Tag Archives: travel

2016. The Best year ever.


Obviously the first thing I did before I came on here to recap my year, was to take a look back at my previous blog entries from this past year.  On the very first post, https://ziosattic.wordpress.com/2016/01/18/when-things-cant-get-any-worse-thats-when-they-start-to-get-better/  I came across a statement that fully described how I felt going into 2016…

“Life is still in a transition.  I still live with my parents, and I’m still in school.  Sometimes I feel like it’s never going to get better, or when it does, I won’t know how be responsible as an adult.  I know my thoughts are opinions, not facts, but that doesn’t stop them from getting the best of me sometimes.  Especially days I’m on a no carb diet, but that’s a completely different story for another day.”

With that said, all I can say back is that 2016 was the best year ever.  Or at least that I’ve had in the past 10 years.  In April, I graduated from school.  Immediately following my graduation I was offered a position teaching for the school I was doing my training at.  I was given the opportunity to go to Florida the day after I graduated.  I got to see my old friend Nathan from Ft. Myers on that vacation as well.  In July I got my own apartment with my own money and credit, using my charming personality and desire to always move forward as a driving force to get exactly what I wanted.  A new apartment in Oak Park.  In August, I went to Vegas and saw Mariah Carey!  A dream that the crack head 4 years ago wrote off as an impossible venture.  This vacation was the first time in years I felt free.  I got to feel like myself.  As well as everything was going, I was still struggling with the fact that dating was not my thing and was trying to get comfortable with that fact that I was going to be alone forever.  Then just like that, I met the man of my dreams.  I was able to love again.  The kinda love that makes your heart cramp, skip beats and feel so full, you’d think you would explode.   It’s been years since I could say those words, but I suddenly started to hear myself say those three dangerous words.  I love you.  As if that wasn’t enough, I bought a new car.  My down payment, my credit, my loan.  One more very important thing, Tony and I adopted a cat, Mars.

As far as my writing is concerned, I started my “Letters to Joey” series.  It has proved to be, and still will be a very therapeutic part of the creative process, allowing me to let go of what used to be, and fulfilling some undying need that I have to reach out to the guy that changed my life forever.  If it wasn’t for Joey, this amazing 2016 would have never happened.  This reality of mine would have never exsited if it wasn’t for three words from him.  Leave me alone.

Here’s t0 2017.  I hope to write a lot more.  I am planning on loving someone with my whole heart and not push love away.  Maintaining my lifestyle is all I hope to do this year, and continue to grow with the man I love.  Not on my own.  I’m going to be less selfish and I’m going to learn how to say no.  My biggest challenge is going to this relationship.  It’s going to be long term.  We are going to fight, there are going to be bad days, and I hope I’ve learned enough about life to handle all that comes my way with a grain of salt, to believe in love, and not let the small stuff ruin my day.  Happy 2017 readers, here it goes….

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TOLEDO (Writing 201-Acrostic, simile)

Traveling is a gift to my soul. It fills my empty heart like a pool full of people on a hot summer day.  Happy.

Opens my mind like a clearing in the dark clouds over head.  Peace.

Leaving all the drama behind, like a child in a day care. Temporary.

Eventually I return like the geese in the summer. Anxious

Distributing gifts to the people I love, like Santa Claus on Christmas.  Grateful.

Only to dream of the next trip, like a soul searching for love.  Patient.

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Holy Toledo! (Memoirs of A Vacation 3)

Holy Toledo is right!  Being from Chicago, I can really appreciate a city that has a lot of its original historic structures.  I LOVE the glass and steel towering monuments that make up Chicago, but visiting here makes me wonder what kind of beauty was ripped down and demolished to pave the way for becoming the “Home of the Skyscraper”.  You also have to take into effect the miles of highways that seem to run right through the city of Chicago and what was lost to build these roads that are so traveled on today.

Our first stop in our journey was the “Black Kite” coffee shop.  This is my friends place of employment and I got to enjoy a beautifully crafted brunch with the luxury of paying half of the original cost.  My French toast was served with a sweet berry sauce that completely removed my need for maple syrup.  He had some crunchy avocado salad with tortilla, chick peas and of course avocado that I found myself stealing bites from throughout the whole meal.

