* * * My Words, My World, My Way * * *

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Monday, December 31, 2007

Kwanzaa Day 7 "Faith" -- HAPPY NEW YEAR

Imani (ee-MAH-nee) is the seventh and last day of Kwanzaa. Imani means faith. On this day, the beginning of the new year we pledge to believe with all our hearts and minds in our people, our parents, our good and dedicated teachers and leaders, and in the greater good of the work we do with and for one another, for the community and for the people. Check out IEAAD for his final day of Kwanzaa post.

We spent our New Year's Eve at this yummy restaurant followed by a cold walk along the Willamette River in downtown Portland. It's clear and cold. The stars were out. The bridges all decorated in lights. We took a fantastic walk around downtown, past Pioneer Place to take one last glimpse at "Portland's Living Room" and it's Christmas tree. I wish you all a 2008 filled with all that we've learned about Kwanzaa this week: Unity, Self Determination, Collective Work and Responsibility, Cooperative Economics, Purpose, Creativity, and Faith. It's a tall order, folks. My best to you. Today and always.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Kwanzaa Day 6 "Creativity"

Kuumba (koo-OOM-bah) is the sixth day of Kwanzaa, and it means "creativity". On this day, we pledge several things. We pledge to do whatever we can to make our communities and homes more beautiful and better than we found them. We also pledge to use our creative talents and energies to improve young minds and hearts. And you'll find one of the hottest guys on the East Coast doing parallel posts on Kwanzaa...check out Idle Eyes here.

I wish you all the very best last day of 2007 ever. Don't let the sun set on any bad thoughts, bad habits, bad attitudes, or bad vibes tonight. Put them to rest, permanently. Let's all try and start this new year out fresh -- with some sort of good energy, happy hearts and spirits, and heading in a positive direction.

Happy New Year !!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Turning Lemons into Lemonade....The GAY Way!

So, hell....a U.S. District Court Judge (Mormon guy, appointed by G. W. Bush in 2003) tells same sex couples in Oregon that he won't let them gain domestic partnership benefits beginning on January 1. Really pulled the rug outta them at the 11th hour. A real weenie. So, sour lemons...right? Screw it...I'm making lemonade out of it. I went shopping! Online. I found Apollo Wear via a link through a banner ad. Order myself a couple of pair. And Voila! They arrived today. The Diesel boxer briefs are nice and soft and they'll be perfect. The Calvin Klein striped ones....tighter than hell. And I ordered a large (which is way more than I normally do having a tender 31-inch waist). You couldn't even get a cat hair in between the waist band and my tender skin. They're freaking embedded....just like a reporter in Baghdad. So, check them out. Give Apollo a little business if you like. They were prompt, pleasant, and I may have to go back for more.

Kwanzaa Day 5 "Purpose"

Nia (NEE-ah) is the fifth day of Kwanzaa and it means "purpose". On this day,we pledge to build and develop our communities, our schools and our families. We also pledge to provide a strong communal foundation from which our children can develop into strong and productive people. Don't forget to check out my buddy's site over at IEAAD for his continuing series on Kwanzaa too.
You'll find all sorts of information here about yesterday's serious setback to Oregon issuing domestic partnership certificates to same sex couples. Keep working for justice, folks. Remember....the RIGHT ISN'T AT ALL.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Kwanzaa Day 4 "Cooperative Economics"

Ujamaa (OOH-jah mah) means cooperative economics and is the fourth day of Kwanzaa. On this day of Kwanzaa, we pledge to develop our own businesses and to support them, to maintain shops, stores and industry that contribute to the well-being of our community and to drive out businesses (boycott, etc.) that take from our communities and give nothing back.
In Other News:
It's a sad day here in Oregon. Oregon was all set to begin issuing domestic partnership certificates to same-sex couples on January 1. Hundreds of couples were planning on being in line early on the 2nd (1st is a holiday)....and we were all set to go down and volunteer to process the couples. In horrible, late breaking news tonight, a judge has granted a stay on issuing the certificates. It will be put off at least until February 1. You can read about it in Gay Rights Watch, Blog Out, or on the Basic Rights Oregon site. I'm tired, folks. Really exhausted. And not feeling very pretty. And my attitude stinks.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Kwanzaa Day 3 "Collective Work and Responsibility"

My good friend and blogging buddy over at Idle Eyes And A Dormy and I are sharing posts on Kwanzaa this week. Be sure you check out his site for great information on this fantastic winter celebration too.

