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

Please Write: ALewisPDX@gmail.com

Monday, March 30, 2009

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner??

So, go ahead...just guess. And it's for more than just dinner. She is staying the whole entire week. My sister arrives Monday evening from Idaho and will be here until Saturday. It's her first visit out of state for several years. You'll recall numerous posts about her. I've listed them all in reverse order below.....you owe it to yourself to start at the bottom of this list of posts and read them all. Especially if you think you're not quite up to what is being asked of you, or if you're struggling to make sense of life and how it's played out for you. I mean, this girl has been on the bottom and turned around an entire lifetime of bad choices. And if she can do it, anybody can:

It's Been One Year Today

Mandate To Be Better

The Candle Is Lit

The Verdict Is In

How Exactly Do You Break the Worst of News?

Begging for Mercy

Answer In the Sky

So, needless to say, we're more than thrilled to be meeting her airplane. We've got a full week of activities planned including a get-together at our condo on Tuesday evening with about ten friends. We're thinking about checking out the serenity of either Portland's Chinese Garden or Portland's Japanese Garden. We've got a streetful of yummy restaurants right outside our front door in our neighborhood to feast on. She's never been to an Ikea so that may be in the works. And we're definitely going to let her spend a couple of hours letting the story of Harvey Milk sink in. She's also decided she wants a new hair-do....so chop chop! And I may even talk her into going to the gym and/or yoga with me this week....an entirely new experience for her.

It doesn't really matter what we do. I'm just damned lucky to even have a sister to enjoy the week with. There were many nights that I wasn't so sure I'd ever see her again. So, I'm happy. And thankful.

Undie Monday...Hum Hum.....


You remember The Mamas & The Papas song, don't you? "Undie Monday, Hum Hum.....So good to me.....It was all I hoped it would be......" And it is in this, yet another installment of Idle Eyes and a Dormy Undie Monday......don't miss it!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Summer of Love Revisited

Shh! Don't ever tell my parents. They'd kill me. Well, maybe not at this point in my life but they certainly would have way back then....when it happened. My buddy Dan at Dan Nation published this with regard to Woodstock. And his posting reminded me of one that I did regarding the Summer of Love. And all of that led to a brief email exchange between Dan and I in which I confessed something horrible: That I've got an overpowering alter ego hiding inside longing to get out. It's one that could easily have been happy in the late 1960s and 1970s having fun hanging out in the back of a Chevy van, wearing bell-bottomed jeans and no shirt, skipping the deodorant, and going barefoot. Traveling, free and easy, no job, no nothing. Just me, my friends, and the road beneath us. And that email exchange reminded me of something that I'm not sure I've ever told my mom. In fact, I'm not so sure she needs to know it.

We lived in Boise, a small city in southwest Idaho, growing up. We lived on a dead end road. It was quiet. Not much going on. We lived next to an elementary school playground. We'd make our way through the playground to go up to the neighborhood grocery store but only after getting special permission to make that long journey (it was probably 1/8 of a mile or so). After the school, we'd pass the local drive-in hamburger joint, and right straight up the back alley where the trucks would deliver the goods to the grocery store. And that's where I found myself one summer afternoon somewhere around 1970. I'm not sure what my mom's grocery list included that day. Or if, just perhaps, I'd snuck away without telling anybody where I was going. But I do remember coming out of the store. I think I had my bicycle with me on this particular trip. The store had a large parking lot in the front of it. And somehow, I found myself way out on the far edge of the parking lot at a van. Like a VW van. The back was popped open. You know, it was a hot summer Idaho day and things were easy and quiet. I've always been the inquisitive sort of dude. There were several guys and several girls both inside of it and hanging around on the outside, sitting around in lawn chairs next to the van. It was obvious looking back that they lived in it and were traveling around in it. I remember beads around necks and, yes, flowers in the hair. The long hair. I also remember, somehow, having a conversation with these kids -- I'm sure they couldn't have been much more than mid-20s. I've always been one for striking up easy conversations with anybody, whether I know them or not....even as an 8-year-old child. I hung out there for what seemed like all afternoon. I remember them smoking. And I remember the smell....maybe pot or patchouli oil or incense. I don't ever remember being scared or feeling unsafe. I don't remember them trying to seduce me or lure me into the van. I just remember great conversation, the beads, the long hair, the smell of whatever they were smoking. The girls were in long sort of dress things. They were all very nice to me. And I remember that I was there so long that I ended up saying, "I'd better go home now before my mom wonders where I am."

