Monday, January 31, 2011

January 31, 2011 - Change in Attitude; School Stories

Yesterday was my toughest experience writing for this blog. Unfortunately I spent too much energy trying to get what I wanted to say out there and I never got around to what I really wanted to do and that’s writing. Aside from the fact that I’m still not happy with my last entry, the experience has given me writer’s block, which I’m going to try and tackle with a little warm up here.

Change in Attitude

Even though I think I’ve spoken about my personal life enough, I just wanted to say that I feel that I’m in a better place today than I was before. Putting all of my thoughts into the written word, both the piece that I published and the one I didn’t, helped me to think things through and in a better way.

I realized from working through it all that I have a pretty good life so far and I’m proud of who I am, whether or not I am anybody’s number one. It’s funny, but during all of the relationships in my life, my confidence and self-esteem always tend to wane. Though he probably doesn’t even realize it, Joe shattered my self-esteem for years, leaving it in tatters by the time we broke up. That’s probably why it took me three years to get over it.

This past relationship took me to the same place where that was concerned, only in a different way. He never put me down or made me feel bad about myself like my previous relationship, but the consistent worrying about our fate together worked to tear down that confidence I had gained over the summer. I fell quickly and I got hurt. I suffered from the loss and now I’m beginning to believe for the first time in weeks that whatever happens, I’ll be alright in the end.

Life is all about attitude, and this past weekend was a wakeup call that I needed to change mine. The last time he and I separated, I was a literal mess. I’d grown accustomed to having someone out there and felt a huge void when he left. This time I’m realizing that I can’t live my life for a dream that may or may not come to fruition. I haven’t changed my mind about him, but I’m looking at things from a better perspective now.

Examining my life through my writing works wonders for me. It forces me to think long and hard and I know that from yesterday I’ve already gained back some confidence in myself. I’ve got people around me who love me and I appreciate each and every one of them, as I know they do for me. Living for another person does neither one good. The only way any relationship can work is for both people to complement each other, to love and support one another in their endeavors, and allow them to do their own thing when they need to. When it’s one-sided, that’s when things go terribly wrong, as it did with Joe and I. I promise myself to remember this the next time around.

School, Glorious School

Today was a crazy day at school. I’m not sure if I was just in a bad mood or what…I didn’t feel like I was, but a couple of things happened that I look back now and say were pretty comical. The first thing was one I had expected. For the past couple of days I’ve been developing a pimple right next to my eyebrow in plain sight, and it’s not pretty. As I expected from past experience, one of my students felt the need to tell me that I had a pimple on my forehead.

“Really?” I asked him, sarcastically. “Thanks for telling me. I had no idea it was there.” Kids!

A couple of periods later I was reviewing some vocabulary words with another class. When I said one of the words aloud, one of my other students felt the need to repeat it in Spanish. I don’t know, but her action got me off on a tangent that I get into once in awhile about us living in America and this being an E, as in English, SL class. It was all in good fun, even though I meant a lot of the things I said (Hmmm, an idea for a piece!).

I’ve been teaching for 8 years now and I can say from my experience that the Spanish kids learn English at a much slower pace, in general, than kids whose native language is one other than Spanish. I believe that’s because in this country we make it too convenient for Spanish speakers not to learn English. I mean, everywhere I turn it’s “toca numero uno para espanol” or “para espanol, apriete numero dos.” I’ve got Turkish, Russian and Polish students who’ve become proficient in English in two years and yet my Spanish ones stay in my program for seven. I don’t think it’s a coincidence.

Anyway, back to my story. Because it was this particular girl who had started me off, much of my ‘lecture’ was directed at her. She’s relatively new in my classroom and so she’d never heard this rant of mine before. The other kids were smirking and chuckling to themselves as I went on, but she soon developed a very serious look on her face.

I stopped talking and asked her if she was alright. Her lips started to quiver. She was on the verge of tears. “You were yelling at me,” she finally answered. I tried my best to calm things down and eventually I did, but not before she had to wipe a few tears away. It was the first time in eight years I ever made a student cry! Me, one of the most soft-spoken, kindest people I know! The girl came back a couple of periods later and we had a nice long talk to smooth things over, but I’m going to have to remember this the next time I go off on a rant…

Am I mean?


Once again, thanks for reading. Stay tuned for more…

Crossroads, Part 7 - A Shift in Focus

Well it's been a couple of weeks since I've updated this series. Though other matters have been keeping me busy lately, my decision to move from my house still lingers. Since my last piece, circumstances in my life have proven to me that not only is this decision one that I want, but it's become ever the more obvious that it's one that I need.

Read on here...

Sunday, January 30, 2011

January 30, 2011 - The ever present struggle between the heart and the mind

This is by far the toughest entry I’ve had to write so far! I’ve been struggling with this for two days now and I’m still not sure if I’m approaching this in the right way. I actually wrote another piece, a much longer one that shared a little too much, I think. So I decided to go back to the drawing board and tell it a different way.

I find myself in a quandary. I’ve come to an inevitable point where I have to face an unpleasant reality. I knew before that reconnecting with him would be risky for me, considering how I feel about him. This weekend I was presented with a reminder not to get my hopes up, that the experiences we’ve shared since reconnecting were an aberration, with no hidden meaning or agenda behind them. It’s a wake-up call, perhaps, telling me that I simply can’t do this, being friends.

I reacted with a decision to break off contact yet again, preparing myself for some more down time. Conveying the decision to him brought doubt into mind. We’d spent yet another marvelous time together and though his troubles have not gone away, he clearly harbors feelings for me, too. That was evident in his reaction and leaves me with only more questions as to where to take it from here.

The entire weekend caused me to experience what my mom likes to call a “pity party.” I guess she’s where I got it from, these occasional bouts of feeling sorry for myself. I couldn’t help but hearken back to Joe, who hurt me big time, even though I was the one who ended it. I’d always suspected the love I shared with him was a little more one-sided than I would have liked, and him moving on so quickly afterwards confirmed my feelings. Though I was his number one for 20 years, I never really was.

With him, I can’t help but feel some of the same. I told him that even though he tells me I’m very special, I’m simply not special enough. I wasn’t to Joe and I’m not to him. I don’t know if I’ll ever be special enough to anyone, and herein goes the eternal struggle between the emotions and the intellect. I’m feeling sorry for myself as I fly through this roller coaster of sorts, and yet I know I have no need to worry. Whether or not I ever get another chance with him or anyone else for that matter, I am a special person and anyone who has an opportunity to be with me is a lucky person.

So as I go forward I have to remember this above all else. No matter what his circumstances, he’s taking a chance on losing maybe the best person that will ever come along in his life, and that’s too bad for him. As for me, yes I’ll be sad for a long time, but I know that time heals everything and in time I will be okay. I told him that I had no interest in anyone, really anyone else, at this moment, which says a lot about me. Before he came along I was at an all time high being single since Joe and I broke up. I dated several people and I was living it up, but strangely after being with him I don’t miss that anymore. And so it shall be for awhile, anyway.

I cannot speak for him. I know what I know from what he’s told me, and I’ll just have to go by that. Of course I’m still hurting inside, but I know I have to be strong, for my own sake. Friends have reminded me that you never know what tomorrow will bring, and so I can only hope for tomorrow to be better than today.

Song of the Day - Cyndi Lauper: "When You Were Mine"

"When You Were Mine" is a song written and performed by Prince and covered by Cyndi Lauper on her debut album, "She's So Unusual." Though I knew the song from its original version, it wasn't until I heard Cyndi's version that I truly began to love it. It was a great track on an album full of great tracks and her version is just sooo awesome, melancholy, but fun, as only Cyndi can! So enjoy this performance from the American Music Awards way back in the early 80's. I know I did!

When u were mine
I gave u all of my money
Time after time
U done me wrong
Cause, just like a train
U let all my friends come over and eat
And u were so strange
U didn't have the decency to change the sheets
Oh girl, when u were mine
I use to let u wear all my clothes
U were so fine
Maybe that's the reason that it hurt me so
I know, that you're goin with another guy
But I don't care, cause I love u baby that's no lie
Love u more mine than I did when u were mine
When u were mine
U were kindasorta my best friend
So I was blind
I let u fool around
I never cared
I never was the kind to make a fuss
When he was there
Sleepin in between the two of us
I know, that you`re goin with another guy
But I don't care, cause I love u baby that's no lie
Love u more than I did when u were mine
When u were mine
U were all I ever wanted to do
Now I spend my time
Following him whenever he's with u
I know that you're goin with another guy
But I don't care, cause I love u baby that's no lie
Love u more than I did when u were mine

Sunday, January 30, 2011 - Still smoking!; a heartwarming moment; a special poem; and a pet peeve

Still smoking!

