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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My 100,000 Visitor !!

Not quite sure exactly who you are....but your IP Address is: And Your Geographical location is: LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA, USA. Your Latitude is: 33.7976. And Your Longitude is: -118.1617. Your Area Code Is: 562.
Many, Many Thanks. Email me if it's you!!
If you lived closer, I'd give you a big old lollypop.

Monday, December 29, 2008


It's 99,915 right this minute.....but by the end of today, I will have reached 100,000 (counter to your left). AND WHO WILL BE THE 100,000 VISITOR???? 100,000 isn't that much for many of you. But for me, it's monumental. And here it hit right on the birth of a brand new year! In addition to the fact that I'm actually far away from my own home at the warm and welcoming home of fellow-bloggers-turned-fellow-friends Sean and Jeffrey. Combine that with the fact that my honey is here too. It all adds up to a very most excellent cool rockin' sassy beautiful way to celebrate a scant 100,000 hits. And to all of you, my faithful followers and friends, THANK YOU! I've had the fortunate luck to be able to meet many of you, talk with some of you on the phone, and email many more of you (oh, and swap dirty pictures with a few of you as well....ahem). Whatever it's been, I'm thankful for it. You've made my life a better place to be.

Empire State Undie Monday

From the rolling snow-covered hills west of Albany, New York, I send you along quickly to Sean's blog..... and especially to the photography session in anticipation of Undie Monday that happened in his living room last night. He and his hubby are at work today -- slaving along for the good of all of the nice people in NY State. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, we're at their house digging madly through their drawerfuls of dainties and other unmentionables. I should be more careful....they are being 100% wonderful to us and have met our every single solitary need. It was in the 50s yesterday....but I see that the New Year will bring us down to around 8 degrees. It's going to be a snuggle-in-and-hibernate sort of holiday! And here is my own honey's take on yesterday's events.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

At Sean and Jeffrey's in Albany

I'd show you a picture, but then I'd be classified as an "Adult Content" blog. And we simply can't have that. Suffice it to say, that Sean and Jeffrey picked us up in Boston today and we had a very nice drive back across the state of Massachusetts and into New York. Their home is amazing....so comfortable, so "them"...and that means perfect. As with my last visit in October, they are the consummate hosts and have done way more than necessary to make sure we're right at home. It's so odd how unsuspecting souls can become friends via the world wide web (you did know that E Harmony brought us together, didn't you??). Seriously, in what other point in history would we have ever found these very nice men to become friends with? None. And that's the beauty of blogging and the good powers of our universe in full swing. It's going to be a fantastic week.

Off to Albany

Friday, December 26, 2008

Winging Our Way Eastward

My Honey has written about it quite adeptly. Read his post, would you? Ta ta and Happy New Year. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a few nose and ear hairs to trim, nails to clip, manscaping to complete, and a good night's sleep to catch. And pretty much in that order, in case you're wondering.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Long List of Wants, Not a Single Need

"May You Have Warmth In Your Igloo, Oil In Your Lamp, And Peace In Your Heart!"

Man, I swear I've got all kinds of emotions and things and feelings and thoughts in my head. And my heart is sort of tied to them all too. And I'm sure that I'm no different than any of you. I miss my childhood Christmases. I miss being at Grandma's house on Christmas Eve with a million family members with my father bringing the ham (he was a butcher). I miss helping my Grandma set up the table for the evening (that should have been a sure clue for anyone observant enough to notice...there's no straight boy in his right mind that would have been helping Grandma set the table). I miss stopping at Gem Furniture on Broadway Avenue in Boise on the way home from Grandma's on Christmas Eve....to look in their Christmas windows to see the moving Santa and decorations....and the slow crawl that my dad would do in our 1967 blue Chevy station wagon up Main Street in downtown Boise to look at the pretty lights. I miss the warmth of my bed and hearing my mom set up our breakfast -- always the one, she still is, to make sure that there is good food with some little surprise on the table for us. I spoke with her this morning....she said that she thought it was going to just be her and my step dad for dinner today, just the two of them. I said, "Things sure have changed, haven't they?" She said, "Yes, they sure have. But, you know, I have a long list of wants in my life and not one single thing on my NEED list." Always the purveyor of good spirits and energy, she is. A very wise woman.

My honey fixed our Christmas Eve meal for us last night....it was ready when I returned home from my very delayed morning turn to Phoenix and back. We, well "I" really, struggled to find something Christmas-y on the TV and to make it all seem okay. And it was, I cannot (nor am I) complaining. It's just different. I know you can relate. We finished up the evening with my brother in law coming by for a hot drink and to watch the end of It's a Wonderful Life. You remember it, I concur....the part where they all hug and the little bell rings on the tree and the angel gets his wings. My father in law has only been gone a few months -- he always brought "the voice of Christmas prayers" to our table...today, he'll be missed. And word late yesterday from a fellow friend and blogger in Africa that his partner of many years passed away yesterday evening. And another blogger buddy in Texas that is struggling through horrible radiation treatments that burn his skin beyond belief. My honey's continue struggle to figure out what is going on his his throat to cause it to hurt. Ugh. I know you've all got your own lists to deal with. But a very nice surprise phone call from my buddy Anthony on an overnight trip in Seattle...just up the road, really...except that the road is covered with snow and ice right now......we were going to try and spend Christmas together.

Today my mother in law is coming over along with our good friends Alex and Paul for dinner. We've invited a few other friends who may not have friends or family to spend today with. We're going to enjoy turkey breast, yummy ham with a killer Paula Deen glaze that my hubby made yesterday, au gratin potatoes, lime-curry roasted carrot spears, spicy Thai brussel sprouts, and homemade cake by Alex! It's going to all be delicious. And honey and I spent the morning enjoying a homemade hot breakfast together....a rarity for us. Oh, and we've got NPR's live holiday mix streaming on the laptop. And if my sister hadn't sent two lovely Christmas gifts to our little pooch Mason, he would have gone without this morning.....and he has been a very very good boy this year.

Tomorrow brings the longest list you've ever seen before our trip to Albany, New York, on Saturday to spend New Year's with Sean and Jeffrey. Tomorrow list include: Packing, going to the storage shed to get our big giant suitcase, gym time including yoga, haircuts, teeth bleaching, washing our sheets so they'll be nice and clean when we get back home, taking Mason to his Aunt Melanie's where he's going to spend the week, making sure the I-pod is charged up and synced, shave a bit perhaps, check in for our flight to the east coast, and take down all of the Christmas decorations. We'll be up early!

So today, I say HAPPY and MERRY to you all. Whatever you're celebrating, I hope it's a ton of fun. It's odd that we've designed so much attention around a single solitary day of the year....a mere 24 hours. I'm of the same ilk many of you are....that we should find reason to be happy every single solitary day of the year. If we can't, we've got some work to do. And if we already can, I'm sure there is someone nearby that could use our help in doing so.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Guess What We've Been Doing ???

