Posts Tagged ‘Panama City’

Making Good on a Bad Decision

“I feel that I need to do something while I’m still healthy and still young enough to start over again because we never really know how much time we have left! 

I don’t want to be a really old man and be saddled with regrets that I could have done something about.”

Those were my thoughts in June 2019 in my “I Need to Write My ‘Next Chapter'” blog.

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I really don’t have too many regrets in my life, but there’s one that’s been weighing heavily on me.

My life shattered in February 2017 when my ex and I decided to end our marriage and our eight-year relationship.

I made the irrational decision to move away from the Quad Cities rather than stay and start my life over again there.

So, after 11.5 years in Moline, Illinois, I took a job in Panama City, Florida, and moved there in May 2017.  I stayed for a year.

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I made three incredible friends, Gerard and Cathy, who started the Panama City PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) chapter, and Diane, a neighbor in my apartment complex.

Also, while there, I drove through the backwoods of the South to Plains, Georgia, to meet my idol, former President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter.

Autograph Carters

However, there was nothing else I liked about Panama City or the area.

So, in the summer of 2018, I took the Chief Meteorologist position at the Fox affiliate in Duluth, Minnesota.

It gave me a chance to work with some really great people, including zany Dan Hanger, our evening anchor, the most popular newscaster in Northland television!

After our appearance at the Superior, Wisconsin, Halloween parade, we decided to have an adult beverage and we sent our evening director Katie this little snippet of us lip syncing Taylor Swift’s “You Need To Calm Down”.

The joke is that Katie regularly has to tell Dan, “Not Today!” 🙂

And, speaking of Katie…

She and her mother, Mary Kaye, became two of my dearest friends, along with Kass, one of my neighbors.

For the past two Thanksgivings and Christmases, I feasted with Katie and Mary Kaye (and Duke, the golden retriever).  We also made it a point to have each other over for Saturday night dinners almost monthly.

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As you can tell, they’re camera shy! 🙂

And, Kass regularly hosted cocktail hour at her place for the two of us to enjoy each other’s company and talk.

But, the dating scene in Duluth was dismal and my work schedule became very undesirable.  No one wants to basically work around the clock for days on end — at any age or at any point in their career!

Plus, I was still an eight-hour drive away from my sister, Tammy, in the Quad Cities.

Night Cruise

When I was in Bangkok, Thailand, in March 2019, I made the decision that when my contract was up in June 2020, I’d move to Las Vegas, give up television, and wait tables!

I wanted to start living again!

However, this winter, after a lot of thought and deliberation (with myself), I came to the conclusion that maybe it wasn’t the right time in my life.

And, then Coronavirus came along and I’m glad I didn’t pursue Vegas as “home”.

As that door closed, another one opened and a great opportunity presented itself to me out of the blue.

Now, the time has come to share some news with you — the “next chapter” is beginning soon amidst the Coronavirus pandemic! 😱

Kylie

Back in May 2017 as I was driving through Henry County, Illinois, on Interstate 74, tears streamed down my face as I left my sister, my friends, and my shattered life in the Quad Cities.

This past February, I made a covert trip back to the Quad Cities and Illinois. 🙂

And, this time, driving that same stretch of I-74 in Henry County at sunrise offered me hope and the chance to right the wrong — I was making good on a bad decision!

Henry County Illinois

“Climb That Mountain High” from Reba McEntire’s 1990 album, “Rumor Has It”, has always been a beacon of encouragement for me.

The song was an inspiration to me when I started my television news career and it’s given me hope every time I was ready to move on.

“Red sun a-rising, over the hill/I’ve had enough of this desert to last from now until… This could be the day I finally find my way out”

“How I arrived here, oh heaven only knows/Seems more like the kind of place the devil would have chose… I know somewhere down the road my dreams will come true”!

I’m heading back to the Land of Lincoln!

I accepted the morning meteorologist position at the NBC affiliate in Decatur, in central Illinois!  (It’s part of the Champaign-Decatur-Springfield television market.)

