Wednesday, January 30, 2008
But to stop writing the blather and get on to it ~ several years ago I was going to a convention related to my particular area of work. "The" convention in my industry, it was my first and last time to go. The city changes every year, but very soon I am going to this year's convention. So as I've been preparing to go, working up certain papers, double checking the website for my appointments, double checking my travel arrangements, etc., my mind would occasionally flit back to that first convention.
I saw him from afar. Yes, from afar. That means, I saw him from a great distance off and fell in love instantly. He was handsome, oh so handsome, with a smile that was pearly white, and a straw hat. I can't remember the theme of the banquet, but I remember he was dressed in some type of casual/dressy outfit that included a hat. Whatever. Moving on.
A night or two later, I am going out with my newest pal John who had found all the gay bars and was telling me where were going ~ except he didn't know that I had only just barely kissed a boy the first time and had never been in a gay bar. So I'm standing in his room stuttering like an idiot, "I don't think I've been to the kind of bars you're going." I repeated it like 3 times before he said something similar to, "I get it. It's o.k." And we headed out. A few minutes later, we were in the hotel lobby and I see "him." Oh, he was as handsome close up as he had been from across the convention hall floor. And somehow, every single bit of my shyness welled up to take control of me, and yet, in that instant I pulled up every single bit of strength I had, walked over to him and said. . . . . oh, I don't know what I said. But I remember it being incredibly simple and lame. Some stupid business sentence . . . just something to utter to make contact. It may very well have been the last time I ever overcame my shyness. So John walks up and talks to us and a few minutes later he's saying to me, "Way to go!" and I'm still just shocked that I spoke to him. John said, "I told him where we're going tonight." Well, I didn't know if he was gay, str8, married, what. I had no idea.
To make a long story short, the three of us hung out several nights that week during the convention. I could bore you with the ridiculous emotions I felt that week, the youthful lust and such that was dominating my heart, or how I called work and convinced my boss to let me stay a few extra days at the convention "for the great networking."* But I'm sure that in my mind, it's much more romantic and sweet than it would actually read. I am going to settle for telling you this ~ at that time, I had kissed only 2 men and my other "experiences" were extremely limited as well. But this man was a gentleman, but he was also a great kisser.
So anyway, jump through time several years and I'm working somewhere completely different. Still remember him, but we lost touch. Life moves on, time passes. I come in to work one morning and a business card is on my desk with his name on it ~ his business card. Out of nowhere. Just, there, one Monday morning. Absolutely every Jr. High School type emotion I had for him renewed itself and welled up in my heart ~yes, and in my loins. So I sat there and just worked until finally the card explained itself. "Did you get that card?" said Debra. She'd been to a convention the week prior and had met him. He had said, "Really? I used to have a friend that worked in that area. His name was . . . " so there you go. I had been called his friend and he remembered me! Need more proof that it was pure love?!
So I find out what his travel schedule is and then convince my boss that I absolutely, positively, MUST attend a convention in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Hershey, Pennsylvania. Yeah, right. I even got lost between the airport and Hershey - serves me right for that big fat lie. This was still before the time of GSP systems. So I was using my cell phone to call work and telling people to figure out "where I am, because I am lost" from the signs I'm reading them. Ugh!
But there he was, in Hershey. Not quite the first words he said to me, but pretty close were, "My company booked us two to a room. Mind if I stay with you?" Uh, no. So again, he was a perfect gentleman, but still . . . . it was worth the flight and drive to Hershey.**
So then we lose touch again. I tried to send a holiday card every year or something and would usually get something in return. One year I called the last number I had for him and they said, "He's joined the seminary" and I laughed and said, "I think we're talking about two different guys. I'm talking about the cussing, drinking, smoking guy." Yea, that's him they said. But anyway, we exchange one letter and lose touch again.
So anyway, just for the fun of it, because I thought of him while preparing for this convention, I googled him. On the second page of google results, I found him. Yep, he's a preacher. At an open and affirming church that is affiliated with the same religion as my church. His photo looks similar, but he's aged, just like me. And from what little I've read of his blog and the church website, it appears that he has truly found his life's calling and work. And I'm glad.
I think that I like to know he's doing well, just because he really was a gentleman and a fun guy, at a time when that was exactly what I needed. And by time, I don't mean that week at the convention. I mean the bigger picture of what was going on in my life. My whole "starting to come to terms with myself" and all that drama that comes with it ~ I needed a fun guy who was good guy. And for that week, he really was. And looking at what he's doing with his life, maybe he has been all along.
