Meditation

Back when I was still a stoner I used to “meditate” with my friend Ted to the Rush songs on the 2112 and Hemispheres albums. Sometimes this involved pot, sometimes alcohol and once in a while candles – lots of hand movements and singing along. Very serious business that increased the presence of the 12 gods in my life.

When I got sober a few years later I learned about Step 11

Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

Through the years in meetings all over the country I’ve had the opportunity to hear about how others have meditated. Some folks talked about how they meditated in the shower,  some how they meditated on their way to work in the car or even like I used to do – listening to music that inspired them (with or without candles ;-) ).

I was pretty dumbfounded about the whole idea and just faked it mostly. When I’d pray or have a quiet moment I would consider that to be my meditation and “enough” of an effort to improve my conscious contact. It wasn’t very satisfying and truthfully, I didn’t do it very often and I never really felt calmer or centered as a result.

Then a  few years back I was at a workshop where the leader of the workshop guided us through a Mindfulness Meditation. I was skeptical but learned long ago to “fake it til you make it”. I followed her instructions and guidance as we placed our feet flat on the ground, had our backs straight and breathed in and breathed out, simple counting and focusing on pushing out the outside distraction and noise – sure enough I actually felt more at ease, more centered and relaxed. This was what I was looking for.

Granted, I’m still not a daily user – I have my faults that may be difficult for some of you to come to terms with.. sorry to disappoint – but when I do use it my day, my situations, my people places and things are so much easier to deal with. I’ve even used it when I’ve not been able to sleep – due to thoughts racing around in my head or something that was bothering me, it really helps to ease all the noise.

At first I came to scoff… ;-) Anyway, meditation, Mindfulness Meditation in particular, has become a really welcome part of my life and I can’t recommend it enough to folks. There are some links here that you can click on and read more about it and I’m sure there are places in larger cities where you can be guided through. The thing is not to quit trying – you’ll gain peace in the trying to get there.

Five Types of Meditation: http://www.fitsugar.com/5-Types-Meditation-18949375

Mindfulness Meditation instructions: http://www.shambhalasun.com/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=2125

More on Meditation: http://www.spiritualnow.com/articles/20/1/The-Different-Types-of-Meditation/Page1.html

Tonight It’s High Holy Day for the Gays

Tonight it’s high holy day for the Gays – The Oscars! or maybe that’s the Tonys… Well “the gays” get excited about both probably. All the glitz and glamour and snobbery – sounds gay, looks gay, probably all gay. Last year I feigned interest in the Oscars for the fiance – glad that never has to happen again. I have watched other times when nothing exciting has been on TV, I watched the year that the Return of the King won and was happy about that.

As a disclaimer, I guess I’m gay. Not in the “can’t wait to see how Betty Sue looks on the red carpet tonight” or “oooh, she’s such a queen” or “she’s had work done, horrible work” kind of gay, nope, not those kind. I just happen to like kissing a handsome hairy guy or sucking on a cock now and again among some other nasty exciting things when i get the chance.

Most of the gay people I know are excited about the show tonight, at breakfast I heard and over heard several conversations about tonight and how much fun it’ll be to watch – I even, believe it or not, heard some people who were excited to know Billy Crystal would be the host. I just don’t find it that interesting myself, hours of pre-show with outfits and sound bytes from folks we pay millions of dollars to each year for a relatively small number of worthy movies.

Me, I’ll probably play World of Warcraft or watch Boardwalk Empire instead. Either sound more exciting to me.

