Looking back at MY 2012

“Neo, sooner or later you’re going to realize, just as I did, that there’s a difference between knowing the path, and walking the path” – Morpheus

I always try to take one look back before I proceed into the future. 2012 has finally come to an end and I cannot help but be amazed of how I ended up exactly where I wanted to be. I will say that as much as I wanted this to be a good year, I wasn’t so confident that it would end that way.

The first thing I decided to so was to take more risks. The truth of the matter was that at this time last year, I knew I needed to change my life before I went spiraling down in a flame of debt and foreclosure. What I learned from my woman was that taking risks shouldn’t always be that scary. After a afternoon of learning how to ice skate –without falling once, I realized that I needed to invest in myself and take those risks that may turn my life around.
At the same time I realized that this blog was becoming a venue for me to complain and talk about things I would love to do but never follow up on. I was done with that. I need to stop talking and just do. The result ultimately ended up with me having less blogs than I anticipated but, the major goals I set were completed. Yet, as a writer, I did get more exposure than I ever thought I would with being selected as blogger for the Huffington Post. Yes, I feel like I keep saying this but I still find this to be amazing.  I wrote 4 articles and acquired a great deal of fans on that site.

Although, there were some bumps along the way, my second blog for the Huffington Post received some comments that I was not excited about. Looking back at it, it wasn’t that big of a deal but, I did feel a certain way about it. I craft my words carefully (which is why I was called a Word Ninja) so that people can understand where I’m coming from. Usually, there are people who take my words to mean something entirely different (I’m still getting used to that). There was also the time in which the Huff denied a post from me. That was particularly hard to swallow, but I got over it.

I still believe that this was a banner year for racism. Despite the fact that Barack Obama won a second term, I believe we have seen so many signs of racism in the country that it is almost laughable if it wasn’t so tragic. The death of Travyon Martin really took its toll on me when it happened. I think there is a lot to be said about the gun laws in this country and while I wrote nothing about Aurora and Sandy Hook shootings…I think eyes need to opened when comes to which populations are being effected by certain laws. I think more importantly it is the perception that people have that really shows how “tolerant” we are of other people. This does not mean I have strong words for just white people….my own people can be ridiculous too.

Of course with the things that I say or do, come people who have either a difference of opinion (which is fine) or people who downright cannot deal with me. This year, I have learned to take the good with the bad. Let those fester in there thoughts while I continue to move forward. I can spend a whole blog post on the telling of stories about people and incidents that happen earlier in the year that will be completely hilarious. However, in doing so, that will make them look bad. I am determined to be the better person always. I think I have succeed in that one thing before I left Syracuse.

There were several proud moments for me this year, but nothing did it more than me getting an A in my graduate course in the spring semester. Another reason for the lack of blog posts was the simple fact that I was taking a class. The reason why this was big for me is because I never got an A in any class in my college career. I think I did pretty good on this.

My, departure from Central New York involved risks has I mention above. I was lucky enough to sell my house and get an apartment for a short amount of time. There was also so much risk in just keeping the faith and hoping that my job search would find me something. I’ll be honest, there was one point where I gave up. With my last job application submitted, I told myself that it was either now or never. If I do not get a job in NYC, I would have looked into Grad School in California. I had schools already picked out when Barnard called for the interview.

I will never forget that afternoon when I was told that I was hired. With my return imminent, I thought about all the things I would do when I got back home. But, I had to ultimately say goodbye to good friend. Yes, it was hard to say my goodbyes to colleagues, friends, and students but it was the hardest to say good bye to Rocky. I still love and miss that dog. He has remained in Syracuse with the x-wife. I still think about him everyday. Sad to say that all good things come to an end…SU will always be in my  heart.

However, I did learn that everything is truly connected. In the wake of my decision to move, my mother suffered a heart attack. This required her to have a quintuple by-pass surgery that we all were very nervous about. Of course, Columbia Presbyterian is one of the best places she could have very gone to, there is was always that horrifyingly small chance that something may go wrong. The good thing is she fully recovered which made my return even more glorious.

The rest of the year was filled with apartment hunting while being broke, Obama was re-elected, Sandy damn near destroyed lower Manhattan, my Macbook broke, and I am near obesity.