It seems the writing Gods have been smiling on me lately or I’ve just been better than usual. The hits to my work have been in the thousands for four days straight, a clear cut record for me. Where I had recently been hoping to hit 250K page views by the end of February, I have now soared to over 256K with two days still to go in January. My daily average has risen to 510, which is phenomenal. Some of the articles doing it for me include:

New Music Releases for 2011: What to Expect (9832 hits in a month!)

Songs of Love and Devotion for Valentine’s Day (3962 hits in a week and featured on the front page of YCN!)

Weight Watchers: In the End It’s Still a Diet (1102 hits in a week!)

Top Ten Rap/Dance Songs of All Time (Still my biggest receiver of hits at more than 16K)

All of these and several more have combined to give me these wonderful numbers and I hope it’s a sign of bigger things to come!

A Heartwarming Moment

On Friday, I attended an annual ESL teacher’s conference, which is always a great event. I think that ESL teachers are all special people and as always it showed during a moment at the conference. Once the morning speakers had finished giving their speeches, a kindergarten class from a local elementary school came to the stage and reminded us of why we do what we do. You see, the class is a mixed dual language class made up of Hispanic and American children. They get a half a day’s instruction in each language so that both sets of kids will learn benefit from being bilingual. I think it’s the true meaning of bilingual education, though too many of these programs do not work in this way.

Anyway, the kids came to the stage to entertain us with their work. After reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in both languages, they performed two songs featuring both languages. With over 400 attendees at the conference, you would have been hard pressed to find someone without a great big smile on their faces. The experience was goose bump inducing!

A Meaningful Poem

This morning, as I was writing this entry, I was taking breaks in between to read some of what my fellow writers are writing and I came across a poem written by my friend Charlotte Kuchinsky. I’ve only known Charlotte for a few months, but ever since she named me “Most Intriguing Music Writer for 2010” I’ve come to know why she is a three time-plus millionaire (in page views!) on YCN. She is a very talented writer with many genres thrown into the mix, including poetry.

The poem is entitled “Friendship’s Promise” and upon first read, I couldn’t help but relate what she’d written to my own life. Though friendship is and will continue to be a struggle for me with him, I find it so hard to break away completely. I told him just yesterday that if he’s ever in need, I will always be there for him, and I meant it. If I can’t have him in my life the way I would like, I still care deeply enough not to let go completely, though that may not always be. I’ve had a recent experience with him that I will post later, but for now I’d like to share Charlotte’s poem. It speaks for me almost as much as any song I’ve posted here, and though not every word pertains to me, much of it could have been written by me. Enjoy!

Friendship’s Promise

If you want to break my heart

There is little I can do,

But no matter what happens

Know I will always love you.

People change as they grow up;

Seek to leave others behind.

They don't care how they hurt them

Or how they mess with their mind.

It is not I who have changed.

It is not I who am lost.

I wouldn't wish anyone

To become so tempest tossed.

That's why I can't desert you.

That's why I cannot flee.

Someone has to be here

So it might as well be me.

I promise I will you catch you.

I will never let you fall.

I'll do all in my power

To help see you through it all.

Though I fade into the background

Just to honor your desire.

My heart will beat in friendship

To deliver you from fire.

My love will never die dear

Nor can it ever depart.

All that you are and once were

Is sealed safe within my heart.

To read more of Charlotte’s work, click here.

A Pet Peeve

I have a strong pet peeve when it comes to winter and more specifically, snow. There are so many lazy people out there who are too lazy to clean off their cars of the white stuff, posing a threat to others out there. The other day, there was a maniac on the Southern State Parkway weaving in and out of traffic and the roof of his car was caked with snow. A county legislator, I believe, recently put out a proposal to make a law against this non-practice and I hope it comes to fruition! Take a look and see what I mean:

As always, thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Here's a link to a piece I just published on Adele and her new album, "21." Check it out here.

January 27, 2011 - Snow days and other random thoughts

Snow Day

Today is a much appreciated snow day, a day where I can kick back, relax a little, and get stuff done. Many of us had been hoping for a snow day since we had almost 24 hours straight of precipitation in the form of mixed snow and ice, but even though it would have seemed a no brainer to make the decision yesterday, none of us got a call until this morning. Of course it was annoying because of sleep, or lack thereof.

You see, I’m the type of person who has trouble falling back into it once I’m awake, and I would have thought that with the icy mix pouring down last night coupled with the forecast for more overnight snow, I might’ve gotten the call last night. Instead, I got up with my alarm, a little surprised that the phone hadn’t already rung. I checked online to see if my school was listed. The site I looked at simply said, “no data available.”

It wasn’t until 5:30 or so (I get up around 5AM to get to work.) that I finally got the call. I tried jumping back into bed, but to no avail. So here I sit at my pc, thankful for the snow day, but wishing I was just getting up now instead of being up for 4 hours already. So I made myself a pot of coffee, just to make sure I wouldn’t fall asleep, lol, and penned a piece about it on YCN. You can check out “Snow Days: Safety vs. Work” here.


I’ve been writing up a storm lately! Whether or not it’s to keep my mind occupied or I’m just addicted to getting myself out there is a moot point, but I’m starting to see great results. The two articles I published the other day, one about Valentine’s love songs and another about Weight Watchers, have been smoking up the page views. This morning, when I checked yesterday’s totals, I found out that I had just shy of 2,500 page views, pushing me over the quarter million mark! Hoo-rah!


Well it’s been three days since I last spoke to him. He’s back in school now and hopefully getting back to some kind of routine that will help him get himself back together. The day we spoke was his first day back and he seemed excited, as I would be. There’s always something about the start of a new semester…much like a new year: filled with fresh hope and optimism! You go boy!

Next week, I have tickets to see Robyn in concert at Radio City Music Hall. I love concerts and I love Robyn, so I’m really excited about it. I had bought the tickets way back in November and since we broke up, things were in the air as to what was going to happen with the other ticket. I’m happy to say that since we’ve come back into each other’s lives, he’ll be accompanying me. :-)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

January 25, 2011 - Top 1000!

Tuesday night and there’s not much going on here today. I finally wrote and published an article on the Weight Watchers story I told you about yesterday. You can check it out at Weight Watchers: In the End It’s Still a Diet. I got a couple of calls about it today and people that know my family found it to be quite funny. One of my friends told me it’s one of the best things I’ve ever written (…and that was about the blog post yesterday! He hasn’t even seen the piece yet.).

My 1st AC Badge

Another mention in my blog post from yesterday was the fact that I’m fast approaching 250K page views on Associated Content, a very exciting milestone. Well this afternoon I got another very pleasant surprise. Every year, AC gives out its yearly awards for the previous year’s accomplishments. I knew I had been nominated for a couple of my articles and as a writer in the music category, yet I wasn’t expecting to win anything.

Lo and behold I got an unexpected email this afternoon that I had been awarded a badge on my profile page as one of AC’s Top 1000 Contributors for 2010. It’s the first badge I’ve ever received on the site (a badge is just that, a moniker on my profile that says that I am a Top 1000 contributor). With over 400,000 contributors on the network, that’s quite an accomplishment! (Takes a happy and proud bow!)


Over the past few days I’ve listened to a lot of comments from all sorts of friends who have been following me and I am now realizing that I’ve been a little too focused on the recent, upsetting developments in my life (lol!). Well, although things still aren’t wonderful, I’m beginning to see the forest for the trees, so to speak, and I’m beginning to realize a few things. At this point I have no plans to discuss them only to say that I am in a better, though still potentially precarious, place than I was before, and future entries will reflect that.

I realize that although I have an innate need to speak from the innermost reaches of my mind sometimes, I must learn to temper my thoughts and proceed with caution and awareness for others. Therefore, as you can already see, I’ve begun to do more of what this blog was originally meant for, and that is to promote my writing first and foremost. Of course I will continue to post music videos and lyrics, and sometimes even entries about Sundays. Part of my writing is my life, and so that will never go away. But I will be speaking from a better place from here on, whatever that means, and so I hope you continue to enjoy this blog. Thanks again for reading!

