Monday, December 26, 2011

Weekend Recap: Christmas 2011

My weekend started Thursday afternoon. As I was on my way to work I received a phone call from a company that I had recently interviewed with. They extended an offer to me (which I accepted) which put me on a high and hopefully ended a three year stretch of jobs and restarted my career. Then, when I finally did make it to work on Thursday, I was informed that I had this weekend and next weekend off (not really concerned about next weekend after receiving the phone call that I received. Don't have enough time to give them a full two weeks notice, but my last day will more than likely be December 31st).

With the weekend off now, I spent it with the family trying to start new traditions. Saturday, we went to Rockefeller Center to see the tree, then went out to dinner. When we got home, we played a family game of Monopoly until little people had to go to sleep because he didn't want to be up when Santa came. With no cookies in the house, we left Santa milk and crackers. After the child went to sleep, "Santa" showed up. "Santa" didn't leave until almost 3am and the child woke up promptly at 5:45am. That did not make for a happy Organized Noise (but I guess I have to get used to that), but the look on everyone's face as they opened their gifts made it worth it. After the gifts were opened, we had breakfast then went to church (I love when Christmas falls on a Sunday). After church I came down with a cold and slept most of the day away, while the Mrs. and son played with their toys (the Mrs. got a Nook Tablet and her son got a Nintendo 3DS). I woke up just in time for a family game of Life before going right back to sleep.

I'm the only one who has to go to work on Monday, so I am just relaxing today while the wife and child went to see my mother in law. As the schedule turns out, when I get off today, I'm off for two days (regular days off), then I'm taking thursday off to attend a funeral. I'll work Friday, then have the weekend off again. Can't get much better than that. Hope you all are enjoying your holiday weekends as well.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

TMI Tuesday: Happy Holidays

1. What will you be celebrating? If it isn’t a commonly known holiday or celebration (i.e., Christmas, winter solstice, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa) briefly tell us about it.

I celebrate Christmas, but beyond that, the week between Christmas and New Year's is my favorite time of the year (next to my birthday).

2. What’s your favorite Christmas or holiday tune?

Silent Night by The Temptations

3. If you are giving or receiving gifts this holiday season:
- What’s the gift you most want?
- What do you think is the best gift you are giving?

The top five gifts on my wishlist are an iMac, iphone, an Xbox, a bottle of Issey Miyake and a digital camera. The best gift I'm giving is to my wife. She's getting a Nook Tablet.

4. If you could spend this December holiday season anywhere, where would that be?

I was having this discussion with my wife yesterday. I live in New York City and think there's nothing better than Christmas in New York, but if I had to spend the holiday season somewhere else, I guess I would say a cabin up in the Poconos.

5. Your family has announced that the holiday celebration & get-together will be at your home. You think to yourself:

a. Yes! Finally…the more the merrier.
b. I don’t have enough room for all of you, but let’s rent a hall and you all get hotel rooms.
c. Over my dead body, I don’t want you freaks in my house.
d. Hmm…I wonder if it’s too late to book a flight to anywhere, leaving on Christmas eve?

Either C or D. Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas. I have just grown up with the idea that Christmas is for immediate family. Easter, Mother's Day, Father's Day and Thanksgiving we can do the big family sit down dinner, but Christmas I want to lay around playing with my new "toys" and watching television.

6. Have you ever given a fruit cake as a Christmas gift or a gift at all? Do you even like fruit cake?

Thankfully, no.

Bonus: Share with us one of your holiday traditions.

My favorite holiday tradition is the "Wrap Party". I usually do it on Christmas Eve. Turn up the Christmas music, get a bottle of hot chocolate or Coquito, some Christmas candy and wrap up all of the presents.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Reality Check . . . I Hope

I have a love/hate relationship with most of my cousins on my father's side of the family. They have made some questionable decisions in their lives that I don't necessarily agree with. At the same time, I don't wish anything bad against them and if someone tries something against them, I definitely have their back. Today, is one of those days. Today is the end (I hope) of a recent series of events that has had one of my cousins going through the ringer. Her string of bad luck is one I wouldn't even put my worst enemy through.

