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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.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The People I Hang With

I've been thinking lately about how this whole blogging deal has found me in the good company of quite a few of you, my readers and now my friends. Plus, I've asked for text messages and phone calls the last few days to see if I could render a few more of you spellbound under my curse....and it worked! So, here's the rundown on who I've met (absolutely no particular order...so don't get bent out of shape if you're "not in the top five"). I'm also going to leave your names out just in case you don't want them smathered about on the world wide web. I'm looking forward to adding as many of you as possible in the future whether you like it or not! So, who have I forgotten? Let me know so I can feel horrible!

Mid Afternoon Snack -- Orlando, Florida
Blogography -- Leavenworth, Washington
Swim, Ski and Renovating Our Home -- Vancouver, BC
Geoff N Terry -- Vancouver, BC
Sorted Lives -- Orlando, Florida
Actor Schmactor -- Orlando, Florida
Mike Says -- Orlando, Florida
Idol Eyes and a Dormy -- Albany, New York
Blair's Corner -- Portland, Oregon
Allogenes -- Albany, New York
Whisper in the Void -- Southwest, Florida
My 2 Cents -- Seattle, Washington
2 Acres of Grass -- Albany, New York
TSM -- McMinnville, Oregon
Iron Fist -- Portland, Oregon
Left Coast/Right Brain -- Portland, Oregon
All Preparation No H -- Phoenix, Arizona
The Jimmi Chronicles -- Phoenix, Arizona
Voenix Rising -- Phoenix, Arizona
BrettCajun -- Baton Rouge, Louisiana
The Moby Files -- San Francisco, California
Dan Nation -- San Francisco, California
Designer Blog -- Raymond, New Hampshire
Just David -- Houston, Texas
Rambling Along in Life -- Richmond, Virginia
Ready, Reset, Go -- Boston, Massachusetts

I've Also Received Phone Calls/Text Messages From:

London Life -- London, England
Flip Flops Boy -- Somewhere in Louisiana...I think!
Anne Marie in Philly -- Has no blog ... I Wish I could Email Her Back!!
Tales of the Sissy -- Lewes, Delaware
TurnipHed -- Toronto, Ontario
Burning or Building Bridges -- Corvallis, Oregon

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Why It Is That Today We Say Buh-Bye

Why is it that I'm up at 04:43 in the morning after going to bed only four hours ago? Seriously, this never happens with me. I love my sleep in the dark with the bed covers pulled up tight. Maybe it's because I went to bed not even knowing the Presidential outcome of states like Indiana, North Carolina, and Montana -- always Republican strongholds in the past. Maybe it's because I know that additional GOP blood bath states like Colorado and Nevada even went for the new guy on the block. Or possibly that even my own home state of Idaho (one of the reddest of red) voted 36% for an African American when it's rarely that high in this land of right-wingers and Mormons.

Today is the day we've said enough. Enough of continuing the irreparable harm to those who live inside our borders. We all deserve to be taken care of. Enough of causing pain to those who don't believe in the same system of religious beliefs that we may. We all deserve to hold our higher power in the way we choose. Enough of forcing a particular political system on nations that are, quite frankly, not ours to control. We all deserve the right to live and vote like we want to. Enough of the least of those walking around with their heads hung low, faces wrinkled with the sadness of life, and eyes showing no sign of vitality. We all deserve to have someone helping us and looking out for our backs. Enough of our great nation employing uneducated idiots who know next to nothing about how to run a country. Our globe is in imminent peril and needs highly educated, globally perspective leaders at this critical juncture in life.

If ever there was a time for a diplomat, the time is now. The destruction that is caused on a daily basis to those who call themselves Americans -- as well as those who don't -- can not continue. And today we say ENOUGH. It's over. The game has been called and you are no longer a player. So, go home Mr. former President. Your services are no longer required. The anger and hatred you have stirred up in this amazing country is not something that its citizens will put up with any longer. You have fucked with us for one last time and the lights are being turned out on your simplistic shallowness.

