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Monday, April 28, 2008

A&E Intervention -- Alcohol and Drug Interventions

It's 8:02pm on Monday evening here in Portland. I'm home alone. I went to Papa Murphy's Pizza and brought a pizza home, made a huge yummy salad, and sat down to watch the usual barrage of evening television. I stumbled upon A&E which I rarely see anymore. It was in the middle of a new series that A&E is running on drug and alcohol intervention. I had no idea what I was falling into. If you've had friends or family members who have struggled with alcohol or drug addiction, you know the stories. I don't need to tell you of the lifelong pain and struggle that may very well never end. And, of course, you know of my own beautiful sister's struggle over much of her 40+ years on this planet. The episode I saw was a husband and wife and three children. Suffice it to say that the pizza went by the wayside. Caught 100% offguard, I sobbed uncontrollably, doubled over with 40 or so years of the deepest and darkest shadows you can imagine. I don't think I know how far down the blackness goes. If you need help, get it. If you don't, count yourself one hell of a fortunate person. My own family has been inundated with alcoholics. Several have actually gone to their graves with no other physical issues except for alcohol abuse. The pain runs deep. The agony will truly never end even if the alcohol does stop flowing. So, I encourage you to watch. You won't be the same. I'm not.

Burr Under His Saddle

Someone around here has a burr under their saddle. And it's causing both of us to be uncomfortable. You see, one of us has this little problem ... we like to move from home to home every number of years. And one of us is more than happy to stay put. Solid, consistent, in a home that one of us loves. When we moved here, one of us said to the other, "This is it. We're never moving again. This house has everything we need. No more moving!" But it was barely a smattering of four or five years when the itch started. Like jock itch but no medication necessary (well, actually, maybe medication would help). One of us is, "Tired of yard work, tired of an "old house," worried about long-term upkeep, etc etc." The other one is (was?) trying to dig in her stilletos and stand firm: "It's a poor time to try and sell. We don't need to be purchasing a more expensive house. I don't want to pay HOA fees or higher taxes. I love my neighbors and neighborhood." You know, all of the typical banter when any two people are trying to iron out a wrinkle. So, we've had a "free, no obligation home evaluation" done to estimate the value of our existing home. And, we've taken the plunge and started to look into condos. In fact, we've identified about 30 of them and weeded the list down to 13 that we'll be touring tomorrow with our realtor. One of us is thinking this isn't the best financial decision in the world. And one of us is off on another planet with giddiness at the whole "I want a new house and I love looking online at new condos" scene. Guess who is who??

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Modeling Years

It's a clear and beautiful spring morning here in Portland. The dogwood tree outside of my window is on its way to full pink bloom....one of my most favorite of tender trees. I love the dark rich texture of it's trunk in perfect chorus with the swoopy shape of each small petal brushed, as it were, with the tiniest of paintbrushes in a creamy pinkish tint. All of that, to say this: I was going to post about this today. It sort of got my hopes up -- a little, maybe, kind of, sort of, possibly. But then, I reeled. Why ruin a perfectly-orchestrated Saturday morning ... with coffee cup in hand (sugar-free hazelnut creamer, if you please), morning eyes conveniently laden with hard, crunchy, allergy morning junk in the corners of them, and a more-than-handsome Maltese-Poodle that just now came running to my chair with his front paws up on my leg....he got his wish, a trip to my lap to pley pn tie compuicer keyboysrd. So, instead, a Back to the Future sort of moment, instead, about that dude in the picture at the top of my site this month. He was mid-20s, in Boise, and really not quite sure what to do with his life on many fronts. He was working in the Human Resources area of a large Fortune 500 company and wearing some of the funkiest clothes around. Always turning an eye, and -- I'm sure -- a question or two about a couple of things. So, after numerous "You should be a model" comments, I found a modeling and talent school where I became one of the oldest classmates. I studied runway, television, script reading, tearoom, grooming, hair, makeup and all the rest. It was run by a Mormon family who treated me horribly well. I enjoyed my time there, but it was a wild ride on the sexuality and social front. So, the agency's director seemed to push me in the direction of posing for more adult-type positions, including the one in the picture, with the Wall Street Journal sort of feel. You'll be seeing other shots in the coming months. One of the more memorable times was when our entire school did a modeling and talent runway show. There we were, all 25 of us guys, in leather coats and trousers....strutting our stuff to "It's Raining Men, Hallelujah" with the lights flashing and the fake smoke rising around us as we tootled down the runway. Oh my god, if you just could have seen it. And the crowning touch to my career there was when I marched (yes, I did march) into the director's office, closed the door, and told her that I had asked a girl to marry me. "Oh my, Tyler," she said ... "Are you sure that's what you really want to be doing with your life ... are you sure that's the right thing?" (Tyler Lewis was the name she had adorned me with during that brief stint in my life.) She just as well could have said "You're a fag and have no business marrying a woman." It would have been more accurate. I think that was the "nearing the top of the roller coaster" portion of my life. It got increasingly wild and crazy after that. I'm glad that someone pulled the power on that ride.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Do You Know Jackie O. ???