Guess what we've been doing? See the little side mirrors on those cars? Yup, you guessed it. Oh, and more forecast for tomorrow. And, yes, this is an actual live picture from right here in the (rainy??) Pacific Northwest. And, by the way, there are few holidays to be celebrated imminently. Merry Christmas and Happy All of the Other Holidays! In four days, we're heading to Boston where our buddies Sean and Jeffrey will pick us up and we'll make our way back on the Massachusetts Turnpike to their home near Albany, New York. There is a big New Year's Eve sleepover party planned. And the potential for a day trip down to New York City....where I just may get to ogle over lunch over this handsome stud. If we can just get out of Portland, that is.

Monday, December 22, 2008

See What Happens When You're Snowed In

So, here's what happens when you're snowed in all weekend and no end in sight. It's all a part of Sean's Undie Monday series. Unfortunately, I've succumb to snow and ice poisoning and my brain has begun to freeze and do naughty things. It all happened last week, completely and totally unplanned....I had just taken off my work clothing when I spotted the mardi gras beads hanging on the back of the door. The AussieBum panties were already in place. No sooner had I adorned my pale white frame with the colorful beads than I spotted the boots -- my hubby's boots (the one's I'm jealous of because I think they are horribly rugged and edgy). So, I slipped those on. And popped the door open....he was agast. But he was only in shock long enough to get the camera and start shooting away. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Wintery, icy cold pictures from today around our house. Wind gusts up to near 60, roads closed, and tire chains required on all Portland city streets today. Now doesn't that sound fun. We'll stay home and watch our new AussieBum DVD that arrived with our new panties for our trip to Sean and Jeffrey's in Albany, New York, next Saturday. Man oh man, I hope this weather clears up during the week....there have been nothing but troubles around these parts for a week now.

Let's Think Of Others Instead of Ourselves

Every time something like this happens, there's this funny twinge inside of me. In the head (for the technical, book, educational, training issues) and certainly in the heart (for the emotional and soul parts that clobber us from time to time). I think about the passengers in the cold night air, out in the field, scared to death, worrying, wondering, wandering around. I think of the scariness of actually seeing an airplane broken -- the engine laying next to it, the landing gear not extended, the belly smooshed into the frozen earth. Those things aren't supposed to happen. And the emergency exits opened up, the slides flapping in the winter night air. And I think of the crew....those with whom I have huge respect and admiration. You'll remember that I posted this about the crew back on 9/11:

You know, there's just something about wearing a uniform. Any uniform. It seems to sort of create a camaraderie. A group or cohesiveness. You sort of understand one another a little better and know what each other may very well be thinking or feeling. You know the routine, the drill. In good times, the stories of weird situations and people are the life of the party. And in difficult times, the stress can be high and the memories cut deep. And the stress of this present day was about to slice as deep as anything in my life. And I didn't even know it quite yet.
I think of commands like, "Brace! Brace! Heads down, stay down! Stand back!" I'm required to know those backwards and forwards and to be tested on them annually. It gets quite heated and the heart races in anticipation. I hope I never have to use it. Every time I look at those seated in the emergency exit seats and give them the required briefing, I know full well that they rarely listen to me. And I know equally as well that, most likely, I'm wasting my time in some sort of twisted way....that they will probably not need to know what I'm telling them. But, "What If?" I spend 90% of my time training for things that will probably never happen.
So, as Portland lays underneath a sheet of ice this morning after freezing rain latched itself onto us overnight, I think of those in our world who find themselves in places today that they never planned for nor expected today. Accidents, unanticipated events, luck of the draw, whatever you want to call it. It's hard to recover from those kinds of things. It sometimes takes therapy, time, talking it out, crying, or education. It always makes me think about recentering, bringing proper balance, and smoothing out the things that cause me to get off balance from time to time, much like a car tire out of balance. The ride isn't pleasant.
On this first day of winter 2008 kicks into full swing, and as our holiday season blasts down the final home stretch, I think of those who are very busy today and possibly even away from their friends and families -- in hospitals as either patients or workers, in our armed forces, working at jobs to make our lives easier -- hospital and emergency workers, airline and transportation employees, cashiers and wait staff, those who clear our roads, telephone call center folks, television and news crews, and many more. And I think of the terror and fright of those on Continental Airlines 1404 last night in Denver. And those on a flight years ago that struck terror in my soul -- it was way too close for comfort. I hope, as I do frequently, that it never happens to me nor those close to me. Let's think about others this week instead of ourselves.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Twas the Week Before Christmas, And All Through The House

Another wintry weekend in store...but at least it's finally the first day of actual winter rather than fall....now that's a switch. I see that much of our nation is under the gun with winter in full swing. There are feet of snow coming down by the hour in the Cascade Range to our East and the Oregon Coastal Range to our West. Portland is nearly at sea level....our house is at about 250 feet. We escape some storms with simple driving rain. Other times, we get hammered with severe wind and ice. It's always a crap shoot.

Today was a trip to Las Vegas and back for me....complete with a lovely lady dressed to the hilt and sipping on Courvoisier. There was nothing unusual until she proceeded to stand in the center aisle of an airplane on a mobile phone conversation and dive into the language of a truck driver. There she stood in her pretty little hat, beautiful hair cascading out from under the hat, and her potty mouth in full swing. And loud, may I add. Did it matter than 150 other people stood within spitting distance of her? Um, no, not so much. I'd have spit on her but I don't waste my hard-earned spit on trash (well, sometimes I do...but that's a whole other bottle of wine). I'd call her classy...except that it'd be a lie.

We've got an amazingly full Saturday planned.....up at 03:40am for a trip to San Jose and back. Then coffee with our former neighbors, a follow-up trip for hubby to the eye doctor regarding his new contact lenses, then drinks at Crush for a friend's 39th birthday party (yeah, right, sure you're 39), and then a trip to his home for some coconut cake concocted from the recipe files of Ms. Paula Deen (um, yeah, like that's on my list of eatable treats....I've asked for unadorned carrot and celery sticks to be served....on a silver tray).

Christmas Eve will bring work in the morning followed by some sort of delicious meal at our house during the dinner hour with my recently widowed mother in law. Following dinner we'll listen to my brother in law's radio program from San Luis Obispo, California, streaming on the WWW. Late night Christmas Eve will bring one of our favorite activities of the year -- an organ concert on the GIANT pipe organ at a church that we occasionally attend followed by a traditional candlelight service and then singing of carols outside in downtown Portland at midnight. Christmas morning will be spent with just the three of us, pick mommy in law up around noon, dinner at our house at 3pm, and then maybe a movie on the TV. Friday is completely filled up with preparations for the trip outlined in the next paragraph.

We're getting very excited for our trip to Albany, New York, next Saturday the 27th to see our buddy Sean and his hubby. I've met these two handsome and polite men....my honey has not. it's the first time we've ever gone away during the holidays. It snowed in Albany all day today....I hope the roads keep clear for their trip to Boston to retrieve us from the airport next Saturday afternoon. Hats and gloves will be packed.

