Saturday, January 25, 2014

Saturday 9: I Will Always Love You


Saturday 9: I Will Always Love You

  1. The Bodyguard is the best-selling movie soundtrack ever and this is the song most often associated with Whitney Houston. Is it on your iPod/mp3 player?
    -- Yes, both Whitney’s version and the original by Ms. Dolly Parton.
  2. In the movie, Rachel (Whitney) sings "I Will Always Love You" after she realizes she can never see Frank (Kevin Costner) again. What song reminds you of a past love?
    -- Total Eclipse of the Heart reminds me of my x-wife… our marriage was a sham. I felt like everything was an act, things that normal couples would share, we didn’t. I wasn’t in the relationship because I was hiding my sexuality and she wasn’t there because I believe she knew it was a sham too.
    I hope to find the love Angel and Collins sings about….

  3. Despite the movie's and the song's overwhelming popularity, Whitney Houston was awarded a Razzie Award as the worst actress of 1992. What's the most recent criticism you received?
    -- Occasionally in my job, my optimism gets the better of me and I get myself into a bind when I have to suddenly deal with reality. HA HA I say… I reject your reality and replace it with my own!
  4. On the bright side, share the last compliment you received.
    -- John, you’ve been doing this job for five years, when you going to learn to curb your optimism?
  5. 1986In the 1980s, when Whitney first burst onto the scene, a trendy woman wore big hair, big bows and big shoulder pads. Can you think of anything you wore that was fashionable at the time, but looking back, makes you cringe? (An embarrassing photo to accompany your answer would be nice!)
    -- There aren’t many pictures in existence (that I know of), the one at right is from my high school yearbook from my junior year in 1986.
  6. When this song was popular, cell phones were uncommon and Facebook was unheard of. Which has had a bigger impact on your life -- smart phones or social networking?
    -- Social networking has been both a blessing and a curse. It’s nice to stay in touch with old friends far away and to meet new friends, but it can also be a wedge that prevents one from getting up and out to mingle with actual humans.
  7. 0blbaWhitney's marriage to Bobby Brown left many people shaking their heads. Whitney and Bobby's daughter recently married the young man who was raised as her brother. Have you ever been in a relationship your friends/family didn't approve of?
    -- I’m gay… there are a great number of family and friends who don’t approve of whom I choose to love. In the worlds of Dr.Seuss…
  8. Whitney Houston's grave marker reads, "I Will Always Love You," so obviously her family is very proud of the success of this recording. How would you like to be remembered?
    -- I want to be remembered as someone who won a victory for mankind.
  9. Whitney was born in Newark, the largest city in New Jersey. It's a major air, rail and shipping hub, and it's in the Eastern Time zone. Have you ever been to Newark ... or any town in New Jersey?
    -- When I was in high school my dad was a long-haul truck driver. He hurt himself and needed assistance to manage the cargo. One of the trips we made was to Vineland, NJ. I remember it as an industrial city in southern Jersey, just east of Philadelphia.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

TMI Thursday: Super Bowl XLVIII

Sean at Just a Jeep Guy started it, now all the cool kids are doing it.

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SUPER BOWL XLVIII

Do you know who's playing in this year's Super Bowl?
-- The Seattle Seahawks… and the team that will lose.

Blitz

Do you watch the Super Bowl for the game, uniforms, commercials or food?
-- Yes… Hell Yes!… if it catches my eye and…  not so much this year.

clay

What's your favorite food?
-- I enjoy many, many foods (that’s how you get four spins on the scale), but the one food I cannot pass up is Pizza.

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Are you entered into any Super Bowl Pools?
-- Not yet

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If you don't watch the big game, do you do something else?
-- Not much would tear me away from this game.

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… I could happen… right?

What sports do you watch?
-- Mostly Football, but some basketball and baseball… I’m pretty butch like that.

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BONUS

Are you the Quarterback or the Receiver?
-- I am a WIDE receiver.

