Today, I am 40…

I often thought that hitting 40 would be so much more of a big deal. I was expecting a little fanfare, balloons and cake and hey, maybe even a parade! (I can dream right)

But in reality, I greet this day with a smile, the well wishes of my loved ones and friends and the expectation of a great night out tonite with amazing people and good music. No big deal. No pressure. No soul searching melancholy on the meaning of my existence as I reach middle age. No, just acceptance, a smile and looking forward to this new chapter in my life. I’m happy and but not content and that makes this birthday so much better than all the rest. New opportunities, new friendships, new loves (or maybe even an old one), I’m looking forward to what is to come. Forward, with no regrets.

2011 – Time to make the resolutions…..

Originally I posted this as a note on my Facebook page but I gotta start this blog somewhere, so here we go:

I’m hoping for some changes this year. I need to improve my health and think about the future. In the past, I’ve set up unrealistic goals for myself and restrict myself to unliveable ideals. This in turn sabotages my best intentions, rendering the concept of a resolution to a temporary condition at best. I find myself discouraged and falling into old patterns before the year is even 2 months old. So this year, I’m going easy on myself in a way. Going to concentrate on things that are good for my physical and mental health and work on baby steps and only give myself a couple huge goals. And even those are pretty tame. This is not to say I’m not going to challenge myself. But I think I need to do this in small steps to achieve any kind of success. Otherwise, I’m doomed to failure again and again. So here goes:

1. Eat healthier – Yeah, I know, an old stand by…but I think I can do this. I know how to cook and I know how to make yummy meals that are lo-cal and quite tasty. That said, I will not deny myself entriely. Denial leads to failure, failure leads to bingeing, bingeing leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to… oh wait, thats something else.

2. Do not ignore temptation – You heard me. I will not ignore some deliciousness that someone has made for me. In the past, when I have denied myself something, it always backfires and I end up on a binge.

3. I will bring food from home ever day to work – Not only will this save me money, but it will eliminate some of the temptations I run into at work (boss buys chinese/pizza/subs, burritos from Loco Coco’s Tacos).

4. I will not beat myself up if I forget to bring some lunch and I do go out and buy a buritto.

 

5. I will go to the gym 4-5 times a week – This one is admittedly hard but I have some compromises that will make this easy. The gym is not always Planet Fitness, it’s wherever I can find time and get some sort of work out. Whether it be a hike, a walk on the beach (or a run, more on that later) everything where my heart rate gets elevated will work towards this goal.

6. A suit – This is one of my big goals for the year. By late spring, I want to buy a suit, something I’ve always rented but never owned. I think by then, I could rock a little tailored menswear.

7. Warrior Dash – Ok this craziness was introduced to me by my good friend Pam Shepherd. It’s not a marathon or triathlon but it is just as insane. Check it out http://www.facebook.com/WarriorDash copy and past the link if it doesn’t work. This is some crazy silliness that sounds challenging and a lot of fun. I’m hoping to be in shape for this for one of their fall events. Or something similar.

8. Running – I hate running. It hurts, I always fall because I’m a little clumsy, but dammit, I’m going to incorporate this into my workout even if it kills me. Ok, maybe not, but I need to get myself up and outdoors more often and this is a perfect way to do it.

9. Pedometer – Keeping a pedometer on me will keep me honest with my day to day fitness.

10. Rely on my friends – Listen to them more often, especially when their opinions differ from mine. I could have saved myself a boatload of heart ache this past year…

11. Never quit – I need to reach these goals, and I think all of these steps are attainable, but I have to remind myself: Never Quit, never give in to my self doubt and have faith in myself and the love in my life from friends and family to get me through this and achieve these goals.

12. Be a little more sociable – Yeah, I know some people have been pestering me to go out more and my problem has been my bed is just way too comfortable on most nights. I am going to change that. You will see me more, but at the same time, hopefully less of me too. 🙂

13. Travel – Going to plan a few trips this year. Need to get ot beyond New England for a bit. Thinking California or Washington DC or maybe visit family in Indiana or Montana. Course, I could always get my passport and travel to Toronto to visit some friends there. So many choices.

