Friday, December 28, 2012

deep breaths

image credit.. ddmag.tumblr

as i consider the events of 2012, i find that my reactions to my life had more impact than the events themselves. this is not surprising- but does continue to humble me.

i wrote a poem when i was 16 years old titled "i am an ocean".. it's basic (truly) premise was that we are infinite- and mostly about ebb and flow. i am not sure i can find a copy of that poem anywhere now- i lost track of most of my life and belongings during my meth daze.

but this small poem set the stage for my identity in a couple of ways. i understood on some level the power and the metaphor of the tide- and for someone with a bi-polar tendency this hints of some insight. it also proved to lead to denial. but that's a story mostly told. writing that poem also revealed to me that i had something to say about life that was beneath the surface. the act of blogging these last few years has allowed me to acknowledge that part of self and to nurture it a bit.

as i look back on this year, i remember my best friends' mother's funeral in chicago- so bittersweet. i connected with so many old friends i hadn't seen in decades, but also had to witness as my bestie flopped like a trapped kite in a tree on a windy day. i couldn't even hold him and make the hurt go away.

i remember taking a board  position for a local recovery organization and spending most of my free time in the spring and summer planning a rally for september. i slowly came to realize that my hopes for the not-for-profit did not match the other board members' vision. once my commitment for the september event was over, i pulled away from any connection to it. the response to my letter of resignation seemed so canned and unauthentic that i felt vindicated for my decision. but i realize that i have so much work to do around boundaries for myself.

at the very same time, i asked to transfer positions at my workplace. it was rash and it was swift. the change took place in november and my heart has become engaged like i never would have imagined. on a daily basis  now i encounter people in varied stages of change and am in the process of developing a relationship with 50 or so new people searching for recovery of some sort.

in july, i met with a local probation district in a suburb and talked to them about a meth recovery program that was to start in their town. this was in response to assisting some friends who own an agency and have been struggling with their dui program as their only revenue stream. we have had 6 clients in the meth program thus far. i have felt good about it.

my sponsor of 7 years passed in september which most likely influenced my major decisions about making change. i am pretty sure that walking through conflict, sadness, differences of opinion, even discomfort are not my strong suit. i miss him and i miss his friendship.

my december was the busiest i have had for catering parties and i am pretty pooped as i post this. i realize that there is work to be done. that i have more to do, more inventory to take, more fun to find, and more relaxation to make happen.

i am still aware that i am living on bonus time. that gives me an edge i think. i don't mess too much with disappointment and regret, because expectation is not really an option.

of all the things i can think of that brought a real and true smile to my face, it is the genius of nicolas jaar. i have listened to so many of his musical cut-ups and found delight, release, and inspiration. and i continue to do just that. maybe you can play this in the background and see if you can find my meaning here. happy new year. all the best. to everyone.

Sunday, December 23, 2012


image credit... frank lloyd wright holiday

Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen. ~Author unknown, attributed to a 7-year-old named Bobby

home has taken on a new identity for me over the last few years. in 2004 i found myself back in colorado after having crashed and burned in california. i was merely considering getting into recovery and i had an epiphany regarding home. i had always had an aversion to living here in the rockies because its pace is much much slower than my manic side- or the side that rules my impulses and my decisions. but i have always done better here- been more grounded here, and remained tethered to the earth here.

this year, i have felt like immersing myself in the holiday like not before. i put up a tree for the 1st time since i bought the house 2007. i put decorations on the outside of the house. i found gifts for friends instead of just cards. and i hosted a very small dinner on saturday night. i had tried entertaining at my house in 2009, but it didn't go perfectly and i got frustrated. as a matter of fact, i yelled at a cousin at the end of thanksgiving dinner that year, and he and i haven't spoken since then.

this year- 8 years into my drug free life, i have created  a new home. i have tried - not with great ease- to entertain at that home and welcome others into my world. last night i had a small faction of my tribe over for a holiday dinner and movie. it was surprisingly easy and comfortable. it was quiet. it was sweet. it was intimate. and it was warm.

it was definitely home. i have a large extended family that remains distant. there were the years that i wasn't able to be around alcohol followed by the years i chose not to be around it. just like many families, many of mine have its romance with booze and drugs. some seem enmeshed. it has been easier to stay aloof. unexpectedly, i got a card in the mail from that cousin i mentioned. he's moved on to la and to the next phase of his life. i put one back in the mail immediately. i have sent one every year, but i can't remember whether he has. he has been struggling with anger- probably disappointment, his mental health, and his drinking and pot smoking. i remain in no position to be judgmental about struggles of that kind.

