Friday, November 30, 2007

Sometime's I wonder...

One of the things that I have learned throughout my life is that I am a people pleaser. I have also learned how to manage that, and to those I consider close friends I am honest. The problem I have is this tends to get me into trouble. I have a friend who is so afraid to hurt my feelings they tell me lies. The funny thing is that I always catch them in these lies. Tonight I found out that they told another lie, and the funny thing is that I believe that they are telling their friends to help keep this secret. The thing about lies is that they always catch up to you. I know this from experience.

I like to think that I am an easy going guy. I go with the flow and take things in stride. The only thing I ask from the people in my life is honesty and a little openness when needed. For the most part I have that with those I am closest too, but sometimes that one person needs to tell that lie. I remember when I was little my Mom telling me that it wasn't what I did that was such a big deal, but the fact that I lied about it (I have heard that from someone else too...) I think that sometimes I get so caught up in things that I think in that insane moment that it's easier to lie, and not deal with the situation. I like to think that I have enough common sense today to catch myself in those rare moments and think before something untrue leaves my mouth.

Now, back to this person. I think that what bugs me more then anything was their statement that once someone lies or cheats or so on the trust is broken. I like to think that I treat people the way I would like to be treated, so I assume that if someone makes a statement like that they will live that in their life.

The funny thing is that these are all very petty lies and I shouldn't really care, but it's something that I don't do, so I guess I expect that from those in my life.

I guess it's true the lie is always worse then the action. I get to live that and see what they were talking about. Lesson learned.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

What's stopping me...

When my Father died almost three years ago I decided that I wanted to write a book. While sitting in the airport waiting for my plane to board an idea came to me... I should write a book based on my fathers life. Although there are many missing pieces and much of what my father told me over the last few years was probably not all true, I think it would make for an interesting read. I finally decided that I would write something fiction that was based (very loosely) on his life, and what I know. What I don't I guess I will just make up. That's why it's based on his life, rather then a factual depiction of his life.

The problem is that over the last three years I have spent a great deal of time talking about this, and yet I just can't seem to sit down and write. I think that a part of me is resistant to the process of writing something so personal, and the emotions it will bring up. My very good friend Jeanette is in the final stages of completing a book about her Grandmother. Although she hasn't shared any of it with me, the feedback I have heard from others is great. She told me the last time I saw her to sit down and just start writing. The words will come. I think that what I will do is start writing it here, and see what comes of this new approach.

There, writing about it here has given me the idea to write about it here... (I know, I am a bit weird)... Since I am not feeling 100% tonight, I am going to pack my gym bag and go to bed early. I will start writing sometime this week. Maybe Saturday morning while Jeffrey is still sleeping.

So, look for the first part of the book in my mind (I hope it comes out well, as it sounds great in my head).

Enough of the mundane rantings of someone who is ill and tired...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

17 Years of Sobriety today...

Written, October 15, 2007

Today I celebrate 17 years of sobriety. I decided that it was time to write something about this, and what it means to me.

I still remember that first drink. I was sitting on the roof of our carport with friends (I was eleven years old), and one of them brought a six pack of Budweiser. I still remember the taste, but more importantly I remember the feeling I got after drinking that one beer. I spent the next ten years chasing that feeling.

I grew up in Alcoholics Anonymous. My Grandfather would have celebrated 41 years next month (he died 13 years ago), my Mom just celebrated 36 years and my Brother 18. It's a blessing to have these amazing examples in my life. My Father never got it and died two had a half years ago maintaining control.

17 years ago I called my younger Brother, because I couldn't live like this anymore. He gave me the name of someone to call in Los Angeles, and I immediately avoided calling. I was living with a friend who had dated someone who was sober. He called him and I went to my first meeting, not as Susan's son or Ralph's grandson, but Rick an Alcoholic. It immediately became a social gathering for me, and I wasn't willing to do anything except not take a drink. I knew what to say having grown up in the program, but my talk was just that talk. About three months into my sobriety someone told me to sit down and shut up. It was time to start listening. I am glad that I was receptive at that point, and whether it was because I wanted to please (I am a people pleaser), or really ready to listen I don't know. I do know that I took what was said and started listening. This got me through that first year of sobriety. I had a sponsor and built a solid group of friends. After that first year, I started to have thoughts that maybe I wasn't old enough, maybe I hadn't gone through enough to actually stay sober. I believe that this was the first time I actually asked for help from some higher power. That next Monday, in walked this beautiful young woman. She was 21 and five years sober. She saved my life that night. She proved to me that it didn't matter how old you were, only that you had a desire to stop drinking. I didn't want to go back to that life and realized that night that I didn't have to drink again. She is still the one constant in my life from those early days. We were roommates for awhile, and it was walking from our place to school one morning that I had my first of many spiritual awakenings. For some reason that morning (I always reflected while walking to school) I asked God to restore me to sanity.

