Tag Archives: Therapy

Frustration – Relieved!

Finally, the frustration over our impending trip has been relieved… kinda.  We finally decided to bite the bullet and purchase our plane tickets now; it was deemed too much of a crap shoot to try and sit and wait for the fares to come down, which would probably happen very close to trip time and then, no seats may be available.  We did do a smart thing – booked the flight via Orbitz; with their price assurance guarantee, if someone else books the same flight we did at a lower cost, we get money back.  Of course, this depends on someone – anyone – booking the exact same flight on Orbitz and if the price, currently at $266.40, goes down.

It eases the mind a whole lot; all that’s left to do is decide on getting to the airport – shuttle now seems the most likely and best candidate given our 0610 departure – and saving up enough loot to have a little spending money for stuff.  Doesn’t seem like a whole lot but it is because timing becomes a factor.  We sail in, like, 120 days give or take a day; we have just over three months to get everything squared away but when that money comes in once a month, well, you see where the frustration tends to linger… but it’s not as bad as it was prior to confirming our flights.

Of course – and I expected this – the first thing I saw when I started reading my daily RSS feeds is that AirTran, which has one of the two non-stop flights that’ll get us to Miami when we need to be there, is lowering their prices between now and November 16; the catch is that you have to purchase your tickets by this Thursday to take advantage of the lower prices.  I immediately started looking for those lower prices – especially on Orbitz – and was disappointed not to see them.  I guessed that while I read the news blurb about it, the actual decreases hadn’t been published, although they may only exist on AirTran’s website – which I need to check.

Nah, the AirTran price for the flight we need is exactly the same price we paid to fly on American Airlines; what they did do was lower the price on some other flights… but those are the ones that can’t get us there when we want and need to be there.  With the way things tend to go, if we didn’t need to be at Miami International by a certain time, there would be tons of non-stop flights going there and at really nice low prices, too!

I still can’t quite get over the fact that there aren’t a lot of non-stops going to Miami on a daily and regular basis; between all the airlines going there, it’s like there’s one per day – and fortunately, in the morning, which is what we need.

We did get to tease some other people that are going on the cruise; we called them and “innocently” asked if they had their plane tickets – then cackled as we told them that we have our and are ready to fly!  Ah, that felt good…

We still have to decide on whether we’re going to pack separate bags – and eat the $50 baggage fee for American – or pack one big bag for the both of us, which might cost more than the $100 we’d spend together.  Ah, we’ll get it figured out…


Posted by on 7 July 2010 in Life, Living and Loving




Okay, this is one of those moment where I just have to vent.  I hate being frustrated even though I know the pointlessness in being frustrated.  Why is it that things always happen when you least expect them to or crop up right in the middle something else that’s important – then requires all of your attention?  We’re finally getting to go somewhere, something we haven’t done since our daughter got married a couple of years ago… but while this was important, it wasn’t really GOING somewhere, if you know what I mean.  A couple of years before that, our son got married in Antigua – that was going somewhere.

With both of us on fixed incomes, we don’t have many chances to go somewhere – but one came up:  A five-day Western Caribbean cruise with family and friends and, well, we weren’t going to pass this up.  After plopping down our down payment and getting a smoking balcony suite, we came up with a plan:

  1. Pay off the cruise before the 9/7/10 due date
  2. Search and get tickets for the best flights to and from Miami
  3. Figure out the best way to get to the airport
  4. Figure out what to do with the cat
  5. Save up some spending money
  6. Go on the trip and have big fun

How hard was this going to be?  Since we started this in March, this was really going to work big time.  Um, not exactly…

So far, everything that can go wrong has gone wrong.  Banking errors, our vehicle first needing a new water pump… then a possible fuel pump failure.  The regular bills still have to be paid, food’s needed for us and the cat, who needs others stuff as well.  The trip’s paid for in full and thanks to an error on their part – that messed up my bank account – we even got some shipboard credit out of the fix.  Now, find a flight… and that’s been a pain in the ass.  Okay, so, when I first looked, it was going to cost us around $400 for our tickets; should have gotten them at that time, didn’t have the money.  No problem, we still have time.  The prices are still going up and even though we’re digging through every avenue to find the least expensive flight that will get us there when we need to – and get us back home – it’s been extremely frustrating.