Songs of love and devotion, just in time for Valentine's Day

This one is currently featured on the front page at Yahoo Contributor Network.

Valentine's Day is coming and nothing complements a romantic evening with your better sweetheart than a background of beautiful love songs. There are literally thousands upon thousands of great love songs out there,and we've all got our favorites. The songs listed here are some of my favorite songs that express undying love and devotion from recent years. All of them express some of the wonderful things in life, the feelings we get when we get to share our lives with the ones we love. Enjoy them with your loved one this Valentine's Day.

Read on here.

Monday, January 24, 2011

January 24, 2011 - Dieting, Great Classroom Moments, and a Cool Quarter Mil!

I’m always happy when Monday is over. Getting past that very first ‘hump’ of the week is always a little bit of a relief for some reason. Any way you cut it, I’ve got a short week anyway…for a few days now they had been predicting more snow for Tuesday night into Wednesday (on some accounts I even heard up to another two feet). So even before the week started I had ‘snow day’ on my mind for Wednesday.

That’s all changed now, as today’s deep freeze (yes, it was COLD out there today!) is supposed to disappear tomorrow, bringing rain instead. So a snow day is unlikely, but that’s okay, because I’ve still got a conference on Friday and I not only get to miss a day of school, but I have an opportunity to do some serious networking for a new job, the newest focus in my quest for big changes.

Diets Stink

I’ve written in the past about how I hate the word “diet” (check it out here) and a visit to my mother’s for dinner last night further solidified my feelings. You see, my mom and my two sisters have been on the ever popular Weight Watchers diet since the New Year, and I had a chance to see it all in action firsthand. My sister made macaroni and meatballs for dinner, a Sunday staple for many an Italian family, and I’m glad I didn’t have to do all of that measuring and counting.

Within moments of sitting down at the table, the measuring cups and notepads were taken out in preparation for the ritual they must go through every time they wish to consume any type of food.

“How many points if I put cheese on my macaroni?” my mom asked my sister.

“I’m not sure, let me check…”

And so went the meal. I was stunned and saddened at how anyone could suffer this way through life and knew deep inside that this diet, like all diets are doomed to eventual failure. How could anyone make this a daily ritual for a lifetime? After dinner, my point was proven as mom was tallying her daily points while my sister was counting pretzels, her dessert.

“Ann, I did alright today, only…”

“Ma,” my sister was angry. “I lost count and now I gotta start all over again.”

The frustration was evident. If only they could see the truth about dieting. Oh boy, this one’s definitely worthy of a YCN article. Stay tuned…

A Cool Quarter Mil

Today I penned my 500th article for Associated Content/Yahoo Contributor Network, which is pretty significant, though I’m not as excited about that milestone as I am for another impending one. You see, within a few days I will have achieved a quarter of a million page views on my articles. That’s 250,000! Though I knew it was coming, it’s approaching a lot faster than I had imagined.

I must have been using really good SEO (for those of you not in the know, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization) on some recent articles because my page views have risen dramatically of late. I remember when I hit 100,000 page views and I wrote an article to commemorate the occasion. A fellow writer who’s a lot more seasoned than me burst my bubble by pointing out that my pieces averaged around 280 page views each, which is not really optimal.

With the recent surge in page views and more consistent, quality writing, I have attained a page view average of almost 500 and I’ll be hitting that quarter million by the end of the month, for sure. I hadn’t projected that to happen until the end of February, so a big HOORAH for me!

Life Lessons in the Classroom

Today was a good day at school, and possibly another opportunity for a YCN piece. Every week, on Mondays, I give my students a question of the week, which they have a few days to think about and answer in their journals. Sometimes it’s hard to think of new questions that are worthy of thought provoking answers and so I often use the people around me for suggestions.

Last weekend, I asked him (I think I might have to give him a moniker soon!) if he could think of something I could ask my students, and he gave me a good one which I took off with and made into an entire week’s worth of lessons. The question I ended up using ended up something like this: “If you could grant a wish to someone, what wish would you grant, who would you grant it to and why?”

On the way to work last Monday, I was thinking of a fellow writer named Maria Roth. Maria has a daughter, Audrey, who’s been fighting leukemia for more than a year now. I’ve come to know Audrey’s story pretty well thanks to Maria’s candid, yet tender articles about her bout with the deadly disease. Well, Maria’s family was recently given a trip to Disney, which Maria proudly shared with her readers. The story got me thinking of the wonderful Make A Wish Foundation and I decided to have my students take a look at some of the stories of the children who’ve been recipients of wishes from the charity.

To make a long story short, the idea behind researching some of these heartrending and uplifting stories was to give my students fodder for their journals and boy did it work! This afternoon, they each shared stories they had been following on the Foundation’s website and read their journal answers to the class. Needless to say there were tears (mostly on my part, sap that I am!) and lots and lots of interest in what they were doing. It was one of those moments that made me very proud of what I do!

Christopher James Grecius, The Make A Wish Foundation's very first wish recipient.

Well I think I’ve said enough for one day! As always, thanks for reading and I look forward to sharing again soon!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Song of the Day - Adele - Make You Feel My Love

Here's another one of those powerfully written songs that I spoke of earlier. The lyrics are absolutely breathtaking and so meaningful to me. The song does all of the things that such songs do...

To Make You Feel My Love - Adele

When the rain is blowing in your face
And the whole world is on your case
I could offer you a warm embrace
To make you feel my love

When the evening shadows and the stars appear
And there is no one to dry your tears
I could hold you for a million years
To make you feel my love

I know you haven't made your mind up yet
But I would never do you wrong
I've known it from the moment that we met
There's no doubt in my mind where you belong

I'd go hungry, I'd go black and blue
I'd go crawling down the avenue
There ain't nothing that I wouldn't do
To make you feel my love

The storms are raging on rolling sea
And on the highway of regret
The winds of change are blowing wild and free
You ain't seen nothing like me yet

There ain't nothin' that I wouldn't do
Go to the ends of the earth for you
Make you happy make your dreams come true
To make you feel my love

January 23, 2011 - The Power of Music

I’ve been thinking a lot about the power of music lately. Throughout my whole life, music has played an integral part. Songs of all kinds have been there through it all, from happy childhood memories to good times with friends, from tender moments with a loved one to moments of heartbreak, creating a soundtrack of my life, of all of our lives.

I recently published a piece on YCN called “Soundtrack of a Relationship.” It was all about the songs that told the story of my recent relationship from beginning to end. That soundtrack is but a small snippet of the larger soundtrack to my life, and it’s reflected in much of my writing. Music is always being played when I’m around and I can’t imagine life without it.

Due to recent circumstances in my life, I’ve been drawn to music with more of a down tempo feel to it, songs that give me comfort in my sadness. I’ve actually been surprised at how many songs that I already knew could suddenly have a different, more authentic meaning that’s relative to my life these days, and I’ve posted quite a few of them here (check out the labels “music videos” and “song lyrics").

Although listening to such songs keeps me in a place where I don’t generally need to be, I think it’s a natural part of life’s progression. I think we all need to feel sad once in awhile. There’s a certain type of comfort you get when a singer tells stories of things you can relate to. My only question is whether or not listening to sad music too much makes the melancholy linger for too long, but sometimes it’s hard to listen to up tempo stuff when you’re feeling down. Eventually a break from all of that must happen.

Conversely, music has a great power to lift up the spirits. I’ve got many favorites when it comes to that. Whether its Heather Small’s “Proud” reminding me that my own actions determine my place in this world or Natasha Bedingfield’s “Unwritten” telling me to “live my life with arms wide open”, songs such as these are inspirational and almost always lift my spirits when I hear them. These are some of the intermediary songs I play to help myself be a little more optimistic and they do help.

Then of course there’s the happy music. For some, this can take the form of hard rocking heavy metal or a down home country sing-a-long. For others like me it’s songs that make me want to move. You know I love to dance. That’s always when I’m happiest!

With the sad stuff, though, I think that we can relate to the lyrics because we are all human. Song writers and singers are real people and they’ve had to deal with many of the same issues in life and love as we all have, and we could probably find a song to match almost any situation we’re faced with.

