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

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

It's Official -- The Summer Season is Here!

It's official. The season has begun -- the pilgrimage has launched. I made my first trip to the beach today.....Sauvie Island just northwest of Portland. It was 90 today....really pretty warm for here. Beautiful day along the Columbia River. Some ship traffic (the huge ships come from the Pacific Ocean down the Columbia from to/from the Port of Portland. Lots of jet skiers, a huge group of young dudes and chicks all laughing and having a good time....and all with their brand new tight swim suits on....no one naked at that age, apparently. I was anticipating a quiet day....since it's the middle of the week and not quite the summer season yet. But the parking lots were full and lots of people with their lunches, boats, and friends. I saw two little black snakes (we're talking reptiles here for those with dirty minds), two Great Blue Heron, a dead salmon, and some yellow birds of some sort. Oh, and about a million misquitos. Usually see some hawks, but not today. Three ships passed while I was there. I took the camera with anticipation of taking some pics, but it just didn't feel right. Something about a camera coming out on a nude beach that tends to send a rustle among the troops -- hairs raise, toes curl, and holes tighten when the camera makes its appearance. So, we'll let private be private. It was a great day. Grabbed a Subway sandwich on the way out and ate it on the sand. Next time, we'll grab two and you'll be there with me.

The next couple of weeks are going to be very busy with tons of travel for work and pleasure -- Oakland, Las Vegas, Fairbanks, Boise, Los Angeles, Phoenix....and the list goes on. Whew. I'm getting to old for this crap. Now, where is the Geritol?

Monday, May 28, 2007

It's a Big World After All

I gave a little blogging space to my hubby back at New Year's with this post. He's a great writer and has found a beautiful voice for his talent in our world. He has a heart that just won't quit. He wants so much for himself and everyone else So, with that said, I give you......

It’s a small world….. Our days are longer this time of year. They are filled with bright sunshine, blooming trees, plants, and flowers. Neighbors are walking their dogs. Kids are playing ball in the street. There is energy in the air. Life is good. Life is full. We have been waiting for this time of year for months!
Though for some, life continues status quo. Caught up in the negativity of worldly events, television blaring, money dwindling, overloaded work schedules, poor health, poor diet, bad habits. I just can’t get up from the couch because I am so tired. If I just didn’t work such a long day. I better not do dinner because I have to get up early for work. Need to rest. There will be more sunny days to get out, right? There will be more barbeques, right?
I am reminded this time of year at just how small ours lives can become. How we can reduce something so much bigger then us to something so small, tidy and manageable. risk free. Trial offers. Where did my days off go? They went by so fast. Now I am back at work again. One of these days, I am really going to enjoy my days off! It’s a vacuum. It sucks us right in to the bag, and it is very hard to get out.
I don’t know what has happened to me personally, but suddenly I have been reminded of just how big my world is. It is so much greater than me, and it is calling. Come, be a risk taker! Come, change your life! This is not a trial offer, but a permanent solution called “life”. You have one to live, and now is the time.
I have been asking people to name 5 positive things lately for every 5 negative things they have complained about. It’s been pretty quiet. Is it really that bad? Or do we just like to hear ourselves bitch. Of the negative things listed, I have asked “what are you doing about it?” Quiet.
I have also asked those closest to me the definition of the word “selfish”. Excuse me; I just heard a pin drop. Think about this a while will you? What does selfish mean to you? Is it all about you? Your days off? Your schedule? Your time? Your rest and sleep? Your money?
Are we giving of what we have? Our time, our money, our talents? Are we aware of bringing those around us down by complaining about our lives and what we don’t have to those who try to bring more joy to our lives?
The world is only as small as we make it. I for one am busting out and going to enjoy all I can. This includes being with the ones I love, reducing the toxins from the relationships I have, taking better care of myself, stirring the “status quo”, and taking more risks. Each day should be filled with different things. Big. Full of life. Free of the restrictions that only we have allowed in our lives.
It’s a big world after all……


Saturday, May 26, 2007

No Place to Go

Have you ever had no place to go? No place to call "comfortable" and "like home." Ever been lost -- out of sorts -- your mind, and even your heart, pulled in multiple directions. Maybe familial, possibly religious, could even be self-imposed. Who knows. And who cares. But the feeling of having no place to go is not pretty. We saw Latter Days for the second time tonight. If you haven't checked it out, you should. Especially if you're from a religious family or upbringing. And even more especially if you're from a Mormon family. And, most of all, if you've ever been without friends or someone to turn to. The character played by Jacqueline Bisset pulls the whole thing together for me. I mean, the woman can utter the most simple of words -- "Welcome" -- and it twists my heart strings. I guess when you've experienced not being welcome in your life, you know what that means......to feel welcomed, I mean.