If we could fly to Miami the day before, the tickets are so much cheaper… except we’d wind up screwing up our transfer arrangements, which are from the airport to the ship, not from some hotel somewhere.  Hotel prices at the moment are as stupid as airfare – but this is Miami so that’s to be expected; factor in additional costs for food and transportation to the ship, well, we’re spending money we don’t have.

We could opt to fly to Fort Lauderdale – our transfer is good from that airport but it’ll cost us extra to make this change – another $60 to the pot.  But, we’re finding that the cheapest airlines aren’t as cheap as they’ve advertised, particularly Southwest; we found that it’ll cost us over $400 more to fly to Fort Lauderdale than it would to fly to Miami – what the fuck?  Oh, yeah, and then we have to factor in baggage charges which, of course, we don’t know what that’s going to be because since the trip is in November, who’s gonna pack for it in June?  We could take one big bag for the both of us… but while we can guess that it’ll be more than 50 pounds – which is one price – it could wind up weighing as much as 100 pounds – a different price.  The fucked up things is that by the time we pack – however we decide to do that – we will have already gotten our plane tickets and, yep, that’s probably going to be an out-of-pocket, on the spot expense that’s unknown right now.

With the car needing a new fuel pump, that fucked up getting tickets now, which is what we planned to do.  Because of this, we’re now in what I call “bite the bullet” time; we’ve been trying to wait for a decrease in the price for flights to Miami and since that doesn’t look like it’s gonna happen any time soon, we’ll be forced to get them at the current price – and be pissed if the prices go down in, say, September.  As Linda likes to say, “Fuck a duck!”

And we still need to set some money aside for things needed for the trip – like baggage fees, something to eat – and money to spend while on the cruise; the money the cruise line credited us will take care of the $100 gratuity thing so we don’t have to worry about that – but it goes without saying that, well, we need money.  And it’s not like we don’t have the money to squirrel away; the frustration comes in having to spend it on shit other than the trip… like a fuel pump.  If it’s not one thing, it’s another; it’s as if Fate decided not to make any of this easy for us and keeps tossing in monkey wrenches just to make shit interesting for us.

It’s unreal and unbelievable!  We’ve reasoned that if we weren’t going on this trip, all of the things that have happened wouldn’t have happened; money wouldn’t have gotten screwed up and the car would be purring right along as usual.  It just makes you want to bounce your noggin off the nearest wall a few times.  I find myself clenching my teeth a lot as these thing roll through my head; my shoulders are aching from being hunched up behind all of this.

Yeah, I know, I’m stressing myself and that’s something I really need to avoid doing… but how do you really do this?  Can’t act as if I don’t care; it’s not as easy as telling myself that it’ll all work out in the end; jeez, I just hate times like this!  Once more, I’m learning that the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray and just for once, I’d like to know why.  Is it just the way it is?  Has the Fickle Finger of Fate pointed in our direction and now it’s our turn in the grist mill?  Even if you don’t believe in such things, wow, it kinda makes you wonder, doesn’t it?  And Fate knew exactly how and where to hit us and I’m wondering about that, too?  I mean, it’s like we decided to do this and, somehow, Fate found out about this and shit started happening.  I know I didn’t tell Fate anymore than Linda did… but we set out on this journey and two days later, the shit started happening to us.

And it always seems that when the shit lands on you, there’s not a whole lot you can do about it except fight your way out of the shit and hope that when you do get out, you won’t smell as bad.  It seems that in cases like this, you can’t prevent shit from happening; oh, yeah, some of it you plan for – but when it arrives, it’s not the shit you planned for!  Then despite getting the wakeup call and adjusting as necessary – if you adjust at all – the shit just keeps coming and making you push your plans back further and further until they’re either ruined or you’re backed into a corner with very few choices.

