Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Happy Times

Hello, everyone. I’m sorry it has been so long since I’ve last blogged. I’ve had lots going on lately, all good, that has been occupying most of my time. Here’s a brief synopsis of events since my last post.

Band Together .. I’m on the board as secretary this year, so I’ve been more involved in the management side of the group. It has been interesting learning all the caveats of a not-for-profit organization. Our 9th Anniversary concert was this past Saturday. My solo went very well, and so did the entire concert. We had members from Chicago’s Lakeside Pride Clarinet Choir , the group Harmonix from St. Louis’ Gateway Men’s Chorus and last but not least Mr. Midwest Leather (Wes Kassulke - piano soloist) join us as guest performers. The audience was well over 700 and judging by the standing ovation at the end I am sure they enjoyed it.

Working out.. It really hasn’t been working for me lately. I was going with my roommate but his shifts have been so inconsistent at work and we both caught colds, so we got out of the groove. I have a year’s membership and hope to get back to it soon.

Dating.. This Friday marks 6 weeks that I’ve been with R. We discovered each other online but decided to meet because he works with my roommate’s boyfriend. Once we realized that we had that connection and he actually knew of me from K, we met for a beer and the rest is history. We have so much in common, and I feel very lucky that he is a growing part of my life. It’s about time!!

Work.. I’ve been very busy implementing a Call Center here at work. We dropped our first catalog to the public last month and have created a call center to handle the load of calls for orders and customer service. It required tons of thought and learning to configure the routing and reporting. I had my first review here on Tuesday and I couldn’t be happier with the results. A FAT bonus and a big raise. The review process here is so much easier than my old company. I didn’t have to do anything for it, and it only took 5 minutes to receive it. Yay for that!

Vacation(s).. I have several planned in the coming months. I took Friday off last week to attend the St. Patty’s Day Parade in Dogtown. T and I are headed to Memphis the first weekend of May for Memphis in May, otherwise known as the Beale St. Music Festival. Then R and I are going to Vegas the middle of May for a little R, G & R. (rest, gambling and recreation) :-) I still have 2 days left to plan before June 30th. Any suggestions anyone?

It’s time for me to go back to work, I’ll try to be better about updating the blog more often. My friend Eric is coming in town this weekend so I’ll try to take some pictures and update after that! Take care and Happy Spring!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

All's calm..

I'd be posting more often, but honestly its February in the 'Lou and there just isn't much going on to report! My Uncle's came into town and stayed with my Mom for a few days and we accomplished a lot of 'honey-do' list projects. The most significant being the basement bathroom which has been out of commission for 5 years! It's now all remodeled and functional again, a task that I am very glad is complete.

Band Together's 9th Annual Anniversary Concert is Saturday March 18th @ 8pm. I will be playing the 1st movement of Concerto #1 for Horn by Richard Strauss. The concert should be a good one, and my solo debut, so mark your calendars!

I have been going to the gym pretty regularly, and after taking a week off to let my sore shoulder recover, I'm back on track and its getting to be a routine. At first I was worried that the muscle people there would look down on a one handed guy working out, but surprisingly I've had some support and suggestions. Last week I met with a trainer and was floored by the amount of money they want me to pay so that they can give me a pre-planned diet and work with me for 6 hours. I'll be working out on my own for a while, so far I'm seeing results.

Fletch and I are on our own for a few days as my roommate is vacationing in Miami. Hope he has a good time ;-)

Monday, January 30, 2006

Some things never change.