Ujima (ooh-GEE-mah) is the third day of Kwanzaa and means "collective work and responsibility". On this day we celebrate working together in the community to help others. For Ujima, we pledge to rebuild our communities and to help our people solve our own problems by working together to do it.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Kwanzaa Day 2 "Self Determination"

Kujichagulia (koo-gee-cha-goo-LEE-ah) means self-determination and is the second day of Kwanzaa. On this day, we pledge to define ourselves, to NAME ourselves, to create for ourselves, and to speak for ourselves, instead of being defined, named by, created for and spoken for by others. On this day we design for ourselves a positive future and then vow to make that prophecy -- that DREAM -- a self-fulfilling one.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Kwanzaa Day 1 -- Umoja "Unity"

Umoja (ooh-MOE-jah) means Unity, and it is the principle for the first day
of Kwanzaa
. Our families and communities need unity in order for them to be
productive and to survive. On this day, we pledge to strive for -- and to maintain -- unity in the family, in the community, in the nation that we have helped to build, and with our PEOPLE.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace -- Agnes M. Pharo

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful -- Norman Vincent Peale

Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Chrismas to Each of You

It's finally arrived...the big holiday weekend with all of its crazed shopping, super-sized commercialism, families that we may not even be friends with if the truth were known, stressed out drivers on the road, and naughty (in a bad way) people that Santa wouldn't even consider being nice to. You know, it's been a hell of a year around here....as with many of you. I guess that's life, isn't it -- ups and downs. Cycles. Seasons. Happiness. Sadness. They all blend together in some twisted sort of a picture to make what we call life. And it's ours....our life. We can hook our name on it and live it. I'm trying to laugh at troubles and kick bad vibes and attitudes out the back door. I just plain old don't need 'em any more. And you know, my family is on my brain over and over throughout the days. Wondering. Wishing. Waiting. I keep hearing these sappy seasonal songs with great lyrics that make me cry. I find myself staring into space.

As this year draws to a close, I am thankful for all of you, my good friends....and you are...you can count on that. I need you. I trust you. Hey, how about this: Let's look for peace where there is none. And if you have any extra, pass it around. Let's stare down trouble and give it the evil eye. And if you don't have any troubles, maybe put a warm hand on the shoulders of those of us who do. We'd appreciate it. And let's pray and trust for brighter days ahead, my confidants. Okay with you? I wish you each a beautiful holiday....whatever you celebrate, whatever you believe. Who cares. Unification and having one voice never comes from finger pointing, name calling, and thin-skinned attitudes. From my house and heart to yours, Merry Christmas. And a very happy Ho Ho Ho.
Here's How Our Weekend Is Lining Up:
Friday: Our good friends, and neighbors, Todd, Linda and Patrick, are coming down for Southwest Lasagne and a yummy delicious new salad that I've found.
Saturday: Honey and me are going to do something Christmassy....is that a word?
Sunday: Church, lunch with a pilot friend Stevein the early afternoon, open house at our neighbor's at 5pm, and then dessert open house at James and Bill's house at 7pm.
Monday: Cooking up dinner and taking it to my in-laws at 4pm; appetizers and drinks at Jan and Mike's loft in The Pearl District at 7:30; late night Christmas Eve service at church at 10pm...finished by going outside at midnight and singing songs in the cold darkness. I can hardly wait.....it's one of our favorite Christmas traditions.
Tuesday: Open a few small gifts around our tree; brunch at Alex and Paul's at 11; dinner at Alan's with other friends at 3:30pm.
Are you worn out yet? Hope yours is a happy one too.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Los Angeles ...... LAX

Any hot, sexy guys close by to the LAX airport who may be interested in having an easy, quick dinner tomorrow night (Thursday)? Email me. I may not be able to get back to you until dinner time tomorrow.....since I'll be offline all day tomorrow. I know it's last minute, but just thought I'd check.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Go Elf Yourself

Go Elf Yourself.....WE DID HERE. Naughty little elves that we are...

We've pulled out all the stops to wish you all a Happy Holiday and Merry Christmas. Hope that this week, this season, and the next year brings you fulfillment, happiness, peace and deep joy in your lives.
(I stole the photo from my buddy at Visually Speaking...be careful before you enter his site....18+ only)

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Candle Is Lit

Into thy hands I offer the mind, body and spirit of my sister, asking that you raise her in the way you have created her to go. Guide my sister away from all things and people that are not aligned with her highest good. Protect my sister from those things and people that would lead her down a path that is not in alignment with her destiny as you have written it on her heart. Remove from my sister's mind all shadows of fear, doubt, anger and resentment that could cloud her mind or harden her heart. Strengthen my sister to walk away from those things and people that can in any way keep her from the divine path that you have laid before her. Open my sister's eyes that she will see and know danger. Give my sister the courage to resist all temptations that may lead to harm. Teach her to honor her body as your divine temple. Teach my sister to cherish the power of her mind. Teach my sister to use her gifts and talents wisely. Soften my sister's heart with kindness and compassion. Most of all, God, let my child know that you love her. Let my sister feel your love, know your love and express your love at all times, under all circumstances. Draw my sister close to you. Drive my sister away from patterns of thought and behavior that are not productive, honorable, healthy or self-loving. Sprinkle my sister liberally with your grace and light. Teach my sister your ways and guide her to make them a priority in her life. God, teach me to speak to my sister in a way that honors her spirit and encourages her to desire to do good at all times. Forgive me for the fears that I hold in my heart and project onto my sister. Remind me not to take my sister for granted. Teach me how to communicate and demonstrate my love in healthy and loving ways. If there is anything that I do or say that does not set a good example for my sister, please heal me of it right now! In full faith and confidence, I ask that you create a bond of love, joy, harmony, respect and kindness between me and my sister that cannot be broken by the ways of the world. For I know that as I pray this prayer, thy will is done. Let it be so! And So It Is!
Adopted from Every Day I Pray by Iyanla Vanzant

