Could You Use It in a Sentence Please

I left work later than I planned yesterday, but it was for a good cause.  If I hadn’t stayed late to finish my blog post you fine people would not have read my latest ramblings about work and life and future plans and such.  I went home and pushed myself to do my Wii Fit workout even though it was nearly 7:00 and I knew it would mean not eating dinner until 9:00 or 9:30.

I did my 59 minutes of Wii Fit exercise which took an hour and 46 minutes to accomplish (a definite flaw in the Wii Fit design) and then adjourned to the bathroom to take a shower.  Afterward, I went into the kitchen to cook dinner and when it was nearly done I stopped by the television and turned it on to get it ready for my viewing pleasure.

I was a little surprised to see on my screen the Scripps National Spelling Bee Finals.  It was near the end of the 10th round and a young lady by the name of Kavya Shivashankar was standing at the microphone.  I was surprised for a moment to see this being broadcast on ABC on a Thursday night.  “Who would watch this?” I thought for a moment and then I remembered that the television season is essentially over and the networks have shied away from airing reruns of television shows that people actually like watching in favor of finding new content… Apparently ANY new content.  And then the word was given.   “Please spell huisache,” the announcer said.

Huisache!  What kind of word is huisache!?!  I thought, OK, I’ll leave this on while I finish cooking dinner.  I returned to the living room with my food just in time to see Tim Ruiter begin to spell cretonne.  As I settled into my recliner,  with my tray and my plate of Salmon and broccoli, I reflected on my own single Spelling Bee experience:

I was in the second grade when it was announced that Old Dead Former Superintendent Elementary School in Cincinnati, Ohio would be conducting a Spelling Bee.  I thought this would be pretty exciting.  I was a pretty good speller so this should be a walk in the park.

They took us out of our regular classes and brought us into the cafeteria where they had one hundred twenty chairs in five rows set up in a half circle facing the podium and the microphone where the announcer would be.    Behind the chairs sat the cafeteria tables set up in rows.  Whenever someone misspelled a word and was therefore disqualified from the competition, they would go to the cafeteria tables and wait till the spelling bee was over.

They had us seated in alphabetical order by last name, so I sat for a long time, waiting for my turn to spell.  One by one the students would go up to the front to the second microphone, the announcer would give them their word and they’d spell.  Word after word, I listened as the announcer listed what I considered a simple word.  Word after word I listened as the students spelled the word and more often than not in that first round, they misspelled the word and went to sit at the tables and wait.  Word after word, I laughed silently, because this was going to be so easy and they were dropping like flies.

Finally it was my turn and I walked up to the microphone with a smile on my face.  This was going to be like candy from a baby.  I stopped in front of the microphone and looked up at the little old lady who on most days was the librarian, but today was the oh so official word caller outer.  I looked up at her and she looked down at me.  I watched as she picked up the card with my word on it.  I took a deep breath as she reviewed the card.  And then with her southern drawl she slowly and elongatedly said, “Ccccoooolllleeeehhhh Ssssllllaaaawwww”.

Wow!  Such an easy word and I know exactly what that is.  Although, I thought that was two words.  They can use two word words in this contest?  Weird.  I’m gonna milk this for all it’s worth.  “Could you give me the definition?”  The little old southern librarian word caller outer lady described for me a mixture of cabbage and carrots with a mayonnaise dressing, most frequently served at picnics.  I knew that.  I just wanted to make her go through the motions.  “Could you please use it in a sentence?”

“When the assignments were made for what to bring to the picnic, Sally volunteered to bring the Ccccoooolllleeeehhhh Ssssllllaaaawwww.”

I paused for a moment for dramatic effect.  I was going to make the most of this moment.  “Could you repeat the word?” I asked.

“Ccccoooolllleeeehhhh Ssssllllaaaawwww” She said.

Finally, I was ready to spell my ridiculously easy word.  I pronounced the word for her and began to spell, “C-O-L-D S-L-A-W.  Cold Slaw.”

