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Sunday, December 31, 2006


Today, I honor my partner by posting his New Year's letter to his friends and family. As you read, you'll sense his struggle and the advances he hopes that we'll all make in 2007. He knows the value of time and how fleeting it can be. To wish you all peace and encouragement as we move forward....yet one more notch on the clock of life. Big New Year's Hugs to you all....Lewis. And now......(If it's not the top posting when you get to this site, scroll through until you find "Opportunity")..http://its-raining-men.blogspot.com/

Friday, December 29, 2006

Stash of Dollar Bills

I'm out of the hotel early this morning, 6:00, and off to Starbucks for the obligatory tall nonfat vanilla latte before a busy day of flying. The streets of Oakland are pretty quiet. It's still dark and cool, maybe 40. There are a few people getting an early start setting up in the street for the Friday Market that always looks so tempting whenever I happen to be there on a Friday. Starbucks is a block down the street from the hotel.....I cross over Broadway and turn left. There's a bundle of blankets, or is it a couple of heavy winter coats, with a woman all wrapped up inside...her very own (warm?) cocoon. It's her house, actually. Her hood is pulled up over her head, just her face is showing, sort of, when it's not looking down at the cold gray sidewalk. She is sitting on the ground and asks if I have any change when I pass by. I have never given a dime to anybody on the streets that I remember. Not really any real good reason for not doing it. Just have chosen not to, I guess. Sometimes I think it's a scam, or kids just trying to get a few extra bucks for pot or beer, but I know it's not always that way. Today is no different. I walk right on by her ignoring her plea. And then it hits me, just about the time I'm opening the door, smelling the pastries and hot coffee: Right now, I'm the very thing that I don't like in our world. Nicely dressed, fresh out of the hot soapy shower, clean clothes, and marching my pretty little arrogant ass into the local corporate conglomerate coffee shop to drop $3 on a drink. Not a bad thing...but sometimes I hate that part of our country....and now it's me.....I'm a part of it....I'm the one doing it.......being an active participant in separating myself from "those other people." So, I order and wait. I turn and look outside through the well decorated windows and see the back of her head outside. She has taken over my mind....all without doing a thing. Wonder how long she's been there? Is she there all of the time? Maybe that's "her spot." The coffee comes up for "Lewis" and I'm off....back outside with a dollar bill in my hand, folded up neatly, to give to her when I pass by her again. I'm still trying to avoid eye contact as I walk directly toward her.....why? I don't know. So, I slip her the dollar and keep on moving. She says nothing. And it happens again...the cynicism rears its ugly head...and I say "you're welcome" to her because she didn't thank me...and keep on walking toward the hotel. Just trying to remind her that she should say "thank you" when given something. On my right, I'm passing an old beat-up pickup that has pulled over to the curb and is putting up a homemade sign on butcher paper along the side of the pickup: "Live Chickens." The back of the truck is filled with four or five huge steel chicken cages filled with what are supposed to be live chickens. They don't look alive to me. Ick. I'm disgusted and turn my head away. Back to thinking about the girl. And quickly reminded of my sister who spent a good portion of her life on the streets, begging, sleeping rolled up in cardboard for the night under a Rhododendron bush. Thank god she's not there any longer. I wonder if people helped her? I wonder if assholes like me walked on by her or thought less-than-positive thoughts about her. Or if they said "you're welcome" to her if she forgot to say "thanks." God, I hope not. I've thought about this girl for the rest of my day. It occurred to me that she was probably afraid to say anything to me after I totally ignored her on my initial way into get my rich white boy gay coffee. There always seems to be a struggle between my head and my heart. An internal Iraq war going on...based on bad intelligence sometimes, I think. I always try to remind myself that I never know what journey the other person is on. Who they are, where they've come from, or where they are going. Hell, maybe they don't even know. I do know that 2007 is going to be a different year for me. There may even be a stash of dollar bills in my pocket.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Did You Have Yours Today?

