My 25

Those of us who have been blogging for a few years or more (Yipe- it’s almost been 5 years for me!) have done memes like this before.  Back in “the day,” everyone did “100 Things About Me” lists.  I still have mine, and still update it every so often– in fact, I just updated it a few days ago.

But over on Facebook, the latest craze– aside from wearing Aretha’s Hat— is to do a list of 25 as-yet-unknown facts about oneself.  I’ve been tagged a few times to do this list, but haven’t done mine yet.

So here it is.

Oh… and if you’ve been tagged (this is specifically for Facebook users), that means I’d like to know more about you.  But you’re certainly not obliged to do anything.

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1. When I was a kid, I was skinny as a rail, with knobby knees. That all changed in 7th grade.

2. I used to tap dance, and won a few trophies doing so.

3. Even though I’m 38 years old, I have very little gray hair, and no, I don’t dye my hair.  It’s a hereditary thing.

4. In 5th grade, I cut my own bangs — poorly — and blamed it on the barber.  I told people he made a mistake because a firetruck went by just as he was cutting them.  Yeah, I thought I was clever.

5. I taught myself almost everything I know about desktop publishing and graphic design, and have managed to make a decent career of it.

6. I’ve always enjoyed singing.  I have tapes of my mom and I singing Carpenters songs from when I was 3 years old.

7. I started reading at the age of 3.  My parents tried to get me into the “gifted” program, but my math skills were not good enough.  They still aren’t.

8. I have a well-tuned internal compass.  I know which way is North at all times.

9. I like nice things, but I don’t need to have the big labels to make me happy.

10. I refuse to spend more than $20 on a pair of sunglasses.  I’ll only lose or break them anyway.

11. I started shaving when I was 14.  My beard grows so fast, by the end of the day you wouldn’t know I’d shaved that day.

12. I’ve only been in one relationship in my lifetime, and that was 8 years ago.

13. I come from a small family.  I have one sister, one 1st cousin, and I have one aunt and one uncle– a priest– by blood relation.  My mom was an only child.

14. My mom still lives in the house we lived in when I was born.

15. I enjoy sports – baseball and football are my favorites.  I’m a Cubs fan and a Packers fan.  So there.

16. I used to play basketball, football and baseball as a kid.  Of the three, I was only marginally good at basketball and baseball.  I was awful at football.

17. I took swimming lessons for about 5 years when I was little.  I was pretty good at the time.

18. I took organ lessons.  We had an old Sears organ that used to be my Grandma’s, so we took lessons to play it.  I would like to play piano someday.

19. I used to have a cabaret gig at Gentry in Chicago from 2000-2001.  That ended when I got my current job.  Gentry is now closed.

20. The longest job I ever held was at Six Flags Great America.  While I did different things while I was there, and I was seasonal for many of the years I was there; I worked there for 12 years.

21. My first job was at a gift shop/tobacco store in Kenosha, where I grew up.  I was 15 years old.

22. My first car was a burgundy Renault Encore.

23. I had a Big Wheel, a bike with training wheels, and roller skates as a kid.  My childhood was pretty normal.

24. My first dog’s name was Peanut.

25. I’d love to be a dad someday.

Change is here… hopefully!

This should be the happiest moment in many years for all Americans.  

We have just inaugurated a new president.  The air is filled with a spirit of hope and change, and all of that is for the better.  The prospects of a happy and healthy future for America look better than ever, and that has nothing to do with Republican or Democratic politics; but everything to do with a fresh outlook and a new, positive direction for our country.  

But as with every change, there is sure to be resistance.

Naturally, I am seeing resistance from staunch Republicans who think that Barack Obama’s policies are “a lot of talk that will cost us a lot of money.”  They are sure that he will fail, and that America will not step up to the challenge to come together and work for a better future for our country.  And while I respect these people for having their opinions– because they are certainly entitled to them– I wish they would just step back and give Mr. Obama a chance to prove himself before they declare him a failure.

The most frustrating thing about this whole situation is, the same can be said for many of my GLBT brothers and sisters. 

I have spent the past few weeks being a relatively silent observer to the historic events taking place around me.  

When Prop 8 passed in California, I, like many other GLBT people across the country, felt the sting of disappointment.  I wanted to join the protests but couldn’t; yet my feelings on the situation were the same as everyone else’s.  The GLBT community voiced its disappointment with a resounding and unified cry– the likes of which has not been seen since the days of Harvey Milk or the outbreak of AIDS.  It was inspiring and exciting to see.

However, in recent weeks, I get a sense that we as a community are going way too far… to the point where we could be called “The Community Who Cried Wolf.”  

Since that first group of protests, there have been at least 4 other organized protests around the country, including here in Chicago.  Those protests started out with clear goals – one was in protest of the Cinemark theatre CEO, who supported Prop 8; one was demanding that Obama repeal the Defense of Marriage Act– but when the protests actually happened, they were paired with other, much more obscure measures– measures that I had never even heard of.  Instead of unifying our voices to one cause, we began spreading ourselves too thin, and our voices became muddled.  I decided that I would not participate in any of these protests unless they were for clear and completely understandable goals.  