*Years later, I would fess up to that boss. You know, in one of those fun "guess what I did back then" stories. She said she knew something was up, but really, it hadn't cost the company very much to rebook my flight and she was able to justify it just like I had, so she didn't really care.
** Somewhere around here, I have some photo's of us riding rides at the theme park. If I can find them, I'll scan one in. I don't think anyone could identify him from them. But I met at the same convention, through him, a handful of other business associates that I try to keep in contact with and who are great people. It really was a great week for me. Even if it was for slightly contrived business reasons. Oh, and here's something really funny - my boss at the time was J of J&Bubbles. Years later, I fessed up to him. He said he knew something was up all along but it wasn't his dime so he didn't really care.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
After church I ran a few errands. A few errands more than I should have, but still. Maybe I did not need some of the plastic crap I bought at Big Lots, but I got a great deal on it.
An afternoon visit with G&D and the boys finished out the repairs on my mirror. "The mirror" from my childhood (yes, I know, there is an odd theme to this weekend.) That mirror hung in our living room, above the couch, for years. And then I brought it with me to Memphis. It fell during "The Great Move of October" and some of the trim was broken off. But it's been repaired, repainted, etc. and now just waits for G to come over and hang it.*
Dinner with J&K tonight. I think we all sort of wanted to go out and eat, but we all sort of agreed to just "eat in." So we had beans and rice. We'll throw all sorts of stuff in a pot of beans and rice. We don't care. It's all good.
It's been a good day. Closing out a good weekend.
*If you're wondering if I can't hang a mirror, the point of it is this ~ little projects are bonding time for me and G. Plus, she really knows how to find a wood stud in the wall and make darned sure that the nail or screw is really in. Not just merely in. But really most sincerely in.
On Saturday morning she cooked breakfast for us, and after a quick run out to W-M, I spent a good part of the afternoon at my brother's house. It was the first time the almost-2-year-old nephew gave me any attention at all. He's somehow learned my name since Christmas, would sit in my lap and laugh and grin, and generally act adorable. Sometime around 5, we went to M&D's since brother had to go to work, and his wife needed to do some schoolwork for one of her Master's classes. Mom decided to cook some little steaks for supper, and I ran to Wendy's to get us all a baked potato and side salad (it's only a little bit of cheating, as far as "making supper" goes.) I stopped at a grocery on the way to pick up some fruit cups for my nephews and ran into a friend-girl from high school. I was in her wedding. Couldn't tell you the last time I laid eyes on her. Not sure I'd ever seen the kid with her. She has them ranging from 20 to 7. It was a nice bonus to get to see her and chat a minute.
Then just as I was leaving town, I had a text from another friend who had been in town with his wife, visiting his M&D for his M's birthday. He told me where they were going to eat, and since I was packed and headed out, I decided to make a detour.
Got there before they did, and some strange guy at the bar was talking to me like he really knew me. I had zero idea who he was but had sense enough to know that he knew me, in our small town. He offered to buy me a drink while I waited and I finally said, "So what are you doing now?" and when he said "This" tapping the bar, I knew who he was - the owner's son. Yeah, that gastric bypass surgery made a huge difference in him. We were pals years ago. I absolutely did not recognize him. About that time, my cell rang and the guy I was going there to meet said "I'm looking at you" and I said, "Well, I got tired of waiting so I'm blowing yaw off!"
I had the nicest visit with him, his wife and parents. We talked and talked and talked, caught up and carried on. His mom works with my SIL. His dad retired from the bank on the eve of his 70th birthday 3 years ago and it was good to see them both. His wife is just a doll, I really like her. It was such a powerfully good time to catch up with old friends.
Sigh. It was a very good weekend.
*The title of this posting comes from my nephew's jealous statements of "nuh-uh, she loves me more!" The funny little tyke believes strongly in people's love ~ of him. And whenever I say anything like "You know your Gran is my mom. She loves me" he responds with "She loves me more!"
1. When I was a kid, we didn't have the Internet. If we wanted to know
something, we had to go to the dang library and look it up ourselves...
In the card catalog.. (Do you even know what a card catalog is? Didn't
2. There was no email.. We had to actually write somebody a letter...
With a pen. Then you had to walk all the way across the street and put
it in the mailbox and it would take like a week to get there.
3. There were no MP3's or Napsters. If you wanted to steal music, you
had to hitchhike to the dang record store and shoplift it yourself. Or
you had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio and the DJ
would usually talk over the beginning and mess it all up.