Decatur

Now, I’ll be able to see my sister in three hours, instead of setting aside a whole day to drive one way!

And, we’ll be able to spend holidays together again!

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And, along with this “next chapter”, #Pug2020 is still in my plans unless the real life situation (Coronavirus, again!) delays it!

By the way, this “air freshener” was another “sign” from Bangkok last year.  It was in one of the cabs! 🙂

#Pug2020

Thailand Pug AP

MY NEXT APARTMENT

Let’s end on a lighthearted note!

When I left Kentucky, for good, in the summer of 1994 for Chicago, as my 20s were winding down, I envisioned my next apartment complex.

I had hoped it’d be like “Melrose Place” with Jake (Grant Show) as my neighbor. 🙂

Grant Amy

Okay, the “Melrose Place” before crazy Kimberly (Marcia Cross) moved in and blew the damn place up! 🙂

Melrose Place

Oops, spoiler alert!

Or, I was dreaming of 28 Barbary Lane (“Tales of the City”) with Anna Madrigal as my eccentric land lady…

28 Barbary Lane

and Mary Ann Singleton (Laura Linney) and Michael “Mouse” Tolliver as my friends!

Mary Ann

Neither has happened in all my moves, but there’s always Decatur!  LOL

Honestly, I think I’m too old for those silly dreams and dramas now!

My friends, here’s to new beginnings and a happy, healthy new future — not just for me, but for all of us!

Anthony

My Future in Other People’s Words

You know I love writing and sharing my thoughts with you.   I’ve been doing with my blog for eight years now.

Today, I’m sharing some thoughts about my future — more specifically, the spring of 2020 — and I’m doing this in other people’s words!

I hope you find this deviation interesting and enlightening!

CHRIS McCANDLESS

In 1990, after graduating from Emory College with degrees in history and anthropology, 22-year-old Chris McCandless gave away his $24,000 in savings to a charitable organization that fought against global poverty.

He then hit the road to live a vagabond life.

In late April 1992, he was last seen alive on the Stampede Trail around the northern boundary of Denali National Park in Alaska.

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After spending months in the frontier, with little food and equipment and inexperienced with the layout of the area, McCandless headed back to civilization.  But, he was trapped by melting snow and flooding!

His journal entries indicated 113 days in the wilderness, but his last real thoughts were noted on day 107.

McCandless died in August 1992 at the age of 24.

While Chris met an untimely and sad ending, I’m inspired by his young thinking mind!

McCANDLESS:  “So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future.”

McCandless goes on to say, “The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”

Jon Krakauer’s 1996 book, “Into the Wild” about McCandless’ life and death was made into a movie the next year starring Emile Hirsch.

“RHINESTONE COWBOY” (GLEN CAMPBELL)

In my career life, the cities have always chosen me:  Rhinelander (WI), Lubbock (TX), Youngstown (OH), Mansfield (OH), Salisbury (MD), Moline (IL), Rock Island (IL), Panama City (FL), and Duluth (MN).

The only times I’ve chosen the city to call home that wasn’t career-related, it was Chicago.  And, both times, it was the best decision I’ve ever made!

I’ve been walkin’ these streets so long/Singin’ the same old song

I know every crack in these dirty sidewalks of Broadway

Where hustle the name of the name of the game

And nice guys get washed away like the snow and the rain

There’s been a load of compromising/On the road road to my horizon

But I’m gonna be where the lights are shining on me”

“BEAUTY AND THE BEAST”

Belle: “There must be more than this provincial life.”

Belle

“XANADU”

“A million lights are dancing and there you are, a shooting star/
An everlasting world and you’re here with me, eternally/
Xanadu, Xanadu”

Xanadu

“Xanadu, your neon lights will shine/for you, Xanadu”

REBA McENTIRE IS TALKING TO ME!

No matter what’s going on in my life, good or bad, happy or sad, when Reba McEntire releases a new album there’s a song that I feel is just for me.

On her spring 2019 release, “Stronger Than The Truth”, there were two songs!

Reba Truth

Neither are happy, but one offers some hope.

