no hope, no drink

Why is it that some nights I just have a hard time staying home? Last week I overbooked myself and had something going on almost every night. I looked back on Monday and thought, “Why do you do this to yourself?”

By Thursday I was thinking that I seriously wanted to skip pool and stay home that night. Sadie and I were on a long walk, it was nice outside, I’d ridden my motorcycle that day and I just wanted to stay in. I longed to watch Queer as Folk and read. But, I had made a commitment to play pool this season I had to go. (and, I can’t tell you how hard it is to be in that smoky bar after quitting). Fortunately, I played first that night and then took off. I think my team is mostly used to this by now but at least I’m showing up.

Then, I went into the weekend working. Not that it’s bad – I’m not complaining. I’m thankful for the work. (despite paying out the @ss taxes on my misc income this past year) And, ok I’m going to admit it – I broke lent after work on Sunday because I read that some denominations break Lent on Sundays. So, I had a couple of beers. (And, they were heavenly) I felt completely ok in doing so. However, tonight I wanted to do it again. I wanted to go out and have a couple of beers. I almost did, too. Especially when I started doing my taxes – and, for awhile I was about to slam the laptop shut and go get something stronger to drink because it wasn’t looking good. But, then I stuck with it through the deductions and ended up doing ok. I was relieved. Then, I wanted to have a drink because I was relieved.

A movie was playing on the dvd player in my office, Sadie was curled up on the futon and I had eaten a salad. I remembered my cords fitting better this morning when I put them on. I didn’t want to disrupt my sleeping dog to put her in her kennel if I went out nor make her go into the cold truck. She was asleep. I mustn’t disturb her. It was cozy in here. I could heat up a couple of hamburgers and eat them without the bun. Carb-free dinner. I’d be into those size 30’s in no time. I told myself all these things over and over again. So, I talked myself out of it. (Although, I am going to break Lent on Sundays –which, brings Lent to 40 days) But, regardless I’m sure there are going to be several nights like this (except Sundays).

I think what it comes down to is that I’m lonely. I guess that’s why I work so much. I figure if I’m not getting laid I might as well get paid. Hannah called on Friday but I didn’t answer and she didn’t leave a message. I didn’t call her back, either. I don’t feel like hanging with her. Then, of course, Lee wanted to get together but I certainly don’t want to hang with her. So, I’m being selective in who I hang out with these days. I’d rather be lonely then be around people I don’t want to be around. But, the thing is – no one is doing it for me these days. No one.

And, this whole Lent thing – well, it’s not helping my social life. I’m not saying that I want to meet a woman in a bar but the way things are going that may be the only place. I know – I’m sounding crazy. I keep thinking I’m going to meet this great woman in one of my motorcycle classes and we’re going to ride [bikes] together. I’ve been teaching for almost ten years and this has never happened. I know – there’s a first time for everything. There’s a woman who keeps trying to chat with me on a dating site but I need to subscribe in order to “unlock” my messages. But, I think if that was meant to be then she would have contacted me more when I was a subscriber. I told myself that if I didn’t meet and go out with anyone in a month from being on that site that I was canceling my membership – and, I did. So, I’m holding strong to my guns. The $$ it costs for that could be a good meal that I treated myself. It could be a couple of doggie daycare visits for Sadie. I don’t know – maybe when you get a dog it replaces having a girlfriend. I know – I’m sounding crazy again.

Sigh – anyway, I don’t have much hope……

 

 

day 1: ash wednesday & HMM

I rode out to the Ash Wednesday service last night. It was a warm night in Atlanta for it being February. I had a sweater on under a mid-season riding jacket and was toasty.  I pulled up to the church (a different one from the Methodist) and asked two women who were walking up who looked like family.

“Is this the Presbyterian church?”

They nodded their heads and I held the door open for them. They looked like a couple and I was comforted by the fact that I wasn’t going to be the only gay in church that night. It was a huge place – I’m not used to large churches. The church I grew up in in rural Indiana was a one –roomed church similar to the one on Little House on the Prairie.

As we wove down the hallway another woman noticed my motorcycle vest with a Tail of the Dragon patch on it.

You’ve done the Tail of the Dragon?”

“Why, yes – years ago, though.  Do you ride?”

“Oh on, but, I’ve heard about it.”

“Which way is the sanctuary?”

“I will walk you – right through there.”

“Thanks, I’m Lanie.”

“I’m Michelle.”