Whirlwind Christmas 2011

I was up at 4:30 a.m. on the 22nd for an early flight to Chicago – where I sat for three hours on my way to Eau Claire for the holidays. My own fault really, I paid attention to the price tag more than the amount of time in airports – it’s also why I had a departing flight today at 6:00. :-(

I arrived in Eau Claire with plenty of time to stop at Taco John’s with my nephew Scooter (who picked me up at the airport). I had a chance to visit with all the Isenberger’s for a bit before Pat, Scooter and I headed off to Minneapolis so I could speak at the Central Pacific Group. We used the GPS app on my iPhone to find the church and I entered the information incorrectly so we were a little later than I was supposed to be there, but I was there in time to see Tina K cry when she saw Scooter (first time she’s seen him in years – he was off at war and such). I have no idea what I talked about, I just know I talked – Pat and Tina said it was good so I’ll go with them. Then we headed back to Pat and Brenda’s and I was in bed a little later than normal – 12:00 I’d say and having been up since 4:30 my time I was done.

Being to bed so late had me running late to get to my Ma’s on Friday morning – but it did allow me to stop at Taco John’s for “breakfast”. I had just got into Hixton on my way and there were two messages from Rhonda asking where I was – isn’t it nice she worries? ;-) I arrived at Ma’s and 5 minutes later it started snowing – it had been nice up to that point – a little cold but nice. I chewed the fat with Ma and Michael while we waited for Rhonda and Greg to get back. Rhonda is looking dramatically different from how she looked this past summer – I’m glad.

Superman Snuggy

While at Ma’s they had planed to take me to Taco John’s for dinner, having beat them to the punch we ordered pizza and watched the movie Larry Crowne. Later than evening Kenny and Sheila arrived. It wasn’t as late of a night but I was pretty beat when I got under the covers. Christmas Eve morning we awoke to the furnace not working – so like any normal folk in WI we left for breakfast. When we came back Rhonda and Kenny cleaned something and it was working again. We celebrated Xmas with everyone that afternoon. Ma, Kenny and Sheila, Rhonda and Greg, Uncle Rick, Michael and Michelle, Cory and Danielle with Charlie and Patrick and of course Winnie and Sammy. It was nice and we had lasagne for a meal. Charlie had tons of toys to open and those who participated in the gift exchange – exchanged. I received exactly what I asked for – a Superman snuggy.  WOO HOO!!! It was a nice celebration and we closed off the night by watching “The Help”.

Sunday morning we were all up and having breakfast at the house as I had let them know I had to head out by 9:00. That too was pretty nice. Then I was off to Hixton, Amy needed 2% milk and Ryan needed a pack of smokes – holy crap smokes are expensive. We played a few board games at Amy’s with Joplin while Eli cooked. There were three dogs there – one is named Whiskey can’t remember the other names but all little yapper dogs. Ryan, Amy and I talked about Christmases past and we had a nice time. Ryan and I headed out about 7:30 so I could stop at his house where Dawn, Samantha and Tabatha were celebrating. Nice to see the girls and ask about their lives – Tabatha graduates from High School this year and I need to plan on being there too. I had to leave Ryan’s at about 8:30 as I had plans to celebrate with the Isenberger’s that evening. As I said it was a whirlwind.

Monday Scooter, Samantha and I went to Taco John’s for breakfast while Pat and Brenda took Helen to the back doctor – who advised Helen to relax and take it easy for the next few days – so of course she ignored him. :-( We had a good day, played Spoons and watched a couple DVDs. Then it was bedtime before I woke up this morning at 4;45 a.m. to get to the airport.

Five day trip with too many people to see – it was a lot easier to celebrate Christmas when I was a drunk no one wanted to see. :-) I’m happy to be home, Mouse and Gary are happy I’m home. It’s only a week or so more until my next trip – this time to San Diego and Palm Springs and I need to plan three trips to WI this summer… /sigh oh well, I can do it, and it’s always nice to see people I love.

Year in Review – kind of I guess

I feel like I should write something on here. Most of the year I’ve had a minimum of four posts a month, but this month so far it’s only been my birthday trip. The last couple of days I’ve thought about writing something and just couldn’t find anything that really struck out as needing to be wrote about. So after deleting another few sentences I thought I’d say, “Hey, I don’t know what to write about.”

Phew! I feel much better now!