“THE CLOWN”

My life in 2017 was played out tragically in song with “The Clown”.

“After a couple of bottle of red wine, the truth finally came out/
The words ‘I don’t love you anymore’ spilled from his mouth”

But, in the restaurant, the piano kept playing, cell phones kept ringin’, glasses were clinkin’, and everyone was laughin’, dancin’, and singin’

“So I painted a smile on my face to cover the frown/
In that room full of jokers and jesters, I was the clown”

“THE BAR’S GETTING LOWER”

If you don’t have Reba’s “Stronger Than The Truth” album, it’s fantastic.

“The Bar’s Getting Lower” is the song that really sings to me.  It punches you in the gut, but it also offers hope!

Reba sings of a woman whose mother told her to hold out for a good man, which, many years ago, sounded like a good plan.  However, as we know, life doesn’t always go as planned!

“She was hoping for pink champagne/
But she’ll settle for well whiskey

She saw herself in a long white gown/
Not downtown gettin’ tipsy

And that one-night stand walking through the door/
Ain’t the marrying kind, yeah that’s for sure

But she’s gettin’ older/And the bar’s gettin’ lower”

So, does she go home with the one night stand or not?

“She could thank him for the drink and walk away/
Live to love another day

But she’s gettin’ older
And the night’s gettin’ colder
And the bar’s gettin’ lower”

Take a listen to the song here if you haven’t heard it.

And, I’ll end this look at my future in the words of others on a very happy and sexy note with Kylie Minogue.

In 2018, she turned 50 years old.  And, after beating cancer in 2005, she’s still as popular and busy as ever.

“Golden” was the title of her 2018 album and subsequent tour.

Kylie Golden Tour

The lyrics of the title track are so inspiring!!!

Tomorrow has all the answers/ Today says we’ve just begun”

“We’re not young, and we’re not old/
We’re the stories not yet told/
Won’t be bought and can’t be sold/
We are golden”

“Don’t you feel the sun on your face?/
Hopeful hearts of the human race/
Wrapped in the arms of love”

We’re golden/Burn like the stars
Stay golden/Straight from the heart
We’re the voice that’ll never give in/
Getting knocked down, back up again
We’re golden, golden
That’s who we are”

Here’s the very stunning Kylie Minogue with an array of beautiful men helping her out, including Jake Leigh and Anders Deeno Nielsen.

In my future, when the rain comes falling down, may it rain glitter!

Kylie

And, here’s a bonus just because it’s so damn hot and summer is coming!

Maybe I should re-consider Las Vegas? 🙂

Anthony

 

Random Thoughts — May 10, 2019

Happy Mother’s Day weekend to all of the moms and future moms out there, whether it’s children, godchildren, pets or plants!

Here’s a flashback to spring 1990 with my mother, Dessie, and my sister, Tammy.  While we didn’t know it then, this would be her last spring and Mother’s Day with us! 😦

Dessie 1990

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts.  If you disagree, feel free to diplomatically share yours with me!

IT’S SPRING, BUT NOT SO MUCH IN DULUTH

Okay, we’re already past the first week of May and we just experienced record May snowfall in Duluth, Minnesota.

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10.6″ of snow fell Wednesday night and Thursday morning.  Of that, 8.3″ fell Wednesday night making it the snowiest May 8th on record and the snowiest single day in May.

An additional 2.3″ fell on Thursday making it the snowiest May 9th on record.

This is now the snowiest May on record with 10.9″ (so far).

For this snow season, we’re up to 104.4″ in Duluth, making this the 15th snowiest winter on record and these records go back to 1884!

REALLY CLASSY PANAMA CITY BEACH! 

As you know, I was miserable the year I spent in Panama City, Florida, before moving to Duluth.

While I made three amazing friends and I’m sure there were many other great people I didn’t meet, there were a lot of people there that believed every word that spews out of 45’s ugly mouth.

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He was in Panama City Beach this week and while talking about immigrants and how to handle the border, a woman in the audience shouted, “Shoot them”!

