Saturday, December 31, 2011

John's World Top Ten Posts of 2011

Happy 2012 Everyone! One of the nicest things about the New Year is taking the time to look back and reflect on the year gone by, and there are plenty of things to look at. Since this truly was an inaugural year for “John’s World,” I’d like to share the top ten posts on the site for the year 2011. The good majority of them are taken from “Song of the Day” posts, which are very popular. I love music and I’ve always had a knack for picking up on music that other people might like, and so I am happy that so many of you enjoy this feature.

So check out the top ten posts below on “John’s World” for the year 2011... It’s been a nice year and here’s hoping that 2012 is even better!

#10 Happy Valentine’s Day…Not!

This one was posted on Valentine’s Day, of course, and really is just a daily memoir of bits and pieces from my so called life. I was still smarting at the time and thus the reason for the title, and probably the 1200 page hits its gotten.

#9Song of the Day – Who’s That Chick?

Feel the adrenaline, it's an addiction....

Ah, I still love this one by David Guetta featuring the vocals of Ms. RiRi. At almost 1600 hits, I’m guessing a lot of you love it,, too!

Baby I just wanna dance...

#8Song of the Day - The Quest

I posted this song back in March and surprisingly it got more than 1700 hits since. I first heard it on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy that my pal Rich shared with me. The song is soulful and super, but it took awhile for me to realize that Bryn Christopher, the singer, is a man!

#7Song of the Day - California Gurls

The great summer song of 2010 is still popular, with more than 1800 hits!

#6Song of the Day – Rocket Man

I posted this Elton John classic from the 70’s the morning after I heard a remix version of it at Splash, which I still cannot find! Grrr!!!! It’s a great song anyway!

#5W is for So Many Songs

This one was part of the A-Z Blogger’s Challenge back in June and it was a fun one to do. In posting it, all I did was look through my iTunes library to find songs that start with the letter “W,” and there were so many good ones to choose from. We’ve got Shakira, Donna Summer, the Spice Girls, Aerosmith, and many more. Check this popular post out by clicking the link above.

#4Song of the Day – Hush, Hush, Hush

This Pussycat Dolls tune is very retro and a lot of fun…a little bit of modern day disco!

#3R is for Rock and Roll

This was another one of my Blogger’s Challenge posts, and it’s complete with some of my favorite songs from a different genre than what my readers are used to…a little bit of Lenny Kravitz, Billy Squier, Joan Jett and more. This popular post has gotten over 4500 page views since I published it in late June.

#2Song of the Day – Sun Is Up

Sun is up…move your body!

The island sounds of this dance song by recording artist Inna are kinda irresistible, though I am still surprised how many hits it’s garnered…

#1Mr. Saxobeat

If you’ve seen the blog earlier today, you noticed that I posted this one as my final Song of the Day, as it is by far the biggest page view earner on John’s World.

Image Sources:

Elton John: lyricsdog

The Rest: John's World Blog

Song of the Year - Mr. Saxobeat - Alexandra Stan

Well today is the last day of 2011 and I've been thinking for a long time about doing something special for the last "Song of the Day" entry for the year on John's World. Since I started posting regularly here just about a year ago, it's easy for me to tell which posts have been the most watched in 2011 and this one is by far the most watched "Song of the Day" post of 2011, with more than 11,000 hits and counting.

I really have no idea why this one garnered so many hits. It's a great song, no doubt, but there have been plenty of other songs that have fared better on the charts and the airwaves, like say RiRi's "We Found Love" or LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem." Nevertheless, this is the one that got the most hits and so here it is once again, the sassy, old-school Euro jam, "Mr. Saxobeat." Enjoy and Happy 2012!

Mr. Saxobeat - Saxobeats

Image Source: kiplinger

Friday, December 30, 2011

Song of the Day - Song For a Future Generation - B-52's

(LOVE the hair!)

Wanna be the ruler of the galaxy
Wanna be the king of the universe
Let's meet and have a baby now!
Wanna be the empress of fashion
Wanna be the president of Moscow
Let's meet and have a baby now!

