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.

Say Cheese.

I have to admit it. I’m vain. I like seeing myself in the mirror. It’s not that I find myself drop dead gorgeous, but I don’t think I look like Fright Night either. I just like making sure the package is put together the right away and that I’m putting my best face forward. Sort of a non-verbal “good job kid” punch in the shoulder. A silent affirmation if you will.

Because of my vanity, I had to properly prioritize my projects on my Linux computer. Forget the ability to do actual work. Who cares about updating the web pages. I’ve ignored all e-mail.

But the webcam is up and running again. Linux style.

My vanity lives in glorious RGB color.

Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I really, really, really wanted an iMac or PowerMac for my primary computer. I’ve been messing around with Earl’s from time to time and I found it to be quite geek-worthy. And Earl and I were going to “chat” about getting me a Mac and unloading my HP Pavilion. There isn’t really anything wrong with my current computer, except that I’m bored with it and I have a tendency to grab for the biggest goody on the Christmas tree. The only reason I could fathom is that with a Mac I would be free from Windows hell once and for all.

Well this week, one of our tax returns came in, plus, Earl’s annual bonus check arrived. Despite the fact that we had both vowed to pay off bills this year with our tax returns and bonuses, this seemed like a wonderful opportunity to bring up the Mac purchase. After all, getting a PowerMac G5 is really, really important, right?

In my heart, I know the real answer. Wrong.

Let me tell you a story. Picture it, February 24, 2002? Earl and I go to the local casino. I hit the jackpot on one of the fake slot machines and bring home $2,250. At the time, we are installing a new bathroom into the (now) old house. Do I do the sensible thing and apply the winnings to this project? I do not. I load us into the car, drive to Best Buy and buy a shiny, brand new computer… because I needed the latest and greatest thing. I rationalize the purchase by giving Earl my old computer (which is only one year old) so he can “speed” along. It’s good enough for him, but not good enough for me. The whole incident creates friction between us, but I just pushed it through, grabbing for the goody on the tree. After all is said and done, Earl and I have a chat about my behavior (in a heated manner), making me realize how selfish I was being.

When it comes up in conversation now, it’s referred to as “The Time I Was A Dick”. I didn’t write a lot about the incident in my blog then, because I was, and still am, embarassed my behavior. Whenever we go to the casino now, I hope to hit the jackpot again so I can, in my mind, “right a wrong”. I’ve learned my lesson, and it’s time for me to prove it, right?

This weekend I realized that I still have a lot to learn.

Of course the right thing to do is to pay off debt. It’s time to bring my selfishness to an end. Besides, my HP Pavilion 760n can easily go another year or two. Keeping old computer equipment running is what I do for a living, for goodness’ sake. And I’ve ended my reign of Windows Hell permanently by settling into another incarnation of Linux, permanently wiping all traces of Microsoft off my hard drive. I’ve even made it look like Mac OS X.

In the past this computer has always been a reminder of The Time I Was A Dick. Now it’ll be a daily reminder of The Weekend I Learned My Lesson.

Seems like a nice day for a white wedding.

For obvious reasons, I’ve been following the whole gay marriage thing quite closely. It saddens me to have such a hateful man as the leader of the United States (Personally, I will always refer to him as ‘Bush Lite’ and will never dignify him with “Mr. President” or even “human being”.) While tossing this whole deal around in my erratic mind, there are several things that I can’t quite comprehend about the whole debate.

1. Isn’t the constitution designed to declare and protect our freedoms, rather than take them away? As I recall, the only constitutional amendment that took away citizen’s rights was prohibition, and we all know how swimmingly that went.

2. Isn’t the creation of a religiously biased constitutional amendment in violation of the whole separation of church and state ideal?

3. Why has San Francisco just started handing out marriage licenses to same sex couples? It’s not like the whole gay thing is a new idea in San Francisco. Was there an epiphany involved?

Honestly, I’m ambivalent about any kind of marriage as a “declare your love in front of God” ideal, because Earl and I don’t believe that you have to be standing in a church, dressed up in wedding clothes and exchanging your vows in front of a padre to consider yourselves married. For us, it’s simple. Declare your love for one another in front of God. You can do this in a chapel, in front of a McDonalds drive thru speaker or at the State Fair… I don’t think God is that picky. Love is love. God is omnipresent. If anyone knows when you’ve been sleeping, and knows when you’re awake, its God.

As stated on our “About Us” page, you’ll see that we’re already married. I proposed on a mountaintop in October ’96. We exchanged our vows in front of witnesses on December 26, 1996 at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia. It was the type of ceremony that we wanted. Was God involved? Abso-friggin’-lutely. I know that we homosexuals are suppose to be all agnostic and such, but sorry, for us that’s just not true. Earl and I are very spiritual. We share in God’s love. We pray daily, and not just the simple warp-speed mumble before the mashed potatoes get cold. And we know that we were brought together to go through life as one. Who cares if we are both men. Not to sound smug, but you won’t find many unions between any two people, man/woman, man/man or woman/woman, with a relationship as strong as ours. However, we unfortunately don’t benefit legally or financially from our marriage. And that’s where I have a problem with the whole thing.

