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

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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.