Today we've chosen hope over fear. Because the tears in our eyes can't continue. Today we've chosen vision for the future. Because our questioning and hesitant lives can't do this any more. The lid can only be held on the boiling pot for so long before the steam, bubbles, and hidden energy beneath the surface bursts forth. Your time was never, George W. Bush. You were never the intelligent choice to lead this nation. In fact, I can't think of the last time that we've had a serious Republican contender who is a decent person with top-notch skills and education to help us out here. And you can see where that's led us. But the time is up. So pack your bags, make some stupid statement that your speech writers put together for you, and get the hell out of one of the greatest offices on earth. We never did like you. You've left us in nothing but destruction. And today we say buh bye. What a fuck up you were. And what an unbelievably great man we've chosen to sweep up your mess.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Dancing in the Streets

We've just returned home with a new President-Elect in position. I can't believe it. A day that I wasn't fully convinced would ever arrive -- the realist in me always has its hand in the matter. But it was made quite real when we saw fireworks going off on street corners and all of the cars on the road honking in celebration. And then we hit Hawthorne Street in Portland. We couldn't believe it -- celebrants everywhere...every corner...in the middle of the intersections. With giant Obama signs. Whistling, shouting, yelling....in the middle of the roads. Assuring us that the victory we'd just seen on the television was, indeed, quite real. I still don't think it has set in....the reality of what has happened. It is a new day, a fresh breath of air -- especially to those who have gone without, those who have been beaten down, those who have been threatened and mistreated. Those are the folks who, like us, had tears in our eyes tonight. All over the election of a new president. And rightfully so. Celebrate, kids. We have every damned reason in the world to.

Yes We Did!

Turning Over a New Leaf

Today is the day, folks. By the close of business late tonight, we should have elected a brand new president. And, it had better be you know who. Because I'm sick of this shit. The caste system. The "it's okay for me, but not for you" sort of politics. The lying, needless wars, giant humongous amount of dollars being spent on the other side of the earth when we need it here. And if I hear one more "family values" conversation, I'm going to squirt screws out of some body orifice. So, in the spirit of beginning over, with fresh vision and new erection...err, a direction....I bring you a new chapter in my own head:

You know, there are periods in your life where things are running along fine. Status quo. Happy and no big deals going on. You're loving your husband, and he loves you back. Some things could be better, some things could be worse. But, all in all, it's pretty damned peachy. You're coming up on 11 years of being together. Happier than clams. You love him no matter what and he reciprocates gladly, easily. Thick and thin, it makes no difference -- you're stuck together like glue. And before I continue, I must point out that my hubby has put together a brand new blog...Blair's Corner....I hope you'll check it out.

But somewhere along the line, for reasons known or not, things do tend to change. It's almost like you lose yourself in the relationship sometimes. You become so much a part of "we," that "you" goes bye-bye. You start doing the things you think you "should" be doing and not doing the things you "should not" be doing. The person, their personality, and their likes and dislikes nearly disappear from the scene sometimes. People migrate from the sex-crazed early years when you'd eat dinner on a laundry basket turned upside down because you had no table (yes, that was us) to the years of settling for frozen TV dinners with reruns of The Golden Girls. Just because that's the way it happens. Life is that way, you know. You're so totally comfortable with each other that a lot of things just don't matter anymore. Dirty socks and underwear (in spite of the fact that I'd place those in the yummy category) can lay anywhere without too much of an issue. Dishes can pile in the sink (but they don't at our house). And you've even grown accustomed to the unusual smells from the bathroom -- and just flip on the fan without saying a word anymore. Suddenly, you look in the mirror and realize that even your own partner may not know you. Nor you, him. Or maybe it's not so much that they don't know you as much as it is that you've just learned to cover up yourself. Learned to avoid talking about things that maybe you used to. About certain subjects, about sexual turn ons, fetishes and the like. About the things that irritate you, about cares and concerns...and even about good times. Quite frankly, you've settled in. It's the Lazy Boy years. Television and feet up time! Some people gain weight during this time. Others let themselves go in other ways. They just stop taking care of themselves because they are that comfortable with the other dude. You learn that there's more to life than sex on a daily basis. More to happiness than admitting to your husband that there are naughty things that used to turn you on that you really haven't thought about in many years. You are at that point where you now say, "Love you" at the end of conversations instead of something gushy like, "You are the love of my life, the apple of my eye, and I'm totally devoid of happiness without you in it....I love you more today than I ever have." (My god, that's getting a little thick, isn't it?) And I don't believe it's an issue that's specific to any particular group or sex. I know that, were the 100% unabashed truth be told, even innocent little church-goers have desires and frustrations...just look at the escalating rate of abuse and such in the church .... were these folks given an "out"....a way to express themselves properly .... perhaps the negative side of things wouldn't have reared its ugly head. And I know that it doesn't matter if you're homo or heterosexual.....everyone has their own version of naughty games playing in their heads.