I am blessed with countless friends. Countless. Most of the ones I have today have come into my life over the last ten years since my coming out. The prior ones? They're gone. Disappeared into the maze of religiosity and fear. Couldn't handle me. Couldn't deal with homosexuality. Didn't want to deal with their own internal fights over right and wrong. I'd love to name my friends, by name, right here. To thank them. And wish them the same joy they've brought into my life. Accepted me when others wouldn't. Welcomed me when others couldn't.

From yesterday's fear of rejection, to the actual art of rejection, I have come this far. To today. Through yesterday. And toward tomorrow.
For this Memorial Day weekend, I salute not only the military folks in our nation....but all of you, my friends. The ones I know. The ones I don't know. The ones that I've emailed or blogged with but never met. I salute you, I honor you, I thank you. For being my friends in this life. No matter what season we find each other in, I will always be thankful for your belief in me, even when I am less than reasonable, and for -- especially -- welcoming me to your homes, your lives, and to your table. It's nice to have a place to go.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Oakland, California, Streetscape Tour

It seems that I spend a fair amount of time in Oakland. I call it my Home Away From Home and wanted to share a little of it with you. It is filled with homeless people, plenty of crime, and wanderers. Yet, it has some beautiful architecture, an excellent downtown lake to walk around, and tons of good food. I think I'll try and share more of the cities I visit with you. Enjoy.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Lick Your Lips

We've been eating like royalty. I mean, lick your salty lips kind of stuff. I get so turned on by good food -- I'm into the art of it, the taste, the way it's presented -- even farmer's markets and the way things are displayed. My head starts to spin, my mind goes crazy....I have recipes floating in my brain instantly, how to fix this or that food....the possibilities are endless. You'll see all of my food pics here....and a few scattered above. Enjoy.....and don't forget to raise a glass of wine to good food and good friends as you look through here......and wipe your mouth with your napkin too. Here are the highlights:
** Strawberry and Almond Cream Cake
** Roasted Onion, Red Pepper, and Anaheim Chili Enchiladas
** Garden Burgers with Walla Walla Onions, Avocado, BBQ Sauce
** Charred Onion, Cucumber, White Bean Salad (from Cooking Light)
Anybody for Dinner? You're always welcome at our table.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Rules Don't Apply to Me

Why is it that we don't like to do what others ask of us? I'm not talking about crazy or unhealthy things like jumping off cliffs or storing dead bodies in the basement. I'm just talking about places that we go in our day-to-day lives....grocery stores, gas stations, airplanes, hotels, subway or bus, and others. "Would you mind forming one line instead of two?" "Would you use that exit today, please?" "Please turn off your cell phone." My buddy at One3Y3 Open had this to say. An admirable post from an admirable guy. But it has caused me to think....all day today I was ultra aware of my requests to others and whether they seemed to hear me or not. Just normal, routine requests that happen to us. The simplest and most polite of requests to adults goes seemingly unnoticed. They don't seem to hear. They don't seem to give a shit. I think it speaks to a much larger issue in our society. I mean, I don't like being told what to do any more than the next guy -- and my "I'll do as I please" bad attitude does sometimes make an unpleasant and shameful appearance. We're not talking about issues of world peace or genocide here. I mean, in ten years is it going to have made any difference when we have to turn off our computers, bring our seat backs forward, or use a different check stand?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Pee and the Psycho Doctor

