Monday, December 31, 2007

Pros and Cons of 2007

Pros:
1. Had an awesome birthday with Bob and Jason.
2. Started Grad School and the Teacher Certification Program.
3. Made some great new friends through school.
4. Got an awesome placement for student teaching with a co-operating teacher I will learn a lot from.
5. Successfully passed all the courses I took during the year.
6. Successfully completed my extensive research paper on creating safe schools for people of diverse sexual orientations.
7. Got my Grandmother's recipe for chocolate fudge.. after waiting five years.
8. An awesome Christmas holiday with family and Jason.

Cons:
1. Trip to Minneapolis -WORST TRIP EVER!
2. Break up with Jeff.
3. Biology class.
4. Research Inquiry Project.
5. Toby's death.
6. The death of Anne's son and granddaughter.
7. Anne falling and getting hurt numerous times.
8. Katie's sister's death.
9. Holiday season at Walmart.
1o. Increased cost of tuition.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas!!

We all managed to survive the craziness of the holidays and come out alive! I have to say, this was a wonderful Christmas.

On Christmas Eve we went to my Dad's side of the family for dinner. About three people were there who either had, or were getting over the flu... a gift I think they gave to me, and that I am currently fighting before it goes full force. My little cousin Kyle, who is in first grade, did his best to read aloud "Twas the Night Before Christmas", as is tradition. It took him quite a while to get through the poem with his mother's help, but he did quite well, and we were all proud of his accomplishment.

When it came time for presents, both Kyle and his little brother Gavin (my godson) ripped into their gifts, tossing aside sweatshirts and pants with a scoff. With the exception of a few boardgames, "all" they got were clothes. They were both so mad!! They started crying and complaining "I hate clothes". At that age, no one was offended, I think we all remember a time when getting clothes was a "bad" thing. I'm not sure when all that changed, maybe around 18 or so. I had to laugh at their frustration because I remember it well.. not that I ever vocalized it like that. What did I care, they weren't going home with me. Ha Ha!

I have developed a bad cough which really only flares up at night, so I had a hard time sleeping Christmas Eve. I laid in bed until about 1:30am watching one of my favorite films, The Bells of St. Mary's. After a lot of coughing, I finally managed to get some sleep before the 7:30am alarm.

It was a wonderfully calm drive downtown to Mass; not many people on the road. It was chilly, but not bitter cold, just the way I like it. We had a wonderful turn out for Mass, and the sanctuary looked fantastic all decked out in red poinsettias for the Christmas season. Much to my great happiness, the choir sang three verses of Adeste Fideles, my favorite Christmas carol during communion. It truly added to the celebration for me.

On the way home from Mass, my cell phone was going off every other minute with text messages from family and friends wishing me a Merry Christmas. A lot of people find text messages so impersonal, but on holidays I rather enjoy getting them. My friends and family keep in touch (for the most part) all year, so a text message on the actual day is just a nice little reminded that someone is thinking of you. I too sent out messages to everyone in my cell phone book.. though not all replied or sent a message of their own. You know who you are, and you suck! =-P

Everything went great with exchanging presents and dinner. I think everyone got what they wanted and more. My parents were very generous, and I now have a new professional wardrobe to help me look the part for my student teaching which begins January 7th. Jason came over for dinner, and we exchanged gifts, and much to my great surprise, bought me an awesome skeletal pocket watch (meaning you can see all the mechanical workings through the face of the watch). Though I would hesitate to wear it on an everyday basis, I look forward to wearing it the next time I'm dressed up with a vest on. I'll be proud to wear such a kind and thoughtful gift.

We all had a lot of fun laughing, eating, and telling stories around the table.. as it should be. A few glasses of vino before dinner really helped to put me in the mood.. again, thanks to Jason's generosity. We all enjoyed ourselves, and it truly was a wonderful Christmas, and one to remember for many years to come.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas is comin!

I am very slowly starting to gain some excitement about the upcoming Christmas holiday. Mostly, I get excited about the memories of a happy Christmas childhood that come flooding back. Every now and then I watch a movie we recorded "back in the day" that sparks that feeling in my heart and mind, or look at some old Christmas ornament hanging on the tree that stands as tribute the the glory days of Christmas past.

My family is now in what I refer to as the transition years. We are still adjusting to losing one generation, and scrambling for the other generations to step forward and make their marks in the hearts of the younger. It's the memory of the older generations that really makes me love this season. I've long since given up the immense excitement that used to keep me up at night waiting to open presents. Now, I look forward to seeing family and friends, and exchanging the niceties and small tokens of affection, while we gather around tables and sharing stories and laughs.

I have been doing my best to keep up with the holiday baking. It can be a lot of work, and it is not as appreciated as it was in years past. I keep it going because it feels like a link I still share with Grams, who worked so many days each year preparing for Christmas, making everyone's favorite cookies. I feel it is a tradition worth preserving. Not everything has to be store bought and mass produced. There is something to be said for homemade.

I listen to the radio a lot, and this week before Christmas, my dial is set to AM 740. I usually listen to that station in the car once in a while, but this time of year they play 24 hours of Christmas songs. The difference is, they play the songs from the "old timers", as Gramps would call them. The sounds of Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Nat King Cole, and Jim Reeves sound more authentically Christmas than Brittany Spears or even the Beach Boys. If I listen really closely, I think I can still hear Gramps whistling to the music, or singing along in the beautiful baritone voice that he had.

Yes, the spirit still hits me from time to time, but it's going to be a while before this transition phase is complete, and new traditions that we look forward to are forged. I always hope that when I get my own home I can do a little more, make things a bit more memorable... just like my Grandparents did for me.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What a day!

I went to visit Anne yesterday evening, and ended up staying until 1am (not unusual for us). She had fallen recently, and hurt her knee pretty bad, and I have been trying to spend some time with her. Her husband and son were just putting up the Christmas tree, and were patting themselves on the back for finally figuring out how to connect all the lights on the new pre-lit model they bought last year during an after Christmas sale. To help out, I went downstairs, grabbed the ornament boxes and trimmed the tree for them. I figured she could use a boost of holiday cheer.

Because it's hard for Anne to walk, and she uses a cane (and I like spending time with her).. I offered to take her Christmas shopping, which we ended up doing today. Before I went to get her, I decided to stop for gas. While I was paying, I figured I'd throw away two bucks and get a win for life lotto. No, I didn't win the grand prize, but I did win $15. I was satisfied.

While we were shopping, I picked up a gift my mother had asked for from Sears. I opened a charge account there, and ended up getting the item for free. Again, cha-ching. Every little bit helps.

The best news came tonight when I checked the status on my grades online. My psych grade was posted.... a B+!!!! That means it counts. I am SO relieved!! Now I can go to the College Store tomorrow, and sell my books back!! :-)

Sunday, December 9, 2007

12 Days of Christmas


Catholics in England during the period 1558 to 1829 were prohibited by law to practice their faith either in public or private. It was illegal to be Catholic until Parliament finally emancipated Catholics in England in 1829.

"The Twelve Days of Christmas" was written in England as one of the "catechism songs" to help young Catholics learn the basics of their faith. In short, it was a coded-message, a memory aid. Since the song sounded like rhyming nonsense, young Catholics could sing the song without fear of imprisonment. The authorities would not know that it was a religious song.

"The 12 Days of Christmas" is in a sense an allegory. Each of the items in the song represents something significant to the teachings of the Catholic faith. The hidden meaning of each gift was designed to help Catholic children learn their faith. The better acquainted one is with the Bible, the more these interpretations have significance.

The song goes, "On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me…"

The "true love" mentioned in the song doesn’t refer to an earthly suitor, but it refers to God Himself. The "me" who receives the presents refers to every baptized person. i.e. the Church.

1st Day: The partridge in a pear tree is Christ Jesus upon the Cross. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge because she would feign injury to decoy a predator away from her nestlings. She was even willing to die for them.
The tree is the symbol of the fall of the human race through the sin of Adam and Eve. It is also the symbol of its redemption by Jesus Christ on the tree of the Cross.
2nd Day: The "two turtle doves" refers to the Old and New Testaments.
3rd Day: The "three French hens" stand for faith, hope and love—the three gifts of the Spirit that abide (1 Corinthians 13).
4th Day: The "four calling birds" refers to the four evangelists who wrote the Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke and John—which sing the song of salvation through Jesus Christ.
5th Day: The "five golden rings" represents the first five books of the Bible, also called the Jewish Torah: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.
6th Day: The "six geese a-laying" is the six days of creation.
7th Day: The "seven swans a-swimming" refers to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord.
8th Day: The "eight maids a milking " reminded children of the eight beatitudes listed in the Sermon on the Mount.
9th Day: The "nine ladies dancing" were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.
10th Day: The "ten lords a-leaping" represents the Ten Commandments
11th Day: The "eleven pipers piping" refers to the eleven faithful apostles.
12th Day: The ‘twelve drummers drumming" were the twelve points of belief expressed in the Apostles’ Creed: belief in God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, that Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, made man, crucified, died and arose on the third day, that he sits at the right hand of the father and will come again, the resurrection of the dead and life everlasting.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Almost there!