But what's funny is that I distinctly remember NOT wanting to go home. I remember wanting to travel, to jump right into that van with them. Like I said earlier, I don't know if my mom ever knew what I'd been up to. She'd probably have shot me (like she had very good reason to many times during my childhood). Yes, me and the Summer of Love have strong ties. It started way back then and I'm afraid it continues right on into today.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I've Done Been to Church

I think I've done been to church. After a ten-day hiatus from the gym because of this stinkin' cold, I decided I needed to get this middle-aged arse kick started again. So, I made my way to the gym this afternoon and did a little lifting, little core/ab work, and a little treadmill before yoga with my friend Melanie. I took a pee, blew my nose as much as I could to clear out the head so I didn't sniffle my way through a meditative hour of yoga. (One good thing is that some nice looking dude working his self on the stair stepper just happened to be 100% naked when I went down to clear out my pipes....sort of like the icing on the cake when you get to actually see the whole package.) I made my way back into the yoga classroom and, low and behold, another nice looking guy smiles at me as I head over next to Melanie who clearly noticed us checking each other out (I thought I was more discrete than that but apparently not). These are always challenges for me. I've discussed in the past how yoga is all about focus, balance, centering, breathing, setting aside all other thoughts and troubles. So whenever there is a nice looking guy or some other distraction near me, it's a real mental workout for me. Not that I was staring at his tweaked-out arms or his fuzzy belly or nice feet or the thatch of fur under his arms. Oh no, not me -- I do have a bit of decorum, although not much. And then it happened during the Warrior II pose. I glance at his right foot and see none other than a tattoo....cool, I thought. Until I read "Proverbs 25:21." Holy Ghost Yoga Batman! Even all of my church-going days and memorize scripture until I was blue in the face didn't help me now...think, think, think -- I could not recall that particular scripture. I was going to have to wait until I got home to check it out. And so the hour continues --

Nearing the end of the hour, all of a sudden I'm hearing some words in the music that are drawing my attention. As if Proverbs 25:21 isn't quite enough, I'm now hearing "holy" this and "Jehovah" that in one of the music pieces she's playing. "Peace to all, love to all, life to all," the song continues. I never could quite place it. Could she really be playing Christian music in a yoga class? I guess it's possible. And combined with the scripture-on-the-sexy-footed man, all I needed was a dose of holy water to be splashed about my sweaty brow and I'd be all set.

The hour concluded. He disappeared. I felt good about getting back to flushing a few toxins out of my sick body. Melanie disappeared to her car and I followed Mr. Christian Sexy Man to his car....right next to mine. How convenient. And with that, he lit up a cigarette, smiled at me again, and cranked up his non-Christian music. Man, am I ever confused.

Oh, and case you're wondering and don't have a Bible on hand or haven't already clicked on the link above, let me save you some time: "If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink." Amen.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Longing for the Simplicity of Mayberry

I'm not quite sure exactly what it is that draws me to shows like The Waltons or The Andy Griffith Show. But I could watch the black-and-whites forever. Whenever TV Land is running an Andy Griffith marathon, I love to enjoy it just before bed (and when they are not, it's Family Guy!). I don't watch Andy often, though, because Lover Boy makes comments once in a while about how much I like Andy and his gang of characters from Mayberry (good thing he wasn't around when The Waltons was on TV...because it was an hour-long show every Monday evening...not just half an hour). In spite of being a guy who is clearly addicted to his laptop and loves technology, I am drawn in a powerful, and much different, way to the simpler times when Barney would just come on in through the unlocked back door for his morning coffee. I can almost imagine simply parking myself on a bench in the center of Mayberry and resting. All day long. I am not a person who is easily bored and I don't need to be entertained. I can sit for hours while looking, watching, thinking -- so sitting all day on a bench would not be difficult for me. I mean, seriously, can you imagine a world today without cable or color television, mobile telephones, I-"anything," zippy cars of every sort and color, Dunkin Donuts, Wal Mart, Target, ice dispensers in the refrigerator, and the list goes on forever. It's difficult to comprehend in a world where a piece of fruit has taken over nearly every daily thought pattern.