Over the years my life has changed. I met, fell in love with and am still with the same person. We celebrate our fifteenth anniversary in less then one month. In 1995 I changed careers and continue to grow as a result. I started showing up for life. I started living everyday for just that day. I plan for my future, and I don't believe that I will ever drink again. What I do know is that I have a reprieve from my desire to drink today. I pray and meditate every morning and have a very strong connection to God.

There have been many people who have touched my life over the past 17 years. There are only a few outside of my family that have had such a profound impact that I will mention it here. There's that one friend who asked me once if my God was big enough to handle whatever I was going through at that time. I said, "No." He told me "fine, then get a new God. One that is big enough to handle the situation." It was at that point that I realized that it was my Higher Power. Then there was that one friend who told me early on that he liked me and wanted me to come around more. I don't ever remember a point in my life where someone actually told me that they liked me. I know it's very Sally Field, but someone who grew up with the pains and struggles to be liked, as I did was finally able to see that I was likeable just for being me. I can say that has changed over the past 17 years. J When I was five years sober my closest friend at the time told me that she was tired of trying to be someone different for each person. I realized at that point that if you didn't like for who I was then we weren't meant to be friends and that was OK.

Finally, something my Grandfather told me has stuck with me always. When I was trying to decide whether or not I wanted my Father in my life (at that point we hadn't spoken in over a year (this was after not seeing him from ages 14 – 20). He told me that I had to make a decision. Do I want my Father in my life? If I did, I needed to let go of all my preconceived ideas and let him be who he is going to be. He was a spiritually sick man, and I had to remove the label of Father and see the man. If I didn't want a relationship with him then I needed to tell him and let him go. On the two hour drive back from Palm Springs I went through it in my head. I prayed for an answer, and by the time I got home one was revealed. I called my Father and am happy to say that we had an amazing relationship. Once I let go of all my ideas and notions it became clear that we could have a relationship. Four months before he died he came to Los Angeles for the first time in twenty years. We bonded over that week. I was able to support him through his rough times, and get some closure. When he died, I was sad, but I had no regrets. We had said everything we needed to, and I know that he loved me in the best way he knew how.

None of these amazing things would have happened without my sobriety, my relationship with God, or the amazing people that have come into my life. I have many things to be grateful for in my life and I count those blessings everyday.

Thank you to Jeffrey, Toni, Rick L, Pamela, Nancy, Jack, Lauren, my entire family and all of the amazing friends I have today. Without all of these people, some who are still a big part of my life, some who have departed and some who have passed away, I wouldn't be the person I am today. Without these lessons or these amazing people I wouldn't continue to grow and change everyday.

Coming out

Someone asked me after posting a past BLOG to tell my coming out story. I didn't think that it was a big deal and haven't really talked about this in a long time. I wasn't going to write this until I read a short article in a magazine about the power of the BLOG and the impact that it could have without my knowledge.

I think that I realized I was Gay long before I was ever honest with myself or anyone else. Some things happened to me as a child that I won't address here, but I think that these events defined this part of my life. In fact if defined a great part of my life until I dealt with it and was able to move on.

The first time I ever mentioned the thought was my junior year in High School. I became friends with a Senior in my Physiology class who told me he was gay. I instantly had a crush on him. This was the first person who ever made me feel that it was OK. It wasn't anything he said, or did, it was just the fact that he was honest about who he was. We talked several times about this and then he graduated and I went back in the proverbial closet.

I spent the rest of my High School career hiding and denying who I really was. My Mom always had gay and lesbian friends, but I didn't want to be "one of those people." I don't know what I thought "those people" were like, but I knew that wasn't for me. I stole my brother's girlfriend. We dated for over 6 months, and then I decided it was time to move on. We broke up, but still kept in touch. During that time my family moved to Northern California and I moved into a guest house (more like a one room garage) in the back of a friend's house.

In December of that same year my Aunt convinced me that I needed to go through the Lifespring program. This would save me and fix all of my problems. I got what I could from this intense four day workshop. I drank more and avoided anyone and everyone that I perceived to be gay. That was except for Rick. Yes, Rick. He was persistent and wouldn't let me hide. After the workshop he called and we talked until one Saturday night (December 17 to be exact) he called and we spent four hours on the phone and by the end of that conversation (at 3 AM) I had admitted that I was gay and there was no turning back. The next month is sort of a blur for me. I remember my brother coming down during his winter break and hanging out with me. You see, my brother had a friend from high school that came out to him their senior year. This was the person I was hanging out with and the first friend I told that I was gay. He was actually the same person who came and rescued me that first New Years Eve from my first gay bar in West Hollywood (I was a lot drunk).

