Friday, November 30, 2007

Morning Edition - 11/30/07

Hand In My Pocket - Alanis

Tanto Nadar Para Ahogarme En La Orilla
I’m always in awe at how poignant some Spanish sayings are. “Tanto nadar para ahogarte en la orilla,” basically translates to, “So much swimming to drown at the shore (edge).” Although I’ve heard this saying all my life, it has never meant so much to me as it does right now. Mainly I’m feeling a sense that now that I’m pretty much where I need to be, I’m inexplicably drained and despondent. I have a comfy job, a good man, a great apartment and most important, good health and I’m drowning at the edge of good fortune. First, I can do my job with my hands tied behind my back and my boss sitting on my lap, but I’m not challenged, am often bored and am feeling that what I do has no impact on anything relevant. I’m a firm believer in the theory that when you feel you’re about to complain about what you do for a living, it’s time to move on, but I sit anxiously waiting for an epiphany of some sort. It’s also fair to mention that I’m encouraged to sit down and shut up since my job treats me like Paris Hilton at the opening of a new club – which is to say, they worship the quicksand I walk on; I’m afforded the opportunity to keep comfortable work hours and put-it-down at the gym in the middle of the day. What is a Puerto Rican man who can easily live the no-work-all-play stereotype to do? Onward and upward to issue #2: my man. Let me preface any of my rants about BD with, “He is a great man.” He’s brilliant, gorgeous, caring, affectionate, sexy and the list goes on and on and on. The issue I have with him is that he appears to lack the basic intuitiveness that naturally occurs after a year of dating. Repeatedly I get the sense that although I’m not a jealous man, he should have a sense of how BIG I am on feeling respected and valued. Give me my respect at all times or I turn into a monster of fork-tongued, poison protest. It seems it’s difficult for BD to determine what scenarios could send my Code Green mood, into a fast and furious Code-Red-don’t-fuck-with-me-fella mode. All said, the issue is as easy to correct as sensing my apprehension when I mention something that bothers me and squashing the concern with reassurance. No relationship is perfect and my present concerns are whether we can grow beyond the point where we are now – especially, since this involves a complete change of our lives as we know them to be with regard to establishing a family unit. More important, are we even ready to take the next logical step in a timeframe we both feel is acceptable? Finally on the list of perishing at the edge of the tides is that I moved into my apartment in June and still have a living room littered with boxes and a sense that I’m not making a genuine effort to make my apartment “home.” I look around my place and see so much potential, but once the weekend hits, the voices in my head resort to unanimously chanting, “Its my place and I’ll get it together when I’m good and ready…let’s rest!” That said, I’m disgusted at the realization that my friends (and now neighbors) who moved into my building a month after me have already organized their place AND have had their housewarming party. Note to self: You will get your apartment together before Christmas – PERIOD! So folks, as you can see, no one has a perfect existence and not everything is as it appears. As someone who is often seen as the life of the party and unfazed by the little things, you’d be surprised how, of late, I feel like “Tanto nadar para ahogarme en la orilla.”

On Blast
The jury is still out on how much of what people believe about me is actually true. For example, I’ve been called everything from a gut-busting regular comedian to a cold hearted bitch. The real question is, where in the middle of this chasm, my reality resides.

That said, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. What comments about your personality have you rejected as ridiculous, only to find after closer inspection, that some of those comments are either true or that you have fed the fire of allegations with your actions?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Morning Edition - 11/28/07

Gimme More
Eight days in the Caribbean will either relax you or make you hate the thought of your return to reality. I’m not quite sure where I’m at with regard to being back in the rotten Apple, but I’m here. My trip to Puerto Rico is usually filled with days at the beach and nights at the club, but I took advantage of this trip to spend quality time with my parents and other family. The intense hang-out time with my folks made me keenly aware that they’re aging – fast – and that they can really use the help caring for their house (my house, upon their death, as they put it) and just basically getting around. I found myself serving as a caregiver – cooking, cleaning and driving them around. Yes, I still made it to the beach a few times and was sweaty at the center of a couple of dance floors, but the “hanging” wasn’t at the center of this adventure. When I got ready to pull out of my parent’s house yesterday morning my father gave me last minute advice on how to be safe and take care of myself, while my mom was teary eyed and said she didn’t know how she would function without me around. All in all, I have a gut sense that I’m the only child without an immediate family of his own that can actually serve as a support system for my folks. The thought apparently had crossed their minds too, since they insisted I forward my resume to them and begin a job search on the island. I haven’t ruled out a move to the island, but right now there are so many variables to consider – not the least of which is my relationship with BD. I love him. Throughout my stay with the folks, BD and I communicated via text and phone daily – sometimes several times a day – and I did miss him terribly. There’s so much that has happened since my last BD post – mainly growth spurts that included some growing pains. Still, he remains my heart and I his. It’s a case of feeling that I’m pulled in so many directions – sort-of like that “Gimme more…” concept. Don’t look for pics of this trip. I opted to keep the camera in my bag and simply let my memory take it all in. For the record, I really miss my parents today.