14. Writing – Going to try to spend more time writing. I know it’s been a while and this is a hard routine to work into again, but writing a little something every day is a workable goal.

15. Painting – Yes, I’m going to do it. Going to actually start painting again. I’m all set up, new paints are ready.

So thats it. Those are my goals and resolutions. What do you think? Attainable?

Ah 2009, you will be missed….

Why hello! Fancy meeting you here. I know it’s been awhile. I have no excuses. I wasn’t sick, there were no major catastrophes either meteorological, financial, familial or sociological. Let’s just call it what it is: I’m a lazy ass.

Since June, I have been writing and keeping notes on life, but to be honest, I really haven’t sat down in front of the computer to bring those thoughts to a public forum because, well….I’m lazy. And even with some gentle prodding from other bloggers (Cas, Allison, Romi, Pam and Natalie, to name a few) I just couldn’t find the motivation. The computer screen had become another blank canvas for me.

Let me explain: In the spare room in my house, there sits a canvas. About one year ago, I set it up on the easle, broke out some paints, poured myself a huge cup of coffee, set up some music and I went in with every intention to start….something. Unfortunately, when I sat down in front of the canvas, I realized I had no idea where to begin. All I saw was white. No direction, no thought, no emotion. Just a blank field of white. I remember sitting there for several hours, listening to the music, sipping my coffee. Nothing changed. I got up, shut off the music, put away my paints, shut off the light and left. Every few days, I would wander in, stare at the canvas again. I don’t know if I was looking for divine inspiration but the motivation was eluding me. I couldn’t even get started. The canvas sat on the easle for 6 months before I finally gave up and put it away. And I think I did the same thing here.  I gave up.

This past year has been a wild roller coaster ride of emotions. I worked 2 jobs for awhile which nearly drove me insane. I travelled to Texas, fell in love and had my heart broken more than once. (That story is still on going and I definitely plan to write about that at another time…there may be a happy ending to that tale). 

2009 was a year of being caught in an emotional holding pattern. Afraid to move forward, refusing to go back and no chance for finding some firm ground to hold on to. I felt like my life was circling the airport, waiting for the word to land and finally find some peace.

I saw my best friends lose their jobs and I realized I was more worried for them than they are. They are happy and content with their lot in life. Found myself wondering: why wasn’t I? Could I be so centered and happy if life threw me a curveball like that? I can’t even be happy with my life as it is.

My mother’s health improved as mine kinda deteriorated a little. Nothing to worry about, but certain things in my life that I put on the back burner were becoming more and more of a problem. Stress from the two jobs, lack of sleep and a chaotic life had sent my blood pressure through the roof, resulting in some weight gain, lack of motivation, etc. Since losing the second job, my health and outlook has improved. I’m on a more positive path to wellness and health. By the way, I have stories to tell about that second job…..

It wasn’t a year of all doom and gloom, however. Amazing friends, loving family always make everything easier. I recconnected with scores of old friends from high school through Facebook. This strange phenomenom seems to be the norm for almost everyone. People reaching out across the internet to find each other once again. I love it. I love seeing what other people have done with their lives since the hellish days of Winnacunnet High School.

Music once again dominated my life with shows all over New England. Some I worked for the band, others I was there just to support the music. I fell in love with Pandora and LastFM, both introducing new music into my life while reminding me the of the joys of my musical past.

There was amazing food and food that should never be mentioned again! I’m looking at you, chicken fried bacon! The Texas State Fair may classify you as food and you may be delicious, but you are sooooooo wrong! Wrong on every level that is wrongness.

So many more things I could mention here, but I feel I have prattled on long enough. So without further ado, here is my official list of New Year’s Resolutions:

1. Find a healthy weight. (you’ll notice I carefully avoided the cliche of  “lose weight”)

2. Let my heart heal. Allow myself to finally just get over the hurt and find the happy again. Love has entered my life, crashing in, demanding and I want to explore this without the regrets and hurt of the past.