Anyway, my brother and our friend and I were sitting at what was then the Sports Connection talking. Brian finally looked at me and said, "I know what's going on, I just want you to tell me," so I said, "I'm Gay." He said that was cool and we moved on. Four days later I told my Mom who was in town for a convention. You see, I have always been close to my Mom, and prior to her arrival in LA I told her we needed to talk. Unbeknownst to me at the time she had run into someone I knew in High School at this convention who happened to be Gay. They spent a couple of hours that weekend discussing whether I was going to come out to her. I did in the last five minutes of lunch. She went home, told my Step-Dad and that was the end of it.
I am one of the lucky ones. My parents didn't disown me. They didn't shun me. They did go through their own process. My Step-Dad wanted to know if I could be cured. My Mom did the one thing she always does, and found a support group. She joined PFLAG and discovered that it was OK to have a Gay son. Over the course of the next month I came out to the rest of my family. My cousin thought I was A-sexual, my Aunt screamed Hallelujah and my grandparents (maternal), said they loved me no matter what.

Right before I came out my biological father came back into my life after being gone for seven years. It was a couple months later that he told me the same thing my brother did. I know, but I just want you to tell me. I don't care, as long as you are happy. He then went on to spout some things that I don't believe, but that was just his way of showing support.
Over the course of almost twenty years I have marched in parades, protests and been in the newspaper a couple of times. I have stood outside bars talking to people about safe sex and participated in the community.

I am not so active in those things anymore. I find that the older I get the less I am interested in those things. I believe that we should have the right to marry. I believe that people should learn to let go of the hate and the religious rhetoric. What I do is try to live my life everyday. I am kind (most of the time) and spiritual and I don't lie to people when they ask me that question. I am not ashamed of who I am, but being gay doesn't define me. Who I love and spend my life with is between me and God.

Well that's the short version of my story. I hope that this helps someone, somewhere. I am unique, as I had and have a family that has always supported and loved me no matter what. This isn't a choice. I didn't choose to be this way, if I had a choice I wouldn't pick discrimination. I also wouldn't change who I am for the anything in the world. I am a loving, caring human being. I would go to the ends of the earth for my friends and family. I try everyday to be kind to god's kids. I just happen to be attracted to men. That's just the way god made me.

A lack of Media Priority and Responsibility

I have finally been inspired to write another BLOG entry. I was at the gym this morning getting ready for work and the news was on the Television. I usually half listen to what they are saying, but Good Morning America caught my ear this morning. The leading story, the number one news item… The death of Anna Nicole Smith. With the war in Iraq, the unrest in Afghanistan, the Nuclear situations in North Korea and Iran and the peace process that has started again between Fatah and Hamas in Meca. Not to mention the many other things going on around the world and here at home that I just haven't gotten to yet.
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What does it say about our society that we are so obsessed with the death of a woman who was only a celebrity because she posed nude in Playboy, married a man 63 years her senior and was a Guess Model for a short time. As a result of these things, as well as her short lived reality series and her relationship with Trim Spa she became more of a caricature then a true celebrity.

Maybe, rather then dealing with what's happening around the world it's easier to "glob on" to this type of person. I assume that it's much easier to follow the life and constant dealings of Anna Nicole Smith then it is to focus on what's happening around the world. I think that it's sad that someone had to die so young, but no disrespect she was just a woman who played hard and it caught up with her. It has become a sad state in this country and more importantly in the media that this is the headline, the top story.

I guess through this BLOG I am perpetuating this by spending so much time focusing on her, but I think that we all need to wake up and look at the people we idolize, people we call role models. The bottom line, we are all human. We all make mistakes, but more importantly we all make choices. We live with those choices and the mistakes as a result, or sometimes (hopefully more often then not) the positives.

That is all I am going to say about this topic. Read or watch the news and look at what's happening in our country and around the world. The Celebrity gossip is a fun escape, but how many people know more about Brad, Angelina and Jennifer then Abbas, Al Maliki, Olmert and Bush? Do you know who's running for President next year? Have you begun your research, or are you going to vote down party lines because it's easier?

That's all for today. Be kind to Gods Children and remember to always be grateful!

It's not how you look...

"It's not how you look on the outside, but what's on the inside that counts." For some reason this saying came into my head this morning, and I decided that it was a good topic to put down in my BLOG. I have spent time talking about the state of the world, the state of religion and other things, now I want to talk about something a bit more personal.

A few years ago I was showing a colleague pictures from my Birthday celebration. He commented on the people at the table and wondered what it was about me that attracted such beautiful people. I realized that everyone at the table was attractive. It doesn't mean that everyone at the table was skinny or anorexic or what society calls "Super Model beautiful," but people that radiated beauty in such a way that it came through in who they were even in the picture.