On Blast
Is it unrealistic (and social martyrdom) to assume the primary care of our aging family members OR is it a return to the respectful care of our elders to take on such a task?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Friday, November 16, 2007

Morning Edition - 11/16/07

Well folks, I’m off to Puerto Rico. A combination vacation / family reunion; I’m so excited to be relaxing for eight straight days. Since I’m taking this trip by myself, I suspect I’ll do everything at my own pace. My main goal is to really gather my thoughts and rejuvenate. I’ll be acting like a solar panel, trying to gather and hold as much heat to hold me through the upcoming winter months. This is also the first time since we got serious, that BD and I will be apart. It’s a good thing. We can practice the absence-makes-the-heart-grow-fonder concept. I suspect I won’t have as many pictures to share this time around and quite honestly, since I’m in the midst of a thick phase, I’m actually glad. It’s a fitting time to thank all of you (my blogger family) for allowing me to share my journey with you. I’m sincerely grateful for all your comments this year. Happy Thanksgiving! Be safe. Be grateful.

On Blast
Parents, teachers, family and friends are almost expected to impart us with wisdom and advice. Outside of the folks you expect to be there for you, who has pleasantly surprised you this year with their loyal support?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Morning Edition - 11/15/07

Pride; A Deeper Love
With my trip home (Puerto Rico) on Monday, I’m feeling tons of Puerto Rican pride. I’m always amazed at how my culture will celebrate every win to no end. When Zuleyka Rivera won Ms. Universe in 2006, there was a national holiday on the island the next day. Call it finding a reason to take a day off or savoring every success collectively.

On Blast
What was your most proud cultural moment? Why?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Morning Edition - 11/14/07

Feeling: I learned from the Best; Whitney

Baby Fat
A U.S. gym operating in London is signing-up babies as young as 4 months old to encourage exercise at an early age. Though some say the gym rats are operating on parent’s fear that their child will be the one in five children under 11-years old that is found to be obese, others believe there’s no such thing as too early to start on a good exercise regimen. There are already over 500 children scheduled to attend the baby gyms and grandparents are said to be considering it one of the hottest gifts for the holiday. At over $600 a pop, the gym isn’t cheap. Experts say that there is no benefit to having a child that can barely crawl, do any real exercise. Meanwhile, the folks at the gym are saying that parents will be pleasantly surprised with the amount of exertion the gym brings out in the babies.

Die Now or Live With HIV?
Not since 1985 has an organ transplant recipient been infected with the virus that causes HIV/AIDS. Unfortunately, even with screening potential donors for the virus that causes HIV, the set-up is not 100% safe. Two weeks ago, four patients who received organs from an infected donor back in January while at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Rush University Medical Center and the University of Chicago Medical Center were informed that they are HIV and Hepatitis C positive. Ultimately, the doctors say that all precautions were taken – including testing the donor for HIV and Hepatitis, but the negative test results were not capturing the reality that the donor had been infected shortly before his death. The donor questionnaire shows that the donor engaged in high-risk behavior a short time before his death. Doctors say that the risk calculation is simple; if a patient will die without the transplant, then taking the risk of transplanting an infected organ outweighs the threat of immediate death. With over 400,000 organ transplants taking place without a hitch since the 80s, it’s safe to say that the screening process has worked well.

Commodity: Puerto Ricans
Since the Jones-Shafroth Act in 1917, Puerto Ricans have been U.S. Citizens. Whether born on the U.S. mainland or on the island of Puerto Rico, Puerto Ricans are Americans. Since 2004, the U.S. mainland Puerto Rican population has managed to match (and some say surpass) the four million inhabitants presently living on the Caribbean island. Before you start any ignorant talk about tacos or Ricky Ricardo, neither of these are Puerto Rican and do not stem from Puerto Rican culture. First, tacos (taco bell included) are Mexican based. For the record, Mexicans are the largest Latino group in the U.S. with over 26 million Mexicans spread across our nation. Second, Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz) was Cuban. Although Cuba is a neighbor of Puerto Rico, Ricky was not Puerto Rican. Finally, you won’t ever hear a Puerto Rican refer to someone as “Hey ‘Ese’ how’s it going?” Puerto Ricans do not use the word ‘Ese’ to refer to friends or family – EVER. Although likely to be found anywhere in the U.S., Puerto Ricans are said to be concentrated in New York City, Connecticut, Chicago, Florida and Houston – notice that there is no mention of Los Angeles. The city of Angels’ largest Latino population is mainly Mexican. So before you go labeling every Latino person you come across as Puerto Rican, recognize that when put into context, Puerto Ricans are a rare commodity.

