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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Red Dress Party, Provincetown, Vacation, Complaining

Don't you get tired of people who complain ad nausea about things they already knew about -- things that they knew full well would happen even before they did? Like going into the bank and cashing a check and then getting upset because they asked to see your photo ID. Like boarding an airplane last with a giant carry-on bag and getting totally bent out of shape because there is no room left for it. Like being on reserve/standby as a flight attendant and sporting a precious icky attitude because your Crew Scheduling Department calls you to go and fly on a trip that particular day. Like getting all worked up because you used the services of a business and then they have the nerve to send you a bill in the mail for it and demand payment. Boo hoo. Big boo hoo. Poor little babies. I just don't get it. Nothing surprising or unusual about any of the above scenarios. Expected. Planned for. You knew it ahead of time. And, yet, you still choose to get bent out of shape and sport a bad attitude. Get over it. Get a new life. Enuf.

I have a week's vacation coming up right after Easter in April. It's always one of those semi uncomfortable times when I may, or may not, plan to vacation alone. I have done it once or twice. LoverBoy hasn't done it by himself yet in spite of my prodding. So, I'm not sure. Should I stay home and work extra trips? Should I go somewhere really cool and exciting (and feel badly the entire trip because I know how much LoverBoy would enjoy it)? Should I find a friend who wouldn't mind me staying with them for a few days and go and visit? How about somewhere completely new, where I don't know a single soul. Now, that's weird, isn't it? But I would do it. I like that kind of stuff. I've had Facebook suggestions for the following places: South Africa; London; Sharon Springs, New York; Tucson; American Southwest Desert; Las Vegas; Palm Springs; Minneapolis/St. Paul; Key West; Orlando; Danbury, Connecticut; Sydney, Australia; Tahiti; and even Jordan Valley, Oregon. Is it a time to go and meet some of my blogger friends whom I've never met? I've done that before and always enjoyed it. And, then, do you get a hotel or stay at their house? Weird....those situations. Is it time to head to a mountain top by myself and stare into space? A yoga retreat? New York City to see a show and walk around? I don't know. It always feels funny going by myself. I just don't know. But I'm totally open to your ideas and suggestions.

My brother in law is coming to visit his mom this week. For an entire 24 hours. He hasn't been up to visit forever. His mom has been through hell the last few months. I'm trying to have a better attitude. Oh, who am I kidding. No I'm not.

I have layovers this next two weeks in Seattle, Denver, and Chicago. No plans. But it will be nice to get back to work. I've been off for two weeks on vacation. As much fun as that is, it gets old after a bit. I need a little more structure after a while.

We have finalized our plans for attending Bear Week in Provincetown this summer. It's the 10th anniversary of the annual celebration. We attended last year and I can't tell you how much we enjoyed it. Such a great, welcoming group of men from all over the place. Relaxed, enjoyable, restful, and a whole lotta fun! You should consider it. And while I'm chatting up P-Town, have you seen the P-Town Diaries yet? Wow. Such a great documentary on the history of Provincetown. The people who created the gay mecca. The writers, artists and such that made it such a great place today. The protests, the good times, the thousands of visitors that journey all of the way out to the very tip of Cape Code each year to enjoy P-Town. Check out the P-Town Diaries if you get a chance.

We are getting ready for Portland's Red Dress Party on April 17. Plenty of out-of-town visitors even come for it. It's an annual event to raise money for Portland's Q Center, Cascade AIDS Project, and other organizations that needs funding. Everybody that attends wears a red dress. We've never gone....we're virgins and really looking forward to it. We've had nothing but giggles -- actually outright laughter -- in the process of finding just the right dress, earrings, makeup, shoes, and all of that. What with our birthing-sized hips, thick ankles, and manly shoulders, it's been quite the trip.

