Saturday, November 17, 2012

Brought Me To Tears



My husband likes to surf music videos.  This afternoon we were cuddled on the couch with the iPad and he was showing me his favorite videos that he has come across this week.  This one really caught me off guard.  I literally started sobbing at 5:00.

And then we held each other for a long time.

I'm the luckiest man in the world.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Races Joe is Following

C and I have been talking a lot this weekend about the upcoming election on Tuesday.  So many interesting races and ballot measures.  I thought I'd bring this blog back from the dead to document the ones I'm paying the closest attention to.  I've highlighted the ones that I will be voting on this Tuesday.
  • U.S. President - incumbent Barack Obama (D) vs. Mitt Romney (R)
    I am particularly interested to see how Florida, Ohio, and Virginia vote.
  • U.S. Senate
    • Massachusetts - incumbent Scott Brown (R) vs. Elizabeth Warren (D).  In what has become the most expensive U.S. senate race in history, democrat Elizabeth Warren is vying to unseat the widely-liked, moderate republican Scott Brown.  When elected in 2010 following the death of Ted Kennedy, Brown became the first republican senator from Massachusetts since since 1972.  Polling has been very close throughout this race, but Warren has consistently led the polls for the last several weeks.
    • Missouri - incumbent Claire McCaskill (D) vs. Todd Akin (R).  While it was widely anticipated that unpopular McCaskill would lose the senate seat to Tea-Party favorite Akin, expectations and polls were up-ended this fall when Akin simultaneously expressed his conviction that not all rapes are "legitimate rapes", and that in the case of "legitimate rapes" a woman's body can resist conception.  McCaskill is now expected to win.
    • Indiana - (open seat) Richard Mourdock (R) vs. Joe Donnelly (D).  Another case that was expected to be an easy win for the republicans is now leaning Democratic following Mourdock's confusingly-worded statement that "even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen."

    • Wisconsin - (open seat) Tammy Baldwin (D) vs. Tommy Thompson (R).  If elected,  Baldwin--who is leading in the polls going into election day--would become the first openly gay U.S. senator.
  • U.S. House
    • Massachusetts 6th - incumbent John Tierney (D) vs. Richard Tisei (R)
      Tierney is embroiled in a mob money scandal.  He is expected to lose his race to openly gay, moderate republican challenger Richard Tisei.  Tisei would be the first republican Massachusetts has sent to D.C. since 1994, he would also be the first openly gay republican sent to D.C. by any state.  Tisei may be the only republican running for congress who has not signed Grover Norquist's anti-tax pledge.
    • Minnesota 6th - incumbent Michelle Backmann (R) vs. Jim Graves (D)
      Michelle "vaccines give kids mental retardation" Bachmann is certifiably batshit crazy.  Though she has been elected three times from Minnesota, her district was recently redrawn in such a way that it has become competitive.  Though she has outspent her moderate democratic challenger Jim Graves 12:1 in this year's race, polls are very close.  I think she'll probably win reelection, but I would love to see her unseated.
    • Iowa 4th - incumbent Steve King (R) vs. Christie Vilsack (D)
      Steve King is another batshit crazy politician.  Elected five times from Iowa's 5th district, King finds himself in a competitive race in the new 4th district (District 5 was eliminated following the 2010 census).  I would love to see King finally booted from the house.
  • State Ballot Initiatives
    • Marriage Equality Legalization
      I am cautiously optimistic that Maine and Washington will be the first states to pass marriage equality by popular vote.  Maryland teeters on the edge...
      • Maine
      • Maryland
      • Washington
    • Marriage Equality Prohibition
      I expect Minnesota to pass its anti-gay marriage amendment, but I would love to be proved wrong.
      •  Minnesota

    • Medical Marijuana LegalizationI was surprised to learn that 17 states as well as DC have legalized medical marijuana usage.  On Tuesday, three other states--including my own--will vote to do so as well. 
      • Arkansas
      • Massachusetts
      • Montana

    • Recreational Marijuana Legalization
      These would make any of these states the first to legalize all marijuana usage.  Polls show the majority support in Colorado and Washington.
      • Colorado
      • Oregon
      • Washington
    • Physician-Assisted Suicide LegalizationWashington and Oregon allow terminally ill patients to seek physician assistance in ending their lives.  Massachusetts has voted on similar ballot initiatives seven previous times.  The current measure leads 2:1 going into election day, but the measure has led in polling 3 out of the previous 7 years and has yet to pass.
      • Massachusetts
    • Death Penalty Prohibition
      • California
    • Three-Strikes-You're-Out Amendment
      • California - voters will choose whether to maintain the state's existing three strikes policy or alter it to apply only to "violent or serious" crimes or for offenders who have been previously convicted of rape, murder, or molestation.