The first half of teacher boot camp is nearly over!!! Friday marks the end of this semester, and will be when I have turned in all my final reports for the semester. I can't wait for this up coming break. I thought I was going to snap. That was by far, the worst semester of school I have ever experienced.

As many of you know, in order to successfully complete graduate courses, you need to earn a B average or better in each class. My psychology class, the only class that still uses multiple choice exams, is the only one I am leery about. I didn't do well on the first two exams, only scoring a B on them. I aced all the papers which count as one exam total, so it will all be up to this final exam on Wednesday. If I score under a B (my usual grade for multiple choice without extra credit is a C), I'm afraid I won't make the cutoff grade. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

I've started to plan my holiday baking to-do list, as the countdown has begun for Christmas. I'm planning on making peanut butter cookies, cut out cookies (which are a pain in the ASS), Mexican wedding cakes, Holiday surprise bundles (a cheesecake batter cookie with a cherry hidden in the center), pineapple crescents, and dark hermits (a raisin cookie) if I feel ambitious. It's a lot of work, but it really makes me feel like I am contributing to the Christmas celebration, and makes me feel close to Grams.. in some small way, I feel like I'm carrying on in her foot steps.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Keeping Up Appearances



I have become a holiday hallmark for my store at Christmas time. The associates and even the shoppers ask "Where's Mike in his hat?". Even though I'm not quite in the mood, I couldn't let my fans down. I pulled the homo-clause aka Pimp Daddy Clause hat out of storage, and wear it every now and then... just to keep up appearances. It makes people smile, and I can usually get my co workers and even customers rolling with laughter.. and for me, that's an awesome thing.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Tree is up

Wednesday I decided to dig out all my Christmas decorations and start putting everything up. Last year, I had bought a new tree for the living room (I only use artificial). I needed something "thinner" for my small room, and I ended up getting a pre-lit tree. I always swore I'd never get a pre-lit, because I'd be afraid if the lights stop working, it would be a pain in the ass to get them off the tree to replace them. As I assembled the tree and started to plug everything in, I noticed that the top portion of the tree lights weren't working. I was pissed. It took me about twenty minutes of "twacking" each light bulb to figure out which one was loose. I cussed the tree out the whole time. Ugh. I have additional lights I put on the tree, so I still have the fun of stringing on the lights, and this way I can test the bulbs before they are put on the tree. Much easier that way.

For some reason, I just can't get into the holiday mood. I used to stay awake at night excited to haul out the seemingly magical decoration boxes, and begin to prepare for Christmas. This year, I had to walk away from the tree a few times because it was becoming a chore to do. When did this stuff become work?? I guess as time progresses, I start to wonder if it is all worth the effort. With my grandparents gone, that special something about Christmas has dwindled, and hasn't been replaced. Hardly anyone other than the occasional visit from Jason comes to visit me, so it's not like I can even show off the work. The dream of cuddling up in front of the tree with that special someone is dead, so I just keep asking myself, "why bother?".

I did my best to get it all up, and I did. It looks nice, but with no one to share it with.. it's just part of the background to me.

I have been looking for a new angel for the top of the tree though. I've had Ethel since I was in 7th grade, but I decided it was time for a change. I have been looking for a male angel for the top of my tree. I have decided that the female dominance of Christmas angels is rather sexist. Why shouldn't a guy be portrayed as angelic? So, I found a woman on ebay who makes lighted male angels.. so I'm waiting for her to get back to me with an estimate for one. If it's not out of my price range, I'll retire Ethel.

Maybe the Christmas spirit I had in the past will return to me when I have my own home, and can start my own tradition, independent of the dullness of my parents. Maybe not. I'm trying to stay as jolly as I can... but for now, Christmas day Mass is all that pulls me anymore. Perhaps that is a good thing.. the real meaning of Christmas.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Random

I did some more observations at the school I am student teaching in, and for the first time, I am starting to feel comfortable with it. I am getting to know the faculty better, and don't feel like a total stranger there. It's a nice feeling, and I'm actually a little excited about student teaching January 8th.

As part of my Reflective Inquiry Paper, appropriately referred to as RIP for short, I was able to interview an openly lesbian teacher from the High School. Her story was very inspiring for me, and the faculty there are very accepting of her.. which is great. The teacher's union just voted to extend insurance and benefits to same sex partners, which shocked the hell out of me. While there is still much work to be done, and many more closet doors to open, there are positive and gradual changes taking place that most people don't even notice.

It was a slow day at work tonight, so I decided to get out my cell phone and go down the list of names, and randomly text people just to say hello... as I always do. Like I need a reason to send a text message. Being really bored, I decided to send a text to my ex (oo.. that rhymed!) Jeff. I don't really keep in touch with him, but every great while I get the idea to send him a message. Why? I don't know. Somethings don't change, and before I knew it, my phone showed he was calling. I never knew how I got him to do it, or maybe it's just his thing, but most times I would text him, he'd call back instead of texting a reply. My friends know I prefer the text message, and most times I have nothing to say other that "HI", "Dork", or just a smiley face. It was odd to hear his voice on the phone.. we hadn't verbally spoke since around June, I believe. I really shouldn't have bothered, but boredom makes me do weird things.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Just Because

I just needed a good laugh today. :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Free to a Good Home

For those of you who were wondering, or perhaps had placed bets in the "ain't gonna happen" pool, Jeremy and I decided to do the "just friends thing". It was not a big deal to me, and I echoed all the reasons he gave, so we were both on the same page. He's an awesome guy, and it's a shame it won't head in the dating direction. It was nice to think, if only for a while, that the relationship thing was possible for me after all.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I miss my dog.


I have always put a few plush toys on my Christmas tree. Some toys I've had since I was a kid, a goofy plush owl or two I find at the stores, and of course my statue of liberty SNOOPY. They make for nice filler in bald spots of the tree as they can just rest on top of the branches. I wanted to get some kind of ornament as a tribute to Toby. I looked at a few golden retriever ornaments.. some even with angel wings, but didn't see anything I liked. Finally, I stumbled upon a plush Golden retriever puppy. I almost cried when I saw it.. it looked just like Toby when we he was a puppy. The same sad eyes, that black nose, the red streak in his still blond fur, and the way he would lay down with his back legs sticking out. I ordered it instantly.. with a tear in my eye when I did.

I miss him SOOOOO much these days. His absence is hitting me more now then when it initially happened. Not sure why, but there it is.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Is the semester over yet?

The days seem to pass by in one big blur, and all of a sudden it's Sunday again. My weekdays tend to be so damn busy that it feels like playing a game of monopoly where the other player has a whole side of the board filled with hotels. You just want to roll the dice and hope to skip past everything and land in the safe zone.. which for me is Sunday.

I had to give a mini lesson in my methods class on Thursday which had me sick to my stomach all day. I have taught lessons before to people of all ages, done public reading, and have no problem with public speaking.. in fact, I quite enjoy an audience, but this is different. When you are presenting material to a room full of people who know just as much, if not more than you on the subject, and are being graded, it can be quite overwhelming. I thought I did terrible, but I got high praise from the class. We have all admitted that presenting in front of our subject area peers is scary for just the reasons I mentioned, so we tend to over look to obvious jitters.

My presentation had to be in note taking/discussion format, so I chose to use the chalkboard over power point or overhead. I surprisingly was complimented by numerous other students, and the instructor about my chalkboard abilities. Apparently, I have awesome handwriting. When they told me that, I turned and scratched my head. It looked horrible to me. In addition to the nice handwriting, I was told I have that teacher "look". My friend Andy came to class late, after I was presenting my lesson, and he told me that for the first minute or so, he thought another professor was speaking to the class. I guess I look the part. I'll take the compliments.. they off set my nervousness about being a total flop as a teacher.. a little.

