my weblog

Thursday, December 28, 2006

As anyone who has read this blog over time (and if you have, you probably really need to get out more often!) may have noticed, I don't tend to do New Years resolutions. This is for a few reasons- first, they're just something I've never really done, I've never really said "I am going to accomplish X in the year Y." Also, one never knows the exigencies of what may occur throughout any given year, thereby making many resolutions that are beyond one's immediate control ("I wanna lose X pounds," "I wanna run a half-marathon," etc...and even these can be waylaid by unforseen things- illness, injury, and the like) at best goals or aspirations rather than set-in-stone things that will be achieved. At least, this is how I've generally perceived resolutions and such. However, I've also come to the realization that, for far too long now, in far too many ways, too many areas of my life, I've just been drifting, far too unfocused and undisciplined, not exerting nearly enough determination, and effort, to move my life forward, from where I am (and where I've been, for too many years now) to where I would rather be. For so long now I've just remained in my comfort zone, unable or unwilling to truly make the efforts to extend and expand myself, my options, my horizons, further, doing what is comfortable or easy or expected or safe rather than making- and taking- some calculated, and even uncalculated, chances and risks. Some of it may be my "traditionalist" mindset; I dunno... but what might called over-cautiousness, excessive risk-averseness, a too-comfortable comfort zone, fear, or even laziness, extends to virtually all aspects of my life- be it work and finances, relationships with family and long-time friends, any dating/love life, how I spend my free time, even my diet and fitness regimens.

One thing I need to overcome is what might be called reticience. This is different from shyness; while I'd also like to be a bit more outgoing than perhaps I am, I'm not especially shy. But reticience...I'm not the kind of person who is especially comfortable drawing excessive attention to myself. I've tended to view that as bragging, or being arrogant, and I've believed that the efforts one makes will be recognized by their own merits and value, rather than drawing excessive attention to them, tooting one's own horn as it were. (I'll joke with friends about how "great" I am, but that's all it is, just joking, and they and I know that.) This reticience extends to most aspects of my life; increasingly I'm seeing that, taken to extreme, it is getting me nowhere, no closer to any of my goals, aspirations, dreams, and also at times making me increasingly angry and bitter and resentful, that my efforts are not being recognized or sufficiently "paying off" as well as seeing others, many of whom make/extend no greater efforts, but do- what?- promote those efforts more effectively, seem to reap the benefits and rewards of their efforts. I have to recognize that there is a difference between seeking legitimate attention and recognition vs. shameless self-promotion, that the former can be a catalyst for good while the latter is crass.

Another thing I need to work on overcoming is what I might call a lack of focus. Too often I have a bad tendency to let the immediate obscure the longer-term; I let myself get too caught up in the day-to-day, not even so much "living in the moment" as simply keeping my head above water 'in the moment'. While tending to the immediate, daily things that demand/deserve tending to, I have to work more diligently on not becoming too overwhelmed, too caught up in them that I lose focus on just why I am doing those things in the first place, what the larger goal or reason is. They in and of themselves are not the goal, but rather, stepping stones or means for moving toward my goals.
(There are probably close to a half-dozen other "things" I need to work on as well! But these two come especially to mind.)

Which probably brings this full circle toward resolutions. What are my goals? Immediate, short-term, medium-term, long-term? Hmmm... The easiest, both to keep and achieve, is weight-wise! While I've kept up my running and gym workouts fairly well over the Thanksgiving-to-New Years stretch, I have- and can- do better. Much better. But moreso, I have to recommit myself to my healthy eating regimen. I've put on a few pounds over the holidays, almost all due to not staying strict enuf in my eating habits. Short-term, I want to get back to, ahem, welterweight status by my birthday (January 22...and I'll be expecting gifts!) With proper focus, diligence, and effort, I can do that. But moreso, I need to maintain the focus and discipline to stay there; too often I let my weight fluctuate too much, mostly due to a lack of discipline and consistency. And I admit- I wanna look good! I want to present an athletic, fit, but trim figure! (Plus weighing less consistently enables me to see better results training that worst part of my figure, my abs!) Relationships-wise, this is also something largely within my control. While on balance I believe I do a pretty good job, there are a few relationships in my life that I haven't given adequate attention to, good people whom, tho' not intentionally, I have neglected to a degree. I hope to repair, rebuild, and strengthen as many of those relationships as I possibly can. Conversely, there are a few relationships that I need to re-examine and re-prioritize, a few people to whom I have tried to extend myself and be there for (which I don't mind doing) but who, time and time and time again, have extended little in the way of reciprocity, in pro-active interest and concern for me and my life. Some already know who they are, others will discover over time. These are some of the easier things for me to impact and improve because they are are all largely within my ability to affect positive change.

