mrdreamjeans: (butch)
2017-08-27 12:34 pm

Getting Old Isn't For Sissies!

As I age, I struggle with what the future will be in this stage of my life. As a single gay man with no children to carry on his name, I am very aware of the solitary journey I have chosen for myself, its positives and negatives. I have had wonderful men in my life, but never found a forever relationship. Being alone has been the norm.

I chose to make a career in musical theatre as my life’s priority. This part of my life was exciting, filled with triumphant moments, though I was most comfortable as a productive, talented cog in superior productions, not as the leading actor. I never sought out celebrity or stardom. (My life wouldn’t hold up to the scrutiny.) Having the limelight, applause was not my end goal; executing the work to a high standard was my motivation. It is also a profession with the highest of highs and lowest of lows, frequent gaps in employment and constant rejection. Yet, I was successful enough to qualify for a quality pension and I hold on to the triumphs.

Observing my brother and sister with their children and grandchildren, coupled with an awareness I’m no longer someone’s son, has triggered a sadness in my heart. I will never know what it means to be a father. This role offers a continuity and connection I will never experience. I have access to my great niece and nephews, a joyous feeling; but, not having a life partner, children, grandchildren, roommate ... even a pet ... makes me feel like I live in an underpopulated world. I am hyper-aware of the solitude and silence around me, though most times I embrace it. I am weary of being the center of my universe. I want more ... I want to live each day with someone else’s well being foremost in my mind.

Most of my LGBT friends are partnered, married or were married (even if the relationship is toxic), have children, grandchildren or a house full of pets. I must assume the feelings of isolation, of being on the outside looking in, present since my childhood, extending through my work life and now extending into retirement, are valid.

Why have I always felt this way? I don’t lack for confidence, but there is so much I would change about my life. It’s become clear to me that I desire someone, or something, in my life that will allow me to put them first and foremost. I experienced such a feeling when taking care of my nephew Ross, though something elemental, fundamental to my happiness, was still missing.

That feeling persisted when I shared a home, for the first time during my initial go at living in Minnesota. It’s become clear to me, as painful as it is, the friendship with that friend/roommate was ultimately misguided and one-sided. It was never my intention to be too intense ... or willful. I am generous and unselfish. I loved the idea and feeling of having someone else in the house. Yet, I was putting my hopes for a safe and secure future into an unwilling vessel. My mistake, not his. You can’t love someone who rejects emotional intimacy and isn’t comfortable with being the focus of your attention. I see that now ... clearly ...

So, how do I solve these feelings of treading water in place? More counseling? Activism? I’ve been retired since April. I work to be productive every day. So far, I’m surviving on my retirement income; but, it is insufficient. I am counting pennies, living day to day, hoping nothing goes wrong. There is no cushion. It is causing anxiety and a vague sense of dread. It leads to strong bouts of introspection as in this post. I can't continue to mourn for what might have been. It’s become clear I must continue to evolve, get a part time job and work till I can no longer physically do so. The expression is true ... Getting old isn’t for sissies.
mrdreamjeans: At concert in Sugar Land, TX, January 2017 (Default)
2017-08-03 04:38 pm

Better Safe than Sorry!

Yesterday, I had a full skin check at the dermatologist in St. Paul. I had to disrobe and be checked all over. If you remember, back in February, I had a second MOHS procedure, this one to remove skin cancer on the crown of my head. I allowed the wound to heal without stitches. It healed quite nicely without a lot of scarring.

For most of June and part of last month, I suffered through two itching rashes, one due to an allergic reaction to Prilosec; the other to my laptop computer. I had been putting the laptop on top of a pillow in my lap and the heat and nickel released triggered the rash, almost like a burn. The reason I mention both is the two severe rashes have left me with very dry skin.

At yesterday's appointment, the dermatologist used cryosurgery, "freezing" off of three pre-cancers, two on the crown of my head next to where the MOHS procedure was performed; also, one on my right temple. I had a spot biopsied in the hairline of my left temple. I am waiting the results of the biopsy. If it is a malignant basel cell carcinoma, I will most likely have to have another procedure. *sigh* ... I'll know in ten days. Fingers crossed for the best outcome. One thing I've learned over the 30 years I've been having pre-cancers removed. Don't wait to be checked!

The doctor's recommendations for me are very specific. "I recommend diligent sun protection (including sunscreen, SPF 30 or higher, hat, sunglasses, long-sleeved clothing, avoidance of tanning beds, avoidance of the sun between 10 and 4pm, monthly self skin exam and return to clinic in 1 year or sooner as needed for new or changing growths."

I've gotten teased in the past few years for always wearing a hat and sunglasses when I leave the house. I've never used a tanning bed. (Honestly, I think it's stupid.) But, it's going to be difficult to be housebound between 10am and 4pm ... and the longsleeved clothing during the summer ... hmmm. But, since my nose is five years old and I've had to endure two other procedures, I better listen. Better safe than sorry!