I'm still missing Toby quite a bit, and always think I hear him upstairs. It's hard not having a dog around. I've had one for 13 years, now all of a sudden, he's not there. The house just feels empty now. I miss the ole bean.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Halloween 2007


I worked a short shift Halloween morning. Not many associates were planning on wearing a costume, so I figured I'd just wear a wizard's hat. So much has changed over the years at work, less and less people getting into the spirit and dressing up. A lot of it has to do with the customers I think.. they are so cranky and down right rude. Doesn't pay to try and have fun. As you can see from the pic, Krissy and I tried to stay in the Halloween spirit.

This was the first year I didn't carve a pumpkin. I simply didn't have the time, and to be honest, I didn't have the money either. I was happy when Kristy brought home a pumpkin she carved with her boyfriend Jim... at least there would be a jack-o-lantern lit on our porch Halloween night.. even if it wasn't mine.

Jeremy and I decided to get together for dinner, so I opted to skip my evening class. My whole life revolves around school and work, so when the opportunity presented itself to have a little fun, I went for it. I work hard, I deserved the "mental health" day. LOL

We ended up getting Chinese food, and rented The Messengers from Blockbuster. Not a bad movie, but not great either. I was a little disappointed at the ending. It was much more fun going to get the movie, watching Jeremy dance in the car to some Christmas CD he bought, as some big jock walked by just staring at him through the windshield. He's such a dork.

Jeremy was such a schmuck when it came to giving the candy out the the kids. I relieved him from his duty, and gave the candy out myself. I like to talk to the kids, joke with them, and compliment their costumes. I try to get all into stuff like that, and kids are pretty fun.. when they aren't mine.

I enjoyed spending the time with Jeremy, and like hanging out with him. He's an uber nerd.. even more so than I am, which makes for a good laugh. :)

Monday, October 29, 2007

So...

I woke up a little on the sick side this morning, and decided to cancel my observations for the day and go back to bed. I'm not thrilled with the fact I didn't get 4 hours accomplished as I had planned, but I needed to take some time to catch up on my sleep. It would have been great to sleep in if it hadn't been for the bitch fest going on between Scott, my Dad, and then my Mom. No rest for the weary.

There literally aren't enough days in a week any more to get everything done. I'm counting the days till Christmas, not because I want the holidays to be here that badly, but because I want the semester OVER with. I'm so fed up with this program, I seriously considered dropping out, but then I go to work and remember why I'm going to school at all. It's the lesser of two evils.

Jason came back from New Orleans, and I'm eager to visit with him and see the pics from his trip. I have always wanted to go there. Just not sure when I will have time to see him any time soon because... Graduate Students of the School of Education are not allowed to have a life!! >:-o

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The price of being me.

Textbooks: $500
New Tires: $325
Car Window Repair: $350
Certification Exam Fee: $90
Monthly Gas Fee: $100
Having a list of debt a mile long: PRICELESS!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

This & That

Despite the rain, I was loving the Fall day we had. Cool weather, cloudy, breezy, with that crisp smell of wood burning and old leaves in the air. I've had it with this 70 degree stuff, and that better be the last of it until spring. Low to mid 50's would be just fine with me.

Where the hell is time going?? I can't believe October is almost gone. The weeks just fly by, and every time I turn around, there is another assignment due that I thought I had at least a week to get to it. Even now, I glance over at the clock and wonder where the time went. Someone needs to ease onto the breaks just a little bit on this Merry-go-round we call life. I'm getting dizzy!

I made a new friend over the weekend.. lol. His name is Jeremy. Turns out we went to the same high school (he's a year younger than me), he went to grade school with my sister in law, and is now my sister's new boss. Small world. We hung out on Sunday, doing the Denny's thing. When I meet new guys, it's either Denny's or Starbucks, just so happened that this time I didn't want to pay $7 for a cup of tea.

He has a great sense of humor, much like mine actually -- and I'm not gonna lie, that's pretty scary. We're both Trekkies from way back, and after Denny's went back to his house to watch episodes of Star Trek: Voyager which he has on DVD. Even we laughed at our nerdiness.

I have no idea what's going on in his mind, but I found out I am leery about doing the whole dating thing again.. as much as I would like to. Regardless of what's on his mind, friends is where we are, and where we'll be for a while (should he stick around). When I meet someone new, I'm always afraid I'm going to hurt them somehow (if things don't work out), or they are going to hurt me. I also think that there has to be that "love at first site" element which really only seems to work out in Fairy Tales and PG movies. Only twice did I ever meet a guy who I fell for immediately, and never once lost that feeling of "Damn.. he's hot", which tends to fade after the first time you hang out. Both times, it ended in disaster.

Regardless of my over active mind, and my need to over analyze, I enjoy the random text messages I get from him, and it's nice to know there's someone out there as sarcastic and twisted as I am. =-P

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Our machines broke down... AGAIN.. yesterday, so I had to "suit up" and start playing around in chemicals. Good times! I'm blaming the chemicals for my early onset of dementia. Anyway, my co-worker snapped these two pictures, and I wanted to share them with you. Figured it would make you laugh. :)

Don't I look good in rubber? Talk about protection.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

History of the Jack-o-Lantern


Pumpkin carving is a popular part of modern America's Halloween celebration. Come October, pumpkins can be found everywhere in the country from doorsteps to dinner tables. Despite the widespread carving that goes on in this country every autumn, few Americans really know why or when the jack o'lantern tradition began. Or, for that matter, whether the pumpkin is a fruit or a vegetable. Read on to find out!

People have been making jack o'lanterns at Halloween for centuries. The practice originated from an Irish myth about a man nicknamed "Stingy Jack." According to the story, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. True to his name, Stingy Jack didn't want to pay for his drink, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy their drinks. Once the Devil did so, Jack decided to keep the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year and that, should Jack die, he would not claim his soul. The next year, Jack again tricked the Devil into climbing into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While he was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree's bark so that the Devil could not come down until the Devil promised Jack not to bother him for ten more years.

Soon after, Jack died. As the legend goes, God would not allow such an unsavory figure into heaven. The Devil, upset by the trick Jack had played on him and keeping his word not to claim his soul, would not allow Jack into hell. He sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth with ever since. The Irish began to refer to this ghostly figure as "Jack of the Lantern," and then, simply "Jack O'Lantern."

In Ireland and Scotland, people began to make their own versions of Jack's lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors to frighten away Stingy Jack and other wandering evil spirits. In England, large beets are used. Immigrants from these countries brought the jack o'lantern tradition with them when they came to the United States. They soon found that pumpkins, a fruit native to America, make perfect jack o'lanterns.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

This and That

Today was much less stressful than the past few days. I LOVE my Foundations of Ed. class.. we have such a great group of people in there that sometimes the discussions take right off. This professor is WONDERFUL, and shares information that isn't found in the textbook.. the stuff that will help us out in the field, and not just in theory.

Even work was a little more calm today. We are still working with just a skeleton crew, with another associate possibly taking a leave of absence to take care of her sick father. Even though I was alone all night, there weren't too many customers, and I enjoyed the quietness that brought with it.

My buddy Malcolm text messaged me while I was at work. I hadn't heard from him since he moved to Rochester in August. He was the only other openly gay guy at work, and I miss having someone to grope every now and then (that won't report me for sexual harassment). He told me today that he thought I had a hot bubble butt. Now, I'm not a butt man.. but I'm not sure how I feel having a "bubble" butt. I'm glad he thought it was hot.. but really, a bubble butt? I just don't know.

Aunt Kathy's wedding was awesome!! The two weddings I have been to at fire halls were amazing.. and I was really impressed at how elegant the hall looked for the reception this past Saturday.

I spent most of the night hanging out with the young priest who performed the ceremony. He's from the Ukraine, and only ordained for two years. He looked rather timid, and our family can be overwhelming, so I sat with him after dinner to keep him company. We had such a ball.. he was my drinking buddy. They had no real glassware, just LARGE plastic cups. I had about 5 or 6 "cups" of wine, and Father had 5 (that I counted) cups of Molson. We were trashed by the end of the night. My sister Kristy even got him out on the dance floor, and he's a damn good dancer.

I needed the excitement and laughs, and it was great to see Aunt Kathy so happy. I have often been looked at as the Aunt Kathy of my generation.. the level headed (riiiiight) one who doesn't date much. I just hope it's not true, and I don't have to wait till I'm 57 to find love.

Monday, October 8, 2007

I'm not above begging.

Things have become very stressful lately. Whoever said the college years were the best years of our lives deserves to be shot.

There have been a few kinks already in my field work, posing some possible big problems. I'm trying not to think about it, and deal with things as they come... though sometimes I can't help but ponder the "what if" scenarios.

My observations are proving to be tricky, and getting all 100 done by December is going to be tough. It's hardest when you're trying to plan out your week to the minute, and waiting for teachers to e-mail you back to let you know if you can observe them, and if not, try to find someone else. It ain't easy being at the bottom of the totem pole.