I've been reading about many of you who are just not quite in the spirit this year (whatever that really means). It's amazing to me how much emphasis is put, and money spent, on one single solitary day on the calendar each year. And, I must add, that I feel differently this year than ever before. Not necessarily sad or depressed or any of that. But different. Low key. Subdued. Which is good for me. We've been putting tons of emphasis on the gym and yoga....and that's one of the greatest holiday gifts ever to ourselves. And our trip to Albany will be a heck of a way to ring in the New Year. But as far as the traditional buying/spending/eating/partying scene, we're not delving into it this year....thankfully. I just can't support the commercialism, the hype, the emotions and everything behind it. I stick with what I know.....my home, my honey, my pooch, my friends, my family, simplicity, no drama, easy and good times. To celebrate with those near you should happen daily, year round. Not on one day a year. And I don't find anything compelling about spending hundreds of dollars on people when I don't have it and they don't need it. There's nothing good about that. So, I search easily for happiness in my life. And I have it. Very much so. So, there's not much else that could possibly be put under a Christmas tree that would have any more redeeming qualities than that.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Inaguration Party 2009...Tuesday January 20

My good buddy Chris at My 2 Cents has reminded all of us of what a grand and glorious month is in store for us. January typically doesn't bring on cheers and smiles for many. But next month is definitely different. We've waited for January 20, 2009, for far too long. Mr. Screw Up Of The Century is gonna be out of here! Chris reminded me that I should tell all of you that my hubby and I are hosting an Inauguration Party early on the morning of Tuesday, January 20, 2009. The actual ceremony begins at 09:00 but our doors will be open at 7:00am and we're asking that everyone be here before 08:30am so that we can all focus on the swearing in. I still don't think I have a good grasp on what this really truly means for us as a nation and even as a globe. It's not like any other inauguration ever. We're serving a yummy breakfast casserole along with fresh fruit. And to celebrate, we'll have Bailey's for the coffee along with Bloody Marys and Mimosas too. If you're in the Portland area, or would like to be, we hope you'll consider yourself invited. I do need your RSVP, though, by January 10.

Please, come and help us say goodbye to the Bush.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Erroneous Pictures

Because today I get to go to San Jose and back to Portland. And because tomorrow I go to Orange County and back to Portland. And because I have many fetishes and one of them just happens to be trying on sunglasses in stores and taking pictures. And because it's been in the single digits and windier than you-know-what and that's why I am sporting the tuque. And because the dive in our old neighborhood is having a chocolate-covered party! Well, they had one, anyway. Do I need any more reasons to post erroneous pictures? And there are plenty more where these came from. And just one more thing...if you're looking for a bit of holiday cheer and Christmas happiness, don't forget to check out the upper left-hand corner of my site....the "Encouraging Words for the Day." They'll make you feel all cozy and tingly inside.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Snow, Snow, Snow

Hey kiddies, I know that many of you live in perpetual cold weather climates much of the winter. But we don't. Rain, oh yeah...we get the rain. But rarely do we have truly winter weather. Starting today, it's not going to be above freezing for the entire next week....which is really odd for us here in Portland. It's 30mph winds, blowing snow, and icy roads. Check out our local KGW Channel 8 website and our local weather forecast. If I were of the gay persuasion, you may even find me breaking out in a happy-go-lucky version of SNOW from the movie White Christmas. Schools are closed for tomorrow along with many businesses. We edged our way down the hill to the gym earlier....thinking we should keep right on with our business of staying healthy.

On the way home, we did the unhealthy and stopped at one of our favorite Chinese joints, The Ambassador. We walked in the door in our gym sweats and everyone was dressed up in dresses and suits and ties -- we'd obviously crashed some party! It was The Ambassador's annual Christmas party for it's employees and customers. I dove into a steaming fresh plate of kung pao veggies. And we both slurped down a hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps (even though we're not over 21 yet...shh). What a great place. And the drinking isn't over yet....as soon as I hit "publish post" on this little diddy, I'm off to incorporate some rum into hot low-fat eggnog (honey doesn't know about that quite yet but I'm sure he won't object).

And we're less than two weeks from our week-long visit to see some of the Northeast's hottest guys. I met them back in October but my honey has not....he's getting nervous! They invited us out for New Year's and we gladly accepted. And don't forget Sean's Undie Monday tomorrow!

Happy holiday week ahead to everyone. Email me! Tell me something hot to keep these cold days warm and toasty! Send me a picture that will turn a cold day into a hot night!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Straight Guy Between My Legs

The terrain was sort of dry and arid...a bit of a desert feel. For some reason, I was going to bicycle over this semi-huge hill from one side to the other and then back again....I can't quite remember exactly how far it was but maybe a few miles in each direction. Being the bike wimp that I am, I made my way one direction and had a hard time getting back over the hill on the return trip. Guess who showed up to help me? You'll never guess in a million years. One of my horribly handsome and polite straight friends....someone I don't even see with any regularity any longer...but there he was, his typical friendly and helpful self, saying, "Hey, let me help you out with that." So he dove down between my legs and used his hands down on the foot pedals on top of my feet to help me pedal...and he ran alongside me. It was a very screwed up dream, quite frankly. But, oh no, it goes on from there. There was an airport strip next to the road, no airport, just the runway....and a Hawaiian Airlines 767 was taking off. And we both said how weird that was to see that airplane out there. We finished our bike ride and made it back down the hill and I was laying down naked resting a bit after my big bike ride....and he was messing around in the room just looking at the ceiling and the doors and such.... and he noticed a few wasps coming out of the inside of the door. And he said, "I'll bet there is a bee nest inside of that door." The next thing I knew, he had grabbed a can of WD-40 with the little red spray nozzle and pointed it into a little hole by the door lock near the handle and sprayed it. And out came hundreds of bees flying everywhere. He threw the can and we both started running. Down the road and past the landing strip. Away we went.

Man, tonight must be a full moon or something. But at least this dream didn't involve dog pee or Nancy Reagan.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Irritable Old Bastard

Irritable Old Bastard. That's what I've been called today. On the heels of a very nice 11th anniversary yesterday with all of it's gushy sentiments and such, today I've been relinquished to the throes of being an IOB. I mean, seriously now, check out the meanings of them above. (And, by the way, someone's Mother in Law is not gonna be happy about the definition of that last horrible word.) But, like I mentioned earlier, ain't the truth a bitch. Yup, she sure is.

Do you like my new winter coat? About sixteen of us could have fit into the 47 yards of material that made that coat up. I felt a bit like Sarah Palin.

Monday, December 08, 2008

96,096 Hours and Counting

Today marks 11 years since my honey and I said "I do" in the dog food aisle at a Safeway grocery store on 10th Street in downtown Portland that is no longer even there. It was December 9, 1997, when I said to him, "So, is this thing going to work out for us in the long term or not"? I can be so direct at times. He was ending a not-so-pretty 12-year relationship and I had been divorced out of a 7-year marriage earlier in the year. There were many who stamped our newfound relationship "rebound." And, for all we knew, it was. Who knows at the beginning of something what it really is or what it will look like years from now? Last year I had this to say about my love. And two years ago, it were these words that I penned.