Also, while I was in St Paul, I asked to have someone go over the results of my annual bloodwork taken 7-18-17. I was very pleased. Cholestrol, liver function, kindney function and blood sugar were all normal and/or improved. My second colonoscopy is scheduled for September.
mrdreamjeans: At concert in Sugar Land, TX, January 2017 (Default)
2017-07-16 06:26 pm

Quite the Week! Not quiet!

This has been quite the week for events and activity!

On Monday, my friends Coy and JohnPaul welcomed their daughter Meredith Grace. JohnPaul's sister, Chastity, was the loving surrogate for the guys. I will be Uncle Neil to Meredith!

On Tuesday, as previously stated, I passed the Minnesota Driver's Exam.

Wednesday was my niece Caitlin and her husband Danny's third anniversary. My sister babysat Jordan so the couple could celebrate their anniversary with a night on the town. I also received a big box on Wednesday, an unexpected housewarming gift from Colleen. It's a stepping stone for my garden. (My mother loved her garden.)

On Thursday, my friend Tom Ruter came over to see my house for the first time. I made dinner. (This brief statement holds more import than the simple words:) All through dinner, Tom was texting with the governor's office about the closing of a key suicide prevention hotline. Tom is CFO of Canvass Health, a non-profit that runs the hotline. It was due to shutdown on Friday. At the last minute funds were allocated, keeping the suicide hotline open through the end of September. Tom was relieved and delighted over the news. He lost a partner to suicide; mental healthcare is an issue understandably dear to his heart.

Friday's goal was to get exercise and reading materials. Both were accomplished by walking to the new Hennepin County Webber Park Library. It's a half mile from my house there and a half mile back. I picked up two novels and have two on hold. It's a start.

Yesterday afternoon, I attended a fundraiser for a former co-worker at Associa Minnesota (formerly Community Development). Debbie's left her position as a Community Manager for HOAs for treatment for liver and bile duct cancer. It was an opportunity to see former colleagues, many of whom no longer work for Associa ... and to contribute to Debbie's cause. Debbie told me she thought no one would come. There were over 200 people in attendance for the spaghetti dinner/beer bust/ silent and live auctions and bake sale. I was highest bidder on two items, both baby gift baskets. The funds raised will help Debbie and her family pay off medical bills.

Incidentally, I received an email yesterday letting me know about an opening for a leasing manager at Huntington Place Apartments. It's the apartment community where I previously held the position for three years. I wonder what that's all about!

Today's a quiet day. Only country dancing is on the agenda and that isn't until 7pm. Starting on Tuesday this coming week my friend Steve from Little Rock will be staying with me for four days. He's completing a road trip to Wyoming and Canada and is driving out of his way to see me on his return home. Steve was my travel companion to Italy. During the road trip, he attended Longmire Days in Wyoming with a group of friends and then the Calgary Stampede! I'm excited for his visit!
mrdreamjeans: (EYES have it)
2017-07-12 07:58 pm

Refresher Course

One of the items I hadn’t yet checked off of list of things to do following my move was getting my MN drivers license back. It’s not as easy as you would think. When I moved back to Texas for two years I went to the Texas DMV office, filled out the application and received my Texas drivers license in the mail a couple of weeks later. Texas assigned the same drivers license number I’d had since I started driving when I was 15 years old. No written exam was required.

Both times in Minnesota there was more to the process. As I did a few years ago, I had to take the written portion of the drivers exam. This time, I knew to study for it! Over the past few days, I've taken six practice tests and read the MN drivers manual. My scores on the practice tests ranged from 60 to 93. I failed two and passed four. It's not a bad thing to take a refresher course and remind yourself of driving rules and regulations.

As I drove to the testing station, I was driving with fresh eyes. I was aware of keeping my hands on the steering wheel at 8 and 4 or 9 and 3, not 10 and 2. I paid attention to the colors of the lane lines and especially focused on the signage. There are lots of questions about signage, colors and distances. For instance, do you know (or remember) when you’re driving with your high beam lights on, you’re to switch to low beam lights when approaching traffic is within 1000 feet of your vehicle? Every potential traffic situation seemed to have a different distance.

On the way to the exam station in Plymouth, I passed an elderly lady weaving in and out of her lane. When I looked over, she had both hands on the wheel and was reading a newspaper! She was also under the minimum speed. A few miles beyond this example of poor driving, I pulled up to a stop light next to a young woman who was texting one handed, cell phone clearly in view. When the light turned green, she pulled away, still texting, her focus clearly not on the road. (I see that all the time and the MN manual clearly states it is illegal.