Since New Year's is just about here, I thought I'd post this song for a future generation, lol. All kidding aside, I love the old B-52's and this was one of their first videos I ever saw. The lyrics, the video, the's all different...and fun! In this one each of the members introduce themselves along with a little sumthing sumthing about them, and I just love Cindy's line:

Hello, I'm Cindy. I'm a Pisces.
I like chihuahuas and Chinese noodles.

Classic! Well enjoy everybody and Happy Friday!

Song for a Future Generation - Whammy!

Image Source: trashfan

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy Birthday Ozzie!

Here's a special birthday present to my good friend Ozzie, AKA Ruby Diamond. I had a chance to celebrate his special day with him last night at Circus and I had a great time. So Happy Birthday Oz! Enjoy!

Muny - Pink Friday (Deluxe Version)

Pardon the fuzziness of the pics...regardless of what they say, the iPhone does not have a very good camera!

Song of the Day - Sure Know Something - Kiss and Symphony

Today's "Song of the Day" is somewhat of a departure for this blog. You see, I've told you that I like all kinds of music and one of my very first music obsessions, before Diana Ross and Madonna, was with the rock band KISS. A childhood friend by the name of Guy first turned me on to them when I was about 14 years old and probably for the next five years I ate, slept and drank all things KISS. They were even my very first took me (cool mom, huh?) and even these days I occassionally catch them when they come to town.

Through those early years in the late seventies, my brother and sisters felt the KISS vibe and joined in on the mania. Though I've gone way beyond those early KISS days, my siblings, especially my oldest sister Linda, is still a big KISS fan, and thus the reason for this "Song of the Day." You see, today is Linda's birthday and I always try to do something special for a loved one's birthday, and so here we are, and I also wanted to use the occassion to get in another installment of "Giving Thanks," thanks for my sister Linda.

My sister Linda is someone I admire and am proud to call a sister. Next to me, she's definitely one of the most intellectual of the bunch, and she's been pretty successful in her career because of it. Though she has her bad days, as we all do, when she's "on" she can be so sweet, loving, and kind, and I love her very much and am thankful to have her for a sister.

I've had plenty of memories with Linda over the years. I remember when my brother Dave, her and I shared a small bedroom in the Bronx when we were little. Dave and I slept in beds and Linda in her crib, the headboard facing the beds so she couldn't see us. I remember giggling often because once she learned to get herself up, she'd stand in her crib and peer over the headboard to talk to us and make us laugh.

Another time when she was learning to drive, I took her out in my Mustang for a quick practice run before dinner that turned into a disaster. I remember she had to make a right hand turn before hitting a main road and I think she thought that since there was no Stop signn at the corner, she didn't have to hit the brakes to make the turn. Well you can imagine the angle at which the car turned without slowing down...we plowed right into a parked car...with the sticker still on it! Of course it wasn't funny back then, but these are the things you can remember and look fondly upon in the years that follow.

I chose this particular song for a couple of reasons. Paul Stanley is by far Linda's favorite KISS member and I wanted to post a song that he sings, and this one, "Sure Know Something," is one of my favorite KISS songs. To me it's one of those songs that isn't just rock and roll's a power ballad with meaning. This clip is from KISS' recent tour of Australia, complete with a backing orchestra and it's the best one I found of the tune.

So, Happy Birthday Linda! I hope you have a great day and that you enjoy this little gift. Stay tuned later for another special "Song of the Day," as I've got another couple of birthdays to mention today!

Sure Know Something - Greatest Kiss

Concert Tickets

Image Source: Kiss Mania

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

December 28th, 2011 - A New Year Approaches; My Students, My Family; Writing Wednesday

It’s Wednesday, the “Hump Day” of Christmas vacation week. It’s been really nice having these past few days off and even though I haven’t accomplished as much as I would have liked, it’s nice to just kick back and do nothing every once in awhile. It’s especially nice not having to wake up early in the morning…I’ve found that it’s quite easy to get into the habit of being a night person again, so I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts…

A New Year Approaching

Well it’s almost the New Year and it’s time to start assessing my life and formulating some new goals for 2012. I’m not one to make resolutions…they only end in disappointment, so I plan on just getting myself together once again and moving forward hopefully in a more productive and positive way. I’ve got another few days to really plan things out and get stuff done, so I’d better get going…

Of course I want to get back once again to reaching for my goal of moving into the city. My house is just killing me financially and unfortunately I think the only way for me to get comfortable again is to rid myself of it, if only I knew how. Other things I need to think about is writing, of course. I’m contemplating narrowing down the scope of the sites I write for in order to get more bang for my buck, so to speak, though I’m still not sure which sites to give up and which ones to keep.