at the hospital where i work, this is the 2nd year i have played santa at the women and family service's party. this time, we laid out the event differently and the moments with santa were much more intimate. i met kids who were thrilled to list what they wanted for the holiday and proud to declare that they had been good. then there were the ones who screamed in my face when they realized they might leave the safety of mom's arms and be put in my lap. it was the funniest thing i have seen in awhile. i think this might fill anyone with the spirit of the holidays. it certainly did me. but what got me more was the comradeship and the teamwork that my co-workers displayed for this whole thing. everyone pitched in and no one had to be asked to participate.

as the seasons go by, i find it easier to be present. there remain ancient guideposts and scars, but the newness of my awareness of them fades much of their strength. i am happy to be happy today.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

viva la online vida

I used to rule the world
Seas would rise when I gave the word
Now in the morning I sleep alone
Sweep the streets I used to own
I used to roll the dice

Feel the fear in my enemy's eyes
Listen as the crowd would sing"
Now the old king is dead!
 Long live the king!"

One minute I held the key
Next the walls were closed on me
And I discovered that my castles stand
Upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand...Coldplay

since about 1995, my life has consistently included computers. they have become integral with my daily living. since the early 2000's, i traded the dating sites for information and networking sites and this propensity to live online has taken flight.  i am a complete facebook cling-on, i have a profile on linkedin, i have both a twitter account and manage one for TEN. We have a TEN facebook page, and i have 4 blogs including one for TEN  (oh and we are looking for additional bloggers for the TEN blog). in all this i have made friends, confidants, and supporters across the globe.

 mark olmsted

in 2007 a local gay men's HIV networking organization names SIN (strength in numbers) came under my charge.  i called on a friend i had met online to help me throw the 1st big party. his name is mark olmsted and he is a quirky artist and an insightful writer with a blog (how we met) called "The Trash Whisperer". mark was in some very similar circumstances as me and his friendship offered me support and guidance when i was struggling to find it at home. i actually went to a sober roundup in provincetown to meet mark face-to-face. later he flew to Denver from LA (along with Bryan Sutherland- SIN founder) and Denver's HIV community had a giggle and kick at Lannie's.

absolute willie

another gentleman i met online goes by the name "willie". willie was in his late 20's when our paths (blogs) crossed. i was writing a blog called "kickin tina" about my early journey of recovery from addiction (specifically crystal meth). willie had been out on a particular new years eve and had been drinking heavily. he crashed his car into a tree and to my recollection - totalled it. he woke up on new year's day and decided it was time to do something different and so he quit drinking. he has remained sober since. willie has lived in south africa, in taiwan, in missouri, and again in south africa through the years. his blog "enjoy your life cafe" has kept me informed of his whereabouts and his progress over the years. he remains charming and good-hearted to this day.

chris mecham- last chance texaco

the very first comment i got on my 1st blog was from a man who was getting ready to go to residential treatment for a while. his tone was drastic and his tempo was tweaked. he shortly thereafter shared that he had used at the bus station while he was waiting so he could hit for the last time. he created a blog of his own  called "last chance texaco" and has been a bright light of recovery and personal insight since. we continue to share quips on fb, and i will always owe him a debt of gratitude. i remember being floored that someone was reading what i wrote. 

jim pickett

through a fellow blogger richard kearns (now passed) i was introduced to jim pickett of chicago. jim is an ambassador for the chicago aids foundation and has become the microbicide czar for the planet. jim is a gay man who loves and respects other gay men and has been advocating globally for gay men's health issues through his work with irma and their blog "lifelube". richard sent jim a copy of a blog post i wrote in 2008 and jim published it. i have been an ardent and faithful admirer of his since then.

brian finch

any hiv positive gay man with much online presence cannot miss the sensation that is brian finch from canada. he is a complete and total scream. he has been advocating for the rights of hiv positive folks in canada since at least the 90's and has become an ambassador to other nations for his views and his savvy. he co-founded an hiv information and networking online magazine ("positive lite") with several colleagues and  in recent years taken up comedy and keeps himself and the people around him amused. (very much so i would bet). bryan has graciously allowed this newsletter to reprint several of his articles over the years. and he always keeps my heart light and my perspective tilted.

mark s king
also through my kickin tina blog, i came to know a devilish actor/writer named mark s king of atlanta. mark is also in recovery from meth addiction and has an amazing ability to deliver his ideas and experiences to readers in a sort of down-home let-me-tell-you-a-story sort of way. mark penned a book, writes for several sites including, hosts his own blog-, and even does a drag queen in recovery act (quite smart actually) named anita mann. mark has also graced our newsletter with columns through the years of our publication and he has a small but really lovely set of vids on youtube. he remains one of the more entertaining online presences i can name.

tony radovich

finally, through facebook and a program called "strength over speed" i became acquainted with tony radovich . we don't speak often, but we do share musical selections now and again on facebook. he has been actively involved in a 4 year samhsa grant for peer coaching for gay men (both poz and neg) who are looking to get their meth use under control. this still seems such an admirable venture, and tony is so very spiritual and full of kindness, that i am almost honored to have made his acquaintance.