I was nervous standing in line. Behind me in line was a 15 year old with his mother. I told him my entire wardrobe was older than him:) He told me not to worry, I would do well. Sweet kid. Sooo young! After I missed one of the first two questions, (The minimum speed limit on MN roads when unmarked is 30MPH. I over-thought the question and chose 35MPH.) I told myself to trust my preparation and go with my gut. I passed with a score of 91%, higher than all but one of my practice tests. It was silly to be nervous, but I wanted my MN license back. By the way, they gave me the same MN driver’s license number as before! I’ll receive it in the mail in three weeks. What a relief!
mrdreamjeans: (EYES have it)
2017-07-05 10:55 am

What Do You Say?

In the aftermath of July 4th, I'm trying to process the loss of loved ones by two of my friends. Yesterday, on July 4th, notdefined's mother passed away. Tommy made it to New Jersey just in time to say goodbye, to be there to support his brother and sister in his mom's final hours. Tommy's mother was 92 years old. Alzheimers had taken away the mother they had known. I never knew her; but, Tommy has been a good friend over the years and I feel this loss. Tommy's husband Morgan will fly from Oregon to attend funeral services. My condolences, Tom.

A long time theatre friend, Kevin (I've known him since he was 16) suffered a different kind of loss. His 79 year old mother was brutually murdered in her home in Houston on July 3rd. Police suspect she knew her attacker. Several items, including her red Cadillac, were stolen. Kevin, who is currently in the Broadway production of "Groundhog Day" flew home immediately and is dealing with the messy aftermath of the violent crime. Again, I didn't know his mother, though I must have met her at some point over the years.

When I read about such events, I'm not certain how to process loss that feels so near, yet so far away at the same time. It's taken me years to work through the grief of losing my own parents. I want to offer words of comfort, but realize what I have to offer is only words ... They are inadequate and I doubt of much use. Before the internet, before Facebook, I doubt I would have known of either one of these deaths. But, FB has offered connections that are immediate and much more accessible than ever before. What do you say when empathy feels so inadequate?
mrdreamjeans: (Madison 2008)
2017-06-26 01:30 pm
Entry tags:

Prideful

I've never been one to march or demonstrate. I pick and choose the times and places of my involvement. I'm not sure what that says about me as a gay man. I had planned to attend The Twin Cities Pride Parade; but, as is so often the case lately, I didn't wake up till 10:30am and the parade started at 11:00am.

As it turns out, I could easily have made the parade. It was held up almost 90 minutes by protestors from the Black Lives Matter group. I understand the frustration with the verdict in the Orlando Castille case, where a black man was killed in front of his girlfriend and a four year old, by a panicked policeman (who was acquitted). Disrupting a celebration for the most likely community to support your cause seemed ill-advised. I remember a time in the 70's when just attending a Pride Parade could make you a target of police. The Twin Cities police force has a large contingent of LGBT officers and allies, led by the police chief who is a Lesbian. I feel much safer having uniformed officers present than blocked from the parade, which initially the Twin Cities Pride Committee did. (The decision was overturned.)

I did pull it together and attend the Pride Festival in Loring Park. It was a gloriously cool sunny day. I arrived at 1pm and circled the entire Festival. Oddly, I only encountered three people I knew in the two hours I was there. The Festival was well-organized; I stopped at several booths. There seemed to be a booth for every political pursuasion; every conceivable religious (or non-religious) group was covered. There seemed to be a strong emphasis on events and organizations in support of trans-gendered youth. It was crowded. I saw several kids (12-14 years old) wrapped in the pale pink and pale blue flag signaling transgendered (new to me) with their parents (go, parents!), many men in drag and also several men and women wearing dog head gear, I guess part of bondage play. The leather community (men and women) were present in large numbers. To my eye, easily half of the people at the festival were straight.

As I age, I feel mostly invisible in the LGBTQIA community. What I didn't see represented at the festival were gay men like me. (But, then again, I often feel on the outside looking in.) Maybe, they've all relocated to Palm Springs:) Perhaps, this is simply the new normal, where the LGBT community is much more integrated into society ... at least here in Minneapolis. I guess that's good.

I had no stamina and after two hours, I called my friends who were on their way and told them I was going home. I didn't feel well. I drove home and slept for two hours. I rallied to meet Jason and David at Longfellow Grill for dinner and then went two-steppin'. I can only take crowds in small doses, so I'm not sure if I'm still recovering from my two-week illness or if the introvert in me took over.

