Now I’m 46

Another year has come and gone – this one seemed to go by very quickly for me. I had a lot going on, many changes began here and continued.

I left Alcoholics Anonymous

It was a while in the making. I finally saw the inner workings of the service side of AA, what I assumed would be the most spiritual was the most sick I guess. It seemed all anyone wanted was what they wanted, not what was best for AA as a whole. So to me I had lost a second part of the triangle, the one I believed in most – Service. Between that and the “fake it til you make it” dishonesty in an honesty program. I’m really an atheist and cannot swallow what others do in its entirety. Don’t miss it, gives me lots of free time and less to be resentful at. I did go to a meeting with Flo when I was in Albuquerque but that was for him, I was just along. No one from AA has really reached out to me asking me about it – some have said they want to leave too, so that’s interesting. Continue reading

Moved

I am almost all moved in – all the essentials are here: iMac, Superman stuff, clothes, soaps, AppleTV, coffee, insurance magazines, some dishes, too many shoes and me of course.

It’s a nice little two bedroom condo – Anne has the bigger room with the attached bathroom. I remembered in the middle of the night to slip on my boxers to go to the restroom that I get to use.

We have a balcony, breakfast bar and our own laundry stuff… all very very nice.. and track lighting which I understand is an indicator that someone is gay (some old movie I think).

I am about 4 miles from the office, the other apartment was under 3. Right next to Papago Park which I enjoy walking.

Now I get to start unpacking and arranging things which is fun. I haven’t had a dresser so I’ll need to think about one of those or hang all my clothes in the closet. My bathroom is very spacious for all my colognes, moisturizers and such… which is good.

Anne already invited a guest to stay with us, her best friend has been here since Friday before a trip to Oz – she seems nice.

I always like to think my favorite color is blue, but the majority of the stuff I own is red or black so maybe it’s red… who knew?

I have until the 17th to be out of the other place and I’ll get the rest of the stuff out one piece at a time, maybe when it’s cooler and I have some energy back.

 

The Trap

I recently enjoyed a book by Lawrence Block called – A Drop of the Hard Stuff.

It’s a story about a former cop turned unofficial private eye who also happens to be in his first year in AA. It centers on one of his childhood friends whom took a different path than he did and ended up in a life of crime and even serving time for something. That friend is also in AA, with a little more time than our hero and he’s out there making amends for the wrongs he has done (Steps 8 and 9) when he’s killed – shot once in the head and after once in the mouth – a clear message, shut up. Matthew, our hero of the story, goes out at the request of the dead guys sponsor (a gay jewelry designer) to see if any of the names still on his eighth step list would be viable suspects for the murder – it’s actually quite interesting.

One of the suspects sets a trap for Matthew – when he returns to his room at the hotel he finds a glass of scotch sitting on the table staring at him – and a full opened bottle next to it. Not only that but the smell of that glass seems overwhelming. There are moments when we think this guy’s going to relapse right there the way the author is describing his mind. Seems the bad guy also dumped an entire bottle of the stuff on his bed too for the smell. That’s just not nice at all, but the killer knew if he could get Matthew drunk he’d win, knew the alcoholic obsession and a good bender would get him off the case.

The whole book was good, but I found that particular scene really good and frightening.

Reminded me of a comic book story that I read a while back – Flash Thompson is Spider-man’s biggest fan, but a bully to Peter Parker. He becomes friends with Spidey over the years and it becomes known. Flash is also a recovering alcoholic (so is Tony Stark a.k.a. Iron Man in case you didn’t know). Well bad guys decide to use Flash against Spidey and tie him up in a chair, force his mouth open and pout alcohol down his throat until he’s drunk enough to want to drink on his own again – I can’t recall how much time sober Flash had at the time, but it was a frightening scene for me when I read it. Damn that’s not a nice thing to do to an alcoholic.