In spite of the brazen individual that I've become, I used to be horribly shy (I know, no one will believe me). Ridiculously so. I would make sure I was the first one into a classroom, lunchroom, any room, so that I wouldn't have to be watched as the skinny, little, white boy entered (you've seen the pictures)....and maybe even have to go through the arduous task of trying to find a seat by some nice person who felt sorry for me. "Red rover, red rover, send _____ right over" and never hearing your name called was hell. It was hell enough to make me run for the stall in the boy's bathroom growing up. I mean, I think there were two or three urinals and a couple of stalls -- complete with the safety and privacy of a door. I would love to have seen those doors with dead bolts and an alarm system installed. But, of course, you already know of my former shyness when it comes to these sorts of indiscretions. You would never find me at the urinal...hanging my wee-wee out for the boys to see was just not my thing. Alas, I was the one holed up in the stall, peeking through the crack in the door to be sure that no one was trying to look inside at me. I think I'd have poked their eye out if they had. And, not only that, but I found myself most comfortable when actually sitting down, not standing, while peeing. Hum. Weird, isn't it? I mean, there are stranger things that we boys have done in the bathrooms....but this one was just a little off. I can't really explain it very well. But I do remember it. And how my parents ever came to hear of it is beyond me, but they did. It was along about this same time that I just plain old didn't find school challenging (early grade school here, late 1960s or maybe 1970). It was totally boring and never really did accelerate in excitement for me. I couldn't wait to get out of school. So, my parents sent me off to see psycho doctor down in an old house near downtown. I remember my mom taking me there. I went in with the doc while she sat in the waiting room probably reading last month's Life magazine or gazing through Highlight's for Children for some new activity to have me try when we got home. I remember answering question after question for the shrink. We looked at pictures: "What do you see in this picture?" We played the little game "What shape do you see in here?" as I looked intensely at a bunch of black or blue ink dots on the page and tried to decipher a naked boy in that mess. I have no horrible, terrible emotional trauma from that day. I think I performed well under the pressure. What I do know is that the kindly doctor told my mom that there was nothing wrong with me. That school actually was boring and didn't make me think. It was plain old not challenging. He also told her that if I wanted to do something, I'd do it. And if I did not want to do something, that I probably wouldn't do it. Nothing has changed. I can still be stubborn. Now, as for the let's-not-take-a-leak-in-front-of-the-boys deal, he said it was just a phase and that I'd get over it. And, boy, did I. I think I went too far the other direction.

UPDATE (May 19): Take a look here at what my friend over at Saturday Night Soup for the Soul created as a result of this post. Warning -- Adult Material -- 18 and Over Only.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Old Bucket

Last Friday, I attended an excellent writing workshop for gardeners. Now, don't get me wrong....I am as giddy as the next teenager about sitting in a beautiful garden with a glass of viognier or cup of hot Starbucks in the early morning. However (big "however"), I don't really like gardening (the act of) very much at all. I like the fun stuff -- but, please honey, leave the manual labor to someone else. If I break a sweat, I'm a mess. So, back to the workshop....It was a really fun day. Ten of us with topics such as your earliest garden memory, your favorite gardening tool, what do you see outside right now, favorite gardening book, favorite flowers and vegetables, gardens that have made an impact on your life. We looked at lots of inspiring poetry and essays and did plenty of writing (have any of you written anything by hand lately, no computer??). It was held at the Northwest Viticulture Center a few miles west of Salem, Oregon -- far up on a hillside where we could look out and see the Willamette Valley. The grounds were absolutely beautiful and a perfect spot to spend the day. Vineyards, forest, fields, tons of trees and birds. We laughed and cried. It's amazing the impact that gardens and the outdoors plays on a person's life. It was only when we took the time to really explore it that we discovered that. Since I had no favorite tool to take with me (remember, I'm no Martha Stewart), I chose to write a bit about an old bucket that one person brought. I'll include that piece here:

I think it was older than she was -- and probably as strong. Incapable of leaking water except as a result of a dramatic accident or damage.

The metal bucket had been around a very long time. The handle squeaked loudly. I think it had been used to carry water, stand on to reach tall shelves, toss yard clippings in, gather apricots from the tree by the gravel drive, and bring in kindling to start a fire in the wood stove.

But today, it was filled with cold water from the old hose by the well. "Not too full now," she yelled at me from the kitchen window of the old farmhouse. Someone, I don't remember who, was already busy picking an armful of flowers ...peonies, iris, lilacs. The old water bucket never looked as stately and proud as when she was filled with well water, fresh-cut flowers, and loaded into the trunk of grandma's red Mercury Comet, circa mid-1960s.

And so, off we went -- many Memorial Days -- to place bright flowers of remembrance at the granite stones of family gone before us.

The bucket returned home, in all of her beaten-up glory, empty, well used, and ready to perform her next priceless task.

Saturday, May 12, 2007


Maturity is the ability to tolerate an injustice without wanting to get even. Maturity is patience. It is the willingness to postpone immediate gratification in favor of the long-term gain.