You know what I like most about the AGS is the quiet of his front porch when the evening has fallen heavily across a quiet day and the peacefulness of the rockers are in tune with the gentle strumming of Andy's guitar. And the chirp of the crickets blowing in off of a nighttime breeze through open windows, gently tossing aside the curtains in true fashion. Even in our last house, the bedroom was upstairs. I could lay there on summer evenings and look out on our quiet side street with the three old hazelnut trees tucked neatly along our side yard. And as the season warmed, the crickets would signal their happiness with a sound that only the gods could create. And I would frequently be transported right back to those times -- an era of no garages to park the car in, dirty barefoot children jumping into cold streams in the middle of hot summer, adults in the shade with sweet tea at the end of a long, hard day of work. Not a cell phone in sight nor a laptop signaling "you've got mail."

And as much fun as we've all made about the "Good night, John Boy" closing lines from nearly every Walton's episode, something about it always lured me in. Because many times, that's how it'd be at our house. Not all of us yelling back and forth across the hallway -- but my parents would always come in to tuck us in bed and kiss us on our sweaty foreheads. And no matter how bad the day had been or what had transpired in our little Mayberry, it was now time to put that all to rest.

I am not a person who longs for, or lives in, the past nor one who is dragged kicking and screaming into the future -- in spite of the clear fact that my childhood memories are etched into the crevasses of my mind in a deep way. But there is so much about simpler times that pries itself into my heart. We love driving trips and even making up silly little games like "let's take a trip to Boise and see if we can do it without going on the freeway." We've done that one time. It's a whole other world when you get off of the expressways of today and back onto the side roads of yesterday. But much of it has already gone. The simple, unadorned homes, mom-and-pop gas stations (or service stations, as they were called back then) and the dust of the car rolling up behind you as you pull off to the side of the road and into the parking lot of the general store. You'll probably find a Nehi Grape Soda in the cooler. Enjoy one for me, would you?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Light in the Loafers

We park in the Employee Parking Lot for work and then ride a shuttle bus from the parking lot into the Portland International Airport. It's about a 10 minute drive. The employees on the bus range from flight attendants and pilots to customer service agents, TSA screeners, baggage handlers, Port of Portland employees, and mechanics. The buses can be crowded, as it was today on my back out to my car after my Long Beach turn. People are sardined in that thing like you wouldn't believe sometimes. So today I am next to some guy I don't know. And he's on his phone like the rest of the world. But his conversation was a bit extra loud and sparked my interest right off of the bat. I hate to stereotype but it just occurred to me that he was a bit on the effeminate side for the rough-and-tough job he had working on the ramp. His voice was a bit on the higher side and he had that definite spark that may signal light in the loafers in the right situation. So, here goes his conversation on his phone:

POSSIBLY LIGHT IN LOAFERS MAN: "Remember when you told me that you didn't think my fiance liked you?"

I heard the word "fiance" and had to look. I just had to. Fiance? Really? And then it was obvious that the person on the other end of the line didn't hear him well.....so he repeated the above question even more loudly a second time.

PLILM: "Yeah, well last night she said to me that you and I spend quite a bit of time together and she didn't think I should be spending so much time with you, Matt."

Matt? Now, I'm all ears and practically staring. I was using as much decorum as possible. I can be quite professional in the right situations but this wasn't one of them. I wanted to grab the dude by the scruff of the neck and ask him what side his bread was buttered on. Hope he gets that little 3-way arrangement worked out soon.....before the wedding. Because, believe me, things can get a little testy later on, if you know what I mean. Wives can be so not understanding in those sorts of situations.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Death Defies Me

I'm not quite sure exactly what it is about death that has me so intrigued lately but something out there has kind of been dogging my mind from time to time over recent months. I'm wondering if it has to do with the recent passing of my father in law. Or that my very own father passed away 15 years ago today (Series Part I, Part II, Part III). It could also be that my own mother is nearing 80 quite respectable years and, quite honestly, that makes me nervous. I'm not ready for that day at all.