I think this was a good year. Very successful. Next year will be better. I will share a toast tonight for my friends, family, and to all of you who continue to follow me. Happy New Year! 

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In God’s Hands…

“Waiting is painful. Forgetting is painful. But not knowing which to do is the worse kind of suffering.” – Paulo Coehlo

Here is one of those vague posts that I get to write where, you the reader, gets to decipher what I am really trying to say because for reasons I cannot express, I just cant be more than vague. All I can say is that things are in God’s hands right now. I have worked hard to redo the person and the persona you see in front of you.

This week was a great week of intense highs. I got to imagine myself where I truly want to be. I have been afforded opportunities that I have taken full advantage of…twice. Now I have to wait for the fruits of my efforts. This process of waiting can be a very agonizing one. Yet, I am used to it, even though there are small shards of pain that run through me thinking about all the possibilities.

I now place my fate in the hands of the uncontrollable. The universe will determine whether things are meant to be or not. I just hope that my time has finally come to complete this part of my journey. Funny, that when I think about a “journey,” I think about a road or a series of roads not unlike the ones I drive my car on when I go to NYC. I think about how some roads are smooth and some are choppy. Then, there are the new roads that being constructed that take forever and cause traffic jams.

I would like to think that my road is being constructed and there is a reduction in the speed limit so that no one gets hurt during the process. I would like to think that this road will become a bridge over water and when you drive across it you can see the beautiful green trees as they reflect on the water below. However, the reality might be that my road is bumpy and possibly filled with pot holes that I cannot adequately fill in the amount of time I have. Yet, both roads get me to where I want to be…eventually.

The only thing I can control is the faith that I have in myself and in God. Again, I am not a bible thumping man but I do believe that God and the Universe are one and the same. I do not pray for the unattainable. I just pray for the strength to get through this journey of mine.  I also pray that fear does not overcome me. We all have fears that can freeze us in our tracks, we just need to recognize it and move forward.

I am glad that there are people out there who have faith in me and despite the dark times, have never wavered when I doubted everything. Tonight I will rest on my laurels and pray that the Universe conspires in my favor…one more time.

9 10 11

I felt I needed to write today. Perhaps a bit of a free write, I am not really sure. I know that today’s date is something that I will never see again in my life time unless I some how invent a time machine (out of a Delorean). I wanted to save my efforts for tomorrow. As much as I am trying to avoid my thoughts, I am still thinking about 9/11. Not to say that I should be avoiding it, but it has been 10 years and there are things that still bother me about that day. However, I will leave that for tomorrow.

Today, I think about the uniqueness of this day or the uniqueness of any day. I suppose everyday is unique in itself. Although repetitiveness is something that I absolutely cannot stand, I know each day can stand on itself. Yet, we tend to take for granted for each day. I know that I think there will be a tomorrow for me and the ones that I love. While I truly understand that anything can happen on any given day, I still think that there will always be a tomorrow.

I ran a red light the other day. This is something that I never do. However, I am known to run through stop signs. How is this possible? Let me tell you why. I am not paying attention. I am thinking about something other than the present. It is great to have a goal but it is also not so great to forget the present because of your goals. So for me….I just think way too damn much about everything. Sure, my life is better and i do not stress as much as I used to but, I still think about what is next.

What I am not thinking about is the present. I am not stopping to smell the roses. I am still thinking about 2 steps ahead or what is down the road for me. It happens so often that I forget about how significant a day like today is. 9-10-11. It is so intrinsically simple. We need to live in the now because days as simple as this only happen once in a millennia.

The universe is so vast and somewhere out there a galaxy is being born. A star is going nova. These things seem so insignificant to us, but to the other parts within the vast cosmos, this is the day that is the most important of all. Perhaps today is a birth of a child, or the uniting of two soul mates, who really knows? All I can say is that the here and now is just as important as the future.

Thoughts of Japan

Time like these we need to understand our place in this world. I think that so many times we are caught up in our own messes that we do not see what is going on around us. Japan is still suffering from a massive earthquake and tsunami (as well as over 700 aftershocks). The threat of a nuclear meltdown is still out there and that makes Japan seem almost unlivable. All this makes me very sad and forces me to remind myself of my own privilege.