I have a wicked mind I guess and often think of horrible things – I think that spiking a punch bowl or the like at an AA round-up would make a great story, lots of little stories would crop up as a result of that one event and many lives stand the chance of being ruined for good – but there is also the chance for change and growth for people that were spiked. I wouldn’t do that, today, but it would make an interesting story and maybe someday I’ll write that.

 

 

Coming Out and Coming to Terms with Me

A friends brother came out recently after many years of being closeted and she wanted to talk to me about how that kind of thing can happen… so I wrote this long email to her and decided I should put it here too.

Long before I had any notion of what it meant to be gay I found men attractive (especially bearded, hairy men). When I’d play with my superhero figures it was usually Batman and Superman that were kissing – Wonder Woman was nowhere to be found, it could be that I didn’t have Wonder Woman… who would buy a boy Wonder Woman in the 70s? We were actually pretty poor and I don’t recall having Superman and Batman dolls so that was all in my imagination… so I could have thought of Wonder Woman, but she didn’t come up.

It didn’t take long to see how homosexuals were portrayed on TV and in movies and even though I couldn’t identify as one yet, I was suddenly much more aware of how limp my wrist was or how I walked, talked and dressed, I’d seen the way other people (my parents, TV stars, school kids) talked about gay people and I didn’t want them to talk about me like that so I was very careful at a very young age to not show too many signs… lol, seems silly to me now. Elementary school and high school gym class and shower rooms were very uncomfortable and i would get out of there as soon as possible, not looking at anything because I knew I might get excited and then I’d be discovered, the worst were the gym teachers and coaches – with their hairy arms and full bodies… just don’t look, just don’t look.

When I was around 12 or 13 an adult friend of my mother seduced me and took me – and several other kids in our small town – as his own for his pleasure. That was more secretive than being gay and exciting too. Finally the things I couldn’t really put into words or thoughts in my head were happening and it felt good but it felt bad too and it was a struggle to get through with that. It didn’t help that at that point I didn’t have any positive male figures in my life, all my mothers husbands beat her and were drunk no one I wanted to be like. This was the first time I had been loved, that I could tell, by another man.

When the adult that molested me was caught they sent us to therapy, in the 80s at the beginning of the AIDS crisis, what I heard the therapist say was “if you enjoyed any of that than your a sick pervert too and will catch AIDS and die…” again, that’s what I heard what he actually said might have been something very different. But it did instill in me again this feeling that I WAS WRONG, not that there was something wrong with me but I was completely wrong.

When I was seeing a therapist while in my foster home I was honest with him about my feeling towards other guys and explained I could only get off thinking about guys… he suggested that that was a learned behavior and could be changed… if I wanted to I could imagine cars when I was beating off and after enough time that would change, I was desperate to be normal and not “get AIDS and die” … sadly, thinking about girls, or cars… didn’t seem to do it for me… and wasn’t satisfying, so I gave up.

Outside of the molestation, I didn’t have sex with anyone until I was 19 or 20. My friends convinced me I had to have sex with a girl so that happened.. but I honestly had to think about a man to perform. It wasn’t enjoyable, it didn’t feel right and it wasn’t something I ever wanted to do again… but my friends were excited for me, I felt they accepted me a little bit more now that I was normal…

During my first drug and alcohol treatment I discussed my gay thoughts and feelings about it with my counselor… who suggested I might be gay… which I didn’t like very much. How dare he say such a thing! Even though I’d been fighting that very thought for years in my own head. But the thought stuck there and I started to give in – I was a doomed homosexual and the world would hate me.. and the “God” of my understanding was going to condemn me to hell because of something I didn’t have a say about.

After that treatment, when I was drinking again, a friend offered to let me see if I was really gay by having sex with him… he wasn’t “gay” of course, just doing a favor for a friend… It wasn’t really an enjoyable experience, but he wasn’t exactly my type either. So I didn’t repeat that experiment and it didn’t answer any of my questions about myself really.