these are a handful of individuals who have changed my life over the last 10 years. i needed support and i needed a change.  i hadn't met any of them, yet became very connected and shared ideas and support. there are many others- like frontiers la (hiv site), hivster, towleroad, ed negron and the work-in blog, bilerico, white crane, nelson vergel,, and  lady bunny to name a few. the internet - and online living has been part of a metamorphosis for me. somehow i have grown my life, stretched my heart, and fed my brain. and i did it all without an m4m site or a profile which asked my favorite sexual position. in no way, do i compare my self to my heros. their talent far outweighs what i might have. and these guys don't comprise my dinner partners, or my movie dates. but they do remind me i might not be that crazy and that i am not alone as i work towards bettering my life. and they help me believe that it is okay to want a "better" world. here's to 2013 my friends. i hope it's a better world for us all.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

end of the world

“The magnificence of such objects hardly pertains to the human. They live only in a world of icons and there they participate in rituals which transmute life itself to a series of grand gestures, as moving as they are absurd.” 
― Angela CarterBurning Your Boats: The Collected Short Stories

mid-december and the year end approaches. this year has been a whirlwind. i barely remember welcoming it and here is sit contemplating waving good-bye. i have grown immensely these last 350 or so. there were a few standouts. i have managed to help mend some family relationships that had been dysfunctional for some time. i have 2 cousins that are brother and sister, each 6 months apart from my age. we were close when we were young. we spent holiday time together each year and a few weeks each summer we spent at our grandmothers house. there are gads of pics of the 3 of us- mostly giggling and causing mayhem. i followed them to colorado when i was trying to run away from my dependence problems. 

anyway we really have not been speaking very much- and socializing even less. holidays have slipped by without phone calls, maybe a card with just a name signed at the bottom. as i now look i realize how drenched in my own ego i have been. but i have also been working on understanding and having boundaries in my life. and i continue to learn just how families can test boundaries like no others. i have been meeting with each of them periodically this year- usually coffee or with lunch. we don't giggle so much, and we are still causing mayhem albeit in our individual lives. but the soothing quality of someone knowing my history is palpable. and i am thrilled that a new chapter has begun.

i said goodbye to my sponsor of 7 years. he was consumed by cancer and spent 1/2 the year trying to distill the blow of recurrence and i spent that same time trying to be awake. in retrospect, i see that i had kept myself overly busy, mostly to avoid feeling anything i assume. i was scared to have him see me afraid and i am still learning how to be "in the moment". i am speechless when i think of how my life might have been if paul had not ushered me into recovery. and i can only wish that i will ever achieve the tenderness and grace he was able to transmit my way.

i learned that my emotions still rule my world at times. i became so frustrated with my efforts and the my perceived lack of response that i changed positions at my workplace, dropped a volunteer position, asked to drop another, all within a very short period of time. the transitions were seemingly smooth, but from my perspective, it seems i started shooting and asked questions later. honestly, i hope to do some work in this area. my instinct tells me that these "abandonings" are related to my heartache and loss somehow. it might be a pattern that is as old as i am. yet here i sit reviewing my actions and accepting them- a sign of significant personal growth for me.

i helped start a meth treatment program in a low-income suburb known for drug and alcohol problems. We have interacted with 5 persons thus far. j don't expect we will change the world, but i do sincerely hope we will have an affect on more than a few people. the message of hope and recovery is very faint in this burb. my mission is to project that voice. i have met a homeless young man who hasn't yet realized how lost he seems. he gets glimpses, but keeps blurring the picture so as not to really have to look. damn- can i relate to those tactics. 

i began working as a methadone counselor as one of my quick change transitions. it has opened my heart like a chocolate covered cherry. there are loads of gooey sweet stuff oozing out of me daily. i am learning about change, human nature, pain, coping skills, borderlines, denial in infinite ways.

i'll take a moment to consider the great loss of those young lives in connecticut today. all the peace and serenity i might have found in my life will have no effect on those families who have certainly lost touch with hope in their hearts. the helplessness is encroaching infinitely. 

