Happiness on the horizon.

Well Earl and I planned out our annual vacation today. We’re flying into Kansas City and then driving to Oklahoma City, Santa Fe, Denver and then back to Kansas City. Right smack in the middle of tornado season! It’s going to be a fun trip and an excellent way to relax and see more Americana. Honestly, I can’t wait. It’s giving us something to look forward to. It’s all puddle-jumper flying, which I honestly enjoy more than the big jet variety. The flight attendants on puddle jumpers are extra nice because they’re bucking for a career upgrade. With enough smiles, they’ll earn sufficient frequent flyer miles to get upgraded to the two and three digit flight numbers.

Come to think of it, there’s a lot of traveling in our future, with Earl in and out of Ohio on a weekly basis, plus, I’m driving to Iowa in April for a computer training course. I’m really looking forward to that, as I’m going to be able to integrate spending the night with Earl in Ohio into the trip. A little nooky on the open road is always nice, especially when it’s with my lover. Not that I would nooky without Earl, but it’s the thought that counts.

Something wonderful happened while I was at work today. The sun came out. There was a little grumbling and hissing in the office, as we haven’t seen the sun in quite a while, and my co-workers forgot what computer monitor glare was like. We have these vertical blinds that are allegedly very stylish, black on one side, white on the other. Of course, they flip the blinds around so the white part is facing in, and then I have to be all Queer Eye and fix them so that the black is facing inwards. These silly heterosexuals never understand the importances of these things. As I’m typing this paragraph, I realize that I use the word “hissy” quite a bit. It’s not that I feel hissy, I just like the sound of the word. There are certain words that just sound funny. Like pip. I defy you to use ‘pip’ in a sentence and not at least giggle on the inside. Or ‘popeet’. Do you remember the ‘popeet’? It was some storage device that compacted upon itself for easy storage when it wasn’t full of junk. It looked like a fat crazy straw with a bunch of ridges. An accordian type thing. Come to think of it, I think I had an ex fling that called me ‘popeet’. What the hell was he saying about me?

Anyways, tomorrow is Friday and of course that creates a warm glow in everyone. It’s nice to feel the positive vibe again.

It’s Gonna Be A Lovely Day.

After my miserable day yesterday, I had nowhere to go but up when it came to my mood. And I’m relieved to say that today was absolutely stellar compared to yesterday.

I started the morning by having a long chat with God again and it helped considerably. I kneeled in our formal living room on my meditation pillow. I closed my eyes. I cleared my mind. I felt surrounded by positive energy and a white light. Not a Star Trek transporter white light (though that would be way cool), but rather a pure, unadulterated white light. That was nice. While I had God’s attention, I asked for assistance in losing the last five pounds I wish to lose.

Surprisingly, I maintained my good mood and didn’t fall down in an emotional heap when I saw the car this morning…

Yes, Mother Nature decided to give us one more spurt of winter to the tune of 12-inches of snow. There are thunderstorms in the forecast for the weekend, so at least spring is on the horizon. Had it been yesterday, I probably would have had a major hissy fit about the weather, but today I just let it slide. Life is much too short to worry about things that you can not control. And besides, half of it melted by this evening.

Work was a breeze. Actually, it’s a hectic time. We’re airing a local hospital’s radiothon for the next three days, so there’s extra stress in the office as we’re trying to get the broadcast to happen without a hitch, while we raise $20,000, $5 at a time. It’s a great cause, and to the stress I say “piff”. Once I adopted that attitude, work was easy.

I was noticing the oddest things today. While I was trying to find the beauty in everyone, it seemed like I was seeing butt cracks everywhere. People leaning over in their chair. Secretaries leaning over the trash can. Here a crack, there a crack, everywhere a crack crack. I don’t think I’m enjoying this lo-riding pants fad very much. There’s no reason to share your crack.

To add to my cheery disposition, Earl told me tonight at supper that he’s cancelled his plans to go to Ohio this week. So he’s going to be home all the way through Monday. Very nice. I think I’m getting through this little bout of crankiness.

Attitude adjustment.

I have to take a moment and admit that I had an absolutely cranky day today. Miserable. Frustrating. Things at work just were not going my way. I was feeling very overhelmed. I had a couple of class A hissy fits. Plus, it started snowing again and there was needless hysteria.

So when I got home, I decided enough was enough. I seriously needed an attitude adjustment. So I jumped into the Jacuzzi. I contemplated pouring some bubble bath into the tub, but I wasn’t in the mood to clean-up the mess. So I meditated and read the latest book by Sylvia Browne. I asked for all the negativity to leave. I asked for help in finding my positive vibe again.