**** Disclaimer: This post will not be pretty, pleasant, nor enjoyable. If you're easily put off, grossed out, or offended, read no further....you have been duly warned ****

I am not sure how the whole thing started except that it did. Quickly. And it disintegrated even more quickly. Christmas day had been pretty pleasant. Hubby and me had prepared delicious pork tenderloin, garlic/Parmesan mashed potatoes, peas with pearl onions, and carrots glazed with lime juice, brown sugar, and chili oil. Fantastic. We loaded up the Sorento with the goods and both of hubby's brothers and headed to their mommy and daddy's house. It's much easier to take it there than to drag them out and about with all of their ills and such. Somewhere toward the end of the meal, the shit hit the fan. Now, for years this has been an unusual family in that they have made some sort of an issue out of bowel movements. (Remember, you were warned earlier.) BMs are discussed, at length (no pun intended). Did you have one? Does the dog need to have one? Can you pick up some prune juice for daddy? It's a bit off putting if you're not prepared for it. I typically stare into oblivion and wait/pray/hope for the moment to pass (no pun). And last night was no different. One of S's older brothers started by waving his hands in the air and making the statement, "Okay, I just have to get this all out in the open." Apparently, as a child he was traumatized by not being able to take BMs anyplace except at home. Some kids are just that way. (I, too, remember not wanting to show my little pee-pee off in the boy's bathroom at Taft Elementary School.....but I got over that quickly....but that's a whole other story.) He was recalling the moment when, as a child, he had his Ah-Ha moment just like Oprah promises. It was at Manuel's Restaurant in Old Town San Diego. Something about going to the men's room and, finally, being able to go poo-poo by himself without being at home. Wow, what a breakthrough. Apparently, Nana (grandma) used to make little T tell her what kind of BM he had in the bathroom: Was it a "plop, wipe, flush" or was it a "few little marbles." "Did you go chair-chair?" Then we digressed even further back to when our kindergarten teachers would want to know if you'd been going #1 or #2 when you left the classroom. They like to keep track of these things for some ungodly reason. I supposed to tell mom and dad if you've gone poo-poo or pee-pee during the day. As if there was some sort of a list being kept. My god, these people were messed up. And, it's not over yet. Now we have to talk about the dog who doesn't get walked outside like he should. Something about a lousy poor excuse of "it's raining" or "too cold" or something unreasonable. So, it's always an issue of whether the dog has gone, not gone, needs to go, or should go. Oh, and of course, we have to start the joking about "cut the crap" and "no shit" and other puns. It was lovely. It really was. It was a beautiful way to end a perfect holiday meal with family. Discussing shit. Dumps. Length. And the proper reporting procedure. I'm hoping for a breakthrough this next year. In fact, I've demanded it. I've given everybody until the 31st to graduate to the next higher level of discussion and communication. Shit Reporting 102 instead of 101. Whoo-wee. I can hardly wait to see what we'll come up with for 2007. Hope your holiday was a happy as ours.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

However You Say It, I Hope For It

I don't care how you say it, what language or sentiment is behind it, I wish for it. Hope for it. I hope you'll join me in spreading it. My thanks to you and amazingly great wishes to you for a great holiday. Thanks for being my blogger buddies! Peace.

Pax (Spanish) Shantih (Hindi) Shalom (Hebrew) Mir (Russian)
Paix (French) Vrede (Dutch) Frieden (German)
Heiwa (Japanese) Pace (Italian) Irini (Greek) Paz (Portuguese)
Su Thai Binh (Vietnamese) Hetep (Egyptian) Hau (Tahitian)
Fred (Swedish and Norwegian) Sidi (Tibetan) Salaam (Arabic)

Let justice join with peace
Redeeming the whole wide earth
All humankind stands up
Affirming their rightful worth
So raise each voice, let the world rejoice
When each soul is whole and free
Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me
(New words by Ed Segel)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Whose Around Your Table?

One of my fondest memories of Christmas time was having all of our family around the table together. We were, and still are, a loving and close family. Always together for holidays, birthdays, and even every Friday morning at 9:00 for the family Coffee Klatch at Pastry Perfection. I don't know how this ever started but there were several years when I was very young that my parents got it in their minds to make a phone call out to the Marsing Job Corps and invite a couple of guys to our family's table for dinner. Let me remind you that we're talking about 1970 Idaho...white, Republican, pretty closed-minded (so I thought), way off to the right. The more I think back about this deal, the more it amazes me. So, we'd drive the hour each way to the facility and pick up whoever they had selected to come with us. At least one year, it ended up being two African-American guys. One named Alfonso and I can't remember the other guy's name. My mom still has the Super-8 movie film of the three of us kids playing in the living room after dinner with these guys......nice, friendly, smiling and (I hope) happy. The tree is decorated in the corner. My sister is twirling around with her long hair flapping in the breeze. My brother and I running back and forth in our matching Christmas outfits (why always matching, I'll never know). And Alfonso and his buddy with huge grins on their faces. Like they'd been liberated or given a little break in life. I very well remember, then, sitting down at the dinner table filled with good food, all of us together, and holding hands for the first time ever with someone whose skin color was not the same as mine. We gave thanks for the food, ate for what seemed like forever, and later in the day took the guys back to Marsing to the Job Corps facility. By that time of the day, it was dark. As far as we could see, snowy farm landscapes, with Christmas lights sparkling in the blackness, as we said goodbye to these guys who still impact my mind and heart today. As deep in my heart as I can feel, I am thankful to my parents whose hearts are bigger than life....for the memories, for the teaching, for the inclusion....no matter what. Whose around your table this year?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Holiday Cheer At Its Finest