He smiled and commented, “That’s only in the Panhandle, you can get away with that statement. Only in the Panhandle!”

Sadly, it’s probably true!  Pathetic!

PINK SAID WHAT???? 

To “Entertainment Weekly” about the title track of her latest album, “Hurts 2B Human”, a duet with Khalid: “I feel like if you’re present in 2019 and not totally escaping your feelings and looking around at what’s going on in the world, especially this country, it hurts.  It fucking hurts your heart.  I think that’s a good thing, because that’s what creates change, and we’re starting to see change and people show up and fight back!” 

“FERRARO: MY STORY”

This 1985 autobiography is by Congresswoman Geraldine A. Ferraro.

In 1984, she became the first woman to make it on a major presidential ticket when Democratic nominee Walter Mondale chose her as his running mate.

Ferraro.jpg

While she talked about her family, her mother raising her and her brother as a single parent after her father’s death and her early political career, the book focuses mostly on the weeks leading up to her nomination and the long and painful 1984 presidential run.

In the book, this story stood out to me and it’s very relevant today as we head into a bitter fight into the 2020 race to get Donald Trump out of office.

It was early 1983 and Ferraro was talking about which eventual Democratic candidate she’d support.  She wanted someone who shared her values to be the candidate, but she would campaign for any Democrat to defeat Ronald Reagan.

Ferraro wrote, “Even an imperfect candidate would be better than Reagan — that’s how strongly I felt.”

“THE BLOOD OF ABRAHAM”

This 1985 book by my idol and former President Jimmy Carter traces the history of the Israeli-Palestinian turmoil back to biblical times when the Arabs, the Jews and the Christians all came from Abraham.

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If you’re not a reader of the Bible, some of the history is overwhelming and, to me, unbelievable (Abraham fathered children when he around 100 years old and he lived to 175!).

But, this was only in the first few pages of the book.

The great, concise book (just over 200 pages) details the torturous history of Palestine that only became more daunting once Israel came into existence in 1948 and Arab Palestinians didn’t have a home or home state.

As you recall, President Carter worked night and day for almost two week at Camp David in the summer of 1978 with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachen Begin to broker a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Arabs.

Sadly, there will never be peace between the two peoples over this small piece of real estate because neither side wants to give up anything to make peace.

Carter sums up the book talking about Abraham’s blood flowing through the veins of the Arab, Jew and Christian people and the bloody history of the Middle East with this chilling line, “The spilled blood in the Holy Land cries out to God — an anguished cry for peace.” 

AMERICA’S CRY FOR PEACE

It’s easy for Westerners to shake their heads over the long-standing history of violence in the Middle East.  But, that’s very narrow-minded of us.

Without being too judgmental, it’s like that right now in the United States.  We have strong race divisions, religious divisions, human rights divisions, and many more.

Just look at the divide between Democrats and Republicans, Hillary Clinton supporters, Bernie Sanders fans, and the ones that think that Donald Trump can do no wrong!

We’ve crossed a line from which we can’t (or will never) rebound!

I’m not a pessimist, I’m a realist!

“MADAME X TOUR”

Madonna announced her latest tour this week to support her 14th studio album, “Madame X” coming out June 14th.

And, not surprising, it’s something new for the ever-changing icon.

Instead of taking her very expensive and incredible tours to arenas and cities all over the world, she’s doing mini-residencies in smaller theaters in large cities in the U.S. and Europe.

Madonna Madame X Tour.jpg

So far, only New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago have been announced.  The tickets sold out so quickly that five more shows were added in New York City and four more in Los Angeles.

While only 25 show dates are known now, she’s set to announce additional dates for Boston, Las Vegas, Miami, and Philadelphia for 2019.

Since I didn’t get to Vegas last year, I’m planning on seeing Madonna for the fifth time when the show plays at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace.

And, while the dates aren’t public yet, I’d venture to say that it’ll be in December since no headliner has been announced there in that month! 🙂

“KILLING EVE” UPDATE

I couldn’t take the suspense any longer.  After finishing season one of the critically acclaimed BBC America series, I slowly started watching season two.

