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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I Want to Be Home

Why is it that the more I travel -- which is quite often -- the more I want to be home.

I'm not on a "I don't like my job" kick or anything like that. That simply wouldn't be the truth. But I find myself more often than not desirous of being home. With LoverBoy and Pooch. Turner and Hooch. Whatever. Just at home. I see things as I travel, I enjoy amazing views and restaurants and people and experiences. And it all just makes me want to be home more. Or, perhaps, to have LoverBoy with me when I experience them. It sort of feels a bit empty without your one-and-only to share them with you. Hollow.

Today I'm in one of the world's finest cities. Boston. And it goes without saying that some of the world's hunkiest men are here. Irish and Catholic and studly and sports-minded and rugged and tough and bearded. Shall I continue? So, recenter on Boston.....focus. The harbor here is stunning. New England. Nothing to the East except for the Atlantic Ocean. Lots of boats and ships and ferries plying the waterways. I sit outside, a warm summer day, and enjoy lunch with the locals. I love experiences like this one. I savor them and think of them often. I like the blue sky today, the easy breeze. But it feels like I'm wasting my time. Like I'm alone. Like I would like to share this piece of my life with someone. But, alas, he's home in Portland today and about to jet northward to Anchorage tonight. The mileage difference between Boston and Anchorage is 3328 statute miles, 4714 kilometers. That's just too far.

I've been around the world. 30-some-odd countries. Nearly all 50 states. Over and over. Maybe 20 trips to Europe. Asia. Up and down the West Coast of the US more than I care to chat about. I've seen things that others never will. And I'm thankful for all of those memories. And another funny thing is that I actually do enjoy being alone. A lot. In fact, sometimes I crave alone time as much as together time. But today, like many days as I age, I want to be in my perfectly-sized 876 square foot condominium. With LoverBoy, Pooch, laptop, nice kitchen, comfortable patio, clean sheets on the bed, homemade iced tea in the refrigerator, and safe. Quiet. No nonsense. That's what I seem to be craving more and more.

Monday, June 28, 2010

To the Point

  • The new iPhone 4 is slick. Nice and fast, no dropped calls, pretty and shiny. Stood in no lines, loved it from the moment I laid eyes on it.
  • Spent yesterday at one of our clothing-optional beaches with a bunch of buddies -- and hundreds of other Portlanders dying....DYING....for a little sunshine. I'm toasted and crispy on one side.
  • Tomorrow takes me out East to Boston for a layover. Who is in Bean Town tomorrow??
  • We're getting ready for our annual pilgrimage to Bear Week in Provincetown It is one week from Friday. I can't believe it's here already! Grrrrr...... Here is last year's extravaganza.
  • We always go to as many of Portland's free summer concerts in the parks as possible -- if you're in the area, go with us.
  • The washing machine just finished its cycle with a lovely little tune. It always does. I have to go and transfer clothes into the dryer now.
  • That is all.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Longest Day

The longest day of the year is today -- at least here in the north. Solstice. What a nice reflection to consider that the the very thing that warms us is around the longest today. Well, the very thing that is supposed to be warming us, perhaps I should say. It's been the wettest June on record -- after a very wet May. No worries. It doesn't matter to me, really. Except that I would love some time on the beach.

This past weekend was Portland Pride. I'm exhausted -- in fact, I'm sick. Totally congested and feeling like an 18-wheeler hit me. For the very first time, my company sponsored a float in the Portland Pride parade and then a booth at the festival as well. Really exciting stuff! I'm very proud of the work group I spend much of my life with. We are also one of HRC's Best Companies to Work For. I was really busy talking with people, handing out free stuff, marching up the streets of downtown Portland, even seeing passengers that have been on previous flights with me! We even had two of our vice presidents attend and help us out!

My iPhone 4 order was tediously placed last week -- on the 16th (since the servers were totally whacked out on the 15th). So, it's "In Process" and not yet "Shipped." I'm waiting. Wondering. Wishing and hoping. I'm afraid that the 24th will pass me by. But, then again, it's only a phone. I need to keep on saying that.