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Aircraft Fetish

I can't tell you about the exact day that it happened, but it did. Something about the roar....the speed....the up, up, and away....that made me go crazy. I think it started early when my parents used to load us all in the 1967 blue Chevy station wagon and go out to the Boise Airport. We'd park at the west end of the runway, put down the tailgate on the station wagon, and get all settled for the United Airline's DC6's that used to be a staple in Boise. And then, United (did you know that United began in Boise in 1926??) pulled out the big guns....started flying jet aircraft into Boise...the 727s. "Here it comes!" we'd all yell as the 727 began it's final turn out over the dry fields west of Boise...black smoke pouring out of it's engines. From that time on, I was hooked. After I was in junior high, I'd ask my mom to take me out to the airport and leave me for the day -- or I'd ride my bicycle out. I'd grab a printed timetable of United Airlines or Hughes Airwest and sit in the cafeteria pretending that I was important and going someplace like the other travelers there. I'd even say things out loud to my friend like "What time do we arrive in Honolulu?" We were crazy. We'd go from gate to gate and tell the airline personnel that "We've never been on an airplane before.....can we have a tour?" And, many times, the Captain would take us down and show us around. I remember the "Stewardesses" in their skirts and blouses with high necks -- complete with tall hats and gloves that rode up nearly to the elbow. Beautiful. Pretty. Smiling. They'd talk to us. From that time on, I wanted to be a Stewardess....and Air Hostess! And, of course, you'll remember the show with Jimmi and Dan on their VarietyCast earlier this year -- maybe I should go as Karen Black (Airport 1975) next Halloween.

I'm still an avid aircraft buff. You'll see the beginnings of my collection of photographs here. In case you have never heard, there is a quite a large number of people around the globe that are avidly interested in aircraft, airlines, new airplanes, routes, new cities, etc. It's an illness and needs meetings to get over it! At this point in my life, I've visited 30 or more states and close to the same number of countries. I'm so glad I started early.

My sister's time in jail begins on Monday morning. I've continued to process it in my head and heart. I still can't believe it's finally starting....right here before the holidays. It can get the best of me if I'm not careful. And it's funny, some of those near me haven't said a word of condolence or sent good thoughts or prayers. Most of my care has come from my awesome partner, from a few select friends at home, and from you....my faithful blogging friends. You mean the world to me.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I Meet Derek Richardson from Men Like Trees

I'm in the middle of a busy week....just finished spending last night in Vancouver, British Columbia.......met Derek Richardson from Men In Trees where he stars with Anne Heche. I had a nice conversation with him. He's a very pleasant guy...polite, quite sociable, and really enjoyable to meet him -- and not so bad on the eyes either. We chatted about Portland a bit and also about the writer's strike.

Tomorrow I'll be spending the night in San Diego after flying into, and back out of, Los Cabos, Mexico. Friday night we're off to see the Portland Gay Men's Chorus in their holiday concert. Saturday is one of our neighbor's annual Irish Coffee Holiday party; and Sunday brings another friend's annual open house.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

I Can't Decide

I can't decide which hat I like best. I think I like them all. My tender, delicate princess ears require covering during the winter, especially with the breeze blowing. So, I've collected quite a few Tuques over time. (My shopping weaknesses lie with jeans, tuques, flip flops, underwear even thought I don't typically wear them, sunglasses, ball caps, t-shirts.)

Don't forget to check out my latest photos in these sets:

Boise Visit Last Week

Portland City Views (you won't believe this morning's sunrise!)


Tonight, we're on our way to eat at one of our favorite little restaurants...La Buca. We have a gift certificate from our good blogging friend at Long Story Longer...and we've been saving it just for tonight, our 10th Anniversary.

Thanks to all of you who have emailed, called, or commented over the last week with regard to my family issues. I count my life happier and much more complete because of you in it. Thank you a million times over.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Our 10th Anniversary

Well, boys and girls, tomorrow will be 10 amazing, wonderful, wild and crazy years for us. (I think that's like 223 Years in Gay years.) Some not so pretty times, most kick in the pants fun. A ton of laughs, a billion miles of travel, and much more down the road, I'm positive of it. He's quite a guy, as many of you know.

Waiting at the Boise Airport

Going home from a long week

Friday, December 07, 2007

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Verdict Is In.....