I have pushed him to the limit at times, and he the same. I've asked him to do things that he would probably never have considered had it not been me asking. I've made comments to him that were totally inappropriate and even hurtful. He still chose to love me. He overlooks my many faults and shores up the weak spots in my life. He has seen me at my worst and my best. He has certainly seen me lose my temper. He's heard harsh emotions and flippant remarks. He has cried himself to sleep because of me. Even when I'm flippant or my heart becomes hard, he still understands...at his own expense, many times, I'm afraid. That kills me. Sometimes to see the look of pain in his own eyes.....he's such a caring soul....way down deep sort of soul. He does things that I don't like to do hapilly....without comment or rebuke. He takes the dog out repeatedly because he knows how much I can't stand waiting, waiting, waiting, for a pee and poop. And last night we watched Great Performances on PBS -- David Foster, The Hit Man. If you don't know of David, I'll bet you actually do....he's done music for everyone for many years. And throughout the evening, my eyes kept on filling up with tears at the love I have for my man. Over and over.....he kept saying to me, "again?" Yes, again. And I imagine my tears will continue. That's just me. The end of the concert was Josh Groban singing You Raise Me Up. And that did it. The well opened up and spewed water out of my eyes....down my cheeks and nearly onto the pooch.

He holds a place in my life much like a very valuable and essential old pair of good shoes. Comfortable, warm, reliable, always there, takes me any place I'd like to go, stylish, functional, and horribly handsome. He's not so sure he likes this analogy. But I do. (And you already know about my foot and shoe fetish, so that should come as no surprise!). I often (always?) look at people's shoes and wonder the many journeys that they carry people. Here and there, state to state, and even around the globe. They go to the gym, to work, to church and club and party. They are often not thought about because we know they'll always be there. And when we get home, they go into the closet, tossed into the darkness. As much as I hate to admit it, we take them for granted...much like I do my man from time to time. But he's always there. In my waking and my lying down. In my rising up and my rest. We've gone through many, many difficult times in our eleven years. Not necessarily interpersonal relationship troubles between the two of us (although there have been several), but pressures and obligations from the outside. He's grown so much since I met him. He's changed, I've changed. He's grown up, me too. Side by side.
My dear, no matter the road, I will always be there for you. I cannot be everything to you -- nor you to me. But the position you hold in my life is immeasurable beyond belief. The journey definitely changes, the view, the sounds, the people passing us along the road. But it's no worry to us. We rest in the solidarity of one another. And at the end of the day, like the shoes, I will be there for you. To carry you wherever you want to go much like you carry me frequently. Because I love you and can't imagine spending my days with anyone else. Happy 96,096 hours....that's 11 years to you. Hell, we haven't even reached a 100,000 hours yet.....we've got a long way to go!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Boys In the Band

...."What I am Michael is a 32 year old ugly, pockmarked, Jew fairy. And if it takes a little while to pull myself together and if I smoke a little grass before I get the nerve to show my face to the world, it's nobody's god damned business but my own........And how are you this evening?"

..."There's one thing to be said about masturbation: you certainly don't have to look your best..."

..."You're lips are turning blue. You look like you've been rimming a snowman..."

Quotes From Boys In the Band which we just saw for the first time the other night.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

It's Been One Year Today

I love my sister more than you'll ever know. I struggle for her many days in my own heart. She has commanded my attention for much of our lives together. I have blogged about her repeatedly on my site......She has given us all a Mandate to be Better. So, today, one year after the fact....because I love you and am continually reminded of how things can be different. I love you, you know that. Keep up the great work....even when you don't feel like it. Feelings can be horribly misleading sometimes.

Friday, December 05, 2008


Me and the yoga mat are supposed to be one. Did you know that? I suppose if you've been practicing yoga for a bit, then you probably do. But it's all new to me. The last 30 days have brought me into a brand new experience in life. I think at "our age," we tend to shy away from new opportunities and experiences. It's hard to press into something new. Difficult to make one's self want to be tested. And sometimes, we think we know it all by this point in our lives. There is no starting class or precursor for yoga. I just started right in by going to class at the gym we've started going to. My friend Melanie had been after me for many months to get my skinny white back end into the gym...and especially to yoga. Specifically to help me with my lower back issues. But it's ushered me into a completely different realm of thinking and being. Here's a sampling of what I've heard over the last 30 days:

Your mat is a sanctuary *** Your body is more than skin and bones *** Let your breath bring life inside of you *** Nothing else matters except the next 60 minutes *** Does your diet match your values? *** Let your breath swirl in the back of your throat *** Release the built-up tension into the universe *** Become one with your mat *** Adho Mukha Svanasana (one of the most common poses) *** Press your toes deep into the earth *** Open yourself up to the sky *** Be present in this moment *** Are you present in your own life? *** Do you participate in your own life and community or are you a bystander? *** Chaturanga Dandasana *** We're going to put our Parasympathetic Nervous System (rest and repose) into practice for the next hour *** We're going to allow our Sympathetic Nervous System (fight and flight responses) rest for the next hour *** Bring your hands to heart center *** Numerous different yoga poses ***
I've had a few people ask me if it's easier to do yoga being thinner than heavier. My answer is that it may be, but not necessarily. I have also been asked if there are such things as beginner courses. I have not run into any, but I believe there may be in yoga-specific studios....not typically at the public gym level. In spite of being on the thin side, I have to clearly admit that my body has been pushed to do things that I never thought I could -- and that there are still things I am unable to do with very much beauty or flow. It has tested my balance, my centering abilities, and my ability to focus on a single point. It is a nearly continual test of blocking out my day -- what I've done before class and what I will do afterwards. It is nearly impossible to do many of the poses while thinking about how rough one's life is or how badly we think we've been treated. We are reminded for the whole hour, over and over, about breathing.....slowly, deeply, in and out.

We don't "do" yoga. We "practice" yoga. Much as our lives are a journey of practicing. Over and over. I still have trouble keeping my focus. I find myself thinking about errands or things that have to be done. I do my conscious best to NOT look at the clock in the room....and I'm pretty good at that. (Except that today I found myself thinking about a very hot pair of boots that my honey and I found last week....he really wants them....but if they were in black, they would so be on my feet right now...except that yoga is done barefoot....which I love). I look down at my toes and see them pushed into the mat so deeply that I think they may go through it. And that makes me happy. To have this one hour of pushing my body behond its limits and make it do something it doesn't want to do. And I think of this friend in New York and this friend in Florida (sorry if there are others I've forgotten) who also practice yoga and how much it sort of brings us together in this unique experience....makes me feel like we have this ethereal common denominator that unites us. I hear the instructor's voice saying to push myself, to test my abilities, to do something that I have never done before. And I push a little harder at that point. The testing of one's soul, mental capabilities, and the pushing of one's physical limits is an experience hard to put into words. But if you've done it or been there, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

But one of the coolest things I've learned is the word Namaste. If you're not familiar with it, you should be. We all should be. In yoga, namasté is said to mean "The light in me honors the light in you," as spoken by both the yoga instructor and yoga students. I had no idea what gibberish they were all saying the first time I went to class. It is said at the end of class when we're all seated, legs folded, hands at heart center, eyes closed. And the instructor utters "Namaste." And all of the students utter it back. Silly and simple, I suppose. But, on the other hand, it actually has the potential to change entire relationships, families, and even nations. One can only hope. Wouldn't it be funny if a simple yoga practice were the single thing that could change our entire universe?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Both Old and Gay

Overheard Recently on a Trip Into Palm Springs:

ME (Spoken with heavy sarcasm as is my typical devotion): "The gays and the old people are the only ones going to Palm Springs. They can be so demanding."

HER: "You outta know, honey, you're both!"

Damn her.....she knows me so well. And wouldn't you just know, the truth can be such a bitch.