There are plenty of other things to think about for the coming year, as well. Health is a priority once again. I made a promise to take better care of my health going into this year and I was definitely more successful than in the past. I just need to keep it going in 2012. I’d really like to pursue another relationship one of these days, too. I want to find newer and better ways of meeting people in the coming year. 2011 was a dud in that department, for sure. Any suggestions? Stay tuned…

Me and my extended family, from left to right Gerber, Mayela, me, Arnoldo and Jorge

I Love My Students!

I know I’ve said it before, but I’m going to say it one more time. I love my job and the joy it brings me. For the past two nights I’ve spent some time with some of my former students and I appreciate all that they bring into my life. The Sandoval family and Max are some of my oldest students and although none of them are in school anymore, they each remain an indelible part of my life. They are my family!

Writing Wednesday

It’s been three weeks now since I’ve shared what I’ve written online. Now that the Christmas crunch is behind us, here’s some of the more relevant stuff that hasn’t been time sensitive:


Fun ways to ring in the New Year on Long Island

I’ve got to say that these event pieces I do for Examiner are not really challenging to my writing skills, but they do get a lot of hits. For the past several weeks, Christmas and New Year’s event articles have brought in an average of 600 hits per week each which is phenomenal. In addition, researching them gives me great ideas on things to do, too! Good stuff!

6th Annual Outlook Awards: Best Nightlife Nominees

This January, Outlook Long Island will be holding their annual awards ceremony for the best of the best of LGBT stuff on Long Island. Since I’ve penned so many articles on nightlife, I thought I’d start off this mini-series on the nominees for best bars and nightlife here on Long Island. Stay tuned for more in this series.


New Music Singles from Coldplay, Foo Fighters, Drake and more

After the second week of December, the new music releases have really gone just plain boring. At least there were some exciting new singles being released last week that I could share with my readers.

Madonna’s Super Bowl set list

This one was fun to write. Madonna released the set list of songs she’ll be performing at this year’s Super Bowl. Click the link above to check it out.

The Latest Buzz on Madonna’s new album

This one is hot off the presses, with the latest exciting news that Madonna fans are hankering for. The new Madonna album is gonna be epic! I can feel it!

As for Yahoo Voices, there hasn’t been anything new on there since the last Writing Wednesday, though I just submitted the first of several music retrospectives I have planned to publish on the site. Boy, do I miss being a featured music contributor!

Well that’s all for now. Heading out to see if I can catch some clearance sales on Christmas ornaments to replace the many I lost last week. Wish me luck! I’m also going to be heading out to the clubs finally, starting with tonight at Circus. It’s my bud Ozzie’s birthday celebration and I’m looking forward to checking out the festivities, and then tomorrow night is Splash Thursdays, something I look forward to whenever I’m off on a Friday. Can’t wait! Have an awesome day everyone!

Image Source: The Year 2012

Song of the Day - E.T. - Katy Perry, ft. Kanye West

You're so hypnotizing
Could you be the devil?
Could you be an angel?

I'm currently working on some pieces about the best of the best in music 2011 and I came across this very successful song from Ms. Perry. I'm not sure if I've ever featured it before, but since I can't seem to get it out of my head these past 24 hours I figured I'd share it today. It's so hypno, hypno, hypnotizing...Enjoy!

Kiss me, kiss me
Infect me with your love and
Fill me with your poison

E.T. (feat. Kanye West) - Single - Katy Perry

Image Source: thehollywoodstory

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Song of the Day Special - Titanium - David Guetta feat. Sia / MJB

"Titanium" is by far one of the best tunes on David Guetta's latest, "Nothing But the Beat," and it's finally begun to take off. I featured it as a "Song of the Day" a few weeks back, but now there is a video for the song that you can see below. Neither Guetta or Sia, who I'm starting to learn is uber talented, appear in the short, which I don't quite get. All I can say is interesting and anyway the song is great.