Photos are available on Live Journal. I still haven't figured out how to post them on DW.
mrdreamjeans: (avatar)
2017-06-20 10:48 pm

Sleepin' the Days Away

I've always been a night person. I start slowly in the morning - mentally, physically and emotionally. About supper time, I'm starting to feel right perky. I'm at my most creative in the late night, early morning hours of the coming day. Most of my song writing happens between 1:00am and 3:00am. For the past decade, I've decidedly been forced to be a morning person. For most of my jobs, I've had to be at work by 8-9am. I've spent a lot of mornings giving myself an attitude check while driving to work. I'm not at all chatty in the mornings, but I'm also not unpleasant to deal with; I'd just rather not engage and I definitely do not want to talk on the phone.

Some folks are misled into thinking otherwise; when awakened from a sound sleep, I'm immediately aware of my surroundings, active and coherent. All of this comes without any coffee or any caffeinated beverages. But, my normal body rhythm is keyed to being most productive late at night. I've been surprised as I negotiate the early stages of retirement how easily I gave up on getting up early. In the past two weeks, I haven't gotten out of bed before 10:30am. I've usually crawled in to bed about 1am. Decades of a theater schedule seem engrained in my DNA. It is not unpleasing to me.

I've been taking Benadryl every four hours for 10 days to kick the allergic reaction to Previcid. When it says on the package a side effect of the medication is drowsiness, they mean it. I've slept more than I've been awake. The rash played itself out as if I had a sunburn from the inside out. My skin is flaking no matter how much lotion or creme I put on it. But, I'm finally feeling better ... and that says something. I want to be well enough to attend some of the Pride Festival this coming weekend. I am determined. Now that I'm well ... No more sleepin' the days away.
mrdreamjeans: At concert in Sugar Land, TX, January 2017 (Default)
2017-06-15 10:51 pm

A Quest for Answers

I've been absent from here for a week now. There is a specific reason. I have been ill. Last Saturday, we had an over- the-top hot, dry day with 25mph winds. I was only outside for about 10 minutes; but, evidently that's all it took to become sick.

By early evening, I was achy. I took a nap on the couch for four hours. When I awoke, I had a low fever, chattering teeth, was shaking and slightly nauseous. I almost immediately went back to sleep. In the middle of the night, I got up to get something to drink. I still don't know how it happened; but, I fell, landing on my tailbone. I just laid on the kitchen's hardwood floors, till I could muster the strength to get up off the floor. After 14 hours of sleep, I got up late Sunday morning, only to discover I was now covered in a rash from neck to knees ... sort of like I had blushed over most of my body. It itched like crazy! Still does.

I slept most of Sunday, trying to rally. I began drinking copious amounts of fluids (I'm not good about this on a regular basis.) The fever and chills continued on into Sunday evening. After much more sleep, on Monday, I made it to the pharmacy, spoke with the pharmacist then purchased Benadryl and an anti-itch ointment. I was fever-free on Monday and rallied enough to pick up two sets of friends at the airport, one returning from DC and the other from Paris.
Between the two airport trips, I slept for four hours at the first set of friends' house which is close to the airport.

On Tuesday morning, I had a meet and greet with a vocal coach. Obviously, I wasn't at my best; I kept the appointment because we had never met in person before. We mostly talked about my goals for vocal performance going forward. (I have a feeling, he's not much interested in musical theatre, so he may not be the right person for what I am hoping to accomplish.)

The remainder of Tuesday and all of Wednesday, I didn't leave the house, only managing to get a few household tasks completed and bills paid. I worked really hard to make myself a bowl of chicken salad. I've eaten it for four meals so far. Today, I finally got to see a doctor. My rash has moved on to my shins and forearms. It looks different from the other rash. I have wracked my brain trying to pinpoint a difference in routine ...exposure to something new to me. There have been no new foods in my diet, change of medications or difference in soaps, shampoos or detergents. To what could I have been exposed? In the middle of the night, I woke suddenly and said these words out loud. "River Birch"! Seriously ...

This morning, I googled river birch which is the kind of tree growing in my back yard. I have been near one before purchasing this house. I had been pulling weeds on Saturday, moving its lower branches to get to the flower beds. It's a sweeping, graceful tree. Right away, information came up ... From mid-May to the end of the first week of June, this tree, through the pods on it, causes allergic reactions for those sensitive to its pollen. When I had been out in the yard, I had sneezed and sneezed. It's why I stopped working and went back inside. My tree may have been talking to me rather than the other way around. (Paint Your Wagon reference intended.)

Tomorrow, I have a dermatology consult. I hope we uncover the trigger to the rash. I believe multiple things happened ... I encountered an allergy I didn't know I had. I caught a virus which has run its course. The doctor thinks the second rash may be vasculitis. Meanwhile, I itch!! I'm on the quest for answers.

ps ... the rash is not contagious ...
mrdreamjeans: At concert in Sugar Land, TX, January 2017 (Default)
2017-06-09 10:59 am

It's in the DNA

My brother, sister and I have a strong interest in genealogy. We’re just barely beginning our journey in tracing our roots. Colleen has been more proactive than Jeff or me in the pursuit. She recently completed DNA testing and received the results this week. Since we share the same set of parents, married 62 years, it’s safe to say Jeff and I have the same results.