It's evening here in Idaho, the sun has set. The day has been long. And I only broke down once, horribly so, in the courtroom. It happened when my sister's lawyer was relaying the story about my sister coming all of the way to Portland, Oregon, and needing to come and stay at our home. I told her "No, not until you're finally ready to get yourself clean." She did get clean, right after that. I've always lived with that moment of saying, "No." Anyway, when the lawyer was telling that to the judge today, I sobbed. The judge was a very pleasant woman. I could tell that she really did care for my sister. In spite of the horrible situation, the sentence was minimized, in my opinion. Looks like this: 120 days in jail to begin 12/17. Eight years probation. Three years driver's license suspension. A hefty $$$ fine. AA meetings, psychiatric evaluations, and other assorted "get your act together" instructions. They did not take her away today. My honey and I drove her to the jail right after court and got her all checked in and scheduled to report on 12/17. I took her driver's license from her and handed it to the lawyer. And then I took my sister's keys from her. Seemingly nothing to most, I know. Monumental to me. My heart is broken. Her spirit is broken. But the sentencing is behind us. Our time with our niece has been fairly good. She is a tough little girl. A fighter. I'm not sure she understands completely....but it's good. She knows that she's loved and cared for. You'll all never know how much I count on and appreciate your comments and emails. Again, I close with tears in my eyes. Will they ever stop? Thanks for caring and listening.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

How Exactly Do You Break the Worst of News ??

How exactly is it that you should look into the warm, innocent, brown eyes of a sparkling little girl and tell her that her mother has been taken away to jail "just for a little while....you're a big girl.....you'll be okay." Oh yeah, really? Or how is it that I am supposed to process the picture that I've been replaying over and over in my mind -- the one of actually hearing the words come from the judge's mouth about the jail term allotted to those who need it and then the handcuffs being placed over the wrists of someone who has finally turned their life around and is desperately trying to make a go of it. Only this time, it's my sister. And only this time, I've cried more than you can know. I've blogged about her HERE and HERE and HERE and you really should look back at her story. One straight from the streets of horrible tragedy to a beautifulness of spirit that is stunning.

Today, we travel to Idaho for my sister's sentencing on Thursday morning. And then we'll be the ones there to share with her daughter, our beautiful niece, about her mother's plight. I must admit, this is one of the most difficult things I've ever faced in my life. You hear about things on television, joke about them, and use them for fodder on late-night talk shows -- but, like many things, until it happens to you "in your own backyard," you don't really get its impact. Here, you'll see how it hurts:

Some days, we forget to look around us,
Some days, we can't see the joy that surrounds us,
So caught up inside ourselves,
We take when we should give,
So for tonight we pray for,
What we know can be,
And on this day we hope for,
What we still can't see,
It's up to us, to be the change,
And even though we all can still do more,
There's so much to be thankful for,
Look beyond ourselves,
There's so much sorrow,
It's way to late to say,
I'll cry tomorrow
Each of us must find our truth,
It's so long overdue,
So for tonight we pray for,
What we know can be,
And everyday, we hope for,
What we still can't see,
It's up to us, to be the change,
And even though we all can still do more,
There's so much to be thankful for,
Even with our differences,
There is a place were all connected,
Each of us can find each others light,
So for tonight, we pray for
What we know can be,
And on this day, we hope for,
What we still can't see,
It's up to us, to be the change,
And even though this world can still do so much more
There's so much to be thankful for.

(Recorded on Noel by Josh Groban)

Saturday, December 01, 2007

What Symbols Are On My Mailbox ??

I've just started reading a book that I've had on my bookshelf for a long time. An Hour Before Daylight by Jimmy Carter is a trip down memory lane from his rural boyhood in Georgia. And today, I ran across a scenario that I fell in love with. Let me set up the scene for you: This story is about tramps who would happen along the dirt roads while Jimmy was growing up. The tramps would make stops for food or help at various home along the road.

"When Mama was home we never turned away anyone who came to our back door asking for food or a drink of water....One day the lady from the next farm came to visit, and Mama commented on how many tramps she had helped that week. Mrs. Bacon said, "Well, I'm thankful that they never come in my yard." The next time we had some of the vagrant visitors, Mama asked why they had stopped at our house and not the others. After some hesitation, one of them said, "Ma'am, we have a set of symbols that we use, to show the attitude of each family along the road. the post on your mailbox is marked to say that you don't turn people away or mistreat us." After they were gone, we went out and found some unobtrusive scratches; Mama told us not to change them." -- Jimmy Carter, An Hour Before Daylight

So, I've been considering today who it is that comes to my back door. Not literally, but figuratively. Are there "symbols" on my mailbox that indicate that people are safe to ask me for help? Do I welcome those that struggle? Those who may need a hand up. Being the philosophical soul that I can lapse into from time to time, it's a perfect time of year to be introspective and ask these questions that deserve an answer. Do I turn people away or mistreat them? I'm afraid that the answer hasn't always been as positive as I'd like it to be. But the road of life still runs in front of my house. I hope that the next person who shows up at my back door will receive the help that they need.

Friday, November 30, 2007

World AIDS Day

I find myself saying this more and more, but "I can't believe it's the last day of November already!" I'm duo-twin-blogging over at Boys Are So Ugly But So Cute over the next few weeks so be sure and check that site out too.