It’s been similar in what I’m reading this year, haven’t really found a book that had me engrossed so much or made me want to spread that I had read it. The notable exception being the latest from George R. R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons. I struggled with the first three chapters of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo but I think I’m interested now and might finish it before the end of the year – or at least before I see the movie. So many people have raved about it I feel the need to see what the fuss is all about. I’m sure it’s a great book, part of the reason I’m not really into it is comic books. With DC’s new 52 released this summer I have a slew of new comics that I’m reading and some of them are really really good – even though they’ve changed the fundamental parts of what has long been their history. For example, did you know Wonder Woman’s history has changed so that now she was NOT formed out of clay and brought to life by the gods? Yep, now her mother had a torrid affair with Zeus (he gets around) and to hide that from the jealous Hera they made up the story about the clay… so, there I am – reading Wonder Woman. I’m also slowly rereading A New Pair of Glasses – which you should too if you’re in recovery.

For superhero movies this year, I really loved seeing Chris Hemsworth without his shirt multiple times in the movie Thor, but thought Captain America was the best superhero movie of the year. Ironic as each and every preview was unappealing to me. The complete opposite for Green Lantern which I thought had such good previews – turns out those were the only parts of the movie I liked at all.

I’ve personally changed a lot this year – I’ve gotten five new tattoos, a new ear piercing (8 gauge), and been working out at the gym with a personal trainer. I’ve lost a few pounds and firmed up in places that guys have been complimenting me on (chest, abs… whatevs). I’ve also changed my diet up a bit – more fruit, smaller portions, less pizza, more nuts. Seriously an apple a day. As a result of these things (well maybe not the tats or piercing) my cholesterol lowered considerably making my doctor a very happy man.

This year I’ll have three trips to the Midwest, a few trips to San Antonio that I wish I could do over, two trips to Ft Lauderdale and Virginia Beach and a trip to Canada. That’s slowed down from last year with a one or two trips to San Antonio a month, plus Maui, SF, WI, Ft Lauderdale and VA Beach. I travel to much, but I doubt that’ll change any time soon.

I started watching some TV shows this year that I really enjoyed: Dr. Who, Breaking Bad, Son’s of Anarchy, Homeland, Dexter, Louie and more. Seriously these are some kick ass shows and if you haven’t seen them it’s your loss. OK, I’ll admit that I enjoy Son’s of Anarchy for the sexy bikers too – but the story lines are incredible. Most of these shows have been on for a while, pick up the first seasons, you’ll get hooked.

Like most of the rest of the world I fell back in love with Adele with the release of 21 – it was released in January, but really struck home with me after the fiance departed. I’m also enjoying the Green Album a re-imagining of the songs from The Muppet Show. 3 Doors Down new album Time of My Life, Bruno Mars, Rascal Flatts, Blake Shelton, David Nail, John Legend… well a lot of music.

I’ve watched a few of the Republican debates this year – after I couldn’t stomach them anymore I turned to Twitter to watch other peoples funny comments about them. It would be incredibly funny if these crazy people weren’t serious. It’s been an interesting year watching the protests, the news, game playing with lives at stake. I hope we can get through this mess and move past the old guard that is only serving as an obstacle to progress.

It was a good year, it was a bad year… it was a year. Some of the events that happened in my life were pretty hard to get through. I found myself crying more than I wanted to this year – any time I cry is more than I want to. This is another opportunity for me to grow, change and get better. I’ll learn to love again – probably! ;-)

Through every trial and tribulation and every moment of jubilation and wonderment I’ve had the best of friends there with me. Really couldn’t ask for anything more could you?

Gratitude – I’ve Succumb to Peer Pressure

There’s a lot of this gratitude stuff going around, it happens every year at this time. It can get quite sickening after a while (yes, yes, we’ve reached that point), especially when people are posting a “gratitude” of the day post on Facebook. Talk about making a guy want to vomit – at least it helps to maintain the waistline each time I do. I do actually have a lot to complain about – see previous blogs – but I’ll take a little time here to tell you the people, places and things I am grateful for.