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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Makes You Wonder

For most of my life I was trained through education and pain to give the right answer to a question. I formed my life, into a dizzying labyrinth of facts I didn’t believe and opinions I didn’t hold… pretending to be a person I was not. I held an anger below the surface towards the hypocrisy I saw in this world I lived in and in my own mind. I would hold it in for so long that, like a boiler approaching the bursting point, I had to let it out some where. My X-wife used to say that I had anger control issues. I have lost jobs because the anger would come out over a stupid comment of a customer. I spent most of the 90’s and 2000’s taking mood stabilizers, but the anger was still there. Quotation-Isaac-Pudas-reality-Meetville-Quotes-212609I wonder, did you like that John better? The married father who seemed so normal, yet had momentary lapses of containment? Did you like the John better that nodded in the church service yet put no action to the words, except for in the lives of other club members?

After much internal struggle; weighing the pros and cons of who I was and how sustainable the increased psycho-tropic medications were, I decided I’d had enough. Enough of the bullshit, enough of the hypocrisy, enough of the falsehoods. Five years ago this month, I separated from my wife, came out of the closet and began living the mantra, “to thine own self be true”.

Five years later, I don’t take meds to balance my mental health. I don’t have migraines, My eldest said once, “Dad, you seem happier now”. But I’ve paid quite a cost… I’ve also lost a LOT of friends and one of my children has divorced herself from me. . I sit alone at home way too much. It is especially painful on major social days like today, there are two major football games, there are people I know gathered in living rooms around this city, and I wonder do any of them think….

  • “Gosh, John mentioned several times this week that he didn’t have plans. Maybe I should have asked him over?”
  • “I saw that John desperately posted on facebook that he was watching the game alone… he’s so funny”.

Makes you wonder… maybe I should have stayed a pill-popping fraud… did you like THAT John better?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Intentionally 2014

I cannot believe that 2014 is already 12 days old. I had the intention of posting my personal goals, intentions… resolutions, if you will, 10 days ago. But you know how life gets in the way, so here it is.

2014

Physically

In 2013 I took the plunge into seriously dealing with my weight problem. You can see in the widget at right the progress I’ve made thus far, it is my intention to capitalize on the reworking of my gastro-intestinal physiology to continue making a dramatic change in my outward appearance and in how I feel about myself. Being morbidly obese has just as much to do with the way the public at large sees me, but also how I perceive myself. That being said, my goals chris prattfor the year are:

  • To participate in local physical events that benefit causes I’m passionate about. Up first is The Climb on April 12th to raise awareness of bullying, self-harm and suicide prevention.
  • To purchase and use a bicycle.
  • To look Damn Sexy like Chris Pratt (good lord! look at him!). This picture is from when he was preparing for Zero Dark Thirty, perhaps you know him as the woofy Andy Dwyer on the NBC show, Parks and Recreation?

Personally

I know that I will never find the man of my dreams as long as I’m damaged goods. I need to feel good about myself and be the person with whom I would want to be in a relationship. Over the past five years, I haven’t had much luck finding the right guy, and it seems I was the common denominator in all those failures… wherever you go, there you are.

  • Maybe if I looked more like Chris Pratt and less like Chris Farley?
  • Be confident in who I am and live a life with no regrets.
  • Leaving the negativity of the past and embracing the possibilities of NOW.
  • I feel that if I were more involved in LIFE, Mr. Right will find me. So I will get up and get out and participate.

Professionally

At work, 2013 ended filled with optimism. I participated in a Leadership Project with the Agency and my annual performance review commended me for participation in that Project and in taking on several optional duty assignments. 

  • Continue to perform my duties and those voluntary duties with professional excellence.
  • Position myself to take advantage of advancement opportunities.
  • Take opportunities to be a valuable member of the team.