We met Molly yesterday. And our hearts were totally stirred up. She looks strikingly like Mason. Molly and Mason. It has a nice ring to it. Except that Molly has not been taken care of. She is 8 years old, lived outside her whole life, is not potty trained, and has been under the supervision of dog breeder in southern Oregon who didn't take care of her (is it wrong to murder people?) She has a heart murmur and no teeth (which makes her tongue stick out of her mouth). We just can't do it...and, believe me, we have talked about it. But she's a doll. I think we may sponsor her "online." I think that Mason would be a very good younger brother for Molly.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Strangeness That Is My People

We're an unusual group of people. Seriously, we are...and you know it. Specifically, at this particular blip of time, I'm referring kindly to my own kind. My own profession. We're odd. That can't be denied. Not odd as in strange. Well, now that I'm thinking about it, maybe I do mean strange. Yeah, I do. A little strange. I've been in this profession for 15 years. An Air Hostess. Trolley dolly. Stewardess. Stewardette (yep, I've been called that). Air Mattress. Steward. Flight Attendant. A nearly-all kind group of people. And some of the world's greatest friends. But strange. Odd. Weird. And I'm not sure what it is.

With any profession or group of people, there are typically common bonds that tie them together. They were all hired with certain skill sets or abilities. They possess particular traits or perhaps their personalities fit in well with the job which they are doing. Flight attendants are required to be prompt, never late...it's not tolerated. They are supposed to look good and take care of themselves. They are required to go through a horribly intensive five-week training school -- studying every single night, written tests nearly every day, tons of practical drills like fire fighting, emergency evacuations, and safety skills. They need to know how to problem solve, to calm, to bring tense situations to an even playing field. And, occasionally, they need to slap the you-know-what outta some total dweeb. But beyond all of the written, company-required job skills, there appears to be an unwritten, perhaps unknown or little understood, set of behaviors that creep among our type.

We chat. We love to chat and, more accurately, blather. Blather on and on, many times about nothing. You ask a simple question and you're there for, oh say, a day and a half or so getting the Wikipedia answer when all you really needed to know was what gate we were arriving at. Or maybe I feel obligated to ask about someone's husband or wife and I get the whole nine yards including the latest in therapy sessions and family drivel.

Many of we stews are on drugs. Not the good stuff. The stuff to calm us down. Pacify us. Make us able to get through the day. Happy pills. And we love our alcohol too. Numerous of my friends drink heavily. A few uncontrolled. Most just plenty. We go to therapists. We have far too numerous physical aches and pains to outline here -- many caused by our required lifting of overly heavy passenger bags, and all of the lifting, bending, stretching and twisting that goes along with 200-pound beverage carts. We go to acupuncturists. We go to psychiatrists. We go to the pharmacy regularly. We like our druggists.

We like attention because many of us don't get it elsewhere. We're a gaggle of misfits, many divorced or in unhealthy relationships. We're not at home enough for some. We're home far too much for others. Many mothers and fathers use their layover time to chill....."Me" time.... to get away from the kids and partners back at home. And some of us, just an extreme few thankfully, like to exert their ill-placed need to use authority at times -- "I told you to put that seatbelt down low and tight near your private parts!" or "If I have to ask you one more time to turn off that brand new iPhone 4, I'm a gunna shove it up to just about your hairy nipple line!" That sort of thing. And in spite of having a six-inch-thick company approved way of doing things, we are widely known for having an even better way to do it. Just ask us, we'll show you. We have little hangups like which side of the cart we have to have the juice cartons on, where the little stir sticks should be placed (I've got just the place, believe me....), or the need for placing those little pretzel snacks in the drawer with precise latitude and longitude markers aligned with GPS precision. We aren't well, I'm telling you.

Just this morning, I was on a crowded employee bus going from the employee parking lot to the airport terminal. We do it every day. We know each other. We do it over and over and over -- many of us for years now. For me, my day typically puts me on that bus between 4:30am-5:30am. It's early. It's dark much of the year. And most of the bus is eerily quiet. Except for the flight attendants. They banter back and forth. Loudly. While the make up is applied, or the bags are being dug through, or they try and decide if the new uniform is going to make their arse look big, or which restaurant they'll be going to that night in Puerto Vallarta. And people stare at them. Including me. I like that time for myself, for peace and quiet before what is always a busy day. But, honestly, it's like you put in a nickle and get back a quarter's worth. So, yeah, back to this morning -- I looked at the gal sitting next to me and remarked "Gawd, can't you just feel the oxygen being depleted in this bus." She concurred. How could she not?