    • New Tax Legalization
      • California - voters will choose to either raise sales taxes by 25cents or activate  10-figure cuts into the state's universities and entitlement programs.
    • Obamacare ProhibitionArizona and Oklahoma already amended their state constitutions to declare no individuals or businesses in those states will be compelled to participate in Obamacare.  This year, four states may pass similar measures.  Watch for a quick series of Federal Circuit Court cases to knock all of these down in 2014, when all of Obamacare becomes law.
      • Alabama
      • Florida
      • Montana
      • Wyoming
    • Racist Language vs. Public Schools
      • Alabama wins the prize for the most bizarre ballot initiative.  The language of Alabama's 1901 constitution calls for poll taxes and segregated schools for "white and colored."  A 2004 ballot initiative to amend the constitution and remove the racist language was rejected by the voters.  Now there is another ballot initiative to remove the racist language... and replace it with "nothing in this constitution shall be construed as creating or recognizing any right to education or training at public expense."  It's a lose-lose ballot measure that is being opposed the black political caucus of Alabama and the state teacher's union.

  • State Supreme Court Justices
    • Iowa - Justice David Wiggins faces a retention vote this year.  Following the Court's unanimous 2009 decision to strike down Iowa's ban on same-sex marriage, three of the sitting justices were ejected by voters in 2010 following a massive campaign waged by state and national anti-gay groups.   Wiggins is the only justice facing a retention vote this year, and anti-gay groups have once again campaigned for Iowa voters to eject him.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

of Cannon and Fireworks

C and I are looking forward to our first 4th of July in Boston, as this place does Independence Day bigger than most other places in the country (save perhaps Washington DC).  The action takes place along the Charles river just a mile or so from Boston's North Church where the signal was given that the British were coming and Paul Revere set out across the Charles to begin his famous midnight ride (until he was finally apprehended by the British a half-mile from my office).

The Boston Pops gives a free outdoor performance the night of the 4th, culminating in a full-blown performance of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture.  Apparently all the church bells in Boston are rung while the US Navy choir sings and the Howitzer cannon fire over the Charles.

This year, we're hoping to see the show with our buddy PomoProphet who is in from California this week.  He is busy all week working with a summer program for high school students, so we're not sure we'll get to meet up with him.  If not, look for me and C on kayaks on the Charles--the best vantage point for watching both the Pops performance and the fireworks.

Happy birthday, America.

Sacred Institution


Rob Me Blind

Wow.   Shy, adorable and brimming with romantic tension.



Yeah, I totally just wishlisted this single on iTunes.

Monday, June 11, 2012

2012Q2 Donations

C and I sat down tonight and decided how to divide our donation budget for the second quarter of this year.  This quarter, our largest donations are going to the Ali Forney Center, Mainers United for Marriage, and Washington United for Marriage.

Figuring out our budget originally was a bit stressful for me, but figuring out how to give it away is just pure awesome.  We hope you will consider donating to these or other efforts in need of assistance, including the marriage equality efforts in Maryland and Minnesota.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

C found this on the internet this week and I thought it was too good accurate to not post, particularly the parts about deporting the stranger and torturing those in prison.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Real Housewives of South Boston

I'm laughing my @$$ off at this. And they have a whole YouTube channel!

Here is their St. Patty's Day episode:



By the way, this is a 100% accurate portrayal of Lowell *ahem* South Boston...

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Rawr!

Hanging happily on our fridge:

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Two Reasons Joe Won't be Voting Republican in November

#1. Marine Sergeant Brandon Morgan of Heavy Marine Helicopter squadron 363 greeting his partner Dalan upon his return from deployment:


#2. Naval Petty Officer Marissa Gaeta of the USS Oak Hill greeting her fiancée Citlalic upon her return from 80 days at sea:


Just five months ago, these photos would have cost these service members their jobs. Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and ::shudder:: Rick Santorum have all stated that as president they would work to reinstate the idiotic DADT policy (of the four remaining GOP candidates, only Ron Paul has said he would not).

I am grateful to President Obama for spearheading the repeal of DADT, ending DOJ defense of Section 3 of DOMA, requiring Medicare- and Medicaid-recipient hospitals to grant same-sex partner visitation, and adding Federal investigation assistance and sentencing intensifiers for crimes motivated by orientation or gender identity bias.