There you have it. Here’s to a prosperous New Year!

champagne

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Saturday 9: Believe

  1. In 1998, Cher became the oldest woman to top the Billboard Hot 100 with "Believe." She was 52 at the time. At what age do you think you did hit/will hit your prime?
    -- God, I hope I haven’t hit my prime yet. If I have, I didn’t appreciate it.
  2. 121413Cher is as well known for her outrageous outfits as for her singing. What's the latest piece of clothing you added to your wardrobe?
    -- With the drastic weight loss I’m experiencing, I am enjoying casting off clothes that I’m shrinking out of. I had some success with weight loss in the past and I optimistically saved my “skinny clothes”. I am enjoying wearing those clothes again.
  3. Cher credits her unique looks to her diverse ethnicity. Her father was Armenian and her mom is English/German/Cherokee. From where did your ancestors come?
    -- I’m not sure, but I’m pretty sure they were asked to leave.
  4. When she was a little girl, Cher produced and starred in a schoolyard production of Oklahoma. Were you involved in drama or theater in school?
    -- I performed in the obligatory school play in elementary school. I got up the courage to tryout for a role in a community theater production of Huckleberry Finn in 2005. I would love to do it again.
  5. Cher is open about her plastic surgery, speaking freely about having had her breasts 'done', her nose bobbed and her teeth straightened. If you could change one physical feature about yourself, which would it be? And what would you never change, under any circumstances?
    -- I’m working on my weight right now, and some people believe that having gastric bypass surgery is pretty extreme. In the future there is a likelihood I’ll have to to have some excess skin removed. The excess weight has been such a focus for change for so long, I haven’t thought of anything else.
  6. There's a stubborn rumor, often denied, that Cher had a rib removed so that she could maintain her long and lean silhouette. What's the most outrageous thing anyone has said of you?
    -- My family says and has said some pretty hurtful things. Just like the lovely Jinxx Monsoon, its just water off a ducks back!
  7. When she was a kid, Cher practiced her autograph. Do you have a clear, legible signature? Or is it more of a scrawl?
    -- It has a little flair to it, but otherwise pretty legible.
  8. Cher asks, "Do you believe in life after love?" Crazy Sam's question is easier and less profound: Do you believe in luck?
    -- I believe luck comes to those who prepare.
  9. Did you make any resolutions for 2014?
    -- I call them ‘intentions’ or ‘goals’… yes, there will be a post soon. Stay tuned.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2013 Report Card

Last year I posted my goals for 2013… HERE… before I set new goals, lets evaluate how I did last year.

Professional

As I mentioned in my year-end post, I had hoped to begin the process of becoming a licensed Social Worker. I discovered that step one is to reinstate my membership in the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and that will cost me about $200. Once that is in place, I will be able to access the list of “approved” supervisors whom I shall work under for approximately two years, which depending upon the particular supervisor I find will cost an additional fee. Supervision in needed so that the licensing body knows that you have the skills and knowledge to justify the responsibility that comes with licensure.

Of course, the obstacle here is finances (also mentioned in the previous post). So I will also be looking for a way to augment my budget. A colleague of mine has got herself into quite a deal working with an online college. I have been searching through the internets for similar opportunities that fit with my skills, with no leads thus far. But New Year optimism is fresh.

I did locate a way to supplement my income a bit but with the added medical expenses last year, I wasn’t able to put it toward pursuing a professional license. While I feel that gaining the license will open doors in life. I am putting this goal on the back burner for now and see what opportunities come my way. GRADE: F

Personal

may-07-08

While the new years goals to work on becoming more healthy are a dime a dozen, my doctor has been pointing out that I’ll me turning 44 this year and running on luck is becoming dangerous. The thing that frustrates me is that I’ve done it before and was unable to sustain it. If you look at my old blog you will wee the progress I made 2006-08 as I lost 160 lbs. The picture at right shows the progress after losing 70 lbs. What this picture doesn’t show is that I started at 412 lbs and made it to 245 before it started reversing when I went to graduate school and separated from my wife of 15 years. You might be surprised to hear that university and divorce has an adverse effect on your eating habits, especially when one has a tendency toward self-medicating with food. I am currently in the early stages of a relationship, so I have some motivation to not die. Watch this space as I track my progress.

