I'm Still Climbing!

Hustle up the HancockIt’s been a while since I’ve updated you on my progress for the OfficeMax Hustle Up the Hancock… so here’s an update.

Well… not much to update.  I haven’t climbed stairs in quite a while.  What with chronic colds and upper respiratory problems, I haven’t felt much up to climbing.  Oh yeah, and that eye problem I had a while back didn’t help matters any.

But… I’ve been walking more, and getting more exercise, and trying to stay a little more trim around the edges– if you know what I mean.  I’ve been eating better and watching my caloric intake.  THAT has been going great.  In fact, I’ve lost about 10 pounds lately. Go me!

But I’m still climbing.  Come hell or high water, I’m hustling up those steps.  I don’t care if it kills me. And it just might.

So… if you have a few spare pennies, and wish to support me in my quest to the top of the Hancock building, now’s your chance!  Click here or on the button in my sidebar, and donate what you can.  My goal is to raise $1,000 and I’m already more than halfway there.  I need your help to meet that goal!

This next month I plan on training as much as I can.  It’s going to be rough, but doggone it, I’m climbing those stairs come February 25. 

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I dreamed a dream

I spent about 19 of the last 24 hours in bed, nursing a nasty cold that has turned my lovely tenor voice into that of a basso profundo.  And during that long period of sleep, I had a most interesting dream.

I went to an ATM to withdraw cash, as I often do.  As I slipped the card into the slot, I noticed something sticking out of the cash dispenser.  I grabbed it, and pulled it out.

A $100 bill.

I looked around, seeing nobody in the vicinity.  I couldn’t imagine who would leave so much money in an ATM machine (and for that matter, I couldn’t imagine an ATM machine spitting out $100 bills, but this is a dream, after all).  So I pocketed the bill and continued with my transaction.

The machine then gave me the message “This machine is not able to dispense cash.  Please try another.”  So I canceled the transaction and tried the machine to the left.

When I inserted my card, I noticed yet another object protruding from the machine– this time from the deposit slot.

It was another $100 bill.

Now I had the distinct feeling I was being watched, a-la “Candid Camera.”  I started looking around for a camera or some sort of device to record my reaction.  I found nothing.  So I took the second $100 bill, canceled my transaction (Hey, I was $200 ahead, I didn’t need to withdraw money anymore), and walked away from the machine.

My dream continued with me talking to my mom in her car.  She was driving.  I told her what happened, and she stopped the car and said “Wow… You’re lucky, kiddo.”

So … what does this dream mean?  Am I going to come into some money soon?

Or was it just the drugs playing tricks with my mind?

Best of the Pad: Three-Day Weekends

In honor of Martin Luther King Day (and because I have the day off from work, so I should also get a day off from coming up with an original post), I am re-running this, one of my favorite posts, which ran on January 16, 2006.  Enjoy your day off (if you have it)!

I love three-day weekends.

They’re like manna from Heaven. $10 in the pocket of freshly laundered jeans. An extra Chicken McNugget in a 9-piece order.

You get the picture.

I wish every month had a mandatory three-day weekend. We need more of them.

I love Martin Luther King. Yes, he was a great man, and did great things for a great many people. And I’m very sorry he died in such a senseless and tragic way. But because of him and because of his great legacy, we now have Martin Luther King Day. Thanks, Martin.

I love Memorial Day. I love President’s Day (although I don’t have President’s Day off this year. Dammit.)

I also love that many years ago the government proclaimed that these particular holidays should always be on Mondays. Because Mondays suck, and EVERYONE can agree on that.

Mondays at work suck… but Mondays spent shutting off the alarm clock and sleeping a little later rule.

I love Independence Day because this year it falls on a Tuesday and so my company decided to give us a four-day weekend.

And four-day weekends rule in ways I can’t even begin to explain.

I don’t like Easter because it’s always on a Sunday. It’s such a waste of a holiday. If we could have Easter Monday, we’d get another holiday off from work. Sure, many people don’t celebrate Easter, but many people don’t celebrate Christmas either, and we get that day off every year. And because Christmas falls on the same date every year (as does Independence Day), and the day changes from year to year, we still get a day off because we get whatever day is closest to that day as a “company holiday.” Now that’s cool.

