Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I Won't Expect You To Be What I Want You To Be

Some of life’s lessons have taken me quite a while to learn.  Abstract concepts, complex theories, intricate hypotheses?  I typically have no trouble understanding these.  The most practical knowledge often eludes me, though.  But when I do catch on, I can observe my surroundings with beautiful, crystal-clear vision.

This year (with many birthdays behind me), I was able to put in place for myself, something that I have been touting to others for years.

  • You can’t really change anyone.  You can influence them, but change has to come from within
  • Which ties to somthing much more important:  Appreciate people for who they are.  Others are not here on this planet for your convenience.  (That frame of mind is not only unreal, it’s down-right inconsiderate.)
These realizations did not come like a bolt out of the blue to me this year.  I would imagine that this kind of awareness for other people, as it was for me, comes over a period of time.

This year, a lot of the pieces of the puzzle fell into place.  Maybe the planets were aligned. Maybe Mercury was advancing, instead of retrograding.  Doubtful.  I believe that it's just that I opened my ears and listened to the wisdom being shared with me by those who care for me.  Maybe I opened my mind to the reality of common life experiences.  Maybe I was able to open my heart and understand that while people were going easy on me, helping me to understand the world around me, looking out for my best interests, I was able to go easy on myself.

Among those who taught me were:

  • A good friend at work, who always tells me, "Oh...that's just [insert name here]" or “You have to let [insert name here] be [insert same name here].”
  • My husband, who always accepts me just the way I am.  The luxury of this treatment is golden to me, especially when I see other couples who constantly have trouble understanding and accepting one another.
  • My son, who points out to me when I’m being impatient with or not understanding other people.  He has a practical, yet exceptional, way of taking each person that he encounters exactly as he or she is. 
So I’m still learning:

·        From my friend, to be accepting of others.
·        From my husband, to love unconditionally
·        From my son, to love humanity in general

And in the spirit of an Oscar-winner’s acceptance speech. “Thanks to anyone who also helped me who I didn’t mention. You know who you are.”

I don't think that I would be too far off base if I believed that each of us during some point in life felt that they had to satisfy expectations of others.  I could cite numerous instances in my own life.

We are most comfortable around those people who accept us, who understand us; those who we can be ourselves around.  So, let's all go easy on ourselves and each other.  How about it?

Monday, September 10, 2012

As Innocent As I Can Get

Since Labor Day was last week, today was a double-dip Monday.  It was like the extra scoop of Rocky Road that you really didn’t want and certainly didn’t need.  Ok, ice cream is probably a bad analogy.  But Rocky Road…nail on the head, folks.  Nail. On. The. Head.

After I arrived home and wolfed down the tasty pizza that my husband made for me (complete with the black olives and the mushrooms, which he both loathes), I went immediately to the piano.

I noodled around in Burgmuller’s Opus 100 (which is basically a beginner’s book for classical music aficionados), and finally set myself to work on “Innocence,” the number five piece.  I kept having a tough time getting it right.  My electronic keyboard has various voice settings, so after starting in “Grand Piano,”
I always laugh at myself, when I make mistakes
My piano teacher is very familiar with the sound of my laughter
I worked my way through:

·         Electric Piano (better suited for A Flock of Seagulls than Burgmuller)

·         Strings (too saccharine, even for a interpretation of innocence)

·        Church Organ (raised as a good Southern Baptist boy, I almost pulled this off, but the resonance in our music room,...ok...our dining room..., was a bit overwhelming)

·        Harpsichord (brutal in showing all the flaws of my technique – or altogether lack thereof)

I finally landed on “Vibraphone,” the last setting on my piano.   The sound was warm, soothing, and very forgiving of my uneven tempo, my occasional botched notes, my disregard for dynamics, and my clunky runs.

After a Rocky-Road Monday, I needed a bit of mercy and a lot of goofing around on the ivories.
A bit better.
You'll notice how I immediately pull my hands from the keyboard.
This way, I can guarantee there will be no additional mistakes.

(Special thanks to my cinematographing better-half - somehow he always hears beautiful music coming from my keyboard.  And that's only one reason that he's my husband).
Man...I hope my piano teacher doesn't see this post.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Wonderfully Away

This weekend was one of my great lost ones.  I didn't do much. 
  • Saturday morning with our Breakfast Bunch 
  • Saturday afternoon with our best friends, helping them move furniture
  • Lots of piano practice
That was about it.

Sunday afternoon, I left the house for my piano lesson a bit early.  I thought that I'd just take my time on the freeways and not have to be in much of a rush.  But that was not meant to be.