Have you had the opportunity to meet Jackie O.? Well, let me take a moment to introduce you. This is my 88-year-old great aunt Ruth. She was born in 1920 and has spent her entire life in Boise. She never married and lived with her sister (my grandmother) until grandma's death in 1998. Aunt Ruth still lives alone in a very nice condominium. She drives a fiery red Plymouth Alero, complete with tail fin for effect. She commented to me a number of years ago that she always seemed to be the first one through the intersection when the light turned green. Oh, dear god. She had cataract surgery a while back and her vision is now 20/20! No more glasses...she sees better than any of us. She held two long-term jobs in her life, one in a retail department store in the accounting department and one in the accounting department of a timber and wood products company.....both at more than 20 years each. She goes to church and TOPS (been in TOPS for nearly 40 years) and exercises at the senior center twice a week....which is far more than I do. She has traveled only in small parts of the Western US and to British Columbia. In spite of the fact that she can't hear a thing, she loves a good time and is always at every family gathering. She loves a good plate full of Mexican food -- and the margarita that goes with it. I love her dearly and wanted to take the time to introduce her to you. While we were in Boise recently, I took the opportunity to dress her up (just like I used to do behind closed doors with my own mother's things). And Jackie O. was the first thought that popped into my lame head. Aunt Ruth, I hope that I'm still moving around and enjoying life as well as you are when I'm 88.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Show and Tell

If I show you mine, will you show me yours? I've had mine since last fall and I'm loving it. It's thin, easy to hear on, rarely drops calls, works nearly everywhere, has the internet on it, shoots text and picture messages back and forth easily, and is loaded with all kinds of neat features. So, show us all yours, would you please? I've become such a tech-geek. I never thought I would.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Oh Deer, I'm Horny

So, exactly what does it say when someone you know and love, someone you hold dear to your heart and life, the love of your life, spies a deer antler on a shelf at your parent's house. He grabs the deer antler, puts it on the top of his head, and lopes off into the middle of the living room where your nearly 80-year-old parents are relaxing and watching television. And he yells "I'm horny, I'm horny!" I wonder if he still holds the admiration and respect that he used to?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

So, A Guy Walks Into a Bank ------

So, a guy walks into a bank in Boise, Idaho, plunks down his ID and wants $200 in cash out of his checking account. Fine, no problem, says the nice lady behind the counter. Say, she says, by any chance are you related to Louie _____?? Why, yes, I am, the guy says....I'm his oldest son. Oh my gosh, she says....your dad was one of the very nicest men I've ever known. He was so kind and generous...and always had a big smile for everyone he met. So, now the guy is really tearing up. Giant wet tear drops start to roll out and down. The bank worker apologizes and dashes off to get a tissue for the customer. I'm so sorry, she says. It's just that I was at his funeral and will never forget the personal written tributes that all three of you kids did for you father. I still remember them all of these years later. I know, I know...the guy says. He was an amazing man. And, she says to the guy, I can see, just by looking at you and your eyes, that you're just like your dad....kind and nice. So, the tears continue. Other tellers are watching, other customers wondering why the line isn't moving. She finishes the guy's transaction and reaches out her hand to the customer to shake it and say how nice it was to meet him. And she starts into more adjectives and statements about the customer's father......and then she stops short --- Oh, there's no need to say anything else. You know, you know...she said. And I did.