For our entire lives, the three of us grew up assuming we were at least 50% German. There are family stories about an ancestor being the mayor of Cologne, Germany. There are also tales of one side of our family arriving in America as Hessian mercenaries. It’s my understanding these DNA results place us at 9% or less German. (I’m assuming “low confidence region” is another way of saying nope.) I’m not sure I’m ready for the family legends not to be true!

Here are the DNA results (from Colleen’s test) sent to me earlier this week:

Ethnicity Estimate:

Africa - < 1% - Low Confidence Region
Europe - 97%
Ireland - 38%
Great Britain - 29%
Scandinavia - 12%
Europe West - 9% - Low Confidence Region
West Asia - 2% - Low Confidence Region

The high percentage of Irish and Scots doesn’t surprise me, but the percentage of Scandinavian does. I better stop referring to myself as of German heritage until we do more specific research. Colleen has insisted for years, we are mostly of Scots-Irish descent. It appears, she’s right.

No wonder I have such an affinity for Europe!!
mrdreamjeans: At concert in Sugar Land, TX, January 2017 (Default)
2017-06-06 02:03 pm

Joy! Joy!

I admit I've felt a bit lost now that I'm (retired) semi-retired. The adrenaline from the three drives for moving between Austin and Minneapolis in two months ... and from the 17-day trip to Italy ... has faded. I've been setting an agenda for myself daily, so I'm being productive in some way. I don't want to lose momentum from these major life changes. I'm not a meticulous budgeter; I'm not as certain as I should be that my retirement income will sustain me without a part-time job. I haven't been through a full cycle yet. But, I am hopeful ... I didn't fully realize how much of my identity was tied to my work. I'm also still adjusting to being alone. I've kept to my new philosophy to say yes to social situations.

Really small victories: I purchased a breakfast table from Ikea a week ago. The boxes are out of the car and in the house as of this morning. I've opened the boxes; but, I'm still circling the materials, as the directions (all pictures) make no sense to me. I had a list of items I needed for the house. I've shopped very carefully and have purchased a vacuum cleaner, a lawn mower (from a friend), a stand alone electric heater (for the basement), an occasional chair for the guest room and the breakfast table, all for under $200.

With the assistance of a Statefarm agent, I've finally installed Statefarm's version of the safe driving app. It isn't as intuitive as the company would like to think it is ... Though only a 5% discount, it all helps. The difference in premiums between Texas and Minnesota is $150/per six months higher here. Part of the difference is my zip code (and the number of claims in it) and a larger, fancier car than the Honda CRV.

I followed through last Saturday and drove to Rochester, MN for the first time for a birthday party. Some of you might remember LJ users perkk and geometrician. My first stay in Minneapolis in 2007 was for John's 40th birthday party. How could I not show up for his 50th? The celebration also coincided with their 3rd wedding anniversary. The two-hour drive was well worth it. I didn't know many people, but John's parents were in attendance (who I really enjoy); I spent quality time with them, met a few friendly bears of the two-legged kind and many of their neighbors. I arrived at 3pm and left at 9pm, arriving home at 10:45pm. Their home in Rochester is lovely and the guys are really happy. Joseph has recently lost 97lbs due to diet changes. Well done Joseph!

I'm still working with a medical social worker to bring down the cost of my health insurance, currently $664/month, down from $859/month earlier this year and way down from $1388/month all of last year.

Now, if I could just figure out how to get the a/c in this house to work. I'll figure it out; but, so far, I'm stymied by the programmable thermostat. I had the fan only blowing for two days before it became fully apparent to me the swamp cooler wasn't engaged. I finally turned off the fan and opened some of the windows. I'm expecting allergies to kick in. Joy! Joy!
mrdreamjeans: (Smilin' 2008)
2017-05-26 12:03 pm

Returning to a New Reality

Prior to my trip to Italy, I was having issues with what could only be explained as acid reflux, due to the location of the discomfort. In fact, at a medical appointment just prior to the vacation, I was told to try Previcid instead of the Ranitadine I've been taking. I haven't made the change yet, as I didn't get to purchase the acid preventer prior to flying to Italy.

During my time overseas, despite a steady diet of pizza and pasta, I had zero symptoms of acid reflux. What was different? Diet, of course ... but also, I drank a bottle of natural water every meal and the exercise level was off the charts. I don't drink wine, so beverages for every meal were natural water, a small Coca Cola in a can or juice with breakfast. I had much less milk than usual. Smaller portion sizes helped; but, it was a completely different style of dining with four-course meals the norm.