As such I’ve rediscovered some old songs, like Pink’s “It’s All Your Fault” or Chicane’s “No Ordinary Morning”, as well as some new ones that have fit my current state. Is this a coincidence? Not at all! If I were facing heartbreak over a partner’s infidelity or the impending departure of a loved one due to illness, I’d probably find songs to fit those situations too. That’s what makes music so great!

It’s important to know that we all experience highs and lows in our lifetimes and that for whatever situation you find yourself in, there’s always a song out there that will speak for you. You just have to find it.

Song of the Day - Adele - Rolling in the Deep

Recently a good friend of mine turned me on to British songstress Adele. Before I took a listen to her, I had noticed several of my Facebook friends mentioning her the past several weeks. I'd heard of her before, but never really took a listen until now.

All I can say is "what a voice!" This song is the first of her songs that I listened to and I loved it immediately. Both her voice and the sounds in this song remind me of something the great Dusty Springfield would've done. Take a listen as you read the strong, heartrending lyrics, and enjoy! Stay tuned for more to come...

Rolling in the Deep

There’s a fire starting in my heart
Reaching a fever pitch, it’s bringing me out the dark
Finally I can see you crystal clear
Go head and sell me out and I’ll lay your shit bare

See how I leave with every piece of you
Don’t underestimate the things that I will do

There’s a fire starting in my heart
Reaching a fever pitch
And its bring me out the dark

The scars of your love remind me of us
They keep me thinking that we almost had it all
The scars of your love they leave me breathless
I can’t help feeling
We could have had it all
Rolling in the deep
You had my heart and soul
And you played it
To the beat

Baby I have no story to be told
But I’ve heard one of you
And I’m gonna make your head burn
Think of me in the depths of your despair
Making a home down there
It Reminds you of the home we shared

The scars of your love remind me of us
They keep me thinking that we almost had it all
The scars of your love they leave me breathless
I can’t help feeling
We could have had it all
Rolling in the deep
You had my heart and soul
And you played it
To the beat

Throw your soul through every open door
Count your blessings to find what you look for
Turned my sorrow into treasured gold
You pay me back in kind and reap just what you sow

We could have had it all
We could have had it all
It all, it all it all,
We could have had it all
Rolling in the deep
You had my heart and soul
And you played it
To the beat

January 23, 2011 - Reflections on the things I write

I already knew yesterday what I was going to write about today. It became clear during a conversation with a friend yesterday afternoon. I had mentioned something that had happened to me this week and he said he’d already known about it. ‘How did he know?’ I asked.

“I read it on your blog,” was his reply.

I got to thinking about myself, my writing, and these daily blog entries and then early this morning I got another reminder from another friend that maybe I’m putting a little too much out there for all to see. Looking back from when I first started writing, it’s plainly evident that writing highly personal things has been a part of my way, but is it okay? Am I foolish or just am I just an artist writing about life’s experiences as a way of releasing my inner thoughts and providing words that are entertaining to others? I think it’s probably a mixture of both.

Ever since I started writing this blog again a couple of weeks ago, I’ve shared some pretty intimate details of my life, my thoughts and my experiences. As a result of writing them down, I guess I’ve been a little remiss about sharing them with my friends face to face, and they’ve noticed. I’ve thought a lot about it the past 24 hours, and though I can’t explain it all, I will try to do some of it here.

Everyone deals with anxiety in different ways. When a stressful situation comes up, some people find relief in talking with people who will listen, while others prefer to keep it all inside. Though I’ve dealt with stress before in both manners, my recent troubles have led me to keep my innermost feelings to myself. I haven’t reached out to the people in my life because in this instance I prefer to keep it inside, orally anyway.

All stress needs to be released somehow, and since writing is often therapy for me, I prefer to do it this way. Turning to friends or family with problems such as this can be received in a couple of ways. Either the other person will lend a sympathetic ear or they will automatically throw in their proverbial two cents. In this particular case I have never sought out advice from anyone, yet far too many have taken it upon themselves to give me some whether I ask for it or not. That only serves to muddy my waters.

When I put my feelings to paper, I’m not getting any feedback, just a much needed ear. Whether or not anyone actually reads what I write here (and I’m fairly certain that there are people following me on this journey), I get to release my stress a bit and it does give me some relief.

From this point going forward, I will continue to share much of my experience. I’ve found it’s a good way to bring people in and maybe lead them to find what else I write. After all, I think that’s the purpose of a writer’s blog and so far, I think it’s working. One of my goals in life to someday write for my living, and hopefully this will only serve to help me towards that goal. I will be mindful of what I say when I involve others in my writings, but I don’t think I’ll ever change…

Saturday, January 22, 2011

January 22, 2011 - Daily Ramblings

Happy Saturday! It’s going to be a cold one out there today, with temperatures in the teens. Brrrr!

A Dull Night at Splash

I don’t know why I go out so much. Last night I ventured into the city once again to Splash and once again it was not fun. I don’t know if it’s because of the cold winter or what, but Friday nights there have not been very good lately. It doesn’t get as crowded as it does on Saturdays and the music generally stinks. And of course there’s still him. Even though we’ve reconnected for more than a week now and I’m happy about it, I can’t help but still feel sad at the loss. I go out every weekend to keep my mind occupied and in the end I come back to the same, sad place. I dunno, it’s different and it’s not as bad as before, but it’s still there. Is this normal?

Of course last night’s disappointment won’t stop me from going back again tonight. Staying home alone is not an option and unfortunately I don’t have many friends who want to do the things I like to do, so… Saturday’s are better anyway. It’s too bad that there’s no place really to go out here on Friday nights, otherwise I would be happy to stay closer to home.

Blind Date…Nah!

A friend of mine at work who’s been privy to my life’s ups and downs has suggested setting me up with someone, a Spanish teacher who works in a nearby district. Though I told her I’d think about it, I have reservations. At this moment I don’t have any desire to meet men in any capacity. This experience has soured me on working towards any kind of relationship. Hurt doesn’t feel good, as Mary J has attested to so many times, and I don’t want to go there just yet, not while I’m still experiencing it. Besides, I’ve never been set up before and I’d be really nervous about the whole thing anyway…

Johnny Driver

I’ve been spending a lot of my writing time lately on my Johnny Driver series. A couple of people had been asking me when I was going to revisit it, and I’m finally in a place to do so. After the way things ended this past year, I’d wanted to stop even thinking about that place and so I halted writing in the series mid-season, but it’s back and I think better than ever.

So a couple of weeks ago I picked up where I left off, with Wellington’s getting in the way of Johnny’s relationship with Ben, who was a real person. I always knew how it was going to end, but since art often imitates life I changed it up a bit to reflect my recent experiences with him. I’ve written four installments so far and I think they’re among my best ever. Check out the latest episode here.

An alien looking orchid at Wellington's

Johnny Driver Blog

Awhile back I started a Johnny Driver blog, which I plan to work on soon. I figured it would be a good place to keep them all together, as they are scattered on AC/YCN. Here’s a link if you want to take a look: click on Johnny Driver.

For those of you not familiar with the Johnny Driver series, it is a semi-autobiographical look at my last four summers of true misadventures as a flower delivery guy in the Hamptons. Though the job is not easy, it’s been filled with interesting stories, rip roaring good times, and lots of frustration. I always thought it made for interesting reading and who knows? Perhaps it will turn into something one day, along with one of my many other projects, hehe.

Well, busy day today…heading out to help a friend set up his iTunes account and then off to Macy’s for their Private Men’s Sale. Shopping always makes me feel better, especially on a day when I can wear something new to go out in. I’ve been coming to new conclusions with regards to my big decision and so keep an eye out for the next installment of Crossroads. Have a great day and thanks for reading!

Song of the Day - Madonna - Nothing Fails Live on MTV

I love this one!