3. Yard sale!!!! Yes, I’m finally going to have a yard sale. I’m working on minimizing in my life (read: cutting out the unneccessary crap) and the first major hurdle will be to have an epic win of a yard sale. Need some books? Come talk to me, I’ll hook you up….

4. Take a real vacation. Ya know, one that involves real rest and peace…maybe camping on a lake someplace….

5. Spend more times with the crazy people I call friends and less time with the computer.

6. Paint. I bought a new set of watercolors, some good quality paper and a few new brushes. Now, just need to get my ass out there and do some real work. Watercolors are not my normal medium, but I figure trying something outside my comfort zone may motivate me more.

7. Finally commit to blog all the stories I have rolling around in my head and incomplete here in my drafts.

8. Finally read the manual for my new camera and figure out what it can really do rather than just winging it all the time… 🙂

9. Appreciate my mom more and remember to tell her I love her every day. It’s tough taking care of mom, this is not how I pictured my life to be, but she is my mom and my responsibility. Sometimes I feel burdened and sometimes I wish my life were different, but she needs me and this is what I have to do.

10. Find some peace and contentment, the kind we all dream about….

So Happy New Year everyone! Kiss 2009 goodbye and bring on 2010! I can’t wait…..

Vacation is Coming

suitcase

 

In three weeks, I will finally be going on a vacation. I know what you are saying: “George, you work two jobs, how can you swing a whole week off?”

The answer is easy: just don’t give a shit.

I need some time to myself. Some time to re-evaluate my little life. Been so wrapped up in making money and taking care of family business that I have completely lost touch with what I really want. I’m not one to avoid introspection, but for some reason, despite my best efforts, I have lost touch with the things that matter to me.

I know the biggest reason for this is my work schedule. For those who don’t know, allow me to explain.

Since September 2008, I have had two jobs. My full time job is with a car dealership. I work there from 45-65 hours a week. They provide full healthcare, 401k, dental, etc. The job is very stable despite the climate out there in the car business. I may bitch about this job alot. I may complain about my co-workers and their lack of interest in anything other than sports and naked women, but it’s a good job. I’m the lynch-pin of the dealership and I love that responsibility. I don’t think I get recognized enough for what I do here, but that is a subject for another blog.

Since September, I joined up at a call center. The original plan was to have this job part time to help offset the cost of oil for the winter since it was looking very scary. Then oil went way down….and thats when I made the mistake of looking at my 401k. Just like everybody else out there, I was seeing diminishing returns. So my friends talked me into joining them at this call center. The calls come in, you take the call, fill out the order, upsell what you can and thats it. Easy right? Easy, but nerve racking. The problem with the part time is I am required to do 20 hours a week there to maintain my part time status.

So lets do the math: on a slow week, I am doing a minimum of 65 hours and on a busy week, I’m doing 85.  Thats eighty five hours of work that leaves very little time for a social life, working out or even vital little things…like sleeping!  Let’s not even get started on spare time to work on a painting, go hiking. The best I can do is a nice long drive along the coast between shifts….

I have been justifying this self torture for one reason: I’m not seeing anyone. Since I’m not dating, might as well make as much money as possible. The rebuttal to my position is: “Well, if you didn’t work so much, maybe you WOULD meet someone.” It’s a never ending cycle. I’ve also come to realize that my position, working my ass off because I have nobody in my life, is the passive position. And if I keep taking this position, a non participatory role in my own dating life, crap like what just happened to me will keep happening and I’ll forever be heartbroken and miserable.

Oh, thats right….I never told you about the last month and half of stupidity that re-entered my life. I guess I never wrote about it because I felt like I had been used. Another redhead pulled the wool over my eyes. Thats not exactly true. She didn’t pull the wool over my eyes so much as I did it myself. Just wanted to believe everything she said was true. But no, it was a lie, just like before. Oh yeah, there was a before to this story too, which is why I should have seen how it would all end. But sadly, my heart dove in face first and ran merrily away without me. Now he’s broken, shattered really. And no, I won’t go into detail. Would rather keep it vague and not name names.

