Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Best Friend

How do they do it?

You know...the people in the movies who are the perpetual best friends? I'm thinking of the Mary Wickes types or Rosie O'Donnell in "Sleepless in Seattle"...the folks who are stuck at always being "the bridesmaid, but never the bride" in life.

Or how about Julia Roberts in "My Best Friend's Wedding?" She's in love with her best friend, who is on the verge of matrimony with someone else?

I feel like all of them.

I keep getting told by my gay friends that you are going to find "the one."

"Frank, you're a great catch!"

"Wow, Frank, someone is going to sweep you up in no time!"

"Frank, you've got so much to give....some guy is really going to be glad he found you."

Well, these are really nice compliments.....but I don't exactly have the boys lining up at my doorstep asking for a date.

Don't get me wrong. I don't mean to come across as an ingrate....but it's kind of frustrating to be surrounded by such nice and eligible gay men...but I generally find that they are either married, in partnered relationships, or the ones who might be interested live billions of miles away in the next state -- five states over.

Or....I love the date I went on several months ago: the guy signed his note of interest as "Two Date Minimum." It seemed promising enough. I met him. We had dinner. He seemed like a nice guy...someone that I'd like to at least get to know a bit better. BUT...I've not heard anything from him since. So, I suppose I didn't get the minimum, did I?

Then there are the types who are only looking for the next notch on the proverbial bed post. As you have dinner they have this glazed, faraway look in their eyes.....they walk you to the door.....their hand wanders...or the hug lingers a little more than what one would expect.... They want more.

You know the type.

They want to take you inside......slam the off your clothes.....drag you to the bedroom....... And then, when the moaning stops.....they literally run away headed for their next conquest. As they do, they glance over their shoulder to say, "I had a GREAT time. I'll call you!"

But those types never do.

So, it makes me wonder what my problem is.

I think I'm okay looking.......I think I'm a good catch.......I know how to communicate about all kinds of subjects.......I am gainfully employed.

Is the man of my dreams out there?

Will I ever meet someone that will treat me as more than the "Best Friend." Will I ever meet someone that won't view me as an after thought....or the term I've always loved....."leftovers?"

Gee, I hope so.

Friday, February 22, 2008

I'm Back!

Sorry that I’ve been gone for a while. I’ve just been consumed with a lot of things associated with the kids and with work that I just decided to step back and take a break for a while.

I also used the time to reflect on what I’ve written, on my journey, and on some of the comments that have been made by the many readers who float by the blog.

I can’t believe just how much I have grown in the past few weeks. Sadness has not been my companion.

Probably the best yardstick to measure my growth by is the fact that I have been wading through old papers and files that I had been dreading. You see, every time I would sit down to try and tackle them, I’d run across a little note from one of the children, or a romantic card from Lovey, and I’d find myself sobbing uncontrollably. Silly, I know. But it was me and I’ve had to work through those feelings of sadness and yes, of failure.

So, as I have spent this time wading through the morass of paper that is my house, I’ve come across a vast treasure trove of items. A love letter from Lovey….(sounds like a tongue-twister)…..from June of 2004. Aw, it was so syrupy and loving. YUCK.

Not once did I feel the need to cry. I just set it aside and continued through the vast waste of little handwritten notes by Lovey……cards by the kids……old bank statements……Sunday School outlines…..sermons….. You name it I found it! Ten garbage bags full! I’m sure there are even more.

But I am making progress.

The picture that appears with this entry is very special to me. It’s of #1 and her brother, the marine. She’s about 7, and he’s either 4 or 5. It brought a broad smile to my face.

I’m able to deal with relics from the past without breaking down. I’m able to gather up and identify stuff I no longer need….and I’m ready to destroy them.

It’s a wonderful feeling to look around my house and not see the clutter that once was our constant companion. Oh, I did get rid of twenty garbage bags full of junk while #1 was still here, shortly after Lovey departed. But this is stuff that was in boxes in the bottom of the hall closet…..or in my bedroom book case……or down in the basement store room. These are the relics that were hidden from public view. And, well, I just said, “Enough! Be gone!”

So, this weekend, I plan to spend some time doing some more. It feels so good.

Coupled with all of this…..not only am I feeling better emotionally….but physically I am amazed at the stamina I have. The insulin and the thyroid pills appear to be doing their jobs. I’m sleeping very well at night. I’m ditching caffeine wherever possible….and I’m also cutting down on the diet soda. I’m drinking more water. I’ve found that as a result of taking my sugar levels seriously…not only am I feeling much better…..but I’m not coming down with the sniffles, ear infections and sinus infections I once did. The doctor says that there is a direct correlation between my high sugar levels and how I felt…and the number of colds and other infections I got.