I'm in love with you, you silly thing
Anyone can see
What is it with you, you silly thing
Just take it from me
It was not a chance meeting
Feel my heart beating
You're the one

You could take all this, take it away
I'd still have it all
Cause I've climbed the tree of life
And that is why, no longer scared if I fall

When I get lost in space
I can return to this place
Cause, you're the one

Nothing fails
No more fears
Nothing fails
You washed away my tears
Nothing fails
No more fears
Nothing fails
Nothing fails

I'm not religious
But I feel so moved
Makes me want to pray,
Pray you'll always be here

I'm not religious
But I feel such love
Makes me want to pray

When I get lost in space
I can return to this place
Cause, you're the one

I'm not religious
But i feel so moved
Mmmm mmm...
I'm not religious
Makes me want to pray

I'm not religious
But i feel so moved
Makes me want to pray
Pray you'll always be here
I'm not religous
But i feel such love
makes me want to pray

I'm not religious (I'm not religious)
But I feel so moved (but it makes want to pray)
I'm not religious (I'm not religious)
Makes me want to pray (But it makes me want to pray)
I'm not religious (makes me want to)
But I feel so moved (pray)
I'm not religious (pray)
Makes me want to pray (pray)

Nothing fails
No more fears
Nothing fails
You washed away my tears
Nothing fails
No more fears
Nothing fails

Friday, January 21, 2011

January 21, 2011 - Ramblings

Happy Friday! Well it’s been a couple of days since I’ve written anything here…not too much going on this short week, except that we’re being treated to snow once again. Ugh! It’s not enough to close school, but they’re giving us two extra hours to get there and so here I am at my pc typing away.

Last night I had dinner with my good friend Laura Kim and we decided to take some pictures with her African Gray parrot. Frankly the thing scared me. Before we got to her house, I thought we were going to take pics with the thing on my shoulder, but I soon found out that that could be dangerous. So when she told me that I almost didn’t want to even do the pictures, but she ended up putting it on my knee and it was okay. I’ve never been much of a bird person and I’m still not, but still the pictures came out ok.

I’ve been really trying to work on my health this week, though not as much as I should. The other day I visited the school nurse to get weighed and found out that I’m actually at an ideal weight for my height. The revelation gave me some relief, but I still know that there are a lot of things I’m still not doing right, like drinking too much coffee and skipping meals. The coffee consumption has slowed down just a bit and I have eaten dinner the past couple of days even though I’ve had to force myself. I just need to keep these notions towards the forefront of my mind going forward.

Another health issue I’ve been dealing with is not one of my own. He’s been terribly sick for the past week, since even before he came for his visit. His main symptoms have been a sore throat and a terrible cough that keeps him awake at night. When we last discussed it, I told him for seemingly the umpteenth time that he should just go to the doctor, but for some reason he’s been dead set against going. I totally understand where he’s coming from because I’m not one to go to the doctor myself when I’m sick either.

When the New Year began, as it does every year, one of the resolutions I always make is to go to the doctor. As I get older, I realize it’s important to get checked out regularly. Besides, I definitely have health issues that should be looked at, and I always put it off. Every single year it’s the same thing…I start off with good intentions, but I never quite make those appointments. I’m going to set a goal to make one next week with a doctor!

Since I was so adamant with him about going to the doctor, two things have come to my mind. Of course, for one thing the classic “do as I say, not as I do” syndrome comes into play. Who am I to preach to him to go to the doctor when I don’t even go myself? I need to do myself before I can tell anybody to do the same.

The other issue that came up during this whole exchange is the relationship that he and I share. Of course being older and more experienced I’m always trying to share my insight into things, with good intentions always. Often he appreciates it and truly gives it thought. However this time he was very adamant about not going to the doctor and so yesterday a little discomfort arose after an email he’d sent me during the night. He’d had another terrible, sleepless night of pain and told me I was right about going to the doctor. I figured he’d finally go, but after a brief text exchange, I don’t think he did. I could be wrong, he’s had a history of pleasantly surprising me with his actions, but I just have a feeling he felt better in the morning and decided he was okay. I’d probably do the same and so I can’t fault him for it.

I realize that from now on I need to be mindful about any sort of preaching to him. I don’t ever want to be someone he keeps things from because they’re against some advice I’ve given him. I never want to be a nag!

Well, the clock is ticking and I’m soon off to get ready for work. Ugh, another weekend of snowy streets and freezing temperatures! I just don’t want to be stuck in the house alone all weekend…double ugh! Be safe out there!

Song of the Day - Mary J. Blige - No More Drama

I don’t know
Only god knows where the story ends for me
But I know where the story begins
It’s up to us to choose
Whether we win or lose
And I choose to win

This is one of my favorite stanzas from one of my all time favorite songs. To me, it is a philosophy we all need to live by even though it's not always easy to do. I've long contemplated writing about the song and its meaning and one of these days I may yet still.

It's been on my mind this week because earlier on I was helping him write a philosophy paper and I brought up the lines for him to use in it. I played the song for him and though he'd heard it before I don't think he ever listened to it as he did then. Revisiting the song always gets my mind flowing and his reaction to the song intensified that and it's been playing on my iPod all week. The song is beautifully written and performed and is definitely goose bump inducing. Read along and enjoy as you take a listen...

No More Drama - Mary J. Blige

So tired
Tired of all this drama
You go your way
I go my way (no more, no more)

So tired
Tired of all this drama

Broken heart again
Another lesson learned
Better know your friends
Or else you will get burned
Gotta count on me
Cuz I can guarantee that I'll be fine

No more pain (no more pain)
No more pain (no more pain)
No drama (no more drama in my life, no ones gonna make me hurt again)
No more in my life

Why'd I play the fool
Go through ups and downs
Knowing all the time
You wouldn’t be around
Or maybe I liked the stress
Cuz I was young and restless
But that was long ago
I don’t wanna cry no more

No more pain (no more pain x2 )
No more game (no more games messing with my mind)
No drama (no more drama in my life, no ones gonna make me hurt again, no more)
No more in my life

No more tears (no more tears, I'm tired of crying every night)
No more fears (no more fears I really don’t wanna cry)
No drama (no more drama in my life I don’t ever wanna hurt again)
No more in my life
Wanna speak ma mind wanna speak ma mind

Hooh it feels so good
When you let go
Of all the drama in your life
Now you're free from all the pain (free from all the pain)
Free from all the games (free from all the games)
Free from all the stress (free from all the stress)
So find your happiness

I don’t know
Only god knows where the story ends for me
But I know where the story begins
It’s up to us to choose
Whether we win or lose
And I choose to win

No more pain (no more pain, no more pain, tired of crying)
No more game (tired of your planning games with my mind)
No drama (no more drama in my life)
No more in my life (no more x6)

No more tears (No more tears, no more crying every night)
No more fears (No more waking, be up in the morning)
No drama (leave me alone, go ahead)
No more in my life (hey yeah)

No more pain (no more)
No more games (no more games, I’m tired, I’m so tired)
No drama (No more x6)
No more in my life
No more

No more drama (I’m tired of all this drama)
No more drama (go ahead, go ahead, you demons getting out of my face)
No more drama (go get a my life, I'm about to lose my mind)
No more drama (help me, help me sing)

No more drama (no more drama, no more, no more)
No more drama (yeah)
No more drama (no, no more)
No more drama (help me sing, I need a piece of mine 3x)

No more drama (yeah all I need, hide but nicely I need to know that you are free)
No more drama

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

January 18, 2011

Today I have a lot of things on my mind. Between the return of him into my life, the scary revelations from the other night, and my upcoming move, I’m afraid I may not get much sleep tonight.

I just published the latest “Crossroads” piece on the Yahoo Contributor Network (see below) and it took me forever to write. All of my life it seems that any decision I’ve wanted to make always somehow goes wrong and putting it all down just made me think about just how difficult a thing I’ve faced myself with. Having these other problems only makes this one seem muddier and though I want to not think about it, spring will be here before I know it and I will have had to deal with it by then.

I had a conversation with a good friend earlier, the one who was with me at Graz’s house the other night. Among the things we spoke of was the topic of my health. I had to listen to some things that were hard to hear, and knowing this friend as I do, for him to say such things it was serious. You see, he’s not one to throw his opinions in loosely, so when he does I know it’s significant. I understand that I have not been treating my body well and that I need to change that, and soon. I could list all of the things I’m doing wrong that I shouldn’t be doing, but what’s important is that I realize this.

Earlier today I worked out for the first time in a long time. It’s how I lost weight in the first place, but back then it was my method for doing so. Lately my way of losing weight has been abstinence from food, supplemented with lots of coffee. I understand that needs to change and I wish I could say that I abstained today, but I didn’t. But I did work out and I did eat dinner, which was another big step for me because I wasn’t hungry. I just need to keep at it.