On Blast
What culture outside of your own would you be curious to have a sexual experience (encounter) with? Why?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Morning Edition - 11/13/07

Mood Music: Uninvited (Alanis)

Crossing Bridges When You Come to Them
It’s been a whirlwind several months for BD and I and we’ve enjoyed every bit of it. We’ve grown to know each other better; including the things that send us over the edge. The Minnie and I have also bonded and have a great time when we hang together. Like all pots that come to a boil, you have to turn the heat down and let them simmer if you want the flavor to go through them. In addition, I’ve been in an odd slump. My friend Wonderful Counselor (WC) said that my upcoming vacation may be just what I need to restore my verve and effervescence. Quite honestly, I hope so. I’m beginning to have questions regarding my future with BD creep into my mind. For example, is our current coast mode attributable to the many issues that surround our next steps? The next obvious steps would require a greater commitment and sharing our relationship with his close family. We have not had a conversation surrounding what – if any – next steps we are both willing to take. When the conversation about announcing our relationship to his family has come up, he reassures me that, “They’ll just need to deal with it…” referring to his close friends and family. So far the only one “dealing” with the standstill is me. I don’t know that I’m clear on what I expect and how soon before I would be anxious about the lack of forward momentum. For now, I’ll bask in the sun, enjoy the love and get my toll money out in preparation for that upcoming bridge.

A Crush On Mom
Jan Kilgore lived with her 78-year old mom, Gloria Littlefield, in Somersworth, New Hampshire. Littlefield had suffered a mild stroke recently that left her weak on one side; she’s also said to have suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. On Saturday, Kilgore was backing her pick-up truck down the driveway when she accidentally ran over her mom. She was pronounced dead from her internal injuries a short time later. New Hampshire police said that Kilgore faces no charges and that this was just a terrible accident.

My Bruh-Bruh’s a Grown Man
William, my baby brother, turned 21 yesterday. A naturally charming, good-hearted, well meaning guy, Will is now officially a man! It seems like just yesterday that I was watching Will put on his favorite little suit and clip-on tie. He was the model son I couldn’t be to my dad and he always made me feel he has the warmest heart of all my siblings. Happy birthday Will! May you stay forever young!!

On Blast

We all take a moment on Thanksgiving to celebrate what we’re most grateful for. If you were asked to take your most prized material possession and hand it to someone at a soup kitchen this Thanksgiving, could you do it?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Morning Edition - 11/11/07

On Blast
Years later I still find this man and his voice HOT to death and don’t see many current male singers who make me smile – W I D E – today like he does.
What singer of the past would you say doesn’t have a comparable match today?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Evening Edition - 11/7/07

I’ll Take It Without Cheese
James Boldt converted to Judaism in 2004 and is the father and sole custodial parent of a 12-year old boy. Since his religious conversion in 2004, James has been in a legal battle with Lia Boldt over whether their son should be circumcised. A lower court had sided with the dad, but urged the father to wait until all appeals were exhausted before having his son’s banana peeled. Now the Oregon Supreme Court is hearing the case. Although there are proponents defending both sides of the issue, this case is really determining whether someone outside the sole custodial parent has a say with regard to a child. Presently, 58% of boys born in the U.S. each year are circumcised, but this procedure normally happens prior to their departure from the hospital. Only 7% of adult males in the U.S. have elective surgery to be circumcised.

This Is My Confession
Matthew Dubay, 25, told his girlfriend Lauren Wells that he didn’t want children. She simply responded that a medical condition prevented her from having any children; so basically, they were all squared away. Except Wells got pregnant and gave birth to a baby girl. Wells then petitioned the court to have Dubay pay child support and so began the case dubbed the Roe vs. Wade for Men. Dubay said that he shouldn’t be forced to pay support for a child that he did not want - even prior to her conception. Dubay's argument is simple – he says that Michigan's paternity law violates the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause because it didn't extend reproductive rights to men. Ultimately, a federal appeals court dismissed Dubay’s case as frivolous and ordered him to pay $500 a month for child support. The court said that Dubay’s perceived inequity is outweighed by society’s interest to insure children have the support of both their parents.