I know tomorrow is going to be a better day.

Smashing.

Earl and I had a wonderful weekend. I guess what “they” say is true, absence does make the heart grow fonder. It’s sure nice to have him home.

He met up with me Friday night at my Aunt and Uncle’s house outside of Syracuse. I cobbled together a computer for them and installed it, amongst pizza and wings for supper. It’s always nice to get together with the family, and I enjoy helping out with what geeky talents I have.

Saturday morning was the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in Utica, and since I work for a radio station, we had to be part of it. Living in Upstate N.Y. can make a St. Patrick’s Day parade interesting, especially when it’s snowing so hard that you can’t see two or three floats ahead of you in the parade. And to keep things really interesting, one is decked out in full winter gear, complete with ski mask and gloves. In fact, your gloves impede your dexterity, so instead of throwing a tootsie roll or two, you end up throwing a couple dozen. At most parades, children are begging for candy, at the Utica St. Patrick’s Day parade, children are cowering in fear of being pelted by large amounts of Dum Dums.

After the fun and frivolity of the St. Patrick’s Day parade (who was that masked man?) Earl and I headed off to Rochester, because it’s rare that we do anything close to home. We had a wonderful meal at Champps in the EastView Mall in Victor and then did a little shopping. I say a “little” shopping. Actually, Earl (with a little coaxing from me), bought a new set of cookware from Williams-Sonoma and I (with a little coaxing from Earl) bought a new Toshiba e805 PocketPC to replace my Sony Clié. It’s not that I wasn’t enjoying the Clié, in fact, it’s been a little trooper, but I felt that I had outgrown it. It was a base model so it didn’t have a lot of room for expansion, and I was really feeling the need to jump on the WiFi wagon. And I never felt that the Clié was the sturdiest piece of equipment I owned, so instead of getting a bigger and better Clié, I jumped onto the Microsoft bandwagon and switched to the PocketPC platform. Quite simply, I love it. I love finding WiFi hotspots. And I can’t believe I’m admitting it, but I like Windows Mobile much better than PalmOS. I’m already ten times more productive on my new Toshiba than I was on any of my Palm-based gear. And Earl gets the Clié, which he is absolutely delighted about because it’s in color and has a lighted screen.

On Sunday we were just basically lazy. Did some grocery shopping. To keep things interesting I smashed a $25.00 bottle of vitamins in the “Nature’s Way” section of the store. It wasn’t intentional of course, but my hand went spastic when I picked it up and flung it across the aisle. I had a quick flashback to 1975 when I knocked over a display of glass quart-bottles of 7up in the P&C and my mother shrieked at me and gave me a smack. Earl said I looked like I was going to cry when I dropped the vitamins. Maybe I need therapy after all. Always the honest guy, I went to the service desk and told them I saw someone smash the bottle of vitamins and they better call for a clean up. Just kidding, I ‘fessed up and they didn’t even make me pay.

We watched the third Indiana Jones movie on DVD before calling it a night. It was a relaxing weekend, which is just what the doctor ordered.

I was in good spirits when I went to work this morning. And to my delight, I was still in good spirits when I arrived home this evening. Life is good.

Commitment.

This has been a rough week for me. Earl has been away on business since early Monday. We’ve chatted a couple of times a day via the usual “power couple” channels… mostly e-mail and an occasional phone call. We haven’t explored the Instant Messenger arena yet, mostly because we’re saving that for a “naughty” occasion. The fact that Earl has his work laptop with him should make that adventure most interesting, especially for the people in his company’s IT department.

Anyways, I’ve been tossing around the lonely and frustrated emotions quite a bit, despite my whole +NRG vibe I had going on on Tuesday. Don’t get me wrong, I truly felt, and still strongly feel, a positive vibe going on in my life, and I am shunning all the negativity I can. And believe me, it seems like there’s negativity flowing everywhere these days. Cranky salespeople and cashiers, cranky office building slumlords, cranky co-workers and today, cranky J.P.

Earl and I had quite the phone conversation last night about this whole commuting relationship / power couple thing we have going on. Not that I was questioning our relationship or anything drastic like that, God no, when I said “I Do” I meant “I Do Forever”. The foundation of our relationship is rock solid, there’s no denying it. But I had to admit to him, and myself, that I am quite jealous of his current situation. Granted, he’s in eastern Ohio right now. No offense to readers from the Buckeye State, but he’s not really in the sexiest area of the country. He commutes 700-750 miles roundtrip. He spends his evening in one of two malls or watching the crap currently offered on his hotel television. Not exactly the jet-set life one dreams of, but he’s making the most of it. But I am jealous, because I want to be living the same boring existence with him, by his side, in Ohio. I like long drives. I like banged up malls. I like hotel rooms. Especially when I’m with him. But no, I’m stuck in a city that I wanted to leave long ago.