Now, exactly where is my wheelchair, poodle, shawl, and cocktail??

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

28,188 Miles

28,188 miles -- that's the air miles that I am scheduled to traverse in the month of December according to the Great Circle Mapper.....you can see the complete details of my month here. I will spend my nights in such faraway places as Los Angeles, Newport Beach/Orange County, Phoenix, Oakland, and Vancouver BC. In addition, I will pass through cities like Las Vegas, Seattle, and San Diego. Up and down, all around! I just knew that you'd all be wanting to see what happens to me this month.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Epilogue -- When HIV Strikes Close to Home


"Are you aware that there is the most remote of possibilities that you may not even be HIV positive?" The words stung my heart in ways I can't even explain. I was really upset. In fact, I was very pissed off. He went on to say that "It's probably not the truth....but I want to re-test you again just so that we have a starting place from which to plan our next move with your health." I hated him that day. For giving false hope. For even planting the very idea that my friend may not be HIV positive. How dare he! I mean, once someone has tested positive for HIV, they are retested to be sure there wasn't a false-positive test. This had happened twice...at two different reputable labs. It just couldn't be so. I was clearly irritated that day about him leading him on in that way.

But, let's not get ahead of ourselves. You really must go back and reread When HIV Strikes Close to Home from two years ago on World Aids Day. This will lay out the story more clearly for you. The above story dates to the fall of 1997. I knew next to nothing about HIV. And the journey I was embarking on was not clear. At all. What happened in the next few months was that this friend and I moved in together. I moved to Portland and we set up house together. He never did exactly know how he was infected. I bought every book known to man on the topic in order to educate myself and to help provide him some support. He was recommended to a great HIV doctor and we began the every three months trip to the doctor for the testing of his T-Cell count and all of the other counts that have to be measured. We started an herbal therapy program that kept us very busy. He went through the typical "Do I just have a common cold or is it my HIV acting up" feelings -- never really knowing for sure what it was that was going on. It became just as much an emotional guessing game as anything else. A game that drove deep scars into the psyche of each of us. We kept a complete stock of gloves, antibacterial cleaners, and ways to never touch his blood. We were religious about being careful sexually. Every infection was treated with huge care. Every time the night sweats happened, we just knew that he was one step closer to you know what. All the while, he was a trooper. A world class act. He did what he was asked to; he kept his doctor's visits; he did his best to do things that would help out his body...like stop smoking. We told those who had to know. And kept it horribly private to those who may not know how to deal with such privy information. I mean, the stigma! The shame. It wasn't pretty.

My family in Idaho was one group that we kept in the dark about his diagnosis. I mean, it was all they could do to simply deal with my having just coming out during the last year. There was no way they could deal with HIV information...as far as they knew, they knew no one with HIV. Oh, but they did...they just didn't know it. It was three years later when we were visiting. My partner had gone into the bathroom and I had my mom all to myself for a very short time. My heart was pounding in crazy ways. And I just dove right in and told her that "He is sick...he is HIV positive and has been for three years....I hope you understand and will still love him and treat him the same way you have been." He came back from the bathroom and had no more entered the living room when my mom got up from her chair and move straight across the room and directly toward him. He glanced at me and knew I had told her. With only the heart and spirit that my mom could have, she told him that "He was just like another son to her and that nothing would change....and that she still loved him." And with that, she tossed her arms around him and hugged him. She did her best to educate herself in the following years.

We continued our visits to our neighborhood doctor. We had moved across town and no longer went to see the HIV doctor. It was now seven years later. His numbers still looked remarkably good. Things had settled down. There were no bouts of sickness that kept him down for any length of time. All of his blood counts remained consistent. And during one visit, our doctor recommended that we go visit another HIV doctor....just to be sure that all was being done that should be. This was now February 2005. Years had passed. So, we made our way to an expert in the current affairs of the HIV field. And he wanted to "Start at the beginning, just to be sure we've got a clean baseline from which to work....I want to recheck you for the HIV virus and we'll go from there. Are you aware that there is the most remote of possibilities that you are not HIV positive?" And that's where this whole story started. He drew blood and explained that he was going to recheck for the presence of the HIV antibody. He knew that this had been done at two different, reputable, clinics seven years prior and that all of the tests and retests had been positive. He asked us to come in a week later. But, he said, if there just happened to be any good news, he would call us first thing.

May I just tell you that every single time the phone rang over the next week, we ran for it. Hearts palpitating, hopes running high in spite of knowing that this never happened. I mean, there were false-positives -- but they were caught in the recheck. There were never repeated positive tests....over and over. So, February 16, 2005, we went back to the doctor for the results. The room in the corner at the end of the hall -- I recall it very well. The door was left open and I remember the doctor coming down the hall....I could see him coming toward us. He came in, sat down, and tossed a file full of papers on the desk. And it went this way:

"In all of the 30 years I've been in this field, I've only heard of this happening. It's never happened to me personally. I've never had the opportunity to tell someone this.....But I am happy to tell you that you are NOT HIV positive." It was at this point, that I glanced over to my husband....his mouth was hanging open. Wide open as he stared at the doctor. And it was also at this point, that I started crying. A lot. I can't tell you the deep-seated emotions that flooded over us. Years of worry. Years of shame. He went on to explain that we could second-guess it forever. It could be this or that. But it was strictly guess work. We would probably never know for sure what it was that gave multiple false readings. But, he said, I want you to go from this room and live your life to the fullest...you have been given a new lease on your life." I will never forget walking from that office, into the hospital elevators, and seeing other people around us. Did they know? Could they tell? No, of course they couldn't.

After seven long years, we were hearing information that tossed our whole lives up into the air. We will celebrate our 11th Anniversary together on December 9....just a few days from now. We spent the first seven years in fear and with question. We've spent the last four years shedding ourselves of the preconceived ideas that we had built into our lives. I mean, I never even thought that he would still be alive today for me to be writing to you about it. I fully expected to be partner-less by this point in my life. I was prepared for it on that day way back in 1997 on "the day that started it all. Fear of rejection on his face and in his voice. And my weak struggling words "Of course I'll be your friend." I reached out and, for the very first time ever, pulled his hand and mine together.....down between the two of us where it was warm, dry, and safe. I knew it was time to draw together and not be apart. That's what friendships are all about. For healing and not for hurt.

My dear friends, may I just reiterate that age-old piece of wisdom that we've heard over and over: That we just never know what tomorrow may bring. Simple, isn't it? Sort of rings hollow, even. But it's the truth. For good or bad, we just don't know. This was one surprise that I could never have crafted or created or even dreamed of. That day, that specific ten seconds of time, will be driven deep into my soul forever. I will never forget it. Today, open yourself to good. To happiness. To being better. No matter what.

Today, to my dear beloved husband, I want you to know how much I love you. Your smile, your core, your being. The kindness you bring to my life, and to the world around you, is immeasurable. I never thought I'd have you as a part of my life in the year 2008. I never even thought it would happen. I can't tell you the nights I stared into the darkness wondering. And, today, you're here. I couldn't be happier. I love you. Dearly.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Slap A Straight Boy's Ass

I swear I'd like to slap the ass of some straight boys. Well, men, really. Not so much boys. I'm talking about slapping in a bad way, not a good way. I think that one of my least favorite groups of people is men in their 40s who have escaped the strongholds of a dominant wife back home and are now traveling in packs....much like wolves on a hunt. Today, it was a pack of six. On their way to some college football game. Slapping each other on the back, talking loudly, hitting me up for Mimosas before they ever even sat down. Telling other people around them (that they don't even know!) that "We hope you're ready for us." That's never a good sign. They had all sorts of golf magazines and other crap out....looked like they were Pebble Beach Wannabes.