“I’m sorry that is not correct,” she told me.  “The correct spelling is C-O-L-E S-L-A-W.”

You see, this may not come across clearly in the written story, but with her southern inflection and what I perceived to be emphasis on the final sound of the first word, whereas I had gone into the round with the belief that the item was spelled C-O-L-E after listening to her speak the word several times, I was convinced that I had been mistaken and the word was in fact cold and not Cole.

My chin dropped to my chest and I was angry, blaming the little old southern librarian word caller outer lady for causing me to misunderstand the word and lose ON THE FIRST ROUND.  With that, I had to go and sit at the cafeteria tables, with all the rest of the losers, literal and figurative, and wait.  The rest of the kids seemed to be better spellers than I, and I sat and waited for the ordeal to end for what seemed like hours!

I swore I’d never participate in another Spelling Bee, ever and I haven’t.  Of course, I’ve never had an opportunity to participate in another one, but I don’t know that I would have if I had gotten the opportunity.  Ironically, my spelling has gone way down hill since then, spell check is my friend… And I’m not terribly fond of Cole Slaw either.

I quickly turned off the Scripps National Spelling Bee and instead watched The Gayest Episode of the Tonight Show ever!

When You Make The Choice To Believe In Your Existence

I love music.  I always have.  One of my great regrets in life is that I never learned to read sheet music and play an instrument.  When I was young I was in choir in school and I loved it.  The tragic irony in that is that right up to the moment my balls dropped and I began to go through puberty I sang Alto.  I was the only boy in the choir (and in the mass choir at state competitions) to sing Alto while all the other boys sang tenor.

When puberty struck I fairly quickly went from singing alto to singing baritone.  After my voice settled into it’s new depth, I found that my range was very limited and while I can sing fairly well in this octave up here, and that octave down there, the one there in the middle is not something I’m good at.  And naturally that one in the middle is the one where most songs exist.  I miss being able to sing well enough to allow people to hear me and one of these days I’m going to take some voice lessons and correct this problem.  In the meantime, I sing when I’m in the shower, and when I’m alone in the car.

Yes, I love music and I listen to it constantly.  I listen to music in the car.  I listen to music eight hours a day at work.  I listen to music when I’m cooking dinner or doing housework, and I listen to music while I’m drifting off to sleep at night.  The magic iProducts by Apple are among the greatest inventions of all time.

There are 3258 songs on my iPhone, and nearly 1000 more on my computer hard drive via iTunes.  My tastes are very eclectic and you’ll find anything from modern, contemporary rock to classical music and show tunes in my collection.  I’ve got a library of country music, a plethora of pop, a big batch of motion picture soundtracks and even a smattering of R&B and urban music.  I have occasionally wished that I was one of those people who are moved by and emotional about every single song they ever hear, EVER! I’m not. Most of the time, I like music for its rhythm, its catchiness and its singability.

Every once in a while, though, I am caught by surprise when a song actually catches my attention for more reasons than those.  Sometimes a song actually does speak to me and when it does, I like to pay attention to what it has to say. Today, there is a song that is speaking to me on a soulular level and I’ve been listening to it on an endless loop for a couple hours now.

“When You Find The One”

By. Melissa Etheridge

I was a slick Midwestern gal
On a long hard road into southern cal.
Didn’t find any crime fillin’ up all my time
I had the devil in my bones and an angel on my mind.

And I drank up all the movies and I searched for happy endings.
I turned love inside out till I was perfectly pretending.
Still I believed it could be true.

When you find the one
There’s no question in the silence.
All is said and done when you find the one.
When you find the one.