My cholesterol is at 112.

Not bad for an old guy, huh?

So, I’m working to get back on track now…..and do more serious writing here.

It’s time to get this show on the road!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Being Gay Isn't Easy

I am SOOOOO spoiled.

I mean, for all the internal angst that I went through growing up as a gay child, and the struggles that I had trying to come to terms with myself...for the most part, it was easy. While my marriage and subsequent divorce were no picnics, at least I can say that I have landed on my feet...and now I'm just trying to chart a course for my life that will help to nurture me and help me to grow and to learn more about myself.

BUT, there are still those individuals in the world who struggle with the gay thing and how difficult it is some of the more conservative areas in the world.

For instance, I've heard how a group of people learned that there was a couple of openly gay people in one house, and they invaded it...and hacked up the gay people with machetes.

I then got to spend some time with a gay couple in my church who are going through the pain of divorce. BUT....their respective spouses have accused them of being unfit parents....and being possessed. They've had private investigators follow their every moves....and they've been attacked by their spouses with knives. Restraining orders have been taken out....but still you can tell the trauma is having a negative affect on them.

It's hard trying to come to terms with things. You're told that it's a choice and that you can change. You spend so much time trying to conform...and to change....and then, once you accept yourself -- although you've bought into all that society has demanded of you -- you're still labeled as evil because it's believed by folks that you have wrecked your spouse's've "deceived them".....and it's all your fault.

I dare say that if the church and society would teach you to embrace yourself....and accept yourself...just as you are.....then there wouldn't be the innnocent spouses who are hurt.....or are wrecked....

We gay folks can't ever seem to win.

But I'm a lucky one.

I'm accepted.

I'm loved.

I've landed on my feet.

I'm gay....

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Life of a Dad

The life of a caring and loving dad never gets easier.

What would you do, if one of your children lived 1,000 miles away and sent you the following text message on your cell phone in the middle of the night?

"Tornado warning downtown Nashville...that's where I am...just in case...I love you and #1 is my beneficiary."

I was very frightened for my daughter's safety...and I kept trying to reach her, but to no use.

I spent many anxious moments.

One hour later I received the following followup:

"Just got was bad in TN."

I finally reached her...and she was okay, but shaken. She said that the road to her church was littered with lots of debris and flattened dwellings.

But she was okay.

That was the important thing.

Before she hung up...she told me that she had spoken with her mother at the height of everything. #2 said that she told her mom that she was in the midst of a tornado.....and couldn't really talk. Lovey said, "Aw, that's okay. I'm tired anyway and need to go to bed. Good night."

#2 couldn't believe her ears... She told her mother, "Well, I love you too Mom....and just for the record, if I get killed, #1 is my beneficiary on my insurance policies."

Her mother paused...and then said, "Well, if you do get killed, I will see you on the other side. Good night!"

Oh my....we can always count on Lovey to provide amusement even in the midst of a disaster!

I don't think I finally drifted off to sleep until well after 3am. I'm really dragging now.

What an evening!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The Science of Romance

Just read an interesting issue of Time Magazine.

It's their Annual Mind and Body Special issue with a date of January 28, with the cover story "THE SCIENCE OF ROMANCE."

It certainly caught my attention.

There was an article under this cover story that asked, "Are Gay Relationships Different?"

The author, a gay man, believes the following and has uncovered research that seems to indicate:

"straight people prefer less tension in their relationships; gay relationships work better when there are fireworks."

"gay and lesbian couples argue less belligerently than straight pairs."

"they're also more likely to use humor in an argument."

"heterosexual relationships may have a great deal to learn from homosexual relationships."

"gay men are worse at making up after fights, and gays and lesbians split up more often than straight couples."

Quite an indictment against us queer folk. The author believes that gay marriage would help such relationships work better and last longer because of all the benefits and structures that marriage affords two people.

I kind of agree.

But gay marriage is probably an item for my soap box on another day.

Early in this article, the author says somethings that stirred a memory in me.

"When I was 13, I secretly read my parents' old copy of Dr. David Reuben's
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex, But Were Afraid to Ask,", first published in 1969. Standing nervously at the bookshelf, I was poised to replace the volume quickly if I heard footsteps. The chapter on homosexuality explained, "The homosexual must constantly search for the one man, the one penis, the one experience, that will satisfy him. He is the sexual diogenes, always looking for the penis that pleases. That is the reason he must change partners endlessly. That is the reason he must change partners endlessly...They may set up housekeeping together, but he parade of penises usually continue unabated...mercifully for both of them, the life expectancy of their relationship together is brief."