Now I am not a glassy-eyed, foaming Obama supporter. He's done some frustrating, boneheaded, even outright unconstitutional stuff in the last three years.

But the Obama administration has made huge advances in justice under the law for my family and community. So apart from Ron Paul winning the GOP nomination, I don't think I will have to think long about who I will vote for this November.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Flowers: Nothing but Horny Plants' Junk

And now, some Valentine's Day weirdness for you from Joe.

The Valentine-Industrial complex's obsession with guilting people into buying flowers for each other amuses me. Don't get me wrong: I like flowers. For three years (back when we had a piece of dirt to call our own) C and I cultivated a garden of crocus, hyacinth, tulip, iris, lily, and gladiola.

But when you grow flowering plants, you quickly learn that flowers are sexual reproductive organs. See, flowers are just plants' junk. And flowering plants are just horny plants--sometimes really horny plants. As a grower, you have to learn how to deal with flowering plants' obsessions with sex so they don't waste themselves away in their desperation to mate.

Some flowers, like the tulip, almost completely exhaust themselves by flowering. Dutch bulb growers have learned this and consequently immediately neuter their tulips as soon as they begin to flower. This persuades the plants to build their bulbs rather than cry out for flower sex.

Tulip farm right after neutering. Don't those tulips look sad? You would be too if someone went through your neighborhood chopping off everyone's junk.

Others flowering plants, like the agave (sometimes called the "century plant") literally kill themselves when they flower, pouring every last Joule of energy they have into creating cartoonishly obscene reproductive organs that dwarf the rest of the plant.

This agave plant is so horny it's killing itself. Sorta the flowering plant equivalent of auto-erotic asphyxiation.

If you ever purchase lilies from a florist, they will typically remove the pollen-covered stamen tips from the flower for you. This is the flower equivalent of chopping off testicles, effectively emasculating the lily. It's cruel, but it spares you the mess of being covered in horny plant, uh, stuff.

Lily with stamens intact

Emasculated lily (stamens removed)

Every wondered what "bees" refers to in the old euphemism "the birds and the bees"? Yup. Flower sex.

So my Valentine's Day gift to all of you is this: today when you see flowers, remember they are just horny plants exposing themselves and think about what the plant beneath the flower is trying to say.

I'll give you a hint. It's not PG.

...

[cue the Kelis, Sir Mixalot, 70s bow-chicka-wow-wow music, or anything by Shaggy]

Rose: "my milkshakes bring all the boys to the yard; damn right, they're better than yours"

Lily: "my anaconda(s) don't want none unless you got buns, hon"

Lilies: "my hump my hump my hump; my lovely lady lumps; checkitout"

Oh yeah. That's the stuff. (Cover your eyes, kids.)

Um. Uh. This is getting kinda kinky.

And... the money shot.

LOL

Happy Valentine's Day from Joe ;-)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Things that Make Joe Cry

I'm having a rough week emotionally. My personality is naturally melancholic, but I've been brooding a lot recently on the rejection C and I receive from my family.

Against this backdrop, I read three things on Thursday that just sort of pushed the emotions over the edge of the cliff and I wound up crying.

1. One of the items was written by a friend of mine, a young Christian man who recently married the man he loves and who has experienced swift and devastating rejection from his family. Reading his recent update broke my heart.

Out of concerns for his privacy, I won't give any more details and will not post the link.

2. Letters to My Brother. In September 2010, a Rutgers freshman named Tyler jumped to his death from a bridge after his roommate publicly humiliated him for being gay. His older brother wrote a series of posthumous letters to his younger brother. Reading these letters and viewing his childhood photos of his brother (like the one above) just ripped me up emotionally.

3. I Will Hold You Ten Times. Once a year Joe Jervis posts a poem he wrote about caring for his dear friend Daniel who died of AIDS in 1997. I don't think I've ever read a more raw nor more beautiful description of human lovingkindness.
I Will Hold You Ten Times

1. I will hold you, Daniel.

2. The lesions don't bother me, I will hold you.

3. I will pretend nothing is wrong when you want me to pretend and when you want me to hold you, I will hold you.

4. I will make plans with you to go to your favorite places that we both know you can no longer go and I will sit with you and look at your pictures of these places and I will hold you.

5. I will ride with you on the train to your doctor's office and when you get sick in the station, I will hold you.

6. I will see the Post-It notes you put all over the house reminding yourself to do everyday things like "Turn off stove" and "Lock front door" and I'll pretend the disease isn't robbing your mind and when you tell me something for the third time in ten minutes, I won't let you know, I will hold you.