Last night on my way home from bowling I decided to stop at Clem's for a beer. As expected I ran into some of the guys from bowling and had a pretty good time. While there, this guy whom I'll call R walks up and appears to be interested in the friend I'm talking to, and so therefore starts a conversation with me. No big deal, he seems harmless. After a while, he asks me what happened to my arm. I give the typical "I was born this way, don't miss what I never had" answer. He mulls that over for a second, then looks me square in the eyes and says "You mean you grew up this way and still chose to be gay?" I think my jaw dropped and I repeated his statement for the 8 of us standing there in the group so they could all hear what he said. I replied with the fact that I did not 'choose' to be gay any more than I 'chose' to not have a right hand. This exact statement is why I choose not to go out that much in STL. It sure would be nice to live in a city that isn't so chock full of shallow, hateful people. I'm really not that different than any other gay guy out there. I like the same things. It was an awkward moment and he spent the rest of the night trying to tell me he didn't mean it that way. Doesn't matter, it still got under my skin. I appreciated him asking me what happened rather than assuming anything, but his statement was over the top. Am I overreacting? Feedback please.

In other news, I joined Gold's Gym last week and have been several times. I have a long way to go but I'm looking forward to seeing the results in a couple months.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

January Blahs

I read somewhere that January 23rd is the most depressing day of the year. Maybe its true, but maybe it isn't but I've definitely been feeling blah lately. It's been a while since I've posted again, mostly because I can't seem to get in the blogging groove. Oh well. I've been to a couple movies in the last week. Rumor Has It was very cute and made me laugh, out loud, a LOT. Friday night I was supposed to have a date but he got involved with a friend's taxes and didn't call. Later that night my roommate took me to see Underworld: Evolution. He was all into it, but I would strongly suggest watching the first movie because I was lost for quite a while. It was fun though, because T wouldn't tell me where we were going or doing and even went a long way driving to the theater to throw me off. I love original stunts like that, definitely made my night.

I did manage to get new dishes over the weekend! I've been wanting Fiestaware for a long time and had been growing tired of having a mix of IKEA stuff and other hammy-downs we were using. FB had 40% off this weekend, score! I didn't think about how much buying all of that would mean multiple trips to the truck with all the bags though.. hehe.

My friend Eric and his bf David are supposed to come down from Rockford this weekend. I'm excited to have him visit again. The St. Louis Auto Show is this weekend so we'll probably go there and I want to take him to the City Museum. It's an adult jungle gym and is so so so much fun to explore. And I guess I'll take a break from my bar hiatus and hit a few for them.

Last night T and I looked at a few gyms. We both want to start working out, but there isn't anything that is convenient for us location-wise which sucks. We have 3 more to check out and then seal the deal!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

2005: Who Moved My Cheese?

So I've been thinking about this post for quite a while and haven't been able to get started. 2005 was definitely a year of change for me and those closest to me.

January 2005 - Mom is hospitalized for chest pains and is ultimately diagnosed with acute asthma and COPD(sp?). She is doing well with it, but is now required to have breathing treatments and inhalers. Love you Mom. Our family dog, Winston was diagnosed with Lymphosarcoma in November 2004 and was undergoing chemotherapy.

February 2005 - An announcement came out that my employer, MAY, was going to be acquired by Federated Department Stores. I started with them on November 16th, 1992 when I was 17 and a senior in high school. I worked my way through college by standing in the young men's/sportswear departments on most evenings and weekends. One summer I went to a temporary agency to get some easy money and ironically was placed at May Merchandising. After the summer was over they wanted me to stay, so I switched to night school and transferred to corporate. The rest is history. The buyout was a big blow to me and my financial security. I had been looking at houses with a realtor, and planning to buy a home. Not anymore.

March 2005 - After the news of the buyout my roommate took over the house hunt and put money down on a cute yet smallish house not too far from where we are living. After some thought, I decide to move with him and we start making plans for the new place. Winston's hanging in there but the chemo isn't helping much anymore. The tumors aren't going down like they initially did. I have lunch with a friend of my director that may be hiring in a few months.

April 2005 - T closed on the house and we started a month long process of removing carpet and installing hardwood floors on the main level. We went from 2700 sq. ft. to just over 1100 sq. ft. so I had a lot of consolidating and goodwilling to do.