Why does this happen?  It’s even frustrating to try and figure this out.  I know I need to keep a cool head about this – I don’t need to have another stroke or even a heart attack worrying about getting this done – but it has to be done and it pisses me off that other things – unexpected things – are ruining what started out to be a good and simple game plan.  Is it just dumb luck or is this the result of being on that wheel that keeps going around?  Damned if I know.  I really don’t let this bother me a whole lot – I know it’ll get done come hell or high water; still, fuck, this really gets on my nerves, you know?

The “problems” keep piling up; we can’t commit to getting to the airport.  Our Jeep is old – it’s a 96 – and it’s now starting to do that break down things tend to do when you’ve had them a long time.  It could get us to Baltimore – it did before – but, you know, shit might happen.  We can take the shuttle; it’s expensive as hell but at least our car is parked – and we’re not driving.  But, we can’t do that until we have our flight plan together!  Fuck that duck!

Then there’s Zane, our cat.  When we had to leave home for a few in the past, we had someone we could trust to keep an eye on our shit and make sure Zane had food and water… but that person’s gone now.  We looked at boarding her – more costs involved – and we were going to do that… until we thought about the fact that Zane’s never been out of this apartment and taking her out and boarding her might make her flip out; the last thing we need to come home to is a psychotic cat – she’s bad enough as it is.  We figured that in November, it’ll be easier to leave her alone – she won ‘t be too hot or cold; we’re trying to upgrade her stuff – water and food dishes, new litter boxes – which are just more costs tacked on.  Yeah, it’s only about $100 or so, but when we still have to get transportation together and spending money, it’s like it’s a $10,000 layout for us.

Oh, and Linda needs new clothes for the trip, too…

The plan was simple… and maybe that’s what attracted Fate to us.  When you plan something, you automatically go the simplest and easiest route possible, which is now making me think we should have deliberately complicated things.  Maybe Fate would have seen that, saw we made a huge mess of our own, and left us alone and laughing at us the whole time.  But, no, we didn’t do that!  Yeah, when the plan was coming together, it was a mess… but we quickly cleaned it up, trimmed it down and executed it… and we got busted.  Fate, it seems, was just waiting for us to do what smart people do – simplify things – then pointed at us and the shit started pouring onto us.

Like I said, I know we’ll get it all done and when it’s time to hit the road, we will do so gladly and happily… I just wish the frustration would stay away until we do.

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Posted by on 2 July 2010 in Life, Living and Loving




I am an accomplished musician, capable of playing a lot of instruments.  I started playing trumpet when I was 7; when I was nine, I learned to play organ the hard way – and on the hardest one to learn on – a huge five-manual church “pipe” organ.  Of course, I couldn’t reach the pedalboard and a couple of the manuals were out of my reach… but I learned.  That’s probably when I truly fell in love with music.  All through school, I played in the band/orchestra and spent a few summers being classically trained on piano, violin (hated that) and cello – wasn’t sure about the string instruments at the time but it helped me when I picked up guitar and both electric bass and upright.  I already knew how to read music but I also learned composition.  I’m a drummer, too, trained in all the NARD rudiments.  By the time I got to high school, I was already playing in a local band as a drummer, more often playing in clubs that, legally, I wasn’t old enough to be in at 15.  When I got out of high school, I guess the musical training was over… but I was more than hooked.

Music was my life.  I’ve played in other bands, at my church, stuff like that; I used to own several guitars, a really nice drum kit, and several professional keyboards and I can’t remember many times when I missed being able to practice.  Now all I have is my Korg Triton, which gets me through and all that.

I’m that guy who always hears music in my head, either songs I’ve heard and I’m always composing songs.  There was a time I used to carry around a manuscript pad and, when a new song popped into my head, I could be found furiously writing it down before I could forget.  I wound up ditching the pad because I learned a few other thing along the way:  MIDI and sequencing.  Now, when a song pops into my head worthy of writing, all I do it bang it out on the Korg and the computer it’s connected to, along with the Sonar software, captures the whole thing and the cool thing is that I can correct my mistakes a lot easier than before – no need for an eraser!