But in spite of our weirdness, we're one hell of a fun-loving group. We like to have fun, party, eat dinner or happy hour together, and take walks together. Many of us include our co-workers in our list of good friends, including me. We text each other, see each other outside work, and do our best to take care of one another when necessary. And we even travel together on our days off. I'm not sure precisely what it is that lends us to being a bit of an odd group. Whatever it is, I think I'll gladly be a part of it for quite some time. Until the blue polyester pales, the shoes are worn from being on my feet all day, and the shiny wings on my uniform are tarnished. It's a good group of folks....in spite of their strangeness.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Mixed Emotions

I left the dusty, dry southern Idaho capital city of Boise on January 1, 1998. I was born in Boise, at St. Luke's Hospital, in 1962. I knew it well. I worked at what was then Boise Cascade Corporation in their corporate Human Resources Department for 13 years. I started when I graduated from high school. I knew a lot of folks. I knew every restaurant in town. I lived their before Boise ever had a mall to shop at. We had an acre of land with a $13,000 house on it. We didn't have too much but we had enough. It was in Boise that I went to First Presbyterian Church as a child and then migrated to Boise Valley Christian Communion as a teenager. After a few years there, I moved on to Central Assembly Christian Life Center -- yes, it is that sort of church. Southern Idaho is filled with all sorts of people -- some that you can picture in your head, others that you perhaps only have stereotypes about. Basques. Mormons. Farmers. Ranchers. Horse and cattle acreages. Outdoor recreational enthusiasts. Bikers. Mostly conservative. Nearly all white. Plenty of pickup trucks. And, now, equally as many Lexus, Acura and Cadillacs. They like tradition. They like family. And values. And, now, they even have a mall. Traffic is horrible. No one carpools. There is no decent, widely used city transit system. People enjoy driving with one person in each car. Although it has changed somewhat now, they are not the sort of folks that trend toward brightly colored hair, piercings, ink on the skin, or mohawks. You'll get stared at if you do. Oh, and now they have Wal Mart. And Starbucks. And gays.

I used to get teary-eyed when I would return. I missed it. I'd never lived anywhere else. All of my family and friends were there. My church buddies still roamed the pews, my dad is buried there, and I still knew my way around. I was married and lived there for seven very long years. And that's where I came out. And now, I'm in Portland. Happy. Healthy. And don't get teary as much when I go back. In fact, I sort of like leaving Idaho now. It just doesn't feel like I fit there any longer. I mean, there are a few isolated businesses and coffee shops that welcome my type. But I still feel sort of like I have a 50-pound bag of concrete tied to my ankle in the sea of "W-04" and "One Man One Woman" bumper stickers. Well, and the "Power of Pride" waving everywhere as well. It feels sterile. White. Lacking much depth, it leans toward shallow in my mind. Oh, they really dig their sports teams and such. But where do I fit in? I even think it's funny when I hear comments like "Oh, they are a Mormon family....." or "That's an LDS church over there." And you hear those sentiments frequently. (And in case you didn't know, LDS stands for Latter Day Saints ..... the Mormons.)

We talked about it on our drive back home the other day. How much longer it would be before we could possibly get my sister moved out of there and over to be near us in Portland. And what would happen once my mother, god forbid, passes away. Would we still make our journeys back to Boise? Would we need to? In all seriousness, the only reason we go any longer is just to see my Mom, sister, and niece. There's not much else there. I guess that's why I'm not there any longer. Because there's just not much there....on many levels.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Momma Turns 80 -- Still Setting a Fine Example

I can't believe that my mother is 80...today. I think part of it is the reminder that I am not as young as I used to be. I'm happy about that. I think. So, here's a repeat of two years ago....when we were here for my Mom's 78th birthday. We're having a dinner tonight and a small party tomorrow. I will always have something to aspire to. She has set an example that I will be working on daily.