So, a certain hubby and his lover boyfriend husband partner have decided to start living a little more on the edge. As individuals and as a couple. They aren't really sure where this is all going to end up. But it's time to be more in tune with emotions, desires, life, and all of the joys that go with it. I don't even know what to say, really -- and I'm not even sure exactly the point of this post. It's just time that we start living our thoughts a little more out loud. In the open. In front of one another and even in front of others. It seems as age settles in a bit more in some lives that things just change. But a certain couple is going to try and rejuvenate life....for themselves, for each other, for others. If it's a fetish, we're talking about it. A turn on? You'll hear about it. We're just going to be more in tune with things. I mean, if it gets too bad, I may have to turn this blog into an adult site. Because this crazy head of mine has some pretty wild things going on inside of it.

In a way, I feel like I've had to temper my thoughts, feelings, desires, emotions. Just because I'm a husband. One learns to bury them, hide them, change them to be a better fit. And I'm really exhausted from playing by other's rules -- rules of churches, friends, family, and others. And I know you'll concur when I tell you that life is too short to be someone whom you really are not. I mean, the only thing worse than someone else judging you is you judging yourself. Ick. So, you may just hear me talking about one of my favorite friends and his site....Flip Flops Boy (18+ only...be aware). Because that's just me. Plain and simple. Or the fact that I dig a man who smells like a man. Frilliness and Irish Spring are not necessary for this guy. You may not always agree with me, nor concur with the things going on in my head, but at least you'll know the real me. And that's a good place for all of us to be. Happy trails, my friends (I sound like John McCain with that "my friends" crap, don't I??). Live honest and happy.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Bustin' My Ass

I swear, the older this body gets, the harder it is to jump start it. As you well know, I've gone back to the gym. Just finished my second session. Met with my horribly handsome blue-eyed and buffed personal trainer Cody today. He's my kind of man. He made it clear that he wasn't there to waste my time nor allow me to screw around. He busted my ass good in a polite sort of guy-from-Southern-California kind of way. I know that many of you work out regularly and don't find this wide-eyed amusement of mine very ingenious. But for a dude who hasn't been in the gym in years, it's quite a feat. I'm proud of my push .... but you know, it's like anything else, you have to keep it up. It's a lifestyle change, really. Not a diet. Not a fad. Not a deal where you'll go if you feel like it. It's clearly something that has to be ingrained into the schedule of your life and beyond. Cody cranked it up fairly good and we're going to get all sweaty again tomorrow. I'm definitely going to be heading to the yoga classes as well -- something I've never done before and am really excisted about trying. I love new experiences. After I finished letting him work me over (and clearly having visions of my working him over), I headed to the treadmill where the sweat began to pour....the full-blown run felt pretty wicked, my face reddened, and I really had to fight to find the right pace, the steadiness of it, where each foot was coming down in its own good time and place, comfortable and right. It's a game, isn't it? A challenge to find out what your body can do in the very next 60 seconds. It feels good, I think. When I sat in their backseat one recent day, I told my friends Sean and his handsome husband that I really needed to find an entirely new mindset before I could go back to the gym. Honestly, I didn't want to do it but knew that it was the right thing to do. I needed a whole new framework on which to build. I think I've just begun to find it.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

A Buff Household -- Perhaps

What exactly is one supposed to say when one's husband casually mentions that maybe we should make our home clothing optional. I'm not saying which daddy said it to which daddy. But I'm just sayin'. I mean, one of us loves nudity. The outdoors. Indoors. Wherever and whenever. Nude beaches? You bet. And my recent trip to Albany, New York, simply wracheted up the anty even more...just another click or two (scroll through and see the apron shot).

I'm not sure how the rules would play out, exactly. I mean, would everyone who comes over have to shed their garments at the door -- we'd need hangers and a place to place clothing for our guests. Or would it be a "take it off it you want to" sort of situation? And I can't simply believe that everyone who shows up here would want us in the buff. Nor would I want everyone who shows up here in the buff. Yikes! Our parents on our nice leather couch with bits and bobs touching it? Hum. I'm going to have to think that through. And what if it's just a casual knock at the door in the afternoon...just a friend who drops by, for example? You'd have to eyeball them through the peephole and then decide whether to open the door or not and whether to put your clothes back on or not. And if they weren't quite expecting it? Oh my. I suppose a proper engraved plaque could be hung with care next to the front door. And we'd have to keep the heat appropriately turned up in the winter -- shrunken goods are not pretty when you already don't have much to start with. But I do suppose it'd be a nice way to help our earth go green with less clothing to wash and such.

We've got several friends who are nudists and I'm behind them all of the way. (That doesn't sound very good, I know.) And please believe me when I tell you that I'm all for nudity. I'm just busy sorting out the details in my head as to how this would all play out. Your thoughts? Oh, and one more thing, we'll start taking applications for personal visits soon. Who wants to be our first guests? You can leave your clothing at home, or in the car at least.