And then there’s him. Though the past two days with him were wonderful, I know I need to deal with him in a whole new way now. My first instinct this morning was to text him a ‘good morning’, as I did most days when we were together. But I knew I couldn’t. I can’t allow myself to fall back into a comfort zone with him even though that would be so easy. With all that’s gone on, I need to protect myself from deeper hurt, and so I need to refrain myself from every day contact, even though I’ve wanted to dial his number so many times today.

As I said yesterday, I have no idea what’s to come. I just know that I have to keep it in my mind that we are no longer a couple, and that I have to let him be. I know after the last two days that he cares for me a great deal and that we fit well together, but I have to respect that he needs to work through things in his own way. I hope that the past two days with me were as good for him as they were for me and that somehow I’ve added a little to his healing process. It was what I'd hoped for all along.

Now of course I don’t plan to disappear from his life. I still hope to have regular contact with him, but I also want to give him whatever space he needs and I have to show that I’m alright with it. Today we became Facebook friends once again and since I post these entries there he will surely see them. I guess it’s part of our new relationship and I hope it only serves to clarify whatever place I have in his mind and in his heart. It’s all a part of putting myself out there like I do. It’s always risky, but it’s my way.

Song of the Day - Mary J. Blige - Just Fine

MJB is awesome! Though my life has been in turmoil lately, in many ways, I can always find happy inspiration in many of her songs...I love the lyrics to this one (and the song, too!) Words to live by!

Just Fine

You know I love music
And every time I hear something hot
It makes me wanna move
It makes me wanna have fun
But it’s something about this joint right here
This joint right here
Its makes me wanna…..Woooh

Let it go……
Can’t let this thing called love get away from you
Feel free right now, going do what you want to do
Can’t let nobody take it away, from you, from me, from we
No time for moping around, are you kidding?
And no time for negative vibes, cause I’m winning
It’s been a long week, I put in my hardest
Gonna live my life, feels so good to get it right

So I like what I see when I’m looking at me
When I’m walking past the mirror
No stress through the night, at a time in my life
Ain’t worried about if you feel it
Got my head on straight, I got my mind right
I aint gonna let you kill it
You see I wouldn’t change my life, my life’s just…..

Fine, fine, fine, fine, fine, fine, ooooh
Fine, fine, fine, fine, fine, fine, ooooh
Just fine, fine, fine, fine, fine, fine, ooooh
You see I wouldn’t change my life, my life’s just fine

Feels so good, when you’re doing all the things that you want to do
Get the best out of life, treat yourself to something new
Keep your head up high
In yourself, believe in you, believe in me
Having a really good time, I’m not complaining
And I’m a still wear a smile if it raining
I got to enjoy myself regardless
I appreciate life, I’m so glad I got mine
So I like what I see when I’m looking at me

When I’m walking past the mirror
Aint worried about you and what you gonna do
I’m a lady so I must stay classy
Got to keep it hot, keep it together
If I want to get better
You see I wouldn’t change my life, my life’s just…..
Fine, fine, fine, fine, fine, fine, ooooh
Fine, fine, fine, fine, fine, fine, ooooh
Just fine, fine, fine, fine, fine, fine, ooooh
You see I won’t change my life, my life’s just fine

I aint gon’ let nothing get in my way
(I ain't gone let nobody bring me down, no, no, no)
No matter what nobody has to say
(No way, no way, no way)
I ain’t gon’ let nothing get in my way
No matter what nobody has to say

Feels so good, when you’re doing all the things that you want to do
Get the best out of life, treat yourself to something new
It’s a really good thing to say
That I won’t change my life, my life’s just fine

Fine, fine, fine, fine, fine, fine, ooooh
Fine, fine, fine, fine, fine, fine, ooooh
Just fine, fine, fine, fine, fine, fine, ooooh
You see I won’t change my life, my life’s just fine

So I like what I see when I’m looking at me
When I’m walking past the mirror
No stress through the night, at a time in my life
Ain’t worried about if you feel it
Got my head on straight, I got my mind right
I ain’t gonna let you kill it
You see I wouldn’t change my life, my life’s just…..

Fine, fine, fine, fine, fine, fine, ooooh
Fine, fine, fine, fine, fine, fine, ooooh
Just fine, fine, fine, fine, fine, fine, ooooh
You see I wouldn’t change my life, my life’s just fine

Crossroads, Part 6: New Considerations

Every once in awhile, life just gets intense! Right now there have been so many things going on all around me that it seems a bad time to be adding this decision into the mix. I realize that these decisions I find myself faced with are of my own choosing, and that nothing worthwhile comes easy, but I feel it's an important enough move not to let it go. That said, I've come to a point where decisions need to be faced...reality starts to set in, and the clock is ticking.

Read more here...

Monday, January 17, 2011

January 17, 2011 - New dimensions

As I began to write yesterday’s entry, already things in my life were changing. I began writing sometime early in the morning and never quite got back to it until today. There was so much I wanted to say in it, but the distractions of the day pulled me away from it until this morning. You see, as I wrote my daily blog, he was sleeping here in my house.

I had spoken with him a couple of times early in the day on Saturday. After I’d left him early that morning, he fell asleep and woke up with a bad sore throat and a case of pink eye. Of course I was concerned for him. I’ve seen him sick before and I know his own habits, like lack of sleep, do not help him get better quickly. I put it in my mind that maybe he’d be cancelling our Sunday together and went about my day, disappointed, but okay with it.

Just before I left for my evening engagements (I had a birthday party to go to after my friend’s), I heard from him. He’d been feeling better as the day wore on and had made plans for the evening with his friends. I told him that I was going clubbing, but I wasn’t sure whether I was going to the city or not. He told me to give him a call if I was in the city, when I was leaving the club. I kind of knew that that meant if that were the case, he’d probably be coming home with me.

With all of the things that happened during the evening, I was preoccupied with upsetting thoughts of my own life, and for the first time in weeks they had nothing to do with him. I ended up going into the city, of course with the hope that I would at least see him for a bit afterwards, but not really expecting him to come home with me. As I drove in towards the city I tried to put it in my mind that maybe I wasn’t ready to spend time with him at home just yet anyway, and so I wasn’t going to push for it. I’d let things happen as they happened and be okay with it either way. Besides, I figured it would be a sign of strength and healing if I cancelled Sunday, even though I was hoping to get to see him.

I hadn’t contacted him throughout the evening as we had said we would keep in contact. I assumed he was with his friends and I didn’t want to disturb him or make him think I was too eager to bring him home. I waited until I was ready to leave the club before contacting him.

As it turned out, he was home when I texted him. He’d had an argument with one of his friends and ended up staying home for the night. He asked me how my night was and I told him that it was good, which it was. I told him I’d met someone on the dance floor who’d rescued me from another unwanted pursuer, which is true. The guy was a cutie, but of course at the moment I’m not looking to connect with anyone. His response to that was one of happiness.

“Oh, what’s his name?”

I played along, giving more details on the encounter. His seeming indifference towards any type of jealousy disappointed me. I mean, I would still think that he’d be somewhat unhappy to think that I’d met someone so soon after him, but he showed no signs. That pushed me to become resolute when he asked if I was going to come down to get him. I told him that I had a lot of things to do on Sunday and that maybe it would be better for us to just postpone it for a bit, especially since he was sick.

A couple of minutes after we hung up, he texted me a sad face. When I asked him what that meant, he finally told me that what I had told him about the guy in the club made him sad. It was really what I had wanted to hear before and it gave me reassurance. At that moment I just wanted to go to him.

I told him that I was coming down, and despite his protests to the contrary, that’s just what I did. At first I told him that I’d come to see him for a bit, but in reality I was hoping that he’d come home with me. I guess it’s part of those stupid games we play when we’re courting someone, I dunno. He came down to my car and we chatted for a bit before I finally convinced him to go upstairs and pack a bag.

It’s now Monday morning and he’ still here, sleeping off another restless night.
Of course, there’s so much more I could say about the past day and a half, but some things are better left private. I just know that it’s been wonderful and I think that maybe this whole new dimension of our relationship just might be a good thing. I’ve learned that even through all that’s happened since Christmas Eve, he still has some sort of feelings for me and that makes me happy, regardless of our situation. I’m realizing that he’s broken off our relationship so that he can heal himself, but as he told me before, he doesn’t necessarily want to push me away either. It’s a concept I hadn’t considered in this way.