First, I’m extremely lucky to have a family that is beyond amazing. You may think your family is the cats meow, but let me be the first to tell you how wrong you are. My family is quite big, mostly because I keep adding special people to it, why on earth would you keep those people that mean so much out of your family circle – yeah, I know we’re not supposed to choose our family, but I do anyway.

Blood Relatives: Dawn, Ryan and Amy and I actually spent some time with them this summer. I also saw all three of my nieces (Samantha, Tabatha and Joplin) too.

Amy, me, Dawn and Ryan
Amy, me, Dawn and Ryan

We really don’t look much different to my eyes than we did 30 years ago – maybe a few more tattoos or piercings and less hair for me, but I’ll always see us as we were on a Wisconsin summer day, in shorts, running around on Elm St without a care in the world.

My Foster Family: Ma, Pa (miss you Pa), Kenny (and Sheila), Rhonda (and Greg) Michael (and Michelle), Jeremiah, Cory (and Danielle) and my two great-nephews Charlie and Patrick. I spent  a few days at home this summer and really had a nice time. It’s great to go home and deal with all the chaos that is the Trempealeau County Fair Demolition Derby…

newborn Patrick, Danielle and Charlie
Charlie - all ready to go

some people (I wont mention names) yell at me when I post photos of them online – so I wont put up photos of others beside the two great nephews and their Mom. Charlie is one of the smartest kids I’ve ever encountered – and blond so it’s like a genetic flaw. :-)

Adopted Family Members: Suzanne, Paul and Farley; Pat, Brenda, Helen, Scooter, Sami, Maui and PePe; Gary; Jim, Ana, Lisa and the rest of the DiLuigi clan. Though I only really see Jim and Gary daily all of these folks are close enough to me to be family.

My Boss, my Friend - Jim
Pat and Brenda - sneaking out without Helen

I really have the best job and that I get to work with such a great friend, there’s something to be thankful for.

me and Ana on our road trip

Every Wednesday night (well, sometimes we have to do a different day) I talk to my friend Pat on the phone.

I wish my best friend Suzanne lived closer and this Thanksgiving I’m not spending it with her so it’ll be a sadder holiday than normal. I’m sure she and Paul will have a great celebration together.

Suzanne and Farley - at the beach
Gary, my roommate, my friend

And Farley, of course.

Lisa

Friends: I have all kinds of friends and met some of them for the first time in real life recently – yes, that sounds odd. I went to Winnipeg to meet some friends that I’d played World of Warcraft with for years. That was really cool. I have friends from high school, two of which I’ll spend Thanksgiving with this year. Friends from AA, friends old and new.

Grokus, Noq and Salthair
Folks from regular Sunday Breakfast at Annie's

Health The cholesterol is down, the weight is down – I still hate the gym…. I’m still not a smoker, nor a drinker or a drug user. So life’s ok.

Aren't I adorable?

Mouse my little Princess, she’s a handful and usually doesn’t sleep through the night – which means she needs love and attention at 3 or 4 a.m…. but I still love her.

Birthdays And Birthdays… I’m really incredibly happy that in a few more days I’ll be somewhere warm and sunny… that’ll make all this sappy crap worth it.

 

 

I usually come off a a curmudgeon, and I like it that way so don’t expect cheery happy crap from me on a regular basis.

Tina and I did a Spa Day!
Brien and Michelle came to visit

Singing with Star

Growing up I was always surrounded by music. At every family gathering there would be singing by the adults and the kids. My mother would often be asked to come up on stage and sing at bars or at the town festival beer tents. Us kids would often put on shows for our parents or uncles and aunts if they would let us. One of my aunts tried to get me interested in playing the piano and my grandmother often tried to teach me to play the guitar.

My grandmother, Star, would play guitar, sing and she wrote many songs about her life and the lives of those around her. One particular song “Sawmill Mans Wife” was a childhood favorite, I don’t recall the lyrics, but I do recall that the last time I heard her play it my aunt Ginger cried – so perhaps the lyrics weren’t happy memories. I hope someone managed to save her lyrics and music.