Puerto Rico, Furniture and My Love of Dogs
As I mentioned in a previous post, my money is more stretched than Monique’s girdle at a BET Awards show. That said, I’m getting the most out of my available cash and still trying to have some semblance of nest-care with regard to my home. On Monday, November 19th, I’m flying out to spend eight wonderful days with my family in Puerto Rico. I’m excited and anxiously counting the days until I can eat mom’s cooking, lay on a beach and just chill. I have three consecutive trips directly behind this one, but second on my stretch-that-cash list is buying new living room furniture. Since returning to NYC, I purchased a new sofa, but now want to give that away and get a whole new living room get-up. This would include a convenient sofa bed that would make my crib more comfortable for me and my out-of-town guests. I’ve researched a few sets and let’s just say that I’ll need to shell out north of $3,500 to get a set I like. Keep your fingers crossed and your sleeping bags available if you plan to stay at my house in the near future. Finally, I complain about Busta (my soon-to-be nine-year old Miniature Schnauzer) and his antics, but the truth is I can’t live without him. He is my faithful companion, my ear when I’m suffering from embarrassing lunacy and my loyal roommate. Since his health scare several months ago, I began saying that if something were to happen to my boy, I would do without pets for good. Now I find myself checking several breeders for puppies and wondering if I should get my best friend a brother now, to give him company and me a safety net in the event of his untimely demise. Like the shoe fetishes and bag afflictions of many, puppies and cars are my weak spots. I’m presently considering either an English Bull Dog or a Doberman Pinscher. I’ll keep the future pooch’s almost-living-room-furniture price to myself for now.

On Blast
There is presently no irrefutable proof that circumcision prevents any diseases or has any medical benefits. That said, do you believe that male circumcision is genital mutilation or a case of socially acceptable aesthetic enhancement – sort-of like having a baby girl’s ears pierced?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Afternoon Edition - 11/3/07

Lead the Way
At this point in my life, I’m pleasantly surprised to say that I’m in love. Yeah, yeah…so you’ve noticed that from the sappy postings and the ongoing love story of BD and I that appear at least once a week on my blog. The truth is, I didn’t think this love – or any other love for that matter – would happen at this stage in my life. Moreover, I was content to feel that I have an incredible circle of friends and was enjoying myself just fine without the romantic entanglements. I am, however, taking one day at a time and savoring a new love. A love that is different from all that I’ve experienced. One of the changes that made this love possible was to actually do as Mariah’s song says and let love lead the way. For a control freak like me, that assignment is easier said than done, but I’m taking the project seriously. As I’ve said in the past, I don’t’ know where BD and I are going or if this is a forever love, but right now it’s amazing and I’ve learned to live my “right now.” Sidney Sheldon has a book entitled, “If tomorrow never comes.” The title – more than the storyline – has stayed with me over the years. Mainly because that’s how I’ve chosen to live my life; as if ‘tomorrow never comes’ I can say I really enjoyed today. It’s not as hard to do or believe….let love lead the way.

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Friday, November 02, 2007

Morning Edition - 11/2/07

Do you know? I think it’s human nature to wonder where we’re going to. What is our purpose in life? Are we getting the most out of our lives? I have my moments when I think, “I’m happy, I’m healthy and nothing else matters.” Those are great times, but there are also periods when I question whether I’m where I’m supposed to be. I’ll sit and wonder how one small event in my life has changed the entire course of where I was going and who I would meet; how those chance meetings have become life-long smiles or eternal heartaches. Reflecting on the ‘what ifs’ of my life I think of what life would had been like if I had stayed home instead of leaving home at the age of 15. Would I have been miserable if I had gone away to the Marines at 17 years old instead of backing-out by saying I was too young to be legally held to my signed contract? Then there was that acceptance letter to the University of Missouri at Columbia. I remember receiving it along with the name of my dorm roommate. We spoke on the telephone for over an hour and were excited to be coming from such different states; we never met. Instead I would stay in NYC and live a hard-knock life that made me street wise, deaf to the call of my dreams and content to just survive. Along the way there were the many faces, the incredible personalities the beautiful bodies; people who would pass-on tidbits of wisdom – some morsels that live-on in me today. With each new encounter there was a new turn and a new road traveled. I wonder if any of the roads has brought me closer to my dreams or if I’m skipping along a dead-end street that just happens to be set with a colorful façade and dreamy scenery. Then there’s the reality that life is so short. We believe that 60, 70 or even 80 years is a long time, but in the big-picture scheme of things – and in light of almost hitting 40 – it’s already halfway gone. So when I ask myself, “Do you know,” the easy answer is, “no.” Even through my inability to ‘know’ and my regrets, sorrows and accomplishments, I believe nothing that is destined for me can escape me. All that is my mine to have cannot be taken away. For all my missed opportunities, my changed plans and my questions, I somehow believe that I’m just where I’m supposed to be.