Tomorrow is World AIDS Day. I have struggled with a post for the last several weeks. I was going to post a follow up to my story from last year....but I'm not quite ready for that yet. So, because I believed so much in my post from one year ago, I'm going to ask you to join me in reliving it. It's a mess, folks...this AIDS deal. It's been politicized, religiousized and a bunch of other "sizeds" that it just doesn't need to be. To my buddies who struggle, I send you all that I can....my wishes for peace, health, and better days ahead.

"As the city bus pulled away from the curb the rain continued. Gray, wet, constant. We sat toward the back, on the left side. Me, here in this city I knew a few things about from my numerous visits, and him, a friend I'd known for only a year or two. Always a smile. Always up. Everyone knew him. "Oh yea, he's a great guy," they would all say. And he was, that's for sure." READ THE REST OF IT HERE.

Next week is going to be a very tough week for me. We'll be in Boise for my sister's court sentencing. I don't think I can cry any more. Or lay awake any more nights. But you will see a video dedicated to her coming out the first part of the week.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Stirring Up the Pot....With a SMILE and HELLO

Nathan's post today has reminded me of a post that I've been meaning to toss out to all of you for some time now. It's a big one and, by that, I mean it's going to be frustrating at some point if you continue it. It's a challenge, really. Something to get us all thinking....and reminds us to be polite (remember that please and thank you crap that we learned in kindergarten???).

So, for today, I want you to speak to five people that you don't know.....complete with a smile and a "hello."

Okay? That's it. Simple. Not complicated. And, who knows, maybe it'll carry over into tomorrow, or even the next day too. Now, for me, the funny part is when people look at you like you're crazy and even when they don't speak back (and, believe me, in my world they don't speak back about half of the time). That's when the ugly cynical, sarcastic side of me says out loud "Oh, and you have a nice day too!" Oops.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Frosty, Cold Morning in Portland

"Odd, the entitlement of humanity -- floating mere feet abreast the darkness, the world beneath. Shiny pearls exist next to their near demise and loss. "I deserve this" drifts across the world of a nearly perfectly balanced world of water." -- Lewis, 14 October 2007, ms Zaandam, midpoint San Diego to Hilo

Don't miss out on these amazing photographs of the early morning fog and sunrise to the east of Portland this morning....complete with Mt. Hood rising at nearly 12,000 feet. It was cold out, foggy, and frosty as I set out with my new camera to find the best in morning views. To you, all of my friends, I say ENJOY!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Zaandam Verandah Suite Stateroom Tour

A video tour of Holland America Line's ms Zaandam Verandah Suite #6107.

Macy's Holiday Parade

Last Friday (or should I say Black Friday) found us in downtown Portland at the Macy's Holiday Parade. We've never been there before in spite of spending ten years in Portland. It was a lot of new found fun to grab some hot coffees and muffins and stand in the midst of old and young children alike to officially welcome in the holiday season. This parade was formerly called the Meier and Frank Holiday Parade named after the department store that occupied this block since 1910 until Macy's bought the property a few years back. The building is very beautiful and a great addition to downtown Portland. Following the parade, we made a cold winter morning of it by visiting the newly renovated Macy's store, Williams Sonoma, Camera World, and Pioneer Place, also known as "Portland's Living Room." We finished up with lunch at the Macaroni Grill.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I'm a Whore

UPDATE: I've also added to my Portland City Views photographs as of this afternoon and there are really some amazing pieces of art.

I'm a whore...photographically speaking, of course. Since the purchase of the new boy-toy the other day, I've been consumed. Immersed, as in baptism. I feel the spirit moving! My camera and I have become one. You'll see new pics in the sets below. And the full moon shots from last night are really cool. All of the Christmas decorations went up yesterday and things look pretty darned nice. I mean, we're not as over the top as some of my fellow light-in-the-loafers brethren but, hey, it's all about peace, joy, and not being judgmental....right? I'll be guest blogging for several weeks over at Boys Are So Ugly But So Cute and I hope you'll join me.


Thanksgiving 2007

Christmas 2007

Oops, I almost forgot.....guess who came to join our family yesterday????

Friday, November 23, 2007

Let The Frenzy Begin !