4. We didn't have fancy crap like Call Waiting. If you were on the
phone and somebody else called they got a busy signal, that's it.
5. And we didn't have fancy Caller ID Boxes either. When the phone
rang, you had no idea who it was. It could be your school, your mom,
your boss, your bookie, your drug dealer, a collections agent, you just
didn't know... You had to pick it up and take your chances, mister.
6. We didn't have any fancy Sony Playstation video games with
high-resolution 3-D graphics. If we were lucky, we had Video Pong and
later on the Atari 2600. With games like "Space Invaders" and
"asteroids" and the graphics were horrible. Your guy was a little
square. You actually had to use your imagination. And there were no
multiple levels or screens, it was just one screen forever. And you
could never win. The game just kept getting harder and harder and
faster and faster until you died. Just like LIFE.
7. When you went to the movie theater there no such thing as stadium
seating. All the seats were the same height. If a tall guy or some old
broad with a hat sat in front of you and you couldn't see, you were
8. Some of us had no cable...only 3 stations (maybe) that you had to
go outside and turn the antennae to be able pick up. Later on, we had
cable television, but back then that was only like 15 channels and
there was no onscreen menu. You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to
find out what was on.
And there was no Cartoon Network either. You could only get cartoons
on Saturday Morning. Do you hear what I'm saying.?. We had to wait ALL
WEEK for cartoons.
9. And we didn't have microwaves, if we wanted to heat something up,
we had to use the stove or go build a fire ... Imagine that. If we
wanted popcorn, we had to use that stupid JiffyPop thing or a pan with
HOT oil and Real popcorn kernels and shake it all over the stove
forever like an idiot.
10. When we were on the phone with our friends and our parents
walked-in, we were stuck to the wall with a cord, a 7 foot cord that
ran to the phone - not the phone base, the actual phone. We barely had
enough length to sit on the floor and still be able to twirl the phone
cord in our fingers. If you suddenly had to go to the bathroom - guess
what we had to do..... Hang up and talk to them later.
This is the house once known as "Mrs. Moore's house." Mrs. Moore was seldom seen and not known, and at some point she was simply gone, and we never knew her. The people who live there now have had the fake cow in the yard for years. The steps to the sidewalk were once perfectly hedged, and was where neighborhood kids would wait for the school bus.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Some owners had placed siding, others had painted, still others had closed in carports or added rooms on to the back. Looking back, I did not realize that my own home had closed in the carport and then added a carport on. It seemed perfectly normal to me to have a living room that was two steps lower than the rest of the house, and two bathrooms next to each other, and two bedrooms next to each other. Looking back now, I can't quite figure out how that design came to be. But it seemed normal to us.
Our neighborhood was a valley. I don't have any idea how nature came to make it, but the town is full of hills and valleys, and so our neighborhood sat in a valley. To the north is a parallel street with houses sat upon the hill/higher elevation. To the South is untamed woods.
The furthest away we would run and play was generally "Anthony's Hill." Anthony lived on the cross street and behind his large built home was a clay hill. It was a small section of the Southern woods that had been cut out. I have no idea why, but clearly a backhoe had done the job, leveling the hill woods and giving the kids a perfect flat area of clay and mud to play. It was a child's dream and a laundress's nightmare. All sorts of bike riding and ball playing went on there ~ and when winter came and killed the kudzu, giving us handhold ropes, we would climb the woods. It's hard to describe the woods, filled with kudzu and trees and ravines. Lost somewhere back in there is an old car with a big white star painted on the side. How it got there, no kid ever knew. Often, we could fall into the ravines, or Tarzan style hope for the best and swing over them with a big handful of dried kudzu hanging from a tree. Looking back, it almost seems like something some other kid would do ~ some child from a best seller fantasy book. All bundled up in our warmest clothes, climbing through the hilly woods and swinging from kudzu. But it was me, and it was us.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Edwin Poole "Thoughts of the times we were carnal got me through it."
Shirley Schmidt. "We were never carnal."
Edwin Poole "But thoughts of it got me through."
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
or "I want to be a drag queen."
Not just any old garden variety, run of the mill drag queen. I (pause) want (pause) to be (pause) a FABULOUS drag queen! I want to be a drag queen as seen in The Birdcage. I want to be a drag queen like Patrick Swayze in "Too Wong Foo." I want to be a drag queen like Terence Stamp in "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert."
