T h e A d v e n t u r e s o f C h i c a g o J o

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Damn, This is Long

2005-12-27† Ė† 1:34 a.m.
Letís ignore last night, okay? Too many kids. Too much whining. Too much noise. Too much going on.

I was severely over-stimulated when my sister convinced me that unlocking the bedroom door, uncurling my body from the fetal position, blowing my nose on a towel, and letting her talk me down was a good idea. Later, in a big sisterly hug, we discovered that we both wear push-up bras.

Awww. I love my babee seeeester...

Iím now back in DFW with my best friend (to now be called Astral) and best cat (always called Hambone).

Itís now time to do a little catching up on my whereabouts and the ridiculousness that will be and has been of my days.

The other night Astralís saintly boyfriend agreed to baby sit her son as we headed to a country western bar for some boot scootiní. We figured it would be a completely cheesy tourist trap, but we were wrong.

They might have had a sparkling saddle as their disco ball, but it was actually a grand olí time. Since weíre not quite the types to hooch it up, we wore fun country-related shirts and strutted our 26-year-old selves out there.

She went to the bar for round two of beers, and a very tall guy with very straight teeth started talking with me. We danced, and I saw just how tall he actually was. Six feet, six inches of very tall guy made for difficult dancing and conversing when I stretch myself to reach 5í2Ē.

Astral and I swapped off, and she let him spin her around a bit. Sheís slightly taller, so she apparently got more conversation. It ends up that Mister Very Straight Teeth was actually a 19-year-old college student. I informed him that I had a brother of a similar age whose diapers I had previously helped change, and he scampered off with his youngster tail between his legs.

I spent the rest of the night with this talented man whose hands were luckily more interested in catching me out of spins than groping my ass. If we head to the honky tonk again during my stay here, Iíve got his business card to make another dance connection. Oh-la-la.

Later that night we stopped at a married coupleís place to say hello. They live in a high rise in downtown, so we enjoyed the view and the nonstop conversation. Come New Yearís Eve, weíre heading back to party it up with them in their condoís fancy schmancy party room. Iíve yet to get my usual wild and crazy NYE outfit, but Iím certain to find something worthy of such a celebration.

Another high point of this trip so far was meeting Astralís ex-coworker and his wife. They were such genuinely warm people, and I enjoyed our extended lunch so much.

Thereís been a topic thatís been weighing on me lately. I shared it with Benito after not ever telling anyone before because I thought there was something wrong with me. He assured me that there wasnít. (And then he promptly ran off...) I told my Astral the other day, and she also assured me that there wasnít anything wrong with me. (Albeit without the running off thing...) I really do believe they both werenít feeding me consolations as lip service. However, when the wife of the ex-coworker said something really randomly, without prompting, and with as much of the same emotion Iíd explained to Benito and Astral on an entirely different topic, such a weight was lifted.

If there really are people you are supposed to meet to bring a certain purpose to your life, she was brought in at a wonderful moment to deliver exactly what I needed to hear. Simply wonderful.

For the holiday itself, I headed to Houston. I had my mini breakdown in the privacy of my old bedroom as the party continued, and they snapped plenty of pictures on my digicam so I didnít feel left out.

The drives to and from Houston were quite nice. I got lots of quiet Jo-time with the sunroof open, the local country radio station on, and me singing as freely as I pleased. I bought Lonestarís greatest hits album, and I love it. Iíve held off for so long on this purchase, and I canít explain why I didnít just cough up the damn $13 dollars long before now for about an hour of simple happiness.

Astral got me the new LeAnn Rimes CD in my stack of Xmas goodies, and I also love it. The other night I was talking about the Dixie Chicks and their three albums that I own. Iím really into Wide Open Spaces and Fly a lot. However, I never got into whatever that third one is. Iím not a really musical person, but I definitely prefer songs I relate to. The first two albums are about being strong women, and the thirdís tone is more husband-and-kids than what I can get into. I know that LeAnn Rimes is happily married, but her songs (or at least the way she sings them) are really aligning with me right now. Donít read too much into it, really. Iím just enjoying it.

Speaking of enjoyment, Iíve reestablished contact with a friend from ten years back. We went to lunch one afternoon and ate Vietnamese noodle soup and quietly caught up. Another night he picked me up to take me rock climbing. Oh my! I love it! Chicago is less-than-rock-climbing-friendly, so Iíll have to eat it up whenever I again get the chance elsewhere. Following up the rock gym, we went out for dinner, got everything to go once the mariachi band entered, and then headed back to his place for some further catching up.