7. I will go to Safeway with you because you need to get out into the world and when the diarrhea overwhelms you and you shit your pants in the middle of the store, I will call us a cab and in the cab, I will hold you.

8. I will make you mix-tapes of our favorite songs from last summer, just like you asked me to, and when the memories make you sad instead of happy and you throw the tapes in the trash, I won't get angry, I will hold you.

9. I will sit up all night with you because the fevers and night sweats won't let you sleep. In the morning, I will change your drenched sheets and help you out of the shower and when you weep from the sight of your withered body in the mirror on the bathroom door, I will hold you.

10. I will hold you, Daniel.
I am crying again.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The British are Coming! The British are Coming!

One of the wild things about living in New England is being surrounded by American history. I work in Lexington, where the first skirmish of the American revolution was fought. Paul Revere's midnight ride ended when he was captured by the British about a mile and a half from my office. The "shot heard round the world" was fired about 17 miles from our apartment, where 400 colonists drove the British away from Concord's north bridge.

This weekend we visited these sites while exploring Minuteman National Historical Park. Very cool :-)


It's kinda fun to know our city was once one of the "Middlesex villages and farms" from which poured some 20,000 militiamen to drive the British back to their garrison on the (at that time) island of Boston.


At the time of the revolution, Lowell was nothing more than a farm. Today it is fourth largest city in Massachusetts and one of the twin county seats of Middlesex county.

Boston, meanwhile, has more than tripled in land area, sprawling into Massachusetts Bay across more than 2,000 acres of landfill into the present home of some 4.5 million Massholes Bay Staters. (Click on the image below for a Boston College animation of the landfill expansion projects over the past 250 years)



An additional note for all the literary buffs out there: we discovered that Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Nathaniel Hawthorne each called Corcord home during parts of their lives. Interesting.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Confessions of a Wimpy Kid

When I finished school three years ago, I was delighted to discover that the real world offers (most) nights and weekends off. In my new spare time, I decided to try something I have assiduously avoided most of my life: exercise.

I decided to fight a deep inner sense of wimpiness, face my fears, get my ass into a gym on a regular basis, and see what happens. Three years into this thing, I think I've found a new hobby. I can't believe I'm writing the following words but I have grown to love exercising. I honestly look forward to getting up at 4:45 to go to the gym.

This is sort of silly but also sort of profound.

Think with me back to the dreaded days of sixth grade PE. I was the wimpy kid--yeah, that wimpy kid: always the last one reluctantly picked by the football team captains, always the one tripping over his own feet during the basketball drills, always the one the bully would yell "faggot" at when the coach wasn't around. That sucked, but for me that wasn't the worst.

For me, the absolute worst days of PE were weight training days. I remember the day I was unable to bench press the standard steel barbell--just the standard barbell with no weights at all. I was profoundly ashamed of myself and felt utterly humiliated in front of my male peers. From that moment on, I consciously did everything in my power to avoid the embarrassment of the gym--or anything athletic, really--for most of the next two decades of my life.

In my head I've always been the wimpy kid. Five years of the Exodus mindjob certainly didn't help anything, as exgay ministers often played into the (thankfully dying) cultural stereotypes of gay guys being "girly men", gays being attracted to men only because they feel unmanly themselves, all gay guys wanting to be hairdressers, blah blah blah. You know the drill. Suffice it to say I've struggled with feeling insufficiently masculine most of my life.

Against that emotional background, it was a pretty significant moment for me the day I was first able to bench press not only the steel barbell but the barbell with 45lb plates on each side. At a superfluous ego level, that moment certainly felt good. But at a deeper level, it helped shatter some pretty powerful negative self definitions I had.

Now hear me out. I want to be clear that I think the American cultural equation of masculinity with athelic ability is bogus. I'm not trying to say that I think lifting weights makes someone masculine.

I'm not exactly sure how to define masculinity, but I know it is NOT picking up heavy things and putting them down again, NOT hurling an object a long distance, and NOT moving quickly from one place to another. I think masculinity rightly defined probably has zero dependence whatsoever on physical motion.

But masculinity rightly defined probably has something to do with acting in spite of one's fears. And in that sense, getting over my deep-seated fear of the gym--my fear of failing at anything remotely athletic--has been something of a masculinity boost for me.

And much to my surprise, I've found that for much of my life I've foolishly avoided an activity I actually really enjoy.

...