When I turned from West Bellfort and onto South Post Oak to get on the West Loop, I saw back-to-back traffic waiting for me.  After living in Houston for almost 20 years, sometimes I'm still stunned at the number of people on the freeways.  Now, if I were more of a sports fan, I would have been better prepared.  The Texans had played at home today.  The game must have just let out (I did check the score later to see that the Texas beat the Dolphins).

For the drive, I had Circuital by My Morning Jacket in my stereo "Wonderful (The Way I Feel)" came on.  I put the song on repeat and slowly worked my way in the bumper-to-bumper.  The song can always take me away.  So I did a bit of day-dreaming as I inched north. 

As the song played, I found myself
  • Sailing on a catamaran, off the coast of Cozumel
  • Looking at clouds at Galveston Island
  • Swimming in the waters of Puerto Rico
  • Walking around my sister's yard and enjoying her flowers, planted among the Louisiana pines. 
I was only five minutes late for my piano lesson.  Amazing, since I'd been thousands of miles away during the drive.

Back on the freeway after my lesson, I listened to the same song over and again, all the way home.

I hope you also had the chance to get away from it all this weekend.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day. Yeah, Well…I Did.

On Labor Day this year, the GOP House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor, posted a statement on Twitter praising entrepreneurs, and downplaying the importance of our United States labor force.  Makes perfect sense to me.  I do not own my own business; therefore, I ended up working all weekend.

With many of my projects at work wrapping up at the beginning of the 4th quarter, I’ve had competing priorities without a clue on how to decide what takes priority.  So, when many of my gay brothers were spending the weekend partying it up at Southern Decadence in New Orleans or sunning themselves at Last Splash at Hippie Hollow near Austin, I found myself in the office or both Saturday and Sunday.  Additionally, when I left the office on Sunday, I brought my laptop home so I could work Monday as well.

If I’d only taken better notes or paid better attention to my professors in business school, maybe I’d be running my own empire.  And I would imagine that, as a business owner, I still would have worked the weekend.  Running your own business is a tough job.  As a child, I watched as my enterprising father run businesses simultaneously.  Well, I caught sight of him occasionally; the man was busy. 

In addition to doing my day-job work each day of the holiday weekend, I went to my piano lesson (it’s an effort, people, albeit an enjoyable one), I did my yard work (I’m the rare Houstonian who knows how to push a lawnmower around his own parcel of land), I bathed the dogs (you can read what a chore this is here), I cleaned the litter box (yes, I’m a servant to my animals).

If I examine the amount of time that I spent on the activities mentioned in the preceding paragraph, maybe I did have a sufficient holiday. 

·         My piano lesson?  Typically, after practicing for an hour each day, I tend to make the same mistakes over and again at my teacher’s piano, laughing at myself as I play.  But there is that moment of zen, when all falls in place, and I perfectly play a passage that had given me the devil for weeks.  It surprises me, although my teacher says, matter-of-factly and with a smile, “You worked it out.”  Ok, so maybe it’s not work.

·         The yard work?  I watched my grandfather do his own lawn up until the time that his vision prevented him from seeing well enough.  I feel connected to him as I push my mower around the yard.  I plug in my headphone, put some rock music on, and the whole task seems like it’s over in minutes.  (But why does my iPod always offer me “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas?  It’s a pretty, but disheartening song.  I really need to remove it)

·         Bathing the dogs?  They smell so great afterwards.  ‘Nuff said.

·         Cleaning out the litter pan?   Oddly enough, the cats act grateful.  (I mean, who wouldn’t be happy if someone came in to clean your bathroom?)

But I am left wondering how Eric spent his weekend?  Given the perks and privileges offered to a high-rolling politician,  I’m guessing that his was not remotely like mine. 


Thursday, August 30, 2012

"All's Well That..." (well, you know the rest)

Driving to the office this morning, I thought "It's going to be less-than-wonderful day."  I had to fit in my work around four hours of meetings that were scheduled.  My best work-buddy was out on vacation.  I had just been assigned a new project, and the sales manager was, as he expressed, "anxious" to start.  I had a strong feeling that it was going to be a twelve-hour day at the office.

I decided to slow-roll to work; taking the streets, instead of the freeways.  I still arrived just ten minutes past my normal morning ETA.  As I trudged from the parking garage to my building, the weight of my laptop case emphasized that I had also worked from home the night before.

I wasn't bummed at facing the workday; I just wasn't jumping for joy.