Please take a listen below for another version of the song that was recorded ahead of the album's release, but left out in favor of Sia's version. The vocals are by none other than Mary J Blige, and it's pretty interesting to hear how she sounds singing it. Guetta gave her voice a metallic sound which is very different than anything she's ever done. When I had heard Mary had done a version of the song I was hoping that it would be that one that would make the final cut, but I really didn't know Sia back then. In retrospect, Guetta made the right choice!

Titanium (feat. Sia) - Nothing But the Beat (Deluxe Version)

Here's Mary's version:

Image Sources:



Monday, December 26, 2011

Song of the Day - So What - P!nk

I guess I just lost my husband
I don't know where he went
So I'm gonna drink my money
I'm not gonna pay his rent

Okay, so the big show is over and it's time to get back to regular music. It's been a long time since new mommy P!nk put out anything new and I'll be looking forward to whenever it is she gets back into the studio, but at least we've still got some great stuff of hers to listen to when the mood strikes. This one was the #1 lead single off of her "Funhouse" album and it's always fun!

So What - Funhouse (Deluxe Version)

Image Source: videokeman

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Song of the Day - Merry Christmas Baby - Chuck Berry

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Saturday, December 24th - Christmas "have to's"; Date Minding; A Flash Mob Christmas

Christmas vacation is finally here. Three cheers for sleeping late, relaxing and having a little bit of fun without the stress of work! I have been forcibly removed, ha ha, from writing because of this holiday season and this week I will finally get the chance to get back on track and I am looking forward to it.

Why I Hate Christmas Redux

I’ve been reminded these past few days of why I hate Christmas. It’s related to the notion of something I dislike in everyday life and that’s the phrase “have to.” I like doing things because I want to, not because I have to and Christmas is full of “have to’s.” Specific “have to’s” are different for everybody, but many of them are the same when it comes to Christmas, like shopping (and spending money!), writing out cards, cooking, wrapping, decorating, cleaning…the list goes on and on.

The “have to’s” this year, thanks to one or two mishaps and life in general getting in the way, have actually kept me from my pc completely for two days this week, which is a rarity for me even one time. As a result, my writing has gone by the wayside and I haven’t even been able to keep up even my “Writing Wednesday” for two weeks now, even though I thought I’d be able to do it.

I’ve been running around like a chicken without a head seemingly every day for the past two weeks, pulling in late nights and long days out of the house, spending all of my money like a drunken sailor, and for what? Jesus’ birthday!

Now don’t get me wrong, Christmas can and should be a special time of the year, and even though I am not a devout believer in anything when it comes to religion, I can’t help but wonder how many people actually think of Jesus when they’re running around like crazy people catching the latest sales, arguing with fellow crazies on the crowded roads or in mall parking lots, and such. To me it’s commercialism and hypocrisy at their worst during this festive season, and that’s the part of Christmas that I hate so much.

Believe me, I’m no Scrooge. Christmas is a wonderful time of year, really, it’s just that it’s become too many “have to’s” for me, which suck the spirit right outta me every year, and now that the hardest of the “have to’s” are behind me, I can relax a bit and enjoy it. So, here’s hoping that each of you reading this take the time and truly enjoy giving and receiving gifts, spending time with family and friends, and enjoying Christmas for what it should be, no matter what you believe.

This week, my Christmas tree crashed to the ground for the second time, breaking a lot of ornaments in the process! It was one of the 'mishaps' that dragged me a bit this week. Thankfully, this new attitude of mine has helped me keep it all in stride and the day after Christmas I'm going to goo shopping for all new ornaments for next year...

Date Minding

I’m the kind of person who keeps mind of dates. Dates are ways of remembering things past, whether they are birthdays, holidays or events. Whenever dates come to mind, I almost always take time to note whatever it is that might’ve occurred that day, and reflect on it in my own way. I dunno, that’s just me! There have been a couple of dates that have been brought into my mind this week, and though I haven’t had the opportunity to post about them when they happened, I’d like to do so now:

Happy Birthday Mom!