I’m four episodes in (five of the eight season two episodes have aired).

In the second episode, I almost peed myself with a line that likely went over the heads of most Americans!

Giving a power point presentation to her new team of detectives about Villanelle’s murders, Eve mentions that Bill was killed (oops, spoiler!) on a club’s dance floor and she quickly replies:

Eve Murder on the Dance Floor.gif

“MURDER ON THE DANCEFLOOR”

“Murder on the Dance Floor” by Sophie Ellis Bextor was a minor dance club hit here in the U.S. in the early 2000s, yet it hit the Top Ten in, at least, 18 countries worldwide.

I fell in love with this song at Roscoe’s when I moved back to Chicago in 2002.

It’s from her fantastic debut album, “Read My Lips”.

MARIAH CHRISTMAS EARLY!

While Christmas is still more than seven months away, Mariah Carey recently announced that she’ll be performing her holidays standards again in Las Vegas.

Her “All I Want For Christmas Is You” will be returning to the Colosseum at Caesars Palace for five shows November 22-30, 2019.

MC ALL I WANT VEGAS

Trust me, this is a phenomenal show!  I saw a version of it in December 2017 in Vegas.

This is what I wrote about it on my return, “She was absolutely gorgeous and flawless and her voice was crisp and angelic. The sets were magical and stunning and for just over 90 minutes, all my unhappiness was a distant memory!”

THAT’S IT

With all the craziness in the world, make it the best in your little part of it!

Anthony

My Life This Year – Christmas 2018

Happy Holidays!

Christmas Tree

Here’s my tree and my presents this year.

Gifts.JPG

Most of them are from my sister and her boyfriend, Gerald.  There’s also three tins of homemade sweet treats from my dear friend Connie and “Crazy Rich Asians” which I bought for myself. 🙂

It’s that time of the year again and I hope life is treating you well.  

Bedford Falls

It’s been another year of changes for me.  Luckily, for the better! As you know, 2017 was a life-altering year that I’d rather forget!

However, there were two highlights in 2017, which is where I’ll start!

In July, I got to meet my idol, President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn in Plains, Georgia.

Autograph Carters

And, in December, I saw three incredible concerts in Las Vegas.

With all of the sadness I felt last year, it was forgotten for 90 minutes at Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” show.

MC ALL I WANT VEGAS

To this day, the beauty and spectacle of that holiday treat still brings a smile to my face. 🙂  The sets were magical and Mariah looked and sounded flawless!

Also on that trip, I saw Tanya Tucker and Lionel Richie.

Tanya

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I met Lionel and he told me that he doesn’t shake hands, he’s a hugger!  Then, he hugged me! 🙂

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In March 2018, my sister, Tammy, and I escaped for several days to Cancun, Mexico.

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Weeks later, I accepted the Chief Meteorologist position at Fox 21 News in Duluth, Minnesota, and I moved there in June.

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I spent a year in Panama City, Florida, and it’s no secret that I was very unhappy there.  However, I didn’t realize how lucky I was to leave when I did.  In October, Hurricane Michael devastated Northwest Florida, including Panama City.

Much of my apartment complex was totally destroyed and my dear friends, Cathy and Gerard

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and Robbie (left) and Diane (right)

Robbie Diane AP

are still picking up the pieces of their lives! 😦

In memory of my apartment and the complex in Panama City, here’s my balcony from last Christmas!

Balcony.jpg

On a happier note, after 19 months, I saw snow again in October!

I can’t wait to have a real winter, but it scares me a bit.  It’s not the 86” of snow that Duluth picks up in an average winter (more in some years), it’s that the city is built on a hill that leads down to Lake Superior!  And, I’ll have to endure months of bitterly cold temperatures in the Northland!

This is my apartment’s backyard view toward Lake Superior down the “hill”!

Snow.jpg

In October, I went to Morocco, in northwest Africa.

This was the first time I traveled internationally by myself.   I met some fun people that made the trip very enjoyable.

It was incredible learning about the African continent, the Muslim faith, and enjoying delicious Moroccan food!