To that end, my friends J&K, sometimes K is referred to as Bubbles. She's cute and bubbly and short and skinny. And . . . . . J's mother is in her 70's and was a perfect stereotype mother from the 60's (with money). J's father had a prestigious job at the time, and his mother was a somewhat Tippy Hedren look alike with the qualities that the airlines looked for at the time in stewardesses. Mainly, she was skinny and pretty and well educated.
J's father had many business events to attend, and his mother was one of those ladies who just walked into the store and picked up a dress to wear. Everyone knew who her husband was, and where to charge the dress.
Skipping ahead about 4 decades, and J's father has passed away and his mother, now in her 70's, decided it's time to get rid of a few dresses. Apparently she has kept every single dress she bought for a formal occasion. So she sent about five home with her daughter in law, Bubbles.
Here's the drag queen part: Even if there were a moment when I would of had the nerve to do drag, I probably haven't been skinny enough to wear these dresses since 9th grade. But Bubbles is - and I had fits tonight over a handful of them.
The gold lame is my drop dead favorite. As stunning as it is on Bubbles, I can only imagine what it would look like on me - and what it must have looked like on Mother of J. The dress by itself is rather simple, if you can ever consider gold lame simple. But with the shawl that ties, oh how it drops off the shoulder, accents the bosom and gently hugs the waist. And the black one - words can't describe the way the black one looks with the clasps on the shoulders to hold the matching floor length cape. It's like dark chocolate and sex poured on. (Though with the cape on, it looks a lot like Elizabeth Montgomery in Bewitched.) The one with the feathers? I'm not real sure about that, but it's a hoot.
Oh, to have been a friend to Mother of J in the 60's, to have been her "sweet friend" when she lived the life with the well heeled friends, and her husband cavorted with gentlemen like Danny Thomas. Or just to have known her when I could still fit into the gold lame dress!
Happy birthday, Bubbles.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
The sky was kind of overcast and not much sun out, so probably I'll get more pretty pictures on another day anyway. But I'm glad for the drive. I know those things are out there, and I'll be back.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Supper tonight is a big ol' pork roast, potatoes and carrots, and a little round corn bread fresh out of the skillet. Unfortunately the color on the camera seems off, so the true beauty of the colors did not come out. The outside of the pork roast is nicely browned, the white and red of the carrots a nice contrast. His buttermilk cornbread is delicious. He didn't get the skillet hot enough for the brown part of golden brown, but that's just a technicality.
P.S. I just finished reading Jen Lancaster's book "Bitter is the New Black." Noodle thought it read a lot like me (oh, the shallow, money-spending lifestyle followed by endless unemployment, coupled with witty, biting sarcasm - please, that's so not me). I thought it read a lot like my friend S.O. who went to the unemployment office with a Coach bag. Of course, Coach and Prada are about $500 difference, but there's that much difference between this location and Jen's Chicago-land. If I recall, S.O. showed up with a Coach bag and a fresh Starbucks. I think she even called me as she wheeled into the parking lot in her big SUV and said, "Should I carry my purse in?" Honey, in that neighborhood, there's no safe place for a purse. It's easier to just pour your contents on the hood of the car and let them pick. *
It's good reading for anyone who has ever spent 5 bucks on COFFEE! or $12 on ONE DRINK. Or been unemployed for longer than a month.
I don't know if people who have not experienced unemployment, on the heels of a good paying job that allowed them to spend frivolously, could appreciate the truth of it. They may appreciate the humor and wit, but not the truth. ~ ~ Jen and her husband lived on a level that exceeded mine. But in concept, we were similar. Oh how I adored Sunday afternoons on the patio of the Glass Onion with multiple drinks, oh how I enjoyed shopping in Target and Old Navy and buying cute pull over shirts that looked so cute on me (and looked the same as the other pull over shirts I had bought) and how I just loved loved loved calling my friends and saying "Oh, what a day! I just have to have a drink" and knowing they would know where to meet me. I loved buying an SUV that I so did not need (It had a six cd in-dash changer!). And somehow, it all went away one day.
At 4p.m. (pause) On a Friday (pause) 2 weeks before Christmas. But you were there, (maybe) and it's over. Six months later as I used up the last of my savings and begged the landlord for one week's grace on rent until I got my first paycheck, it ended.
But I say all this just to say that I could completely relate to Jen's book. Completely. To a point that it almost scared me. Or as my friend from high school, John, likes to write it, "Skert me."
Anyway, If you've ever been in line at the unemployment office with a fresh Starbucks in hand, read the book. It's a good one.
* I should be fair and say the last time I went, one of the guys in line voluntarily told me where to go and get food stamps. That was very polite of him. If they government still gave out those big blocks of cheese, I would have gone. I always loved that stuff.