You know I'm 47 years old now. Definitely middle age. That doesn't bother me much at all. But I do think about the cold fact that I probably have used up at or above 50% of my lifetime on this earth. And that's weird. I don't feel "that" old -- whatever "that" means. Time has passed so rapidly. And, I must say, I don't want to die. It kind of scares me -- the actual dying part and what may or may not come next. You know, dying when you're a gay man with no children or other younger family members close by to help out is a scary place to find one's self. I mean, there is nothing more depressing than a quiet journey down the hallway of a nursing home with very few visitors coming or going. I have my Partner and we'll always be by one another's sides -- but who knows which of us will go first. Seriously, who is going to take care of me...or us, for that matter? Who is going to come and pick me up for meal out or send birthday cards?

And then there is the very difficult-to-shake religious piece of the whole deal. What actually happens after my heart stops beating and I've breathed my very last breath? Do I see a bright light? Are there pearly gates to pass through? Is there a separation of sheep and goats as prophesied? Do I see or feel anything at all? Is there a heaven and hell? You know that spending much of my life on a church pew has given me more than enough concern about my final moments and the afterlife. Let's just suppose that the pastor was right and that gay people don't go to heaven -- which I don't personally believe, by the way. It's just that all those many years of listening to fear-based sermons seem to have some sort of lingering hold on me -- minimal as it may be. It's hard to shake. You know, it's perfectly acceptable to believe in something, or to not believe in something. But the fact remains that, if you're reading this post, you have yet to actually die and go through "whatever comes next." It's 100% unknown no matter what you believe. And my born-again Christian friends will now be saying to themselves that it's the Holy Spirit reminding me to be ready for death by "accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior." I've been down that church aisle before and already knelt at that alter. Many times. If it hasn't happened by now, it just ain't gonna.

We live next to a very large cemetery. We walk our dog (well, truth be told, HE walks the dog) along the side of the cemetery twice or more a day. Sometimes, I look in at the grave stones with a little angst -- I just don't relish the thought of my life coming to an end. I see the grave of a five-day-old little baby girl and a father with his young son buried together in the same plot. I look at the names and wonder what they were like. Who took care of them. And what they may have gone through after they died. I watch the hearses come and go and it crosses my mind regularly. I'm really not a morbid or dark person. It's just that my heart stirs a little about these big questions of life -- and death.

I just want it to all be okay. Easy. Not painful or scary. Without pain or belabored. And I don't ever want to discover that there is an afterlife that I wasn't prepared for (Que: Christians start putting me on prayer chains -- to be healed of my homosexuality and secondly for the saving of my soul). Or maybe it's quiet, and dark, and peaceful. And nothing happens. Who knows. But maybe by the time I reach the end, I'll have come to a place of contentment with my beliefs. A sense of resolve. Let's hope so. I think I probably will.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Old Swayback


Or, if you'd prefer, Lordosis. Brings on visions of an old horse, doesn't it? I think I have it. In fact, I think I've had it for years. Oh now, listen to me being Mr. Diagnosis Doctor for myself. The truth is that I don't know what it is, or what I have, but it has been with me for a long time. It's embarrassing. I remember being around a swimming pool in Mexico in 1997 when one of my buddies yelled across the pool, "Hey, would you look at old swayback over there!" as he was pointing at me. Now, this was the year that I had just been divorced, came out, and was developing a new sense of myself. On a giant learning curve of self-discovery. It was the very last thing I needed to hear. I was still self-conscious about my body, my sexuality, and a whole lot of other unknowns. And I remember that comment and its effect on me to this day. Today, I'd tell him to F-off and poke my stomach out in some contorted gyration for effect and for everyone to see. But way back then......oh no. I ran and hid, at least emotionally.
You see, I've got a lower back that seems to be swayed in more than it should. And that makes my little tummy poke out in the front more than it should. I've tried chiropractic care. And I go to yoga regularly now in an effort to improve my flexibility and balance. And it's very common in yoga to hear phrases like "Keep your belly button tucked in" or "Make sure your tailbone is tucked down." It's all in an effort to keep proper posture. And I've learned that there are even yoga poses that I am not able to do without pain....my body simply won't work the way that some poses require. And it's something I deal with nearly 100% of every single day. Whether I'm sitting, standing, or even lying down -- I'm in nearly continual adjustment to relieve my lower back pain. And to keep my stomach from sticking out and my low back in proper alignment. I nearly always have a pillow behind my low back no matter where I am. Long periods of sitting require me to adjust, shift, move even a bit to lessen the pain. I'm always thinking ahead to exactly how I'm bending, reaching, stretching to reach down at work.....never doing anything without thinking before I act.
So, I could go to this doctor. And he'd send me to that doctor. And there'd be this test and then that test. And I tried to have a regular MRI which sent me into fits of claustrophobia. But then I finally succeeded at having an open MRI done of my entire spine. It showed some age-related arthritis but nothing severe. I'm not really sure why I'm even telling you all of this. Probably just in case you see me looking all funny with my baby belly laying out over the top of my leather Gucci belt. You'll know that I'm trying, I really am. Shoulders back, shoulder blades down. Belly in. Tailbone down and tucked. I go through it a hundred times a day. And the next time you're thinking about calling me, or anybody else, names like Old Swayback, um...yeah, go ahead and see how that works for you.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Eyes of the Undie-Clad Irish Are Smilin'