Financially, I've hit rock bottom. I have managed to keep 20 hours or more at work each week, which is pretty hard considering most days I go to my observations, class, then right to work (or some combination of the three). In between that, I am going to the doctors or doing massive amounts of homework... sometimes doing the homework while at work just to get everything done. While my hours have managed to stay the same, my bills have sky rocketed. Increased gas usage for traveling to school, field work, work, and doctors has soared. Textbooks cost me about $500, and the fees for state exams and other program "extras" are through the roof.

A few blogs I read have donation buttons on their sites. To my surprise, people actually donate a few dollars here and there. I decided to post one here. I have nothing to lose. At this point, my pride can get kicked right in the ass for a dollar for all I care. Money is money. If someone out there is kind enough to throw a buck or two my way.. go for it! It would be greatly appreciated. Hey, it worked for Carol Burnett. To this day she has no idea who gave her that envelope with the money in it to pay her tuition. If he's still alive, I hope he's reading my blog!!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Ouch!

The day Toby died, I ended up throwing my back out. No, I wasn't doing any heavy lifting.. unless you count lifting my fat ass off the sofa. I stood up, then fell right to the floor. THUMP! I laid there not being able to move, thinking to myself, "This is great, I have work later today, and observations (field experience) starts this week.". Neither of which gives me much wiggle room for rescheduling.. if any.

This morning I was in the bathroom getting ready for a shower when it happened again.. I locked right up and fell to the floor. I was in so much pain I didn't think I would be able to make it to my first observation session at my liaison school.... which would have been a HUGE issue. I managed to shower and get changed, though the car ride was uncomfortable. I almost got into a car accident on the way to the school I am working at when my back locked up, causing shooting pains to travel down to my legs.. I couldn't operate the pedals, and could barely turn the steering wheel. Thanks God I was able to pull over into a hazard lane, and drift for a while until I could regain complete control of the car. Getting OUT of the car was a nightmare. I spent most of my morning observation sessions standing, and I did not go into my 6 hour evening class at UB.

I went to the chiropractor, and he wasn't too thrilled with how I was able to react to the tests he gave. Basically, my lumbar region is shot for the time being, and I need to wear a brace. I went for x-rays, and have to go back for a follow up appointment on Saturday. I just hope I am still able to function and continue with my field work, as well as other classes. It could be worse.

Life without Toby around is very odd. I instinctively look for him when I come home, and really feel the absence of his greeting. When I go to leave, I can almost catch his silhouette at the top of the stairs where he would normally be laying out the corner of my eye. Sometimes I think I can hear him walking around upstairs for a brief moment.. and then it dawns on me he's gone. For the first time in a few years I slept with my door closed. I would close it at night (to keep family out), then remember to open before bed just in case Toby had to go outside.. he knew to come downstairs to wake me when he had to go out. Funny thing was, I would wake up out of a sound sleep before he even made it down to my floor.. we had a connection. There was no longer the need to keep my door open for him... at that moment I felt so alone.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

In Memoriam

Toby passed away tonight at around 10pm. He was 13 years old.

He was more than just a dog, he was a friend, companion, and family member. He was there for me during the most difficult times of my life... always there with love and affection, only asking for the same in return. My friend Jimmy once said it best when he told me "Pets are here to teach man unconditional love, only we haven't learned yet."

I can't type any more than this right now.. all I can do is whimper and mourn the loss of one of my best friends.. my little buddy.. my little "bean".

Toby


Toby's condition has worsened over the past few days. He can barely walk now, and can only stand for a few moments before collapsing. Everyone can see he is in a lot of pain.. except my mother who makes a million excuses as to what is wrong, and won't face reality.

He has no choice (at this point at least) but to stay in my section of the house, on the ground floor, so he doesn't have to make the steps. My idiotic mother has already tried to have him climb the 12 steps to get him upstairs so he can "be with everyone", despite my father and my protests that it would be too painful for him to make the steps, not to mention having to go back down them when he has to go outside. Mom infuriates me because she blames us for looking for excuses to put him down, and won't face the truth. She keeps thinking he will get better, but he won't. She keeps thinking he's not in that much pain, but he is. She wants him to die on his own, but I think that would be so cruel to make him wait that long. He doesn't eat with the exception of the occasional biscuit or table scrap. He's hurting, and that's a sure sign.

Mom finally admitted that he will have to be put down, though she's prolonging making the appointment, at least for today, using Kristy's leaving as an excuse since it's "too much" for her to deal with in one day. So, Friday or Saturday looks like it will be when it happens. I'm hoping for Friday so I can call off work that evening, Saturday I would have to work a 12-9, and that would be horrendous to have to do.

I know it's the best for him, and I know if it was happening to me, it is what I would want, but still it bothers me so much. Just watching him, I wish we didn't have to wait until Friday or Saturday to do it, I know he's suffering so much. But still, he's been my best friend for 13 years. Even though I've been the biggest supporter of this decision, I know I will shed some of the biggest tears as well.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Little Sister

My "little" sister left us today to start boot camp. Well.. she leaves tomorrow, but stays at a hotel with the rest of the new recruits. I already miss her. Of my three siblings, I am closest with her. She won't be back till Christmas, then leaves again for nine weeks or so.

Joe or Scott leaving and I wouldn't have even blinked an eye, but I almost cried when Kristy came to see me at work to say good bye.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Help.

Today has been a very overwhelming day for me, and I just need to vent here.

I had my group meeting with my guiding teacher for the field experience section, and met the other people going to my school (which they changed from the original location). I have a lot of friends in the group already, so that is helping some what.

The sheer amount of work that has to be done is getting to me. My calendar is so full, and continues to have deadlines and due dates added on a continual basis. I'm drowning in paper work, research, reports, reading, and studying.. not to mention the shit I have to get done for the State (not the University)... and then having to work on top of it.

I had to give a short presentation today in my evening class. I was so exhausted from my morning session and the massive information overload that I was just mentally wiped. When it came time to do the presentation, I bombed. For the first time ever, I was actually trembling as I was speaking. I kept stuttering (more than normal), forgot some basic terms to use, and could not convey my thoughts in a fluid and cohesive fashion. It was only a pass or re-do presentation, but I felt humiliated. I usually never have a problem in front of a group of people. My legs might shake a bit... but I never tremble like I did today.

At home, the whole upstairs is being ripped apart because of remodeling. No sink to do dishes in, no stove. We are living with a micro waves, and disposable dinnerware. It severely limits what we can eat. I never thought I would long for my mom's "cooking", and I find myself living off of peanut butter sandwiches.

The house being torn apart, and everything scattered just adds to the my OCD and need for visual calm... too much clutter freaks me out.

It would be so great to have someone to come home to... someone more than a friend to cuddle up with or just get held for a moment while I exhale and try to relax before moving onto the next task. It has become very clear to me from recent events that no such relationships will be formed any time soon.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Yea, well...

I know I haven't updated this in a LONG time, but I've been bogged down with homework. Keeping up with this grad school/certification program is CRAZY work. Like one of my friends from class said, "If someone else tells me it's easy to become a teacher, or 'Those who can't, teach'.. I'm going to jail for murder!"

Anyway.. I'm alive and "well". I will update when I get the chance.. nothing really exciting, so you haven't missed much. LOL

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Fahrenheit 9/11

I caught the tail end of an airing of the documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" on CBC tonight. This "documentary" has come under a lot of criticism, especially when it was first released. I have not seen the entire program, and am not qualified or prepared to make a opinion on the contents, but what I did see made me think.

At the end of this program, the reporter (for lack of better term) approached congress men along with a uniformed member of the United States Marine Corps. He was trying to get them to enlist at least one of their children into a branch of the military to help with the efforts in Iraq. None of them seemed very enthused with the idea. According to the report, only one member of congress (at the time) had a child who was in the military. This made me think about a discussion that people often have when discussing war, a topic we ponder frequently in history classes: "Why don't the people who start wars fight in them?". If leaders of countries had to be the ones to do the fighting, how quick would they be to "take off the gloves"?

Again, I'm not advocating this film, just sharing a thought I had. As my sister prepares to enter into the Army reserves, and begins boot camp the end of this month, the topic of a "just war" and the question of "What are they dying for?" enters into my mind.