Friday, February 26, 2010

That Was Then -- This Is Now

So, yeah....umm, big surprise in today's mail. Let's go back to last summer....Provincetown Bear Week 2009. Somehow, I absconded with my friend George's ________ (insert private piece of intimate clothing here). And one particular afternoon at the Tea Dance at the Boat Slip, I was wearing George's partner Don's Carhartt ball cap (first picture, below). And, thus, we snapped the pic and I've lusted after that ball cap since that day. And, yes, lusted is the right word. Fast Forward -----

So, today's mail arrives -- and a box in the mail from Don...... Lo and Behold! A Carhartt ball cap all of my very own. I feel nearly straight. Or at least a percentage or two butch. Don and George sent it to me for a belated birthday gift. I can't believe it! Now I'll have my very own Carhartt cap to be wearing this coming summer at Provincetown Bear Week 2010! Love you, guys. Thanks so much for my gift and for thinking of me. I really appreciate it. Here is a poorly-created shot of me today in my own cap.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Flesh and Spirit -- Revisited

You'll recall my last post Flesh and Spirit in which I outlined the possibility that we human beings are capable of good -- and we're definitely capable of bad. Last week on my birthday, I received nearly 100 emails, text messages, and phone calls from people, literally, around the globe. One of my emails came from a reader whom I've never met. In fact, I've never even heard of him. I had no idea who he was nor that he read my blog. That happens once in a while. He wished me a happy birthday. As a result of my Flesh and Spirit post, he emailed me again....with his own personal story that made me cry and cry as I tried to read it to my own LoverBoy this afternoon. I've asked his permission, and he granted it, to share his story. It further illustrates the capabilities that we have in our lives. It added depth to my post and impacted me greatly -- that someone, somewhere, who I've never even met, was reminded of their own past, the cracks in their own life. Enjoy his story with me:

Thanks for today's blog. It's good to keep in mind that each of us holds
the potential to do things we would never consider doing.

Years ago - Vietnam war era - I had a home, wife, two boys, a job and
just about everything except a dog and a white picket fence.

By way of background, I am a gay man, some would say bi, but my mind
does not work that way. I married because I wanted to have kids and the
amazing lady who married me knew I had previously been only with men.
Although she never admitted it, I think she considered my situation a
challenge to her feminine charms. We found I could be her good lover.
It was a kick to be her husband. On an occasion early in our lovemaking
we were so rambunctious her left shoulder became seriously dislocated
just as she was having an orgasm - the head of the humerus was halfway
down her ribcage. While she was screaming a mountain of profanity I
calmly restored her shoulder to normal as I had been trained to do when
I was a corpsman. She said, "Oh, that's so much better!" and we both
fell on the floor laughing.

One morning the wife informed me she was leaving with the boys and
wanted a divorce. Being ever reasonable I suggested she just have her
cute lover with the nice package move in with us. His big problem -
other than finding my wife fascinating, as did I - was that the draft
was blowing down his neck & he wanted to get away to Canada.

It's really annoying when your world comes crashing down on top of you.

As I was twisting and turning in the throes of despair I decided that
the main issue to resolve was how to make the best result for my sons.
My plan was to spare them all the anguish by killing them before I
killed myself. I got the baseball bat with which I would club them to
death when it occurred to me I could not club myself to death - I would
need to go jump off the golden gate bridge. Heights have always made me
anxious so I was not sure I could do that.

She moved to Canada with her lover and the boys, had a good life, moved
on to husband # 3 and gained fame. There were hundreds at her funeral
last year - including me. Our sons are fine men with families and good
careers. I have never forgotten that I came within moments of doing
the unthinkable, that I had within me the capacity to do what I could
not ever imagine doing. I know I am not unique in that regard because I
can read in the paper nearly every day about another father who did do
the unthinkable and my mind fills with compassion for his anguish.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Flesh and Spirit

So, yeah, what happens to our minds sometimes? Our hearts? The conflicts of interest. The fighting, the interacting between what we want to be the truth and what actually is the truth. The Bible displays it as an interaction between flesh and spirit.

Let's just say that someone you have known for many years on a professional, respectable level doesn't show up at work one day. Highly unusual because this person is a Type A, responsible, anal sort of guy. A guy who went to medical school in his distant past and actually practiced for quite some time in a medical clinic. He is looked up to, valued for his opinions and education, and does things quite by the book. Quite simply, he is not at work one day. So, the rumors begin....he's dead, he's passed out, he's fled the country, he's been kidnapped. No, actually, he's in jail you find out. Really? Huh. Wow. Never would have thought it. And for what? Drum roll, please: Sodomy. Child Abuse. Sexual Abuse. 87 counts of it. And thus begins the conflicts in my heart and head.

I believe that we are capable of anything as human beings. Humans are easily the target of other human beings hatred, abuse, comments, and discord. People die at the barrel of a gun as a result of some other human flesh pulling the trigger. People's faces have been slapped by others. Jokes and giggles and making fun of have all happened at the hands of me. You. All of us. But sodomy? Sexual abuse? Child abuse? True or not true, I don't know.