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I’m very excited for the next chapter in my life.  I’m already trying to decide what I want to do next (when I grow up)!!! 🙂

For now, I’ll just have an Olivia Pope Christmas and enjoy my beautiful tree, free flowing wine and popcorn!

Olivia Christmas

If you had a great year, I hope 2019 is even more fantastic.  If 2018 was a tough one for you, I hope things turn around in the New Year!

“May hope and faith conquer fear and hate this Christmas!”

Anthony

 

Random Friday Thoughts — May 25, 2018

May is almost over and it’s Memorial Day weekend, which is the “unofficial” start to the summer season.

After today’s blog, I’ll be going on “hiatus” to get moved to Duluth, Minnesota.

When I make new friends up north, I hope that some of them grill out!

kEBOB

In addition to missing companionship, my friends and family, and my koi pond, grilling out is another thing I’ve really missed since leaving the Quad Cities!

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How are you doing on those “New Year’s Resolutions”?

I’m sure many are history and some of you are still paying for those unused gym memberships! 🙂

I decided to look back at my first two blogs of the year, “2018: Looking Ahead, Not Back”  and “Random Friday (2018) Thoughts”, to see how I’m doing on my resolutions and predictions.

If you want to see the pictures, videos, and read the complete blogs, both links are here and they’ll open in a new window, so you won’t lose your place in today’s blog.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2018/01/01/2018-looking-ahead-not-back/

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2018/01/05/random-friday-2018-thoughts/

In the January 1st blog, I wrote, “The highlight of my Christmas season was the 90-minutes-plus I spent in Mariah Carey’s Christmas wonderland for her “All I Want For Christmas” show in Las Vegas a few weeks ago.”

MC ALL I WANT VEGAS

It’s now almost summer and that night still crosses my mind.  It was truly magical!

I also talked about battling bulimia and how I used to be so spontaneous.

While visiting Chicago over Memorial Day weekend in 1994, I had a “Come to Jesus” moment.  A little over a month later, I left Kentucky and moved to third largest city in the U.S.!

But, that was then, this is now.   Somewhere along the way, I became a “planner” and lost my spontaneity and I want to find it again!

As last year ended and 2018 began, I needed change and the words of my favorite song of 2017, “Silence” by Marshmello featuring Khalid, hit me hard while I was reflecting on my life:

“I’m in need of a savior, but I’m not asking for favors/My whole life, I’ve felt like a burden/I THINK TOO MUCH, I HATE IT/I’m so used to being in the wrong, I’m tired of caring/Loving never gave me a home, so I’ll sit here in the silence”

I do think too much.

I wrote that it was time to “shake it off” and leave Panama City if I wasn’t happy, “I have four cities in mind for a fresh start. Two of them, I’d move to with or without a television job…”

The two I would have moved to without a television job were Palm Springs, California, and Las Vegas.

Vegas

Well, it’s funny how you make plans and set a timeline and then God sits back and laughs.

I said if I didn’t have a television job by Halloween 2018, I’d be out of here anyways.

Well, I’m leaving Florida next week and I’ll be moving into my new apartment in Duluth, Minnesota, on June 2nd, to call the “Northland” home!

Duluth at Christmas

I’m so thrilled to not only start the next chapter in my life, but to start living again!  Cheers!

Claire

In “Random Friday (2018) Thoughts”, (posted 1/5/18), I stated that after seeing five concerts in Las Vegas in 2017 (The Australian Bee Gees, Britney Spears, Tanya Tucker, Lionel Richie, and Mariah Carey), I’d like to see Rod Stewart, Ricky Martin, and Jennifer Lopez this year.

Those shows aren’t going to happen for me now, but I’m still holding out that if I only see one concert this year that it’s Kylie Minogue.

Kylie

Come on Kylie, add Saint Paul, Minnesota, to your North American tour dates when you announce the “Golden Tour”.

As for movies, I’ve already seen the first two on my list, “Call Me By Your Name” and “Love, Simon”.