After my second (and hopefully last) treatment visit I decided I was gay, but I didn’t have to act on it… so at night I’d pleasure myself and then ask “God” as I understood him, to forgive me for being a monster… every night, again and again…

At that time, the mid 90s, the internet was pretty new so there weren’t the massive amounts of gay sites there are now… so I did this Phone Bank thing where you could listen to guys on voicemail like things and then hook up… the closest city was Minneapolis/St Paul and I found a guy that I was interested in base mostly on his voice – he didn’t sound “gay”. I told my two best friends I was going to my Ma and I told my Ma that I was going to a conference – this is me in early AA lying… even though I know I have to be honest about everything to stay sober… and I went up to the Twin Cities and had the best time ever with this guy who was very patient, gentle, understanding and virile… OMG VIRILE, insatiable event. Then I was being destroyed by the lie… I felt so horrible for the lie but felt so right about what I had done… it was so conflicting, so I told my two best friends that I lied to them and told them the truth about me, which they knew anyway, but it felt better to be honest.

one of those two best friends was moving to Washington DC and told me that I had to come with “Eau Claire WI is no place for a gay boy to be” and I jumped at the chance, but mostly to get out of WI, it wasn’t about exploring being gay at all. When I told my co-workers I had to tell them something (that I was leaving) one of them said “You’d better not be coming out, you fucking faggots all need to die”

When I did get to DC it was amazing: guys were holding hands with one another ON THE STREET, for that matter, there were other races and some of them were holding hands with other races and some of them were gay or lesbian… I didn’t know what the hell was going on… it was so cool but I didn’t think you could do those things…

Shortly after moving there I was walking down 17th street, minding my own business and a car of a bunch of kids drove by and tossed a half-full beer can at me yelling “fucking faggot”… so there was that, this hatred of me for being me was everywhere not just in my head or in small town America, even in our nations capital.

I learned more and more about gay people and our history the longer I was in DC. I became more and more comfortable with myself the more I let myself… I came out to my entire family (loved ones) via an email on National Coming Out Day in 1998… and later that year I came out to my mother by wearing a t-shirt that said something clever like “my boyfriends mother doesn’t know I’m gay” or some such… she was not amused 😉

I’m a typical gay man, because I happen to like having sex with other gay men… but in other senses I’m not a typical gay man. I don’t care about the Tony Awards or Liza Minnelli, I’m not a fan of drag shows or say “fabulous” a lot… but not all straight people like NASCAR or Fox News or find Rhiana attractive… I’m an individual who finally came to terms with being who I am after much trial and error. Are there still times I feel hated by others? sure. Are there times I hate myself? not so much anymore. I think I’m fortunate to live in these times when people start to realize that there are more than one kind of love, more than one kind of relationship in the world… To come out today with all the wonderful things happening for gay people … well it would have been a great time to get to know myself… but I wouldn’t trade the struggles I had for an easier softer way, those struggles shaped me into the man I have become and I like him… I wouldn’t date him, not my type at all 😀

My Take on Man of Steel – SPOILERS

I’ve heard a lot of differing opinions on the new Superman movie Man of Steel and wanted to share my thoughts on the movie with you. This post will be full of spoilers and if you’ve not seen it yet don’t bitch to me about things you didn’t know…

OK?

OK? OK?

Really now, I’m about to talk about the movie…. so this is your last chance!

Here I go…. this time I mean it….

 

Man of Steel – a review by Jamez

First off, I loved Krypton and everything about it. I found it visually pleasing and loved Russell Crowe as Jor-El and not just because he’s so fucking sexy and that accent makes my knees wobble… he just played the part well and I liked it. We were introduced to the villain really quickly which pleased me. I loved the technology on Krypton, the robots were great.

On Earth we jumped forward and backward in time with Clark and I didn’t mind that at all, I heard some people complain that it was confusing – which baffles me, here he’s young, here he’s old… how hard can this be? I found Clark’s struggles with having his powers growing up to be a great part of the story and how he came to deal with those powers over time was easily explained but I didn’t put certain things together until later.