Over the last 16 ½ years I have spent a great deal of time learning about who Rick is and what is important. I say 16 ½ years, as my journey began the day I got sober. Clearing away my past (but NEVER forgetting) and finding faith in a power greater then myself (which I call God for lack of a better term) helps make up who I am, what I have and continue to become. It's not been an easy road, but growing and changing never is easy. I have changed my conception of God over the years, and have learned that God provides all that I need including the tools to deal with life on life's terms. About ten years ago I was going through a crisis. I can't tell you what it was about, but I can tell you the lesson. A dear friend asked me if my God was big enough to handle the situation. I looked him in the eye and said "No." He looked at me and said, "Then you need to get a new God." I will never forget those words. It was at that point that I realized that my concept of God can grow and change as I grow and change.

As a result of this work and gaining a better understanding of who I am I believe that I attract those people that are on the same path. They are learning and growing and becoming whatever it is they need to become. I stated in previous posts that I have let people go in my life for one reason or another, but I think that the most compelling reason I have moved on without certain people is their lack of growth. It's important that I do whatever I can to continue to grow as a Human Being. If we don't learn the lessons we are destined to make the same mistakes over again. I learn many lessons from the people in my life. Sometimes these lessons are just "don't do what they did," but they are lessons all the same. If I allow myself to be quiet and listen I am amazed at what I hear.

I guess the bottom line is that we attract people that have something that we want or need. People are placed in our life for reasons that may not be revealed at the time, but if we stop, listen and actually hear what's in our heart the lesson is there. That was a greater answer then the one I gave my colleague, but it was that question that made me think. Once again someone teaching me without even realizing there was a lesson.

I continue to do this and am not perfect in anyway. The difference is that I am willing to do what ever is needed to be responsible for my actions, learn the lessons that are presented and hope that everyday I am being kind to God's Children. Listen to your heart, learn the lessons life has to teach and remember to laugh everyday!


Hangin' In There...

I had every intention of writing something right after the New Year, but as you can see that didn't happen. On December 30 we went for a hike, and two days later I discovered that I am HIGHLY allergic to Poison Oak/Ivy (not sure which I came in contact with, but the reaction is the same). I am finally on the mend and feeling a little more human. I am going to assume that getting this out of the way at the beginning of the year means that it will only get better as we progress.

Everything is finally over. The holidays, anniversaries and my birthday, which was only last week and continues (I love to celebrate). It's funny, but the last three months of the year are always packed with activity. It's nice to know that it's almost over and we can get back to some semblance of normalcy.

Well, that's all I am going to put into this BLOG, as I have something to say, but still want to think about it a little more. I just wanted everyone to know that I haven't disappeared, but am on the mend and will post more (maybe later today, just wait and see…)

Religion, Prejudice and Cookies...

I know that it's been awhile since my last BLOG, but I haven't been inspired to write. That and Jeffrey has spent the past week in the kitchen (which is where my computer is located) baking the most amazing cookies. Now that those are done I have a little peace (although I had to turn the music off it was distracting).

One of my colleagues came to my desk on Thursday and asked me a question that has caused a tremendous amount of thought. You see, he asked me why it wasn't OK to say "Merry Christmas" anymore. I told him that I didn't understand where that was coming from. He mentioned a Holiday email we received from the President of our company. I told him that he wouldn't say Merry Christmas, as he is Jewish. My colleague and friend still didn't understand. You see he is a very devout Roman Catholic. I told him that although I don't get offended when someone wishes me a Merry Christmas, I find that it's more appropriate to say Happy Holidays (although I was walking around the office yesterday wishing anyone who would listen to me a "Merry Chrismahanakwanzicah") he didn't understand what was so offensive. I told him that I didn't think it was offensive, but some might. I didn't really have an answer for him, so I ask the masses, is it offensive, and if so, why? I know for me, a Jewish man it isn't, but I think that's because Christmas was always about Santa Claus and the dead tree in our living room. My Mom didn't want us to miss anything, so we had Christmas and Hanukkah every year. We didn't open Hanukkah presents, only Christmas presents. In fact it was the first year Jeffrey and I were together that my Mom did her last Christmas tree.