But then I stepped out of the elevator and onto my work floor.  And here's what greeted me during the course of the day:

Two sweet-tempered co-workers:
"You made my day yesterday.  Thank you!  You are always so nice.  You know, you were the only one who bothered to talk to me when I was first hired."
"Of course, he's nice.  He's from Louisiana."
Reply to "thank-you" e-mails that my lead project manager & I sent to a co-worker, who had went out of her way to rush a request for us:
"It was my pleasure.  You two are a wonderful team to work with."
Kind words from a manager when I made a bad assumption, and it blew up in my face.
"Just look at it as a learning experience.  I know it may sound trite.  But don't kick yourself.  Anyone could have made that mistake."
During my afternoon break, I was reading from the Shakespeare app on my iPhone.  "All's Well That Ends Well."  Act 4, Scene 3.

The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together.
It did end to to be an eleven-hour day at the office.  But I had a good time.  Ken had packed pizza for my lunch.  Some good friends made my day.  I had time to help another friend review a complex document to free up some of her time, so she wouldn't have to work a fourteen-hour day.

What made working late today completely worth it?  On my route home, the timing was perfect to see the luminous full moon rising over the city as I drove east on Pierce-Elevated.


And then I was able to see a spectacular sunset as I was driving west on the South Loop.


And of course, I arrived home to a smile and a hug.

It was a more-than-wonderful day.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

uhm...hey, Father Time. I didn't see you coming.

I've never been much bothered about the aging process.  I have friends that have hit milestones...30, 40, 50 years old, and it was almost devastating for them.  I've never given it much thought.  My indifference to the passing of time probably is:
  • Due in part to good genes - My Dad is a bit past 70 and can still pass for a man in his late 50s.  Consequently some people are surprised when I reveal that I'm pushing 50. More than a few guess late-30s
  • That I'm still a big kid (and that can work to my advantage, but also can bite me in the butt)
  • A reflection of my inability to take myself too seriously
Oh, I've had my "what-the-hell" moments:
  • I was listening to the radio when I was in my mid 20s.  A Bob Seger song came on that was released when I was in high school.  The DJ referred to it as an "oldie."
  • I caught up on Facebook with a young lady that I used to baby-sit when I was a teen.  She had three children and was in her early 30s. Yikes!
  • The high school students that are in our office as part of a work-study program started addressing me as "Mr."
But milestones didn't bother me:  my son graduating high school (just a reason for celebration), my turning 40 (no big deal),  my buying my first house as an adult (it was like a cool one-level tree house with no need for a ladder; a place that I could hang out with my dogs).

And then, age slapped me in the face.

Ken and I were in New York City with our best friends.  We were dining at a popular restaurant in SoHo.  I picked up my menu to see what I could see...and I couldn't.  Huh?  I pushed the menu back to arms-length, and I still couldn't read it.  I said aloud.  "It must be too dark in here.  I can't read the menu."

The Brunette giggled and handed over her reading glasses.  "Here you go."

Stunned, "I don't need these!"

She laughed again.  "Yes, you do"


Following that trip to NYC, I kept a close monitor on my eyesight.  My vision was still clear.  Maybe my eyes self-corrected; I kept my hopes up.

And then, my son gifted me a guide for a video game that I love to play.  And all I could do was gripe about the small font.

I checked with my Dad.  "How old were you when you started wearing glasses."

My Dad (in his succient manner):  "Your age."

I checked with my Sister.  "When did you start wearing glasses?"

My Sis:  "Uhm, I started wearing glasses when I was in my 20s.  I switched to contacts a couple of years later.  Do you even know me?"  She stepped back and grinned at me.

So there I was, nothing to do but go to CVS and purchase some $10 cheaters.  Eventually I had to purchase three pair (one for home, one for my truck, one for the office).  I kept losing track of them, probably because I did not want to admit that I needed glasses at all.

But it's ok.  I got a compliment from my "sweetheart" at the office:  a beautiful young lady with long dark hair, a dazzling smile, and ebony-colored eyes.  "You look so intelligent wearing your glasses."

I raised my eyebrows gave her a big smile, and said quietly.  "Good...I'll fool everyone."

And Father Time?  He can go crash somone else's party.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Begin Again...Again. And let's begin on the subject of "Traditional Marriage"

Back in April of this year, I abandoned this blog to start another:  Jason, All Day Long  The reason for the new blog?  I wanted to be more open about my life.