I, too, remember reading that passage.

It bothered me.

But, after all 1969 was another time. It was a generation ago.

Things have changed drastically.

At the time, homosexuality was still considered a mental illness. Gay marriage was unthinkable.

Gay pride was in its infancy.

I now am surrounded with a multitude of gay couples who have been together in excess of five years. They are very happy.....and have no desire to end. They also do not have a parade of penises in their relationships...and are quite offended when someone proposes such.

Their relationships are happily monogamous...and I enjoy watching them at church...or at dinner.

They give me hope.

The prove that Dr. Reuben was wrong.

In 1969.

And he was considered to be a sexuality expert.

I wonder what someone will think 40 years from now....and how today's experts will be viewed in their discussion of the issue.

Dinner With Lovey!

....and then there is Bedtime for Bonzo!

I digress.

Yesterday was my day off from the office and I spent it trying to get the house in order after I dismantled the Christmas Tree, removed the Christmas decorations, and tried to deep clean the wood floors and get everything back in order.

I had just returned from getting my hair cut when the telephone rang.

It was Lovey.

My first thought was, "Oh God, what have I done now?"

Immediate, my mind raced through a checklist of things of possible concerns:



Reimbursement for software?


Children okay?


All of Lovey's stuff returned to her?


I picked up the phone.

"I'm on my way back home and I need to talk to you briefly. Can you meet me at the church parking lot just down the street from you?"

"Uh....ok..." I said.

So, I put on my coat and headed the few blocks to the church.

There she was with her black hat.

I swear, that hat makes her look like Ms. Gulch on the Wizard of Oz.

She then proceeded to bend my ear about everything in her life.....and all the stuff she is doing....and how busy she has been......and her church work.


But then, the main reason for seeing me was to remind me of the several items she wanted me to give her to carry down to see #1 in El Salvador when she goes down later this month.

I said sure...I'll have them ready.

Just then she realized that she was in the midst of rush hour traffic...and would never get home in a timely manner. Did I want to go with her to a nearby restaurant...and get caught up until the traffic died down.

I paused.

But then, I decided I had absolutely nothing to lose.

So I went.

The meal with her was very telling. She brought up the fact that she was having a very hard time of things and getting over the divorce.

I listened.

After her long dissertation about her therapy....and her many physical ailments....and her emotional wounds.....she finally asked how I was doing.

I said that there were still some bad times..... But that I had been told by four professionals that such bad times were to be expected....especially given the fact that 25 years is so long a period...and how it just won't heal overnight.

I then was a bit bold....and told her of Jane. I told her about Jane in such a way so that she didn't know who she was. I embellished it a tad....only to paint a picture that I was doing well....and that I was enjoying the attention from others.

I gave her lots to ponder as she drove back to her home 90 miles away.

When I got home, my dog gleefully jumped onto my lap.

I sat there in the stillness of my house.....thankful that I am here.....and that she is almost 100 miles away in her own world.

In some ways I feel so very sorry for her....and the fact that she seems so empty. But another part of me jumps to the forefront and reminds me that she has brought all this onto herself.

And, as a I pondered this, I developed a bad migrained -- such that I had to take my power drugs to knock it.

It seemed like old times.

Gosh am I glad that it's all over.

Monday, February 04, 2008


Today is another anniverary that I've been thinking a lot about.

One year ago today, my daughter, #1, left our house for the last time in her journey to her Peace Corps assignment of El Salvador. It was not without drama.

There's always drama.

Last year, her brother, the marine, came home to see her before she left. At leas that was the tale he told. He never got to see her...or to see me for that matter. He was way too busy being with his friends and drinking heavily, etc. He spent the night in jail a year ago....and #1 and I went to bail him out. But he wasn't available because of his arraignment, and I had to get #1 to Georgetown to meet up with her Peace Corps group.

I felt so all alone that day. It was scary for me. It felt like the whole world was caving in upon me and I started shutting down. I took the whole week off that week just to get my head on straight....and to try and figure out what I was going to do. I was also terribly frustrated by the slowness of the separation and divorce.

So here I am one year later.

Remembering how I felt then versus how I feel now.

I'm doing okay.

I spoke with number one yesterday. She told me that she had two deaths in the community where she lives. So she had to attend an all night vigil and was on her way to the funeral yesterday. These experiences are so valuable to her. She's learning so much about the different cultures of the world, and she's desperately trying to make her mark on the world.

My hat goes off to her.