I remind myself that I cannot take my disappointments all to heart because I still have a roof over my head. I still have a job for me to go to. I know that when I call my parents and my friends, they are still there and not buried under rubble some where. I cannot even imagine the level of loss that the Japanese have been through, but I do know that it is greater than any personal loss or heartbreak than I have ever faced.

I think I complain about fate and how unfair it is from me to still be here in Syracuse, but in the grand scheme of things, it does not really mean much. I think that perhaps I am still here for a reason. Maybe there is something that is keeping me here until I have completed some task. Whatever the case is, I know that complaining about my life is something that privileged people do.

My parents worked hard to make sure that I didn’t have certain experiences and even though I grew up n the Bronx, I was not in the element. That could have been due to overprotection or perhaps my family made sure I was never in the wrong place at the wrong time. My father had instilled in me this fear that had I taken drugs, my ass would suffer a beating that I may never recover from. All in all, I turned out in a position that allowed me to be where I am now.

Yet, I think about how it would be to lose everything. To wake up one day and everything is just gone. I think we place so much value on things that do not matter in the end. We cannot take money or possessions with us when we die. It can be seen first hand in many of the tsunami videos how entire cities are swept way. Cars, houses, people, livestock, everything just gone in what some would call an act of God type of event.

I mentioned on Facebook how sad I was that Japan may never be the same. Sure, I have never been there but do I have to have been there to understand that a whole country is just devastated? The earthquake was so bad that the island moved 8 inches. Some people have the nerve to say that this was payback for Pearl Harbor (which is one of the dumbest things I have ever heard). Only people who do not understand history would make remarks like that. Not to mention that earthquakes are natural events that every planet has. The land masses on this world have been moving for thousands of years and nothing with stop that.

So what should we take from this? Something that I have always said, we need to tell the ones we love that we do love them. Life is short, plain and simple. Sure, maybe I am emotional about it, but those who truly love us will understand this.

Below is the scariest video I have seen. Please keep Japan in your thoughts and prayers.

Dear Universe

Dear Universe,

They say that everything happens for a reason. Lord knows that I tell this to everyone that I give advice to. The problem I have is that I tend to not listen to my own advice. I never pretend that my life is as bad as other people because I know better.  What I do know is that the price of experience is strength and with each experience I seem to gain tons of strength. My question is, when do I cash in on all this strength I am gaining?

Disappointments come and go because they are a part of the life we all live, very much like a stellar nebula that becomes a star that eventually dies out after burning so brightly; it is the way of the universe. The events that unfold in my life never seem to leave me with a dull moment. Mistakes are made, hearts are broken, and yet dreams are created in all the mess. You, the universe, have the power to make us all feel like the phoenix. We can burn deeply with regret and remorse and somehow be reborn with hope.

I have been blessed with many friends and I can thank God for them. They make me aware that the universe, in all it’s glory, is working in my favor. Of course, I am not very sure how this is working. I thought that at times I can see you work in all the things that happen around me. I try to take heed of the signs I see and take advantage of the opportunities, but yet, each door closes.

I am fortunate to believe that everyone who comes and goes from my life are here for a purpose. Evidence of this is when I got that letter from Sarah Lawrence College. I had many people show me so much support and it made my resolve stronger. I wasn’t thinking about the universe and how everything that is meant to be will be. I think about my work life, my love life, and my family life and I cant help but wonder if things will get better because this cannot be all the universe has to offer. I know that life is beautiful and I just wish I can see more of that.

When I commented that I was tired of losing, a good friend of mine who I advised at one point in my life, told me this: “You’re not losing! The universe is working towards what is right for you. It’s working at the right pace. You’re gonna need to trust and accept that things can’t be rushed as much as we many want it ‘now’.” In many ways, I know you put this person in my life to tell me a this exact thing so that I cannot get discouraged. Yet, another good friend told me that Sarah Lawrence was probably not a good fit for me anyway because I can be a writer without them.  The universe has ways of working without us knowing it because you put her here too to fuel my fire further.