Although I’m well-versed in all the music genres – and I have my favorites, of course – jazz is the genre that I feel gives me the greatest creativity.  A lot of jazz is improv – you literally make it up as you go along, which works for me because while I can sit down and write a classical concerto, I’ve never been able to write a jazz piece before the fact.  Then again, with MIDI and the software I use, I really don’t have to – it’ll even write the sheet music for me.  I think it, I play it, tweak it, and there it is.  Push a button and the software takes all of the parts I’ve input into it and – voila!  A brand new piece of music.

When I had my stroke – and after realizing that I wasn’t going to die – my biggest fear was that I had lost music, meaning the ability to create and perform it.  Indeed, I no longer have the fine muscle control it takes to play as I did before the stroke and, God, that bothers me more than having the stroke did.  But, I was more determined to redevelop my ability to play even more than I was relearning how to walk.  Today, I sit down at the Korg and play something… and it drives me nuts to see my right hand kinda/sorta doing what it knows how to do.

In my head, I KNOW how to do this, even though at my level, a lot of it is muscle memory more than conscious thought.  I do find myself having to actually think about it, something I haven’t done since I first laid my fingers on a keyboard – it was always sit down, look it over to get familiar with it, start playing.  And it pisses me off that I have to think about something I can literally do with my eyes closed.

Sometimes, it is funny; while my left hand just goes on about its business, it’s like my right hand doesn’t quite know what to do – and that’s probably a lot more truer than I care to believe; I can actually feel the difference in my musculature in my right arm, hands and fingers… it’s like parts are missing.  Oh, they’re there… they just aren’t working like everything else is.  You can actually hear me having a conversation with my right hand, telling it to stop fucking around and do it right because it knows how to do it.

And, yeah, I can hear Linda in the other room laughing her ass off…

My mother reminds me that it could have been worse – and she’s right.  She tells me to be patient and keep working at it; I don’t know about the patient part but I’ll never stop working at it because, well, I can’t stop.  The ability to pick up an instrument or sit down with it has been such an integral part of my life, it’s like breathing.  It’s stuff I can do without really giving it a lot of thought and when I play, oh, man, you can’t imagine what that feels like!

What gets me is when I go back and listen to something I’ve already laid down.  I hear things that other people wouldn’t notice – unless they were musicians – and even as I’m listening to it, I’m re-writing in my head, too, making it better, different, or both.  I am my worst critic and even the best thing I can do is often not good enough.  It can be mistake free… but I know the errors in technique, structure, stuff like that.

Then there are times when I listen to something and it just fucking blows me away and makes me say, “I can’t believe I did that…”  I’ve even been caught in that moment when I’m actually playing something and, suddenly, it’s like I’m outside myself and watching myself play and marveling at how my fingers and hands just seem to be operating on their own, as if I have nothing to do with what’s going on.  Simply amazing…

It’s what got my youngest son to learn piano.  One day, he was watching me practice and asked, “Pop, how do you know which key to hit next?”

My mouth opened to answer… and I realized that couldn’t answer him except to say, “I just know…”  I turned to him and said that if he really wanted to know, he should take piano.  Since he was in the middle of a school year, I didn’t think he could – but he managed it and dove in heartily.  I got him a portable keyboard to practice on, too, and would often sit with him and go over what he learned, technique and stuff.  A year later, during his last year in high school, he came home from school and sat down to practice – he played the Moonlight Sonata.  I silently watched him, his fingers plying the keyboard and, Jesus, he played the piece better than I ever could – and I can play the shit out of it.  Right in the middle of it – and as he did to me – I asked, “Hey, Jon – how do you know what key to hit next?”

He stopped playing, opened his mouth… and nothing came out.  After a few seconds, he said, “I just know.”

Then he got pissed with me!  He said, “You know, I hate it when you do that…”

I just laughed and said, “Now you know like I know – back to practice!”

After only about a year and a half of training, he could play better than I could – and all I felt was pride.  When he enrolled in college, he majored in organic chemistry and minored in music.  For this part, he had to audition and he was so nervous and came to me for advice.  I told him how I had to audition for admittance into Julliard and how nervous I was, although for my audition back then, I chose trumpet over the other instruments I could play.  By the way, I was accepted… but I didn’t go, which didn’t make my mother happy.