I suppose I’m being selfish. We have a beautiful new house. We are in good health, we have a wonderful son in our cat and we have everything that one could dream of. Except I want Earl by my side, right here, right now.

He assures me that this is temporary. Once knows the future of his work projects with any degree of certainty, he’ll decide which location needs the most attention and we’ll relocate there, or not. But it’s going to take a year or so to figure out that variable, but for now, he needs to do what he’s doing.

I couldn’t be prouder of him. And I understand what has to be, has to be. I just gotta get over myself.



Speaking of living up to commitments, I have been a beta tester for Microsoft, and am currently enrolled in the Windows XP SP2 beta test. It was going well, until my hissy fit of a couple weeks ago when I decided that I needed to stick a toe in the Linux water and wiped out my hard drive. Microsoft sent me an e-mail recently letting me know that the latest build of XP SP2 was available for download and by the way, how’s the beta testing going? A commitment is a commitment, so I wiped out my hard drive again and am in the process of downloading the latest beta test candidate. I haven’t been very good at staying focused on projects in the past. I intend on changing that.

Cleaning Out The Cobwebs.

I’ve been on this “be free and be yourself” kick since the dream I had last week about “letting go”. I’ve been writing messy, just letting my pen glide naturally and letting my feelings flow. I’ve been dressing the way I want to, rather than the way I need to, complete with bikini underwear (wait until Friday!). Bolder colors. I didn’t match my socks. If I had hair, it’d have that tossled look. But alas, there’s nothing up there to tossle. I wiped the shaving cream off my face this morning and decided to start a short beard again. And then I tried to write “+ NRG” (positive energy) in shaving cream on the mirror, but it didn’t stick.

At work, I rearranged my office. I got the computer desk that I can stand up at (you’ll notice the new view on my work webcam). I swapped desks with the graphic designer (whether she liked it or not), ridding myself of the huge behemoth I had that was designed for an IBM selectric (complete with white-out droppings) and going for the smaller desk that is just plain functional. I threw out all my files. I didn’t care what was in them. I hadn’t looked at them in six months, so apparently they weren’t important. So out they went. I dug up an old lamp that someone had discarded. It’s a monstrosity that has earned the name “Revlon” around the office… it looks like a big bottle of makeup. But it works and that’s what’s important. I even put in one of those energy saving bulbs that looks like a warped neon light, usually used by old men that are cheapskates. It gives off a fantastic light. Who cares how much money it saves. I considered dropping an f-bomb in casual conversation, but decided that being free doesn’t necessarily mean being rude, so I said my usual ‘fush’ instead. I even sang to my plants. Nothing shrill, something happy.

Paperwork was turned into me filled out all wrong (as usual) today. Did I fall down in an emotional heap? I did not. Did I rant? Rave? Have a first class hissy fit? Absolutely not. I dealt with it. High blood pressure is not worth fushed up paperwork.

I completely broke routine and did my morning stuff in the afternoon and my afternoon stuff in the morning. You know what, it made the day interesting and enjoyable. I walked around an extra block to get back to the parking garage. I whistled. I said hi to a homeless person. I ran from a yuppie.

I listened to what people had to say, no matter what they had to say, rather than multi-tasking and saying “uh huh. Uh huh. Yep. Uh huh.” I looked in people’s eyes. I saw the beauty in all my co-workers today.

At home I wiped American Idol from the ReplayTV. I don’t want to watch it anymore. I was just concerned with joining in on conversation at work and I really couldn’t care less who wins, so away it goes. I also wiped out Will and Grace. I’m not going to lose my gay membership card for not watching that show. And if I do lose my gay membership card, who cares, it’s their loss, not mine. I might even wipe out The West Wing if it continues to become unbelieveable.

I busied myself around the house and gave the towels and extra shot of bleach. The directions for our front loading washing machine say not to put too much bleach in there, but the towels were looking dingy so I gave them an extra dose. If the washer spins apart, we’ll replace it. Who cares. I might go crazy and buy a second hand washer, rather than getting the “latest and greatest” to make up for some perceived deficit in my personality.