Thursday, December 22nd was my mother’s 69th birthday. I’ve recently expressed my appreciation for my mom during one of my “Giving Thanks” posts, and her birthday celebration, to me, showed that all six of her children love her and appreciate her very much, even though she occasionally questions the notion. Mom is a sweet, loving, and caring person and I hope that she enjoyed her birthday as much as we did. Happy Birthday mom!

Happy 100th Nana!

Another person who I’ve written about recently is my nana. Mary Picarelli (Randazzo) was born on December 23rd, 1911 to Italian immigrants Francesco and Annina Picarelli. She lived a relatively long and happy life, considering her circumstances, being very sickly for much of it with a whole host of ailments and complications. She passed away in June 1994 at the age of 82, and she’s been missed every day since then.

Nana and Grandpa

Nana was married to my grandfather, Joe Randazzo, just shy of 60 years when she took her last breath. During her life she bore three children, Robert, Joan (my mom!), and Linda, who passed away at six months, and she had nine grandchildren in all. Yesterday would have been her 100th birthday and I made note of it on Facebook with a simple birthday message to her. My two youngest siblings were relatively young when she passed, but my other three were old enough to caryry some of the same happy memories of nana as I do, and the two that are also on FB made mention of the occasion as well, showing you what kind of impact she made on each of us.

Once again, I am truly blessed to have had such a wonderful and marvelous person as Mary Randazzo for a grandmother. She was one of a kind and she will always, always, be missed! Happy 100th Birthday Nana! I love you! (And I hope that they all threw you a great big party last night up there!)

A Not So Happy Memory

Finally there is one last date I want to make note of and that is December 24th,
2010, one year ago today. As the days have slowly passed towards Christmas, I can’t help but think back to a year ago when things were so complicated and a little crazy in my life. In the wee hours of Christmas Eve morning, as I was driving home from a night of clubbing in the city, I received the breakup message from him.

That was the beginning of a long, downward spiral that took me months to recover from, and my purpose here is not to rehash all of those terrible memories, but to note that I am so happy that that is behind me and I am once again in a good place in my mind. I spent last Christmas Eve alone in my house, sleeping the night away in my heartbreak. It was the first and only time I’d ever spent the holiday alone.

Tonight I look forward to Christmas Eve with my family, and I’m going to enjoy every moment of it and celebrate life for what it is, today and for the days, weeks, months and years to come. It's great to be in a good place again! Merry Christmas everybody!

A Mariah “Flash Mob”

I’m going to end this post with a video posting by an old friend of mine, Lisa. She and I used to work together at State Bank once upon a time and we’ve remained in good contact through Facebook ever since. Lisa was always a fun person to be around…I remember practicing my Italian with her all the time to escape the boredom and monotony at work. “Chi parla?” she used to ask me all the time, and I’m sorry to say that’s one thing I miss about being around her live and in person: I don’t get to practice my Italian as much anymore.

Anyway, this morning Lisa responded to my “Song of the Day” post by saying that my choice, Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas,” was one of her favorite Christmas songs (mine, too!), and that just last night she and her family and friends did a “flash mob” to the song at their Christmas party. “What’s a flash mob?”, you may be wondering. Well, judging from the video here, I can say it’s just an impromptu celebration of a happy song. The video made me smile and I hope it gives you some pleasure, as well. Enjoy and Buon Natale!

Song of the Day - All I Want for Christmas - Mariah Carey

I've been saving this one for the end. Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas" is THE modern, classic Christmas song. It's happy and it's fun, and it's already been covered about a million times, but of course nothing is as good as the original! Happy Christmas everyone!