So we enter a whole new realm. I really have no idea where it will take us, but I feel happy knowing that he’s going to remain in my life somehow, in some way. I have to be grateful for getting some sunshine back into my life after seemingly endless days of darkness, and live to enjoy the moments I do get for the time being. We’ll see…

P!nk - Raise Your Glass

Sunday, January 16, 2011

January 16, 2011 - Facing a new reality

Good morning! Today’s Sunday and it’s been a busy and eventful two days since my last entry. A lot has happened, with him, and otherwise, and I’m going to try and get through it all as best I can and as short as I can.

Once he and I reestablished contact for the first time on Thursday, my overall mood became a little brighter. It did feel really good to speak to him again and to at least clear the air on some things. Of course I hated the fact that it ended, but having them end the way that they did was even worse. So to have learned that he admittedly regretted the process was nice to hear. We spoke a couple of times on Friday and it seemed as if we’d at least gotten back to some sort of regular communication, which is good.

I went into the city on Friday night and he had told me to give him a ring when I was leaving the club. An impromptu face to face followed as I drove downtown to his apartment complex and he hopped into my car. It was a tiny bit awkward when he first got in, but it didn’t take long to get back into the swing of things. We chatted for a long, long time and it was nice. Yes, this relationship is going to be taking on a different face, and it might just be a good thing.

Saturday was a crazy day. I had gotten home so late from hanging out with him in my car Friday night that I didn’t get to sleep too much. I was dragging my butt all day. He was supposed to come over Sunday and I needed the day to get my house in order. I’d been neglecting housework lately and I didn’t want him to come into my mess, especially after all this time.

Saturday evening I had several things on my agenda, all of which turned out to be significant in one way or another. A friend of a friend who’s become a friend of mine over the past couple of years was in town for the weekend and invited me to her house for drinks. I hadn’t seen her since September…she works all the way in Canada and commutes back to Long Island on occasional weekends. She was here this weekend and so I was looking forward to the opportunity to see her.

Graz is from Poland. She is around my age, single, and the mother of an adult son. She’s one of those people that you like from the first time you meet her. Beautiful both inside and out, she’s got a sincere, endearing personality and she’s a lot of fun, to boot. Seeing Graz Saturday night turned out to be an eye opener for me, big time, and the visit was an unexpected jolt into reality.

The first thing Graz said to me when I got to her apartment was a comment that I had lost a lot of weight. It’s something I’ve gotten used to hearing, especially since last summer when I reached new lows in my weight. I thought nothing of the comment until I was getting ready to leave.

As I grabbed my jacket to put it on, she and I exchanged the usual “it was great seeing you, we’ve got to get together again soon” pleasantries when suddenly her expression and her tone turned serious.

“John, you have to promise me something. You need to promise me you’re going to take care of yourself. You don’t look good.”

At first I shrugged it off, but my friend Dit chimed in.

“Yeah, John, you’re not looking good. Your face is too thin and it makes you look old.”

For the next few minutes I listened to the two of them point out all of the signs that I was exhibiting that showed I was not in a healthful condition. I slouched when I sat. I slouched when I stood. My eyes looked sunken in that made me look old and tired. It didn’t help matters any that the few noshes I’d eaten while I was there had been my main sustenance for the day.

I don’t know, but hearing these things out loud from two people who I know care for me was a little bit of a shock to the system. I’ve known for a long time that I haven’t been taking care of myself enough, especially when it comes to nutrition, but hearing it from them brought other, serious thoughts to my mind. I remembered a friend at school the other day telling me that someone had asked her if I was sick. That’s never a good sign! As I left Graz’s house, my mind became flooded with thoughts I hadn’t been considering in my mind before. Do I have some sort of eating disorder? I need to think this through…

That was just the beginning of my Saturday evening. For the sake of time, I’m going to end things here for now. I’ll probably be doing some work on this over at YCN soon, as it helps me to think about things. So stay tuned for that and stay tuned here for more with him…

Friday, January 14, 2011

January 14, 2011 - Contact

It happened! Last night, he and I spoke for the first time since the night before we broke up. From the time I was writing my last entry, I was filled with nervous anticipation of what was to come. As I said, I wanted to share this blog with him, let him see all of the things I’d been thinking and feeling since that day. Once I had finished the entry, I wrote him an email with a link pointing to this blog. I composed a text telling him to check an email and I sat there, with three send buttons waiting to be clicked.

I was nervous, still struggling with how to go about communicating to him. He reached out to me, and at first I handled it the best way I knew how…to write to him in this way, but I had second thoughts all the way through. I finally convinced myself that yes, this was the right way to go about it, letting him see where I’ve been instead of hiding it and moving in another direction. I clicked the three send buttons.

Within minutes, he texted me to tell me he was reading. He said he’d be doing it for a little while. He added an “lol”, which was a good sign. At least he still had a sense of humor with me. After what seemed like a long, nerve wracking time, my cell phone rang.

He admitted later on, and he could have spoken for me too, when he said that he was uneasy at first, but there was no uneasiness in our conversation from the get-go. We spoke for a long, long time, alternating between serious discussion, our usual interrupted thoughts (we both think faster than our mouths can get things out), and some old, familiar humor. It was great speaking with him again.

Through the conversation, which wasn’t all easy to hear, I came to understand some things that I hadn’t really seen before. He and I have always had a communication gap at times, maybe because of the difference in our ages, or maybe just from the differences in our personalities and worldviews, but some of the things he’d been saying all along suddenly became clear to me, and they eased my mind a lot.

In his breakup email, he’d said that he’d always been thinking of me, that he never wanted to cause me hurt. I’d gotten that from him before and when I read it in the email I didn’t believe it. He said I meant a lot to him and that he didn’t want to lose me from his life. Of course, I reacted at first like I think many would have. I was in shock that he was ending it, and I couldn’t bear to think of knowing him at all. I wasn’t thinking from his perspective at all.

I realize now, after speaking with him last night and again today that he was sincere in all of those things he said. He knew that he still had his ex in his heart and that he couldn’t get past that while maintaining a relationship with me or anyone else for that matter. It makes perfect sense and deep down I know that he’s right. And though I had felt like he was pushing me away, I was being selfish in my own thoughts. He did…does care for me a great deal and breaking up with me…letting go of me, hurt him, too.

He contacted me because he missed me. He’s been missing me like I’ve been missing him and though yesterday’s contact was an impulse, it was the first of a few he’d had that he acted upon. Through it all, he told me that if it was too soon he’d understand. He understood that he’d caused me so much pain and he didn’t want to push himself back into my life if I wasn’t ready. He showed me that he is a mature human being, who’s sincere and has a lot to give. It’s a very big reason why I like him so much.

Over the past several weeks I’ve claimed to understand why he did what he did, but I was never strong enough to understand it completely enough from his perspective. Though it still hurts, I do understand now better than I had before. It wasn’t me at all. If our timing had been different, maybe I could’ve been the one.

Towards the end of the conversation, he reminded me that I had never answered his earlier question. At that point I still wasn’t sure if I was able to see him just yet. I told him I’d let him know, which I did today. Yes, I do want to see him again. I carry such admiration for him that I do want him in my life still, somehow. Maybe by staying in his life, I can still help him in my own little way and that would give me great pleasure to be there to see him heal.

We’ve made plans to see one another on Sunday. I have no idea how it will go. After all, there’s still hurt. Will that hurt intensify by seeing him or will I be able to segue smoothly into a new kind of relationship with him? I will only know by dealing with it. All I know is that I’ve missed him enough to want to see him and hopefully in the end we’ll be better off keeping one another in our lives.

Michael Jackson - Will You Be There

Thursday, January 13, 2011

January 13, 2011 - Sunday

Well, this is the first entry I am writing that I know he will see. Before writing it, I reread all of the entries I had written in the past week and a half just to make sure I could relive where my head’s been. Although there are probably some things he’ll disagree with or possibly even be offended by, they were a part of my ever-changing feelings as I wrote them, and so for me they were my momentary truths. There’s a fair certainty that I got some things wrong.