I walked through the door and realized that I was at the front of the church. Service was getting ready to start and I was standing out like a nudist at a suit convention with all my gear on and carrying a helmet with my bible sticking out of it, no less. I went all the way to the back row taking off my jacket and throwing it over a chair behind the pew. Only when I sat down did I see her- Hot Methodist Minister (HMM) sitting on the stage next to my [former] Lutheran pastor.

I sighed and wished I had sat closer. It appeared that we were looking right at each other but from that far away I couldn’t tell. There were several pastors there that night contributing to different pieces of the service. I wondered what piece she would be responsible for. When they started the ashing ceremony she approached the pulpit and started to sing.

“Figures the girl can sing, too.”, I thought.

I seem to have women of music constantly coming into my life these days (all of which I’m a little bit in love with). Wonder what that’s about? I was moved by her singing and she led the final prayer. Again, her words resounded in my head that was bowed trying not to look at her.

Afterwards, I made my way to the front of the church hauling my gear. She was talking to someone and I patiently waited this time. She turned to me and I stuck out my hand and introduced myself. She nodded, repeating my name and then,

“Oh yes, LANIE. Right!” she turned to the woman she had been talking to (who was still standing there – probably the president of her fan club – probably need to contact her to get on the list….) and said, “Lanie here had emailed me about bible study.”

In hindsight (like, right now) I wondered why she felt she needed to tell her that?  Was she with the woman and had to explain why this blonde woman was approaching her. But, isn’t this part of the job with pastors to greet everyone after the service?

I stuck out my hand to the other woman and introduced myself just to be polite but have no earthly idea what her name was when HMM said,

“So, do you think you’re going to be able to come to Wednesday night bible study?”

“Yes, I think so. I mean, the reason I can’t make the weekends is because I work.”

“What do you do?”

“Well, I have two jobs. My part time job keeps me busy on the weekends why I can’t always make service on Sunday’s.” I held up my gear, “I teach motorcycle safety classes.”

“Oh, that’s good you’re teaching safety because they scare me…….sometimes.”

“You’ve never rode?”

“No…..but, there’s always a first for everything.”

I could see a line of people waiting to talk to her and didn’t want to keep her from her flock. I nodded at the line. “Ok, maybe I’ll see you in bible study.”

“Ok, great to meet you.”

So, I went, I enjoyed, I met. I don’t have any further answers to anything (is she married, straight, gay, single, etc. Does her faith keep her from being in the lifestyle, etc.). It doesn’t really matter in the long run. At least I met her. It’s all up to Goddess will now.

After that, I went up to several other people who looked like family and introduced myself –the couple that came in behind me when I got there and a male couple. They all go to that church. So, now I’m torn – there seemed to be a lot of family that go to that church but HMM is at the Methodist up the road. So, I guess I’m going to have to flip flop my time between the two for awhile. See where it goes.

Fat Tuesday

Tonight is my last night of drinking alcohol for 46 days. How fitting that I’m meeting Sarah out for burgers and beers. Although, I hope it’s nothing like the last time we met. This place serves half price burgers on Tuesday nights and despite being in a somewhat rough neighborhood the patrons are pretty diverse. I also know the owners (man and wife) and the food is first rate even for a bar.

Meanwhile, since Sunday I emailed the good Reverend saying that I enjoyed her sermon and asked if there were possibly services offered during the week since I worked most weekends. (Yes, I’m going on another three-weekend in a row stint – Goddess help me, and she will)

She replied that they were having Wednesday evening bible study through Lent, that she hoped to see me there tomorrow night and to please come up and introduce myself so she could put a face to a name. I replied thanks, see you then and most certainly I would say Hi.

Yeah, I don’t think she’s going to be expecting to have a woman approach as my real name is very androgynous. (Yes, “Lanie” is my feminine side) So much that I’ve walked in to job interviews and they’ve exclaimed, “Oh, we thought you’d be a man.” (Like last week)

I can’t believe I’m going to church just to see a woman. Well……yes I can. I’m sure this was all planned out from above. Either way, maybe I will soak something up……other than booze.

Happy Fat Tuesday!

sacred

In kicking off my Lent observance I decided to go to my old Lutheran church today.

That church always brings back memories – some good, some bad. It’s always a mixture of pain and comfort if that makes any sense. I will explain.