Even to the most casual observer, it’s obvious that the use of the word “marriage” has everyone’s panties in a wad. Bible beaters scream that the Bible declares marriage to be the union of a man and woman for the purpose of procreation. O.k. …

1. Doesn’t that outlaw divorce?

2. Doesn’t that outlaw the marriage of a sterile individual?

3. Doesn’t that prohibit marriage after menopause?

Whatever happened to “Love thy neighbor…”?

Besides, the Bible also talks about several other issues, including:

Leviticus 25:44 — one may buy slaves from the nations that are around us. This apparently includes Mexico and Canada.

Exodus 35:2 — those that work on the sabbath should be put to death. I would assume this includes Wal*Mart 24-hour Supercenter employees.

I could go on and on, but if you google for “Dear Dr. Laura”, you’ll get a lovely list. (She’s such a gem, that Dr. Laura) And never mind that the Bible has been translated, retranslated, edited, regurgitated, condensed, expanded, fluffed and folded over the past 2000 years or so. My grandfather remarried shortly after my grandmother passed away. He was 80 years old at the time. I’m pretty certain he wasn’t marrying for procreational purposes, though he has said, most recently at Thanksgiving in a very loud voice, that does enjoy sex. I say “Bravo” to him for getting married again and having a happy sex life!

I don’t like the idea of a double standard, but I think Vermont has the right idea with the “civil union” thought. Would Earl and I like to be legally married? Of course we would… in the legal sense. As far as we’re concerned, we’re already married in the spiritual sense. Could we deal with a “civil union”? You betcha. I can already hear the old bitties at the mall. “Oh, those two men are (whisper) unionized.”

Where is this going? God only knows. I think Baby Bush is stupid enough to base a good share of his re-election campaign on this issue. After all, he can’t campaign on the war (it’s unorganized, American soldiers are still killed daily in Iraq and there doesn’t appear to be an end in sight), nor education (he just cut 38 programs out of the “No Child Left Behind” law), nor the economy (a record deficit in the shortest amount of time in the nation’s history), nor Social Security (I’d be very surprised if the program still had enough money for postage to mail the bounceable checks by the time my turn comes around), nor his foreign policy (we all know that the U.S. would not win a world popularity contest right now). He started his presidential term with a nation divided, he might as well end this nightmare the same way. However it turns out, I’m afraid there’s going to be backlash. The right will get righter, the left will get lefter. I do know that if that fool does get his constitutional amendment, then I no longer wish to be an American. That sounds like a strong statement, and that’s because it is. And there’s no doubt in my mind that that’s how I really feel. I’ve never lived my life as a second class citizen in any manner, and I’m not about to start because the powers that be have lost their mind and mangled the constitution. But I don’t think that constitutional amendment will get passed. I don’t think the country as a whole is that hateful. For better or worse, this whole thing will simmer down.

Until this is all resolved, I suppose I’ll be glued to NPR and riding the gay marriage roller coaster along with everyone else. No matter how you feel, get out there and vote. Be involved. Let your voice be heard.

I like to suck.

With Earl out of town, I’m finding that the simplest things are amusing me. I think I have too much time on my hands.

I like to suck.

Now that I have your attention, naturally I am talking about our vacuum cleaner. When Earl and I moved into the new house, our beloved cleaning lady, Mariruth (I sometimes refer to her as ‘Agnes Destructo’), had to have some back surgery that was going to take her out of commission for a couple of months. While we don’t like to see anyone undergoing surgery, it was admittedly a convenient way for us to kind of slide her out of the picture and save money for the new mortgage payment. “Hell, anyone can clean a house”, we thought, smugly.

Such a simple thought. Such a massive house. Such fools.

Earl and I are the ‘jet-set’ type if you will, and use the weekends to flit to this or that locale to enjoy all life has to offer (mainly malls and diners in distant lands). During the week, we are two very busy executive types that are making very tiring decisions all day long. At night, we like to kick back and relax after a long day at work.

These two variables leave little time for cleaning.

So the second weekend in January we decided that we were going to clean the house every other Saturday. Top to bottom, elbow to asshole, this place was going to SHINE SHINE SHINE all around the world. (Sorry, I’m getting a clean toilet mixed up with Barry Manilow for some reason). We promptly went to Lowe’s and purchased all sorts of accoutrements, including a wet/dry type vacuum made especially for hardwood floors (which includes all the floors in the house save for the kitchen and one of the bathrooms). We thought we’d be spiffy with a Swiffer. Not just any Swiffer mind you, but two of them… a Swiffer Plus which resembles a maxipad on a stick and a Swiffer Wet thing that spews some sort of goo and a mildly pleasant gas. That’s on a stick as well.