The relationship failed, but this isn’t about that. Between WeightWatchers, working out and Gastric Bypass surgery; I lost 70 lbs. in 2013. GRADE: A

Community

2013 will be my second year of serving as Board Chair for a local non-profit which focused on LGBT rights and human dignity. I have some ideas on how to grow the organization in order to move it to a stated goal of building a combination homeless shelter and drop in center for LGBT friends and allies. If the organization doesn’t like my ideas, then we’ll just continue doing the fine work we’ve been doing for years. But if I can get buy-in, it could be a beginning of something great. I just need to find a way of conveying my passion for what needs to be done. It will take a group effort to make it work.

Sadly, there were systemic flaws in the non-profit that could not be overcome by the blood-sweat-tears of a band of dedicated volunteers. Many of the projects that were in the works in the early part of the year, died a withering death. My plan was received well by the dedicated band of volunteers, was a non-starter with the source of the systemic flaws. I’m still passionate about the things I stated in this goal last year. I am continuing to volunteer this season at our local warming shelter, a place for people to get in out of the cold during the cold weather months. GRADE: C

Overall grade for 2013: D

I’ll try to do better in 2014.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013: The Year That Was

Every year recap the year and make goals for the year (they’re not resolutions). There is a gap because of an attempt at running a blog on my own domain. You will see a snapshot of the changes my life was making in the early years.

20072008201120122013

2013

2013 was a year filled with promise, but ended up being a wash. I am hopeful that one day I can look aback and see it as a year of transition. Over the last several years, I’ve noticed a pattern that odd-numbered years can best be characterized as ‘learning experiences’… 2013 was certainly a learning experience.

January – March

730591_10151451536743833_1998564_n2013 started with a lot of travel in my professional life. I put a great deal of miles on the car as I toured the state both to fulfill the duties of my job but also in a search for a new job that never came to be. I wrote about a relationship with a younger man that petered out in the early days of 2013.
What I learned…  Whether it’s a job, or a man… desperately seeking something GOOD rarely works for long.

April – June

970679_10151735579418833_1921269120_nMy doctor was growing increasingly ‘concerned’ about my weight and the co-morbidities that accompany being a middle-aged man weighing over 400 lbs. We talked about the benefits of weight loss surgery. These days there are people getting the band or gastric bypass. I applied for the procedure with the insurance approved clinic in Portland… and was denied. The doctor went to bat for me and the insurance company changed their mind. So the process began. Also… My eldest daughters graduated from high school and I went to my second Pride Fest in Portland, which was disappointing because myself, my partner and a guest were sick. I found myself in another short-lived relationship. This one failed because of distance (100 miles) and conflicting working schedules. We got along great, and from my perspective we still do, but going weeks at a time unable to work out time together caused what could have been something good to peter out.
What I learned… Getting old sucks… you have a choice… letting it happen or beating it back is up to you. Also, I’m done with relationships for a while. The next guy needs to chase after ME!

July – September

1081101_10151889013488833_1693317105_nOne of the requirements to qualify for surgery was to lose 5% of my body weight. I spent the summer at the gym. I dealt with a number of people who wondered if I could lose 20 lbs., why not just stick with it. These people are generally of normal weight and have no idea what its like to lose a bunch of weight and have it come back. If you take the time to look at Rejected Reality Classic, you will see that I’ve done it before and like most people the fat comes back with friends. I worked hard and was informed on September 17th that I met the qualifications for surgery.
What I learned… this is ME… this is MY life. If you have things to say, let me know which of my bills you will be paying.

October – December

121413Surgery was scheduled for October 28… it has been an amazing, challenging and rewarding experience. I closed out 2013, lighter than I started (widget on the right). And I’ve donated a big black garbage bag of clothes that has outgrown me. Just like in my personal life, I decided to quit desperately searching for a new job and see what comes my way. I dedicated myself to doing my current job well and seeking ways to expand my areas of responsibility. I completed a leadership academy within my agency and took on some voluntary assignments. It seems to be paying off; my annual review was very positive and encouraging.
What I learned… Nobody is going to change me, only I can change me.

That was 2013… here’s to 2014!

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