God bless these young men and women who step up to the plate and give all they have.. sometimes the ultimate sacrifice, for the sake of our country. Regardless of what we think of the current president or this "war", we should never for a moment waiver in our support for OUR men and women serving.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

In Memoriam



Today marks the one year anniversary of the death of my maternal Grandfather, Vincent Michael (Whom I am named after). It's amazing how quickly time passes. In the year since his death, his home has since passed to my brother and sister in law who were married last October. My Grandparents former home which void of warmth and happiness after my Grandmother's death in May of 2005 has since been given new life and meaning.

I miss him quite a bit, and think of him often. In fact, the other day I was at Tops to do some grocery shopping. I was driving his old van (which is now my mother's) because my car was in the shop. I decided to buy a scratch off lottery ticket, and instead of scratching off the ticket with my car key as I normally do, I decided to use the key to Gramps' van instead. He used to like to play the lotto, and would always ask if I bought a ticket when the jackpot climbed into the really high amounts. Surprisingly, this time, I won $40!! For someone who rarely wins at the lotto, I was thrilled to have some money, and have done so while pondering the memory of my Gramps.

Below I have posted the eulogy I gave at Grandpa's funeral, though with last names omitted for privacy reasons. While a year has passed, the memory of this great man will forever remain in my heart, and in the hearts of all who knew him.

Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord. And Let perpetual light shine upon him. May he, and all the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen.


My Grandfather, Vincent D., will always be remembered in my mind as a shining example of what real men are made of. He could fix anything that needed fixing, he had great physical strength, but he lived his life as one of the most truly humble and modest of men... sacrificing everything he had to see his family happy. He proved a man is not a man because of what he can build, or how strong he might be, but how much he can LOVE.

He graduated from Duryea High School in 1946, and was a star football player on his school’s team. After graduating from high school, he served two years in the United States Marine Corps, and in 1947 was stationed in China to help aid in its reconstruction after World War II.

He became engaged to Helen T., and since he refused to seek employment in the coal mines of Pennsylvania, he came to Buffalo New York to answer an add that was posted in the local Scranton News Paper announcing positions at the Chevrolet plant. He moved to Buffalo in the early part of 1953, and after securing a job with Chevrolet, he returned to Pennsylvania where he and Helen were married on August 1st of that same year.

He was blessed with three children, and later five grandchildren. He was an exceptional husband, father, grandfather, and provider. He worked hard, sacrificed, and did without so his family might have. Grandma and Grandpa wanted to see their family happy while they were alive, and that was their joy in life. We have all benefited by Grandpa’s love and generosity, and none of his children or grand children would have half of what we do, or be where we are today if it wasn’t for his and grandma’s sacrifices. I could see on his face that he was happiest in giving, and doing for his family.

His marriage to my Grandmother will always remain to me a shining example of what marriage is all about. They had their share of fights and disagreements, but they had a love and connection that is so seldomly seen in modern times. So often I would sit and talk with Grandma, and she would regularly say that she had the best husband in the world. They were each other’s best friend, confidant, and life long companions. They scrimped and saved to raise their family, and secure a stable financial future. It was an equal partnership where they both did the best they could to keep the home running. There was no such concept of “men’s work” or “woman’s work”. Grandpa had no problem doing house cleaning, and later helping with the cooking. Their vows of “for richer and poorer, in sickness and in health” meant something to them, and when things got tough, they got closer. They became for the other a source of refuge and strength.

While he had a tendency to be a quiet and reserved man at times, with his immediate family he could be goofy, funny and outgoing. He loved to tell nonsense stories like “Once upon a time there were three robins sitting on a fence, and they all flew away”. End of story. He would always be whistling or singing as he puttered around the house. Grandma used to call him her Bing Crosby. He especially loved to sing Christmas carols, and would sing them all year. It could be the hottest day of summer, and he would be singing of white christmases, and sleigh rides. His exception was during the actual Christmas season itself when he could be heard on occasion singing “Here Comes Peter Cotton Tail”.

He had a simple, yet powerful faith in God and His Church. He was no theologian, but no one was going to ever argue with him against what he believed in. His was the faith of a child. I remember fondly going to Mass regularly with my Grandfather when I was young, and even standing in the confessional line together. During his last days, I was touched by his strength of faith, and knowing there was something much greater than the physical limits of this world. He would often say to me as he looked up with tears in his eyes, “Pray for me Mikey, pray for me!”

I could give example upon example of his generosity, his kindness, his sense of humor, and the gentle giant of a man that he was, but he wouldn’t have wanted it that way. What he did for others, and how he lived his life wasn’t for the purpose of self glorification, but out of love. This eulogy is but a time line of events, and a list of simple facts and personality traits. The real tribute to the man who was Vincent D. resides in the hearts of those whom his life touched. When we think back on all the wonderful times we shared with him, and all the love we felt from him, and all he taught us, that feeling of love in our hearts and minds will be the most fitting testimony to the man he was.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Teacher Boot Camp

I have left the kiddie pool of my educational career, and dove head first into the deep end. As of this week, I have started a highly intensive and involved academic program in order to prepare me for recommendation for the New York State Initial Certification in Teaching. I affectionately refer to this year as "The Teacher's Boot Camp". Everything is intensive (a word students and instructors alike use often), compact, fast moving, and time consuming. I am reminded of the words of the Borg (Star Trek reference), "Life as you know it, is over. From this day forward, you will service us."

It was made very clear to us today at the orientation for the field experience part of the semester that school, not work, not family, not friends, is to be our highest importance. In fact, the excuse of "I can't make it because of work" is not acceptable, and actually considered a sign to the instructors and TEA's that we are not serious about this program and our career. In a way, I understand where they are coming from.. there is so much to do and get involved in. On the other hand, this is a very EXPENSIVE program, and the money (not to mention health insurance) has to come from some where. --> Please not I am gladly accepting donations!! HAHAHA!

While my courses are fascinating in and of themselves, lumped together they can be over whelming and daunting. The enormously heavy course work that is done outside of campus is so great that I need to remind everyone just how unavailable I may become for the next two semesters. While I will do my best to get out and see people as often as possible to help maintain my mental sanity, please keep in mind that I will not always be available for social get togethers. Text messages, IM's, e-mails, and the occasional phone calls will be the best way to keep in touch with me... with actual visits being much MUCH less frequent.

Sounds like fun eh?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Michael Vick

My friend Nick forwarded this to me via e-mail.. I thought I would share it. It seems they have chosen the jury for Michael Vick's trial. Looks like Snoopy is about to open up a can of "Whoop-Ass!". =-)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Lions, and tigers, and Jason.. oh my!

Jason wanted to go to the Buffalo Zoo on Saturday. Of course, he would pick one of the hottest days of the summer to go! We had fun, but I was a puddle by the time we left. Most of the animals were inside where it was probably air conditioned (or at least cooler)... and the ones who stayed outside were laying on their backs doing nothing.

We went for a late lunch, and then I had the brilliant idea to walk up and down Hertel Ave. to look at the various stores and antique shops there. And I thought I was hot and sweaty at the Zoo?? Thank God for CVS and bottled water!! We had fun, but at times it felt like a death march.

I had a visitor with me at Mass this morning. An acquaintance of mine who moved up here from North Carolina asked if he could accompany me to Mass. He met at the Church, and though we didn't get to socialize much, we did get to catch up for a few minutes out front after Mass was over. It was nice to have the company, though odd that it was a southern Protestant.. though a good kind of odd. He had been to the Classical Mass before, and likes the "smells and bells", along with all the customs and traditions. I know he's a little uneasy with starting his doctoral work here at UB, as well as looking for a job... and he said this helped him a bit mentally. It keeps me going. :)

My folks are once again gone for the week to Disney World. For my mother, Disney World and Cinderella's Castle are to her what the Vatican and St. Peter's are to me. She and my father (and sister Kristy) are going to meet their friends from Austria there, and spend the week vacationing together. Sounds like they will have a good time.. though they will have the August Florida heat to deal with.

For those of you who have been curious as to Toby's health, he is doing well, and has his appetite back. His blood work showed he has a liver condition which is treatable with meds that he is now on. He is having trouble with his back hips again, however, and is having a rough time getting up when he lays down. Every now and then we have to lift his butt up for him, then he does fine. He'll need to get another cortisone shot in his hips when he goes to the vet next month.

Sex and the City - Parody starring Bea Arthur

I hope you all aren't getting tired of so many video clip posts, but I laughed my ass off when I saw this parody of Sex in the City. Come on now.. Dorothy from the "Golden Girls" as Carrie, Gloria from "All in the Family" as Samantha, Mona from "Who's the Boss" as Miranda, and Mrs. Garret from "the Facts of Life" as Charlotte. Too funny!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Friends Forever...