Some friends expressed their disappointment in the new "vanilla-named" site.  They like the edginess of "The Queer Next Door."  After the switch to the new blog (quite oddly), I took a long hiatus from writing and posting.  I had been somewhat consistent on my "Queer" site.

Now, I could use any number of excuses for not posting on the "Jason" site:
  • I've been super-busy with my day job
  • I'm taking piano lessons and trying to practice at least an hour a day
  • I'm brushing up on my Spanish (with the goal to be a middle school foreign language teacher one day)
  • I'm playing a video game that can absorb every minute of my free time (if I'm not careful)
Now, these are all excuses.  And as my mom used to tell me, "That's a good excuse, if you're looking for one."  And I guess these are all nothing but excuses.

But maybe the root cause for my recent silence is that I didn't seem very excited to write as "Jason, All Day Long."  Maybe I wanted to remind people that there is a queer living next door. 

And I wouldn't think that this reminder is necessary (at least with the straight people that I encounter); most people that I know are perfectly all right with homosexuals.  But there is one man in our neighborhood who drives a station wagon with his "Marriage is between a Man and a Woman" bumper-sticker opinion flying free.  Myself, I have a Human Rights Campaign "Equal-Symbol" sticker on the back glass of my truck.  I've had a few straight people ask, "What does that mean?" I smile and explain.  For the people who aren't aware of HRC, the symbol of equality should work its way into their minds at least at a subconscious level, (I would hope).

Then you have those organizations, like the American Family Association whose primary mission appears to be decrying the "Homosexual Agenda" and working toward the assurance that the Defense of Marriage Act is upheld.  They push campaigns, such as the Chick-fil-a "Appreciation Day" to support the CEO's stance on tradition marriage. 

While "traditional marriages" end in divorce 50% percent of the time for first marriages, 67% for second marriages and 74% for third marriages (according to recent studies), I am left with the thought that not only is traditional marriage between a man and a woman, but the same can be said for traditional divorce.

Ken and I will be married for a year in September.  We have been together for six years, our best friends (a lesbian couple) have been together for 20 years, and my gay brother-in-law and his partner have been together for 20 years as well.  Maybe we homos are getting the game right.

I'm not much of an advocate of homosexual rights.  I just live my life, open and honest.  What leads me back to this site today?  I was preparing my lunch in the kitchen area of our work floor.  A person from another department that shares our floor walked up.  She commented on the small container that held my fresh green beans.  "That is so cute.  I couldn't get up early enough in the morning to prepare my lunch.  Does your wife do that for you?"

Without pausing, I said, "I don't have a wife, but my partner does this every morning for me.  He spoils me."

And the usually chatty woman was silenced, although she laughed nervously.

I have a picture of Ken displayed prominently at my desk.  It's the largest photo there (amongst the photos of my son, my sister, my best friend, and my nephews).  If someone comes into my cube for the first time and doesn't know me very well, they often ask, "Who's that?"

I always reply.  "That's my husband."  (and typically with an voiced exclamation point). 

That's what the State of New York says.  And I can say with assurance, we couldn't and wouldn't add to the growing divorce rates.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Schubert's Kicking My Ass

Schubert’s Waltz in B Minor.  Man, how I hate that piece.

Not really.  I love it.  It sounds like this:

Simple, really.  But challenging to me.

I took lessons as a child (getting good enough to play “Für Elise” by Beethoven at the request of my dad). But I abruptly quit. 

One of my teachers turned out to be quite the taskmaster and pissed me off.  She wanted me to play the first movement of Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata.”  Frankly, I was tired of Beethoven and wanted to change my repertoire to Billy Joel and Elton John songs.  So I convinced my mom to let me stop with the lessons (one of the many examples from my youth of cutting off my nose to spite my face).

My 40s snuck up on me.  And I realized that I missed the piano. 

We all have dreams.  Mine?  To make my living as a pianist.  Now, I’m not expecting to become the next Billy Joel, Elton John or Ben Folds, but it would be great to be able to play at different venues (weddings, parties, etc.) and make enough money to support myself.

One of my friends is an accomplished classical concert pianist and teacher.  I mentioned to him one day that I would like to take lessons again and if he could suggest someone who could teach pop/rock style.  He mentioned a couple of sources, and then said offhandedly “Well, I could teach you.” 

At the first lesson, my friend and I discussed where to start and where I wanted to go with the lessons.  While I want to focus on pop/rock style, I understand that a good foundation lies in classical music.  So I decided to work on one classical piece and one popular piece per lesson. Before I sat down at the piano, I laughed and said, “I hope that I don’t bore and frustrate you with how slowly I learn.” 