Maturity is perseverance, sweating out a project in the face of heavy opposition and discouraging setbacks. Maturity is the capacity to face unpleasantness and frustration, discomfort and defeat without complaint, collapse or attempting to find someone to blame.

Maturity is humility. It is being big enough to say "I was wrong." And, when right, the mature person is able to forgo the satisfaction of saying "I told you so."

Maturity is the ability to evaluate a situation, make a decision and stick with it. The immature spend their lives exploring possibilities, changing their minds and, in the end, they do nothing.

Maturity means dependability, keeping one's word, coming through in a crisis. The immature are masters of the alibi. They are confused and disorganized. Their lives are a maze of broken promises, former friends, unfinished business and good intentions that never materialize.

Maturity is the art of living in peace with that which we cannot change, the courage to change that which can be changed and the wisdom to know the difference.
*I apologize for not knowing the source of this quote. I have had it in my keepsake drawer for years. If you know to whom credit should be given, please let me know*

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Bits and Bobs of Discovery

Ahh, these little moments of discovery in one's life. Dusting off boxes, looking for a special Mother's Day tribute to post (and not finding it...blech)....but, alas, the gems in the rough appear...blatant, honest weirdos poking their groovy faces through into the year 2007.

Don't giggle too much, please. This post of pics seems to go perfectly with the one from yesterday (below) on "Being of this World but not in it." Things are coming full circle, it seems. And, my dear wonderful friends, how no one knew about me or were able to tell is way beyond me. No laughing or cackling now. Here are a bunch more.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Being In the World -- But Not Of the World

I remember 1978 when I was on a spring break trip with 240 high schoolers...mostly juniors and seniors....and two of us who were sophomores. We were spending one week on the East coast checking out all of the typical tourist sights and learning about our country's heritage. It was my first time there and it made a huge impact.

Our first night there, we were in Williamsburg, Virginia, in a Best Western motel. There were four of us in each room, two to a bed. I got no sleep the entire week. Wanting to get down and dirty with the guy in the bed with me and, at the same time, totally afraid and paranoid that it would happen. Nothing did. What did happen was that I watched Saturday Night Live for the very first time. You see, we didn't ever get to partake in that type of show at home (nor did we get to stay up that late). I remember feeling so much like I was doing something that I shouldn't be doing. You know, really living on the edge of something "adult." The rest of the week brought me even further that direction with drinking beer in the hotel room with other kids, seeing all of the adult shops in Times Square, and watching other people my own age go ape shit at being away from home by themselves for the first time.

I remember listening to my AM transistor radio, with the antenna pulled as far up as it would go and angling it just right for the best reception. I heard songs like Smoking in the Boy's Room and Chevy Van, among others, that I just knew were not in sync with my Bible-believing, church-going upbringing. They just didn't fit together very well -- we were supposed to be "in the world, but not of the world." Every time I'd hear them, I'd think that this was a long way from the lessons I'd heard in Sunday School.....and that this was probably what it meant to be doing things that would taint my good behavior and turn me into another one of those "worldly individuals."

Then, The Streak came out and became a horribly popular song. It was played over and over on stations everywhere. Every time I'd hear it, I'd almost get embarrassed to think of a person running with no clothes on in front of others. Never! How uncomfortable it made me feel. Almost like I shouldn't be doing or listening to this song.

A world away, that was. Thankfully.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Straight As An Arrow

A couple of buddies trying to decide where to go for dinner and then begging me to go with them:

The Dudes: Come on, go with us.

Me: Nah, I think I'll just hang out in the hotel.

The Dudes: You tell us where you want to go and we'll go.

Me: Can't I just stay at the hotel and not go?

The Dudes: No, we need you to go with us. You're the straight one around here.

Oh my god, if I'm the straight one, we're all in trouble. I think they must have been smoking something.

Yep, I did go. Korean BBQ which would normally never have been my choice. Clay pot rice and veggies. Delicious. Oh, and did I mention the green tea ice cream? I'm getting fat.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

What Do Others Say About You?