The eyes of the Undie-Clad Irish are smilin' today as we return to Idle Eyes and a Dormy for his standard Monday morning review...this week celebrating the luck of the green. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Flying the Friendly Skies

Well, well, well. Look at what my newfound buddy JP at Life Is Such A Sweet Insanity has written. It seems that he's written it especially for his most favorite of flight attendants who will go unnamed. JP and I have only met one time. And, unfortunately, we had no time to chat it up. But I'm a regular visitor to his site and always enjoy my time there. Lately, he's been on a little trip to the South....and has paid special kudos to the flight attendants on his flights. JP, you're a man after my own heart.

And speaking of what I do for a living, I have to tell you that our landing in Portland today was one of the roughest rides that I've had in many years. I'd call it severe turbulence. We ended up landing to the south in Portland, on Runway 21. That runway is seldom used except when the crosswinds are so high that it demands it. That approach comes from the north, over Vancouver, Washington, and skims the top of the Columbia River before touching down at the airport. My head and neck ached. I took aspirin and a nap. No thanks. I didn't need that.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Fish Tacos

Fish tacos? Um, no thanks. In spite of not liking them in the first place, I really don't after today. As Sophia would say, "Picture It....."

07:00am *** Portland International Airport *** Men's Restroom Just Past Security

I enter the men's room completely alone, in uniform, pulling my little day bag behind me. There is no one in the place. It's completely quiet. I approach urinal #1, my usual. My bag is parked next to it where there is a bit of room for bags to be stashed temporarily. Doing my thing, faced straight ahead, until I hear two guys enter. I had to glance....after all, it's the men's room and one mustn't miss out on anything important. I see two of the most handsome straight (?) young guys enter. One goes into the stall right behind me, one continues down a few before he enters a stall as well. Remember, it's completely quiet -- until all hell breaks loose in one stall or the other. The doors shook. The paint cracked. I imagine that with that sort of exerted propulsion, that someone's ass cheeks actually probably rose up off of the toilet seat. And then, just as I'm zipping up in a hurry to leave, I hear it....out loud, clearly:

"Damned fish tacos. Never again." I couldn't agree more. And why, in spite of thinking that many straight men are sooooo dreamy and good looking, did I think less of them after this?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Berlin -- East Meets West

UPDATE: There seems to be some confusion as to exactly when this trip took place. And, no, we're not on it right now. This was February 2004, five years in the distant past. It's just another in my efforts to reconnect with my own powerful, wonderful memories of my travels around our globe. And now, back to our regularly scheduled program -------


We landed -- exhausted -- at Berlin's Tegel airport after an overnight flight from Portland-Seattle-Amsterdam-Berlin. We had been quite fortunate for all four of us to be upgraded into the First Class section from Seattle-Amsterdam. I swear, that's one of life's greatest pleasures. The bus 109 or 128 took us from the front door of the airport to within one block of our hotel. My parents didn't really have this whole WWW/computer/internet thing figured out and never did understand how we knew exactly which bus to get on and which stop to get off at. We exited with all of our luggage somewhere near the very busy intersection of Unter den Linden and Friedrichstrasse. This intersection sat inside the former East German section of the city but is now an up-and-coming, busy, commercial section of the city. The hotel was literally just a few blocks up the street from Checkpoint Charlie -- the former gate between the East and West, communism and freedom.