He smiled.  “Don’t worry.  I only ‘fire’ students when they show no interest and refuse to learn.”

 After a particularly tough lesson (compliments of the Schubert waltz), I drove home thinking “I’m going to get fired from piano lessons.”  When I returned for my next lesson, I pulled out the sheet music for the waltz and said, “I hate this piece.” 

My friend recoiled and said, “Oh, my…well, let’s give it a go anyway.”  I played it badly, blundering at the same measures over and over until he finally said, “Stop.  I tell you what.  Just put this waltz away.  Forget about it for now.  At this point, you’re beating your head against the wall with it.  After a couple of weeks, take another look.  You will find that you can play it much better.”

I guess life is like this.  Sometimes we need to step back, take a breath, and tackle the challenge a bit later at a different angle and with a fresh point of view.

I told my friend about my concerns following the previous lesson that he was going to “fire” me.  He laughed.  “Don’t worry. You are my project.  I won’t be happy until you are playing Carnegie Hall.”

Although he may have been joking, it completely encouraged me.

I’ll let you know when I’ve booked the date.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Magic Doesn't Just Happen

I squandered my chance at magic this morning, but it happens each day in Houston.  There is a magic moment when you can zip to the office through traffic somewhat unhindered. 

I slept a bit late this morning, with The Man coming to my bedside every five minutes to ask how much longer I intended to sleep – my standard answer is always “5 more minutes.”  “5 more minutes” turned into an hour and a quarter this morning.  Which was unfortunate, seeing that my boss’s birthday is today. 

You see…I’m part of the office decorating committee.  A co-worker and I (probably the only two people in our department who care about such things) decorate for each person’s birthday.  This consists of some paltry streamers around the top of cubicles and balloons at each corner.  Whee! 

When I finally arrived at the office, my co-committee member had enlisted one of our co-workers to help decorate the cube.  With orange and white streamers. 

Yuck.  I did not say anything, but a gay man would never decorate with orange and white.  Orange and blue, maybe.  Orange and purple, sure.  Orange and white, never.  There’s no pizzazz there.

I didn’t get to create magic today on my boss’s cubicle.  I should be less gay or more punctual.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Lighting the Way

“As we light a path for others, we naturally light our own way”
Mary Anne Radmacher

It’s easy to get lost.  It’s easy to get turned around and lose direction.  When your world’s been shaken to the core, finding which way is up is sometimes impossible.

I have a family member, a young man, who has found trouble again and again.  To the point of finding himself in jail a couple of times.  As I type this post, he is incarcerated.

The Man has a close friend who has been in-and-out of the prison system over the last fifteen years.  It’s disheartening to know that this pattern (in too many cases) is circular.

I’ve learned from The Man.  He has never given up on his friend.  The Man writes letters to him faithfully.  The Man sends him money orders, so his friend can buy various personal items in the prison commissary (like special soap…yeah, it surprised me too).  Since the only way to make a call from the pokey is collect to a telephone land-line, The Man ensures that we have one so his friend can call and chat once a week.  If truth be told, The Man is the only stable person in this guy’s life.

When my own young man landed in jail the first time, I was upset: “Angry,” to be truthful.  I was angry because I thought that he had not listened to my “words of wisdom.”  His addiction to trouble and drugs was something that we all thought could be overcome outside of the system.  Not so.
Where Rule #1 is “Be nice,” I had forgotten Rule #2: 
“Listen, try your best to understand.  And if you can’t understand, just listen.”

When my young man first went to jail, I visited him at the facility.  I talked with him through the cloudy plexiglas divider.  I was able to make it a couple of minutes into the conversation, and then I started crying.  He smiled and quickly changed the subject to ask about a rock concert that he knew I’d recently attended.  Then he proudly showed me his new prison tattoo.  God love him.

It hurt.  Badly.  I couldn’t hug him hello.  I couldn’t hug him good-bye.  I couldn’t good-naturedly knock him on his head and tell him to “Shape up!”

A few short months later, he was released.  He kept his nose clean for a while.  And then found trouble once more.  And to the facility again, about two months ago.

I wrote him a letter back in early January.  My communication was sharp and forceful.  I had to write and rewrite the letter four times over before it became a bit more pleasant and compassionate.  I wasn’t sure I’d get a response. 

Just a couple of days later, I received a letter from him.  He had been very excited to get my letter, comparing it to a Christmas present.

Like The Man with his close friend, I will always be there for my own young man. 