You could say that I was crazy I was that kinda girl
I had to open up a lot of oysters before I found myself a pearl
I had to kiss a lot of frogs to find my grass was green enough
Had to be face down in the gutter to see what is and isn’t love

Then I woke from all the dreaming to your taste and to your laughter
I cried till I was dry and now I live my ever after
I believed I always knew

When you find the one
There’s no question in the silence
All is said and done when you find the one

And when you make the choice to believe in your existence
With hello you will know when you find the one

I believe it could be true
Yes I believe I always knew
And I believe it could be true
And believe I always knew

When you find the one
There’s no question in the silence
All is said and done when you find the one

And when you make the choice to believe in your existence
With hello you will know when you find the one

With hello you will know

“And when you make the choice to believe in your existence.”  Maybe it’s just me but this seems an incredibly powerful line and not just because I’m gay and still struggle to be OK with it, but because it’s so true for anyone who struggles with anything about which they tend to feel judged.

This song is, of course specifically about finding the love of our life, which I know first hand is very difficult when you can’t even accept the package that love is bound to be wrapped up in.  Not that I wouldn’t like to find the love of my life, but until I fully “make the choice to believe in [my] existence” that’s going to be hard to do.

Anyway, today, at least for a minute, I’m moved by and emotional about this song.  And it’s good.

True Story About A Troll That Lives Under A Bridge

Oh my.  I can not believe it has been a full seven days since I last posted.  I never go that long without a post!

Things have been a little bit crazy (and crazy making) as I’m trying to balance adult responsibility with childlike wishful thinking.  Not to mention, trying to throw a little hope in the mix.

Recently I posted about my plans to study to become a Certified Personal Trainer and the program I was going to embark upon in fairly short order.  Then, more recently I mentioned that I was investigating funding options for education.  For the first time since graduating high school, I have a clear understanding of what I want to do with my life and I understand, at least in broad strokes, what I need to do to get there.

After greater consideration, I determined that the certifying program I found may not be sufficient for my needs.  You see, I do not know much of anything at all about proper strategies and form for exercising and I know very little about proper nutrition and I felt that a handful of short classes may not be enough to ensure my success in this field.  In addition, I do not have a college degree and if I have learned anything in the 16 years since I graduated from High School, it is that having a Bachelor’s Degree in a field that has nothing whatsoever to do with your current profession, is better than not having a Bachelor’s degree at all.  I have concluded that what I really want to do right now is to go back to college and get an actual college degree in Kinesiology, or Exercise Science or something (seems every school calls it something different.)

I’ve come to believe that it will be possible for me to get enough financial aid to be able to attend college full time, and not have to work (or at least not work much).  Previous experience has taught me that I am not equipped to work and go to school, so it is very important that I be able to get enough financial assistance to cover my living expenses.

This is all well and good, but I’ve determined that in order to do this, living where I currently live, I would need roughly $3000 a month to cover my living expenses.  Logically it would seem that the thing to do is find a way to reduce my living expenses and the best way I could think to do that would be to move in with someone who would be willing to support and encourage my endeavor and therefore be willing to bear the burden of the bulk  of the expenses.

I spent six years living with Michelle, my only friend locally with whom I could live and only just regained my independence…  Well, I guess it’s really been nearly two years, but it doesn’t seem like it.  I could cut back on one or two of my utilities (but how would I live without DirecTV?) and I could try to find a cheaper apartment to live in (although would I be able to get cheap enough rent to justify the moving expenses?) but for the most part $3000 a month is the figure and that’s over and above the cost of Tuition.  Here in California the tuition would only be about $4500.

So my next best option is to move in with a family member who is more invested in seeing me succeed at my goal than in having me alleviate their potentially over-taxed pocket book.  Well, this is a swell idea, but the options are very limited!  The only thing less desirable than living with my mother is living in a cardboard box under a bridge somewhere and even that I would have to give some serious thought to.  At least the troll could keep me company and watch my stuff while I’m in class.  I am fond of running water, however, and ultimately, I suppose I’d have to choose living with my mother.

My Dad and his wife are utterly and completely out of the question.  I can’t live with that woman and I’d sooner jump off the bridge, waiving at the troll on the way down of course, than move in with them.

My brother is in no position to help me with this and even if I thought I could handle living with him for four years, I wouldn’t put him in that position.