What do you say about a woman who has had just about as many things thrown at her in her life as anyone could imagine? About a woman who devoted her entire being to raising her family as well as she knew how. About her commitment to getting up early, staying up late, and not napping in between. About a woman who planted the garden, weeded it, and rescued its crops to be used on the table. About a woman who grew up during the Great Depression and took baths in a galvanized tub in the kitchen. About a woman who had only one dress while growing up? About a woman who took her lunch down the street to eat away from other children because she was embarrassed about what she had to eat. About a woman who was beaten? About a woman who was made to watch her then-current husband rape a young girl in front of her? About a woman who was hatefully not permitted to go get emergency care when her appendix burst. About a woman who layed away nights wondering about her children, sister, and others who suffered from alcoholism, depression, and drug use. About a woman who spent years caring for her own mother. About a woman who cared for her husband during his illness with Lou Gehrig's Disease. About a woman who stood tall, held her head high, and told one of her best friends that their long-term friendship was over because the (now former) friend didn't believe in the woman's son's gay lifestyle. About a woman who has the most positive attitude of anyone I've personally ever known. About a woman who does not hate....does not speak ill of others....does not have bad days or bad attitudes. Well, I'll tell you what I'll say about her. I'd say that I want to be like her. I want her attitude, her spirit, and her energy. I want her devotion to good causes, her strength when things are tough, and her ability to carry on in the worst of times. All with a smile on her face. And I must admit that I've even considered the horrible day in the future when I'll lose my mom -- it's a day that I'm not sure I can stand to face. We've gone through it all together. She's had to reconcile her faith in the face of things I'm sure she never anticipated facing. And she's done it with grace and courage. And today, I wish my mom the happiest 78th birthday ever. I love her and have never been more proud of anyone than I have of her. I hope that I'm able to achieve being even half the person she is.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Alter Egos

I think there are several people hanging out inside. Of me, that is. I find myself in people I see around me. On television, in movies, in real life. They just seem like people like me. They say things I would. Have actions or motions like me. Or they swirl their skirt in such a fashion as to make a statement. Or they roll their eyes. Or their face tells all. Mine does. Or they don't mince words.

Daniel Tosh seems to be a lot like me. Except for the fact that he's rich and I am not. And I think he smiles more than me. But, seriously, that smart ass humor with a penchant for poking fun and making up stories is precisely my game.

I've often wondered which Golden Girl I'm most like. I waver between Dorothy and Sophia...with some Blanche-like leanings. Dorothy Zbornak aka Bea Arthur....Organized, teacher-like tendencies, common sense oriented, and long flowing gowns. That's what Dorothy and I share. But as much as I have strong Dorothy tendencies, I think I'm even more like her Momma. Sophia Petrillo.....aka Estelle Getty. No nonsense, call your BS as I see it, and always in some sort of trouble. Yep, that's me.

And I've just started a recent David Sedaris book. And there's no doubt that he and I share many of the same writing styles for humor and drawing visions in people's heads. A bit twisted with plenty of childhood memories. However, like Tosh.O above, once again, he's richer than I am.

How about you??

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

It's Bustin' Out All Over.....

June is, that is. Well, I am too.....and if this tradition continues of snacking in the evenings, it's not going to be pretty. The new blog header picture has sort of become tradition around these parts. It's from my buddy Kelly's blog....Rambling Along in Life. Kelly took the pic in his neighborhood a few years back and posts it every June to celebrate PRIDE around the world. This is typically the beginning of gay Pride festivals worldwide...many during the month of June including Portland's which we'll be actively integrated in this year.

The long and winding road will be ahead of us on Thursday when we motor from Portland to Boise on one of our most favorite drives. The trip takes us down I-84 through the Columbia River Gorge, past some of the nation's largest wind turbine farms, along the same route as the settlers of old traversed on the Oregon Trail, and into my home state of Idaho. We love road trips, especially after spending much of our lives dressed up as air hostesses and playing airplane. It's my mom's 80th birthday on Friday. I told her in a card recently that I've run out of good, positive adjectives for her. She is quite the Mom. I wish I were only half the woman she is. No, seriously, even half the woman.

And so, I'm off an running today -- get the tire inflation checked on the Kia Soul Ghost, cart Mommy-Dearest-In-Law to the doctor, fly a Las Vegas turn tomorrow morning, pack, get Mason's overnight back loaded up, place my online order for our new flight attendant uniforms set to debut next January, and trim my nose and ear hairs. It's going to be a busy few days.