Next we wondered over to the Rosary Cathedral.  BREATHTAKING.  Born a Catholic and not so practicing, I really was reminded what it was like growing up in the church.  It also made me realize that even being from Chicago, I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a magnificent display of art and wonder.  I took many pictures, lit a candle for my grandma and the fallen addicts before me, also blessed myself on the way out.  I’m far less talented of a writer then most to be able to put into words the glory that I saw and the emotions I felt from just being in that building.

Down the road, within walking distance we stopped to see the Collingwood Arts Center which was taken over from an old school for girls and a convent.  The building was old, built in 1875 I believe and barley touched.  I don’t think there were any changes to the building since it was built.  The glass windows where stained with a fog from the elements.  The wood never touched, down to the wooden stall doors in the bathroom.  The paint was chipping and the hardwood floor that haunting creaked was completely worn in.  I LOVE IT.  We got to do a full tour and entered rooms on all 5 floors hoping to experience something paranormal.  I felt anxious looking around getting a real feel of what it was like to walk those halls all those years ago.  The building was connected to the Christian Gerber mansion, also outstanding, accessible and in similar shape.  I could wander and explore that convent and mansion for hours if time allowed.

There was a free swap across the street at the community garden where I picked up some worn boots and a hoodie.  I’m a sucker for free shit.  The real shopping started at “Handmade Toledo” a crafty gift and clothing shop where I managed to spend $120 on things to bring home to the family, friends and the boyfriend that I anticipate to have.  I forgot that I probably, well, certainly spent more on myself.

Never hearing of the Toledo Mud Hens until my train ride, I became obsessed with the idea of getting myself a baseball hat.  That brought us to Fifth Third Stadium and to my disappointed the gift shop was closed but will reopen tomorrow.  I’M GETTING THIS HAT.  Right down the street was the art museum and we toured that and I got a fabulous book about the sneaker exhibit that will soon be traveling through.

What a long eventful day!  Next up is some dinner and a talent show to end the evening.  All in all, a pretty amazing day full of exploring and sightseeing, exactly what this guy right here wanted to do.  I always get a little home sick, and this time I know why.  I got a special guy waiting at home for me to get back that I can’t wait to spoil with little Toledo gifts and kisses.

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Legacy Club (Memoirs of a Vacation 2)

I almost took a bus to Toledo.  Thank the God of my understanding that I didn’t.  Hehe, just a little NA humor there.  I decided to take the Amtrak and leave from Chicago’s Union Station.  Upon checking in, I had to ask for the comfort pack which includes a blanket, head pillow, ear plugs and an eye mask.  I’ll probably use none of the above but I’m a sucker for an upgrade.  Dolce70615 on Instagram has a minute by minute, play by play photo diary of my trip.  I’m also a sucker for a VIP upgrade.  I get to wait in the Legacy Lounge rather then sit on the long wooden benches in the loud and echo crazy Great Hall.  Free WIFI, snacks, TV, comfort seating and charging stations.  I’m living the dream, and they just made an extra 20 bucks.  I got to tour the old barber shop that used to be part of this VIP waiting room in the 1930’s-1960’s.  I think there is something nostalgic and magical about taking the train.  Maybe its my complimentary SANPELLEGRINO that’s doing the talking,  maybe its just this VIP lounge with all of its historic restoration reminding me of America’s past, when this was the sole way to travel.  No matter what it is, I’ll take it.  I’m ready to go to Toledo.

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Who goes to Toledo?! (Memoirs of a Vacation 1)

This guy.  This guy right here planned a vacation to Toledo, Ohio.  Sometimes it’s not about where you are going, but who you are going to visit.  Sometimes, it’s just about escaping to anyplace that isn’t home.  I’d say both apply to me.  If the Motel 6 in the next town over (which would be Lombard) was the only place I could go, I would jump on that opportunity too.  Luckily for me I get to leave the Chicago suburbs and visit one of my best friends.