They sported such pretty clothes as nice bright red pullover knit golf sweater vests with bright yellow Nike polo shirts underneath. Complete with Bandon ballcaps and sunglasses that rode up top of the ballcaps. It appear they would have been much more at home in the middle of a Hooter's Restaurant looking at girl's boobs than pretending to be First Class passengers that they certainly were not. (It's more than a seat....it's a way of life, boys.) They looked like they'd have been right at home with a 24 1/2 pound bucket of chicken wings in front of them....I'll be that every one of them lick their fingers and yell "Hot Damn" when the chicks pass by. And, dare I say, that I doubt a chick has glanced at any of them in many years. Oh, and I could clearly see a couple of their belly buttons through their skin-tight polo shirts......they were both outies. Ick. They bantered back and forth about the game, their wives back home, football, golf, and other nonessential, shallow life things like "It's 4 1/2 hours until my boys kickoff." I've never come closer to screaming out "Who gives a shit!" in my life.

Now, believe me, I am all about letting people be who they are. God knows that I've been accused of needing to tone down my hair cuts, clothing, where I shop and where I go more than once -- "Now that you're in your 40's," people say to me. But, I must tell you that I have a harder time permitting certain groups to be themselves than others.....shame on me, I know. It's something about the drawing of attention to one's self at that age that is odd to me. Second of third grade, perhaps? It's like they don't even know who they are as people, nor where they are going in life. It feels like a life with minimal dimension. It's annoying. And I've never been a fan of loud people who expect every one around them to simply put up with them.

So, in spite of the fact that I'd like to slap a straight boy's ass, today I wanted to slap the face of six straight men.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Cattle Prod Up My Holiday Decoration Ass

I really don't know what it is that causes me to like this time of year less and less. For about the second or third year in a row, I become totally irritated with putting up the tree and decorations. And this morning was no exception. Ugh. Irritated, unhappy, just want to get it done and out of the way. I swear, if the hubby wasn't here to keep my attitude in check and run the cattle prod up my back end to get the job done, I'd be right here on my laptop or in a coffee shop somewhere. I hate the work, the mess, the packing and unpacking of decoration boxes. I get bent out of shape when things don't go as planned or when extension cords can't be found. I could care less about where the tree goes, if something needs to be moved this way or that, or if what colors go where. Go gives a flying piece of Santa's North Pole Christmas poop....not me.

Hubby told me that my attitude has been in the dumps for several years now -- and that when he first met me (11 years now!), I used to be the one that drove the whole thing. Time? Life? Stresses? Pressure? Reordering of priorities? No kids? Middle age? Who knows. A bit of each, perhaps. I can't stand the commercialism, the crowds, the kids running all over the stores, the traffic and parking lots. None of it interests me in the least. I'm more than happy to relax with coffee, friends, dinner, and the most simple of times. No fuss, mess, hard work.

So, while he drove me toward this today, I'm walking around with a cattle prod just about as far up my Holiday Ass as it can get. It's right up there with a candy cane or two from last year. If it weren't for the fact that we are going to spend New Year's with this hot man and his husband in New York State, I think I'd just fast forward the clock to January.

My god, I sound like the Scrooge of Christmas Past, don't I?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Struggling for a Fresh Thanksgiving Message -- You Too???

I'm sort of blanking out here, people. I've rarely been short on words or opinions, for that matter. I've just finished reading my hubby's Thanksgiving post....and you may see my comment on it that I'm struggling with some sort of message of thanks that goes somewhere other than the normal "give thanks" message. I mean, I believe wholeheartedly in giving thanks. Daily. And I could come up easily with a long list of people and gifts in my life that I'm more than grateful for. That's not the issue. It's just that things seem to not hold power sometimes. Words lack wisdom. Phrases and rhetoric rings hollow, even though true. You know how two people can read the same book and one is head over heels about the book and the other person is, like, "Well, it was okay." I know you've all been in that same situation before.

You'll recall my Thanksgiving post from two years ago. And the truth in the message is still there -- current and meaningful as ever. But what in the world would I write about this year? It seems like I do write with ease about being thankful numerous times throughout the year; so possibly when it comes to having to do it on a particular day and time, I just can't. If you're a writer, you know how it is when the spirit moves you. I mean, you have to write NOW. Not in a minute or two...or the thoughts and emotion disappear sometimes.

Consider that I have a healthy and long list of gifts and people in my life for which I am ever grateful. The first of which is myself -- sounds selfish, doesn't it? But I am thankful for the gift of breath and life. The same breath that gives me the ability to move from day to day, helping others, being a partner and friend, doing what I do. And an easy one is how grateful I am for my life partner. He is one hell of an amazing man. I was thinking two days ago about the things other people say about him -- the things that I often hear from others with regard to him. They often talk of his smile and his kindness. He has an amazing way of making others feel warm and welcome. He's done that for me in his life. And, believe me, he puts up with my antics, my crazy thought processes, my wanting to try this or that, and still loves me...for who I am. Honey, I love you and am thankful for you today. For the happiness you allow me to live with through you. And my job, my health insurance, the many friends I've made in the blogosphere, and for my family. And we mustn't forget the beautiful condominium we are fortunate to live in. We've got the pooch, the amazingly delicious food that comes out of our kitchen, our health, and our sincere happiness to be living life. Frequently, we comment on our thankfulness to one another. It's very often that we see a hillside covered with trees or a field of golden grain and comment on how much we love life.

So, you see, I do have plenty of people, places, and things to honor this year. I guess my message of thanks sort of came together easier than I thought. I hope yours does too.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Undie Monday

Yuppers, it's Monday again...and you know what that means....it's Undie Monday -- brought to you by the horribly famous, amazingly sexy, and ultra sassy Idle Eyes and a Dormy. He'll stoop to any level to bring pictures of the panties of the masses......so check out his post today! Here's his first Undie Monday and here's another one for those of you unsavory perverts who get off on looking at guys in underwear. Who knows what surprises lurk there or who will expose themselves today on this last Monday of November! Happy Monday everyone. It's almost Turkey Day. Gobble Gobble.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Cody and The Spirit Collide

I had my first not-so-pleasant experience at the gym today. With Cody, my personal trainer. As most trainers are, he is a nice looking guy with big arms and nice legs. But he's a driver. Totally. He's been on me from the beginning......to kick it up a notch, keep working, "five more," and all of that. Which I suppose is part of his job. But it doesn't really fly very well with me. You see, I'm back in the gym purely because I feel that I should be there. To be healthy. To keep the oxygen moving. I am not there to look like him (which I told him today). I don't care about looking like a body builder. I don't really compare myself to others in that way. I think it may have been better off for me to not have bought the few personal training sessions that I did. The last time he and I had this discussion, it was when he called me a woosie because I couldn't do whatever he was asking of me. He told me that "We could do it like the girls do, but I'll make you do an extra ten reps if we do it that way." I said to him, "Why don't you just call me a god damned pussy and then we'll get past it." He laughed, we both did. Until today.