When I'm home, I seldom drink much water. Overseas, it was a big component of every meal ... and it was definitely a choice. No one in a restaurant in Italy is going to sit a glass of water in front of you upon seating. If you want it, you pay for it. There was something about choosing water and paying for it that compelled me to finish every bottle I ordered. In the long run, this helped me a lot. There's value in not taking the most of basic of items, like water, for granted.

Exercising so much (lots of walking up sides of mountains in villages with stone walks ... more steps than I've done in a lifetime led to fatigue, but blissful sleep without the burn of acid in my throat waking me up.
Since I've returned home, my exercise level has tailed off; my consumption of water has dropped dramatically and my sleep patterns have been erratic. I wrote off awaking at 2:00am as jet lag the first few days. I'm waking up early after upsetting dreams and been needing two hour naps mid-afternoon. I have cut way back on food consumption, but milk has become my main beverage again. I don't think it's doing me much good. My symptoms have returned.

I'm in my second week of retirement and struggling a bit with filling time. I haven't been as active or proactive as I had planned. I've been looking at different venues and organizations for which to volunteer. I'm considering a part time job and hobbies; I've been antiquing, trying to uncover just the right breakfast table in line with my budget; most of all, I've visited animal rescue organizations looking for just the right 'fur-ever friend". I'm a dog guy who is inexperienced in having a pet of my own and being extra cautious because of it. I know I'll find the right dog; but even rescues are costing between $350 and $605 (for a puppy). Rescuing is an investment as well as a responsibility.

It seems clear to me I need to shed my lethargy and return to what worked for me during my intensely wonderful, inspiring trip to Italy and London! Life can be exciting if I make it so!!
mrdreamjeans: (Smilin' 2008)
2017-05-16 10:38 am

I'm Back!

Seventeen days away from phone calls, Facebook and other media. It was really nice to disconnect. I made it home about 6:30pm last night after two train rides and two flights. The trip to Italy and London was wonderful beyond measure and I'm sad it's come to an end.

I loved traveling overseas with my long time friend Steve Mitchell; we made new friends along the way and photographed more amazing scenery than I have in a lifetime of travel! Photos to come!

The trip was topped off by an extraordinary production of "Dreamgirls" at The Savoy Theater in London on Saturday evening and a lovely Sunday afternoon-leading-into-evening tea hosted by long time LJ pen pals Adrian Rotheray and Franco Picco, aka london1952 and london1967. They have a lovely home in Penge East, about 30 minutes Southeast of London. The homemade desserts and sandwiches for the tea were absolutely delicious!

I'm not quite certain what day of the week this is or what time zone I'm in, but regardless ... I'm back!
mrdreamjeans: (avatar)
2017-04-14 09:48 pm

Trip #3 Update

Trip #3 Austin, Texas to Minneapolis - April 12 to April 15, 2017. This marks the completion of my relocation to Minneapolis.

Day One - Austin to Little Rock, AR - 513 Miles ...
Day Two - Spontaneous Rest Day in Little Rock ...
Day Three - Little Rock to Des Moines, Iowa - 615 miles ...
Day Four - Des Moines to Minneapolis ... ??

Road Trip Mileage - Trip #1 - Austin to Minneapolis Round Trip - 1190 +1190 = Total of 2380 Miles
Road Trip Mileage - Trip #2 - Austin to Minneapolis 1190 Miles = Total of 1190 Miles
Road Trip Mileage - Trip #3 - Austin to Minneapolis via Little Rock - Total of 1420 miles

Total Road Trip Miles between February 14th and April 15th, 2017 - 4990 miles

Oddities on Day Three:

I passed through a town named Reliable, Missouri. The exit was named Reliable Way. I wonder if the residents find it funny. I did.

I ate lunch by chance at the same Subway in Carthage, Missouri that I'd eaten at the other two times I've made this drive. This is my third time on this route since 2007.

I stopped for gas in Nevada, Missouri at a place called The Smoke Stop. The parking lot was full. Is $28.00 a good price for a carton of cigarettes?

My CRV is performing admirably when it comes to gas mileage. I've spent less than $60 on gas so far. "Misty" is averaging 33 mpg.

I believe I'm the only guest not traveling with a dog staying tonight at the La Quinta Inn in West Des Moines, Iowa.

I stopped at the Amish Country Store in Lamoni, Iowa and purchased two jars of homemade Apple Butter and one jar of Strawberry Rhubarb jam. I sure do wish I could afford some of their custom made furniture!
mrdreamjeans: (EYES have it)
2017-04-11 05:13 pm

Rebooting my Dreamwidth Account

I'm not certain I'll transfer over all of my Live Journal Entries. It's 13 years of creating content, interacting with my friends there, but the reality is that 90% of the friends posts I read daily now are created by three or four people. Two friends, who like me have stubbornly continued to write on LJ when so many have moved away, are in the processing of transferring old content. The move of Live Journal's servers to Russia and the recent creation of a concentration camp for Gay men and Lesbians in Chechnya disturb me greatly. I'm about to begin a new phase of my life in Minnesota, so the timing to move away from LJ seems right.