I'm telling you, there's just nothing like getting together with the perfect family at the holidays. Fragrant pine tree is up, decorations just so, lights wound properly around each branch, hot cocoa, presents by the gazillion piled up deep under the tree, normally crazy kids all well behaved with their stockings hung on the mantle, and parents on their best behavior. Yummy food being baked and devoured at rates only kin to the $$$ we're spending on the silliness in Iraq and other places. And did I mention the pretty little angel perched ever so carefully on the top of the tree with the pine branch poking up her skirt? Listen carefully as I describe this totally whacked out father's true Christmas spirit being displayed so preciously with his two six-year-olds:

Son: But, daddy, I want more presents! The kid is crying and slobbering all over the place. Spoiled rotten little brat.

Father: Now if you don't drop it right now, you're going to lose two more presents! Ouch, not two MORE.

Son: I want more candy, daddy! (Sounds just like me at home....but I only take candy from them if they're cute.)

Father: Don't be such a little boy! (Earth to papa....the dude is, maybe, six.......)

Son is still crying, still stomping, pouting, and yelling........God, it's sickening (couldn't daddy have kept his pee-pee in his pants....this kind of thing wouldn't happen if he had).

Father: Okay, that's it, now you're losing THREE presents! Oh god, not THREE presents....I can't believe he was ever going to get THREE presents.....I think the kid needs a kick in the ass.

Okay, the kid's going to have nothing under the tree if this keeps up. Boo hoo. The tears are welling up in my eyes.

The holiday cheer just continues to mounts.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Morning Mood Enhancer

7:55 this morning, bleary eyed, I stumbled slowly, carefully, down the stairs from our bedroom. In sweats. Made the bed already. It's kind of cold out for Portland....low 30s overnight. A little ice and snow yesterday with horrible winds. S always makes sure my coffee is ready for me. He's so good that way. I've stayed in bed so long today that he's already in the shower. I hear the water running. Good, I'll get my coffee and sneak in the bathroom and maybe even slip into the shower too. Hum. Knock the heat up to 68, fill my coffee cup, and take a look outside to see if it looks slick. The deck is shiny with ice. Damn. The shower water has turned off. He's in his robe, shaving cream on his pretty face. He always shaves after the shower at the sink. I'm an "in the shower" kind of guy as far as shaving goes. He tells me he's in a bad mood which is very unusual for him. Didn't sleep well. I hate to hear that first thing in the morning. We've got a totally busy weekend ahead of us.....dinner with friends tonight before the Portland Gay Men's Chorus holiday concert....two open houses tomorrow before dinner with more friends at The Rheinlander (guess which entre I'm having?). So, no time for a bad mood. I catch him in the office now, computer in his lap, in one of our favorite chairs...beautiful buttery leather. He's in his terry cloth bathrobe from a few Christmases back. Warm and toasty on this cold morning except that it's kind of hanging open just a little. Probably a draft in there. He is such a beautiful man....fuzzy chest, stomach and legs. Just perfect. So, maybe I'll try and help improve that bad mood a little, I'm thinking, even though I haven't finished my first cup of java yet. Of course he wouldn't mind just a little extra mood enhancer, would he? But it wasn't long before he's looking around, checking through the windows to see if any neighbors are watching (yeah, right, the super-cool lesbians next door are probably saddled up in their breakfast nook having their breakfast smoothies, reading the paper, and tuning in to me on the office floor with him the chair). I am so sure! But, "snap," the robe is yanked closed....."I'm not that kind of boy," he chirps. But at least he's got a smile on his face now. Maybe his mood has changed for the better, even just a little, I hope. Sure enough, it's been a good day. Happier than happy. Big smile on his face. I'll bet the Chorus will sound better than ever tonight.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Flirting in the Outback

My friend G and I were at The Outback having dinner tonight. A younger girl and guy come in, sit down at the next booth, and start talking loud enough for us to hear them. I'm facing G, and the two suspects are in the booth behind G.