I’ve known Mitch for way too long.  It’s a friendship that has changed, and had its ups and downs for over 13 years.  We are lucky to have been the original staff at Crew Bar and Grill in Uptown, which I was shortly fired from for slapping a girl in the ass that was playing pool after I had a few after work beers.  Self centered me still has a little part inside that thinks I got fired because my ex was the owner and the boys all loved me.  Mitch worked in the kitchen and I remember his light eyes underneath that blue Crew hat he had on backwards peering at me over the hot food area.  I’m sure there is a technical term for the place they put your orders on when they are ready to go out, but I’ll just stick with “hot food area”.  For what its worth, he looked ghetto as hell with that fitted hat on backwards and it made me melt.  To this day, that is still my favorite hat, and I still feel some type of way when I see a cute ghetto boy.

Mitch was anything but ghetto.  He remains one of my most intelligent friends.  We started spending a lot of time together and exchanged many phone calls and texts.  Most of my life I have beaten myself up for what I was doing instead of where I was going, and this time was no different.  I was probably at the peak of my escorting days and even though I portrayed confidence on the outside, I felt like a piece of cat shit on the inside.  As the relationship developed, I pushed him away, like I do most people because I feel if they ever knew my truth, they would leave me anyways.  He was moving to New York for culinary school anyways and I certainly did not trust myself to trust someone else to go to New York and be faithful to me.  Relationships have always to date, been my downfall in life.  He was too good, and I was too bad, so it needed to develop into something else.  That something else became something more.

While in New York, I came to visit him and had the best vacation of my life.  After I went back a lot of things changed.  The worse I felt about myself the harder I pushed him away, and my actions of self indulgence while seeking attention eventually over powered the friendship.  When the only way you know how to make friends is to have sex with them, you develop a strange sense of self.  I still struggle with this today at 35!  What is wrong with me? I’ll tell you!  I had problems with being the person someone wanted to know, versus being the person you wanted to have sex with.  I imagine this is the struggle Britney Spears also goes through everyday. Yes, I just compared myself to Britney Jean Spears.

He went to New York, and I went to the burbs to go to beauty school.  I met Tony and he met some dude I already forgot what his name was.  They moved to Phoenix and I moved all over from Florida to every burb in Chicago.  This is the first time Mitch hurt me, instead of me doing it to him.  Basically he decided that it was best to not talk to me, because his boyfriend didn’t like it.  That was a shock because over the years we always managed to have some contact, even when I was with Tony who limited all contact I had to other guys.

They broke up, and he eventually moved back to Chicago.  I had a new boyfriend Jason and a thing on the side called a Crystal Meth addiction.  Through everything, Mitch was always there in my heart and my head.  He was safe place for me.  I told him most everything about my life and my addiction and he never judged me, but maybe that’s because he had an addiction of him own that I never saw.  Porn.  Just kidding.  He was a struggling alcoholic.

My time line is shaky, but we both moved so much!  He then left Chicago again, and gave me all his plants before he headed off into the sunset.  I was at the peak of my meth addiction and again, shrugged it off that he was leaving.  He hit his bottom.  He then moved back to Ohio and become a recovering alcoholic instead of the functioning alcoholic his body and brain trained him to be.  I WAS OUT OF CONTROL AND ALL OVER THE PLACE.  The worst place in my adult life, back to prostitution, sex for money, sex for drugs and sex to feel wanted.  His recovery was great, and again just made him look better then me on the inside.  All I ever cared about was what I looked like on the outside, because addicts manipulate people and my body was my biggest weapon.

Finally God served it to me HARDCORE and I lost it all.  Including my mind, at the same time Mitch was taking a trip out to see his drug addicted friend.  I needed him the most those few days and life played out to have him there for me.  I tried staying away from meth.  Now I was going to an outpatient facility and was going to stop everything including the marijuana that I loved so much.

Today we are both in recovery.  Mitch has never met me sober.  I would never even take a trip to Toledo in fear of a 5 hour commute without smoking weed.  I would never go to Toledo anyways because how fun could a sober guy really be?? Today I have never been so excited to go to Toledo.  I get to see one of the best friends I have ever had in my life.  He gets to meet me, completely clean for the first time in our life.  Our relationship has truly passed the test of time, and I know someone who has taught me that not everyone just wants me for my body.  Furthermore its been a long and rough summer, and I need to get away.  I cant think of a better person to spend my time with.  My train leaves tomorrow, Chicago to Toledo at 6PM.

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