About a decade ago I was dating a woman who went to that church. She was very religious and came from a strict Presbyterian background. When we first started dating I wasn’t religious at all but she talked me in to going there with her from time to time. Most of the time the only reason I went was to sit beside her. The pastor there was gay, out to his congregation who was mostly straight with a sprinkling of gays. I liked the balance, I liked to sing sometimes and since I’m an avid reader and writer I was always inclined to read along in the scripture with the sermon. I eventually got a Bible and she and I became official members of the church (which, we’re both still listed as) and got baptized there together. Eventually, we decided to get married. We asked the pastor if he would marry us in the church but at the time he wasn’t performing those services in the church. We decided instead to go to Hawaii and get married. I won’t go in to detail of the whole sorid story but she left me for another a month before we were to be married and later the pastor did marry her and the woman she left me for in that church.

I remember after the breakup (and, her moving out) putting my Bible on the shelf to be forgotten. I had stopped going to that church because I couldn’t stand to see her there with her new girlfriend (who, I might add left her years later for another). Not only did I feel betrayed by her but by the pastor who married her to another there. I went to other churches after that with friends. I went to the big ol’ gay church in midtown but somehow being gay and being with Jesus was a little much for me. I went to a few other churches closer to the house but that didn’t do anything for me, either. I chocked it up that I was done with religion. It just wasn’t meant to be.

Years later when I found out my ex and her wife moved out to Portland I darkened the doorway of the church again. I missed the pastor even though I was still a little p!ssed at him. (I have forgiven him since) I missed the music and the ritual. Time would go by and I would wake up on an occasional Sunday off and decide to go.

It was only recently that I dusted off the Bible and brought it out. My old name was engraved on the cover. I remembered under her advice, ordering it special. I opened it and a dried rose fell out. I shut it again remembering that was the rose she gave me when we got baptized together. Maybe this is too much for me. I put the Bible on the counter where it sat until today when I picked it up to take with me to church.

“Suck it up, Lanie. You’re going.”

When I got to the church I was told that a sewer pipe had busted and that they had moved the service down the road to the Methodist church. As I drove there I thought it was ironic that after all this time that I would end up in an entirely different church. Maybe different surroundings wouldn’t be quite as painful. I walked into the huge sanctuary and went over and hugged my old pastor before getting seated. The service started and after announcements and singing a woman stepped up to give the sermon.

“Who’s that?” I thought. “She’s hot. Stop it, Lanie. Even in church you’re cruising. Is nothing sacred with you? Stop – focus on the sermon……… wonder if she’s the regular pastor here? Maybe I should change churches. Focus!” 

Even so, she gave me pause and as I listened to her voice as she led the prayers and then when we had a moment of silence for our own prayers I prayed for my cousin’s partner, Charlie and then, “-and, please don’t let me see a whole year go by without getting laid. Please, Lord, I’m at your mercy.”

I guess nothing’s sacred afterall.

 

panic

The pounding of my heart in my ears is deafening. My throat burns with the breakfast I just ate threatening to come up. My palms are sweating and my hands are starting to shake. I was having a full-fledged panic attack.

The server leaned over and said, “You want a to-go box for that?”

“No, I want a back door. Do you have one?” 

“Through there.” She pointed, “I’ll get your check.”

I slapped a twenty on the bar and said, “Keep the change.”

I put my sunglasses on tried to walk as calmly as possible to the back. Only after pushing open the door to the alley did I run as fast as I could in the opposite direction of the restaurant where the person I most did not want to see in the whole world was – the ex before last, J.

My last weekend of drinking is getting off to a wonderful start. Hoorah.

 

i want love but I’d settle for poison

Have you ever wanted to be with someone so bad that it hurt?

I have. Two people, in fact.

I was a bit emotional going in to the show last night.  Emily‘s band was playing. I had seen her play with my friend, Hannah a few weeks back. After that show she had hugged me and thanked me for coming. Yeah, I thought she was hot.

Tonight, [other] Hannah and I pulled up a barstool behind Emily and her folks before the show. Hannah  said “Hi” because she knows her. I introduced myself again and Emily said she remembered me from before. I replied that I had met her at Hannah’s show and that we were now FaceBook friends. She remembered.

“Oh yeah, I remember. I sometimes post on other peoples walls and even comment but sometimes I don’t remember everyone.”

Of course you don’t, you’re a rockstar, I thought.

“Well, of course you don’t you have, like, ten thousand friends on there.”, I said.

That was when she gripped my arm, looking me straight in the eyes and said, “But, I don’t want to forget the Lanie Belluz in my life.”