I was doing crunches on the big inflatable ball. It was hurting my neck and lower back (I'd rather do them on the ground) and I told him so. He said, "Cool, let's just go to the Miss Buttercup program....maybe that'd be better for you." Again, a giggle or two. So, I finish my crunches and sideways plank core exercises. And we head to the leg machines for a lower body workout. We just kept up this bickering and bantering back and forth about too much weight and all of that. At one point, I stood up and said to him that it was apparent that he didn't understand why I was actually back in the gym in the first place. He didn't get it that I am 46 years old and have been in a gym a total of about six months in my entire 46 years. I told him that I didn't care if I ever looked like him or any of the other hot guys in the gym. I reminded him that I was here to enjoy myself, try to have some fun, and do a little workout. I told him that "I can't blow my whole wad at the beginning and then have nothing to use later." He laughed, uncomfortably. I told him that I wanted to still be coming to the gym for the remainder of my life and that I absolutely had to enjoy my time here or I'd stop coming. And, the clincher, I mentioned that it may be better if I changed personal trainers.

He was understanding, I must say. He apologized and backed off. He said that what he was asking me to do is just about the minimum. I pointed to the weights on the machines and reminded him there were several notches below/less than what we were doing already....and why couldn't we use those? He concurred. We finished the workout in much better shape. It just wasn't good. I've got two more sessions and then I'll be on my own. I think that'll be much better for me. We ended it on a good note -- both of us apologizing and reminding ourselves of the importance of clear communication and understanding for each other. He is a nice guy, he really is. And I appreciate the desire to keep me moving. But, I swear, if this isn't a pleasant experience for me, I'll stop going. And there's no way that's going to happen.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Breaking of One's Soul

"The suffering of one's soul is an exercise in realizing that self sometimes comes second." -- A. Lewis.

When she looked up at me with those small, round dark eyes and her mouth unable to be closed completely, I broke. Unable to speak, nod her head, or hardly even sit upright without help, she shook and wobbled with the effects of Cerebral Palsy. She may have been 30 or even 40, I couldn't quite tell. She had a folder with her complete with a few names and contact phone numbers at her destination including her Resident Manager -- she must be living in a group home. She couldn't even hold out her hand to point at any of the drinks I was offering her....I chose a can of Coke for her and set it down in front of her. And what exactly did I think she was going to do then? Reach for it? Um, no...she couldn't. I put down a plastic cup next to the can of Coke. She couldn't do a thing for herself. I poured some in the cup for her thinking it may be easier to drink that way. But there was no way she was going to be able to pick up that cup and drink for herself. She couldn't even participate in that simple activity. I was going to actually have to help her drink. Now, we are not required to assist anyone in actually eating or drinking -- just opening the food and making sure they can reach it. But for god's sake, what human being in their right mind was going to just let her sit there and not help out. I knelt down next to her shaking body and struggled to get as much Coke as I could into her mouth. It went everywhere. Down her front....I put napkins under her chin to catch most of it. By god, she struggled her best to get a drink. I was so proud of her. The rest of it ran down her face and onto my hands and right into the ring that my partner bought for me several years ago -- the stickiness of the sugar drenching her and me. The ring is engraved with the words beauty, joy, faith, love, wish, dream, hope, peace, spirit, and soul. She exemplified every one of them. I swear, there is something that pokes at my heart when any of us helps meet the most basic of bottom-line necessities of someone's life. It breaks a guy's heart right in half. My cool, temperate heart gave way. The crustiness and sassy front-running emotion in my life fell hard as the tears gathered quickly in my eyes and then I began to cry right out loud -- in the middle of the aisle way, on my knees, in uniform, with a Coke in my hand. I made my way forward to the galley to compose myself.

God help me if I ever complain that things in my small little life aren't quite how I'd like them to be. I would consider myself a total loss, a failure, a human of pissy proportions and not worthy of a place on this planet if I ever find myself in a position where it becomes apparent that I am not counting my blessings or if I ever see myself as a victim. Thanksgiving is coming up this week here in the United States. I wonder if it will cause me pause to consider those with less than I.

These moments of learning only come to those whose hearts are able to be broken open. To those who are willing to change, to feel, to see without the blinders of greed and self. And only to those whose spirits are yearning to develop a sense of gratefulness. I'm trying. I really am.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I Need a Joint to Smoke

I swear, one week it's Anne Heche. And the next? Today was Cheech and Chong. I was never a fan, and couldn't recall even a single thing they did. But, nonetheless, it was indeed them. Now, exactly where can I get a joint....I'm feeling like a smoke.

Our new Aussiebum panties arrived today all of the way from Australia....they are HOT. Smokin' hot. Very cool colors (how gay is that statement?). Pics soon, perhaps. For a select few. And only after the joint smoking ceremony mentioned in paragraph #1 above. Oh, and now, a serious upper body workout will be in order to give those arm holes on the workout t-shirt something proper to sport. Curls for the gurls are in order!!

I had a fantastic trip. Light passenger loads, nice crew, great weather, all just perfect. Two more days of work Friday and Saturday before two days off. I got to talk to my good friend in Toronto last night....he called me and surprised me during my overnight in Vancouver. What a nice man he is! In spite of the fact that he tells me that my "in person voice" has a different meter to it than my "telephone voice." I'm still trying to figure that out.

Thanksgiving dinner will be spent at a local hotel located on the beautiful Columbia River. We decided to do that instead of cook this time around. It's just going to be hubby, me, and my mother in law. It's the first holiday since my father in law passed away. I'm glad we'll be together.

Listen, kids, I love ya all dearly. But you'll excuse me while I go and shower away my grimy pits and my nether regions (gym workout earlier). And then we head off to our monthly homeowner's association meeting. What a life.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Volunteers Needed

Personally,I'm looking to be a volunteer for the class. You?? Plus, I'm wondering if I still have to pay the $30 registration fee if I give of my time and my self to actually, you know, let people learn the proper way to go at it down below the belt. Off to Vancouver BC tonight after a 3-hour sit time at the LAX Airport. I slept like you know what in SFO...noisiest hotel ever...door slamming late into the night and again starting at 04:00. Ugh....now this is why I like my own bed.....well, and that there is a good looking man and a sexy pooch in the bed too.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Repeat of Last Week + Roasted Vegetable and Sweet Potato Au Gratin

By the time you read this, I'll already be well into yet another week of this trip....the same as last week. It's been a while since I've had multi-day trips. I've been doing mostly "turns" where I'm out and back in the same day and spend my nights at home. As much as I love doing turns and spending the nights in my very own comfy bed with my hubby and pooch, part of the income on multi-day trips is nontaxable income -- which makes multi-day trips more lucrative than turns. So, I'm happy ... to have a little extra income ... plus spend a little quiet time in a hotel room with the TV remote in my hands. My nights will be spent in two of the greatest cities on earth -- Tuesday night in San Francisco and Wednesday night in Vancouver, BC.