We dragged our bags along the sidewalks and right straight into the lobby of an amazing hotel -- the Westin Grand Berlin. Such elegance, the pomp. I had faxed them ahead of time and told them that we were airline employees and that my parents were having an anniversary while we were there -- sometimes these things will help you gain an upgrade or special treatment! They had upgraded us to very nice garden view room. We were called by our names during the entire visit. The concierge had obtained tickets for us to see the Berlin Philharmonic perform in the Concert Hall. And we also enjoyed breakfast each morning in the hotel's dining room -- complete with white table linens and silver coffee and tea service. We went to the only remaining section of the Berlin Wall (literally, this concrete wall ran right straight down the center of the city...very hard to imagine our cities in the US having such a wall) and on a short train ride north of the city on a sobering visit to Sachenhausen, a former Nazi camp. We also made a very cool visit to the KaDeWe, one of Berlin's largest department stores known for it's gourmet food department featuring thousands of specialty food items. And we enjoyed a fantastic evening's concert in the Kaiser-Wilhelm church, bombed in 1943. We happened to be there on a Sunday morning and made a visit to the beautiful Berlin Dom Cathedral, Berlin's largest, where the entire service was interpreted in English just for us. I have to say, Berlin became one of our most favorite cities in the world. I have no doubt that we'd go back for another visit if it weren't for the fact that we have a million other cities on our "to do list." We left Berlin on German Rail for an all-day ride to Amsterdam. Berlin's Bahnhoff Zoo Central Train Station is one of Europe's busiest -- several thousand trains each day. It seems that everywhere we go, there are opportunities to stretch our minds and hearts -- To be more understanding, to challenge our mind's eye to see more than the obvious.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Set Aside

Oh boy, today I had a yoga instructor that I'd not had before....Heather. She was amazing. One thing that she said, in particular, got me to thinking:

Set aside those things that you used in your life yesterday that are no longer of any use to you. Or the things that you used last year, or even in the last hour. If they are no longer valid, of use, pertinent, and positive, get rid of them.

I had to think seriously about my bad attitudes, the irritations of life, pressures, excuses, work, time, finances, and the things that clearly don't work for me. I could have played the game and said, "Whatever do you mean, Heather?" But, I knew exactly what she meant. I know precisely what needs to be set aside.

Monday, March 09, 2009

C.S.N.

UPDATE: CSN stands for CLEAN SHEET NIGHT. In spite of all of you perverts out there (I guess that'd include me now, wouldnt' it??). In spite of my love of man smells, clean sheets turn me on too....the Downy-fresh smell....it just seems to make the world a better place. Thanks for playing the game.


CSN is what we call it. And we love it. I swear, if I didn't know for sure that we were in our 40s, I'd think we were in first grade....or maybe second. We're like children, sometimes. We live in a world of acronyms -- especially at work -- and it's migrated to our home. One of us will make up an acronym and the other will know precisely what it means. It has happened for years and we're really good at it now. I was reminding him last night of our first bit of time together, late 1997 and early 1998, when we had nothing. No, seriously, next to absolutely nothing. We slept on the floor on a squished down, jizz stained, cat hair-infused futon mattress loaned gratefully to us by a good friend. We ate our meals on an overturned laundry basket in the middle of the living room sitting on the hardwood floors because we had no chairs. And, by god, we were happy....then and now. So, back to CSN....... it's something we go through regularly. It's one of our favorite times. We get all giggly and school-girlish-like. We sniff, we wriggle, we settle in with big smiles on our faces. Anybody care to join in the fun and guess? It's happening tonight......so if you can get here by then, you'll be a part of it! I'll post the answer in the comments for this post tomorrow or so.....so check back!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Undie Monday + The Weekend at Its Finest