I read once that if you want something bad enough the universe will conspire to get it for you. Well, I am fighting hard to get what I want and maybe a rejection letter is a pathway to a new door. This is something that will remain to be seen.

I will continue to help students get where they need to go. I am just asking for the same for myself.

Sincerely,
Latinegro

Fate Acceptance

This is a big week for me. I have been dealing with many things all at once and I will say that all of it makes me nervous. I think that this is the reason why I have not been posting so much. All of my thoughts are focused on this grad school app. It has made me think about everything; my future, my past, my love life, and my family. But, yet I have had the patience to deal in the only way I know how.

The problem is that I do not want to talk about the same things over and over. I can have 30 blogs just on this subject but then it would only show how neurotic I am getting about this. So, I have been keeping calm, collected, and taking each day as it comes. I try not to think too much about anything in particular. I am also spending the week in NYC to help me pass the time since Syracuse University is currently on spring break.
I have a photo shoot this week that will help promote myself on the November Group site. I am excited for this because this is something that is for me.  I have done photo shoots for work but they are not the same and I do not believe that those photos really capture me in my essence. To be honest, I do not like how I look in many of the pictures that are taken of me, however, I leave them up on Facebook because it what I look like.
The funny thing is that it is not like I have had writer’s block, because that is not true. I have been writing short stories.  I have written and edited one and I have been working on another. Many times I will write because the mood hits me. I think that creatively I am still alive but it is the cultivation that I am working on. I am very much an emotional writer and will write as long as my emotions can carry me. Of course, editing is something completely different. I can write the essence of the story with pure emotion but I do not need to be in the same mood in order to edit and add on. It has been an interesting process.
At this point it is just all about patience. I have come the conclusion that this whole thing is about fate right now. If it was meant for me to get into Sarah Lawrence then I will. I know 2 years ago I wrote several blogs on fate and choice. All of this has made me think about the notion of fate and whether our choices in life make a real difference.  I personally think that we choose the things that happen to us by putting ourselves in the right or wrong situations.
I have put myself in this situation just so other people can decide my fate. This is out of my hands, although, I made sure that I did everything I could to make all the deadlines in order to make this possible. Still, it comes down to someone else’s choice. It makes me think about job interviews and how anyone of us can work hard to present ourselves in a positive light in order for someone else to decide if we are good enough. With interviews, we have a certain level of control because I believe we can control out ability to do well or bomb horribly. This application process in not the same, I feel in less control.
I have been reading about acceptance. I think that acceptance is something that helps my patience and my entire thought process on fate. When it comes down to it, we control my own emotions and no one can make us feel anything. While situations my influence our emotions, we can control our own crazy. I have arrived to this point based on the fact that I cannot make a big deal either way on what happens to me. I cannot get upset when something doesn’t go my way as I once did. The key is always understanding what has the potential to bother us and what is that really upsets us. 
I have accepted my fate, no matter what it is because I know what I was born to do.