This question and subsequent discussion got me thinking about what's happening in Congress right now with the letter one Representative wrote to his constituents about the new Representative who happens to be Muslim. All of this controversy over the fact that the new Rep from Minnesota wants to take the oath of office with one hand on the Koran instead of using the Christian Bible. If he didn't want to do this I would be worried. This is his sacred text, as the Torah is to my people and the Bible to the Christians. My colleague said that he didn't know what was in the Koran and didn't know if it covered things like lying and stealing and such. I told him that it wasn't the text of the Koran (and it does talk about these things (and they are wrong in both books)) it was the oath that he was taking to uphold the constitution. He then asked me how I would feel if it was someone that worshiped the Devil. I said I wouldn't necessarily agree with their politics, but I didn't think that they would have to take an oath on the Bible anyway. I then wondered if this man places Muslims in the same league as Devil worshipers. I told him that although there are radical religious people in the world of all faiths we can't generalize and blame innocent people for the wrongs committed by others. The sad thing is that I don't think he heard me. Just as the focus is on the radical Muslims in the Middle East, there are still the radical Christians around the world telling people that what they believe is wrong. Killing for "Your God" has been around a lot longer then any of us. In fact God talks to our President on a regular basis, why do you think this country is where it's at today. Maybe he should listen to others as well… What did British do to the Indians when they came to this country? It was all in the name of their god.

The idea in this country, which was founded on freedom, has been diluted. We have people who unfortunately think that everyone who is different from them shouldn't have the same rights. I grew up Jewish and didn't really know what persecution was until that day my sophomore year of high school that group of boys threw a penny at me with a swastika on it. I didn't know what prejudice was until that car full of people drove by me and threw something at me screaming "FAG." I don't let those things get to me anymore. I have learned that through my actions and who I am I can make a difference. I saw this when a former colleague told me that when he first met me he had all of these preconceived ideas about gay people and that after getting to know me he realized that all of his ideas were wrong and that I was just like him, except that where he fell in love with his wife, I fell in love with Jeffrey. I learned of my own prejudice the day an old friend sent me a letter expressing the joy she found having found her connection with Jesus. It wasn't until Jeffrey pointed out that she was sharing her joy with me that I realized she wasn't judging. In fact I learned a great deal through my letters to and from her about the similarities we share. She just chooses to pray to Jesus and I meditate to my interpretation of God. If we just live our lives honestly and openly maybe we can touch one person and make a difference in the world. Hate and ignorance are just an unwillingness to understand and a fear of something we don't know. Whatever you believe, as long as you aren't harming another person (or animal) and you live an honest life and believe whatever you choose to believe that's acceptable to me. In fact, I am always interested in what others believe. I think it enhances my relationship with my God.

Be kind to Gods Kids, Merry ChristmaHanakKwanzicah!!!

December is here...

I realized today that I haven't blogged since returning from my trip to my parents for Thanksgiving. I left Tuesday, November 21 and actually blogged from my Parents house, because I felt the need to respond to someone, who hasn't responded to me. Maybe he doesn't read my Blog, although I did write him a personal message. Whatever.

As I was saying I arrived on Tuesday and had to wait a couple of hours for my nephews to get up from their naps to see them (they are 4 and 2). While waiting my Mom and I went to Costco and spent some time together. I cherish the time that I have with my Mom and am glad that we are close. In fact, I found this wonderful card for her that I left on her craft table before departing for the airport to return home. I have to assume she hasn't found it yet, since she hasn't said anything to me.

As I was saying... We returned from Costco and my Nephews woke up and I got to finally spend some quality time with them. They are amazing boys and it's a pleasure and a treat to spend time with them. They are great at this age. Anyway the first part of the trip was fun and I even gave my brother an opportunity to mess with me. I had to jump on a conference call while we were at lunch and then on the way home from lunch. I hung up and my brother jumped at the chance to make an Office Space reference. I never did hear the end of it...

So, now we get to Thanksgiving... My mother had 26 people over and I have to say that there were way too many people there. I enjoyed time with my Cousins, whom I haven't seen in a great while, and the other relatives, but still too many people. My Dad and I setup and took everything down. I cooked one of the Turkeys and Stuffing's (my Aunt did the other). All in all it was a nice trip, but I was glad to be home in the warmth of my own bed and with Jeffrey.
We have begun to put up the Christmas lights and will complete some other things to get the house ready for the holidays. We have turned into that couple that does it up for Halloween and now Christmas/Hanukkah. Oh well, it's fun and all in good taste. You will find nothing tacky at my house.

In a comment from my last Blog entry someone asked what it was like coming out at 19. I will tell that story next time. I don't find it all that interesting anymore, but maybe it will help someone who may happen upon this blog.

Be kind to Gods Children!

Self Realization

I have been trying to find the time to write another blog, especially after my experience this past Sunday. Work was hectic on Monday and then I left town on Tuesday to spend this Thanksgiving holiday with my family. In fact, I have my 4 year old and 2 year old nephews in the other room distracting me (it's a good distraction)...