All I Want for Christmas Is You (Original Version) - Merry Christmas

Image Source: nextnewmusic

Friday, December 23, 2011

Song of the Day - Soar - Christina Aguilera

Happy Friday! I'm going to take a break from Christmas songs today with this awesome tune from Ms. Christina Aguilera. It's from her now classic album, "Stripped" and it's one of those songs of inspiration and hope that I love so much. Check it out:

Stripped - Christina Aguilera


When they push, when they pull
Tell me can you hold on
When they say you should change
Can you lift your head high and stay strong

Will you give up, give in
When your heart's crying out "that is wrong"
Will you love you for you at the end of it all

Now in life there's gonna be times
When you're feeling low
And in your mind insecurity seems to take control
We start to look outside ourselves
For acceptance and approval
We keep forgetting that the one thing we should know is

Don't be scared
To fly alone
Find a path that is your own
Love will open every door

See in your hands the world is yours
Don't hold back and always know
All the answers you will unfold
What are you waiting for
Spread your wings and soar

The boy who wonders, is he good enough for them
Keep trying to please them all
But he just never seems to fit in
Then there's the girl who thinks she'll never ever be
Good enough for him
He's trying to change and
That's a game she'll never win

In life there will be times when you're feeling low
And in your mind insecurity seems to take control
We start to look outside ourselves
For acceptance and approval
We keep forgetting that one thing we should know is

Don't be scared
To fly alone
Find a path that is your own
Love will open every door

See in your hands the world is yours
Don't hold back and always know
All the answers they will unfold
What are you waiting for
Spread your wings and soar

In the mirror is where she comes
Face to face with her fears
Her own reflection now foreign to her
After all these years
All of her life she has tried to be
Something besides herself
Now time has passed and she's ended up
someone else with regret

What is it is that makes us feel the need
To keep pretending
Gotta let ourselves be

Don't be scared
To fly alone
Find a path that is your own
Love will open every door

See in your hands the world is yours
Don't hold back and always know
All the answers you will unfold
Don't wait no more
Spread your wings and soar

Find your road
Love will open every door
See in your hands the world is yours
Don't look back in the window, you'll find your way
Always know all the answers will unfold

Oh don't wait
Spread your wings and soar
Don't wait no more
You've got to soar
Spread your wings and soar
Don't wait no more
No don't you wait no more
Spread your wings and soar
You've can soar

So what you waiting for
Don't wait, Don't wait

Image Source: beepworld

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Christmas Song of the Day - Santa Baby - Madonna

Today's featured song is Madonna's only Christmas tune and it's done in that "cutesy" way that she used to do in her "True Blue/Who's That Girl?" period. I'm not sure how much I love it, but it's been in my head for at least a few days now and well, it's Madonna!

Santa Baby - A Very Special Christmas, Vol. 1

Image Source: madonnaradio

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Christmas Song of the Day - Happy Xmas (War Is Over) - John Lennon

Here's a special Christmas song from one of the greatest songwriters to ever grace us with his talents. Since the War in Iraq officially came to an end recently, I think it's a very appropriate song for this Christmas...and a powerful video, too! Afghanistan next!

Happy Xmas (War Is Over) - Power to the People - The Hits (Remastered)

Image Source: overthinkingit

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Christmas Song of the Day - Last Christmas - Wham!

I've been thinking a lot about good, original Christmas songs that are more from the modern era than the classic ones we've all been hearing for years ands years, and this one definitely counts as one of them. Though I've never been a really big fan of George Michael or Wham, I gotta admit that this one usually gets me singing along whenever I hear it on the radio or in a store.

Also, the song's been sticking in my head ever since I heard it the other day, because it was last Christmas that the very same thing happened to me. What a difference a year makes!

On a side note, watching this very 80's video kind of makes me wonder why no one knew George Michael was gay back then. I think the video speaks volumes, lol.

Last Christmas - Music from the Edge of Heaven

Image Source: jeffisageek

Monday, December 19, 2011

Song of the Day - I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho) - Pitbull

Today's song is dedicated to my friend Manny, who just LOVES him some Pitbull, hehe. Since his newest isn't out yet on video and I've already shared his most recent stuff, I figured I'd go back to the first one that turned me on to the hot rapper. Enjoy and Happy Monday!