This will be Jason and I thirty years from now. Hell, that's us now. :-P

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Golden Girls

This is classic!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Piss and Moan

This is to be my piss and moan entry. Enjoy :)

I took Virgil (my car) to Midas to get a front end alignment. I've needed one for some time now, and the tires have been wearing unevenly as a result, so I decided to get it done before taking my road trip to Pa this week. We got a call from the Midas man, and come to find out, in addition to the alignment, the car needs new struts and studs (I think). All in all, it would have cost $700!! Needless to say, I was pissed.

So, I brought home Virgil, non-repaired. We were warned not to let the condition linger as the parts that need replacing are well worn. So, we put a call into our family mechanic who works for a dealership (and who's children I'm sure we have put through college) to hopefully take the car, and repair it himself sometime SOON, and for less. My trip has of course been canceled. Virgil is in no shape for the 300 mile (one way) trek.

I was really looking forward to spending the time with Jason, as well as visiting my Great-Aunts whom I have not seen since Grandma's funeral over two years ago. Not to mention the summer is over (classes start next week), and I have gone NO WHERE. So, I am disappointed not to be able to see my family, and pissed off at the huge car bill I will end up paying to get the car repaired. Yay!!! -- Where is this crappy carma coming from anyway???

As I mentioned, classes start next week. This also means my tuition bill is due. I just paid it online... $4200. Woo hoo!!! The joys of being a student. Can't wait to see how much books cost.

Toby is still hanging in there. He finally has his appetite back. His bark is rather horsed, and he sounds like such an old fart when he barks. I'm still eager to get his test results back from the vet on Thursday.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Toby update

Toby was taken to the vet the other day, and is doing much better. They are not sure exactly what was wrong with him, but they believe it might have been a severe case of a strain of "dog" flu. He has been put on anti-biotics as a precaution, and was also given anti-vomit meds. He has more energy now, and is walking around and greeting people as normal.

Much to our relief, the vet said his kidneys are functioning just fine, and we are awaiting the results of the other blood tests that were done. In any case, we are all very relieved to have our dog back. :)

Friday, August 17, 2007

Long, LONG Day

I had come home around 1 in the morning from going out with Jason. Once I walked in the front door, my sister called me to go upstairs. "Look in the hallway" she said, and as I glanced, I saw it was covered in feces... Toby had lost control and gone to the bathroom all over. Toby was never like that, he must have been sick.

I couldn't find him in the house, so I went out on the deck. There, on the lawn below, lay Toby by himself in the dark. I walked over to him, and he simply looked at me, but didn't move. I thought perhaps he was ashamed of what he did, and felt he was in trouble.. so I approached him calmly and reassuringly. As soon as I got up to him I knew something was wrong.

He wouldn't move. No matter what I said, no matter what I did, he just lay there.. perfectly still, looking like a Sphinx with it's head down resting on his front paws. I manged to coax him into following me up the stairs of the deck to the dining room door to let him in the house. Once in the light of the deck lamp, I noticed his hind quarter was covered in the feces. He was sicker than I thought.

By this time my parents were up, and Toby had again laid down.. only this time on the deck in front of the door leading into the dining room. Again, he wouldn't move. I brought a bucket of warm water and began to clean him off as best I could. Normally, Toby gets very irritated when people touch his tail or anything in that region.. almost always causing a twitch of some sort. He never moved.

Again, nothing we could say or do would get him to move. My parents decided to head back to bed, but I couldn't leave him alone. I got a pillow and blanket and laid on the floor by the sliding door so he wouldn't be alone. Occasionally I'd scratch his nose or pet him to let him know I was there, for at this point I wasn't too sure how aware he was of his surroundings. At about 4:30, I went downstairs to get something, and heard that he had come into the house. I went upstairs and saw he had laid down in his usual place in the hallway by my parent's bedroom door. Knowing he was at least in the house, I went to bed.

9:30am rolled around rather quickly, and I had to get up, showered, and dressed for Katie's sister's funeral. I was half expecting Toby to not have survived the night, but he did, only in the same lethargic state as I had left him.

Watching the grieving family was so hard. To lose a daughter and a sister so young.. I can't even imagine. The pain on their faces said more than words would ever describe.

We went with the family to Panes for lunch, and came home around 1pm. Again, not knowing whether or not Toby would still be with us. He was there.. nothing had changed.

I managed to take a brief nap before going into work. I felt like a zombie, and would never have made it through if it wasn't for the energy from the green tea pills I took before going in.

I was so worried about Toby my whole shift, and called home every hour or so. Nothing changed. When I came home he was laying at the top of the steps, where he remains. No bark, no tail wag.. just stares.

There was a plate set out for him with hamburg and rice on it, as recommended by the vet (whom he is going to see tomorrow morning). He hadn't touched it.. only drank water, and vomited it up outside. I brought the plate back over to him, and he finally started eating, and consumed most of the food there. When he was done, I brought over his water bowl, and again he started to drink heartily. So far, it has stayed down.

There is a chance this is some kind of flu. This same thing happened to my Aunt's dog two weeks ago, and she is a year younger than Toby. Aunt Karen thought she was going to have to be put to sleep.. she wouldn't move or respond either. We're hoping that is the case with our dog, but something inside tells me it isn't. We will see.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Another Tragedy

Once I finally crawled out of bed, my mother quickly called me over to her. She had some really bad news to tell me. Come to find out, Katie's (my sister-in-law) sister Carrie was found dead this morning by her boyfriend. We do not know yet what was the cause of death, all we know is that she had died hours before her boyfriend arrived home from work this morning. Carrie was only 31.

I can't imagine what Katie's parents are going through right now, and I know Katie is taking this very hard. She can't believe that now she is an only child. For me, it helps me realize how life can change from day to day, minute to minute. As cliche as it may sound, it's important to appreciate the people we love, and let them know that each and everyday... for we never know when it will be the last we see them in this life. Death knows no age.

I ask all who read this entry to please keep Carrie and her family in your hearts and in your prayers... and in honor of her, make an effort to say "I love you" or "Thank you" to the people you care about in your life. Don't put it off till tomorrow.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Yammerings

I have had a horrible time sleeping lately. I'm not sure if it's a result of my medication or not... but here it is, after 2am, and I'm still up. Last night, I didn't fall asleep until almost 4am, and that was after a 9 hour shift at work... and even after I did manage to fall asleep, the nightmares make it so I'm not well rested when I awake. The Fall semester, as busy as it is sure to be, is going to be rough.

I received my final grade for my second (and last) summer grad class. I earned yet another A!! Woo hoo!! I'm so happy. This class was very enjoyable, and I learned so many new ideas to bring to the classroom I had never thought of before. I just hope the rest of my courses will be as enjoyable and informative. So far.. so good. :)

Jason and I spent most of Wednesday together hitting the antique shops in Clarance. I'm so proud of both of us for not buying a thing... though, we were both tempted numerous times. Jason treated me to a late lunch/early dinner at The Cheesecake Factory, which has become one of my favorite restaurants. We had a gorgeous waiter named Brian (I'm a sucker for that name), which made the meal all the more enjoyable. On the check, I wrote my e-mail addy, but never got a reply. I wasn't expecting to hear from the guy, but I firmly believe in the old saying of "nothing ventured, nothing gained."

It was nice spending time with Jason.. doing what we do best.... SHOPPING. The antique stores are a lot of fun for us, and of course, the Galleria mall is too. We couldn't believe how many of the stores already have their Halloween merchandise out. I love that holiday, but come on.. let's not rush it too much. Seasonal things get boring fast.. I don't want to be sick of it before October even arrives.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Confessions of a Match Maker


There is a new show on A&E called, Confessions of a Match Maker. There was one guy on there, Grant, who is living in Buffalo, and sought out the match maker for help. To quote the show, he is a "suit and tie kinda guy in a blue jeans kinda town". GASP! That's me!! No wonder I'm single here in Buffalo. That's it.. I'm going to Manhattan... in my best suit and seeing if I can get a guy there.

Yea, cuz my fashion sense is the reason I'm single.

Summer break?

I finished my final paper for my second summer class at last. This marks the "beginning" of my summer vacation or recess.... all three weeks of it. Whop-dee-do.

It's been a long, LONG summer... and even though I've only done one course at a time, it's been hard to keep up with the mountain of work that has to get done since everything is condensed to fit it into a smaller time allotment. The Fall semester is going to be quite difficult and time consuming, taking 5 courses, and doing my 100 hours of observations in various schools and classrooms. It's going to be crazy, but my attitude has always been, the sooner I start it, the sooner I get it over with.