Over the past few yeas, I have grown kinda fond of the soft metallic sound of 45lb plates clanking together. From a scientific perspective, it's kinda amazing to observe how the human body gradually adapts and increases in strength over time. From an emotional perspective, it's been kinda cool to watch the smaller nickle, dime, and quarter plates gradually accumulate on each side of a barbell until one day I can replace them all with another 45. Those days always feel like notable milestones to me.

I had several such milestones 2011: the first day I inclined pressed with two 45s on each side of the barbell, the first day I shrugged with three 45s on each side, the day I first leg pressed with four 45s on each side. Those are always fun moments for the gym rat in me, but they have been interesting to me in a psychological sense as well. In every case, I find myself capable of doing something I had always thought was impossible for me, something I feared even trying before.

And this wimpy kid thinks that's cool :-)

2011 Goal Evaluation - Part 2

Okay, now that I've put things in a little bit of perspective, on to evaluating my 2011 exercise goals.

Quick recap: last January, inspired by my buddy Pomoprophet, I decided to state my new year's fitness resolutions as SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-constrained) goals.

Disclaimer: I'm a newbie to working out, and as such I struggle with understanding what is Realistic fitness-wise. So I have been trying to learn by keeping careful records of my goals and progress for the past three years. Today's evaluation is another chance for me to figure out what is Realistic and what isn't.

Okay. I've been taking Measurements all year. Here are the numbers:

2011 Goals and Results

Exercise Goal (lb)
Achieved (lb) Achieved
Level Bench Press+60+60100%
Incline Bench Press+45+45100%
Military Press+60+60100%
Barbell Curl+25+25100%
Dumbbell Curl+15+20,+25133%,167%
Skullcrusher+30+2067%
Lat Pulldown+50+25?50%?
T-bar Row+90+5561%

First of all, please don't be freaked out and think I do the same eight exercises each time I go to the gym. Thank goodness no--that sounds dreadfully boring and probably not very healthy. The list above is a subset of the exercises I do; this is just the core that I decided to focus on and track all year.

As the top half of the list indicates, I'm getting a little better at projecting what realistic goals are for some exercises for a year (I was not as good with my 2010 goals). As the bottom half of the list indicates, I still have some learning to do about realism.

My performance this year on barbell exercises was good, with the exception of skullcrushers. I surprised myself by performing better than I had thought possible on the dumbbell curling exercises (the two numbers reported in the table reflect different grip positions--the first of the two is pronated grip; the latter is hammer grip)... And what guy wouldn't be happy with better than expected performance on curls? After all, biceps are the male counterpart to ladies' boobs (C and I like to refer to developed biceps as "arm titties" ;-) Incidentally, there happens to be a particularly nice pair of arm titties on one of the waitstaff at a particular restaurant in downtown Lowell. But we certainly aren't so shallow as to let that fact sway where we like to go out to eat. Certainly not ;-) ).

Okay, so what happened on the last two exercises? Two different issues, actually. My ability to measure pulldown performance fell apart when moved to Massachusetts. This exercise is performed on a machine, and the machine in my gym here is graduated differently than the machine in my gym in Illinois (the Illinois machine was graduated in pounds, the Massachusetts machine is graduated in counts--and who knows how many pounds correspond to a count). The number in the table reflects where my performance was on the exercise when we moved out of Illinois in August.

The numbers in the table for the T-bar row reflect my performance in June. By that point in the year, I observed that my rowing form had become poor. I had developed a bad habit of cheating with my legs to kick-start the motion of the bar, which was taking the focus of the exercise off the back (and the cheating motion also just isn't safe). After several weeks of trying unsuccessfully to correct my form, I decided to alter the exercise to force me to use good form. I now use a piece of equipment that immobilizes my torso so I can't use my legs to cheat. As you might expect, the amount of weight I can move on the exercise took a big hit when I corrected my form, and I have not yet surpassed with good form the weight I was lifting with poor form. However, I'm lifting safely with correct form, both of which I think are good things.

I've been drafting my 2012 SMART goals the past few weeks; I'll post them here once I have them figured out.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Office Flirt

C and I constantly absolutely never quote from this sketch to each other. Constantly Absolutely never.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Ronald Reagan: not as anti-gay as I had thought

NPR had a very interesting article on Ronald Reagan yesterday. It discussed the modern Republican canonization of Reagan and how the generalizations about Reagan's presidency stack up against his actual presidency.

As you might expect, the real Reagan is different than the rosy Republican legend. The real Reagan eliminated taxes on lower-income Americans while raising them on middle and upper-income Americans. The real Reagan made virtually no change to abortion law, and he communicated with pro-life advocates over the phone rather than in-person.