Meanwhile, #2 called me to say that some things are happening in her career. She met a guy from her church yesterday over lunch. She and a group of friends had gone together to eat....and he was a tag along. Turns out he's somebody in the music biz....and she just happened to have a CD of HER songs she'd written and recorded. She gave it to him.....he kept playing it over and over....and he played it in the studio for some of his producer friends. Allegedly he and the friends are all blown away..... He wrote #2 late last night to say that he wanted her to meet someone this week. So #2 graciously accepted.

I can't help but feel like she is going to make it big in the music biz. It's just going to happen in the most unlikely circumstances...and she's gonna take off. Look out! And you guys are the first to read about it here...


Life keeps chugging along for old Frank.

Who knows what will happen next?

Saturday, February 02, 2008

A Busy Weekend Thus Far

Last night I went to dinner with some of my crazy church buddies.

We met at the restaurant at 7:45 and sat and talked for a good hour or so....laughing .....telling jokes and reminiscing about various events we've shared.

following dinner we headed to a couple's house for a couple of rousing games of SCENE IT! I'm proud to say that I came in Second! I know a little about movies. By the time I got was after midnight. I had to let Davy Dawg out. Poor guy. He was almost at the point of bladder explosion from having been inside all day. But I let him out....and he seemed to be very happpy when he came back inside.

I then took my meds and toddled off to bed.

This morning I awoke early and talked to my daughter in El Salvador. She's happy and full of energy. She plays soccer and works in the fields down there. She told me that a neighbor of hers died this morning. So, she will get to experience the funeral process there. She says that tonight is a vigil....with lots of coffee....and bread. Then they bury the person tomorrow. (No embalming.)

#2 in Nashville has been recording more of her stuff in the studio. Last night she called to say that she had finished another one of her songs and was really upbeat about it.

No word from the Marine.

But I've received three packages for him...and his last email to me said that I needed to keep them in a safe place for his return.

So, I have followed his directions.

Today I've got so much to accomplish...... Thankfully this is my three day weekend and I'm off on Monday. I've got a very big agenda of work planned to complete.

We'll see just how much of it I can do.

What A Difference A Year Makes

This blog is a valuable resource. Not only does it show you what you were doing in your life at a given time, but if you're being brutually honest, as you write the thing, you can actually see how you grow....and how life, as you know it changes.

I can certainly see a lot of growth when I compare what I had written last year, with what I'm doing now.

It's incredible.

This time last year I was terribly sad....I'd say even VERY depressed. My #1 daughter was getting prepared to leave this country for her tour of duty in El Salvador...and I felt as though my life were ending. I actually wanted to curl up into a little tiny ball and just die. All I could do was cry. Compounded with all this, my son was arrested and thrown into jail....and so I was worried all about that and then there was that awful space when I thought I would never be divorced. It was awful.

From rereading passages of this blog I can tell that I'm the kind of person that detests change. It makes me nervous....out of sorts.....and frightened.

I don't know where all that came from. But, it's just my makeup and how I deal with things.

But here I sit, a year later.... I'm fully divorced.

That long dark black period of sadness, uncertainty and fear have all faded away. I'm seeing more and more evidence of sunlight creeping into the gray that once was my life.

I'm amazed and how good it feels to know that everything will be okay.

I'm also shocked that it was such a long black period of time.

Looking back on things, I think the blackness started seeping into my life in the year 2000 or 2001. That's eight years ago!

That's a very long time to experience profound unhappiness....whether you want to call it sadness or depression. It was hell.

For the longest time, I kept my gayness under wraps. I didn't have the energy to deal with that....and all the things that a dad must do to keep his home and hearth in good order.

I remember that the real crack in things started showing in the fall of 2002 when the girls left for college. I thought my world would end. I cried and was terribly depressed. My ex wasn't. She was cold.....almost distant. To her, the departure of the kids seemed almost like a walk in the park.

She offered no words of comfort.....or any type of affection to them or to me.

I should have known then, but I was too much like Pollyanna to really focus on the fact that my marital relationship was sinking fast.

But I didn't.

I guess I had my head in the sand.

Oh well...those are another of life's experiences.

You learn from them.

You go on with your life...hopefully never to repeat those bad moments.

And you get to a place -- like I am now -- where you can look back on things and see just how far you've come.....and just how much you've learned.....and just how much you've grown.

Then you pause......

If you're from a spiritual background like whisper of prayer of the One Who stood by you during all those times of immaturity....and those times of poor, poor choices.......and you thank Him for His patience. His love. His guidance.

And just can be there to help another lost soul.....going through a similar period of uncertainty....and to tell them that....."You can survive all this."