Hurry up and Wait

Last night was an interesting night for me. A tree fell in my neighbor’s yard and I ended up with no power for the rest of night. So I ended up going to the dollar store and stocking up on candles and candle holders. I also bought brand new batteries for the flashlights. After that I did the only thing I can do to pass the time…read.
I ended up finishing a book I should have finished a long time ago, Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho. I read more that a hundred pages and I was glad to finally put that book to rest. When I was done, I just sat in my room amongst the candles to realize what a romantic sight I was beholding. A room full of candles (some were scented) and me on a bed with a book. Not sure many men would be caught dead alone with that type of scene. Anyway, I realized that all of us are bound by time and yet all we do is try to rush things in our lives.
It is true about what was written in The AlchemistWhen you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. It took me a while to figure how true this is. The two things that I discovered in this book was not only the idea that we have a personal legend to fulfill but that we also need to wait in order to achieve it. Sure the book is about following our dreams and in many ways I have admitted to mine, but the inner meaning to this book is that everything takes time. The main character in this book does all he can to put his goals in motion but, he also spends a great deal of time waiting…for that right moment.
As a kid in Catholic school, I remember priests saying that when you pray to God that he will always have one of three answers: Yes, No, and Wait. We spend so much of our time trying to rush things. We want instant gratification these days because we live in a time of fast food and the internet. Everything is so within our grasps that not many people truly know what it is to wait for something. Interestingly enough, the less we wait for something, the less we tend to appreciate it.
This is probably the reason why people hate the job searching process, which is nothing but wait. We put all our energies in a document that has all of our skills and experiences and we put it out there for the world to view. Then we wait to see if anyone has taken notice of us. If they have, then we have to wait for the interviews and the decision…all of which makes us wait.Yet, if all goes the way we want and we achieve that end result then the waiting would seem like a blessing.
Time is the one thing that none of us can fight. We all have to face the hands of time. We can try to rush it but what happens when things are rushed? Bad decisions are made, a mess is created and we now spend more time cleaning up messes than we would spent by simply taking our time to get the desired end result. Most of us try to make the perfect decision without making a mistake and that is worse than rushing. Because trying to be perfect may mean taking time to create the perfect outcome may result in living a life in a house of cards.
Yes, I am being vague because time is vague but yet I can come up with a perfect example. Think about baseball and how a pitcher tries to make the perfect pitch with the bases loaded. Instead of pitching without fear of consequence, more often that perfect pitch ends up as the perfect home-run.
My point is that all the goals that I have set for myself are finally being completed and it took so long to get to this point. While the universe may conspire in our favor to help us achieve our desires it take as long as it has to for it to come true. The universe itself took billions of years to achieve the beauty that it is now I am sure we can wait as long as we have to attain our beauty.

The Pursuit of My Dream

So the real question for me is…What is my dream? What is it that I wanted to do when I was a child? The only thing that I really wanted to do was write. As a kid, I used to create characters and superheros with elaborate histories and complex stories. This used to be my fantasy. I am not sure where it stopped. But, I was under the impression that comic book writers did not get paid much, so before college, that faded.

Let me mention again that when I was a child that I used write horror stories that involved my classmates. I would let them read it and listen to how amazed they were about how I used my imagination to scare everyone. Of course, as much as I tried to impress the girls that I liked, the guys I perceived to be better looking and less intellectual seemed to get all the attention in the end. So I stopped doing that.

In high school, I used to write sexually charged stories about women I met on the street. Many of them included teachers that have taught me.This is one tidbit of info I have never shared with anyone. I got to the point where I had a note book filled with chapters of, what I would consider now to be, smut. In the end, I felt ashamed that I was 15 and writing thinks about sex that I had no knowledge of. I ended up throwing out the book because I did not need my mother finding any of this.

Once I got to college and realized that I really should not be a History Major, I was looking to do something that I really wanted to do. So one of things I also thought about doing is being a screenplay writer or a play-write. So, in order to transfer to schools within Syracuse University I need to have a certain GPA and I needed to write a 5 minute script. My attempt was to join the school of Visual & Performing Arts because there was no way I was getting into the Newhouse School of Public Communications. So I wrote this script called “Call Your Mother” which was very emotional for me to write. It is about a son and his conflict between his divorced parents. Consequently, I didn’t get in due to my GPA and not the work.

I have actually kept that script. It is just sitting on my hard drive. I have tweaked it from time to time. I was thinking about adding to it, but I wrote it in such a way that is perfect the way it is…to me anyway. Poetry was never really on my mind. I didn’t care for it and I avoided classes about it. However, and again few people knew this, I loved hip hop in the 90’s so much that I used to write rhymes because I was so inspired (talk about lying to yourself)!

Finally, I became an English Major because it only made sense. I loved to write so much that I would correct other people’s papers. Even in high school I made some money doing this. Writing was the only thing that came naturally to me. I would often joke in my 20’s that I would write a book about my life because of some of the things that I have encountered. But, of course, when I graduated in 1996, all I hear is that English Majors do not make much money. So once again…I scraped this idea of being a writer of any kind.