This spirit of anger has also begun to permeate into the support of our new President.  We have grown entirely too gun-shy… too skeptical of every move he makes; and most of the criticism came before he even took the oath of office.  

When friends and acquaintances bemoaned the selection of Rick Warren, pastor of the Saddleback Church, to give the Inaugural invocation; I kept my opinion to myself until I got all the information I could on the selection.  At that point, I decided that his selection was probably not the best move, but the message it sent to people on all sides was a message of inclusion for all- even differing viewpoints.  Later, when Bishop Gene Robinson was selected to give the invocation at this past Sunday’s “We Are One” event, I felt that the gay community’s concerns were alleviated, and we got the reperesentation we needed by our incoming President.

But when the broadcast of the event occurred, and Robinson’s invocation was cut, immediately the community started crying “Foul!” and “Betrayal!”  Granted, I was disappointed that his invocation was cut, but once again our community started laying blame before we got the whole story.  I’m sure protests against HBO and the Inaugural committee are sure to follow.

The point I’m trying to make here is:  We have a new president, with much more progressive ideas and beliefs than our former president.  As his new whitehouse.gov website outlines, he is planning to do more for our community than has ever been done before.  I just wish that our community would give the man and his administration time to find their footing and get the ball rolling before we start condemning him.  Besides, there are much bigger fish for them to fry than our concerns anyway.  They have an economy to rebuild, two wars to manage and hopefully end, and countless wrongs from the past to hopefully right.  Our concerns are just a few of a great many.  Will they all get addressed?  Probably not.  But let’s see where things go before we pass judgment.

Frozen, but still here!

Just wanted to pop in and say, yes, I’m still here. And I’m sorry I haven’t written much lately. I just haven’t really had that much to say.

After all, how many posts about the weather can one bear?

To sum up…

It’s fucking freezing out there.

This winter has been one of the worst I can recall in years. Aside from the practically nonstop snow, this cold is ridiculous. Right now, the temperature is -16 outside. My car is buried, not only in snow but now, ice.  I’ve been taking the train every day to work (which really hasn’t been that awful, except for the past few days when it’s been so brutally cold).  I’m sorry, but this is just not right. Penguins are meant for temps like this, not people.

Yesterday the Chicago Tribune ran an article on the front page of their website titled, “Why do we live here?” It was funny that they did that, because I’d been asking myself that same question all week. In fact, I’ve asked myself that question all winter.

So what is my answer?  Well, there are a few good reasons.

First, I’ve lived in the Midwest all my life. Born and raised in Kenosha, WI and now in Chicago. I’ve never lived anywhere else.

Second, my family is near here. I’m an hour or so away from home, and if I need to be there, I’m a quick car ride away.

Third, I don’t live here for the winters. I live here for the other seasons. Winter lasts all of three, maybe four months, tops. It’s miserable, but it turns into spring. And spring around here is really quite nice. And then of course, spring leads to summer; which can be painful if it’s too humid, but for the most part is still worth the wait through three or four months of cold, hard winter. And then, Autumn is beautiful with the colors and the crispness of the air.

I thought about what it would be like to live in warmer climes, and heard all kinds of suggestions from people who live in those climes. Florida, right now, is wonderful; but come summer, it’s so humid that I wouldn’t be able to breathe. And I’m enough of a basket case when we get an occasional thunderstorm, so hurricanes would not sit right with me at all.

Arizona, right now, is amazing. But come summer, I’m sorry, 120 degree heat is 120 degree heat; and I don’t care how friggin’ dry it is.

California is a great place to visit, but I’ve known far too many friends who tried to “make it” there, only to end up back home to the midwest after a while. Some claimed the people were not to their liking; others couldn’t deal with the inflated cost of living (especially in desireable places like San Francicsco).  Still others hated the earthquakes (that’d by my downfall). Whatever the reason, they always seem to end up back home again.

And then there was another factor that I didn’t consider, that more than one person reminded me of:  Bugs.  And I don’t mean the occasional spider or centipede… I’m talking mongoloid monster bugs, like flying cockroaches, hairy spiders and (*shudder*) scorpions. Seriously, folks… the fact that those monsters can’t survive up here because it gets as cold as it gets up here is enough reason for me to want to stay.

But really, the main reason why I live here is due to family. And not just my blood relatives, but the friends that I have here as well. Sure, the idea of trying out a new location is exciting. There’s something to be said for getting a “Fresh start” somewhere new.

But I know me. And I know that after a while the excitement would die off, and I’d be incredibly homesick. Despite all of the bitching and moaning I, and people like me do about the weather here, I do love it here. And in the end, I would not trade this place for anywhere else in the world.

So I guess I’m going to stay.

Well, I have to go start mummifying myself to catch a train.

Happy Friday! 🙂