Lewis to My Friend G: So, what are you going to have?
G: I think I'll have a small Outback special, jacket potato, and salad with tangy tomato dressing.
Lewis: I'm going to have a salad, potato, and side of broccoli.
G: That's not enough food. That's why you're so slim.
Lewis: It's enough. Plus, I don't really eat meat.

Cute Boy to Girl: I dropped off David's daughter earlier. I wonder who David is? Lover? Daddy? They continue this bantering for a few minutes.

G: God, his voice is nelly. Talking about the young guy behind him that he hasn't seen yet.
Lewis: I can't tell if he's gay or not. I'm trying to lean around G's head to take a closer look.
G: I'll bet he plucks his eyebrows. Now, how in the hell would he know that?

The young cutie gets up, leaves for a minute, and comes back. His swagger on the way back to his seat gives it all away. Not being stereotypical, am I? He is good looking (maybe it's just the tight green t-shirt talking) and now he's flashing me a big smile.

Lewis: Oh yea, the eyebrows are plucked. Pruned and landscaped are more like it. Looks like maybe a lawnmower has been his best friend.
G: Plucks his eyebrows? I don't like that. So, what's he doing now? Suddenly, in true Emeril fashion, things have been kicked up a notch.
Lewis: Well, he's leaning around the girl and trying to look at me now. I think the continued smiles are giving it away.
G: Oh my gosh!

He makes a phone call and starts talking to whoever is on the other end (maybe it's David or his daughter) about me. And now the girl he's with is turned around trying to look around G's head at me. They continue to giggle and are kind of giddy.

Lewis to G: At least he's polite. Every time that the (equally handsome) waiter approaches their table, he stops his phone call and says "thank you."
G: Good homosexual, good homosexual, G teases. He acts like he's petting a little "air" dog.

Lewis: Okay, it's time to go.....things are getting out of hand. I haven't been flirted with in a long time.

The cutie pie leans out toward the aisle when we're leaving and flashes me a big grin showing off the braces that his daddy probably paid cash for.

"Bye," he says.

"Bye," I am polite as any gentlemen would be.

Besides, I've got to get home and tell my hubby that a youngster has been hitting on me. I wonder if he even has his driver's license yet? Maybe he's getting it for Christmas.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Dear Agony Uncle Joe Blogs Advice Column

Don't miss the bantering of Lewis as he gets much needed help from "Dear Agony Uncle Joe Blogs." You'll find this ongoing problem and its riveting conclusion at Mr. Joe Blog's Blog. You'll want to tune in to see what Dear Agony advises distraught Lewis to do.

The Inner Circle

It's funny how we all have our invisible "circles" around us. Some people have just one huge circle, some one very small circle, and others exist with multitude numbers of different-sized circles around them. Each ring admitting a certain group of people and situations into it based on level of friendship, past history, experience, trials and errors. Protecting us from harm or pain or even opening us up to exposure and where all of our terrible habits and actions are. Some of us are so trusting. Others will never be trusting. I think I'm kind of somewhere in the middle. From my side of things, I feel that I make friends pretty easily. I'm comfortable talking with most anyone even if I don't know them. But I know that I give off this somewhat unrealistic aura of being hard to get to know. A little bit of an asshole or even arrogant (okay, that hurt). I guess it's because I'm fairly self-confident, sometimes even to a fault. It's funny how life's experiences bring us to a variety of places at varying times in our lives. Interesting, too, how we see ourselves versus how others see us from the outside. I've got an incredibly dry sense of humor, can be overly serious, but also have this side of me that loves to be spontaneous and have fun. But, let's go back to the circles. We went to a Christmas gathering at our good friend A's house on Saturday evening. We've known him for seven years or so, had many meals with him, concerts together, and even a trip to Mexico. We're very good friends. He called us early on Saturday and asked if we would mind coming several hours early to help him get some things ready. Of course we would help. Now this is a guy who is ultra organized, always prepared, always thinking ahead, and is never short on making sure everyone has cards and gifts for their special days. So, for him to ask us for help, was actually a real honor. We moved furniture, made coffee, dug chairs out of his basement and dusted them off, put out silverware, set the beautiful table, and a variety of other tasks. Somewhere in the middle of this few hours, it occurred to me that my partner and I were on one of his "inner circles." No huge fanfare or bands playing. Just that he felt so comfortable with us to actually ask us, and allow us, to help him with the not-so-fun parts of the party. He knows us and we know him. It's a good feeling to know that it doesn't always have to be about orchestrated formal evenings together where everything is planned and no wrong can be done. It's all about seeing each other, warts and all, worn-out bedroom slippers and not-so-flattering boxer shorts, and know that it's okay. So, who's in your circles...your closest circle? Do you let people into it easily? Or does it take a very long time of proving themselves before you admit them in? Trust is a tough one. We're all where we are today because of a wide variety of messes and successes. And, as long as I'm asking, who has allowed you the privilege of being inside their circle of trust? It's a cool place to be. It's warm, cozy, and welcoming. One that comes with both pressure and privilege. And who knows....one day maybe he'll even allow me on the very inner circle that let's me clean the toilets and clean out the refrigerator. Wait....maybe that's the far outer circle.....and, furthermore, maybe I don't want to be in that circle. I'm happy right where I'm at.