I remember taking him to New Orleans when he was four.  At night, we rode the ferry from Canal Street over to Algiers with him holding my hand as we stood at the rail;  I recall that he stared down at the dark water swirling alongside the boat and back at the lights of the French Quarter.  He looked up to me and smiled. “This is so cool.”

I'll always be there for him.  If just to hold the light to help guide the way.  After all, he is part of my own blood, part of my heart, part of my soul.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Marking Up My Body

In a week and a half, I will have my fifth appointment with my tattoo artist in as many months.  Yes, I’m getting quite a bit of work done.

I got my first tattoo when I was about 30 or so, and then got four others over the next few years.  I finally decided to tie them together in a common theme.

Draft of Work to be Done

After my third tattoo, my (then) best friend remarked, “You’re just going along with this fashion trend, which is going to be tired and over in a couple of years.  It will be so passé.”  In retrospect, he was wrong.  I’ve yet to regret any of my skin art.

In proof of my fatherly influence, my son (upon turning 18 years-old) went immediately to the tattoo parlor and got a HUGE piece inked on his upper arm of a dragon wrapped around a sword.  He had planned to follow that up with our last name tattooed across his upper back in Old English style lettering.  I successfully convinced him not to go this gangsta route.

Having a large tattoo on my arm has presented a few challenges at work.  Since I work in a fairly conservative corporate environment, I wear long-sleeved shirts almost exclusively.  I only wear short-sleeved shirts if they cover down to my elbow. 

I plan on getting a full sleeve tattoo on my left arm.  My closest friend at work says at that point I should make sure to wear short-sleeved shirts as often as possible to show my anarchist nature (although, again, I wonder if tattoos are so nontraditional in today’s place and time.  I see small ones on co-workers and other people in the company quite often).

Although I do like to buck the system, I mostly just like to be me everyday of my life.  And that includes showing how I’ve decorated my body.  I can live with that.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I'd be better at this if I just had more champagne...

On the first day of 2012, I posted on my regular Facebook profile:
My main New Year’s Resolution for 2012 is keeping track of how quickly it will take to break all of my New Year’s Resolutions
It’s been difficult tallying. 

Now, let’s make it clear.  I think the idea of New Year’s Resolutions is a bit dumb.  I understand that some people see the first day of the year as a time for new beginnings.  I view New Year’s Day as just another day (realist, not grump).  I am a bit annoyed by all of the people who suddenly flood my gym during the month of January.  I wonder how much resolve that they will have (grumpy and judgmental, admittedly).  I notice that the church parking lots are at high occupancy in January (smug and sacrilegious).

But this year, I sincerely thought about some things that I would like to change in my life:

·        Stop smoking. After puffing on cigarettes since the age of fourteen or so, I’m certain that I have permanently damaged my lungs, clogged my arteries, and jacked up my senses of smell and taste.  It’s four days into the New Year, and I can report that I am still smoking.
·        Gripe about work and my management staff less. What’s the point?  Work is work.  I have to work to pay bills.  I enjoy our house and have to pay the mortgage. I like to travel.  I need to feed my menagerie, etc.  I can report that yesterday was my first day in the office for the year, and I was only mildly successful at keeping my grumbling to a minimum (not regarding my projects, but management was going the extra mile to break this resolution for me).
·        Allocate my home time more reasonably. As I reported in early December, a new video game was released.  As I reported, the game would probably swallow my life.  I can now report that it did.  Completely.  As you might note, my last post was that December one.  I spend most waking hours either playing the game or thinking of strategies for playing the game.  I even spend my “should-be” sleeping hours in that other fabricated world.  Last night all it took was a couple of snores from The Man and then Luke whimpering loudly in a dream (we must have played fetch too long yesterday), and I was jolted awake.  12:33 AM.  And what do I do?  Head to the living room and jump on the couch.  After playing the game for a while in the dark, I turned on the light to check the time…3:35 AM.  Perfect.  Up at my regular time of 6:00 AM.  I almost face-planted in the shower this morning.
·        Keep a better track of finances. The Man and I both have our separate bank accounts and one house account.  I maintain my own and the house account.  I can report that there is a stack of receipts on my desk.  We recently switched telephone carriers, but we are still paying both companies.  Duh.  We have a movie service (you know, the one that sends you DVDs by mail and allows you to stream movies through the Net), we NEVER use that.  There are other countless ways to shave off fat in our budget.

I think that’s about it for my resolutions.  Off to a stellar start in 2012.  I guess I can reload. 
2013 is practically around the corner.