This leaves me with my Sister and her husband and children.  Honestly, it seems perfect (or as close as I can get to perfect.)  They have a room with its own bathroom that I could use.  They’re amenable to the idea of charging a minimal amount of rent which is really only to cover the additional burden of utility costs and my sister is the only member of my family ever to graduate from college so she’s been through it all before and would be in a position to help me tread through “the system.”  And to top it all off, my sister is a CPA and I am mathematically retarded.  I would hope to be able to test out of having to fulfill some of the math requirements based on my probable (but currently undiagnosed) learning disability, but whatever I do have to take she could help me with if need be.

The major drawback to this plan is none of my family knows I’m gay and though I wish I could comfortably and confidently tell them, I really can’t.  If it looked like I definitely was going to move in with my sister I would tell her the truth, because it’s the best thing for me, but I do not know how she and her husband would react and I don’t know if that would jeopardize the whole situation or not.  IF I move with them I WILL tell them, but I’m not going to tell them if I don’t have to and that is heaping massive amounts of stress on top of an already stressful situation.

I found a school that would be nearly ideal (except for the cost of the tuition, almost $30,000 a year and based on my guestimations, it would be about $4000 cheaper (for tuition and living expenses) if I moved to live with my sister despite the higher tuition costs at this school.)  The drawback is that I really enjoy living in California and my sister lives in New York so it’d be a major change for me.

I filled out the Federal Financial Aid Application (still waiting for results) and was about to begin the application process for the school when, completely on a whim, I clicked on an “about” link.  Lo and behold, this college is a women’s college.  I am not a women.  The college’s “sister” campus, which is co-educational, doesn’t offer the program.  Now, understand me here.  I have spent literally hours pouring over this website, learning about the program and the cost and the financial aid options and at no point during that process did I happen across anything that told me that this was a strictly X chromosome school.  No Y’s allowed.  This is the only school I could find in the immediate area of my sister’s home which offered the program I want, and I’m not allowed in because I have a Y.

I could go on and get bogged down in the details, and I’m sure I will at a later date, but for now I need to move on.

I’m frustrated.  I’ve worked for just over seven years in a job I truly detest.  I hardly work when I’m in my office (hell, I’m here now and I’m writing to you fine people and not doing my work).  I can’t get to work on time and I’m constantly stressed out about it because I just never know when is the day that my boss will morph from Dr. Jekyll who has no concern about my arrival time, to Mr. Hyde who makes mountains out of mole hills.  I do not like my co-workers and I’m at whit’s end with the environment. I must find a way out.

Last week I called my therapist, Deb, to reestablish my appointments.  I stopped seeing her in December because I needed to gain control of my finances and I wanted to get out of debt.  Things had gotten out of control financially and I couldn’t stand to continue the way things were.  I have made major strides in learning to better manage my finances.  I have not however, been able to pay off my credit cards.  I’ve made decent progress, but I still owe $300 – $400 on each of three cards.  I expected to have them paid off by now, and so even though I’m no longer robbing Peter to pay Paul and even though I haven’t bounced a check in months I’m frustrated and afraid I haven’t really learned as much as I thought I had and that is causing me stress.

With everything else that’s going on I felt it was important to get back in to see Deb and get her help in sorting out my feelings about it all.  Initially at least, I’m only going to go every other week while I get reacclimated to the additional expense and try to continue to pay off my credit cards.  Naturally, while I was on “hiatus” she raised her rate and since I pay her out of pocket, this is disturbing to me.  I can handle the increase, but it felt like really bad timing.

Anyway, with all the various things going on in my brain, I’ve been trying to settle some of them out and I haven’t had much time for writing, even my novel has gone untouched for a couple weeks.  I’m running out of time to make anything happen for the fall semester and I’m desperate to make something happen so I can get out of this awful situation I’m in and all the clarity I started out with has become very cloudy and now I’m not so sure what direction to go in next.  It’s making me crazy.