Yeah. It can happen. Gasp! None of us is above another. Not one of us is above the law, or right or wrong, or acceptable or unacceptable. It can happen to any of us on any given day of the week. Our humanness does show through sometimes. Our frailties do come to light many times in our lives.

So before we say "Never, I," we'd better take a second, or even a third, look in the mirror. Look at the zits, the pocks, the wrinkles, the age spots. They are there for a reason. We have scratches and gouges in our lives because we are human. Because we are flesh and blood. We were born, we age, we contort, we move through life, and we die. Each path is different -- but very much the same.

I refuse to pass judgment. Another lesson of life is being learned. And this one not from a textbook.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

And.....We're Home. Whew.

Well, for god's sake, I have entered my 49th year. Gladly. I'm generally one who looks forward with anticipation to today, tomorrow, or even the next year. I cannot believe how many texts, pictures, emails, Facebook comments, voice mails, and snail-mail cards I received. Maybe around 100 or so. Seriously, I was overwhelmed with all of your outpouring and goodwill. Many, many thanks for taking the time to send along your greetings.

As time with family goes, this was a very nice visit. You know, it's always good to get home. And we did that today...a 7 hour and 15 minute trip along I-84 from Boise to Portland. Clear, very cold day along the Columbia River. Amazing views. We had a chance to take our 14-year-old niece out to a nice steakhouse (Nope, no sireebob, no steak for me). And my mother is always excited when we visit. The only downer, per the usual, is my very bigoted, arrogant, and hypocritical stepfather. His "Bill O'Reilly is a Maverick" comment at the table during my birthday dinner was offered up to the breeze and whisked away on the winds. I just look at him like he is the true idiot that he is. I think he holds a KKK card in his wallet.

You'll never guess who we saw when we all walked into the Wild West Coffee Shop in Eagle, Idaho, the other morning. We walked in and up to the counter when I noticed the guy behind the counter sort of staring at my mom who was next to me. And then he looked at me and his eyes grew huge as he pointed his finger at me and said, "Oh my god, I haven't seen you in years!" And he hadn't. About 22 years to be exact. I was 26 the last time I saw him. He was my very first "roommate" when I moved out of my parent's home. We went to church together back then. And then he became my "special friend." He was also the first guy to ever.......well, I can't say that here, I'm afraid. I just couldn't believe it. In an unsuspecting place, never expected. But very welcomed. A nice smile, good energy, and it was nice to reconnect. I kept shaking my head in amazement. I've often wondered where he was and now I know.

So, we're home now. And tired of road travel. Mason has a grooming appointment in the morning, hubby is off to Seattle for the day and night tomorrow, and I am off work for another week. It's one of my favorite times of year. The flowers are definitely coming up, the pink trees are in bloom, and it's been 60 degrees in Portland for four days now. It doesn't get any better than that.

UPDATE: Oh yeah, and one more thing.....I had the chance to meet and converse a bit with a brother-sister Ice Dancing team from Great Britain on their way to the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. John and Sinead Kerr are some very nice folks and I had the chance to see them two nights ago when they skated. Tonight and tomorrow night, the Ice Dancing continues and I'm hoping to see them again. It's so exciting after chatting with them to be able to actually see them on TV!

Friday, February 19, 2010

48 Frickin' Years Old Today

I know many of you won't believe it. It simply cannot be. But, alas, it is the truth. I will turn 48 years old today. I know, I know.....I don't look a single day over 47. On another note, I must admit my weakness for all of you. For your friendship, your love, and your understanding. My world is a better place because of you. So, today I celebrate my life.....because you're in it with me.

Here's a bit of truth about living my life on the cusp of the Pisces-Aquarius divide. Some of it is actually true: "The Cusp of Sensitivity is known for tolerance, sensitivity, uniqueness, talent, artistic merit, emotions, practicality, dreaming, sensuality, idealism, flirtatiousness, pride, loyalty, romance, compassion, sympathy and imagination. They may also be pessimistic, hyper-sensitive, moody, secretive, impatient, stubborn, aloof, cold and quarrelsome."

As has become my weird, twisted tradition, I'm opening up my mobile line to the masses for this one day only....for text, pictures!, and voice messages. If you text, be sure to tell me who you are. I've become friends with many of you in this way over the past few years. So, clink clink clink.... let's raise a glass to birthdays and friendship and all of that.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Boise, Idaho

Yeah, we're here. Boise. Where I was born and raised. I left here 12 years go and moved to Portland. It always brings back memories and feelings....you all know how that goes.