Last night I concocted an amazing dish for dinner. I hope you'll consider making it for your own household. I guess I'd call it Roasted Vegetable and Sweet Potato Au Gratin. Chop a mixture of whatever vegetables you like -- I used asparagus, purple onion, and red pepper. Chop them into small pieces and toss into a skillet with olive oil, a few tablespoons of water, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Cook just until softened. Set aside. In the meantime, peel and slice thinly one yam or sweet potato. Grease a baking dish. Start with a layer of sliced sweet potatoes. Smear a thin layer of fat-free sour cream, a little sharp cheddar cheese (or cheese of your choice), and a few of the cooked vegetables. Add another layer of sweet potatoes plus sour cream and veggies. Keep doing this (like a lasagna). Finish with sweet potatoes and layer of sharp cheddar. Cover and bake at 400 for 45 minutes. Remove the cover/top and broil just until bubbly and browned. It's amazing. Kind of like a sweet potato lasagna! You'll love it.....with a simple green salad on the same plate.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Anybody Need Their Sausage Teased ??

It's one of our favorite places. German food, and right down the street. It's been here since sometime in the 1950s and it sits on one of Portland's oldest and longest streets, Sandy Boulevard. But on the way home from the gym, hubby and I did a 180 and headed right back to Gustav's/The Rheinlander Bier Stube and their sign. I swear, someone has to be gay that works there. Or maybe they have some sort of a sick vendetta against someone. Either way, we thought it was funny and simply had to share it with all of you!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Guess What's On Its Way to Portland ???

At the recommendation of my good friend over at Aussielicious, I've placed an order for the WonderJock (in red) and these Classic Undies (in Lime). And I had so much fun ordering those, that I just couldn't quit myself and went ahead and sprung for this training top to show off my mega-huge-gigantic-muscle-studilicious-sexy biceps and triceps. The shipping is free right now as long as you put "Free" in the promotion code when placing your order. It's not a bad deal. Now, I know that you're all wondering about why in the world a dude who goes commando much of his life would possibly be enticed into these goodies. Do you really wonder?? I mean, you can just look at them and know why I couldn't resist. Anybody care to join me?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Standing Up For What Is Right

I've always had my eye on this sign that hangs in Touchstone Coffee House, one of our favorite little coffee shops here in Portland. And in light of this month's uprising with regard to Proposition 8 in California and other states as well, I thought it only appropriate. One of my favorite signs so far has been "No More Mr. Nice Gay." I mean, if we can't start standing on our own two feet and speaking up for what is the right thing, then when will we ever stand up?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Spirit + Heche Collide With a Turnip

She's pretty. She's polite. She spoke to me like we'd known each other forever.

ME: (I extend my hand to her.) My name is Lewis and I just want to take a moment to tell you how nice it is to meet you and how much I've admired your work. (I'm not exactly quite sure to which work I refer, but...oh well....I do like her.)

ANNE HECHE: (Big smiles) Oh, that's so nice of you. It's nice to meet you too, Lewis.

ME: Are you on your way to work?

ANNE HECHE: (Still with amazing pleasantry and looking me straight in the eye.) No, I'm going to see a friend.

We chat on about the weather, brief interlude about politics, and this and that. She never once did not look me straight in the eye with a giant smile. I feel like we could have shared a pint or two with one another.

Oh, and she did ask me to assist her with her belongings. Gladly. Good manners bring about good manners. I was impressed. And she had a good day. I guess we both did. I should have given her my phone number.

And it wasn't all that long before I was meeting my new friend TurnipHed -- another fellow blogger for dinner and ale. He's as big of a smart ass as yours truly. So, I felt right at home....and a bit competitive. He took the time to meet me and spend his time with me...and for that I appreciate his friendship. He's such a nice man. We chatted Canadian viewpoints on this American "thing" we've got going on right now. We blathered on endlessly about airplanes and aircraft. We had a blast with lots of smiles, quite frankly. I know we'll see each other again. He's never been to Portland and I've never been to Toronto. That'll change sometime. Thanks, my friend!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Puttin' The Miles Behind Me -- My Life This Week

Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday will find me navigating the skies above the West Coast. You can sort of see it here although it's not a great map. You can also see more detail here. I will see approximately 650 bright and shiny faces over seven flights over three days -- all locked inside of a metal tube. Who knows how many drinks they will consume. I will spend Tuesday night in San Francisco and Wednesday night in Vancouver BC. The air mileage appears to be 4,724 miles. This is what I will look like:

And this is what my office will look like:

I hope your week is just as exciting!

Monday, November 10, 2008

You Can't Take Me Anywhere

I swear, I can't go anywhere except that I have to try on a few hats, put on a few pair of sunglasses, or snap a bandana or scarf about my head. Worse than a child, I am. So, if you don't mind being embarassed, go ahead and turn me loose inside a Target store or the like. But if you're a little shy, you'll want to leave me in the car with the windows cracked just a little.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Bending, Stretching, Contorting -- The Positions of Our Lives

I swear, I am not half the man I used to be. Well, the harsh reality of it is that I never was that man, quite frankly. I'm enjoying the gym. I did my first yoga class the other day with my good friends Melanie and Steve who helped me out immensely as I got my feet wet in this newfound chapter of my life. Today I had my second yoga class....by myself. And it was way different than the one two days ago. As much as I enjoyed it and felt great afterwards (and got to look at assorted body parts that made me quite happy), it is obvious that I don't possess the strength and endurance that some who have gone before me have. Today we focused on upper body and on balance. And it kicked my skinny white ass but good. I felt like I was just not even built like the rest of those yoga experts in the class. I mean, keep this straight, bend this, push that, now reach here, and put this body part there. It's all good until it's not. So, the push continues. To enable the endurance and strength that is necessary for good health. You see, when you're relatively thin as I am, it gets a little comfortable at times. Damned near cozy. You start to think that you can eat this, or have that, and not go to the gym. It's a serious false sense of good health. And if my good comrade Sean can put it all out there and possess the wherewithal to bring himself around as he has, then so can I.

This week will find me in Palm Springs, San Francisco, Vancouver BC, Los Angeles, and San Jose. I'm meeting yet another blogger to add to my list and I couldn't be happier. Friends are what make the world go 'round, you know.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Assorted Pictures and Trivial Nothingness

Just a few pics that I have been waiting to share....enjoy. Hope you have a fantastic weekend. I've had a really nice week beginning with the election of a new, fair-minded, intelligent President. And my going back to the gym has resulted in the sorest muscles I've had in a very long time. Today is my first Yoga class of my life. A bit nervous, but really looking forward to it. One of our good friends is stopping by tonight to spend the night with us on his way home. And I'm looking forward to meeting yet another blogger this coming week. Hubby and I have had a bit of a rough week (thanks to me) but things are beginning to smooth out. If there's one thing that he's taught me in our nearly 11 years together, it's the very fine art of kindness, understanding, and how to soften my rough edges. I also received phone calls and text messages from many of you this week....I love that so much and hope you'll keep it up. We're gearing up for our big trip the last week of December to visit our new found friends Sean and Jeffrey in Albany, New York. And we're making plans for our Thanksgiving dinner....especially important this year with the recent death of my father in law. Oh, and I'm thinking about getting my nipples pierced (again). That's all...nothing more.