I’m so tired right now; I can’t even begin to convey it to you.  Well, OK.  I suppose technically that was a beginning of trying to convey it to you.  But seriously, I’m so tired it’s not even funny.  I’ve been sitting here at my desk at work for…zzzzzzzzzz Oh sorry.  I’ve been sitting here at my desk for nearly three hours and I must have dozed offfzzzzzz… Uh, I must’ve dozed off thirty times.  For reals, yo!

I have a whole stack of work sitting next to me that needs to be accomplished, and I could honestly occupy myself for at least three days with honest to God work I was honest to God hired to do as opposed to hours on end of Twitter and Blog reading in between zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz-ing, of course. But the work?  It requires my attention, and seriously people, I got none to give.

And it doesn’t make any sense, because honestly?  I get home from work in the evening and I AM WIDE AWAKE.  Really.  I can spend an hour and forty minutes doing an hours worth of Wii Fit exercise (math is my strong suit) and then take a shower, and cook dinner and sit down and watch all kinds of trashy television for a couple hours and won’t be ready to go to sleep until, like midnight or 3:30 in the morning… OK, not really 3:30.  But really I don’t remember the last time I got to bed before midnight.  And I blame my boss, because some how it is all his fault.  I’m not sure how yet, but when I’ve got that worked out I’ll get back to you.

I’ve mentioned before that I have an elderly cat.  Mischa is 17 years old which according to the chart at the vet’s office makes him roughly 86 in cat years.  Eighty-Six, people!  Both of my Grandmother’s were dead by 86.  And at 86 my Grandfather was crapping his pants and handing his car keys to a prison inmate trustee, requesting the inmate to bring his car around to the front gate (true story.)

Twice in six months, I’ve had to take said cat to the vet because he’s randomly stopped eating and started barfing and getting listless and pathetic looking.  Both times they’ve attributed his behavior to dehydration, given him a saline bubble and sent us on our way.  Both times he’s improved quickly and we moved on.  I don’t know why he’d be getting dehydrated though as I leave him plenty of fresh water every morning and the outrageously expensive, prescription food he eats now is half water on it’s own. The point is, Mischa is old and his health is waning and I know we don’t have a whole lot of time left and I want to make the most of the time we do.  For the better part of the last 6 years, Mischa has not been allowed in my bedroom because he has a habit of pooping on the floor (or peeing on my bed – but only when I’m not around.)  He still isn’t allowed in my room when I’m not there, but due to his advanced age and my desire to make the most of the time we have left I’ve begun allowing him in my room at night again…  For now.

It’s been about two weeks and no less than 5 nights have I been awakened to find Mischa’s butt in my face while he stands on the edge of my bed and reaches out to “rearrange” the items on my night stand.  The only thing I can figure is that he’s paid closer attention than I have to the “sleep experts”.   You know the ones?  The ones that tell you to go to bed and wake up at the same time every night, even on the week-ends?  The ones that tell you to use your bed for nothing but sleep and sex?  The ones that tell you to keep your bedroom cool and dark so that your sleep will be sounder?  You know the ones?  Yeah, me neither.

I don’t really listen to them either.  I use my bed only for sleep and se– Well, for sleep. But I don’t go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, and I am most comfortable with some ambient light in the room.  Therefore, I have an alarm clock that projects the time (and the outdoor temperature) on the ceiling (why I need to know the outdoor temperature in the middle of the night I do not know) and has a nice bright, back-lit, LCD display on the front.

I’m assuming Mischa is not in favor of the brightly lit display and feels that he needs to dispense with it somehow.  Four of the aforementioned five nights, the ones I mentioned… afore… I have awakened to the sound of things… scooting? on top of my night stand.  Apparently, the sleep deprivation has caught up with me because I didn’t hear it last night.

I didn’t feel the cat creeping past me on the mattress as he assumed the position, ass in face, paw outstretched to begin his work.  I didn’t hear the slight nudging of the clock.  I didn’t hear or feel anything, until a quarter till five when I heard a crash, and felt the cat LAUNCH HIMSELF off of my bed and run out the door.