In the last month alone, my cousin has lost her house (well, her grandmother's house that she was living in), her husband (who finally wised up and left), her children (thanks to her childs school reporting her) and her father (who died due to complications of a stroke suffered on an operating table while having his fingers amputated due to diabeties). If that's not bad enough, this comes less than 6 weeks after losing her step-father to a heart attack and a few days after finding out she was pregnant with her 5th child.

They say that what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger. At 33 years old, with not as much as a GED and no work experience of any kid, I wonder if this is enough to give her a reality check. It's never too late to make a change in your life and I can only pray that she realizes that she needs to make a change and does it. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. By now, this horse should be damn near dehydrated.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Public Service Announcement: Missing Person

I come to you at this time to make a personal plea. Last night, I was informed that my cousin's father, Brother Willie Fennell, has been missing since Tuesday. If you are in the New York City area, I ask that you please keep a lookout for him (those of you who know who he is) and/or his car, a 2003 Saab 95 with New York plate number QMT 222. Also pray for him, his family and his safe return.

Update - 2:05pm - Mr. Fennell has been found. Continue to pray for his family.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Wish List

As Christmas is slowly approaching, I have a confession to make. I LOATHE the question "what do you want for Christmas?". It's not because I don't want anything; trust me, I like receiving ALMOST as much as I like giving ;-) . My problem is that I don't really like asking for stuff. I am humbled by the fact that someone takes the time out to even consider, let alone get me something, so I find it hard to ask for something (of course, ask me this question around my birthday and I will have plenty of answers for you). Besides, if I tell someone what I want from them, it doesn't guarantee I'll get it. Plus, I like to be surprised.

With that being said, I'm involved in two Secret Santa's this year. Both come with the option of giving suggestions as to what you want. I've been fortunate in previous Secret Santa's over the years, and the two that I'm in are both comprised of groups of friends, so I would like to think that they do know me a little bit. Still, it took me a while to even formulate a list of what I want this year (secret santa or otherwise). After thinking about it for a while, I finally have a list. Here's what I have . . . so far.

1. Something personal - I'm a sentimental fool. Some things mean something to me based on the person who is giving it to me. The more personal the gift, the more I will enjoy it.

2. Money - you can never go wrong here.

3. iMac - I NEED a new computer, but a recent trip to the Apple Store led to me falling in love with the iMac. I need to get an amazing computer to make up for what I am working with right now (even if nobody gets this for me, contributions will be greatly appreciated).

4. iPhone - Anyone who knows me knows that I generally get a new phone every year. I currently have an HTC Touch Pro 2 and have had it for almost two years. I'm ready for an upgrade and this would be higher up on the list if I already had a decent computer.

5. Any book by John C. Maxwell - My pastor introduced me to his work and philosophies earlier this year to the point that I want to read more. Gift or not, I will be reading his books next year.

6. A PS3/XBox - yeah, you read right. I'm still a kid at heart. Give me my video game system and Madden, NCAA Football or WWE '12 and I'm good.

7. DVD's - I love movies and have missed out on a lot this year, so updating my DVD collection would be a nice gift.

8. Gift Cards - Send me a handwritten Christmas card and throw a gift card to my favorite store or restaurant, I'm a happy man.

Friday, December 2, 2011

You Only Get One

I was watching Good Morning America this morning like I always do. They did a story that I found interesting, but it wasn't necessarily blog worthy until they added one word to their tease for the story. The story was about the new show entitled "The Virgin Diaries" and the word that caught my attention, was the word "controversial". If the show was about teenagers who want to lose their virginity, then I'd agree with the term "controversial", but the show is about grown ass men and women (in their late 20's and early 30's) who made a concious decision to hold on to one of the most precious things they possessed; their virginity.

I lost my virginity 16 years ago this month. Before that moment I was of the opinion that whoever I lost my virginity to was going to be the person I married and the only person I ever had sex with (I thank God every day that wasn't the case). I also knew who I wanted to lose it to, but that didn't happen either; another story for another post. After I lost it, most of my opinions about it changed. The opinions that didn't change were the fact that sex is a bond, it's the third greatest gift a woman can give you and I would have an emotional connection with anyone I did have sex with (I might have overlooked that one once or twice).