It's taken me a half hour to reboot this dream width account. I created it in 2011 when I was still working as a leasing manager in multi dwelling housing. There is so much water under the bridge since then. I'll hold on to my LJ account until it expires and enable cross posting.

In reading the rules and terms of service, it feels a bit like it did in 2003 when I created my first blog. I hope I will find many old LJ friends here who enjoyed writing essays of substance, sharing very personal thoughts and feelings. Please let me know if I should subscribe to your journals or allow access to mine.
mrdreamjeans: At concert in Sugar Land, TX, January 2017 (Default)
2015-01-09 05:05 pm
Entry tags:

History Shows

Come along and step back in time with me! Im looking at years ending in five starting with 1985. In 1975, I was still in college.

1985 - I began the year in New York City where I did several auditions, landing a summer production of "Sweet Charity". Until this gig, I stayed with my folks in Sealy, Texas and worked at The Sealy News as a newspaper reporter. I spent the Summer in Ravenna, Ohio where I had a role in Carousel Dinner Theatre's production of "Sweet Charity", directed by Joey Patton and designed by [livejournal.com profile] designerotter (We didn't meet until 2007:) After this splendid opportunity, I returned to my job at the newspaper in Sealy. Simultaneously, I performed in "Sugar" with Robert Morse and Larry Kert and closed out the year in my third production of "Annie", both shows at Theatre Under the Stars in Houston.

1995 - The year began in New Orleans in the National Tour of "The Phantom of the Opera" and though I can't remember all of the dates, I know we headed from New Orleans to San Antonio. After that, my memory is hazy. The entire year, I was on tour with Phantom.

2005 - This entire year, I was on the National Tour of "Evita". We started the year in Schenectady, NY, then Sarasota, Florida and Greenville, SC; I know we played Houston and Fort Lauderdale in the latter part of the year. In the Fall, we kept playing cities affected by hurricanes, in this case, Rita and Wilma respectively. We had been slated to play New Orleans the week that Hurricane Katrina destroyed the city, but the date was cancelled. I haven't been back to New Orleans since.

2015 - This year began with a nasty cold, from which I have recovered. I've been contacted twice this week by the temp agency and they are actively discovering potential work for me. I'd really like to get back to singing. I think I've got to open my mind and heart to the possibility that my future singing will be in a chorus, choir or work developed for myself. I have to be hyper vigilant for audition opportunities. This is going to be a good year! I can feel it. History shows that years ending in 5 are good to me!
mrdreamjeans: At concert in Sugar Land, TX, January 2017 (Neil-Profile)
2010-11-06 08:50 am

Where have all the women gone?

My title is mostly tongue-in-cheek, but it brings up a topic that I discussed with another LJ friend a couple of months ago. I've been delighted to have a baker's dozen of women as my friends on Live Journal. I like having diversity of thought, opinion, reaction, sensibility in my blog ... find that my women friends offer distinct points of view that enrich the experience of making meaningful connections through our writing. Even within my female friends on LJ, there is diversity ... a range of age, experience and identification ... straight, lesbian and bi ... that delights and enlightens me.

One of my gay male LJ friends, who I don't know well, wrote that he didn't have women in his life in any significant way ... pondered why so many gay men seemed to have close connections to women. I responded that I genuinely like women. I enjoy their company. I'm emotionally in tune with them. I am close to several women, too many singer/actress friends to mention. I am blessed with dynamic and loving women in my life, both straight and lesbian.

In my inner most circle of friends, I have five gay men, one straight man, two lesbians and two straight women ... I didn't consciously pick them for diversity ... and of course, the definition of "inner most" is entirely subjective. I am close to my sister, niece and mother. I'm not happy living in a gay-male-bear-centric bubble. In fairness, many of the lesbians I know tend to exclude gay men from their lives; sometimes, I've been the only "approved" man in their circle:) Not sure why, but so be it.

Many men do want to live a gay male centric life and that's fine, but I often don't fit in with them comfortably. I must admit, I don't understand men who genuinely don't like women. There are folks of all genders that each of us likes or dislikes, but I don't take a look at anyone and dismiss them as potential friend simply because of gender. I am creative, empathetic, right-brained ... I wonder if that's a factor in how I relate to women.

Of the baker's dozen of women on my friend's list, about half still actively write or comment on Live Journal. I read everything they write. As in the general population, most now have a Facebook account and I don't often see posts from them on LJ. For me, the continual feed on FB really makes it difficult to stay in touch. With LJ, I can go to their blogs, read, savor and respond to their posts when I am able to.