However, I learned that the real Ronald Reagan is also somewhat more complicated than the entirely anti-LGBT politician recalled in progressive legend.

Within the gay community, Reagan is often remembered for turning his back on HIV/AIDS research during the height of the AIDS crisis of the 1980s. The fatal consequence of Reagan's refusal to investing research dollars in treating the disease was exacerbated by the inflammatory anti-gay comments he and his administration made about gays "deserving" AIDS. These facts are not legend, and hundreds of thousands of people--Americans, gay and straight alike--would likely have been spared agonizing deaths had Reagan acted differently. I maintain that Reagan's passive and active opposition to HIV/AIDS research remains a horrible mark on his presidency.

However, what I learned from the article was that Reagan was instrumental in stopping the Briggs Initiative--California's 1978 draconian ballot measure that would have made it illegal for LGBT people to be public school teachers. John Briggs himself, the virulently anti-gay legislator who authored the ballot measure, cited Ronald Reagan's involvement as the principal reason the ballot measure failed. I had no idea. From the Wikipedia article on the Briggs Initiative:

The former state Governor (and later US President) Ronald Reagan moved to publicly oppose the measure. Reagan issued an informal letter of opposition to the initiative, answered reporters' questions about the initiative by saying he was against, and, a week before the election, wrote an editorial in the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner opposing it.

The timing of Reagan's opposition is significant because he was then preparing to run for president, a race in which he would need the support of conservatives and moderates who were very uncomfortable with homosexual teachers. As Lou Cannon (Reagan biographer) puts it, Reagan was “well aware that there were those who wanted him to duck the issue” but nevertheless “chose to state his convictions.” Extensive excerpts from his informal statement were reprinted in the San Francisco Chronicle of September 24, 1978. Reagan's November 1 editorial stated, in part, “Whatever else it is, homosexuality is not a contagious disease like the measles. Prevailing scientific opinion is that an individual's sexuality is determined at a very early age and that a child's teachers do not really influence this.”

It is notable that politicians as diverse as Reagan, Gerald Ford, and (at the end of the campaign) then-president Jimmy Carter all opposed the bill.

While polls initially had showed support for the initiative leading by a large margin, it was defeated by a landslide following opposition by the LGBT community and prominent conservatives, moderates, and liberals alike.

If you have some spare time, consider checking out the article for yourself.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

2011 Goal Evaluation - Part 1

Alright. It's the second week of the new year. Time to face the music and evaluate my 2011 performance against the goals I set last year. But before looking at the fun, hobby-oriented goals I blogged about last year, I wanted to start with evaluating a much more significant 2011 goal.

Last year I read some training material on goal-setting. One of the big picture tools the material recommend was the so-called "miracle question":
If a miracle happened tonight and all your problems were changed, what would be the first thing you noticed tomorrow morning?
I love this question. Although there are a multitude of little things that I would like to acheive or change about my life, this question is a helpful tool for distilling things down to what is most significant.

In answer to the miracle question, last year I wrote down
I would wake up in bed next to C.
You see, for the first three years of our marriage, C and I saw each other only on weekends. We lived apart during the five nights of the work week as C finished up grad school and as I started my first professional job 100 miles away. Our weekly separation was a source of immense heartache for us. Answering the miracle question helped pinpoint that our separation was the number one thing in my life I wanted to change.

So for 2011 I wrote down the following SMART goal, my highest-priority goal for the year:
By the end of 2011, I want to be living under the same roof as C by finding gainful employment within driving distance of C's job.
Before evaluating any of the comparatively petty goals I blogged about a year ago, I wanted to report that we achieved this goal in 2011 :-) Through providence, luck, and a lot of job applications on his and my part, we now have jobs within 12 miles of each other.

Now I wake up cuddled next to C. Everyday. Our miracle has happened.


Thank you, God.

I love you, C.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Joe's Iowa GOP Predictions


Thank goodness Iowa finally goes to caucus tomorrow. My predictions of how the votes will shake out:
  1. Romney
  2. Santorum
  3. Paul
Thrilled to see Newt Gingrich's star has fallen; more thrilled to see Bachmann dragging the bottom of the barrel; unhappy to see Santorum surging *ahem* rising in the polls, but not at all worried about him--it is highly unlikely he'll finish in the top four in New Hampshire.

C and I are trying to figure out if Bachmann will withdraw from the race immediately or wait until she receives 0% of the vote in New Hampshire next week...

Hat tip: Real Clear Politics