This friend is someone I wasnít particularly close with when we had daily contact. We actually havenít really hung out that many times in our entire lives. However, when we do hang out, thereís this amazing verbal outpouring where I immediately feel at home. No matter what I say or do, this person understands (either through some innate awareness or because we have such a shared background) exactly what Iím trying to say.

The night ended with us sprawled on opposite sides of his living room on the many Ikea faux bear rugs he has strewn on the floor, fighting sleep as daytime quickly approached. It was nothing less than a lovely evening.

In my future, I see many lovely evenings. Iíve started filling my calendar for the next few months. Itís easiest just to do this in bullet format, so here we go:

-- Chic@go G@y Menís Choir. Donít be confused. This is a choir made up of nearly all g@y men, but it is open to the community. I support their charitable causes and shows, and I love the people Iíve met through that. I have nothing to lose, so I set up an audition for the Sunday after I get back into Chicago. Iím really excited since I enjoy singing and dancing, and Iíve been looking for some sort of outlet for a while. They emphasize having fun, so itís ideal.

-- Catholic church conversion. Iím intrigued, so Iím taking part. Thereís a church Iíve attending by my house that I enjoy, so Iím going to check it out for real. Iíve already got plenty of people offering to be my confirmation sponsor, so weíll see how it goes. It might not sit too well with them that Iím in the Chic@go G@y Menís Choir, but thatís their problem.

-- Unitarian church attendance. I have a friend who is interested in this church, so Iíve agreed to attend with her. Based off of everything Iíve read, it sounds like a lot of fun and something I could get into. Catholics are allowed to attend church early on Saturday instead of just on Sunday, leaving me open to go be Unitarian on Sunday mornings.

-- GRE math tutoring. Chicago Cares is a great organization that brings people together to actually get things done on volunteer projects. I recently told Benito about wanting to teach adult math classes, and the Chicago Cares calendar was sent the next day. Sure enough, a couple times a month I can go to a community center to help others with math. Iím actually really excited about this project.

-- Girls on the Run coaching. Iíve recently submitted an application to coach a team of middle school girls to run a 5k race. While we run, I lead discussions on how to become strong, independent women who learn to think for themselves. Iím 100% behind this one, and I hope they accept my volunteer application.

-- Community yoga classes. Craigís List tells me all sorts of interesting tidbits. I found a community yoga class, so Iím going to go check it out and see what I think. Iím really interested in Bikram yoga, but itís unfortunately not on the class listing. Whatever. Free yoga is free, and I want to go stretch myself.

-- Regular gym classes. My gym went through a management shake-up. I lost my wonderful and fabulous (and, yes, who I had a bit of a non-sexual girl crush on) kickboxing instructor, but the new manager had us fill out a survey. Iím hoping to see some great classes that Iíll really get into. I hear theyíve started advertising a running program, so that might be fun too.

-- Running with an emphasis on speed. Speaking of which, Iíve got my workout schedule all ready to go. Now all I need is the doctor to tell me on January 3rd that my knee is actually fine, and I can hop to it.

-- Writing a book. Iím still working on my Nanowrimo submission because it really is a great idea that I should work through. One of these days Iíll post a survey so I can milk you of your ideas too.

-- Finally getting into real estate. Iíve got my chosen brokerís phone number. Iíve got it in my date book to actually make the call. Itís going to get done. Itís got to get done.

-- Various writerís groups. I found a writing community in the area, so Iím going to see if theyíre worth two days a month of my time. Ho-hum. Weíll see. Maybe Iíll meet a couple cool people.

-- Certification to perform vision screenings. Iíll have to miss one GED teaching session for this, but itís something Iím also really interested in. Once certified, I can help screen the masses and send those with potential problems to people who actually know what theyíre doing.

-- Ukulele classes. Okay, this is the most ridiculous of them all. But, again, Iím really quite excited about this. A friend told me that she started fiddle classes, so I checked out the school and thumbed through the different instruments. After Astral played Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwoíole for me (remember the theme song from holidays past?), I immediately signed up for ukulele classes, insisted that she put the song on repeat for an hour, and then bought myself a most-fantastic ukulele on eBay.

I realize this sounds like a pretty ridiculous schedule to keep. But believe me, this is for the best. I really enjoy being busy. This is very much part of who I am when Iím without distraction. Just try to keep up with me now...

If anyone has any other ideas of silly things I can get involved in, do tell. Iím always up for something new. †

Miss something?

Moving Day - 2008-02-15
Working from Home is Glorious - 2008-02-13
Speaking in Tongues - 2008-02-07
I Have My Reasons - 2008-01-25
Got an Itch, Fix it, Shine it Up, Sing it Out - 2008-01-23

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