, are you moving to California too?" question by telling people that we are in the process of weighing our options and will figure out the best solution shortly. I decided that it wouldn't be nice to make anybody feel bad by just simply answering "no, I'm not." For the 3+ hours, I smiled and gracioustly greeted his friends, many of whom I'd met at one event or another. It was nice to see them again, unsure if I'll see them ever again but whatever.

The party wound down and Anthony, Matt and I went back to the apartment. Benjamin stayed home and was asleep when we got there. Matt decided he was going to drive back to Michigan. He only had 1 drink during dinner and was wide awake. Since he prefers to drive at night, it seemed like a good time to go. We said goodnight then went to bed.

I decided last night to give Anthony his going away present. Among the few small things I gave to him was a framed picture of us. It was taken at an event last October and it's a great photo of the both of us. He has said on numerous occasions how he loves it. When he opened it, he smiled and was so happy to have it. He opened everything but the card, saying he would save that for later. I think if he had read it, we'd have both cried. I sobbed as I wrote it. We turned out the lights and went to bed. He held me and we talked for about a half hour. It was nice.

This morning, a representative from the company coordinating his cross-country move arrived. They talked in the living room, I sat in the kitchen with my iPad. When they made their way to the back of the apartment, the guy introduced himself to me and asked me if I had any questions about how the move would go, I just said I did not. Anthony gave me a glance as if to say "I'm sorry." I smiled. I've gotten really good at smiling even when I don't feel like it. They finished, the guy left and Anthony informed me that on Friday, the packers would come in, pack everything and put it all on the truck. I said "but you're not leaving until Sunday." He said "I know." I said "where are you going to sleep for two nights?" He said "TBD." I said "well...you can stay with me." He said "good, because I was going to ask you if I could." With that, we started cleaning out his kitchen cabinets and I became the recipient of 2 bags of groceries. Afterwards he came over here with me, picked up something that he needed from my place, and went home to begin purging. I went on to the book store, then I took myself out for lunch.

Tonight in a fit of anxiety, I took down the Christmas tree...literally. I stripped the tree of all its ornaments, threw the tree in it's storage bad and hauled it out to the trash. The next tree I buy will be a slender tree.

I've been fine most of the day, but the process of taking down the tree made me feel a little melancholy. Anthony helped me put up the tree, so taking it down so close to him leaving seemed like yet another ending. I'm sad thinking about it.

I know things will get better. I know you're relieved to read that because by now you're sick of me whining about my relationship woes. I'm just processing it all right now.

So, what did you do for New Year's Eve?