But as I stated, the problem with all these holidays is that there just isn’t enough of them. After Martin Luther King Day in January and President’s Day in February, there is a ridiculously long stretch until Memorial Day. March and April need something going on. St. Patrick’s Day isn’t good enough for March. We need something more significant — like “End of Winter Day” or “Cherry Blossom Celebration” or something.

April needs a good Monday holiday, too. How about “Daylight Savings Time Adjustment Day” or “April Showers Day?”

May is covered. June needs one, though. And it’s an easy choice: “Beginning of Summer Day.” Or even “Summer Solstice Day.” Summer is SO something to celebrate.

Why not “Gay Pride Day?” Most Pride celebrations are held in June– why not make it a national holiday? That would be neato.

July is covered, but August is left holiday-less. I suggest “It’s Too Hot To Work So Let’s Go To The Beach Day.” We could shorten that (and celebrate the legacy of Cole Porter) with “Too Darn Hot Day.” Sweet.

September is covered with Labor Day. And I’ve already discussed the wonderful gifts that Labor Day has given us in this post.

October is without a true national holiday, but that’s easily rectified. Just make Columbus Day a National Holiday on the same caliber as Martin Luther King. Without Columbus we wouldn’t have America. So we owe him that much.

Halloween just can’t cut it as a national holiday. Unless, of course, you’re gay. Then you can just call in gay and say you need to celebrate the high holy days like a good little gay. Companies need to be more understanding about such rituals.

November is covered with Thanksgiving, and of course December is covered with Christmas.

So there you go… a full year of holidays. And all can be somehow converted to either three-day or four-day weekends.

Let’s get cracking on this now, shall we?

The winner: Reducing the clutter

Thanks to everyone who voted to “Help me write a post.” Here’s the winner!

I started this in April or May of 2006. It’s still very relevant today. But since some of it was outdated, I’ve rewritten it to be a little more current.

I’ve spent a lot of the last year of my life cleaning house.

I took stock of everything in my life and evaluated it. I added up all of my possessions, my commitments, my debts, my friendships, and even my relationships. And from that point on, I’ve been making some decisions about what stays, What goes, and what needs more evaluation.

This all started in about February of 2006 when I finally reached a boiling point with all of my commitments. I was still involved in two gay chorus organizations, and they were both demanding a lot of time out of my life. I had also began a podcast on my blog, which created another commitment that added to the list. Add all of that to work, other outside projects, friends, family, and keeping track of my overall health– and I had a potential volcano about to erupt.

So, not long after I came to this realization, I began to slice and dice my life into neat, bite-sized pieces. I could probably stand to trim a little more fat, but at least I’m better off now than I was then.

I cut the Windy City chorus out completely in March. I remain involved doing graphic work for them (which is enough of a commitment in and of itself), but I just couldn’t participate as a singing member any longer.

I even put CGMC on hiatus for a while last summer. I needed some time to refocus my energies on other things, and it was a big help. I rejoined them in the fall.

The podcast took a brief hiatus in April-May, and then officially ended in November. You would be amazed how much work went into that once-a-week ‘show’ that I was producing. I’m in awe of other podcasters who produce FIVE shows a WEEK. I went nuts doing ONE show a week. I just couldn’t take it anymore.

Then, of course, July happened. And instantly I had to change how I thought about everything.

I was going to my mom’s more often, and dealing with things I never had to deal with before. I also had to deal with emotions I had never experienced before. So trying to keep everything in line while dealing with all of that extra baggage was really hard.

But in the end, the one thing I had to focus on and remain constant to was myself. And although with everything that went on in the last year, it was really hard, I survived. Somehow.

I have my moments (case in point: the near-closing of the blog); but I’m getting better as time goes on.

And as for my reorganization situation, well… let’s put it this way. Spring cleaning is going to be very, very fruitful. And the Brown Elephant (resale shop) will be getting a lot of things to sell… that is, if I don’t sell it myself. I could use a little extra cash, you know. 🙂

Maybe I’ll list things on the blog and see who wants my junk. (Remember, one man’s junk is another person’s treasure!) Hmm… something to consider.