In 1999, I found myself working in Corporate America and feeling very underutilized. The pay was great but I was bored. So I tinkered with the web and created a website. I posted pictures and just did dumb things, but it wasn’t until I read a blog from a woman, that ended up being a good friend of mine, that I began to understand what I blogging was. Her writing was such an inspiration that I had to get to know her. At that point, I create a blog and even had my own domain. (Currently she is re-branding her blog and if I am really lucky…she will guest blog *waving at Nakia*)

However, my writing was amateurish at best. I knew it then. I had nothing worth saying and it showed in the way I wrote. I would talk about my daily life in NYC and Subway stories and while they were funny, that wasn’t the person I was trying to present to the world. I would keep another version of the blog after I moved back to Syracuse on a site called Xanga, but I just wasn’t happy with it. I didn’t know how to find my voice and I didn’t know how to deal with writers block. However, every now and then I would write a blog entry on Myspace..so clearly, I could not let it die.

It wasn’t until January of 2009 that I started this blog and found my voice. Once again it was because I was inspired by a blog that a woman wrote (a different woman, *waving at Brooke* and I am friends with her too!). I had not written anything in 2008 and it showed. I wrote every day until May. Once I really stopped lying about my life and confronted my fears, is when this blog had really taken shape. Now, I manage 2 blogs, the other one being on tumblr for more creative work.

My dreams have shifted over the years and I still very much want to be an author. I also want to be a public speaker as well. There are obstacles in my way and they do slow me down. But after reading The Alchemist, I now know that those obstacles are objects that are placed in my way to make me appreciate my life and all the efforts it is currently taking for me to get where I need to be.

I still have that screenplay and I still have some short stories that I have written. There is also the poetry that seems to pour out of me. My dreams are very much to make an impact on this world. I love working with students and who knows where my Higher Education background will take me…but I do know that this profession pays the bills. Perhaps when I reach my dream…I will pay back all the karma I have spent just to get there.

Omens (The Alchemist)

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams.”

The funny thing about life is that sometimes things happen right when they need to. I think about the numerous amount of times that something happened to me at the right moment. I never really had a phrase for them until now, Omen. Under the recommendation of a few friends, I bought the book The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I read this book in 2 days.

I am not shocked with how good this book is but how much I needed to read this book at this moment of my life. I have always believed that things happen for a reason. I was even told to read this book last year, but I wasn’t ready. But due to a series of good omens, I was able to read this book and soak up everything that was written inside of it.

Simply put, the book is about a boy and his quest to follow his dreams. He is taught to understand the language of the world and how to listen to his heart. In so many ways I feel that this is me. I have spent 36 years of my life searching for something that I am not sure how to find. At times, I am not even sure what it is I am searching for. When someone asked me what I want, I would say I want to be happy. I know that I am was put here on the planet to do something. I can really feel it.

I just never really thought about looking at the world around me and seeking out the omens in my life. However, I am all about listening and following my heart. Many times I heard people talk about how illogical it is to follow your heart because what it wants sometimes is impossible or doesn’t make sense. The problem is that the heart is where all are dreams are housed. We do not follow what we really want because of that fear of failure or rejection. But like the quote said above is so very true…the fear of suffering is worse than suffering itself. THIS is why people fail!

But, it is ok to fail because we can all get back up and continue to search for our happiness. This book puts so much of what I have been feeling about my personal journey into words. We have our paths laid for us and we just need find it and if not then we will always wonder “what if”.

The thing about omens is that they may appear to us everyday and we are either too blind to see them or simple do not know how to read them. Very my much like “coincidences” we may encounter. Everything we do influences the outcome of our fate in our daily lives. Think about what I wrote in the previous post. Had my dad not called me when he did…I would have made the 6:30 movie showing and never met up with friends thus having dinner alone. At the same token…my friends bought tickets to the 6:30 movie but it was too packed to find seats for them so they exchanged their tickets for the 7pm showing…where I was.

Life is interesting and God works in mysterious ways. I do not believe that our future is written, although I think there is a measure of fate in terms of being on earth to do a specific thing. However, it is us alone that determines whether we find out personal treasure and fulfill whatever our destiny is. It is those tiny omens that we see along the say that renews our faith that things will be ok.

A Twist of Fate

 Chinese Symbol for Fate

In my last post I wrote about what my plan would look like for my birthday on Saturday. I had a feeling that not would go according to plan but I was ok with that. My main focus was just to go with the flow and see where the day takes me while using my plan as a guideline.