What I am most worried about is being able to successfully keep up with my course work, observations, AND put in enough hours at work to pay the bills. If I can do all that, and still keep my sanity, then I know I can handle just about anything.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Good times

Had dinner at Anne's house with Jason yesterday.. had a BLAST. Dinner was wonderful, and I enjoyed more than my fair share of a bottle of wine. :-)

It's always great getting together with friends, and talking and laughing the night away. It's even better when the evening is spent spending time with your closest and dearest friends. We didn't leave until after 11pm, and the night just flew by. I'm very fortunate to have Anne and Jason in my life.. and it's fantastic that they too have become good friends. People like that are a once in a lifetime find.

Jason and I will be taking a road trip to Plains/Wilkes Barre Pa to visit my great Aunt Ann. I had to miss my family reunion this summer, and really wanted to go down and visit Aunt Ann, and my Aunt Mary who is turning 90 this September. I do have a few relatives down there, and it will be nice to see them, some of whom I haven't seen since my Grandma's funeral.

In fact, I haven't been down to visit Grandma's home town since she was alive. It's something I have been putting off since she passed. I still think of it as her home, and it will be very painful to go there without her... the house she grew up in, and trip she looked forward to so much each year. It will be hard.. one last place in my life where I have to get used to grandma being gone.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Harry Potter Puppet Pals

A friend of mine sent me this link.. I laughed my ass off. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Late night/early morning babble

It's 2:17AM, and I'm not tired enough to go to bed, and don't have the energy to go for a walk. There's nothing good on tv, I've read and re-read every blog I follow, and gay.com is.. well, crap.

My folks are gone to a wedding out of town for a weekend, and Kristy and Scott are both in bed.. which is where I should be, but don't see that happening until my sleeping pill kicks in. All I can hear right now is the click click click of my keyboard, and the water pouring from my fountain.

This week has been a very long week, starting with my parents Anniversary, and has been a slow mental decent for me. I'm so tired from summer classes, and the everyday crap that goes on at home and at work. I guess I'm just in a funk... not because of some kind of clinical depression, but... well... can't it just be "because"?

There are times where I am on top of the world.. center stage.. making everyone laugh... the life of the party. And yet, even when you're on top of the world, it's easy to get lonely. I don't NEED someone to make my life worth wild, but it would be nice to HAVE someone around... someone who wanted to know how my day was, someone to do things with, be a partner, and someone to cuddle up with when the day is done. Every now and then I'll catch myself reaching over in the bed only to remember there's no one there.

It's not easy always being the single guy at a family function. I felt it again at the Anniversary party. I don't even have any stories to share about dating... everyone has heard them a million times before.... my dates have been so few and far between.

Summer times makes me think of Chuck.. a lot. My first relationship. I met him in May, was in my glory most of the summer, but by fall wanted out so badly. I miss what we did together, and how I felt, but I don't miss him.. or what it turned into. No scars there, just a learning point of what not to do. Life just seemed a bit more.. special.. when I had someone to "come home to".

The few random people I met along the way... hoping something would work out, but it never did. Wondering if I wore different clothes, or maybe had a smaller waist line if I'd have a chance. Maybe if I wasn't so opinionated, maybe if I drove a "cooler" car.. who knows. To try is to fail.

I miss the phone calls I used to get from Jeff. I miss driving out to see him, and spending time with him at the fire station. I remember how excited I would get when I would see anything that reminded me of a fireman, and the sense of pride I had at his passion for such a noble job. Now I feel a sharp pain when I see something related to that field. A reminder of something else I probably botched up for being me. "He doesn't know what he's missing" is the standard response. "He found something better." is what I hear in my mind. I try to be friends, but it hurts to even see his name among the many others in my cell phone. -- I can't play the game everyone else does.. putting him down, making him out to be some kind of monster. I just can't. I prefer to try and bury the feelings and let them die... but that hole is too deep to fill just yet.

I'm already turning into my mother's escort. The one that goes with her to family functions when my father can't go... the one that makes her look good, and keeps her company when the other guests are busy else where. When did I become Aunt Kathy? Living vicariously though others... watching our siblings live the life we dreamed.

Friday, July 20, 2007

lollipop tree

Ok.. as dumb as this video is, we used to sing this song in my second grade class. Good ole' Mrs. Piskor. I NEVER forgot this song.. in fact, I sing it every now and then.

I had no idea Burl Ives sang it. This video doesn't play the whole song, but I was excited to stumble across it none the less.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Family and Friends

This weekend we celebrated my older brother Joe's 27th birthday (which was actually the 16th). Katie had us over to the house for dinner along with her side of the family. The food was great, and I enjoy spending time with her sister and parents.

This is the first time every that I bought Joey a birthday gift... in fact, it was the first time ever he wished me a Happy Birthday. Though there is still a lot in our past, and uneasiness between us, time and distance (not living in the same house) is starting to heal the wounds. Joe is obsessed with the movie A Christmas Story, and being a huge fan of the 1940's, I too love this film for it's cultural value. So, it's an interest we share. He has been collecting everything he can from the movie from action figures, to village pieces, to a mini leg lamp he keeps in his office. I found a miniature replica of the "Little Orphan Annie" decoder pin as was used in the movie. It was rather a cheap copy, so I promised him when I found a real one on ebay, I will pick it up for him. Alone with the pin he got a container of "rich chocolaty" Ovaltine. He loved it.

My parents gave him a cool present from Disney World. It was a figurine of Mickey shaking hands with a firefighter. I thought it was so neat. In fact, Joe is hoping to get the results of his state firefighter exam today. I have been praying so hard he gets it. There are many things I wouldn't recommend my brother for, but when it comes to his genuine passion for that career, I can't think of a better man for the job. Despite my not-so-good experience with firemen, Joe does make me proud of the work he does.

On Monday, we celebrated my Mom and Dad's 30th Wedding Anniversary, which is Joe's birthday, and would have been my Grandfather's birthday. My Aunt arranged for us to meet them out at The Red Mill Inn for a surprise dinner. Mom and Dad thought that they were just meeting my Aunt and Uncle, and when they arrived, the found their children, and three of the closest friends waiting for them there. So, we all had dinner and cake at the restaurant, and it turned out to be a very nice evening.. despite the fact that the food was really quite awful.

Anniversaries and weddings get me rather emotional on the inside... for reasons I'm sure faithful readers of this blog can already guess. Joe took the occasion to remind me that I will be like our Dad's oldest sister who never married (though she is now engaged to a rather pitiful man who she seems to be marrying out of sheer loneliness). Some how, I know I'll end up the old man living alone in the big old house where kids are afraid to go up to on Halloween. Oh well.. more candy for me then.

came into town this week. He is now teaching in An old friend of mine who went to high school and NCCC with me, as well as worked at WalmartLas Vegas. He came over for a visit last night, and we went out to lunch this afternoon down by the river. I think I've spent more time with him in the past 24 hours than I have in the past 5 years. Ha Ha. It's nice catching up with him, and remembering all the stories from high school we have forgotten. Especially the time I got our papers torn up in junior year Spanish for copying his answers (ironic because he was the one always copying from me). He now laughs at how furious he was, and how hysterical I thought the whole situation was. Good times.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Warning.....
Homosexuals have been known to attack without warning or just cause. For your own safety and protection, please keep a safe distance at all time
s.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Good on paper

One of my co-workers is going through a rough time with his ex girl friend. I hate it when people like this guy end up getting used, and their hearts stepped on, and it really seems this is what's going on. She is enjoying all the perks of having a boyfriend, with none of the commitment. He is optimistic they will get back together, I am skeptical. I guess this is my "Miranda" from Sex in the City talking again when she said something to the effect of: "I like to shake hands, part ways, and then act as if the other person doesn't exist." It's a good protection strategy, especially when you really cared for your "ex", and you know deep down they never felt that for you.

People always seem to be fumbling with whether or not someone is right for them. I get asked my opinion about this at work all the time. There is the old saying about people "looking right on paper". Why don't we all do that once in a while and sit down and spell out exactly what we are looking for? If you're someone like me who gets a boy friend once every blue moon in a leap year, you may forget what it is you're looking for. Oh, and do yourself a favor, don't write down physical expectations... I've surprised myself at some of the guy's my tongue has fallen out for.

I already concede I am attracted to the type of man I will never be able to hang onto. I always feel as if I'd be settling for someone when I meet the type of guys who seem to be interested in me. In fact, only twice in my life can I honestly say I was in LOVE with someone... and both were love at first sight. The first was someone I knew for a long time, and I would have given everything I had to be with him. All I can say about that is "some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers"! The second was someone I knew for a relatively short time. In both cases, love turned out to be a painful experience, and the wounds still sting on occasion.