On Blast
Do you know where you’re going to?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Morning Edition - 11/1/07

The Thickness
After spending weeks enjoying a high calorie intake that included three square meals, snacks and assorted no-nos, I took a moment to weigh-in at the gym yesterday. What I discovered was that rather than losing the remaining five pounds that would bring me to my desired weight of 145 lbs., I managed to gain another 10 lbs. taking me to an even 160 lbs. If I wasn’t sure that the 10 lbs. were showing, I was reminded of it while picking up my lunch at the corporate cafeteria today. The cashier loudly exclaimed, “Boy, you are getting thick…what is that…like 10 lbs of ass?!” My initial reaction was to sling the mac & cheese, chicken breast, string beans, banana and yogurt at the ghetto hookah, but I really need to keep my job. So, I took a deep breath, gave her an icy glare and never responded. A security guard who was in line behind me simply said, “Quit messing with him.” Turned to me and said, “You look good bruh.” I flashed him a tight smile and kept stepping. The odd thing is that I took a moment to check my waistline and it’s holding at 29 inches, but it appears my thighs, butt and chest are absorbing the bulk of my weight right now. Since I don’t care for gaining mass or bulk, this isn’t exactly a welcome 10 lbs. Conversely, I’m very happy right now and I tend to eat BIG when I’m happy. I guess I need to draw the line somewhere and reign-back some of my intake to a more normal range. I’m already hitting the gym 5-6 days a week, so increasing my activity isn’t really an option. Anytime the issue of my increased weight and mass comes up, BD is more than supportive and alleges he loves my physique and always has, so any attempt to whine to him is immediately stifled. Similarly, it’s difficult to convince BD that I absolutely LOVE his body, if I appear to be so hard on myself. All said, actions speak louder than words, so if he and I can continue our insatiable and ravenous lovemaking, we prove our satisfaction with each other’s build. For now, I accept that 160 lbs. isn’t bad – at least not the way I’m presently carrying it – but I wouldn’t be comfortable putting-on any more weight.

Stretching Cash
Waiting until you’ve retired to enjoy life is insane. No one has ever laid in their deathbed wishing they spent more time at the office. Trusting that I can do anything I put my mind to, I’ve planned trips that will enhance my life, relax my body and rejuvenate my soul. Next month, I’m spending a week in my favorite place in the world – Puerto Rico – where I will take part in my family reunion. This yearly jaunt allows my enormous family to reconnect and share incredible stories of our lives and our family history. December, BD and I are sharing a long weekend in Puerto Rico. It’s time to introduce my baby to the shining star of the Caribbean, while sharing the insanity that is my people. February finds me on the slopes and my attempt at skiing and rekindling my ice skating career – NOT! Finally, I’ll be taking a 7-day cruise to Belize, Cazumel and Honduras with a group of close friends. It’s my first time location hopping and a fitting way to spend my 39th birthday. Now it’s time to buckle-down and exercise some new skills – to save and stretch cash.

The Price Of Stupidity
The Reverend Fred Phelps and his members at the Westboro Baptist Church believe that the death of our proud American men and women is justified for their role in defending a country that shows tolerance for homosexuals. To show his disdain for this perceived acceptance, Phelps and his church members routinely picket the funerals of American soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. They carry signs that read, “Thank God for dead soldiers,” and “God hates fags.” In March 2006, Phelps and his alleged God-fearing members, showed complete disregard for Albert Snyder and his family during the funeral for their son, Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, who was killed in Iraq. Snyder sued Phelps and the Westboro Baptist church and yesterday was awarded $11 million by a Baltimore court. Phelps says he will fight to overturn the verdict, but the message is clear – stop the disrespectful, ignorant and hateful display. The protests are not about the soldiers being gay, but their support of a country that they say tolerates homosexuality.

On Blast
With maturity comes the realization that our country is great because of our diversity and respect for different types of people, their beliefs, sexuality, cultural differences, etc. The first amendment to our constitution says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Do you believe that our first amendment protects Phelps’ right to protest and picket at a private funeral?

Keep passin’ the open windows…