Where I tend to run into difficulty is trying to improve/change things beyond my immediate control. I know so many people, from all of my walks of life, who have been, and are, able to make their goals, dreams, and aspirations- some very ambitious, daunting, and life altering- come to fruition. They seem able to overcome constraints and roadblocks, whereas too often I have a tendency to be stopped by them. There are many things I wish to accomplish, many things in my life I want to be doing rather than what I currently am, but I seem unable to figure out just how to start on the road to doing so. It's not the prospect of difficulty and hard work that daunts me but rather not knowing where or how to start toward those goals and the fear of wasting time, effort, energy, and resources on the wrong track/s. The biggest one of these is career-wise; I cannot stand the direction I'm going, but I lack the confidence to break out of this comfort zone and embark on something more rewarding and fulfilling...and freeing. Right now I don't even have a firm idea of what that "other" might or could be; a part of that "focus" thing that I currently lack I suppose... I know that I'd like to be doing something more free-lance or independent. Obviously, money and security are important, but freedom, heck, simply freer time, as well as doing something that I find interesting, fulfilling, rewarding, stimulating, and something that I feel comfortable and confident doing, that utilizes and engages my talents and abilities, these are important, too. I need to make some serious changes here in the coming year. I'm not really sure what, or how, to do so yet. But...

And one other thing I really need to move forward on again is "this." It's sad- about, gosh, almost four years ago now, I was beginning to make some significant strides toward advancing my transgenderism, I was getting close to a point where I could really begin to envision this finally becoming the fuller-time/real-time presence in my life that, honestly, I've hoped for since I was maybe 5 or 6, and from there move forward more. But then I hit a bit of a rough stretch, mostly financially (and most of that due to my mistakes and screw-ups) that not only made $$$ tighter but also took quite a bit of the wind out of my sails. And I've made little progress since. That has to change. I'm not sure exactly how I will move that more forward yet (finances and employment situation will play an important role.) But...

Come the end of 2007, I really need to have- at long last- made some significant, lasting strides toward creating the life, the future, that I want to have. It's the specifics toward that end that I need to determine.

"Please don't tell me how the story ends..."

Saturday, December 23, 2006

A few ponderings on a rainy Saturday morning (with two shopping days left! I'm almost finished!)...

The Associated Press and AOL published a poll confirming that Santa Claus remains a widely popular figure across all segments of American society. Among some of the figures cited:
86% believed in Santa as a child
60% of those with children today include Santa as part of their holiday celebration
Santa is important to 60% of Catholics, 51% of those without a religious affiliation, and 47% of Protestants.
While a minority of respondants raised concerns that the emphasis on Santa either detracted from the religious aspects of Christmas or else added to the commercialization of the season, most, no matter their background, seemed to state that Santa adds to the ambiance of the season. So...ho, ho, ho!
The poll also surveyed peoples' beliefs regarding angels, finding that 81% of those responding believe in them, including 57% of those claiming no religious affiliation (97% of white Christian evangelicals professed belief.) I've never giving them all that much thought- while they are a part of Catholic belief (I'm Catholic) and much of Catholic church art and architecture, Christmas (and I guess other) carols and hymns and such, I can't recall them being a- to coin a phrase- "point of emphasis" as much (or maybe I just wasn't paying attention in Mass or CCD!) But interesting that such a seemingly secular culture as ours holds such overall belief in angels...

In a similar vein...I remember an acquaintance relating to me how their church celebrates Christmas. They belong to a relatively small denomination, but this part of the service sounded touching. They darken the entire church save for one candle. Each member also has a candle which they then bring forward to the lighted one and light it; one by one the entire church eventually becomes illuminated, enlightened, all by the light from that one candle. Pretty symbolic, and just pretty, too (and sounds a bit more touching than a few hundred bleary, beery Catholics weaving in the pews at Midnight Mass!)