But if I didn’t work so much, if I had some kind of a life, maybe I could have seen her coming a mile away and told her to go to hell like I should have rather than going along with things simply out of conveniance. And conveniance is never a reason to start a relationship with someone.

So thats why I need this vacation. I need it so I can step outside of myself and my life. I need new priorities and new objectives. And most of all, need a new plan for my little life. I need to be a better friend to those who care about me. I need to be true to myself and stop compromising so much of my life. And I need to make myself available, so when she finally does walk into my life, I won’t be so busy that I hardly notice her and miss the chance of a lifetime.

Vacation is coming and with it comes a lot of change. I think I’m ready.

37 and Still Feeling Frisky

4bddYup, it’s official: I’m 37. Part of me wants to discuss aging, growing older and wiser and what the future holds for me and my place in the world. Part of me wants to create a poetic treatise on aging, love and good friends. All noble intentions of my creative mind.

The rest of me wants cake.

Think I’m heading out for cake and ice cream. Diet be darned! I’ll hobble my way through the day loaded up on cake. old_man_walking_with_walker_lg_nwm

Sometime this week, I’ll write something reflective and introspective but right now, I hear chocolate calling me.

PS: Quote of the day from one of my co workers:

“37? Really? Happy Birthday! You are officially invisible to women under 30! Congratulations!”

Casual Sex or Clean Up in the Shoe Department

casual-sex

If I saw you, I wouldn’t be able to look you in the eye today.

I had a sex dream about you last night. There’s no way to be coy about it. No way to make it seem like something else. This wasn’t a cute romantic dream about holding hands, cuddled on the couch, watching movies with the occasional kissing and snuggling.

Nope.

This wasn’t that at all.

The dream began innocently enough. We were walking through the mall, talking about some new job you had. Apparently, in my dream, you can’t hold down a job and this was your latest career. I don’t remember the details but I think it had something to do with quality control at a university someplace, which really doesn’t make any sense. I mean seriously, what does “Quality Control” at a university really mean? I think my dream version of you is just making shit up…

As often happens in a dream, the scenery changed abruptly. First we had been walking through the food court area of the mall. Emo kids where strewn about everywhere, wearing their latest pre-fab uniforms from Hot Topic. Is it really emo and punk to hang out at the mall? Really? And why do you all look the same? Maybe it’s a product of getting old and being an old punk rocker, but kids these days, the ones who pretend to be so punk, they all look the same. Same skinny jeans, same ill-fitting shirts, same “Hot Topic” tags. I seriously cannot understand the concept of that store. Punk, at it’s core was and has always been a DIY experience and yet, if you want your musical and political statements pre-printed for you, here’s a store with all the essentials. For Fifty bucks, you too can look like a punk rocker or an emo kid! Way to go kids! Way to dumb it down even further…

Yeah, I do rant like that in my dreams too… J

But I digress…we were walking through the food court and suddenly we were at the entrance of JC Penney. You took my hand and smiled at me. For the first time, I noticed you were wearing a tight fitting t shirt that accentuated your frame rather lovingly. You caught me looking and poked me in the stomach.

“Come on,” you said. “We have to hurry. I have church in the morning.”

I smiled at you, thoroughly confused by this statement.

You pulled my hand and lead me through JC Penney. I was completely puzzled…even in my dreams, I’m absolutely clueless. You lead me through to the mens shoe department. Did you know that JC Penney has a new feature in their shoe department? I guess this must be standard in all their new stores. Apparently, they all have a secret door in the back that opens up right into my bedroom. I wasn’t aware of this new feature until you opened the door and dragged me through.

Surprisingly, I had remembered to make my bed and tidy up my room before I left for the day. In the dream, I must have more free time.

You wrapped your arms around me and kissed me. For a moment, I was melting. The world froze and I could feel the heat of your body against mine, the taste of your lips, your tongue. You pulled back suddenly. A devilish grin came across your face.

“You are too gentle.”

With that, I felt your foot scoop around the back of my legs, taking my feet out from under me and I crashed backwards onto the bed.

That’s when you pounced.