I can forget “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” (7/20) now — unless I find out for sure that Donna Sheridan (Meryl Streep) is alive in more than a couple of scenes!

I’ve replaced it “Crazy Rich Asians”, which could be the new “Pretty Woman” — well, without Julia Roberts and turning tricks in Los Angeles.

Also, I’m excited about “Halloween” (10/19) with Jamie Lee Curtis returning as Laurie Strode.

jamie-lee-curtis-halloween

“Bohemian Rhapsody” about Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury has been moved up to November 2nd from Christmas Day 2018.  It stars the incredible Rami Malek of “Mr. Robot”.

Here’s the new trailer!

And, finally, on Christmas Day 2018, there’s Emily Blunt and Ben Whishaw in “Mary Poppins Returns” (12/25).

Mary-Poppins-Returns-EW-Exclusive-2

So, it looks like I’m doing okay on my resolutions and my prospects of being a happy person again!

And, I’m looking forward to snow and a “White Christmas” again!

White Red Christmas

THAT’S IT

With all the craziness in the world, make it the best in your little part of it!

Anthony

I’ll Let You In On A Secret!

“I’m tired of living day-to-day and hand-to-mouth/This could be the day I finally find my way out”

“I’m gonna climb that mountain high/I’m gonna see what’s on the other side/I’m gonna kiss this town good-bye/I’m gonna climb that mountain”

“How I arrived here, heaven only knows/Seems more like the kind of place the devil would’ve chose…I know somewhere down the road my dreams will come true”

“Climb That Mountain High” is from Reba McEntire’s 1990 album, “Rumor Has It”.  It was one of the first CDs I bought and my first from Reba!

That song has always been a beacon of encouragement for me.  It was there when I was looking to launch my television news career and every time I was awaiting my next move.

I’ve been listening to the song again daily for weeks now!

“CHANGE”

Almost a year ago (in “Change”), I shared details of some big changes in my life that would take me to Panama City, Florida, “So, as much as I love Midwestern snows, I’m trading it all in for the occasional hurricane and tropical storm!”

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What the hell was I thinking — giving up snow and four distinct seasons?

In my “Christmas Update” blog on December 18, 2017, I pontificated, “I’m miserable… life is too short to feel this way and if things don’t change soon, I’ll make a change for myself and not just accept a “Band-Aid” to cover something that needs more attention – my happiness.”

In a talk after the holidays with my fantastic news director Tom Lewis, he agreed that life’s too short to be unhappy.  I said I’d start looking to return to Midwest and if I didn’t find a job, I’d be gone by Halloween!

In February, I contacted some stations across Illinois to try to get back closer to my sister and my friends in the Quad Cities, where I spent 11.5 years before the ill-fated move to Florida.

Sadly, there were no openings and many “we’ll keep you in mind when we have a position available”.

“CHANGE 2.0”

Change

In television news, like most professions, talent and experience are major factors to be considered.  However, timing and luck also play huge roles.

I contacted a station about an opening that was posted just after Thanksgiving.  I wondered why, four months later, the position wasn’t filled.

It turns out they were not in any hurry to fill the position and were waiting for the right person.

And, now back to that “timing and luck”.

The news director was at the end of his search.  He and I started corresponding and eight days later, I was offered the job and I accepted it.

My friends, in June, I’ll be the Chief Meteorologist at the Fox affiliate in Duluth, Minnesota, seven hours north of the Quad Cities.

I’m getting my four distinct seasons and my snow back!

From Wikipedia: “At 85″ per year, the port city of Duluth has the highest average snowfall total of any city in Minnesota”!

Two last weather notes:  I’ll have to get used to the bitter cold again.  The record low there is -41°, but it’s never reached 100° (97° is the record high).

I honestly feel like George Bailey in Bedford Falls at Christmas in “It’s A Wonderful Life”! Pottersville (Panama City, for me) was just an alternate universe!

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While some love it here and many love visiting the beaches (they think Panama City and Panama City Beach are the same), I just didn’t connect with the area.

At the beginning, from a dating standpoint, I wasn’t looking for anything since I was still reeling from the big changes in my personal life.