So, back to what I started to say above...Last week, as I stated previously was my anniversary. Jeffrey and I have been together for fourteen amazing years. We spent Sunday afternoon at the self realization center. This center was started in 1950 by an Indian Guru who saw beyond the interpretations of others people's ideas about religion. He realized long before I did that although there are many religions in the world we all believe in the one basic concept. Whether you call this concept God, Jesus Christ, Allah, Buddha, Vishnu or something else, it's still the belief in a power greater then yourself, "A higher power." At the end of this amazing garden the five major religions are represented. One is not more prominent then the other. One is not more ostentatious then the other. They are all equally represented. It's a simple monument to beliefs that most of us share. Whether you're Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist or Hindu it's your belief and that should be respected.

I wasn't raised in organized religion. We were Jewish by culture and sometimes went to Temple. Mostly we just went through the motions. I went to church with my friends in many denominations. I went to a Buddhist Temple. I enjoyed hearing about other peoples beliefs. I don't know if it made a difference in my beliefs, but I like to think that the lessons I learned help me understand a little better. Coming out at 19 placed some pretty big preconceived religious ideas in my head. Jeffrey taught me that just because someone is sharing their belief with me, doesn't mean they are judging. Of course, this is in a one on one situation. Through some reading I did after purchasing a small book in the gift shop of the Self Realization Center I read that this Guru, who came before me believes as I do. If we are kind to all around us we can succeed. It doesn't mean that people will be kind in return, but we don't have to be affected, as our response to that unkindness is just as important.

I wish the leaders of this world who believe that what they believe is "better" then anyone else would come and learn that it's OK to believe what you want, as long as you are kind and good at heart. The problem is that the leaders of this world hide behind their "Faith," which is really just an excuse to seize power. Someone who believes that God tells them to goto war, or to kill innocent people for their different beliefs isn't hearing the word of God, but is listening to their own ego and desire for Power and Control.

One more thing before I call it a day... This is for my nephew, the 22 year old, you know who you are. Our beliefs are very similar and you would be amazed at how mush you sound like Jeffrey. I love you kid. You are an amazing human being.

Be kind to Gods kids...

Who I am and What I believe is acceptable to me...

What does it mean? For me the subject of this Blog means that today I am OK with who I am. I am OK with what I believe. I am not ashamed, and I don't let others make me feel that my beliefs are wrong. This doesn't mean that I am not open to other people's ideas and opinions. I listen to what people say and sometimes it makes sense. Sometimes it's total crap, and sometimes I take some and leave the rest.

I read the above statement in my morning reading and it struck me how true this was for me in my life. What it also made me realize is that sometimes I can get stuck in that and not listen to what other people have to say. This is not necessarily a good thing. I find that my opinion of people and how they have treated me in the past clouds what they say about others to me. What I realized this morning in my meditation is that sometimes what these people say may be the truth. I find that I instantly discount what they say and ignore it. This time I can't. They aren't the only person making the same statements. I know that this is cryptic, but the point is that sometimes we need to get over our pre-formed ideas and listen to what everyone around us is saying. I have been sober for more then 16 years, and this is something I learned along time ago. It just shows that sometimes we have to learn the same lesson over again. Listen to the message not necessarily the person delivering the message.

Well, it's 5:25 in the morning on my 11th straight day at work. All I can think about is next week and taking some time off, visiting with my family and really looking forward to seeing my nephews.

This was my revelation this morning. I hope it makes sense, but then if it doesn't oh well.
Be kind to Gods children today and remember that it's acceptable to be who you are and believe what you believe.

Do we ever get a break?

So, I spent the entire weekend working (thank god I can do it from home). I have to say that it was a very frustrating weekend, as things didn't go as planned and the people responsible weren't very responsible. This caused my 5 hour day to turn into almost 12 hours on and off. I also had to work today. I swear I am going to through this pager out the ninth floor window one of these days. I got up this morning and did laundry like I do every Sunday, and came home and crawled back in to bed only for my pager to go off one hour later and wake me out of a dead sleep. Ugh!

Oh well, at least I have a job and one that I enjoy. I am grateful for that, even if I have to deal with some difficult people.

Other then working, I have been spending time at home relaxing this weekend. We are leaving shortly to go say goodbye to our friends who are moving to Florida on Wednesday. It's funny, I have spent time posting to my Blog about change and choices. I have talked about letting people go... The thing is just because people move across the country doesn't mean that I am letting them go. Distance doesn't rule whether or not someone is my friend. I have a friend who frustrates me at times (more often then not) whom I have known for 22 years. In fact I performed her wedding ceremony when she married her husband two years ago. We don't' speak often, but she is someone who is growing and changing and when we talk it's wonderful and like no time has passed. She was back in the states over the summer (she moved to Bristol, England after getting married) and called me. She wanted to get together or at least talk, but I never heard from her after that initial call. Sometimes things just get in the way. Anyway, back to my friends that are moving to Florida. I met Jeanette through a friend about eight years ago, and she was another one of those people who made me say "Oh, there you are." We talked for three hours, and our mutual friend said that if I was straight we would have been married in three months. We have been close ever since and she and her boyfriend and two amazing people who we can sit and talk to for hours. In fact there was one night we sat and talked until two in the morning without even realizing it was that late (or early ). We see each other once every two to three months, so six months won't be that long.