And yet, another Monday beseeches (I know that's not the right word, but I liked the word so I'm going to use it anyway) its throws around our necks. My husband is still getting over his pneumonia. We've done not much of anything for weeks now except stay home, turn up the furnace, watch TV, and cook some pretty good food (homemade spicy maple syrup chicken nuggets and roasted vegetable pasta which were both to die for). Well, we have been taking all sorts of medications, antibiotics, nasal decongestants, and the like....now, that's been fun. Oh, and we watched The Shining for a little extra giggle and scratch. I have been working my back end off at the gym....which has been making me feel reeeaaallly good, seriously. I can't believe I drug my feet on going to the gym for so many years. I'm too old to not embrace those things that are positive and good for me. And, back to where I started...Monday. Make sure you visit Idle Eyes and a Dormy for a little Monday humor...it's the day where all of us kids show off our fanciest panties. Oh yeah, we're kids at heart. We're just having a little fun along this road of life and doing our best to enjoy the journey.

I Love Everything About You

"I Love Everything About You." That's what he said to me this morning as I dressed in my skull cap and boots to take the dog out for a dump in the dusting of late winter snow we had overnight. I countered, quickly: "That's a lie." "Well," he said, "Pretty much everything about you." "Oh, in the course of less than five seconds we're down to 'pretty much,'" I said to him. And he continued digging the hole, albeit honestly: "Well, most things about you." And that's where we left it. In less than ten seconds we migrated from "Everything" to "Most things." You gotta love honesty. And you gotta love being together for nearly 12 years.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Sensitive Spirit

You know, I can be a real bitch sometimes. Well, not so much a bitch as bitchy. Well, maybe both. I find it odd, even looking at my own self with an eye of introspection, that in spite of the fact that I am highly opinionated, regimented, type A first born child, don't put up with BS, will tell you if you're full of crap, and the like.....that I am also one of the most sensitive people I know. Not in a bad way. I mean, I am not given over to anyone making me cry or feel badly. I'm not hypersensitive and I rarely, if ever, let anyone walk all over me (unless they have nice, sexy and handsome feet and they are trying to have their way with me). What I mean is that I can cry at those TV commercials for the human society, my eyes will fill with tears when I see someone on the side of the road that I know probably needs a hand up, or when I see someone in real need. I can walk down the quiet halls of a nursing home and my heart will instantly be transported into another world of being very grateful for the life I have. Or I'll see a child that is unkempt, maybe has a brace on his or her leg or big thick glasses, and my heart will break. And the other thing that gets me is music. Even a single held note on a violin, french horn or clarinet can send me into fits of gushing tears....it happened just the other day.

So, I was in downtown Portland today at 24 Hour Fitness for the noon yoga class....led by one of my favorite instructors. She has such a beautiful way about her....her ability to teach, motivate, and assist. It's gentle with a strong backbone. I was a bit distracted (okay, quite a bit) by a handsome young man right next to me. I mean, yoga requires a vast amount of focus and ability to block out distractions if you're planning on doing the poses correctly, breathing adequately, and holding the poses for any length of time. So the last thing I need is distractions.....but it does put me to the test -- and he did today, without a doubt. So, we reach the end of our hour together. The last few minutes is called Shavasana.....a period of quiet rest. The eyes are closed, and no one is permitted to leave the class. We finished Shavasana by rolling onto our right-hand sides and curling up into a fetal position, still with our eyes closed, and still very much in a period of reflection and quietness of heart and mind. Rebecca asked us to think of one single thing that we are thankful for. "And now that you have it in your mind, let it move down into your chest, into your heart....and you'll know when it reaches your heart because your heart will actually feel warm......it will, you'll know it, let it happen," she breathed quietly but confidently. My husband is typically the first thing that comes to my mind when I hear that sort of question -- and today was no exception. And, guess what, my heart did actually feel warm when I allowed the thought to move down into my chest cavity. And guess what else happened (refer to my opening paragraph for a giant hint.) I started crying. Wasn't expecting it. Wasn't planning for it. (I'd rather have been squinting out from my supposed-to-be-closed-eyes at the dude next to me all curled up into a ball.) That's how much of an emotional gushy ball of blubber I can be. It just hits me from time to time.