It's officially official....the 2007 Holiday Season has begun. Santa arrived today at the end of the Portland Macy's Holiday Parade. We braved freezing temperatures, albeit amazing blue skies, to watch the parade in downtown. We've lived in Portland for ten years but have never braved the day after Thanksgiving crowds downtown for this event. We had a blast eating yummy muffins and holding hot cups of coffee (even though I dropped mine while trying to open a ever-so-famous Macy's Frango Mint lobbed at the crowd from the parade marchers). I've captured a bunch of video and will try and put that together soon. After Santa had officially waved at us (yes, Virginia, Santa does wave at gay people), we made a nice cold morning of venturing through Williams Sonoma, Macy's, Pioneer Place, Camera World, Nordstrom Rack, and ending up for a little lunch at Romano's Macaroni Grill. We took Max light rail back to our car and then headed out to Portland's brand new Cascade Station near the Portland International Airport -- the home to our brand new Ikea, Best Buy, DSW Shoes, and other shops. Guess what happened at Best Buy? My hubby bought me a brand new, shiny, AMAZING new camera -- a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H9....the latest and greatest of cameras. It's a little larger than my older Sony Cyber-shot DSC-70 which fit nicely into my pocket. But this new puppy is nothing short of cool. Check it out. We'll be celebrating our 10th Anniversary on December 9. Couple that with the fact that Oregon will begin issuing Civil Union certificates on January 1 and you'll find plenty of reasons to have a new camera....for capturing of extremely special moments! We're off to meet some friends across the river in Vancouver, Washington, at Cactus Ya's Ya's....guys we love to death but see rarely. Oh, and they're not so bad on the eyes either.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


On this, a horribly windy but clear, Thanksgiving Eve, I'm just plain old nothin' but blessed. I'm just sitting here, a shit-eating grin on my face, my pupils dilated to a good and proper degree, and my pulse quickening.....wondering what I'm going to do with my $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. And Oprah's special little people got all of those prizes just yesterday -- which is nothing compared to what I've won. And all of it sent to me by my long-lost Uncle Lewis. Anybody want to be my best friend? Take note:

Ref/ UK/839030X2/14


TICKET NUMBER:023-1111-790-458


We are pleased to inform you of the final announcement today, 18th ofNov., 2007 of winners of the UK XMAS LOTTERY ONLINE PROMOPROGRAMME, held on the 11th of Nov., 2007.

You have therefore been approved for a lump sum pay out of£1,000,000.00(One Million pounds sterling) in cash credited to fileXYL/26510460037/04.This is from a total cash prize of £10,000,000.00(Ten Million pounds sterling) shared amongst the first ten (10) lucky winners in this category i.e Match 5 plus bonus.Your assigned claims agent will immediately commence the process to facilitate the release of your funds as soon as you contact him/her via electronic mail(email) or other options made available to you.To file for your claim, please contact our claims agent:Dr.Pinkett BrownEmail: info.uknationalottery@yahoo.com.hk

Provide him with the information below:

1.Full Name:

2.Full Address:

3.Marital Status:





8.Country Of Residence:

9.Telephone Number:

For due processing and remittance of your prize money. Congratulations once more from all members and staffs of this program.Thank you forbeing part of our online promotional lottery program.

Yours Truly,

Sir. Lewis Cole

Online Coordinator for the U.K. National Lottery

Monday, November 19, 2007

My conservative Idaho roots have been tickled again. Spent the last few very nice days in Boise with my family. We really did have an excellent time including an early Thanksgiving meal with the extended family. Our family has long-standing traditions which include lots of "together" time and also having coffee and donuts together each Friday morning. Oh, you bet, we were there for that! We were also there for Boise State University's slaughter of the University of Idaho....you've never seen so much blue and orange in your life. I've blogged about my sister and her troubles in the past several times. Her date for sentencing is December 5. We'll be back in Boise for that. All of our hearts are pretty dark right now. Pensive. Twisted. Not happy. We made time for putting a few dark red highlights in my hair too. God, isn't life one big happy place to live. And the most unbelievable sunset you've seen in a long time. Amazing. Check out the pics, boys and girls. (And, no laughing, please....) And get ready for a big fat happy thankful Turkey Day. In spite of life's bullshit, there ain't no damn reason we shouldn't be all sassy, happy, and thankful.
Oh, and look who we ran into.......George and Laura send their greetings from the most Republican state in our nation. There was one bright spot though....we tried to take my my family out for coffee at one of Boise's only progressive, open minded coffee joints.....but couldn't get in because the place was packed....no place to sit. Excellent, sweet news!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Unsuspecting Magical Moments

I'm afraid that the magic may have slipped away under the dark of night in my life. It's sad, really. The fire in the belly. The skip in the step. The excitement of spirit and even the twinkle in the eye instead of a glazed over look. I'm not even completely sure how, or exactly when, the smoke and mirrors disappeared from the act. And maybe, just maybe, I wasn't completely in tune with it's departure. There's a possibility that it's middle age. Or stress. Could even be the gradual integration of a nasty case of cynicism into my life. Or the fact that I've been in my job for a long time. But today, at a completely unsuspecting moment, I was transported, uninvited, into someone else's magical moment. Childlike, almost.

I came face to face with a person on their first day at a new job. Not just any job. This was a job that I know well. Too well? And there she was, an established, professional, well-dressed woman. Perfect. A bit older than some others, perhaps. Maybe even a little more difficult for her to learn a new trade, with huge amounts of course work and studying. A real mental and emotional five-week push to get to where she was today. Proudly wearing her new uniform and desperately wanting her performance to match all that she had invested in her new life.