Anyway, we were talking about what piece he should play and I told him that since he plays the Moonlight better than anything else, he should play that.  Now, I know something about these auditions he didn’t; you’ll come in, tell them what you’re going to perform, then go for it – but at some point, they’ll stop you, thank you, and let you know later if you made the grade; it can be kinda discouraging – I know it ticked me off when, in the middle of playing Flight of the Bumblebee (one of the hardest things to play on trumpet), they did it to me.  I worked a lot of hours and split my lip quite a few times learning that piece from beginning to end… and they stopped me after only 20 measures or so.

On the day Jon was to audition, I went with him and told him not to get upset when they stop him in the middle.  He had a chance to see what I meant with all the other people before him and, yeah, it kinda unnerved him.  I told him, “Just do what you do and do it the best you can, son…”

His turn came up and I saw how the committee’s eyes lit up when he named the piece he’d be doing.  Jon sat down at the beautiful Steinway grand piano, took a breath, and started playing the sonata.  I watched the committee and they were enthralled, as was everyone else in the room except maybe me – I knew he could tear it up.  I knew that he’d be accepted because the committee let him finish the entire piece – and that’s unheard of.  Where they told the other students that they’d be contacted later with their decision, they told Jon before he left that he was in, hands down.  One member asked him how long he’d been playing and mouths flew open when he said, “About a year and half.”

Where I’ve never forgotten my roots, my son went from playing piano and writing his own music… to being a trance DJ.  Go figure.

It’s funny; they say that some of the best musicians are also damned good at math – and music is mathematical.  I guess that meant I was good at math – I got straight A’s in school… but hated it with a passion the whole way.  Likewise, my son hates math, too, but he can play, too.  Must be something to that, huh?  I not only hear music all the time, I see it, too, as if there’s a huge piece of manuscript in my head that I can write on.  I can listen to a recorded song and not only can I hear all of the individual parts, I can focus on just one if I chose to.  I hear an instrument being played and can see the techniques being used – it’s so cool and sometimes, scary as hell because I really don’t know where it comes from – I can just do it and I’m sure other musicians can, too.  I’m the guy who can go to a live concert and pick out every mistake they’re making on the stage, things no one else can here.

My favorite jazz group is Spyro Gyra and I’ve been to a few of their concerts and have all of their CDs.  And, I’ve had the chance to actually talk to them, especially keyboardist Tom Schuman.  After one concert, I was outside getting some air when someone came outside and told me that Tom wanted to see me – and had asked for me by name.  God, I was impressed right out of my underwear – of all the people they see when they tour, he remembered me?

That reminds me; took Jon to an SG concert and when it was over and they came out to sign autographs, he was so psyched it wasn’t funny.  Then he really got blown away when guitarist Julio Fernandez stopped him to talk about the shirt Jon wore to the concert.  After that, there just wasn’t enough room for us, Jon, and his big head…

I even managed to get on the list of drummers to replace Joel when he decided to leave; I didn’t get the gig but the fact that Tom had me added to the list – even though I never got to audition – was enough of a thrill for me.  Somewhere in my prized possessions, I still have the letter the group sent me…

I know Papa Dee Allen, percussionist for the group War; his parents lived across the street from my grandparents like forever.  When I was stationed in the Air Force in California, Papa Dee somehow found out – thanks, granddad – and took me one weekend to hang out with War.  I even got to jam with them and that was so fucking cool!

Without music, I don’t know how my life would have turned out, although I tend to believe that I wouldn’t be who I am now had I not picked up that trumpet so many years ago.

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Posted by on 30 June 2010 in Life, Living and Loving


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Another One of Those Moments

Right about now, I’m feeling kinda lost.  Matter of fact, I’m not sure exactly how I feel at this moment.  I’m not bored – well, not completely – and I do have things to do before my baby gets home; I’m not depressed or, actually, no more depressed than I’ve been since the stroke – but that’s manageable.  I’m horny – nothing new about that either so since I can’t put my finger on any one thing, I feel lost.  I was reading one of my blogs and, jeez, I love the way I write!  That might sound a little silly since in order for me to type it, I have to see what I’m doing and the thoughts are showing up just as fast as I can type them – which is pretty fast, by the way.  But when I go back and read something I’ve already written, wow, at times I just blow my own mind!  It’s just like when I go back and listen to a song I wrote; I catch myself saying, “Wow, did I do that?” even though I know I did.