Earlier this evening I was out to dinner with a friend when suddenly I got a text message. It was from him. He had been wondering if I wanted to hang out with him sometime before he goes back to school in a week or so. He said he missed me and missed having me around. Ditto! He also said that he would understand it if I can’t. I told him I’d think about it, which is what I’m doing as I write this.

Of course I want to see him. I miss him immensely. As I’ve said before, for two months he was a daily part of my life and then all of a sudden he was gone, leaving a big void. I miss his sense of humor. I miss his serious side and his silly side. Most of our communication was over the phone…we only saw one another on weekends…but that was just fine. He was still always there and now he’s not.

He said in his text tonight that he didn’t want to cause me any stress or confusion, that maybe he was only thinking of himself and not enough about me. (You see, I told you he was a rare one!) It’s obvious that he’s missing me as I’ve missed him and that is reassuring. Having him in my life wasn’t for naught, as I may have considered before.

I’m somewhat nervous as I write this. We’ve been apart for almost three weeks now and by showing this blog to him I’m opening up my recent world to him, with the many feelings I’ve been experiencing. I’m not sure if he’s ever really considered what I’ve been going through, the hurt I’ve been feeling at his loss. I never had an opportunity to discuss anything with him afterwards. He ended it and that was really that, and afterwards he didn’t really want to address any of the things I'd brought up in emails. I’m not even sure he’ll have the energy to go through it all in one sitting (it’s a lot of reading!), but hopefully he’ll see things from a different perspective once he does.

So right now I’m left with a decision. Do I say yes? Should I make plans to see him? What would that be like? The truth is, I have no idea. When he first broke it off, I said I wanted him to forget me so I could forget him. The truth is, he’s a hard person to forget and maybe staying in his life as a friend somehow will be a good thing. It could also deepen my sorrow, but how will I feel if I don’t take a chance? It has always been my motto. Being any part of his life is better than nothing, right? But if it’s going to be, then we need to get over this initial hump.

One thing he and I always had was an open and honest relationship. It was one of the things about me that was beginning to change since I’d met him. This is why I’ve chosen to show this to him. Before we can speak, I just need him to know my side of all of this. Besides, I guess I want to avoid any uncomfortableness that would be before we talk live. I need to be open and honest with him about me first, to let him know where my head is at. I’ve given a lot of myself to him, and I did it gladly. Now I need him to give a little, to listen, or else I’ll know we’re not meant to be in each other’s lives, in any capacity.

I hope he listens with an open and empathetic ear, and understands that there were two people in this relationship and regardless of everything he's been going through, my feelings count, too! The entries in this blog have been my way of coping with the loss of him, and I’d love the chance to have him back in my life again, even as friends…

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

January 12, 2011 - A snow day, random thoughts and contact

Well as expected today was a snow day, and we had lots of it! I just got back inside from shoveling…over an hour and a half. It was backbreaking, especially the stuff towards the end of the driveway that the plows packed in. You can see from some of the pictures I’ve added what it was like.

Last night was not good. I went out to dinner with a friend, the one who’s also going through a breakup at the moment. We went to a sports bar/restaurant that I had a gift certificate for…one that I was supposed to review for We had a pleasant enough dinner, but towards the end of it I was feeling very tired and depressed. When I left, I even backed into a plow in the parking lot without even noticing. It made a loud noise, but thankfully there was no damage to either the plow or my car. I drove home.

When I made it home I was physically and mentally exhausted thinking of the night and day ahead all to myself. Being cooped up in the house does nothing but make me think of my situation and I just become even more miserable. I spoke to my mom for a bit, and then I headed for bed. It was around 9PM when I zonked out.

I thought it would just be a nap. I already knew that there was no school today and so I figured I’d stay sleep a couple of hours, then maybe get up and do some writing, maybe even have a glass of wine. Stay up a little late. It was to no avail. I slept as sound as a kitten straight through to this morning. When I woke up, I saw that he had texted me around 11:30 last night. Apparently he was having some sort of a crisis and he resorted to contacting me for help. I’ve always been the type of person that people could talk to about their problems and I did that for him a lot when we were dating.

Anyway, at first I was upset that I didn’t hear the text come in. I’d really love to speak with him. I miss that. All I could think to do this morning was to respond in some way, telling him that he could call me if he needed to. I don’t know, at least it could have been some breakthrough to start speaking again. I texted him that I was sorry for not responding because I was asleep, and since I am now unblocked on Facebook, I sent him a message there, as well. By the time I went outside to shovel around 12:30, I hadn’t heard from him.

As I was shoveling my driveway, I thought a lot about the text. On one hand, it made me feel good that he’d want to reach out to me for comfort. I do believe that he does/did value me in his life in some way or another and I also believe that deep down inside he does want to be a part of my life still, somehow. On the other hand, however, I couldn’t help but think what his crisis was all about. If he’s still mourning and crazy still over his ex, then that’s something I don’t want to hear about. What was I to him? It’s one of the reasons I need to stay away and I should’ve said that in the messages I sent back to him this morning.

I could be wrong and I hope that I am. I’d like to believe that somehow he’s also mourning the loss of me in his life. At one time I really believed he liked me and wanted to be with me, but these revelations he had since right before he broke up with me make me think sometimes that he’s erased any thought of me in that way. I hope not! I hope this wasn’t all just a big tease, a big joke that life played on me…to take me from a happy place, bring me to a happier one, only to have my heart ripped apart like it has.

Just as I began writing this post, he texted me to thank me for reaching back out to him. I reassured him that he could call me if he ever needed to talk. I wanted to provide that one exclusion, but it just wasn’t the right way to say it. Besides, I would hope that he understands what he’s put me through and knows that carrying his troubles to me about getting over his ex would just be a great heap of salt in my wounds. He is young, after all, and as my friend told me last week, most young people these days are too narcissistic, too into their own selves, to even notice what their actions do to others. I’d like to believe that’s not so with him.

Through all the contact we had in the past twelve hours or so, I might have expected to speak with him today. I’m sure it would be difficult for him to call me…it’s probably why he resorted to a text last night instead of just a phone call. He probably knows that I have a lot to say and he doesn’t want to have to deal with it. But I feel it coming. We’ll just have to see where it goes…

On a side note, I heard from today after I sent them the review of Skybox Restaurant and Sports Lounge (the place I went to last night). It seems that the portion of their website in which my articles had been appearing was not doing well and they’ve decided to take it down. They won’t be needing my reviews any longer. He told me to enjoy the remaining gift certificates I had and if things change, he’ll let me know. Oh, well, par for my course lately!

Theme Parks adding new coasters for 2011

Through the dead of winter, roller coaster enthusiasts can only dream of what's to come. Over the past several months, amusement parks around the country have been making preparations for new additions to the ever growing number of scream machines. The summer of 2011 promises a whole new slew of record breaking, death defying rides and thrills for aficionados everywhere. Here's a look at some of what's to come:

Read more here.

Pictures from a snow day

When I opened my front door this morning...

My car covered in snow...

My deck...

Before and after shoveling my driveway....

The view down my street...

The Skybox Restaurant and Sports Lounge

Skybox Restaurant and Sports Lounge, located at 23 Hallock Avenue in Mt. Sinai, is your typical sports themed eatery. The pub took over the spot where the famed “George’s Handlebar” once stood and is a nice place to enjoy comforting noshes with friends or family while taking in the latest big game.

Read more here.

Glitter in the Air

Have you ever fed a lover with just your hands?
Close your eyes and trust it, just trust it
Have you ever thrown a fist full of glitter in the air?
Have you ever looked fear in the face
And said I just don't care?

It's only half past the point of no return
The tip of the iceberg, the sun before the burn
The thunder before lightning, the breath before the phrase
Have you ever felt this way?

Have you ever hated yourself for staring at the phone?
Your whole life waiting on the ring to prove you're not alone
Have you ever been touched so gently you had to cry?
Have you ever invited a stranger to come inside?

It's only half past the point of oblivion
The hourglass on the table, the walk before the run
The breath before the kiss and the fear before the flames
Have you ever felt this way?

La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la

There you are, sitting in the garden
Clutching my coffee, calling me sugar
You called me sugar

Have you ever wished for an endless night?
Lassoed the moon and the stars and pulled that rope tight
Have you ever held your breath and asked yourself
Will it ever get better than tonight? Tonight