What are five words/phrases that other people use to describe you? Scary, huh? Now, I don't mean five goodie-too-shoo words that you think other say about you. I mean, hard core words that you've heard other people use to describe you....both the lily white pure yummy stuff and the you-have-to-be-kidding-there's-no-way-I'm-like-that sort of things. I'll go first (yeah, I know there are six, not five, but the number isn't really important):

1. Cold/Not Warm and Fuzzy. (Black and white...so realistic and practical.)
2. Hard to Get to Know. (I spent 35 years hiding who I am.)
3. Funny/Dry Sense of Humor/Don't Know if I'm Serious or Not
4. Serious/Need to Have More Fun/Loosen Up.
5. Organized/Realistic.
6. Wise Beyond Your Years. "You'd be a good Counselor."

These things should not really be things you do but, rather, who you are...inside...your core being. Some of these things are pretty hard to swallow for me. There was a day when I was majorly defensive at hearing less-than-pure thoughts from others about myself. As if! The monster can still rear its ugly head if I'm not careful. In some ways, I guess I'll probably have to keep that in check for the rest of my life. I think those of us who grew up not really being able to be ourselves get all screwed up sometimes. It's not an excuse (because I can't stand excuses)....it's just the way it is. We spend a good chunk of our developmental years hiding, covering, making up stories about who we are. So, as an adult, we tend to have a stilted point of view....both of ourselves, others, and the world around us. And it can cause real trouble as others from the outside try to peer into our lives and take a look around. They get mixed up sometimes. And, sometimes, they are spot on. Questions to consider:

* Has the list changed over time?
* Is the list more or less "positive" or "negative"?
* Do you think you're getting better or worse as your life progresses?
* Are you where you want to be?
* Do you seek out other's opinions of you or do you just want to hear them?
* How do you respond to what you hear others say about you?
* Do you take what others say defensively or openly.
* How does it make you feel?
* Do you take other's thoughts as a tool for improvement?

A very special thank you to all of you who helped put me well over the 10,000 mark by the end of yesterday. I hit an all-time record for the number of hits in one day and the number of comments in one post. I had responses from so many new people as well as my good old reliable standards. To those of you who put posts on your site or asked your friends to email me, you're way cool! As a thank you gift, I would love to buy you dinner next time you're in Portland or when I'm with you. My treat. I appreciate you all so much and have enjoyed meeting each of you....some "virtually" and others in person, on the telephone, or via email. It doesn't really matter. I consider each of you my friend. And that's really what makes the world go 'round.
Anybody in San Francisco or Oakland and would like to have dinner on Sunday or Monday evening, hit me up. Love to see you.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Help Me Break 10,000......Today!

You'll see that my stat counter is approaching 10,000.....and probably will hit it late today or tomorrow. Not that bad for a six-month-old blog that knew absolutely nothing about the whole deal that long ago.

I'm hoping you can help me jump the 10,000 mark in a huge way. I'd like to see how many hits I can get in the next 24 hours. I know, I know....we all want the fame and fortune and hits. Our egos beg for it. Our clickers just itch for it. And we check, over and over, to see if the number have erected.

Would you mind helping me? Pass along to your readers, your email list, your porn list, even your mother-in-law, my site and encourage them to take a look today. I would really appreciate you pushing me over the 10,000 mark in a big way. I'm shameless, I know. And, please, let me know what I can do in return.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Domestic Partnerships in Oregon!

You'll never believe it. Oregon's senate sent a Domestic Partnership bill to the governor yesterday and he's expected to sign it. Gladly and happily. We'll be the 9th in the nation to have such a provision. And, thankfully and appropriately, the Oregon Family Council has stated that they will not seek the signatures to put the bill up to vote for Oregon citizens to decide on. This is the second pro-human being bill to be passed along to Governor Kulongoski in the last several weeks. Check this out too.

So, celebration cake and ice cream? A favorite cocktail? Clink a glass to us today, would you please?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

May Day Yard and Garden Tour

UPDATE (3:28pm PDT): Look here for some really cool pictures of the hail storm that passed through about an hour ago....check out the little Hawthorn tree blossoms in the hail stones.

I had originally planned on posting this yesterday...right on May Day 2007. But I discovered that YouTube only permits files up to a certain size...and this one is larger than that. So, this one is from blip.tv. It may take longer to load, be patient. I also can't figure out why the video stops every so often. Help! If you're struggling to see it, try this link: http://blip.tv/file/217087/
I wanted to take you on a little tour around our yard and garden. Hope you enjoy. Don't forget to listen to the May audio greeting on the left side too.

Yard and garden tour, May Day 2007