Friday, December 08, 2006

9 on the 9th.....A Milestone

It's a once in a lifetime moment....this year, we celebrate 9 years together on the 9th of the month. It all happened on December 9, 1997, in the dog food aisle at Safeway. If you're double-checking, that's equal to 108 months, 3,285 days, 78,840 hours, and 4,730,400 minutes (give or take a little because of leap years, time travel, and Back to the Future kind of events). It's the longest amount of time that I've been in any relationship. And I'm so happy to be here. It feels so good to invest in someone that is so worth investing in. He appreciates me so much, and I him. We (normally!) always seem to be watching out for each other, considering what the other one may think or feel or want. This year has been the toughest of all of our years together. And, to be honest, it has nearly come to separation. Now, keep in mind that we rarely fight or argue. But this year has been different. We've been pressured by severe family issues/drama/games. His job has been testing our ability to be flexible. And we've just gotten down and dirty with each other several times (not in a good way). It's never felt so much like a pressure cooker as this year. So, to reach this day, this anniversary, is amazing. It feels so good and comfortable. We love spending time together...always laughing, carrying on like crazy people, and always seem to find ourselves in funny situations that make us laugh. He is an amazing man. First for who he is, secondly for sticking by me with all of my rantings and ravings. I love him. He loves me. And today, we celebrate. 9 on the 9th. And who knows....maybe someday we'll actually be able to get married.

Christmas Cookie Disaster

Sunset Magazine December issue made the Frosted Ginger Cookies look so yummy....and the Cornmeal-Fennel cookies too. After three trips to the grocery store over the last few days, I thought we were all set to make them on this, the day we set aside to "get in the spirit" by making a few cookies. (Let's just say that we did, indeed, get into the spirit.....which spirit, I'm not sure....but, oh yea, we're in the spirit alright.) Should we double the recipe? We went back and forth on that a few times.....I was running back and forth to him with the ingredients, he was measuring and mixing. So, the first batch goes in the hot oven. You can see the results in the first and second picture that he's holding up for god and country to see. It's crap. (Damn that Paula Deen...she always makes it look so easy.) We left out a cup of flour. (I love the art of cooking.....I never did get very good grades in science.) They are flatter than pancakes and all ran together. Second round, we'll be OK, we decided. We'll just space them further apart so they don't run together. Should we re-grease the pan--no, it's got enough on it. You should have seen me down on my knees on the kitchen floor, spatula in hand, trying to get the second batch dislodged from the cookie sheet. Straight into the waiting trash can. Cornmeal-fennel cookies are in the refrigerator now waiting to be baked after the dough chills. We move onto the last recipe from the Food Network. We thought we may actually have one of these recipes work out. But, alas, not so much. I put the Baker's semisweet chocolate in a dish and into the microwave to melt. I think when we saw the black smoke coming out of the middle of the chocolate we knew there was trouble. "Just scoop out the burned part," he says to me. Um hum. Sure, I'll just do that. It all went straight into the disposer and down the drain. So, we have this nifty little bottle of semisweet dark chocolate syrup used for ice cream. It's been in the refrigerator for a while....and has now been drizzled across the top of the Orange Nut Bars (picture three). They may actually be edible. This is why I don't bake. Way too much science involved. I mean, I'm a good cook and can whip up an amazing meal for dinner. But screw the baking thing. I'll leave it to Homer and Adam. Let's go to their places for dessert.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