As I watched the story and they interviewed some of the people in the show they expressed some of the problems they went through, including people not believing they were virgins and finding it hard to maintain relationships after sharing the fact that they were virgins. I would not have believed most of it had I not known someone who waited a while before losing their virginity. It reminded me of a former co-worker I had. She was beautiful (think Jennifer Lopez without the ass) and a virgin until she got married at 24, but that still seems young compared to the people in this show.

The people profiled in the "Virgin Diaries" should be commended. Society has changed how people feel about sex so much that it is almost considered a sport or recreational activity than a sacred act. Most of us can probably agree that we lost ours either too soon or with the wrong person and we probably have a few people that we wish we didn't have sex with (not to mention those we wish we did, but that kind of contridicts this post). Taking sex out of the picture allows you to focus on your partner and allow friendship to become the foundation for your relationship. One could argue that this leads to better relationships as well as better breakups.

We live in a very sexual society. Because of that, stories like this are refreshing. Don't necessarily know if they should make a reality show out of it, but it was good to hear about it. Too bad these people are the exception to the rule instead of the status quo. The young people of today need stories like this to combat some of the peer pressure they face when it comes to sex. Being a virgin isn't a scar like. People see it as a negative, but could pull a Hester Pryne and turn a negative into a positive. With all the things going on in the world, being a virgin is probably the best thing a young person could be right now.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

And You Say He's Just A Friend

This year I managed to watch two similar movies for the first time; "No Strings Attached" with Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman and "Friends With Benefits" with Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis (yes, I like romantic-comedies; don't judge me). Both movies were good ("Friends With Benefits" was better if you asked me) and had the same premise; two people enter into a casual sexual relationship and ultimately fall in love with each other. Although most romantic-comedies have a predictable (and mostly unrealistic) ending (the two main characters get together), these two movies also touched on a topic that leads to what has been an on-going debate for years. Is it truly possible to be JUST friends with benefits.

In the most recent issue of Men's Health magazine, it published a statistic that says that 43% of the women they surveyed who admitted to being in friends with benefits relationships want them to evolve into something more than that. Personally, I would have thought the number would have been higher. I've always been of the opinion that women (IN GENERAL) are more emotional than men are and would have a more difficult time just "having sex" with someone. Men, on the other hand (again, in my opinion) are more physical than women and would find it more difficult entering a committed, monogomous relationship and would enjoy the friends with benefits situation more than women.

Personally, I've been on both sides of the FWB situation and understand both sides. During my junior year in college, I befriended a freshman who was also from New York. We kicked it for a while and one night while she was visiting we ended up making out. The next week, we had sex. We weren't regulars or anything like that, but from time to time, we'd hook up. We'd still hang out and do things together and I was cool with that. I made the assumption that she was cool with it as well. She dated and had relationships. Years later, after both of us had graduated, we hooked up, and afterwards, she asked me why I never tried to be in a relationship with her. The question didn't exactly catch me off guard, but I felt that since we started on a physical level it would be difficult to try to evolve from there (safe answer). After that conversation, it was never brought up again and ultimately, she found and married someone else.

The only other time I was in a FWB situation was when I was dealing with "Aye Papi". If you were around for the original version of my blog, you know I fell deep and hard for her. It was difficult on me when I started wanting more than what I was getting. Especially since we started as friends, and naturally progressed to sex (even though I knew she had a man; don't judge me). We went on for the better part of two years, including a week in Cancun together. When she got pregnant, there was even a part of me that wished it was mine (knowing there was no chance since I hadn't been with her in the time frame that she got pregnant). From there, she went on an got married and I continued with the dating phase.

It's funny, in looking back, we all know how the friends with benefits situations will ultimately end, yet we still subject ourselves to them. Have we moved to a sex first society or are we just not into things like courting or dating anymore (ok, I know the answer to that)? Do they ever lead to relationships or even marriages or are they just to cater to our sexual desires without the stress/drama that comes to a relationship. Whatever it is, ultimately, communication is the key. Speak about what you want so that things don't get crazy later on.