That's all I have time to write today. Tomorrow is another work week, although I don't think that this week is over and is just running into the next, but that's life. Tuesday is our 14 year anniversary. It's funny, Jeffrey gave me a card after six week together and wished me a happy 10 year anniversary. It feels like yesterday we were standing in line to get into a club and have someone ask how long we had been together we looked at each other our watches and responded "5 hours"

Be kind to Gods kids!

Now What...

I have been trying to figure out what I should write next in this Blog. I still don't really know what I want to write about. There are so many different things going on in the world and in my own life.

When I took this new job I was bound and determined to not do what my predecessor did, which was work long hours and take on too much. Well, more then one month into this I am working longer hours and taking on too much. The funny thing is, I LOVE IT!! I feel like I am a part of team whose primary goal is to make things better. We are making major improvements in our processes and I have the opportunity to mentor once again.

I learned a valuable lesson a couple of weeks ago, but I still find that my behavior hasn't changed. Jeffrey pointed out to me that I tend to play a dysfunctional game of "since you treated me like that I will treat you the same way." neener, neener, neener. I found that I have done that to someone else in my life. Rather then expressing the fact that it bothers me and communicating like an adult I dish it back. There are certain people who feel that it's OK not to respond to me at all. I assume because they are either ashamed of something and don't want to cop to it, or just don't think that I am worthy of a response. I find when that happens I play that game right back. What I realized is that is unhealthy, childish behavior. There's nothing wrong with childish behavior in the right situation, but when you have relationships with people it's probably best to treat them the way you expect to be treated.

I guess that's my big lesson this week. I am working hard. I have a new friend at the office whom I would spend the entire day talking to if there wasn't so much work to do. You know how you meet people and it's like "Oh, there you are." That's how I feel. She kind of walked in to the office we were introduced and we just have these amazing conversations. It's great when you can find people to have meaningful, intelligent conversations with. From politics, to god, to the state of the world, this idea in today's society that you have to believe what the other person believes is ridiculous. The idea that a Muslim and a Jew can't have meaningful conversations and be great friends is just preposterous. At the end of the day or at the end of your life we all have to answer to a higher power. Be kind to one another and do what you can to make the world a better place. I try to do that on a daily basis. I am far from perfect, but I make an attempt. Every morning I ask to do gods will and then I try to get out of the way and see what happens.

That's all for tonight (I guess I had something to say, even if it is fragmented). I need to go to bed, as I have to go to Ventura tomorrow to roll out the first phase of a technology pilot.
One more thing... If someone told you that they were a "White Paper" for Halloween, would you get it?

Be kind to Gods Children.

Reading, Writing and Ranting

When last we left I was off to finish the new Mitch Albom book, For One More Day. For those that don't know the author, he also wrote Tuesdays with Morrie and the Five People you Meet in Heaven.

All I can say is WOW. It was another incredible read. It once again put things into perspective. This time about the short time we have with the people we love. The story centered around a would be baseball star who at an early age was told by his Father that he could be a "daddy's boy or a mommy's boy." The reason that resonated with me was that was how I felt growing up. My father not really being around, but the constant reminder that I looked just like him made me feel the need to choose. I learned later in life, as this would be star did that you don't have to choose. Once I hit 19 or 20 I got to be very close to (and still am) my Mom. I have a great relationship with my step father who raised me, and was lucky enough to get to know my Father before he passed. What I realize today is that I am my own man and what defines me and who I am is partly because of these three people and their influnces.

The truth goes back to something I said before, we are who we are based on the choices that we make. This man in a near death experience got to spend one more day with his Mother. It really makes me appreciate what I have. When my Father died in March of 2005 I was sad, and still miss him, but I have no regrets. We had a relationship I never dreamed possible.
So, if you get a chance pick up this book. It's short and shouldn't take too long to read. It's worth every page.

Be kind to God's Children! (Thanks Jack)

Random Rantings

My friend asked me before I left the office today if I was going to Blog tonight. Since there is one person out there who has expressed interest in the rantings of Rick, I have decided to oblige her and post more thoughts and things that have happened.
As you may or may not know I take mass transit to and from work. I have been doing this for more then four years now, and for some reason it doesn't appear like it will ever end. With my new job I feel the need to get a car and contribute to the pollution in Los Angeles. I feel guilty when I run out of the office at my normal time. Granted I arrive at work at 6:30 AM and on most days don't have the option of taking a lunch. Today I got fifteen minutes to go to Target and pick up my allergy pills. I forgot my lunch and am thankful that someone offered to pick something up for me while they were out. Otherwise it would have been left over Halloween candy for lunch (gross).