That's great, it starts with an earthquake, birds and 
snakes, an aeroplane and Lenny Bruce is not afraid. 
Eye of a hurricane, listen to yourself churn - world 
serves its own needs, dummy serve your own needs. Feed 
it off an aux speak, grunt, no, strength, the Ladder 
start to clatter with fear fight down height. Wire 
in a fire, representing seven games, and a government 
for hire at a combat site. Left of west and coming in 
a hurry with the furys breathing down your neck. Team 
by team reporters baffled, trumped, tethered cropped. 
Look at that low playing. Fine, then. Uh oh, 
overflow, population, common food, but it'll do to Save 
yourself, serve yourself. World serves its own needs, 
listen to your heart bleed dummy with the rapture and 
the revered and the right, right. You vitriolic, 
patriotic, slam, fight, bright light, feeling pretty 

Monday, December 10, 2012


image credit.. criminallyinnocent 

I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. 
I acted and behold, service was joy......Rabindranath Tagore

Joy is an essential spiritual practice growing out of faith, grace, gratitude, hope, and love. It is the pure and simple delight in being alive. Joy is our elated response to feelings of happiness, experiences of pleasure, and awareness of abundance. It is also the deep satisfaction we know when we are able to serve others and be glad for their good fortune.
Invite joy into your life by staging celebrations. Host festivities to mark transitions and changes in your life. Toast moments of happiness you notice as you go through your day. Dance — jump for joy — as often as possible. Life is not meant to be endured; it is to be enjoyed....excerpted from

today i humbly present tracey thorn's new vid and song. i <3 nbsp="nbsp" p="p" thorn.="thorn." tracey="tracey">
i do believe that this holiday season will be the best i have had in several years. although i am busy, i have tapped into peace of mind that i have not been able to access in the previous sober years. whatever this is or whatever this means, i am thrilled that there seems to be no major crisis going on in my life. i am not in conflict with anyone of real significance. my relationships with friends and with co-workers are smooth and without much strife. my family and i are simpatico and i am feelin' good.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

as time goes by

Ebenezer: Bob, I haven't taken leave of my senses. I've come to them. 

ebenezer scrooge woke up on christmas morning after having been visited by 3 spirits that had rocked his world and his world view. as i imagine, he was stunned for a few moments wondering if there would be more visitors or if this "awake" were real. he runs to his window to confirm that he is in his house, in his time, and "in" his mind. he calls down to a young man passing asking "what day is this?". upon realizing that his bleak future that was forecast by one of the nighttime visitors had not become real, he felt a sense of relief and hope that he probably had not felt in years.

during a conversation i was having with a friend today, i realized that this very feeling that i imagine scrooge felt was intimate. the ideas that "there's still time left" and "i can change" have become ideals for me (hopefully all year round). as i have adopted and infused, and distilled them, my life has transformed. well, not simply my life, but my heart, my mind, and my intention has shifted and softened. 

while i was chatting with my amiga on the phone, i teared up ever so and realized that i know these feelings and i know them well. the dark dog days have left for now and the winds of relief fill my sails and take me towards another adventure. and there is wonder and gratitude in my heart. 

as the holiday season reveals the wonders of advent, i hope i continue to carry these ideals. hope, gratitude,  and wonder are like honey in a cup of tea- they are the sweetener and brighten the experience. 

i want to wish my readers a very happy holiday season. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012


image credit.. ddmag.. tumblr

In music, a single or record single is a type of release, typically a recording of fewer tracks than an LP record or an album. This can be released for sale to the public in a variety of different formats. In most cases, the single is a song that is released separately from an album, but it usually appears on an album. Often, these are the most popular songs from albums that are released separately for promotional uses such as commercial radio airplay, and in other cases a recording released as a single does not appear on an album....wikipedia

i injured my knee at cardio class about a month ago. i had been working out regularly until that point. i had begun to drop some inches and my clothes had been fitting better. the weight has been coming back on and i find myself eating emotionally. it annoys me, but there it is. i have been immersing myself in the new position at my workplace and have met about 45 new patients this month. i will be working with them fairly regularly and it has been a challenge to try to absorb personal information about them.

the changes continue to manifest themselves in me and around me. i have scheduled myself tightly over the next month. i am working 40 hours at one job, 2 evenings at another job, and then i have 10 parties on the books in december as well. i borrowed some cash to bring "the anonymous people" to denver and i want to get most of that paid back. sadly, i have distanced myself from the organization that i was working with at the time, but the debt is mine.

i am working on re-imaging a support group i facilitate. i haven't made all the final decisions yet, just mulling them over. i am posting the ideas here- but i have added one more - we'll see how it goes. i moved the times on the group from late afternoon on friday to a lunchtime thing. i got the idea from a 1990's chicago magazine by the name of "gab" which i always found entertaining. i did contact malone sizelove (founder of gab) to ask permission to use the name. these are meant to be 4"x4" cards printed both sides- the 1st image will be on every card and then i am trying to ascertain what to place on the back. i have asked jenna (rocket house design) to try an old cover from "confidential magazine" as well. i would love to know what you think.

RR Gab Card Looks

i have encounter a german man on youtube and found his taste in music to be remarkable. he could easily have classic german minimalist taste, but i have become a huge fan and an idea-snatcher. somehow i stumbled upon his posts and discovered nicolas jaar and clown and sunset, which has honestly revolutionized my concept of music in 2012.