"Love Can't Replace a Mother and a Father" And Other Drivel

Okay now, kids, you'd better hold me back. I know there are those who thought that my earlier post More Hypocrisy of the Well Known Saints was a little harsh and that I expressed a little bit of anger over the Ted Haggard deal (you should see the Christian-tongue-lashing email I received from a past acquaintance....I'll post it sometime). But I'm going crazy, again. Uncle Lewis (Daddy Lewis to some of you) is quickly coming unglued. What the @#$%^&* is the (unconditional, loving Christian woman) Carrie Gordon Earll (who works for the infamous Focus on the Family and is good friends with the Ted Haggard of "I want to be a good Christian pastor, bash gays, and buy drugs and sleep with gay escorts on the side" fame) talking about? You can find the whole article here. After taking a Maalox and grabbing a bucket for puking in, follow me through some of her quotes:

She expressed empathy for the Cheney family. Pardon me? "Empathy" for a family who is expecting a child, a grandchild? Maybe she's confused. Sweetie, they're not getting a fatal illness, rat infestation, or jar of peanut butter in their home....they're getting a beautiful, brand new baby. Maybe try "happiness" or "joy" or one of those more well-received and appropriate adjectives. Empathy is what we express to those who call you a friend. (Ouch, I know.)

She also depicted the newly announced pregnancy as unwise. I guess when I think of "unwise," I think of (oh, should we do the short or long list here??) allowing children to be born into heterosexual homes that don't take care of them, don't feed them, abuse them, beat them, do drugs with them in the home, drink in front of them. We could go on to wars that our good Christian nation started on purpose, harboring pedophiles in the name of the church, and not taking a stronger stance on the ills growing inside the church in our world today. Those things are, quite clearly, unwise.

And finally, the title track of today's post: Love can't replace a mother and father. Shame that she has now bashed thousands (millions?) of wonderful children who grew up in same-sex parent homes. Maybe we could arrange lunch with Ms. Earll to quickly remind her of the mothers and fathers, dare I say even inside of her own organization, that have not wanted their children, have hated their children, and have slapped and molested their children. Oh yeah, love surely can't replace a heterosexual mother and father who don't want the children they have.

And this is where you, my readers, come in. I would like to hear your stories about growing up in homes that weren't "normal, standard" homes. Maybe a single parent, maybe same-sex parents, maybe no parents at all. Or how about grandparents or neighbors raising you? There are plenty of children being raised today by people who aren't their father or mother. Let's hear it! Ms. Earll needs to hear it, apparently. I'm sorry, what was the name of the organization that she represents again......I thought it was Focus on the Family....but it doesn't sound like it's fulfilling it's purpose. Yes, I'm angry, outraged and fired up. No apologies here, kids. I'm mad.

After you post your story here, I encourage you to take a look at Ms. Earll's press site and then write or call her office. She needs to hear your story. Oh, say, while you're on her site, pay close attention to the slug line Nurturing and Defending Families Worldwide. Huh? Say what?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

"On the Blogspot" Interview With Mr. Joe Blogs

Name : Joe Blogs
Age : 25
Location : England
Vocation : Blogging
Life Philosophy : If in doubt, ‘Google’ it.

JB : sum up what your blog is about for us: It is random comedy ramblings. If it isn’t funny or intriguing it doesn’t get on my blog.

Why did you decide to do a blog? As a way of making money. I’m good at creative writing. Also the ego had to land somewhere.

What’s the funniest article on your blog? Well it’s deeply hidden. Like an old relic. Indiana Jones would struggleto find it. Though Harrison Ford is about 60 now and presumably struggles to find his teeth, what with trying to feed up Ally Mcbeal as well.

What keeps you motivated to keep adding posts? I like to post. I used to be a paper boy. The long bicycle trips were good. The weather not so great, on those chilly mornings. Also hands getting chafed on the handle bars. Selfish female motorists who think theycan drive in the cycle lane because it’s their time of the month. And motorists in Las Vegas, who cut you up, those amber gamblers! Oh and also back on the main point, it’s nice when people appreciate your writing!

Do you envy any other blogs? Just those with hits like the BeeGees have had.

If you could recommend one website, what would it be and explain why (cant’tbe your own website!): The best website ever, http://www.thehungersite.com/, enables you to give food to poor people, at no cost to you.

