Tuesday, September 30, 2008

UPDATE: Mother and Chemotherapy

Today was treatment #2 of 14 for mother.

She just called....all breathlessly excited.

She wanted me to know one important fact: she was still sitting and waiting to become sick and feeling rotten!

Over the weekend she and I talked a number of times. She was upset about the impending chemo...and worrying about what it would be like. By nature, she is a fighter and the eternal optimist. So on Saturday she went to the beauty shop and had her hair cut...and styled. She said that if her hair is going to fall out, it's gonna look good when it does. She painted her fingernails red....and shows up for her appointment all dressed up and in fine spirits.

She was in the midst of doing laundry when she called just now.

Gosh I hope and pray that this is not a negative experience for her and that she winds up feeling decent during the whole thing. They say she will be done by Thanksigiving. They're going to be monitoring her blood count closely....and doing some scans to see how the cancer is responding to the chemo.

I appreciate all your positive thoughts and prayers for all of us!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Private Longings of a Lonely Gay Man

Days like today are so tough.

It was rainy and gloomy the majority of the day. However, during early evening the clouds seemed to part and the blue sky appeared.

But nothing happened to improve my mood.

I spent my entire day cleaning the house and shampooing carpets. I want things to look half-way decent when the daughter from El Salvador comes for a visit. So we'll see.

As I went about my day cleaning, running the dishwasher, and just doing a multitude of chores, I couldn't help but think about my life and how far I have come. I'm pretty happy with how things have turned out. And those fits of sadness that used to do me in seem to have vanished for the most part.

However, left in its wake is a very strong need to connect with someone. Intimately.....emotionally....physically.....and just be in someone's presence who will just at times be there for nothing more than to hold me. OR....someone to let me lie down next to after a long day.....or to nap with on a lazy rainy Saturday or Sunday afternoon.

Oh I have said this a number of times.

You get the idea.

Spent some time with Mr. Office this afternoon. (Yeah, him!) Would you believe more mixed signals? The big lingering hug.....the peck on the lips......this time he snuggled up next to me as we sat close to one another......and then he turned and tried to tickle me. I'm not ticklish. But I turned around and did the same to me. For a few short minutes, I rested my head onhis shoulder.

It felt so right....and I felt so complete.

But there was nothing more from him. Nothing to encourage me to keep it there for long.........he didn't rub my neck....or run his hand through my hair. Nothing endearing.....nothing affectionate...really...

So, when we parted company this evening, it left me with a sense of sadness....of longing......of some emptiness.

Why are there such mixed signals with him? Is he playing me? Is he really trying to drive me crazy?

But I refuse to push it. I need the other guy to be the first one to make the move. I'm tired of doing that....only to do something silly....or to put my foot in it.....or make guys feel really uncomfortable.

I long to be held....to be someone's special someone.....to have someone come up and hold me....or kiss my cheek....or to feel like I can talk about anything....or say anything without someone correcting me or rebuking me as Lovey used to.

Maybe one day it will happen.

I need prayer..

Friday, September 26, 2008

30 Years and an Update from Mr. Office

I was summoned to the agency's Chief of Staff's Office yesterday afternoon!

It scared me for a moment because I wondered if I had screwed something up...or made someone mad....or did something not so good.

As I traveled up to the 9th Floor in my building, I ran all kinds of thoughts through my mind and as I reached the double doors of the Chief's outer office, I realized that I had done nothing wrong.

So, what could he want to see me about?

When I got into his office, he had this big grin on his face. He said, "Frank, you've been in government service for 30 years and I have some tokens to give to you for your career milestone."

With that, he walked over to his credenza and gave me a brand spanking new, shiny golden Bulova wristwatch with my name engraved on the back! I also was given a framed and matted certificate, a personalized letter from the head of the agency, and a golden eagle lapel pin!

Thirty years!

It's amazing to me.

But, here I am. At times I feel like I am as old as dirt. But, I'm still alive and kicking.

I'm actually thankful that I'm in such good health and spirits.

My name was also published in the agency newsletter citing my milestone. And wouldn't you know, Mr. Office sent me a congratulatory email!

He told me how much it made his day for me to be in his life.....and to know tht I'm around.

I saw him earlier in the week too....and got the holding hug.....and the kiss.....

Mixed signals galore....but I'm choosing to ignore them unless they become more pronounced.....and to take them at face value only.

He's a neat guy.....I think we'd be great together.......but that's just my thought.

Only he knows his!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Another One Comes Tumbling Out...

Times are a changing for sure. This time Clay Aiken, long-rumored to be queer, finally has admitted in a national magazine that he is in fact, gay.

Folks seem to be taking it well.

Good for him.

It’s all about being authentic folks.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Have You Heard The News?

Gospel Music Great, Ray Boltz, who has won countless Dove Awards and sold 4.5 million albums announced last Friday that he is gay. The news has set the evangelical Christian Community on its ear with many Web sites vowing that he is going to hell, and debating whether or not that God made him "that way."