I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho) [More English Extended Mix] - I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho) - EP

Image Source: worldmusic

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Christmas Song of the Day - Christmas Wrapping - The Waitresses

Today's song is one of my all time favorite Christmas songs, which I mentioned I'd be posting in last week's Song of the Day post of "I Know What Boys Like" by the same group. I don't know anyone who doesn't like this new wave take on the most celebrated of holidays. It's fast, it's fun and it's cool! Enjoy!

Christmas Wrapping - NO HO HO - Alternative Christmas Holiday Anthems

Image Source: celebrity smack

Saturday, December 17, 2011

December 17th, 2011 - How Civilized!

Well it’s Saturday morning and I survived, not that I thought I wouldn’t, but still I’m glad it’s finally behind me. You see, last night had been a long time coming, almost three years in the making, and in the weeks, days and hours leading up to it, I thought the butterflies had gotten the best of me. In the end, though, I learned a lot about my life from the experience and though I hit a little bump in my road yesterday, I can now get right back on that wave and keep moving forward with my head held high knowing I’ve still got a whole world to conquer.

My Christmas tree before the crash

A Bad Start to the Day

The day did not begin well for me yesterday and I was hoping that what happened wasn’t going to be a bad omen of things to come. I awoke to my alarm clocks blaring and my kitty Dylan nudging me to take notice, not an unusual circumstance. I went downstairs to feed the cats and to turn on the coffee maker and when I reached the bottom I noticed a huge shadow on the floor in my living room. I walked over towards in and was jolted awake by the realization that it was my Christmas tree lying across the floor.

Oh it was a huge mess, glass shards and hooks all over the place, unbroken ornaments had rolled into the dining room and hallway, and the skirt beneath the tree was soaking wet, along with the floor. I rushed feverishly to get the tree back up and secure and to clean the huge, huge mess that it had caused. In all, I lost between 30 and 50 ornaments, some of which can never be replaced.

After checking that the tree was secure in its place in the stand I began to wonder how it happened, but not for long. As I had been cleaning up I noticed that Diego had followed me down to be fed, but not Dylan. He had stayed upstairs, which is very odd and very telling. I’d heard about cats doing such things, but I never experienced it before. Joe and I had Spike for 17 years and I’ve had Dylan and Diego for almost 4 and this never happened before. Of course I couldn’t be angry with him, though. He’s just an animal and doesn’t know any better. So now I have to get new ornaments….

How Civilized!

The morning’s events were upsetting, and not a great way to begin this dreaded day that I’d been anticipating for weeks. But I’ve been on a really good high lately, and I knew that how I reacted to it could just bring that high I’ve been riding crashing down and spin myself into a new low, which I did not want to happen. I understand that attitude is everything in life, and how you react to things usually dictates how your days will go. For the first time possibly ever, I decided not to let the Christmas tree get to me or allow it to carry over into making the evening a bad one. I thought of the words of Mary J. Blige:

“It’s up to us to choose whether we win or lose, and I choose to win!”

That’s not to say that the day was easy, far from it. On my way to work a song came on the radio that made me think of Joe and I began to think of him and a long lost past, some of which came crashing down with the tree. I cried, but only for a moment, and quickly eradicated those thoughts from my head.

The rest of the day was very busy, and I had little time to think about the impending encounter with my ex Joe and his new partner, Brian, but towards the end of the day the butterflies began to flutter in the pit of my stomach and stayed there until the time my buddy Rich came by to accompany me to the party across the street.

As we approached the house, the anticipation was a little unnerving, especially after my friends Margaret and Monica rushed over to me at the front door to ask me if I was alright. They told me how good I looked, which I know was their way of giving me a little boost before going into the kitchen to meet them and I appreciated it, but it didn’t help. I took off my coat and walked straight into the kitchen.

There they were, standing next to one another at the far side of the room. I didn’t wait for Rich to come along and I walked right on over to them. “Hey,” I said to Joe, giving him a hug and a peck on the cheek. Then I turned to Brian. “Hey, I’m John, nice to finally meet you.” We shook hands and like that the introductions were over and done with.

The remainder of the night was a couple of hours filled with mixed emotions. My friends all kept an eye on me throughout to make sure I was doing alright. At one point, while I was standing there making small talk with the two of them, Joe had gone off to make a drink and left us standing there in awkward silence. Margaret was on it, darting across the room to get my attention and relieve the uncomfortable moment. Whew!