Once the clock struck midnight I a got a few texts and some phone calls. I always enjoys these. Most of them were to wish me well and tell me that I should not be alone on my birthday. My response back is, like it always is, “it is just another day”. Most understand this. However, I did have one friend blow my mind. She not only told me that I am never truly alone on this day (because too many people think about me) but that reason why this is not just another day is because 36 years ago I survived…and I have been surviving ever since. That is something to celebrate. I had no defense for this. So it ended up being something I thought about all weekend.

I went to bed late as I knew I would. I wanted to take Rocky out for walk so I set my alarm. This did not end up working because at 7am there was a thunderstorm closing in. This drives my dog nuts. He cannot stand the sounds and he gets frightened. So I have to get up and calm him down. Eventually I have to put him in the basement where he cannot hear the storm. I go back to bed and pass out until about 11am.

By this time I am starving. I clean up and take care of Rocky. I am by no means rushing. The World Cup match that I wanted to see is listed to start at 1:30pm. So I figured I have time. I leave the house at about 12:15 to get to I-Hop. I am blasting “Billionaire” by Travis McCoy and Bruno Mars in my car. I get to this place and it is packed! This seems to be typical for I-Hop considering how good their food can be. I end up waiting for awhile patiently and I am finally seated close to 1pm. I am still not in a rush. I figured it would be ok to miss a few minutes of the match. The food comes and things are great. Those crack cakes are the bomb!

So I get home at about 1:40 only find out that the match really doesn’t start until 2:15. So I relax and chill with my dog. The World Cup match between USA and England was a good one indeed. Highs and lows that end up in a 1-1 draw. For those who may not know much about fútbol (soccer), this was a good result because so many people think that the team from England will go far in the tournament.

After the match I realized that I had to get going because I wanted to make the 6:30 showing of The Karate Kid. My dad calls me at 5pm. I always enjoy talking to him and before I know it…it is almost 5:30. Now I had to decision to make. I will most likely have to go to the 7:00 showing because once I get to the mall I want to go shop with some of my birthday money.

My first stop is that Comic-book Store. I haven’t been there since right before my trip to DR. I had received in email when I was in New York City from them saying that I need to pick up the books in my reservation box before a certain date or my comics will be put back on the shelf. I figured things were good because I had already been there and I emailed them that will pick up my comics soon since the message clearly stated that any response would delay my reservation from being cleared.

So when I get there the guy tells me that my reservation box had been canceled for failure to pick up. I am like..wtf. I spend a lot of money on this store and I sent you an email. I will give it to the guy, he had great customer service. I didn’t press him all that much at all because in reality I was not all that upset. He was very apologetic and offered to restart my reservation and personally search for every lost item. Then suggested mail service. In the end, I told him I will think about it and I walked out. As I left, I kinda grinned. This may have been a blessing in disguise. Do not get me wrong, as much as I love comic books I should be sad but, I also know that once you become a collector…your collection owns you.

I head to the Apple Store and get a gift card and then I head to Express Men to cash in a a birthday coupon. I put my stuff in the car and I head to the theater. I had already bought my 7pm ticket when I got to the mall to avoid the possibility of the show being sold out. I grab a seat and wait for the previews. As fate would have it, I notice that two of my good friends walk in with their 2 children right before the previews begin. I grew up with these 2 in the Bronx. It just so happens they are SU alums and live in the area. Clearly, I get up and join them! They were happy to see me and we watched the movie.

The Karate Kid was worth every penny I paid. I could not help but to smile and think about how I ended up not going to the movies alone and to make it even better, they refuse to let me eat dinner alone.  So after the movie, we go to Pizzeria Uno and have dinner. It was great to catch up with old friends and their children who are still very much used to me despite my absence. By the time I get home it is 11pm. I still had an hour to get my personal cake ready. I crack open the Shiraz and Brugal (I promise that I did NOT drink them together) as well as light my candle on my cake.

Happy Birthday to Me!

By 11:30pm, I have blown out my candle and I drink the rest of the night away. I consider this to be a very successful birthday…not also to mention the amount of messages left on my Facebook wall. I feel very fortunate and will try to make this year special.