So, we're together, she and I. Side by side. Everything is working out beautifully in a technical, mechanical, sort of way. That's how it becomes after many years. Mechanical and mundane. We're moving faster and faster. But in one brief moment of heavy silence, both of our minds rehearsing critical mental checklists, she said out loud to me, "Wow, it just hit me that this is my moment, the one that I've been preparing for." I could feel the sense of accomplishment in her voice. And I felt a giant lump fill my throat immediately. My brown eyes became instantly heavy with tears. She was very proud of her achievement. And she should be. I was the lucky one who was privy to sharing this beautifully perfect and moving moment. With a stranger. It reminded me of a kind of magic that needs to happen more often in my life. Pride. Accomplishment.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Special Friendships

Have you ever been welcomed into someone's home that you've never met with open arms, been fed the most delicious warm homemade food, and put to bed in the silence of the autumn night with a million stars twinkling in the dark sky? I can't begin to tell you what a joy it was to meet Will at DesignerBlog along with his partner, Fritz. These guys treated me like royalty -- in an unpretentious, down to earth, cozy sort of way. Will picked me up more than an hour's drive away in Boston and drove me back to their home in southern New Hampshire. We dined in their warm home, more than 200 years old, around their inviting kitchen table, and sipped on cold wine while Fritz fed us an intoxicating array of homemade foods -- acorn squash filled with butter and maple syrup tapped from their own maple trees. We also had a hot lentil dish and salad. And to top off the meal....homemade apple cake with apples from their orchard. I mean, I'm the first person to get fired up over good food....and this topped the list. We spent our evening laughing, talking history, travel adventures, getting to know one another, talking about "the old days," tossing around the names of several bloggers, and just a little dose of politics (didn't want to ruin a perfectly good meal on politics). The boys put me to bed in their conference center where Fritz teaches a variety of interesting course studies. So, at the end of a busy day, I fell asleep trying to stare out my big picture window into the darkness of the forest on their property. I woke to a cold, sunny morning with white birch trees as my greeting. We took a walk up the newly hewn road to see the construction of their new home which is a masterpiece. You just wouldn't believe how perfect it is. We hiked back into the woods to their sweat lodge and then drove up the road for a little breakfast and through the town of Raymond, New Hampshire. I said my good byes to Fritz (he was teaching that day) and Will and I jumped back on the road to Boston. I am continually amazed at the openness of humanity to welcome others into their lives. To share our hopes and joys. And to even allow our frailties to rise to the top of conversation. All on the first date. These guys are special. I felt like I'd known them for a long time -- you know, that comforting feeling inside when you put on a favorite pair of shoes or sweater. Comfortable, a perfect fit. And as we gathered in the silence of the evening for our meal, we grabbed hands around the table, bowed our heads for a moment of peaceful silence, and they called me "a dear friend." I even think I may have felt a little moisture in my eyes. Moments like these mean the world to me. Is there any doubt that I want to go back? From the bottom of my heart, boys, thank you. Pictures from the visit are here.

Friday, November 09, 2007

ms Zaandam Ship Tour

A ship tour of Holland America Line's ms Zaandam on our recent 15-day Hawaii cruise rountrip from San Diego.

Spirit of Saint Lewis Meets DesignerBlog

Tomorrow will find me in Boston on a working trip. After a quick cleanup and making sure all of my parts are intact, I will have the pleasure of being whisked away by Will from DesignerBlog. We're going an hour or so north of Boston, up to the hills of New Hampshire, and I'm going to be able to spend the evening with he and his partner at their home. He's promised food, fun, frolic, and maybe even a dip in the hot tub under the dark, cold, night autumn sky. (I think he said something about drinking too, but mums the word on that.) My camera battery is charged up, got my hairs cut (both of them) today, and I'm going for an acupuncture appointment this afternoon. I'll be in premium shape for meeting, yet, another blogger. Now, if only I could work on my best behavior.....I guess one can't have everything.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Compromising Situations

Is it so wrong to find yourself in compromising situations? With your boss? How about if we throw a straight woman into the equation? Or a bottle of hooch? Let's rewind to hot desert summer, Idaho 1997.

The boy had just come out a few months prior. Sowing his oats. Testing the waters. Acting gay when he was scared to death and didn't even know what the word gay hardly meant. The party was a mixed one...straight, gay, men, women, co-workers, neighbors. A backyard affair betwixt good food, wine, and happy people. The crowd dwindled a bit toward the end of the evening. Somehow, it happened. One boy, then two, then three. In the hot tub on the back patio. Clothing strewn on the green grass around the tub -- shorts, fancy t-shirts, flip flops. Maybe four, five, or six of us. Naked, the bubbles covering up our nervous parts. All good so far. Then the bottle of tequila arrived. Damn that person who brought it. But, hey, as long as it's here.....who needs a glass? Nope, just pass the sucker around. We'll lap it up and pass it on. And then things get just a little fuzzy when some dude starts riding the circuit...one boy, to the next, to the next. Whoooo....my head is spinning a little. And here comes Mr. I'm Cute Straight Married Man With My Wife to see what's going on over here in the GBITHT (Gay Boys in the Hot Tub). Somewhere along the line, somebody thought it may be fun if we get the straight wife of this guy into the hot tub. "Oh, I shouldn't," she bantered without an ounce of conviction. "Oh, what's there to be afraid of in there with all of those gay boys," her husband echoed back. So, she jumped in. We bubbled around for a bit like chunks of fish in a pot of stew. Babbling, drinking, embarrassed even. But having fun. And that damned tequila......god, it was grabbing at my gray matter by the globs.