It was nice to see the parts of Clark that were very human – anger, sadness, confusion, compassion for others form into what is going to make him a great hero one day. Those things are in all of us, even Superman, and sometimes can be a struggle to get through. Pa Kent (Kevin Costner) and Ma Kent (Diane Lane) were cast well – I disagreed with Pa Kent’s decision in the end and not sure that was to character, for me Pa always loved Martha and Clark so much I can’t see him just letting go like that.

I liked how he found the Kryptonian ship in Canada but it puzzled me how he found it there… I know we heard the one story on the radio or TV but he seemed to be heading that way all along. We also were introduced to Lois (Amy Adams) up there as well as Emil Hamilton (Richard Schiff)… I’m not sold on Amy Adams as Lois, but honestly it didn’t really matter to me who it was, that part was minimal in my eyes.

I saw absolutely no need for the Daily Planet sub story, I love Laurence Fishburn, but didn’t feel he added to the story as Perry White.

The things I’ve heard most talked about negatively in the movie were the killing of Zod and the long fight scene.

First, Zod. I had avoided any reviews or spoilers as best I could so I didn’t know this was going to happen. A friend points out that a more experienced Superman would have found a different way to stop Zod and that seems pretty logical to me. When it happened I was really stunned for a moment – Superman doesn’t kill is a mantra that runs through my head when I read Superman stories in comics or see him in the cartoons. But I recall he once did kill, I can’t recall the story very well but I know it bothered him immensely and he took steps to recover from that – what I felt the movie didn’t do well was show the repercussions of taking a life and the toll it can take on someone who has a soul, a heart if you will, as big as Superman. It felt like Zod was dead, Supes screamed and then boom he was making snarky remarks to the military guy. Maybe I’ll see the fall out in the sequel, which would make me pretty happy.

Secondly, the big bad fight at the end. So much destruction, is what I heard, was it really necessary? I don’t know. For me it was appropriate – you have a group of aliens hell bent on terraforming the planet and killing all of us who will stop at nothing to do so. There machines were doing a fairly great job of that on there own. I NEEDED a Superman movie where he actually punched things – I needed the fight to be fast and furious with destruction. Again, a more experienced Superman would have taken the fight out of the city, but he had just put on the cape and boots. I don’t know how long this fight scene was but I don’t really think it was much different than the Avengers end fight scene which had just as much destruction and aliens causing chaos. What I did like about the fight was showing how much destruction had been caused – it’s so easy to read these fights in the comics or see them on the cartoons and see just a superhero being thrown through a wall with no one getting hurt and the building always left standing that realism was good for my experience.

I saw it twice in a two day span – the first time was in 3D which I found to be a waste of money – not enough was done for it to be so. The second time in 2D was just as good.

In my opinion, this is the best Superman movie to date (I don’t say “of all time” because time isn’t over yet). I’m a fan of the Christopher Reeves movies, I loved them back in the day. I think Superman Returns was a nostalgic movie more about an actor that looked like Christopher Reeves than a Superman movie, and that’s sad, there were parts of it that I liked and parts that I didn’t. This movie the parts that I didn’t like were minimal and nit picky… one of the last scenes ins a flash back to young clark on the farm outside of Smallville wearing a cape and acting like Superman… which really couldn’t have happened and bugged me, but I can look past that and see this movie for what it was – the Superman movie i’d been waiting for.

 

 

 

Adjustments

May already, wow how times flies.

Having to drive every day is a big change from life in Washington DC where I could walk or Metro almost anywhere. The morning commute is pretty easy and relaxed, my work day starts at 7:30 (so I’m there by 7:15) and traffic is still pretty light that early. In the afternoon I get done at 4:00 and that traffic is pretty heavy. I manage to avoid freeways and my commute home is a little over 20 minutes, the way to work is about 15. Buses, at least on Thomas Road don’t always have pull offs and more often than not just sit there at the stop they arrive at until they’re supposed to leave… unlike DC buses which depart seconds after arriving and loading… so it blocks up some of the traffic.