I made my rounds through the party, chatting with several of the other guests, but every once in awhile I just had the urge to get out of there. I persevered, though, and before long it was time to make my exit around 11, but just before that I had ann experience that told the tale of my night and my life.

One of the fun things about Terry’s Christmas parties is her grab-bag raffle. Upon entering, everyone is given a few raffle tickets and the numbers are called out throughout the fiesta, with the winners getting to grab a surprise gift from beneath the Christmas tree. I was outside smoking a cigarette with Joe and Rich when my number was called. Margaret’s boyfriend Serge came outside to tell us the winning number and after rrealizing I had the winning ticket, I went inside to claim my prize.

When I went in, Brian had been sitting on the couch near the tree talking to two of Terry’s friends, “Trey and Bunny” (a whole story unto themselves!), and I grabbed their attention as I chose my prize, a coffee mug and Christmas ornament (one less I have to buy, lol). I sat down across from Brian and joined in their conversation.

“Hey John,” Bunny said to me, “when are you going to find a boyfriend. I mean, you’re so good looking and you have a nice job and you’re such a good guy…” I could’ve crawled under a rock!

“You know, I’m kind of happy the way things are,” I answered, and I meant it. “When the right person comes along, they will come along and I’ll just know it” (I do believe that!). The conversation moved along and as we all talked jovially for a bit. Even Brian and I shared some nice conversation. "This is so civilized," I thought to myself as he and I spoke.

During those moments I thought to myself, yeah, I am pretty cool with my life. I’ve got a lot of people who care about me and that I care for, and I have a lot of freedom that affords me endless possibilities for my future, wherever it may lead. Things are as they should be. What a revelation!

By now it was time to depart. I shook Brian’s hand and gave him a little hug. “It was nice to finally meet you,” I told him. He agreed and said he looked forward to maybe seeing me again one day. “Yeah,” I thought. "That would be cool." I made my rounds saying goodbye to everyone, leaving Joe for last.

“Are you okay?” he asked giving me a hug.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” I told him, and it was the truth. “I am really good!” The hump that I needed to get over was done with and I'm happy. It's good to go through life in a civilized manner, with no unnecessary drama, isn't it?

*I want to thank the many friends who have called and sent me encouraging messages both before and after the party. I appreciate all of your caring and I want you all to know that it makes me feel really blessed to know that you all care about me. I got over a big hurdle last night and I want you all too know that I am just fine!

Song of the Day - You've Got the Love - Florence + The Machine

This is another favorite song from Florence + the Machine. Like the other two I've featured, "Shake It Out" and "Dog Days Are Over," this one's got that uplifting sound that just makes you wanna sing along and feel good! Enjoy and Happy Saturday!

You've Got the Love - Lungs (Deluxe Edition)

Image Source: freak deluxe

Friday, December 16, 2011

A not so Christmas Christmas Song of the Day - Peace Train - Dolly Parton; 10,000 Maniacs; Cat Stevens

Though this is not a traditional Christmas song, I think it fits the season well. The song has enjoyed many, many covers for its beautiful lyrics and catchy sounds, and there are actually three versions that have all piqued my interest at different times in my life.

The first one here is the most recent one, by none other than the beautiful Ms. Dolly Parton. I've actually got a dance mix of this song which works surprisingly well, though I chose to share this moving version because it is a live performance done beautifully with African musical group Ladysmith Black Mambazo lending a hand for a CBS special of her "Hidden Treasures" concert back in 1996.

The next version is the first one that I heard that made me love it. It's from sweet-sounding Natalie Merchant and 10,000 Maniacs from their heyday in the 90's. It's still my favorite version of the tune. Check it out:

Finally, here's the original version by folk singer/songwriter Cat Stevens. It was originally one of those songs meant as a voice for peace in a time of war, and though those days are long gone, its message of peace rings true today and forevermore. Peace to you and a very, Merry Christmas!

Peace Train - Cat Stevens: Greatest Hits

Image Source: peacetrain/pbworks