What transpired from there, I humbly must leave to your imagination. I can say that there was a whirlwind of activity, involving positions of all imaginings and even a few that were against the laws of nature and a few that I’m sure were illegal in several states. In the end, the bed was broken, the tv had a bed post through it, all the paintings on the walls were askew, the mattress was on the floor and you and I…you and I were in a broken sweaty heap on the floor. I was gasping for breath and you were giggling at me, half covered in one of my old t shirts. How did you find my old Cure Tour t shirt? I thought that was lost 20 years ago? I snuggled in with you and for a moment, for one quiet moment, I felt content.

You poked me in the belly again, teasing me about my weight.

“I have to go” you said “and you have to wake up.”

Thats when I heard my alarm.

For a few brief moments, in those milliseconds between sleep and smashing my alarm button, I could still feel the smoothness of your skin, the brush of your hair across my face and neck, the taste of you on my lips. Then you were gone. The illusion was broken and I woke up alone in my room. I looked towards the door to my bedroom half expecting to see the hustle and bustle of a JC Penney shoe department but I was disapointed to just see the hallway, my cat wandering towards me, demanding some attention.

I spent today wondering if I should tell you. How much is too much sharing when it comes to friends?. I know I’m only a friend. But part of me wants something more and I’m not sure how to reconcile that.

The dream was intense, playful and extremely x rated. There were things you did that I would never have expected from you. If I told you, would you have a good laugh with me about? Would we kid each other about positions we should have tried in the dream then just carry on as we always have? Would you recoil in horror or would you jokingly admit to having something of a similar dream? Would you be able to forgive my imaginations lack of discretion? Do you feel the same way? Or am I alone in this, deluded by my own overactive and undersexed libido? I’m happy being your friend, but is that all there is? I know it was only a dream and I know where my boundaries are, but part of me can’t wait to go to bed tonite and go shoe shopping again….

Another Interview, Another Challenge

Trisha asked and I answered the call! And I really have to thank her because I needed something to write about and I am in a rut….