What are the common things people say about your blog? “Funny”, “Oh crap, it’s a virus”, “I only wanted a pair of jeans”

What’s the worst thing about doing your blog? Doing a post and not getting any feedback. Reading old articles and cringing.

What would you like to improve on your blog? The beginning, middle and end. Though the psychic hamster stays!

Why should someone visit your blog? Even prisoners get visitor time. And they only have a glass wall between visitors. And I don’t even ask that you bring a key, file, or smokes. My guests come from cyberspace, and often drop in anonymously, and leave fleetingly. Though I gather some have served time for hit and runs,visiting my site without leaving a comment!

If you weren’t doing your blog, how would you spend your time? Plotting world domination. And making papier mache dolls of David Letterman. (You are gonna edit this lewis? Right Lewis? Lewis, uthere…..Lewis, Oh Crap!)

Site address: http://mrjoeblogs.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Not Sure If I'm a Psychopath....But Glad to be a Hunk

I could never have been more surprised in my life than when my good blogger friend, Derek, at past, present, and future named me "Hunk of the Week." I swear to you, that's never happened before. I mean, who would have ever thought that a 44-year-old crazy and skinny gay guy with graying hair could be considered a hunk.....I don't think my name has ever been mentioned in the same phrase as "hunk" before (probably never will again, either!). All of that to say a huge thank you to Derek. I really appreciate your thoughtfulness.

I'm teaming up with Mr. Joe Blog's Blog this week by doing a mini-interview column. He posed several questions for me and you'll find my answers on his blog today. He'll be answering the same questions on my blog in the next day or two. He's got a very funny site that I think you'll enjoy. He has been so creative with his ideas and I'm thankful that he's offered me such a cool opportunity to participate. Now, I'm just trying to figure out if I'm a psychopath or not (see his site and check out his posting to see what I'm talking about.)

Well, my partner has been so good to me lately. He always has been. In all of his loving goodness, he has passed along his strep throat to me which I immensely appreciate. I don't know exactly how it happened--we haven't exactly been swabbing out each other's throats lately. So, my loving Dr. P tells me five days of antibiotics and cough medicine with codeine in it for the night time hours (to hell with night time, I'm going to mix it with diet Cream Soda and ice for my afternoon soiree with Ellen DeGeneres). So, now I'm the one with the Vick's Vap-o-Rub under my nose at night now......yea, who's laughing now (see my earlier post on "Snow, Fake Trees, Snoring and (No) Sex)". By the way, the snoring has all but ended....the Breathe Rite Strips really do work! Yeah! No more sleeping in the guest room.
(P.S....The pic is our plastic/fake/pseudo/made in China/pre-lit tree that we put up)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Out and (Not Quite Ready to Be) Proud at the Cheesecake Factory

A couple of months ago, I remember it being a warm October Sunday afternoon, hubby and me decided to take a drive somewhere. Where? We didn't know. Just wanted to get out and enjoy the blue sky and the afternoon. Now here in Portland, like most metro areas, you've got your core city (where we live) and then the suburbs (where we seldom go). The city we live in voted 75% for John Kerry. We don't need to go anyplace else for any particular reason. The counties around us, however, not quite so blue. And on this day, we started driving...out away from the downtown core....over the West Hills...out to the suburbs and then a little south to Washington Square Mall in Washington County....mostly Republican, mostly white, mostly well off. Conservative, as the mall made us aware. It was filled with well-dressed folks with plenty of disposable income. Lots of trendy high schoolers with daddy-padded pockets. We hadn't been out there in years, many years. We pull in, the place is packed, and we notice a Cheesecake Factory restaurant. Hey, let's have lunch! So, you know the story, the place is wall-to-wall people, bleach-blond hair and big boobs on mommy, daddy with an "I'm a successful white businessman" look on his face and plenty of screaming children (why would you come out here??). We put our names on the list and are handed one of those buzzer vibrator deals (no, not THAT kind, silly). We're eyeballing the yummy cheesecakes lined up in the display case while tucked neatly among, what seemed like, the other half of the state of Oregon. God, I know now why I don't like to end up in these kinds of situations. Somewhere behind us, I hear a voice:

"Hey, have you guys been here before?" We turn and see a couple of good looking younger guys sitting down behind us waiting for their table too.

"Well, we haven't been to this particular one before" (and probably won't go back again either) "but we have been to a Cheesecake Factory in another city."

"Oh," the spokesman of he two says. "So, is the food good?" he questions.

"Yea, the food is pretty good."