May 2005 - Winston passed away on May 15th, 2005. He was a great little dog who had more personality than half the people I work with. RIP. I get a call to meet with the EVP from the company I interviewed with in March. It goes well, and the next day I get a job offer. I took it. Taking the offer I gave up 32 weeks severance, but I gained stability, more money, less stress, and did I mention financial security.

June 2005 - New job started. Was very hard to leave my friends. We are finished with the remodelling and can start settling in at the house.

July 2005 - Mom finds an Australian Shepard on Petfinder who recently lost her owner from cancer and needed a home. Due to the odd connection of cancer and needed companionship, we drove the three hours to meet her. Mom brought her home and she is turning out to be a very sweet, but very dominant little girl :)

August 2005 - I am working in the backyard at Mom's and twisted my ankle shoveling mud out of a trailer. The next day I cannot put any weight on it. I tore the talio-fibular ligament and spent the next 7 weeks in various forms of walking casts.

September 2005 - My brother is filling in for me at Mom's cutting the grass since I'm in a cast and our lawnmower dies. It was 2 years old and a Honda, so that shouldn't have happened. Turns out I was checking the oil incorrectly and the engine burnt up. That was an $800 mistake. I spent a great weekend at Lake Geneva, WI decompressing.

October 2005 - I turned 30. It wasn't as big of a deal as I'd anticipated. Given where I was at 25 financially and emotionally, I am a much stronger and more independent person now. I bought myself a new truck as my present to myself.

November and December 2005 - These months always fly by! We did manage to get all the decorations up early this year and that resulted in a much more relaxed holiday!

So much change, so little time! I like to think I took it all in stride, but wow it sure meant I had some sleepless nights and headaches! Here's to a happy, healthy 2006!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Goodbye 2005

I've been a busy boy the last few days! Last night I uploaded tons of pictures from Christmas and other events this season. Would you believe that I've taken nearly 500 pictures since October? Anyway.

I took Friday off to move my childhood twin bed *small sniff* from my Mom's to my brothers extra bedroom in Champaign. It was a race against the rain since the mattress wouldnt fit totally under my cover but we made it. Not an hour after arriving though, the biggest snowflakes I've ever seen started falling. We went to dinner and then came home, started his first fire in the fireplace. Later, some of his friends came over and we played Texas Hold'em until 2am. Good times.

Saturday morning we drove back and I started getting ready for our party. My roommate did all the cleaning which was nice since I was out of town but I was responsible for the food. We had about a dozen people over. Good friends, good food and good liquor made for a nice New Year's. Definitely better than last year when we all went separate directions and didn't have as much fun. It was fun to hear everyone's cells blowing up as friends called at 11 for the east coasters, then again at midnight etc. My friend Michael called Marty and we wished him a Happy New Year. It was cool to talk to him, even if it was brief! Everyone left around 4am after a couple movies. Here's some pics:

Cute :p
Fletch and Me
Becca & Michael
Laugh Much?

Look for a year-in-review post coming soon!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Gotta Love Bob

Every day I read STLToday, the online version of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. One of the columns I read is Suburban Fringe whose author is a 30 something, straight, married male with a couple kids and a very unique way of presenting life's challenges. This weeks column compares Brokeback Mountain and King Kong, as viewed on consecutive nights. Read it for yourself, I really enjoyed it :)

Memory Lane

Last night after work I was expecting to make dinner with Mom and Dave at my house since I have HD and am trying to talk Mom into buying herself a new tv. They were too sleepy and I wasn't in the mood to head over there. I'd heard that some friends from my old job that have moved away were in town so I decided to make an appearance at LZ for Showtune Tuesday. The place was out of control packed so I didn't stay long, but I must have run into 25 people that I hadn't seen in forever. I made a quick stop at Freddie's on the way home and it was busy, but at least I was able to get a drink without waiting 15 mins! My friend Geof who is moving to Athens, Greece in April was there with his husband and friends. It was nice to see them before they go as he lives in DC now and was just home for a visit. Made a big breakfast dinner with the roommate after all that and crashed.

Not sure what tonight brings, but work is slow again today, ugh!