In other news...the race to ban trans fats (and no jokes about overweight drag queens, you!) New York City, and more recently Massachusetts, is proposing to ban restaurants and such from serving foods prepared with trans fats. Isn't this the Nanny State running amok? While foods prepared in this manner may well be less-than-100% healthy, shouldn't the choice of what- or what not- to eat be one between the individual and their food provider? (Yikes, this is starting to sound like the abortion issue!) Requiring restaurants and such to disclose that their foods contain/are made using trans fats is a reasonable thing, and perhaps airing PSAs and such informing of the adverse affects of trans fat consumption might also be wise, but banning?! A bit of- pardon the pun- overkill, particularly (as John Stossel, and others, have pointed out) given that heart disease in America has been on the decline for some time now. Too many people trying to tell others how to lead their lives...

I hafta admit- I like the Twisted Sister Christmas disc!

"Oh come, all ye faithful/Joyful and triumphant..."

Sunday, December 17, 2006

'Twas a week (or so) before Christmas...

First, congrats to my UMass Minutemen in making it to the Division 1-AA football championship game, coming up just a bit short last Friday evening, but an outstanding season (13-2) nonetheless! Also, the Pats won today, always a good thing...

I think there are two kinds of people in this world- those who like Mannheim Steamroller's stylized Christmas carols, and those who do not. I would be in the latter group; it just doesn't do it for me, a bit too, I dunno, cold and/or impersonal I guess...(but I do like "Disco Santa", a fun parody done of The Village People's "Macho Man" and "YMCA"...)

While there are lights and decorations and such up around town (and I put up my mom's tree and a few other decorations today, too) I just haven't really felt very Christmas-y...I've done hardly any shopping, I just really haven't gotten into the "spirit" yet...To quote one local thinker (OK, it was gangster Whitey Bulger) "Christmas is for cops and kids."
Addendum...Two things (maybe related?!)...I stopped into a market to do a little food shooping, including buy some beer...I got carded! I can't remember the last time I was asked for ID! Don't know why, as even on a great day, there is no way (I think!) that I look under 30, much less closer to 21...odd, but flattering...And I saw a few accounts that a certain NFL QB/QT in town is unattached once again? His most recent girlfriend was 36 (maybe he likes his women a lil older?) and, tho' I'm- ahem- slightly more "mature" than that, maybe (since I was carded to purchase alcohol!) I might look to be in his age range?! ;)

"'Tis the season to be jolly..."

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A quickie...

A frosty one this morning! The weather woman said this was the coldest morning we've had since last March- BRRRRR! Got in my 7.3 miles tho'...what were you doing @ 5:30 this am, hmmm??? You weren't out there with me, in my Patriots winter hat, gloves, and- sadly- long pants, we're ya?! (No, you were snug, smart- and warm!- in your cozy lil bed!) I'm losing the nail on one of my toes tho' (a BIG toe, too!)'s gonna be an owweee if/when it goes :(

"She's so cold/She's so cold, cold, cold..."

Sunday, December 03, 2006

To Beat The Devil- Kris Kristofferson

If you waste your time a-talkin' to the people who don't listen,
To the things that you are sayin', who do you think's gonna hear?
And if you should die explainin' how the things that they complain about,
Are things they could be changin', who do you think's gonna care?

There were other lonely singers in a world turned deaf and blind,
Who were crucified for what they tried to show.
And their voices have been scattered by the swirling winds of time,
'Cuz the truth remains that no one wants to know.

Well, the old man was a stranger, but I'd heard his song before,
Back when failure had me locked out on the wrong side of the door.
When no one stood behind me but my shadow on the floor,
And lonesome was more than a state of mind.

You see, the devil haunts a hungry man,
If you don't wanna join him, you got to beat him.
I ain't sayin' I beat the devil, but I drank his beer for nothing,
Then I stole his song.

And you still can hear me singin' to the people who don't listen,
To the things that I am sayin', prayin' someone's gonna hear.
And I guess I'll die explaining how the things that they complain about,
Are things they could be changin', hopin' someone's gonna care.

I was born a lonely singer, and I'm bound to die the same,
But I've got to feed the hunger in my soul.
And if I never have a nickle, I won't ever die ashamed,
'Cuz I don't believe that no one wants to know.