I’m grateful, are you?

So I’ve been thinking more about how to be positive in my daily life.  I’ve heard of different things but the one thing that seems to strike a cord is a gratitude journal.  Simply acknowledging the good things in your life in which you’re grateful. Simple enough, right?

What am I grateful for?

  1. I’m grateful for my cousin Scott, a wonderful friend.
  2. I’m grateful for Karen, a great boss.
  3. I’m grateful for my workout partner Rick, without whom I wouldn’t be going to the gym.
  4. I’m grateful for an empty BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) car on the trip home.
  5. I’m grateful for my very good friend Susan who’s always there for me.

Today I ask my boss if she grew up in a home where she was encouraged as a child.  I don’t really remember that about my childhood.  I remember the majority of my childhood being humiliated and bullied.  It was hard growing up different in a small backwater area of central Ohio.  I think that was the first time that I really ever spoke about my childhood and what it was like unemotionally.  Normally it’s a conversation filled with sadness or anger.  It wasn’t until I went to college that I found my people you might say.

When I went to college at Otterbein University (College) it was the first time that I met other people like me.  Funny thing is some of you might be thinking I’m talking about gay people.  That’s not it at all.  This was the first time I met other people my age who sought to further themselves with education.  Men and women from small towns around Ohio who came to college to better themselves.

As a member of the marching band we arrived at Otterbein a week before school started for band camp.  My first day I walked into my room and there sat my roommate, a football player.  I was a little shocked but made the best of it.  His name was Mike and come to find out his sister was a violinist with the Dayton Jr Philharmonic.  So he was OK with the band geek thing.  To this day I still have friends from Otterbein that I met in the band program 20+ years ago.

In today’s discussion I was able to say and feel that I’ve really accomplished something in my life.  In terms of education I went to Otterbein University and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education.  I went to Ohio State University for the better part of a year and did their Masters of Education program.  Last but not least I went to DeVry University and received a Bachelors of Science in Information Technology.  Which may I add I maintained a 4.0 GPA while working a full-time job.

Image That’s pretty freaking impressive for a kid who came from a family who doesn’t value education, grew up in a house where you could see the wind blow the curtains (the window was not open), where the blanket I slept with froze to the outside wall one winter, and a whole list of other stuff if I really thought about it.  Yes we lived in poverty and we were poor.  I never really thought about it though because my parents made the best of it.

So today I say I’m grateful that I’ve had enough ambition to move forward and do what some may call impossible in my life.  I’ve received education.  I’ve traveled domestically and internationally.  I’ve worked for major companies.  I started a company.  I’ve bought a home.  I’ve lived in New Orleans and San Francisco. I’ve made friends from so many countries I couldn’t even begin to count.  Man, that’s something!

Today I posted on Facebook the following message. “I stumble along through life. I haven’t really sought out as much as I dream of.”  Well my stumbling has allowed me to do far more than I’ve ever acknowledged.  In my stumbling I’ve met so many WONDERFUL people.  I’ve played tuba in places that are amazing and beautiful.  I’ve sang songs that have made people cry (not because it was painful).

“I stumble along through life. I haven’t really sought out as much as I dream of.”

For a kid from Knox County Ohio I’ve done pretty darn good!  That’s the truth, my truth!  I’ve come a long way baby and I’ve still got further to go!  So I’m grateful for somehow, someway finding my way to where I am today.

Focus is my weapon and procrastination is my enemy!

"Practice Mute"
In case some of you don’t know, this is a viola.

So I came home tonight and I got right to it.  I am on a mission to stay on task and focused to being productive.  Once I get home I have a horrible tendency to sit down and turn on the TV.  That never results in anything good normally.  So tonight I came home and here’s what I acomplished!

  1. Practiced Viola
  2. Washed the dishes
  3. Made a healthy dinner (Salad)
  4. Washed 2 loads of laundry
  5. Folded 2 loads of laundry
  6. Worked on one of my small businesses
  7. Waked 1.3 miles (Daily Activity Reached 109% )
  8. Wrote this blog posting

That was far to productive to do every night.  I would be considered OCD and and over achiever if I did that every night.  So now I need to figure out a happy medium.  Some middle ground where I can get certain chores done each night but yet have some down time.

If you have any suggestions leave me a message.  Maybe we can expand upon it and make it a blog post.

 

Monday evening thoughts

Image

So I just came back from a walk.  I went out specifically to meet my daily activity goal but it gave me time to think.  Walking has always been good for that one specific activity.  It lets me think, collect my thoughts and work through things that my be plaguing my mind.

So this year seems to be self empowerment.  I’ve taken on some personal growth activities that may seem pretty daunting to some.  To meet I’m just trying to move forward with my life.  I get to this point where I feel stagnant and I need to do something.

What I need to do isn’t always clear.  It can be simple or more complex.  This year it’s meant a couple different things.

  1. Lose weight
  2. Learn how to play a new instrument
  3. Create a small business

These are all monumental things by themselves but I’m taking on all three at once.  Why I’m not sure to be honest.  They all deal with different parts of my life and they are major parts of my life.  They are three things that make me happy.

So I’ve been going to Weight Watchers now going on 4 months.  I’ve lost 21 pounds and I can feel a difference.  I’ve been increasing my activity by using their ActiveLink.  At first it didn’t seem to be to bad.  I knew that my activity level wold increase but I didn’t think it was going to be that bad.