I was amazed to hear this news myself. But then, given my story and my background, I know that it can happen to anyone. We all have our own paths to take and many of us choose to deal with this issue in a host of different ways. Sadly, those in Christian leadership who come out or who "fall" into this "temptation" are crucified, shunned or sent through the trap door directly out of Christian mainstream. (Just ask Ted Haggard.)

I've asked this question millions of times..... Why must Christians always shoot their wounded, eat their young, and kill those who are different. Why are Christians so afraid of homosexuals?

I proudly am a member of a very gay friendly congregation in Fairfax, VA. Yesterday at lunch I met three very young people. One was a 15 year old girl who identifies as an atheist...and she comes from a muslim background. The second was a young man who was 17 years old and is struggling to accept himself in spite of the fact that "God hates him." The third is a seasoned 20 years old who comes from a small town about 90 minutes away.

I was especially struck by the 17 year old who is genuinely suffering from the stigma of trying to be Christian, but still dealing with his "issues." I found my paternalistic nature rise up...and I dold him that God loves him more than he can imagine. That he should stop listening to all the noise around him and hearing what those other voices have to say about it and to tune into what God has to say. "You will be quite surprised," I said.

I am confident that God is grieved by all that is done in his name. The judgments pronounced; the hatred espoused; the laughter and mocking that is done. When will the Christians of all people learn to just let God be God. Let Him be the one to hand out judgment. Let people love who they want to.

Everyone gets their panties all knotted about this issue. No one is trying to turn anyone else gay. There are no massive gay agendas. We are not out to molest children.

We are adult men and women who should have ther right to express our love in a mature way with other adult men and women who have the same orientation. Plain and simple.

Everyone in Christian music: settle down and breathe deeply and relax. Ray Boltz has the right to live authentically, even in spite of the fact it may be contrary to your pretty little picture of how you think it should be. He is still the same man he has always been: the gifted and talented singer/songwriter/parent/man of God that he was created to be.

The only difference is that he is now able to live fully as he was meant to be. He's more peaceful. He's not tormented and he probably is finally off the antidepressants and is not sucidal.

My hat's off to you Ray. You're on a journey my friend. May you be able to enjoy the roses along the way

Thursday, September 18, 2008

An Interesting Discussion

I've been a member of several online support groups for many years now. They have given me an outlet to express my frustrations and also to make a whole host of friends who are struggling with the issues I have and are currently facing. They are a tremendous source of strength and affirmation. I could not have made it without them!

In one of the discussions yesterday, I made the comment that I was looking forward to the day that I would have a special man in my life -- one that I would be faithful and monogamous with because I feel that I have a lot of pentup emotions that I will one day be free to express with "him."

I was rather taken aback by one person's response to me. He said that the mistake that a lot of ex-married men make is to try and have a monogamous relationship with a man. It's generally the kiss of death in such relationships and he advised that I seek an open or semi-open relationship. After all he opined, the real reason for a monogamous relationship is so that you can "bareback."

Well, this ignited a firestorm in the community. I was pleasantly surprised by the number of men who felt that a monogamous relationship was possible in a gay relationship....not for barebacking....but for emotional intimacy.

It was very interesting to see the various guys' take on the whole topic of monogamy. There were a good number though, who agreed with the "open" concept....so both sides were discussed very freely.

Perhaps I am a bit old fashioned here...but for me...it eems that if you throw open the boundaries of a relationship and allow it to be open like Grand Central Station, it negates the closenss and specialness of having ONE person in your life. Besides, I'm getting older and just don't have the energy to juggle multiple relationships.

So is it possible for gay men to be committed to only one person? I know a number of such relationships at my church and they are an inspiration to me.

Why do you suppose that a lot of men within the gay community have to have multiple partners in order to be happy?

My Secret Crushes: An Update on Mr. Office

Well, I heard from him today. He's been super busy with his job....and with all things that he is involved in. He sent me several emails...and none of them are something to write home about. So, I think I see where his interests lie...and I don't think they lie with me.

But, these days I seem to be in a different place than I was a month or so ago. I suppose when faced with a parent's mortality, it kind of puts your life into perspective. You see what is really important.

Romance is no longer at the top of my list. So, Mr. Office, while pleasant to look at and to spend time with....well, I just feel an emotional detachment from him.

Oh well.

So I'm not sure where I'm headed. I'm just trying to enjoy the journey and to not focus so much on the destination.

And Now It's Time for a HAPPY DANCE!

Mother had a doctor's appointment this morning. It was there that she would learn the results of her bone scan, her brain scan, and her PET scan. (For the unlearned, PET stands for Positron Emission Tomography.)

I dreaded hearing the results....because this morning I woke up in one of "those" moods where everything seemed wrong and the world is ending and I feel totally out of sorts. But around 10:30, I swallowed my fears and called mom to find out what had been told to her.

She answered the phone in a very chipper and happy way. She said, "The doctors have all agreed that my case is not nearly as bad as they at first thought!"

She certainly had my attention.

She went on to say that she was told that all these exotic tests revealed that her cancer was concentrated in the hip -- the one that broke. There was just a very small...teeny...tiny....spot on her left lung. But there is no evidence of cancer at any other place in her body! They are using radiation aggressively to kill those cancer cells that are in the hip....and they plan to follow up with chemotherapy for the lung. They may actually go into the lung and cut out the spot. But we will not know for sure until tomorrow when Mother visits with the oncologist.