Monday, April 14, 2008

A Place Called Hope.....in Idaho?

After all of the bigotry, hatred, and not-in-a-good-way nasty comments overheard on our recent trip to Boise, you'll never believe whose bumper stickers and yard signs we saw more of than anything else in Boise. Yup. It's true. Maybe there is hope?

Driving Home

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Our Family Fights Back !

After seeing this in the Wal Mart parking lot here in Boise the other day, we've decided to fight back! There are many types of families, you know. You'll see a lovely reflection of me in the back window of our Kia Sorento. Do you suppose anyone will get it?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Boise Blathers On .....

How about these reasons overheard for telling the Ada County Jury Commission that you're not going to be a good juror and want out of the commitment:

1. I don't like Jews.
2. I don't like Negroes.
3. I don't like Muslims.
4. I don't like Mormons.
And My Favorite:
5. I'm a Christian.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Boise Predicts .....

Overheard Boise, Idaho prediction:

"If Obama ends up in the White House, they'll all be eating lamb shanks and greens."

Monday, April 07, 2008

Bites From Boise

Overheard In Boise About the Neighbors:

"I think I'm gonna take a torch and burn their trees down. I wish they'd just move back to Salt Lake City where all of the Mormons belong."

Friday, April 04, 2008

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

My Own Private Idaho

Tomorrow I'm making the 425 mile trek to Boise to be with my family through the weekend. I'm pitching the kid in the back and he and I are hitting I-84 early for our 7.5 hour journey. It outta be more than interesting considering the he hasn't crapped or pee-peed anywhere except our backyard in six weeks. But, hey, what's the worst thing that can happen? And speaking of Boise .......

When we were growing up, there was only one television station -- CBS is all we had. And two or three telephone prefixes -- 342, 343, 344.....we had the last one. We rarely ate out, that being for those who were rich and famous. But occasionally we'd do Friday nights at Grizzly Bear Pizza on Fairview Avenue or the Red Steer Drive-In for Finger Steaks (I didn't know they were an Idaho tradition until I realized that you can't find them most other places in the world....and now, of course, I wouldn't eat them anyway). My father worked in a grocery store and brought home all of the food he could that was going to be thrown away....you know, the stuff just past code date that couldn't be sold any longer. Man, we didn't have much, but we sure had each other. We were one happy group, I must say. We went camping nearly every weekend in the summer. We stopped in front of Gem Furniture store on Broadway Avenue each Christmas to watch their moving display of Santa and the reindeer. We'd eat lots of frozen fish sticks and lime green jello complete with whatever leftover vegetables my mom could find to put into it. And McDonald's? Nope. I never ate there until I was with a friend and his family in grade school. Thought I was really something. And as for "ethnic food," we had none that I knew of. I remember there was one Mexican food restaurant on State Street that we'd drive by. And I remember thinking "What in the world is Mexican food and what kind of people are in that place eating it?" Today, I can't live without it. But one of the wildest things we'd do was to pass back and forth along River Street going across town to grandma's house. River Street was lined with small, modest homes painted mostly with white paint and lined with cracked sidewalks. Oh, and there was one small church there too. But the thing that set the area apart was the fact that nearly all of Boise's African-American population lived along this short three, four, maybe five, block stretch of road. Now, we weren't prejudice folk. My parents would never have put up with that. But, for some reason, we craned our heads to look out the windows of our 1967 blue Chevy station wagon when we passed along River Street. Looking first one way, and then the other. Can't you just see all three of us kids in the back of the car -- wild-eyed with wonderment. I never remember any bad words, poor thoughts, or negative sentiment attached to this area of town. And, what do you know...one day, my parents made the announcement that on the upcoming Sunday morning, we were going to go to that church. Just to see what was going on there. So, we did. All five of our pale white little faces perched amongst a sea of black. I remember it to this day. With such fond and good memories.

So, back to Boise this weekend. Minimal blogging or emailing. But hopefully some decent family time with sister. I haven't seen her since the date of her sentencing back in early December. Remember us, would you. And you .... you're always on my mind.