Earl and I have made plans to go out Saturday night! It’s been ages since we’ve gone out, partly because I felt couples shouldn’t go out. We’re happy together. Only unhappy couples go out. Well what the hell do I know? Fush it, let’s go dancing. Earl wants to dance. I want to dance. So we’ll dance. Meet us in Buffalo. Everybody dance. Whooo hoo hoo clap your hands, clap your hands.

I don’t know if it’s the beginning of a pre-mid-life crisis or spring fever, but I feel wonderful. Absolutely wonderful. Wild. Carefree. I’m living in the moment and looking forward to the next.

Ditto.

Today at lunch my co-workers and I got into a lively debate about the state of the public education system. Being the only democrat in a sea of Republicans, I had to hear the ‘benefits’ of school voucher programs and this, that and the other thing blah blah blah. Everyone was screeching, hooting and hollaring about how the schools are unsafe, kids are not being taught when they need to be taught, teachers don’t care and on and on. I maintained that everyone at school is just plain crabby. No one enjoys education anymore. If someone important would ask me (and no one will), I think the degradation of the public school system can be attributed to technology. More specifically, photocopiers.

Now I know what you’re thinking… what on earth does a photocopier have to do with school violence or low test scores? Easy! Quite frankly, teachers and kids aren’t buzzed out on dittos anymore. You remember dittos… those purple inked, chemically laced pieces of paper handed out to all kids in all grades. Teachers wrote or typed on these thick pieces of paper that had ink under them, than ran them through a machine that also had some interesting mix of chemicals to make a batch of copies. Teachers looked forward to making a fifty copies of a pop quiz, quite simply because it was easier than hitting the hootch hidden in the filing cabinet. “Why is Mrs. Pennock so happy? Oh, she’s been making HANDOUTS”. You laugh, but one summer I worked for the school system cleaning up the building and such for the next school year. One teacher had two things in his bottom right hand drawer. A bottle of Jack Daniels and a box of blank ditto papers. The Jack Daniels was full, the box of dittos was EMPTY.

As a senior in high school, I had completed most of my required courses by the end of the first quarter so I spent the rest of the year busying myself in the main office. When I wasn’t making ridiculous announcements over the intercom system or dinking around with the master clock screwing up the bell schedule, I was making hundreds of copies of the “attendance sheet”. This sheet listed all the students that were absent for the day and were distributed after homeroom. Never mind that there were no more than 50 staff members that needed the thing, I made at least twice that, sometimes two sided. Half the time I’d throw them away, but man they did make me feel better. And I never hit anyone in my school. I never felt the desire to go all postal on anyone. I just buzzed on through the day, humming softly and smiling, handing out the attendance sheet. “La la la”. And I can still say to this day that I’ve never done drugs with a straight face.

“Dude, you wanna do some weed out back?”

“Nah, I’m going to work in the main office.”

“What a geek.”

Nancy Reagan was all busy with her “Just Say No” campaign. Had to laugh when the “Just Say No” handouts were distributed on dittos.

Non Binding.

It’s hard to believe that another week has slipped by. Time has been moving so fast lately. I attribute the perceived speed to the frenetic pace of work. I would think that time would move slower with Earl out of town so much, but surprisingly, it’s moving quickly.

Tomorrow we head to Bristol, Pa. to visit Earl’s family. I’m looking forward to the visit. Earl’s dad is in the hospital recovering an angioplasty. He’s quite the trooper and should be on his feet giving everyone his opinion in no time.

I had a very odd dream last night. Several people were telling me to “let go”, “be yourself”, “don’t hide from others”, “don’t hide from yourself” and variations on that theme. My grandmother even told me that I should stop writing so slow and just let my penmanship come naturally! Don’t make it pretty, make it mine. Apparently my subconscious feels that I am hiding something and telling me to let it go. Now I’ve just got to figure out what it is. I started by taking my grandmother’s advice (who’s been dead since 02/29/96 by the way) and just letting the pen flow as I jotted notes today. It didn’t have to look pretty, it just needed to look functional. Oddly enough, I felt better after writing in a seemingly careless way. It put a smile on my face.

I did something else carefree today. With it being Friday, I wore black jeans instead of khakis or dress pants. And I wore bikini underwear! I usually reserve the bikini underwear for the weekends, but I thought what the hell and wore bikini underwear to work. That definitely contributed to a bigger smile on my face. When asked why I was so happy, I told the girls it was because I was wearing bikini underwear and it wasn’t binding. That brought that line of conversation to a screeching halt.

Stay tuned. Next week I freeball.

Aunt Clara.

I fully believe in reincarnation. I believe that God is an equal opportunity employer… we’re down here to learn some lessons. It’s o.k. if we screw up, we just get to do it again. We perfect our soul and then we help others do the same by becoming spirit guides. As others have said, live a good life, do good for others and yourself, love God, then shut up and go home.