I was fortunate enough to live with my Grandmother for a few years when I was a teenager and I think she picked up her guitar almost every day, and if not the guitar then the dulcimer, the accordion or would just be humming away. Music seemed to be the center of every moment for her. If she was doing woodworking on her walking sticks, or on a new guitar she’s be whistling away or singing an old song that had special importance for her.

Songs that I probably wouldn’t have been exposed to otherwise I learned about from my grandmother, songs by Ernest Tubb, Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, and most importantly her songs.

We would accompany Grandmother to camp sites where they were protesting nuclear power or whatever and Grandma would get up on stage and sing protest songs, popular songs and sometimes some of us would get on stage and sing with her. My sister and I once got into an argument live on stage about the right way to sing Barbara Mandrell’s “Crackers” – I think I was doing most of the arguing – Dawn understood that the show must go on and kept singing, I understood that I was going to grow up and be a drama queen.

I can easily recall images of my grandmother strumming her guitar, singing at a campfire, or at home. Most of those are good memories that I can cherish for all time. Music has been one of those things that can make me feel better no matter what – thanks Grandma.

Watching Trainwrecks

The most looked at posts in my blogs history were “No Relationships for the first year...” (176 total views) and a close second was “the Wedding is Off” (145 views) April fools day post. No other posts come close to those counts, everything else is under 80. You’re a bunch of sick bastards! :-P  It reminded me of one of the Matrix movies when the machines said they had tried to give humans a utopia to live in – but it kept failing. That’s cause we need conflict and drama and it probably explains why there is so much crap TV, we like garbage and suffering.

Here I should post that it’s nice that so many of you care and have called, emailed, texted and Facebooked me your concerns over the past few days. um, thanks

I’m trying to look on the bright side of things, here’s a list:

  1. I can now buy that new iMac
  2. I can now buy that new iPad 2
  3. I get to keep my job, and let me tell you I have a great job
  4. I get to keep my apartment and roommate (which pleases Mouse too)
  5. I don’t have to visit San Francisco – ever again if I’m lucky
  6. Dancing with the Stars will never be on the TiVo
  7. 100% less Barbra Streisand music played in the house
  8. no more worrying about where I can eat with a vegetarian

That’ll have to do for now, I’m sure I’ll think of more good that came out of this… later.

Elton John in Concert

I spent 2 1/2 hours listening to Elton John play oldies and the new stuff in the Hall at Atlantic City. When he first walked onto the stage tears came to my eyes; lets face it this man is a legend in any age bracket.

The songs he played of yesteryear, were the ones you always expect to hear; From Bennie and the Jets to the Bitch is Back. The Captain and the Kid was the history lesson a look back into his first submissions and travels from days gone by.

The sound was bad at times, but not as bad as the woman beside me… her swinging arm and alcohol breath were almost too much to take during this brief fest. The song Elton played when she was at her worst was, Someone Saved My Life Tonight and I looked up to heaven to find the light.

A moment like this I’ll never forget, and I really need to go out and buy Captain Fantastic.

Bunchism by Proxy

It was the same every night, she’s sit there; bare legs tucked under her, a romance novel in one hand and the other holding some chocolate or perhaps a fork with a piece of steak on the end. Usually, if us kids had been lucky we had Mac and Cheese for dinner… if not just the mac. There always seemed to be money for a new romance novel, chocolate and steak for Mom, but mac and cheese was a luxury.

The four of us were, in retrospect, starved for attention. We’d come up with little shows or dance acts to put on for Mom and whichever Dad happened to be there at the time. There are the four of us, doing a performance of Elvira by the Oak Ridge Boys, bouncing up and down and mouthing the lyrics. I wonder now who was the choreographer and who was the brains behind such schemes. Mom would watch us and smile always enjoying the show, unless or course something else was on that she needed to watch that meant we had to be quiet.

Maybe the truth behind it all is we had Brady Bunchism, the need to be dorky in a group.