I didn’t know what to think after that. Is she that good with her fans that she flirts with everyone? I don’t know what to think anymore. One minute they’re sending you naked pics but are still with their gf and the next they’re a rockstar gripping your arm and looking into your eyes. F!ck.

The show was great. I can’t even tell you. There were times where my mind went elsewhere during the songs. To my grandparents house, sitting on the porch and listening to the crickets. There were times when the songs ended, it seemed too soon and that I felt I had been transformed somewhere else. Somewhere special.

I fell for her even more watching her play and listening to her music. I could never be with anyone as great as that, I thought.

After the show, Hannah and I went up to her table where she was signing CD’s. I asked her what she had – she was talking about having bootleg CD’s and I wanted one. I handed her a twenty but she didn’t have change so she gave it to me.

“I know where to find you.” She said.

Hannah and I left and walked around the corner to have another drink. It was good but the whole time all I thought about was the show. Emily. The CD she gave me sat on the bar and all I wanted to do was go back to my truck and play it. Sit and listen to her sing.

Hannah – “Where are you parked?”

“I’m in the deck.”

“Ok, I’ll leave you here – call me this weekend.”

“Ok” thinking, ‘You’re a wing woman nothing else’

I got in the car and shoved the CD into the player and her voice filled the car.

As I listened to her sing, I got a wild hair and thought I would go back to the bar she played at. Maybe she’s still be there. Maybe I could talk to her. Tell her her show was amazing. She was amazing.

I parked in the back lot and walked up. I went up the stairs and though the doors to the back patio and there she was. The stool next to her was even empty. I pulled up and sat down. She was facing a group of girls, with her back turned to me singing something. She turned, slightly acknowledging me, nodding and went across the bar and wrapped her arms around a beautiful woman and sang in her ear. Oblivious to anyone or anything but her.

I slid off the stool and walked out. As I walked to my truck a tear rolled down my cheek. Of course I could never be with anyone as great as that. What the hell was I even thinking? I’m so stupid. To think any of that.

I got in and shut the door, starting the car and heard the lyrics of one of her songs play:

I do what I have to for love to survive 
I get through the night 
Get through the night 

I would love you to death, be your last sin 
Then die at your neck for still taking you in 
So close to you now and the rush of your gin 
I want love but I settle for Poison 

I do what I have to for love to survive 
I get through the night 
Get through the night 

I want Love but I’d settle for Poison

I leaned my head against the steering wheel and cried.

[Update: I still sent of a FB message to Emily saying “You were amazing tonight.” I never got my chance to tell her that after the show. This morning when I woke up a had a message back from her: “Thank you love! Thank you!!” ]

Lanie’s Friday Playlist

Lanie’s playlist for Friday(Inspired by this woman):

Goyte – Somebody That I used to Know (several ex’s come to mind)

Kelly Clarkson – Stronger (Me)

Kelly Clarkson – Behind These Hazel Eyes (Teri)

Katy Perry – Part of Me (“Days like this I want to drive away”…..that’s so me today.)

Taylor Swift – Mean

Gavin DeGraw – Not Over You

Colbie Caillat – Realize (and, I so want to do a two-step slow dance with S.H.L. when I hear this one)

Jessie Thomas – Better Geography (you know who you are)

Jason Derulo – In My Head (again…)

The Black Eyed Peas – Just Can’t Get Enough (sigh….again)

Linda Ronstadt – You’re No Good (Lee)

Fuel – Shimmer

in a hole and going off women

It’s just not meant to be.

Yesterday, as I was pulling out of the Starbucks I heard a crash and felt my truck drop. It felt like one of my wheels had fallen off the axle. I got out and saw that my left tire was lodged in a grate inlet that the grate had broken off of. I was basically stuck in a hole. I didn’t know what to do but call nine-one-one and tell them to send a cop and a tow truck.

As I was waiting a huge four wheel drive pickup pulled up behind me and a man wearing an Alabama hat (Roll Tide!) got out.

“Ma-am, I can pull you out of there and save you the tow fee.”

Putting on my best damsel in distress, which, wasn’t hard, “Really? Thanks so much.”

After pulling my truck out of the hole and unhooking the chain, he handed me his card.

“Anytime you want to get together give me a call.”

“Er, ok. Hey, thanks so much.”

I was dumbfounded. Even cutting my hair hadn’t seem to squelch being noticed by men. In fact, I get noticed more than ever now.