As I've aged, my heart and mind have become more sensitive. But they also put up with far less games or drama than they ever have. I see myself with less judgment than I have in my past. And the criticisms that others have of me are able to be sorted out with a much more balanced perspective than the olden days when I'd become horrible defensive and tell them to get lost (I can still lapse back that direction if I'm not careful). I guess that's what age will do for a guy.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Grote Kerk...St. Bavo Church -- Haarlem, Holland




About a 20 minute train ride west of Amsterdam by Dutch Rail , you'll find The Grote Kerk ('Great Church'), or St. Bavo, in Haarlem, The Netherlands. Holland is one of my most favorite countries and I have such powerful memories of my many times there. In fact, I think I have been to The Netherlands more times than any other country that I've visited. And our last visit there was one heck of an exciting day. One of our Top 10, in all actuality. One of those days you won't soon forget and will talk about over and over. St. Bavo has been made famous for many reasons. Two of them are that the 10-year-old Mozart played its pipe organ in 1766 and it was also the church where the Ten Boom family went to church in the true story The Hiding Place. I have been to Haarlem several times and been through St. Bavo twice. The most recent time was February 2004 with my partner and my parents. It was cold. And very few tourists anywhere. We like to travel off seasons so that we have most anywhere that we go completely to ourselves. We actually toured The Hiding Place with just the four of us on the tour...no one else was there that day. This is a watch shop in the center of Haarlem owned by the Ten Boom's, a Christian family, who made their home above the shop. During World War II, the family hid Jewish folks in a converted closet in one of it's bedrooms until they were discovered and all sent away to various concentration camps throughout Europe. It's a fascinating place to visit and you'll find my name in the guest book three or four times. So, this particular day in February 2004, we also made our way over to St. Bavo. It was cold outside and equally as cold inside. The floor is stone -- in fact, grave stones for the most part. We made our way around the building quietly and prepared to leave. In fact, my mother had already stepped outside of the main cathedral when it hit. And boy, did it. The pipe organist hit the first notes of his practice session for the week. It was one of those hair-raising moments. All of our eyes glanced around at one another and one of us quickly ran for my mom...to get her back inside. If you're a musician or person who appreciates the arts, you'll know exactly what those moments are like. We sat, nearly alone, for the next bit of time while the organist played and played, practiced and practiced. I kept on thinking of a very young and talented Mozart up there in the same place as the organist that we were watching...238 years ago. We left with our eyes wide open in such appreciation that we were the ones that happened to be there at just the right time. Completely unexpected. Completely amazing. We have a lot of those moments in our lives and we appreciate every single one of them.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Undie Monday -- March Madness Style



The beautiful, wonderful green month of March is finally upon us. What a winter it's been. Head over to Idle Eyes and A Dormy for another of his series on Undie Monday March Madness Style -- exploiting all of those who wish to show off their fancy underwear and such. It'll make even a dreary Monday all better. And this week, Mason wanted to help out in all of the spring festivities! I'll have to get him his own pair of little Poochy Undies so he can star for himself. And, for the record, I'm sporting Andrew Christian Espana Boxer Briefs for today.

Thongs, Bitch, Baby, and Honey

If you've never had the chance to sit down and listen to a flight attendant for a bit, you're missing out on a huge chunk of happiness. They have some of the freakiest stories around. Flying in a metal tube with a few hundred weirdos who don't know one another can do that to you. That's just my preface ----

Today, I was called BABE, HONEY, and BABY. I had to tell an older man, his wife, and his daughter why their adult son was being left behind (simple, really...he wasn't in the boarding area when we boarded our flight and departed). We had a lot of turbulence all day long.....and barely even got one of our beverage services done in a 2:42 flight time. I chatted up a few cuties on the UCLA and SC women's diving and swim teams. And I had to ask about a dozen people to turn off their electronic devices (that was after I had made three announcements asking them to do so). I had one lady ask me if I was the pilot (I was horribly distracted with her booby-tight black t-shirt with giant silver lettering on it). I snickered at the tattoo on the neck of another lovely young lady ("Bitch" was the ink she bore). And I got a bit nauseous when I glanced around the corner of the galley at my co-worker's request to see a precious young thing scratching her very low back/upper crack over her tightly stretched thong. I also got a poke in the ass...or near to it, anyway. Oh, and one more thing...I got to check out Harland Williams....the comedian.

That's my boring old day. How about yours? If you want futher laughs, I'd suggest you get a drink or two in your favorite flight attendant and get them to talking.