Everyone here speeds, I know everyone every where speeds… but here its extreme to me anyway. 50 in the 35 zone is typical, most people do at least 10 miles over the limit and it gives me issues 🙂 I usually just go along at the speed limit but sometimes I can just sense how annoying I am to others and go faster, they still pass me. I brought up the speeding thing to my insurance agent and she said “the speed limit is just a suggestion.” Really…

I have finally stopped waking up at 3:00 a.m. and just lying there in the dark… now it’s about 4:15 or so that I wake up… but that’s a whole lot better really and I feel like I have extra energy and am less tired.

I’ve found some good AA meetings here, well at the moment I think they’re good… One is a traveling Big Book meeting that goes from house to house and I was all excited about it – until I came and they were reading the stories in the back… /sigh. The other two are Big Book meetings also, one follows along to the Joe and Charlie CD for 15 minutes and then discusses what they heard and relates, mostly they stay on topic, but there is a lot of new or recycled sobriety here and not that many folks yet that have over 5 years. The other is a step meeting, big meeting – reminds me a bit of Pacific (the size and personalities) and Northside (the literature aspect and traditions), the lead shares their experience strength and hope but can only use the Big Book for reference… I’ve only been to the Step 8 and 9 meeting so far… I wonder how Step 6 and 7 did… we’ll see next round. Every meeting I’ve been to here I hear the Traditions read and it sounds like such a simple thing… but it makes me feel better.

I haven’t done too much “fun stuff” outside of work or AA… but there is a new Sober Bowling group starting and I’m going to try that. I’ll be seeing Iron Man this weekend and I’m looking forward to the Comic Con here at the end of the month. Next weekend I’m going to a baseball game for work.

So far, I’m pretty happy with moving here… I know summer is coming but so far the weather has been spectacular.

Love and miss friends and family, but happy to be here.

Marvel Now – More of the Same

No matter what Marvel comics may say, “Marvel Now” is a direct response to DC’s new 52. DC’s new 52 was and continues to be very controversial with decisions to radically change characters, history and relationships. When DC did its big relaunch I decided to buy the first few issues of all the comics and give them a fair share. Today, over a year later, I still regularly get about 10 issues and once in a while will pick up an additional book from their line. For some of the regular magazines I found I had no interest at all in the story line or characters as they had been revamped – this includes Green Arrow, Green Lantern, Superboy and the Legion of Superheroes to name a few. But as a result of the revamp I have loved Aquaman and Wonder Woman among others.

I’m starting to judge Marvel’s move without all the new issues coming out – unfair I know. With Marvel Now, Marvel decided not a do a complete do-over of the universe but to reset the stage where certain characters were comfortable and change things up a bit – not a bad idea on some fronts (Hulk, Avengers).

One of the first things that bothered me with the new books was the art in Iron Man, I found it lacking. The next book that I picked up was the Fantastic Four and surprisingly they seem to have 20 foster kids and their own kids as well – I have no reference point for all of these kids except Franklin and Valerie and I think Valerie is an annoying character. Then in Captain America they put Cap in another dimension or another planet, I’m not sure which yet – sure this was a successful ploy with the Hulk way back, but I don’t see this working with Cap. Finally, in the All New X-Men (really, that’s the title we’re going with?) they’re bringing the original X-men from 1960 something to present day – because having one alternate version of Hank McCoy running around wasn’t enough – not to mention the fact that the Phoenix Force (which has reignited the mutant gene) has an obsession with Jean Grey – how many times do we have to see this woman die exactly?

On the plus side, I’m really looking forward to more Indestructible Hulk – Agent of SHIELD and Thor, both stories I thought were interesting and are risking things with the character. Thor in particular the story in issue 1 leapt across centuries to weave a story that may have him really risking his life and the life of other Asgardians. The Hulk story line might be ok for a while, but I think we’re just waiting for the time when Bruce loses control again, sometimes I think we strive for him being chased and demolishing things – HULK SMASH and all that.