Yesterday I left the office a little after 4 and it took over an hour and a half and a very crowded bus ride to get home. Today I left on time, and had a very quick (one hour) and empty ride home. It's amazing how ten minutes can make a world of difference.
When my friend Tracy left and moved back to North Carolina I told her that since she was leaving I was not going to let smelly people sit next to me, nor was I going to allow someone drinking something on the bus (other then water) to sit next to me, as I don't want to wear their beverage when the bus makes a hard stop. So far, I have been successful. I carry a bag, and place it on the seat. Most people just stand and don't bother me, but I assume that at some point I am going to have to tell someone "I'm sorry, you can't sit here with your beverage, as I am not interested in wearing it." I doubt it will go over well, but I wouldn't let people sit next to me when Tracy was around, as I was saving her a seat and wouldn't give up that hour for anyone. I miss my conversations with Tracy. We talk through email now, but it isn't the same. It's rare to find someone that is smart and up on the politics of the world. Oh the discussions we would have.... (sigh...) There was the time over the past few weeks that we started to put together stories about the odd people we saw on the bus. I saw the Armenian lady that used to be a stripper and was jilted by her lover. I believe that he left her for another man and she never recovered.

Those are my rantings tonight. I am in the midst of the new Mitch Albom book, which is wonderful so far. I may right about that tomorrow. I should finish it before I go to bed tonight.


In a conversation with a coworker and new friend over that past two weeks I realized that we make choices in our lives and sometimes these choices can be defining life choices.
I came to a realization this morning during my conversation with this incredibly smart woman that I have made some choices over the last couple of years that have really become defining moments. Although, I am not going to bore you with the details (something's I just can't divulge) I will say that they were defining.
As you read (or not) in my last bulletin I have "cleaned house." What this means is that I have made some choices in my life, and as a result I have let go of certain attachments. When I get right down to it, into the depths of my mind I realize that there is a guiding force. Call it what you like in your life, destiny, your will, the spiritual nexus. I choose to call this God, a power greater then guiding me if I am willing to get out of the way.
I was recently in a major quandary about my career and I just didn't know which direction to go, so I did what I always do... I prayed about it, turned it over and then got in the way, because I thought (once again) that I could do this much better. This made me miserable, and I assume I wasn't pleasant to be around (angst isn't always nice). The wonderful thing is that I have Jeffrey and Lauren and some really amazing people in my life who listened to me bitch and moan. I interviewed for a couple positions and realized that what I really wanted to do was right under my nose. I decided the only action to take was to ask. One thing I have learned over the years is the worst thing someone can say when you ask is "No." Once I got out of the way and quieted down my brain I was presented with the best option for me. I jumped at the chance and have been happy in the choice. I could have taken the other job, but then I would be bored and not doing what I love.
The lesson, don't run to the first thing, because you want out of the frying pan. The fire is probably hotter!
That's all I have tonight.

Decisions we make...

I have decided that I should blog something other then things that other people have sent me. So, it's time to tell you what's been going on in my head (I know scary). Over the past few weeks I have been "Cleaning House."
What does that mean you may ask... Well to me it means that I have been examining my life and moving on without certain people. I believe that everyone is brought into your life for one reason or another, and sometimes they stay and sometimes they don't. I have learned something from everyone that has passed through my life. The people that matter are still around.
You see over the past few weeks there have been people that feel that it is OK to take me for granted. I guess I give off that "I will always be here no matter what" thing that people take advantage of. I am a trusting person at heart, but if you take me for granted I will eventually cut ties, and move on with my life. It doesn't mean that I don't love these people, it just means that we are moving in different directions.
There are a few people who I have met over the past two years that have taught me a great deal about what I want from the people in my life and what I don't want. One of my big pet peeves is flakes. If I send you an email, or I call you a couple of times, at least have the courtesy to respond. If we have plans and you can't make it for one reason or another, be honest with me. I can't stand people that lie to me and are really bad at those lies.
I have found that chronological age doesn't mean that you are mature and have learned life's lessons. It's just that chronological age. One of the things I am really bad at is letting people know when I am done, and don't want to pursue the friendship anymore. I had a couple of friends who I let go this past week. I ran into one of them at a party last night and could see how uncomfortable I made them by being in the same room. I am not mean, and actually take responsibility for most of the way I am treated. I believe that if we allow people to treat us a certain way we shouldn't expect anything other then the way we are treated. I have friends that have been in my life for years and years and yet we don't see each near as often, but I know that if I ever I need their support it would be there and I know they know it would be the same were they to call on me.
I guess that's it at this point. Moving on in life is very important. Those are my lessons for the month. Move on, grow, and enjoy life.
Be kind to Gods children!