And this year brings an unusual situation. You'll all remember the story about my Great Aunt Ruth. She and I have always shared birthday celebration at this time of year -- mine is the 19th and hers is the 24th. As long as I can remember, we have had dinner or dessert together. Always. She turns 90 this year. And we won't be celebrating together. The last year has brought up scores of painful memories from the past -- mostly my own mother's past. Aunt Ruth grew up living in the same home as my mom and her sisters. And as time has marched on, activities from the past have been brought to light that not only were inappropriate, but hurt my mother a lot. I don't have the inclination nor time to fool with them all here. And much of it happened long before I was around. Out of regard for my unselfish, loving mother, I will be opting to not celebrate with Great Aunt Ruth this year. I do feel badly. On many levels. But I think it's right to back my own mother who, clearly, has cared for Aunt Ruth for many, many years but who is now being treated like shit-(aki mushrooms). You just never know what the next fork in the road of life will bring. I will celebrate my 48th birthday on Friday with LoverBoy, my sister, my mom, my stepdad, my cousin and her husband, and my uncle and aunt. Minus Great Aunt Ruth.

We're always into helping out mom with things around the house that she can't do for herself when we get here -- a new shower curtain, changing all of the batteries in the smoke detectors, and other assorted odds and ends. We listen to the TV at blood curtling levels (because they can't hear), we put up with pokes and slams against the current US President and the current Boise (Democratic) Mayor. And we're helping my sister get her own mobile phone and account which is a nice step in a fresh direction for her. Mason loves it here. He has a giant backyard to play in -- and he runs so fast that it looks like his little white hair is going to blow off. He loves his Grandma and Grandpa so much.

So, we're here. And we're queer. And in Boise, that's sayin' somethin'.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Sausage In A Casing

So, here's how the edited version of this story goes. For the first time, we are going to attend Portland's Red Dress Party on April 17. It's an annual fundraiser for HIV/AIDS -- and everyone attending wears a red dress. Yep, even the boys. Especially the boys. So, we're going.

Yesterday, we just happened to be in the Nordstrom Rack. And, lo and behold, there it was. The coup de gras. A red dress on the clearance rack in the women's section....a section which I've never been in before. A perfectly acceptable, sexy, sassy and slinky red dress. Something that would make me feel more feminine. Something to help me embrace my inner femininity.

I picked it up, swirled it around, and quickly noted the size 6. "Size 6! I wouldn't be caught dead in a size 6!," I exclaimed. "I'll have to take it in a few notches," I continued. Only a few innocent bystanders were harmed during this encounter, I swear.

So, I get it home and slip into it. Well, not so much "slip" into it as wrestle the sausage into the casing. I tried it over the head. And then I tried to step into it. I mean, how in the world would I know how to get into a dress. And then, Pop! Goes the Weasel. It fell into place. My nipples perky and showing. I think I need pasties. And my little Buddha belly gently protruding. And then, the sad revelation that Daddy needs a size 8....or 10.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Heart Day is Almost Here

Time is short, my little chickadees.....so pay attention:

Returned from Newark last night after a long 18-hour day beginning with a 4-hour delay in Newark after our aircraft cabin filled with a haze so thick I couldn't see from the front to the back of the aircraft. We returned to the gate and they determined it was copious amounts of deicing fluid filled the aircraft air intake and was creating the haze and smell. Ick. We finally left four hours late and arrived in Seattle far too late for me to make my connection to Portland -- I waited five hours for one little teeny tiny seat to become available for me to get home. Oy.

I had the super nice experience of meeting this Great Britain Ice Dancing Team yesterday. John and Sinead Kerr were some of the nicest people you'd ever want to meet. They were bound for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics which begin Friday. They perform on the 19, 21, 22....so watch for them like I will be! I chatted them up on the flight and then again in the Seattle airport during (both of our) five hour layovers. Best of luck, you guys! You can see all sorts of videos and information on them here.