A few years back I wrote a blog post about killing characters off to sell comics called “…and it sold comics” (click here to read it) which is what DC’s new 52 and Marvel Now are all about – selling comics. But I fear Marvel is playing it too safely and it will come back to bite them later – after all Jubilee is still a vampire, most of the main characters have been killed and reborn so many times its ridiculous and we’ve had alternate versions of some heroes origins told so many times that I doubt even the writers know what they’ve got going on.

I would have preferred them to remake the whole universe when the Phoenix Force was defeated and given us a chance to see a Captain America that was created using a super serum to fight terrorists. A Fantastic Four that maybe had one kid, but preferably not. An X-Men with just one Hank McCoy and one Angel that isn’t .. well I’m not sure what’s up with the current Angel, but I don’t like it. A Wolverine that isn’t a teacher at a school but the killing machine we all expect him to be. Villains once in a while for the Avengers besides Kang and Ultron – maybe a new villain once in a while for your multiple issue story arcs. Hell – go further than DC did, recreate characters as different races (like you did with Nick Fury in the Ultimates Universe and movie), genders and lifestyles. Give me a reason to care about Reed Richards and have someone write Dr Strange with some balls – taking risks and making interesting story lines.

I’ll pick up the other number ones from Marvel Now, but at present I’m not really impressed with what’s come out and what I’ve read about.

Olympian Ink

I knew I had wanted a tattoo honoring the ancient Greek gods for a long long time. I have been a fan, a student of the gods since … well as far back as I can remember. In high school I even worshiped them as a real religion for a while. There was even an elaborate story written with my friend Ted where he and I were children of the Gods trapped here on Earth due to the vicious jealousy of Hera (note: this is long before Hercules: The Legendary Journeys or Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson – the Lightning thief)

my lightning bolt tattoo

First I went with a lightning bolt, I got a blue and red one as I have blue and red Superman crest on my other arm, but that didn’t seem enough.

So next I got the word Zeus tattooed on my lower back – a tramp stamp if you will (yeah, I can be a tramp).

But even that didn’t seem to do it, so I thought long and hard about what it was that I wanted.

Back in high school I had somehow ended up in woodworking class – I think this was my mothers idea, or maybe we had to take a class like that – kind of like gym or math – something stupid I’ll never do again unless I have to. Everyone else was making gun racks (it is WI after all) or chests and I started to make a chest but it was pretty awful – the teacher told me I should make something that mattered to me so I opted for a symbol for the gods. I called it a star chart – had nothing to do with stars, but had a symbol to represent each of the Major 12 Greek gods. At first I tried carving the symbols in, but I have no talent there, so the teacher taught me how to use a wood burner and I burned the symbols into the wood. I had a lightning bolt for Zeus, a peacock for Hera, a trident for Poseidon, a skull and cross bones for Hades, a sun for Apollo, a moon for Artemis, a sword for Ares, a heart for Aphrodite, a… um, I can’t remember what I had for Hephaestus, a caduceus for Hermes and grapes for Dionysus. In the center of the star chart was this drawing I used to put after I signed anything, kind of a mixture between the Van Halen V looking symbol and Johnny Quick’s symbol (Johnny Quick ironically got his powers by reciting a mathematical equation… oy). The star chart was lost during a move during my drinking days, probably didn’t survive – it was just stained and varnish varnished decorated wood – but powerful wood – lol, powerful wood.

So I thought maybe I’d like a tattoo with those symbols so I started to design what I wanted over a year ago. I’m not much of an artist so it was pretty basic. My idea was given to my tattoo guy Matthew at Jinx Proof Tattoos in Georgetown, who came up with this basic drawing:

Matthew's drawing based on my rough idea

He had also come up with a bunch of the symbols representing the gods, which eerily reminded me of the Star Chart, but I opted for the more artistic version.

I had six sessions with Matthew over the last few months, with a minimum 2 weeks between each visit to ensure proper healing. Last night we finished and I’m really glad. It was expensive, it was time consuming, it was totally worth it!

Olympian Ink Tattoo

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