-Sigh –

Why can’t it be that way with women? I know how that guy feels. He’s so desperate for a date that he took time out of his busy day to pull a woman out of a hole. (Probably, something I’d do, too, come to think of it.)

I won my pool match last night and tore out of there heading for the country bar. Connie was there again and I asked her to dance. I had wondered why she hadn’t called me. I asked her if she still had my card.

“Yes, I think so.”

“Well, call me and we’ll go grab a cup of coffee sometime.”

Then, she totally flaked on me. When I tried to talk to her later she interrupted me and said she had to go talk to her gay guy friends and she wouldn’t dance with me again after that.

I have never understood why women go out to a gay bar and only talk to gay men – unless, they want to be with them. Or unless they’re giving you the brush off like Connie was doing to me. I sighed and ordered another beer and then left only finishing half. Just as well I don’t meet a rude woman in a bar that hangs on gay men. Even if she did call I doubt I would answer now.

I feel like I’m still stuck in that hole. I think I’m going off women for 46 days, too.

46 days…..

Last night Sadie and I were just starting our walk to the lake when I got a text from Hannah.

“Heading to the lake to walk in 30.”

“Heading there now.”

“It will be 20 until we can leave.”

“We’ll take the long route and loop back by there.”

“See u in 30.”

One thing about Hannah that I like is that we can communicate easily with as little words as possible.  Unlike some people where you have to pick up the phone and call to explain what your text meant. (you know who you are)

Once we met up, we walked around the lake talking – while her dog barked and my dog tried to leap on Hannah. I don’t know what it is about Hannah that Sadie just wants to jump on – possibly because she talks in a little dog voice, too, like I do. Sadie just loves her nonetheless.

“What do you have going on tonight?”

“I got nothing. I just got home when you texted.”

“Want to go up to [neighborhood pub]?”

“Sure. Just let me run home and get the truc.k”

Ever since Sadie chewed the seatbelt off my truck I have given her HUGE bones (ones that she couldn’t even finish in a night) to chew while I’m having a beer/dinner. As we headed out to meet Hannah she whined in the backseat. I handed back a bone and she laid down and started in on it. Hopefully, I won’t lose anymore seatbelts and upholstery.

Hannah’s turning out to be a good hang out buddy. It seems like we’re both going through similar things and working through them. Such as feeling like all our friends are partnered up and only doing things with other couples and friends that do the fade after meeting someone. (you know who you are)

“Isn’t that just part of growing up?”

I thought, “Sweetheart, I’ve grown up a long time ago. Where are you?” but said,

“I don’t know if it’s that. I think it’s that sometimes people just only want to be with their lover.”

I had to wonder if I would be sitting there talking to Hannah if I had some smokin’ hot lover (S.H.L.) at home wanting me to watch Fringe with her.

Yeah, doubtful.

But, everything get’s old after awhile. I guess it would depend if S.H.L. and I were still in the honeymoon stage or and old married couple. I know I can’t deal with being with someone every single day of the week without going crazy. I need my space and to be with my friends. So, I guess I’m not the norm when it comes to relationships. I don’t just disappear. I stay. So, maybe I still would be sitting there talking to Hannah.

I think what my main problem is that I keep telling myself that I don’t like being single. But, then again – I think of all the times with Lee where I was so annoyed. (which, was about 85% of the time). Maybe I need to embrace my singleness. As I was contemplating all this, Hannah said,

“If there’s something you want to change, change yourself.”

I never heard that before. She was right. I do need to embrace my singleness.

Hannah was also talking about giving up alcohol for Lent. I have always wanted to do that, myself, even though I don’t consider myself a spiritual person – until I wrote this post, anyway. (Yes, the dusty Bible is still sitting on the counter in the kitchen)

I came in to work today and called one of my [more religious] co-workers.

“Felicia, when does Lent start?”

“Next week, February 22.”

“When does it end? Forty days?”

“No, 46 days – until April 7th. Why, you thinking of giving something up?”

“Yes, alcohol.”

“You will feel so good doing that for yourself.”

“Yes, but there’s a problem. This beer fest that I’ve been planning is on the 25th. Wonder if I can just not do it then.”

“That’s between you and God, Lanie. But, if you think about it – Lent is supposed to be about sacrifice. It’s not supposed to be easy.”

She’s right. There will be plenty more beer fests. I’m going to do it. 46 days – aye-yi-yi…..

So, after next Tuesday encouragement is welcomed. Hey, I quit smoking  – I can do this – only 46 daaaaaayz.