My sister
arrives Saturday for a quick weekend visit before driving back to Boise with us next week. Mason is beside himself....pensive, waiting, panting, sitting at the door already. While she is here, we're having a good old-fashioned Valentine's Day Love-In and Smooch Fest. Nothing more than friends and food combined with everybody getting smooched on and passing the love around. If you're in Portland, you're more than welcome to join us Sunday afternoon. Smooch!! I swear to god kids, if you think your life is bad, take a look back at the posts about my sister in the link at the beginning of this paragraph.....great things can happen, no matter what. She's morphed into such a beautiful lady and has become an integral part of our lives.....something we thought we'd never have.

Mason has been with us two years as of yesterday. So say he's brought us a lot of joy in our lives would be an understatement -- as any of you with pets can easily understand. He's such a kick and such a funny little boy. The looks, the actions, the licking, the strange little things that probably no one else in the world would find funny except for us. Nonetheless, he's here to stay. Gladly. I think I'll go and wake him up right now and give him a belly rub.

I'm going to be a year older next week. I'm happy about it. It's a good time of life right now. I think it comes from learning. From experiencing. From shedding the old and taking on the new. Daily. And from migrating from "this" to "that" -- not staying the same. I think it's as much a mental game as it is physical....maybe even more so. So, here she comes.....another birthday cake!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Young and the Restless

Everyone's worlds collide at some point...right? The young and the old. The Republican and the Democrat and the Independent? The boy and the girl. The church-goer and the goer-away-from-church-goer. The Type A and the whatever other type there is. You know how it goes. You consider yourself in "this group" while the person you've just collided with is in "that group." It works for a bit. Pleasantries and such. Hi, how are you's? You stare them up and down, check out their shoes and hair piece, and then go on your way ... no harm done. But occasionally the worlds stay closer together for some reason, even after the encounter.

I've got a a few of those younger "Hey, we should hang sometime" people in my life. And I'm very happy for it. I love the energy and drive they bring to my world. The youthful spirit, the smiles, the free-spiritedness. The only problem is that they don't always actually mean "Hey, we should hang sometime." And that frustrates a Type A/honest/forthright/weirdo like myself. What they do mean is that they don't know what else to say, so they say "let's hang." They haven't yet had enough experience in life to know what sort of conversation to have. They haven't had those long-term relationships yet. Mom and Dad may not have passed away yet. They haven't had to deal with taking care of a father while he's had Lou Gehrig's disease or a child that has cancer. They haven't had enough turn-downs in their life's relationships yet. Their pocketbooks are still tended to by Mommy or Daddy. Their world is still tainted by triple-shot induced Starbuck's with a pastry and the iPhone while the homeless folks outside on the sidewalk are more of an irritant than a cause. They still have pretty teeth and flat stomachs. They consider manscaping to be right up their with the next breath that they must have in order to live. Oh, and pretty underwear......they are an essential: (1) Fancy panties; (2) Breath.

Don't get me wrong. At all. I love Starbucks (sort of). And even this nearly-commando guy would like to have a drawer of sexy underdrawers to wear. And, hey, I'd even go for nice teeth and a nice set of semi-flat-2-pack abs. But it's a little further down on the priority list for me at this point in my life. You know how the gravity of life suddenly take your former #1 and #2 life essentials further down the scale as you age. And those things that apparently seemed to not even be on your radar screens when you were young and now near the top. Normal, I think. It is simply the way that life evolves.

Some of my favorite people in the world are those younger dudes that care about others, genuinely. Who actually have intentions of returning your phone calls and having an actual, in depth, honest, in-person conversation with you. The ones that are not simply out to reach 1,000 friends or more on Facebook. The ones that have been taught how to shake someone's hand, look them squarely in the eye, and ask how the other person is doing before offering up their own feelings or views on the day. The ones who enjoying being a positive influence on their relationships and world rather than dropping a bitter pill into every single conversation and situation that they encounter in their days. The ones who don't mind going a day with messed up hair and unbrushed-teeth breath if it may mean that someone else gets to go first.

But, still, the young enamour me. For all of the reasons I've clearly outlined. I like spending time with the youthfulness that a 20-year-old brings. And I try to see that my slanted view on my own midlife can actually be softened by my 25-year-old friends. But what I have a difficult time dealing with is the lack of commitment, the over promising, the fact that when you tell me you want to "hang sometime" I actually believe you. And I shouldn't chalk it up quite so easily to an "age issue." I mean, there are plenty of supposed adults that have yet to learn the value of honesty and how to actually have a relationship with someone. It goes way beyond age. Life is a bit twisted that way, isn't it? I'm still learning. Even at my advanced crotchety old age. Sigh.