We also picked up a Eureka canister vacuum for the sole purpose of dusting and vacuuming the stairs. It was cheap at $79.

Well the wet/dry vacuum sucked, and I don’t mean it in a good way, and it’s a beast to drag around the house. The cat is constantly hysterical, I’m wetting when I should be drying and general mayhem ensues whenever I try to use the damn thing. I use the Lysol kitchen floor cleaner on the wood floor and the Murphy’s oil soap (both specially formulated for this particular vacuum cleaner, mind you) on the kitchen floor. Chalk that $250 up to the “lessons learned” category. It’s parked next to the cat’s litter box. I’m hoping that the fear it strikes in him makes him bury his crap faster.

The Swiffer Plus looks like a huge tampon and quite honestly, though I’ve never seen the female genitalia, being gay and all, I can’t use anything that looks like it belongs in places I’ve never been. Especially something covered in dust bunnies.

The Swiffer wet/dry thing, well, died after three or four uses so I threw it out back in the woods. Perhaps the wildlife would enjoy the mildly pleasant gas. At the very least, maybe they’ll bury it.

But the cheap Eureka vacuum cleaner has been an absolute trooper. I got downright crazy and ordered extra parts online last week, including an attachment for hardwood floors and a kit that lets you clean the inside of a computer or a model train set. The little kit works so well I’m thinking of getting a model train set so I can use it more often. Which is a good thing, because I wanted to see how all this worked out before I ordered the parts that let you perform a home facial on yourself. I must admit that I am excited about the prospect of sucking the dirt out of my pores with a vacuum cleaner. The Queer Eye fab five would be proud.

So tonight I threw on my cleaning clothes (including the big socks for dusting the floor with ease) and proceeded to vacuum, vacuum, vacuum with my little Eureka trooper. 2,600 square feet in two hours and the house looks wonderful! It was fun vacuuming with this. I enjoyed myself.

It’s true! I suck! And now I do it well!

Monday.

There are times when I eagerly look forward to work on a Monday morning.

Unfortunately, today was not one of them.

Earl arrived home late Thursday night, and we took the opportunity to celebrate his birthday on Friday night. It was a fun evening… I took him to one of the area’s more upscale restaurants for a quiet, romantic dinner. The restaurant was virtually empty because the weathermen were predicting everything short of a new ice age, though nothing of the sort was happening. There was candlelight, and soft whispers among the few patron that were there… except for one table. This table was populated by a sloppily mannered, inappropriately dressed family, complete with an obnoxious, cud chewing, wild-haired woman. Had it not been for them, the scene would have been positively serene, but her sqwaks detracted slightly from the mood. Nevertheless, it was an enjoyable experience and we both had a good time. I asked Earl if I was becoming a snob with my “poo-poo” attitude towards that family. He assured that I wasn’t, because I already was a snob. Oh well.

Later Friday night, Earl’s brother Dave and his wife Kelly arrived for a weekend visit. It was Kelly’s first time up here, and the first time in the new house for both of them. We just sort of hung out most of the weekend, relaxing and shootin’ the bull. Saturday night I set aside my vegetarianism and we went to the Dinosaur BBQ in Syracuse. There was a two hour wait, but it was worth every minute and the food was out of this world. I paid the price for setting aside my vegetarianism later on, but I guess it was worth it.

After Dinosaur BBQ we stopped off at Turning Stone Casino, where I followed tradition and gave them a sizeable chunk of change. Sometimes I wonder why I just don’t hand in my wallet is at the coat check and tell them to just take what they want. At least Earl broke even on the tables so we didn’t lose everything, just half of it. But it was fun, and that’s what’s important. I guess I have to get over feeling guilty about losing money at the casino. Earl tells me that we wouldn’t go if we couldn’t afford it, but nonetheless, I still feel guilty.

Yesterday we did stopped off at Panera’s for a Chai Tea Latte (great for my health plan) then the grocery shopping, household thing after Dave and Kelly left and then we futzed around on the computers a bit before Earl packed for this week’s business trips and we called it a night.

And then this morning was work. I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend, so I had a hard time getting up at my usual 7:00 a.m. I do much better sleeping in, and I’ve felt sort of draggy all day. I don’t know if I have a lack of enthusiasm going on because of work or because Earl is out of town. Deep down I know it’s the latter. I enjoy my job, very much so, even though this week is a hectic week, especially with a couple of big projects winding up. Deadlines. Deadlines. Deadlines. Just typing this paragraph is reminding me of what awaits tomorrow. I can deal with it just fine, but do I really want to? I’m not sure. Do I have to? Of course. I’ll get through work and Earl’s absence just fine.

At times it feels like the world is moving way too fast. Zoom. Hectic. Be here. Be there. Ringing phones. Obnoxious intercoms. Virus alerts.

I have to remember to work hard at staying focused. Do the right thing. Slow down, savor each moment. Look for the sparkle in the eyes of those around you, even if they’re wild haired and cackling in an intimate restaurant.