I don't really remember when, but the straight lady ended up leaving -- even though her cute husband wanted to stay, and stay, and stay to watch, and watch, and watch. Hum. Pervert. We ended up in the TV room after a few hours, not a stitch on, co-workers, my boss, friends and neighbors alike. Doing things we still giggle and remember fondly today.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

I've Been Poked

Do you ever just seem to find yourselves in a pickle? A real predicament? This is how I felt this afternoon when I went for my first acupuncture treatment with a wonderful, old Chinese man. He had me strip down to my Gap boxer briefs (good thing I didn't go my usual commando today, isn't it?) and lay on this old bed that reminded me of Grandma's house. There I was, laying on the bed, the door to the room wide open, and another guy getting poked in the next room. He came and went, put a needle in, took another out. The door wide open. And his wife came in with the moxa....lit on fire and heated up to an extremely hot temperature. She would hold the hot moxa against the needles to warm them. He popped a whopper of a needle in my hip -- and yanked it out just as quickly when I yelped. He left the room muttering, "Baby." And I was. Hubby sat across the room, laughing, tee-hee'ing and having a lovely time with his picture phone. I'm going back in the morning....in spite of the fact that it smells like we've both been smoking pot. The moxa does that.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Arriving Port of San Diego....ms Zaandam

Our arrival at the Port of San Diego on Holland America Line's ms Zaandam:

Friday, November 02, 2007

Boys to Men

My Hawaii vacation provided me with ample opportunity to delve into the world of scantily clad men on Waikiki, in shops along the way, and on the paths leading to and from the beach. I was even more brazen than the beach and took a couple of shots at our ship's lifeboat drill (the officer on deck was just plain old sexy). So, the more I shot, the more I wanted. I was ADDICTED. It got to be a game of cat and mouse....trying to catch guys when they, or their girlfriends, weren't looking. It was quite a fun time. And I plan to continue it. So, I'm introducing a brand new section to my photography collection called Boys to Men. I hope you enjoy and check back often for more pics. I am going to have to get more creative with winter setting in and everyone wearing heavy clothes. If you have some shots that you'd like to add to this collection, be sure and email them to me.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Epilogue From The Islands

I have been painfully amiss from my blogging world. I miss all of you! Our Hawaiian adventure with eight friends was, as expected, wonderful. Five days at sea in each direction gave plenty of time for reflection. You'll read more of my reflections in coming days. A brief summary is nearly impossible -- my head spins with all of the people, places, and things that we encountered. The link to my myriad of photos is here....I had a love affair with my camera, as you'll clearly be able to tell. And I'll never be able to complain about the silver coffee service every single morning served in our stateroom and enjoyed on our veranda with an accompanying Pacific breeze from the world's largest body of water. It doesn't get much better than that. Dessert frenzies, fancy clothes, a cocktail or six, a photography workshop, afternoon trivia sessions, quiet time snuggled in a worn leather chair in the ship's library while the miles of ocean passed by, watching an endangered sleeping monk seal on Waikiki, taking a cooking class with the executive chef of Holland America Line's ms Zaandam, meeting new friends from around the world, taking my very first horseback ride, enjoying a luau at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel on Waikiki, walking humbly across the top of the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor, taking half-nekkid photos of men on the beach (we'll save a furtherance of that topic for it's own special future blog entry), being asked to judge a cocktail-making competition around the pool on deck, walking across the volcano fields of one of the world's most active lands, and relishing some of the most perfect sunrises and sunsets. One of the most cool things we did was our last day on the cruise.....On Deck for the Cure. It is a 5K walk around the ship's promenade deck to support breast cancer. About 100 of us took part in that. And lots of excellent musical entertainment including Peter Fernandez, the Sean Bell Trio, and Karen Saunders. I'll be putting together some videos from the trip in the future. I really haven't done 15 days at sea in luxury accommodations any real justice here. Suffice it to say that it was something that we'll be repeating again and again. And if you haven't done it, I'd consider it...for sure. In quietness and happiness, I say Aloha to you all.

MRI Update: The results are in from my MRI. "The cervical spine reveals degenerative disc disease (arthritis) overall. At c5-6 ther is moderated disc herniation. Moderate spinal stenosis (narrowing of the cavity where your nerve passes through), hence resulting in bilateral C6 nerve root compression. This is why you have numbness in your fingers. Your lumbar spine reveals mild disc degenerative changes at L4-5 and L5-S1. You have a mild disc bulge at L4-5, but it doesn't press on the nerve root." I'm going to see a neurologist on Thursday.