"So, how are the sandwiches," he asks. The sandwiches? What is he talking about. He seems a little nervous and kind of looking around a little.

"Sandwiches are good," I tell him.

He nods his head, his dark hair falling across his ears and down on his forehead a little...kind of shaggy like seems to be the style now. He's sitting next to his friend, a guy about his same age, only blond. Nice looking, both of them. T-shirts and jeans, a couple of shopping bags from The Gap or Abercrombie & Fitch or something.

Still nervous and a little hesitant, he sort of pokes his thumb toward his friend and then back at himself as he says "We're together."

"Oh," I say. "How old are you guys?" I ask.

"15" is the answer. Great, I've got my grandchildren in front of me. Cuter than hell, but I know they were looking past my salt-and-pepper hair and for my AARP card. You know, seeing if they could get daddy in the grave soon and steal his cash.

"15," I exclaim......"Wow. How long have you guys been together," I ask.

"A year. Are you guys together?" he wants to know.

I nod my head as he asks me "if it's fun being together?"

"Yea, sure, it's fun most of the time....but not all of life is fun," I tell him, "but mostly it's a good deal."

I ask him if anybody at his school knows he's gay. Nope is the answer. How about your family, my partner asks him....still, the answer is no. Nobody knows. His dark, handsome eyes are about as big as quarter dollars as we have this little conversation. I doubt it's ever happened before.

"I got kicked off the football team," he says as he tugs at his gray Tualatin High School t-shirt. "They were making fun of me and calling me names and stuff, so I quit."

"I go to Tigard High School," blondie chimes in. (They can both keep talking forever as far as I'm concerned.) Now, Tigard and Tualatin are two suburbs next to each other down near the mall. Still, both are white, well off, and not that well known for their openness to alternative thoughts or lifestyles. Their buzzer goes off about this time and the waitress is ready to take them to their table. They stand up and start to head off but not before they both extend their long arms and shake our hands, both my partner's and my hands. My gosh, cute and polite.....I didn't know we had any of that left. They head out of view and we head to our table soon after. We both sat there, staring at each other, and wondering what in the hell just happened. Strangest and weirdest experience ever. I mean, two 15-year-olds who are not out, introduce themselves to us and start asking questions and then out themselves to us, in a public setting. Not an everyday occurrence for me, anyway. We just kept talking about the whole thing, going back over the conversation. I felt so sorry for them. Not being able to be out and be who they truly are inside. And, being made fun of? Don't even get me started. I'm afraid that I'd take a swing at the guys that made fun of them (I talk pretty big for a little guy). So, I ask my hubby if I should give them our phone number or email address or something in case they ever needed to talk or needed help. "No," he says, "they're under age." Well, what could be so wrong with just letting them know so that they could call if they needed something. So, against his better judgment, I borrow a pen from the wait person and scribble down my phone number and email address on the back of the Cheesecake Factory napkin. Before I head out to find their table, I do a double-check of the area...making sure that their mommy or daddy are no place nearby. Remember, they don't have driver's licenses yet so who knows how they got to the mall....could be a parent nearby (maybe daddy is handsome....hum). I put the napkin on their table and tell them if they ever need anything, feel free to call. Again, they thank me and put their hands out to shake mine. I can't believe this! They are so handsome, so polite, and so fearful.

We never heard a word. Didn't really expect to. My partner warned me that it wouldn't be pretty if their mom found my phone number laying on the floor among his dirty clothes and next to his bed. Oh well, I told him, I'd just have to deal with that if it happened. I couldn't worry about that right now, I only had the one chance to make sure they had the opportunity for help if they wanted it. I had to do what I thought was right. So, we finished our pizza, salad, and Sweet Corn Tamale Cakes (excellent and off of the appetizer menu if you go). We talked about this crazy story for weeks and, really, still are. My neighbor lady was in tears over the whole deal. She is a middle school teacher and says she sees this kind of thing all of the time. I've also recently had another friend asking me about coming out. I guess I've forgotten those dark days....and they really haven't been that long ago, even for me.

If you're still hiding out in the closet and reading this, here's a place for some information for you. The Human Rights Campaign has excellent resources available as do other organizations. Make sure you make balanced, healthy decisions that are good for the long-term of your life. Don't make them with stress, strain or any human manipulation. Make them because you're an amazing individual. Make them with as much confidence as you can find, hold your head high, and, in your own perfect timing, go tell someone......"I'm Gay," even if it's at the Cheesecake Factory. I'd be glad to listen.