I walked from the 24 Street Bart station to Castro Street on my way home tonight.  That’s 1 mile with a pretty decent hill.  That wasn’t the only activity today.  In order to meet my activity level for the day I walked down my from my apartment to the Castro and back home.  That’s about 1.25 miles each way.  I’m happy to report that I topped my goal at approximately 114%.

As for learning a new instrument I’m working to learn how to play the viola.  I’ve had 5 lessons and the teacher tells me that I’m a natural.  It’s slightly frustrating because I want to progress faster but it’s all about forum and I’m still in the learning stages.

Last but not least is the small business.  I have two things that I’m working on right now.  I need to do more work with them so that they develop but I do have them started.  They aren’t profitable yet but I’ll work on that because the one can be.  Like anything it just needs more time and attention.

So I’m going to try to focus more and use this blog to keep track of my success or short comings.  I don’t plan on any short comings but it’s good to be realistic that there will be some along the way.  If any reader has any input I would greatly appreciate constructive criticism.

2011 in review

2011 In Review

So I was thinking the other day that I hadn’t posted anything here in a long time.  Which is a real shame. I had hoped that this would be something more for me to work on my writing skills and creativity.

So lets talk about what happened this year.  It started with me turning in my resignation at work.  That’s pretty major for most people.  Then four days later on January 6th I had a minor stroke. That was something and really threw life in a tail spin.  Afterwards I picked up and move forward.  I went to the doctor and found that I just need to be on Coumadin or Warfarin and have my blood tested.  Coumadin is a blood thinner so if I had to much of it in my system I could bleed to death if I cut myself.

So in March I noticed that there really wasn’t anything special going on with my treatment.  So I talked with my friends about the move to California that I had been planning to do in January.  They encouraged me to make the move because either way I was going to be unemployed.  I agreed and made the decision to move at the beginning of April.  My friend Ray booked a flight to Columbus and we made our plans to drive across the US with what would fit in my car.

That’s right I got rid of almost all of my belongings.  I only kept what would fit in my Scion xB.  That mostly comprised of my Tuba, artwork, and clothes.  Needless to say it was pretty full.  It’s a good thing that the back seats laid down so that we could use all the space.

So April came and Ray arrived in Columbus. I was ready for the most part but of course in typical procrastination style I had stuff I need to get done before I could leave.  The day after Ray arrived we got in my car about 9 AM and we started the drive across the US.  Since it was April I decided we would take a southern route.  I did that because I didn’t want to be caught in a snow storm driving across Kansas, Nebraska or any other state.

So after arriving in San Francisco I knew I need to find a job or some kind of work.  So I began searching for a job in San Francisco and the surrounding Bay area.  It was a little discouraging but I kept plugging away at searching the internet and sending out my resume.  I started getting interviews and there were several jobs that sounded good but as you might guess I didn’t get any of those jobs.

Lucky for me I have my music to fall back on.  I had already spoke with someone in the San Francisco Lesbian and Gay Freedom Band.   So on my second day in San Francisco I started going to rehearsals.  That really helped make me feel like I was part of something more then the unemployed.  I played a concert with them and of course the event to top all events was rapidly approaching.  That’s right my first San Francisco Pride.  I of course volunteered to march in the parade because I have been doing it for years.  It was amazing and overwhelming but most of all I felt like I belonged there.  I didn’t feel like I was out of place or in over my head.

With all that there was something else happening with the band.  Like I always have previously I volunteered to help in ways that I could.  After Pride I became the Assistant Direct for the San Francisco Lesbian & Gay Freedom Band.  That was something that I was proud of but I also wanted to be modest about what I was getting myself into at that point.  No one likes a pushy smart ass and I certainly didn’t want to be labeled as such.

In August I landed a job!  That’s right I got a job.  It isn’t my dream job but I’m not unemployed any longer.  I was grateful for work and the chance to bring some money in after being unemployed for seven months.  It is a contract job that ends January 27th but it is a job.  I’m sure you have heard the old adage also it’s easier to find a job when you have a job.  That’s what I’m counting on in the next couple weeks.

So of course something good happened so something bad has to happen.  Like Newton’s Law what goes up must come down.  So what happened was I was driving downtown on a Friday night when my car was broadsided and totaled.  The other driver admitted to running the light and so I wasn’t at fault.  Progressive insurance was very nice and helpful.  We wrapped everything up an settled on the car. Now I’m just waiting on them to sell the car for scrap so we can close out the claim.

Things were quiet for a month but it was all leading up to another first for me.  My First Dance Along Nutcracker with the San Francisco Lesbian & Gay Freedom Band.  I had never played a show like this before.  It was like being in a pit orchestra which I had never done before.  If you know where Howard, Ohio is you would know that orchestra isn’t something that have there.  The show had a 60’s theme and was fun to perform.  The actors and actresses did a fantastic job.  It was a huge hit with the audience.

Last but not lease I just had my first Christmas in San Francisco.  It was quiet and I spent the day with a great new friend that I was introduced to by some friends back in Ohio.  Funny how many people I’ve met from Ohio and Pennsylvania out here in San Francisco.

Well that wraps it up … I think that’s enough for one year, don’t you?  I hope this finds everyone and anyone who read my blog in good health.