But, not one date in a year!!!

I’m now at the point where I’m ready to find my knight on a white horse like Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman”).

“I would pretend I was a princess, trapped in the tower by a wicked queen. And then suddenly, this knight, on a white horse, with these colors flying, would come charging up and draw his sword… and I would wave, and he would climb up the tower, and rescue me.”

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However, I did find two dear friends here — Cathy and Gerard Rifenburg.

Cathy founded the Panama City PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) chapter.

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A month after I moved here, they graciously invited me to a function they were hosting at their house.

Since then, we’ve enjoyed dinners and parties together, including Christmas Day.

Cathy and Gerard, I’ll miss you dearly.

Another highlight of my move to Florida was an early Sunday morning road trip last July to Plains, Georgia, to meet my childhood idols, President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter!

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One thing I definitely won’t miss — this mentality! (Disclaimer: I know not everyone fits into this category!)

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By the way (and this had no influence in my decision, but it makes me happy), Minnesota has only voted “red” once in my life time!

In 1972, it went along with 48 other states to re-elect Richard Nixon.  Yes, Reagan and Trump lost Minnesota!

So, I’ll proudly display my faded sticker on my car. (I did so in “red” Bay County, Florida, too!)

HCAnthony

 

‘Tis the Season, My Friends!

Christmas is my favorite time of the year.  This year, I put my tree and decorations up earlier than usual.  I really needed the beauty of the sparkling lights and the sounds of Christmas music to get me through my toughest year since my mother died 27 years ago!

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After eight years together, Ray and I decided to go our separate ways earlier in the year.

It wasn’t just one thing that brought us to this conclusion.  The outcome of the 2016 election was very difficult for me and it took its toll on us. (I’m still not at peace with it!)  Also, it turns out I was a better dad to a golden retriever than his teenage daughter.  And, Ray realized he wasn’t happy some time ago, but he didn’t address it.

So, I took a morning meteorologist position in Panama City, Florida.  I still love what I do, but with the changes in my personal life and the move, it hasn’t been easy.  I’m miserable and it’s not just because of the split. I miss my sister, my friends, my koi/fish pond, and the snow in the Midwest!

With that being said, life is too short to feel this way and if things don’t change soon, I’ll make a change for myself and not just accept a “Band-Aid” to cover something that needs more attention – my happiness.

Enough with the “Hard Candy Christmas”, let’s make it a “Holly Jolly Christmas”!  There were fun things in 2017!

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Meeting my childhood idol was the highlight of my move.

In July, I drove hours through the Southern “backwoods” to Plains, Georgia, and enjoyed a church sermon from President Jimmy Carter.

Not only did I get my picture taken with him and his wonderful wife, Rosalynn, but they sent me an autographed picture of us!

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Since paying bills isn’t the only reason I work, I traveled, too!

You know how much I love Las Vegas.  In March, I saw Britney Spears for the second time.

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And, I caught the Australian Bee Gees, a cover band.

Of course, splurging on buffets is a huge draw for me. I’ve now made the scrumptious Wicked Spoon at the Cosmopolitan and the incredibly delicious Spice Market Buffet at Planet Hollywood part of my Vegas tradition!

In August, Ray and I traveled to Scandinavia together since we had already booked and paid for the trip.  Copenhagen, Denmark was gorgeous and Norway was beautiful, too (I loved Bergen and Oslo and seeing snow on Sognefjord (“King of the Fjords”).  We also spent one night in Gothenburg, Sweden.

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My sister, Tammy, is still in the Quad Cities. She and her boyfriend, Gerald, came down for a week to visit in October.

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Just after she got home, her family expanded in October with the birth of twin grandsons.  Now, her two granddaughters are big sisters.

I hope life is treating you well and that you have so much to be thankful for — not just at the holidays, but every day.  With all the craziness in the world, make it the best in your little part of it!  Here’s wishing us great health and happiness in 2018 as we travel down this road of life!

“May hope and faith conquer fear and hate this Christmas!”

Love, Anthony