There’s my spirituality in a nutshell.

Earl has mentioned this a couple of times in our years together and now I’m starting to wonder myself… could it be possible that I am somehow related to Marion Lorne? For those unfamiliar with this classic actress, Marion Lorne, a huge London stage performer, as well as ‘Mrs. Gurney’ on the 1950s sitcom ‘Mr. Peepers’, is probably best remembered as Aunt Clara on Bewitched.

From what I understand, Marion Lorne in real life was quite similar to the character Aunt Clara (and pretty much all the characters she played) in many respects. She was described by Alfred Hitchcock as “an institution”. She was a character unto herself while she seemed to be living in her own little world.

There are many reasons I could be related to Marion Lorne in some cross cosmic astrological way:

1. Ms. Lorne played a vague, befuddled character quite often. I frequently wander around in my own little eccentric world. I often address those that work with me in a befuddled manner, by starting out with “What’s your name…”, quite simply because I can’t remember their name. I’ll shake my hand at them, bang on their desk to get their attention, not to be malicious or anything like that, just because I can’t for the life of me recall who they are. Nevermind that I’ve worked with them for 10 years.

2. Marion Lorne actually collected old doorknobs in real life, just as her character Aunt Clara did on Bewitched. An odd hobby. I collect old school clocks and I’m not even playing a character on television. Another odd hobby.

3. Aunt Clara was always screwing up her witchcraft and basically creating mayhem. I’m constantly screwing up computers and creating mayhem.

4. Marion Lorne was often seen in your basic black attire. I feel most comfortable in grays and blacks myself.

5. Marion Lorne liked men. I like men.

6. Marion Lorne passed away in May 1968. I was born in July 1968. Just enough time to recycle, I suppose.

Now I’m not trying to sound like Shirley MacClaine (who I think is fabulous by the way), but I think there may be some connection there. Maybe I’m some sort of lost reincarnated offspring. Who knows. Maybe I’ll try walking through a wall. But if my suspicions are true, then I’m quite honored to be among the greats.

Long live Aunt Clara!

The Simple Pleasures.

In keeping in line with the vanity theme started in my previous blog entry, I decided to peruse the Health and Beauty section of the local grocery store. Honestly, with Earl out of town, I had nothing better to do than figure out a better way to look pretty. After all, with people looking at my webcam (and sending me e-mail because of it!) a guy has to look his best, right?

The first thing I found was a new version of toothpaste. I’ve seen the commercials for Colgate’s “Simply White” and was intrigued, so I bought two. Let’s see if my teeth look whiter in two weeks like they allegedly should. For some reason Earl is obsessed with Mentadent, but I find the taste a little too sweet. Like I’m brushing my teeth with baking soda laden cotton candy. So I’m eager to try out this new brand. I also picked up a new toothbrush for work, since my after lunch toothbrush was originally purchased in the late 1990s, two offices ago. As I type that sentence, it makes me realize how gross that really is.

As I was walking through HBA (for all you guys and gals that never had the opportunity to work for a fine discount department store chain like I did years ago, HBA stands for ‘health and beauty aids’), I stopped by the shaving cream section as well. My face has never really recovered from shaving my beard off the first part of the year and I’ve been quite lazy about shaving, simply because it was a marginally painful experience. So lazy, in fact, that Earl told me just the other day (unprovoked, I may add) that if I had shown up to work in his office with the growth of beard I had at that moment, I would have been sent home for looking disheveled, WITHOUT pay. I think he was still pissy about the iMac discussion, but I could be wrong. Anyways, lo and behold, they had my shaving cream of choice, Rise “Baby Face” Super Foam. I hadn’t seen this particular brand in stock since my teenage years, so I bought three cans and plan to stock up on more next time I’m there. It was great for my 15-year old face, I’m sure it’ll be better for my 35-year old face. If it doesn’t work out, I’m well stocked for Halloween.

So after I finish this blog entry, I suppose I’ll spend some extra time in the bathroom, primping and preening. Tom (our cat) will probably join me and lick his ass in a show of support. Since I’ve been a little bored lately, maybe I’ll do one of those ridiculous comparison tests… kind of like the guy a number of years ago that ran around in a television commercial with two kinds of shampoo on his head and told everyone how much one of them tingled. Now that I look back, that was kind of weird. He looked like he had been through a car wash. I’m way too vain to have half bright white/half dull white teeth, so maybe I’ll compare shaving creams.