She's happy.....and walking without the walker..... She is only relying on a crutch or a cane at the moment. Other than the weakness caused by the radiation, she says she is fine. Doubly so now that they have told her the good news.

I guess it ain't over until it is over!

So in the meantime, I'm gonna count my blessings.....talk to my mom as often as I can....and go visit her when possible.

And savor the moment.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Few Days Away

A church buddy of mine took pity upon me near the end of last week.

He said, "Frank, you've been under a lot of stress and strain lately. How about going with me to the beach with me for a few days. You don't have to do a thing but just rest and relax and do what you want to do."

So, we loaded up on Saturday afternoon and traveled to that beach community. It also so happened that they were celebrating GAY PRIDE that day. You see, the community is very gay friendly and has many, many business catering to the gay community. Rainbows are everywhere. They even have several gay areas on the beach and I got to watch all those gay boys frolicking and having fun EVERYWHERE. They were running, and playing on the beach, frolicking in the waves, playing volleyball! Take a look at the fine young specimen here. How would you like to have that walking up on your porch every night. It just did my heart good to see such fine representatives of gay AMERICA.

Another day, my friend and I biked almost 6 miles. Keep in mind now that I'm an old fart...not used to biking so much.....but I did it without any problems.

Last night was the perfect sunset. Check out my picture of it. Oh, it was bliss....and then I had to come back home tonight.

But, I must say, it is good to be back here...in my place.....alone even.

I looked at all those gay boys......and wished I had their youth.....their bodies.....their looks.....and their partners. But I guess I'm learning to be content with what I have......and that I always have me -- the ultimate partner.

I suppose it could be worse.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11: A Story of 2 Anniversaries

September 11 has been in the news a lot today.

This is the seventh anniversary of that awful day where so many innocent people lossed their lives at the hands of 18 foreign maniacs. It was such a horrible day...and I remember it so vividly.

I was working at my office in downtown DC. I had gone in late that morning because Lovey had left the house and had taken my car keys with her. Thankfully, Mom O'Lovey had a set of our keys and I had to wait for her to bring the keys to me. I was caught in traffic that morning and sat in front of the Pentagon for a long while and then finally made it to my office about 30 minutes before the plane hit the Pentagon. I had been at the office for only about five or so minutes before the planes began hitting the World Trade Center.

When the planes had crashed, I called my children's high schools to let them know that their parents were okay and to not worry. The government shut down very early that day. Gridlock was everywhere. When I got home, I was glued to the television and watched Peter Jennings and saw the footage of the plane crashes....over and over and over and over again.

It was a very bad day.

One that I won't soon forget.

There is another side of September 11 that is a monumental anniversary. You see, on September 11, 1978, I began my career in the federal government. That was 30 years ago! I had just turned 20 years old.

I look back...and I was filled with so many dreams....and hopes.....for the future. I can't believe how naive I was. I was a Pollyanna. I thought I knew everything about my world....and about my future.

I never dreamed that I would live as an openly gay man....or that I would marry and divorce and have three beautiful children.....or still be working in the same office that I began in.....but after many promotions later.

Or...that I would be facing my parents' mortality alone.

Or that I would have experienced the joys and the mountain highs......the pits of despair and valley of fear and loneliness.

But here I am.

I'm still here 30 years later.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Time to Catch Up

It seems like it has been ages since I last posted.

I apologize to all of you for not posting but it has been hectic and I've just been trying to get my arms around the issues I now face.

Mother has been working to get used to her new hip. She has still been surprising her physical therapists and her doctors with her progress. In the next couple of days she will move from using a walker to using a cane. She has been going up and down steps. I'm very thankful that she is improving daily.

She is undergoing daily radiation treatments. So far the only thing that she is experiencing from that is that it is causing tremendous fatigue. Once she's done with her 14 radiation treatments, she will undergo 14 chemo treatments which will cause her hair to fall out.

I have heard that chemo can really be vicious. So, I am really concerned about it for her.

Last week she underwent a bone scan. So far no word on the rsults of that test. Today she had a PET SCAN and she will get the results of that tomorrow. That test wll give an idea of what the cancer is doing in the rest of her body. So, I am nervous.

How is Frank doing you may ask.

Well, I'm handling things okay. The shock of things has settled a bit. I am guardedly optimistic.

As a result of this, I've learned that I have a strong network of friends who are concerned about me.....and who have surrounded me with love and prayerful support.

On top of this, my love life is still in a holding pattern of longing, crushes, and mixed signals.

This past weekend, I had an extended visit with Lovey at her home. She's undergoing her own drama with her churches.

I went there to videotape her sermon for her credentialing process. We had some serious discussions and I was able to get some things off my chest. I got the impression that she has second thoughts now about the divorce... But I'm not wanting to get back with her. However, this exercise at least allowed me to make some valid points and it allowed me to put some things to rest.

So, my life is far from dull.

I will try and get back into the swing of writing more often now.

Thanks for bearing with me.