I’m in one of those places right now that makes me feel, well, lost.  It’s like I have no direction or purpose right now; I just exist.  I’m really in touch with my emotions right now and that’s both a good and bad thing depending on which way the flow’s taking me.  I’m angry but not angry; happy but unhappy; I’m both a lot of things but none of them all at the same time.  I want to scream until my throat is sore… but I’m enjoying being quiet at the moment, too.

Normally, I do a lot of nothing all day – and that works for me and I have a lot of fun doing nothing, too.  I have all manner of things to keep myself occupied at any moment but then I get into one of these pensive, thoughtful, introspective moods.  I’ll snap out of it in a few – I always do – but while I’m stuck here, it makes me feel weird.  I don’t feel good… but I don’t feel bad, either.  In the time it’s taking me to type this, my mind is active and going over all kinds of stuff, like being hyped about getting our upcoming cruise paid off yesterday and the fun the experience will be.  I’ve gone over my entire life to this point in just the last few minutes, not really focusing on any one thing but seeing myself then and now.

And, when I get like this, I always wonder why because, in my self-examination, I never seem to find a reason for it.  There are times when I get reflective – but that’s usually when Linda and I are talking about something that’s personal to one or both of us – but then I know why I get like this and I often have a great deal of fun while I’m doing it,  probably more now than ever before.  When I had the stroke, I knew a part or parts of my brain were irreparably damaged and some aspects of my short and long term memory was affected, so when I can sit and remember things vividly and clearly, well, that’s a plus.

But I don’t understand the mood I’m in.  Nothing has happened to put me in this mood and I have no conscious reason for it.  I know that when your subconscious gets involved, it’s a case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing – or that there’s even a right hand at all.  The “bad” part is that you can’t seem to consciously access your subconscious – but it can mess with you at any time, any place, and for any reason.

I want to do everything… but I don’t want to do anything – how weird is that?  The thing that is aggravating is that I’m stuck in this – and I know it.  I know that I’ll get out at some point but I have no idea how I got here and for someone who’s as detail-oriented and as aware of myself as I tend to be, this really messes with me because I can’t even explain to myself how I got here or why I’m here.  It really makes me wonder just how well I do know myself and this mood suggests that perhaps I don’t know me as well as I thought I did.

I decided to write about this moment in the hope that something I’ll write will explain this.  What I suspect will happen is that I’ll go back and read this somewhere down the road – and go, “Oh, I was like that because…”  At that point, I’ll know exactly why I was here and how I got here but I guess you can figure that I’d rather know now than later, huh?

I’m one of those people who, at times, can feel totally alone and isolated even in a room full of people – then turn around and be the life of the party two eye blinks later.  I’m somewhere between introverted and extroverted, neither one or the other… but somehow always both and I can do it at the same time!  I can be having the time of my life… and my mind is off and running elsewhere, maybe in the distant past, maybe looking toward whatever future there is.

Sometimes, I just amaze myself – and maybe it’s because even as well as I think I know me, I’m really still learning about me.  I know that I’m what they call a deep person but it’s times like this when I find out just how deep I really am – the rabbit hole that’s me goes further than even I can imagine at times.

Time to vacuum the carpeting…

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Posted by on 4 June 2010 in Life, Living and Loving



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Have a fulfilling life sexually and every other way!

Larry Archer's World (

------ Erotica from the dirty mind of Larry Archer


is there a path to a successful open marriage?


The silent inside of an anonymous Indian rebelling against society

The (Bi)te

The uninteresting world of a young bisexual girl


What Perspective Matters Most Depends on Your Perception


Just my random thoughts and meanderings... I'll try to keep you entertained


when and why size matters


I write when the choice is to die if I don't

My SEXuality

Why am I afraid to tell you who I'am?

Confessions of a Cheating Housewife

...because love just isn't enough ;)

Apparently I Don't Exist

The Many Adventures of a Bisexual Genderqueer