So, I ask my friends ... separate from your partners ... If you're male, what role do women ... straight or lesbian ... play in your life? Do you have close friendships with women? What do those friendships mean to you? If you're female, what role do men, gay or straight, play in your lives? Do you have close friendships with men? What do those friendships mean to you?

I am going to leave this post open, so that men and women you might know, also have an opportunity to offer their points of view.
mrdreamjeans: At concert in Sugar Land, TX, January 2017 (Neil-Profile)
2010-11-06 08:50 am

Where have all the women gone?

My title is mostly tongue-in-cheek, but it brings up a topic that I discussed with another LJ friend a couple of months ago. I've been delighted to have a baker's dozen of women as my friends on Live Journal. I like having diversity of thought, opinion, reaction, sensibility in my blog ... find that my women friends offer distinct points of view that enrich the experience of making meaningful connections through our writing. Even within my female friends on LJ, there is diversity ... a range of age, experience and identification ... straight, lesbian and bi ... that delights and enlightens me.

One of my gay male LJ friends, who I don't know well, wrote that he didn't have women in his life in any significant way ... pondered why so many gay men seemed to have close connections to women. I responded that I genuinely like women. I enjoy their company. I'm emotionally in tune with them. I am close to several women, too many singer/actress friends to mention. I am blessed with dynamic and loving women in my life, both straight and lesbian.

In my inner most circle of friends, I have five gay men, one straight man, two lesbians and two straight women ... I didn't consciously pick them for diversity ... and of course, the definition of "inner most" is entirely subjective. I am close to my sister, niece and mother. I'm not happy living in a gay-male-bear-centric bubble. In fairness, many of the lesbians I know tend to exclude gay men from their lives; sometimes, I've been the only "approved" man in their circle:) Not sure why, but so be it.

Many men do want to live a gay male centric life and that's fine, but I often don't fit in with them comfortably. I must admit, I don't understand men who genuinely don't like women. There are folks of all genders that each of us likes or dislikes, but I don't take a look at anyone and dismiss them as potential friend simply because of gender. I am creative, empathetic, right-brained ... I wonder if that's a factor in how I relate to women.

Of the baker's dozen of women on my friend's list, about half still actively write or comment on Live Journal. I read everything they write. As in the general population, most now have a Facebook account and I don't often see posts from them on LJ. For me, the continual feed on FB really makes it difficult to stay in touch. With LJ, I can go to their blogs, read, savor and respond to their posts when I am able to.

So, I ask my friends ... separate from your partners ... If you're male, what role do women ... straight or lesbian ... play in your life? Do you have close friendships with women? What do those friendships mean to you? If you're female, what role do men, gay or straight, play in your lives? Do you have close friendships with men? What do those friendships mean to you?

I am going to leave this post open, so that men and women you might know, also have an opportunity to offer their points of view.
mrdreamjeans: (Smilin' 2008)
2010-08-09 02:56 pm

Just pointing out ...

Today is August 9, 2010.

8/9/10

It amuses me.
mrdreamjeans: (Smilin' 2008)
2010-08-09 02:56 pm

Just pointing out ...

Today is August 9, 2010.

8/9/10

It amuses me.
mrdreamjeans: At concert in Sugar Land, TX, January 2017 (Default)
2010-07-08 09:36 pm

So! You Think You Can Dance?

A guilty pleasure this summer television season has been SYTYCD on ABC. Tim and I DVR the series and then review the two evenings of programs at our leisure. I like the new format - fewer contestants dancing with All-Stars from past seasons. The work by the choreographers has been particularly strong this year; a dance last weekend, a Hip-Hop routine by Tabitha and Napolean, danced by all-star Twitch and ballet dancer Alex, was one of the best ... EVER!

My favorites to win ... heck, just my favorites ... are Alex, Lauren and Ashley. Anyone watching the show knows most of the women were cut early. Hopefully, I'm not spoiling anyone's results by saying how sad I am that my pick to win, Alex, has had to drop out of the competition with a torn achilles tendon. He has surgery next Tuesday.

There was a special performance tonight on the results show by the cast of the National Touring Company of "In The Heights". One of my favorite dancers, a friend and frequent co-worker onstage in Seattle, was featured tonight during the broadcast. From having rehearsed there, I know this photo of Daniel Cruz was taken in the basement rehearsal space at The 5th Avenue Theatre! I'm really proud of Daniel!



On another topic, I just saw the list of nominations for this year's Emmy Awards. I am particularly excited for the multiple nominations for "Glee" (especially for Mike O'Malley who plays Kurt's father) and for the casts of "Modern Family" and "The Good Wife" ... such fine work and writing. Kind of odd, though, that all of the adult actors in "Modern Family" were nominated for Emmy's except Ed O'Neill. He's sort of the heart of the series.