Instantly wide awake, I sat up to find out what had happened only to find the alarm clock was missing and face down on the floor between the bed and the nightstand.

Apparently, while taking his copious notes about proper sleep procedures, he failed to take into account that once I actually am asleep, I NEED TO STAY THAT WAY!!!

And then he barfed in the middle of my bedroom floor.

Things I Did Accomplish This Week-End

I said on Friday that I hoped to get a lot done this week-end and I’m a little surprised by how much I actually did manage.  Let’s take a look:

1)               Throw away all the junk lying around my apartment and thoroughly clean

Got a little bit done, but really, barely made a dent.  Bummer.  Definitely have to put more energy into this.

2)               Sleep at least 8 hours but not more than 10 hours each night (I’m running on a major deficit this week)

Partial success.  I went to bed about 1:00 Saturday morning.  The cat woke me up at 3:30 in the morning when he was sitting on my pillow and rearranging the items on my night stand.  I went back to sleep and slept until about 9:30.  Saturday night I was up until around 12:30 and I woke up about 10:00.  No interruptions from the cat that night.

3)               Solve world hunger

Success!!  Oh, no wait.  Solved my hunger.  I guess that’s not quite the same thing.

4)               Catch up with all the regular TV shows and clear them from my DVR (maybe one or two of the movies that are in there, too)

I watched all of the regular, weekly shows that are in High Definition which takes up more space.  Fortunately, that was most of my weekly TV shows.  I still have a few of the Standard Definition and syndicated shows to catch up on, but since the season is over for much of what I watch, I should be able to start making a dent in some of the other stuff.  Also, got some potential ideas for a future blog post or posts.

5)               At least 30 minutes on the Wii Fit everyday (preferably more)

I think I’ll call myself successful on this one.  Friday after work, I was shooting for 30 minutes and I did 47.  Saturday, I was shooting for 30 minutes and I did 46.  Cumulatively that’s 93 minutes and those 93 minutes averaged over the course of the weekend and… Oh no, I’ve gone cross-eyed.

I did not actually touch the Wii on Sunday.  I contemplated turning it on just long enough to do the Body test, but after the trickery on Friday night, I figured I’d better keep my distance.  I really didn’t have time to do the exercises on Sunday, and since I’d done five days straight, I figured I was entitled to, and should take a rest day.

6)               Plan meals for the week, grocery shop and pre-prepare as many as I can before Sunday night

Done!  It was a bit harder than I anticipated.  I don’t know why but I had a really difficult time planning lunches for the week.  Breakfast, snacks and dinner?  No problem!  Lunch?  Problem!  Don’t know why.  But I got it done and I made my list and headed out to do my shopping.  I didn’t get much pre-preparing done, but I realized there wasn’t much I could do.  When you start chopping into fresh foods they immediately start turning so I realized I was better off leaving them intact until I was ready for them. The only exception to this was that I did wash and decapitate the two pounds of Strawberries I bought.

7)               Cure Cancer

Check!  But it’ll be our little secret.  K?  K!

8)               Go for at least one short run (probably won’t happen, don’t have needed equipment yet) (And yes there is equipment need for running besides your feet)

Didn’t happen.  Didn’t really think it would.  Nothing really to say about that.  Moving right along.

9)               Fix the economy and end our budget deficit

I did my part!  Where were the rest of you?

10)            Read a lot (I have tons of stuff I need to read and haven’t)

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Oh.

11)            Research education funding options

Started working on this.  With the help of really fantastic Virtual Friend I was able to get a better understanding of what I need to do.  Now I’m just researching schools and considering my options.  There’ll be more on that when I have a better handle on it myself.  There may be some big changes in the works so stay tuned!

Seems I actually accomplished quite a lot.  No wonder I’m so tired!  But it feels good to have accomplished so much!