1. You’ve been chosen as a contestant on Survivor Devil Island. What skills would you bring to the island to help your team and then ultimately yourself?
scan0022 As you can see by this example, I’m more than adept at building houses out of available materials…
Ok, actually, this a “Fairy House” I came across on my first trip to Monhegan Island off the coast of Maine. And it’s made from twigs, bark and moss and not mighty branches and logs from the massive trees in the woods…and yeah, did I mention I didn’t actually build it? Yeah, so I really have nothing to offer when it come to survival in the wilderness.  Besides watching “SurvivorMan” or “Man VS Wild”, I have no experience with surviving in the wilderness without basic camping gear. Give me a tent, some cooking gear and maybe a gun, and I might make it 24 hours….So I think the first camp council on my season of Survivor would involve the rest of my tribe voting off my sunburnt (yeah, the native american genes did not involve my pigmentation at all!) and crying ass.
2. You’ve just won $28,000,000. in Powerball! What will you do with all that money?
66-5So after everyone in my family has been taken care of…and after I’ve quit my job…and after I’ve moved in to my new seaside villa…and after I’ve whipped myself into shape with my 24 hour on call personal trainer…and after I’ve taken care of my good friends needs…and after I’ve bought my friends bands new gear and funded their next album…and after I’ve set up a scholarship foundation for underprivileged art majors…after ALL of that, I would load up the car and fullfill a lifelong dream. I would drive out to Chicago and find Old Route 66 and drive cross country. I have a fascination with all the old kitschy stuff that cropped up along this once major highway that runs from Chicago all the way to Santa Monica. One of the purest joys in my life has always been just hopping my car and just driving and seeing all the old Americana, being able to experince a truly “American” experience (the fabled love affair with the automobile and all the road side attractions that helped build) and maybe writing a book about my experience or at the very least, do some photography and painting along the way. One thing I would have to add to this experience would be stopping along the way and visiting with the many amazing people I’ve met online over the years. 🙂
Then after all that, I would open up the restaurant I mentioned in my last post and hopefully somewhere in my travels, I would have met the woman of my dreams. But thats a post for another time…
3. Giada DeLaurentis asks you to audition for her show. What dish would you prepare for her and give us the recipe , please!
giadaI have to admit, the idea of being featured on a cooking show would definitely intrigue me. Whenever I cook for my friends, I have this tendency to talk out loud about what I’m doing and how I’m doing it, how long something takes to cook and how to properly dice something. Aparently, this is an unconscious habit that I do even when I’m alone. Ok, I know that sounds like I’m a little nutty, talking to myself while I cook, but you wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t enjoy some of my eccentricities. 🙂
I have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that Giada would ask me to audition for anything, but lets say she wanted me on to feature a recipe from my restaurant (you know, the one I would open after I win Powerball…) so I’m thinking I would have to make something slightly italian so I would probably make a cold cut and italian sausage omellette.
4 eggs beaten
1/4 cup whole milk
tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1/4 cup chopped parsely
a sampling of italian deli meats chopped roughly equalling about 1/2 lb : prosciutto, mortadella, capicola are some good examples.
1/4 lb diced pancetta, pan seared
2 italian spicy sausages, grilled and chopped
1/2 onion, finely diced
1/2 green pepper, finely diced
2 roma tomatoes, de-seeded and chopped roughly
roasted red pepper, chopped
one cup mozzarella
1/4 fresh parmesan, roughly grated
salt
pepper
basil
oregano
juice of one lemon
In a large bowl, combine the eggs with the milk and whisk to combine. Add oregano, basil, salt and pepper to taste. In a large non stick pan, grill the onions till they start to carmelize and combine with the green and red peppers, garlic, pancetta and sausage.
On a large flat skillet that has been either buttered or at least had some non stick spray applied to it, pour on the egg mixture. Make sure the skillet is piping hot before tossing the egg on there. From here, this all comes together rather quickly. I’m a big fan of the tri-fold method of omellette making so the egg spreads out thin across the skillet, giving you a rather large middle area to combine your ingrediants. As the egg starts to firm up, put down a handfull of mozzarella and then layer on the deli meat followed by the pancetta/sausage/veggie mixture. Squeeze on top a little juice from a lemon, add another handfull of cheese and fold together the omellette. Remove the pan from the heat, layer the sliced tomatos across the top of the omellette, then smother with remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Then take entire pan and set in a 400 degree oven for 5 minutes to further melt the cheese and fuse the flavors. After the cheese has melted and appears golden brown, remove from oven, garnish with chopped fresh parsley and serve with your favorite hash or a mixed green salad.
4. If you could make a home for yourself anywhere on the planet where would you live permanently? Can you describe your home in detail? Money is, of course, no object.
scan0007scan0047scan0012Monhegan Island would be somewhere near the top of my list. I loved this place from the first moment I set foot on the island.  I wrote about my first experience there here, here, here and here. That one experince made me a fan. Sadly, I’ve only been back there twice since and only on the same kind of day trips. Eventually, when I get the free time, I plan on spending alot more time there. It has long been a refuge for artists, the Wyeth family had a home there, Hopper painted here and countless other artists have immortalized this tiny little slice of heaven.  Isolated as it is in the Gulf of Maine, it would take alot of committment to want to live there year round. A healthy love of all things seafood and a stronger set of sea legs would be a start. But the idea of living and breathing art for the rest of my life? Yeah, thats pretty tempting….And if I had a house on the island, I would want an ocean view (not hard to do on an island) with a large studio space custom built with huge bay windows facing the ocean. All the rest would be details, but a massive kitchen to cook and entertain in and of course my own mini  movie theater. 🙂
5. You’re dissatisfied with the work you do. If you could do only one thing for the rest of your life what would you do?
sirsy7joey-sarah-and-lourdsI think I would be the happiest man in the world if I could help my friends in Sirsy and Lourds. I would love nothing better than doing photography and and promotional work for them and helping in some small way. And I would definitely do this on breaks from living on Monhegan Island. 🙂
So heres the rules again in case you forgot already:

1. Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.”
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.