I have to be honest with myself, I need a strong guy. I'm not talking JUST physically, (though I do prefer them same size or "larger" build than myself), but emotionally and mentally. In my family, I grew up quick. I was the strong one in many circumstances.. the care taker, the rock. I need someone who can walk on his own two feet, knows where he is going in life, has a purpose, and doesn't need me to lift him up all the time. A man with a backbone, a sense of humor, and a level of sarcasm that can keep up with mine. I need a guy that if I need to be a wreck for a while, will be there for ME, and give me the open arms when the time comes.

My family is very opinionated, and even judgmental. I need a guy who I don't have to worry will stroke out at a family event, or go running because someone was picking on him. He needs to be able to stand up for himself and be able to fire comments right back. A guy who will dance with me at a wedding and not worry if people are starring, or hold me at a funeral and not be afraid of what people will say.

Some how, I always end up with a following of men who are as big around their waste as I am around my pinkie finger... have airy voices, and swish when then walk. Are as fragile as fine porcelain, and lacking nerve. The young men who need a mentor, a guidance counselor, a therapist, someone to tell them what to do because life is too hard.. A teacher, not a partner.

Where is the guy that can equal my strengths and will, or even surpass it? The man who can keep up with my dry sense of humor, and cut me down when I need it instead of crying?

I'm thinking I have a long wait ahead of me.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

HARRY POTTER!!!

I went to the theatre to see the new Harry Potter movie, and yes, I have grown quite accustomed to going to the movies by myself. It was PACKED. I had to get a spot in the second row, and my neck is still killing me from looking up at the screen.

It was worth the frantic drive down there (to not be late), and the stiff neck. It was an awesome movie!!!!! They left out a lot of detail from the book, naturally, to save on time... but did manage to include all the good stuff. It amazes me how much the the movies portray locations, characters, and scenery the way I pictured them in my mind when I read the books initially.

The fight scene between Dumbledore and Voldemort was amazing, and made it worth the price of admission. I'm so psyched now for the next book to come out... and a little bummed that it will be the last book in the series.

Yes.. I am a geek and I fully admit it!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Damn Good Advice

This is a clip from Tyler Perry's "Madea Goes to Jail". It's great advice, and something I need to watch every so often.. especially when I get lonely (like now). Do yourself a favor and watch the whole clip.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Family Fun

The family all came over today to "officially" celebrate my birthday (meaning there was a cake involved). We had pizza and an ice cream cake, and all sat around laughing... on top of having to listen to the sound of them bellow out the "Happy Birthday Song".

After cake, about 10 of us got together to play Catch Phrase. It's similar to the old Pyramid game show where one person on your team has the name of some person, object, or saying, and has to give you clues to figure out what it is before the buzzer sounds. My sister in law and little brother had us rolling on the floor laughing with their blunders. Katie's hint for one was "The big ape who climbed on top of the building. The scary movie...." Everyone kept guessing King Kong, but when she said "no, the other one.." I knew right away that she had the wrong movie, and kept laughing until her team's time was up. She was going for "Godzilla".

Scott's was the best. His descriptions was, "She was the black woman who wrote that book... you know, that book about her life." Well, everyone was guessing Oprah, Harriet Tubman, some even said Rosa Parks. No one on either team could guess who he was referring to. When the buzzer sounded he finally told us... "Anne Frank!" All of us almost fell off our chairs laughing.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

25 years on Earth

Today marks my 25th birthday. I can't believe I have managed to exist for a quarter of a century and no one has shot me... yet. :-)

I had a wonderful day thanks in large part to my good friends. It started with a trip to the Taste of Buffalo with Nick and Jason.. and all the trip was on them. We had a great time, and all sampled in the various foods that local Buffalo restaurants have to offer. I gladly indulged in three wine slushies which made the day even better!

Uncle Vinny took my mother and I to Condrell's on Delaware in Kenmore for some ice cream. Mom and I both had no fat - no sugar sundaes, otherwise known as "what's the point?". I was bombarded with an array of greetings via text message from my family and friends throughout the day as well... even from my older brother who has never wished me a Happy Birthday (that I can recall).

The day ended with a WONDERFUL dinner with Jason at my dear friend Bobby's home. He made my favorite meal... meatloaf!!! We had drinks and homemade apple pie for desert. It was a blast to spend time with them... and everything was cooked to perfection, as always!

Much to my great surprise I even got a birthday greeting from Jeff... which shocked the Hell out of me. I'm weird when it comes to ex boyfriends, and am one of those people who, like Miranda from Sex in the City, prefers to shake hands, walk away and pretend the other person doesn't exist. It was very kind of him to remember me, and was nice chatting with him via AOL instant messenger.

Good people make a big difference in life, and my friends and family certainly made this day a wonderful celebration for me. I'm fortunate to have real friends such as Bobby, Jason, and Anne who make everyday a celebration, and a sincere joy to have them in my life.

Thanks everyone for making my transition into old age as painless as possible.

The Baby that Begs to be Beaten

If there is any doubt Stewie is a big ole homo... this should prove it to you.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

I'm getting old.

I remember turning 10, and everyone joking that I had entered the "double digits". It was so cool each birthday to get another year older, and move one step closer to being an adult. I used to wonder at what age it was that people didn't like the idea of getting older... I now know what that age is... 25.

On Saturday, July 7th.. at some time in the wee hours of the morning (my mom will remember the exact time), I will be turning 25. I'm going to be a quarter century old! Holy shit that sounds nuts doesn't it??

In the gay world, I might as well be dead. I totally missed out on being the hot "boi", or the skinny "twink". I just couldn't pull that off. The sexy college guy thing is pretty much over once you get to grad school... so now I'm just "old". Around 30 I might be able to pull off that slightly older cute guy thing... but I doubt it. Ha Ha!

"I think my biggest problem is being young and beautiful. Oh, I've been beautiful, and God knows I've been young, but never the two have met." - Torch Song Trilogy

Nick and Jason are taking me to the Taste of Buffalo, and treating me to a sampling of local cuisine. After that will be "cake" at the house with my family, and then dinner at Bobby's. Yes, I have awesome friends!

I will miss Anne and Vince's birthday phone call where they both sing "Happy Birthday" to me over the phone. Their granddaughter is being buried the day before, and they will be in Texas. My heart is breaking for them. I wish I could call her to let her know I'm thinking about her, and send her some support.

This will also be my first birthday without any grandparents. I remember last year grandpa gave me an envelope with some money in it (they stopped cards years ago), and on the front wrote "Happy Birthday Mikey. Love Grams and Gramps"... he had still signed her name to it. I don't think there will ever be enough time to pass that I don't miss them just as much as they day they died.

As the day steadily approaches, I have been bitching a lot (me? Bitch?? naw....) about hitting the quarter century mark, and the fact I was still single. It eventually did dawn on me how truly fortunate I am. I am rather healthy, I have a job (even if it doesn't pay well, it is something and gives me insurance), I have a reliable car, a place to live, with some space of my own, a good family, and a handful of wonderful friends like Jason, Anne, and Bobby who are always there for me. I got through my under grad unscathed, and am progressing through grad school one step at a time. I might not be exactly where I had planned to be at 25 when I was in high school... but I can handle that.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Poor Jason

It's amazing my friend Jason sticks around. We went out shopping at the mall, and then out to lunch/dinner. I picked up two small shelves to hang in my living room, which I purchased with the intent of Jason, not me, hanging them. My little scheme to put Jay to work was revealed as we were in the store.... but as we found out, the reward of food was not enough.

These were and are the selves from hell. Even my father has not seen such a messed up bracket system before. The screws are smaller than standard (which means we can't find replacement screws that will fit into the holes/brackets of the shelves), and the anchors turned out to be useless. After a trip to the hardware store, some cursing, a big mess, and a lot of frustration, Jason managed to get one of the selves up (I admit.. I didn't help at all). The one shelf is up, and the second shelf will have to wait for when Jason can pick up some other piece of hardware that will magically fix this mess (thank God he knows what the heck he's doing). So I have two rather large holes in my wall (which if we don't use I will simply cover up with the shelf and forget they exist), and a shelf lying on the floor. It is taking all the will power in the world not to give into my OCD and to take the whole damn thing to Lowe's, hand it to a worker and say "MAKE IT WORK!" On top of that.. my paranoia is telling me that the other shelf will come crashing down any minute and destroy everything below it.

Jason left here to go out with his boyfriend, but I'm thinking after what I put him through.. he went straight for a bar.

Nothing is ever easy for me. Even those products that say "a child can do it" require me to seek professional help.