Last night, Noodle called and I met her & the Urchins at Backyard Burgers and then followed them to the bookstore. Of late I've been thinking about applying for a part time job there. My current job, though I'm not paid poorly, doesn't pay me what I've made in the past and I'm having a bit of trouble stretching it between paydays. But this job does have more dependable hours and I could pick up a few shifts a week there and get some stretch money. I think it would be fun. Or at the very least, it would not be miserable and would be a whole different work experience for me.
Have a good Saturday!
Friday, January 11, 2008
Maybe I intended to avoid it, maybe I just didn't want to go drinking at the after hours receptions, or maybe I didn't want to be drinking at a work event and then have to drive home. Who knows. But I did not drink and did not wander.
It would be a lot simpler if I just came right out and said, "If you still find me attractive, sorry, but I can't." but how arrogant is that to start a conversation with the assumption that he would find me sexually available?! lol.
I was faithful, and will be. I'm not messing up a good thing.
* I have modified this blog a couple of times, trying to find the right mix of words to convey that I wasn't really tempted this day, and that I wasn't really that much of a whore in my past. It may be easier to delete the post altogether. But the message isn't supposed to be one about temptation, but one about faithfulness.
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
I hate to report that the picture of the eel tank did not come out. On the same roll, my photo's from Christmas were shade and shadow filled so some potentially nice family photo's are . . . lousy. And someone who took a photo of me and my entire staff managed to frame it up with a huge open area to the right, practically cut me off to the left, and cut off most of the bodies of those sitting down. That roll must have been jinxed.
My Fella's brother is doing well, out of the hospital and continuing his recovery. He still gets tired a bit and takes cat naps, but that's to be expected. I am going to see him this weekend. I figure by this time next week, he'll be as good as he ever was.
All right, it's late and since the convention is in my town, I don't get a travel day tomorrow. It's back to the coal mines, so I'm off to bed.
Happy Thursday (tomorrow) to you.
Sunday, January 6, 2008
So, of course, I took a photo with a disposable camera. I hope it comes out. Check back here in a day or two to see.
It's like Crack, but legal. I'm walking into church this morning with one thought resounding through my head like the beat of a drum, "I need a Diet Coke." Not want, or should would like to have, but I need. I need the cold feel of the aluminum can, the pop of the top, the crisp cool feeling as the acids wash down my throat, the internal feel of the caffeine popping me. Oh, how I wanted it. (and have it with me now at 1p.m.).
From a distance, I saw my friend, a recovering alcoholic. Somedays I think she is more alcoholic than recovering, and I always speak to her and try to offer her encouragement (though I may occasionally talk about her behind her back, I do it to only a select few who also from time to time think she is more alcoholic than recovering and we collectively wish we could help her more but that's a whole other blog). . . . but back to me - so I'm looking at her from afar and thinking, "If I crave Diet Coke like this, imagine her struggle!" Oh my. It's like crack, but legal.
Saturday, January 5, 2008
I had a very good Christmas, and the few gifts I received were all things I really liked or really needed, so it's hard to list a favorite. But this little ornament, well, if I did list my faves, it would be at the top. Right next to the new electric blanket.
But onward: the weekend was supposed to take me to My Fella's in our goal to spend as much time as possible together before school starts for him. But his little brother has gotten sick and has been in the hospital. I have an urge to to drive up there to see his brother, but that's a long way to go to just sort of be in the way. Given his brother's pre existing condition, someone stays with him in the room all the time. It breaks my heart to think of him in the hospital. I just called up there and they handed the phone to him and he said "I hurt." I've got my Christian friends putting him on their prayer lists. The condition is not life threatening and he'll probably be out in a day or two. It's just hard to think of someone with a more child-like mindset being in the hospital.
So I'll probably spend the weekend here 'round town. Christmas took a chunk out of my income, so I'll keep it low key. Some books to read, some Netflix, etc.
I met Noodle, Skeeter & the Urchins last night at McAlister's and then we hung out at the bookstore for a little while. It's always good to have a glass of McAlister's sweet tea. You know, someone told My Fella that one of them near his home is no good and he's just dead set against it here. It's funny how we have such different tastes in food and restaurants. But anyway, last night made for a real nice reason to get out of the house. Funny how it's colder in my apartment than it is outside.
The new year was a good reason to put down new blankets. Changed the bed sheets and put down a new electric blanket and a new king sized throw. OMG, the bed is so comfy with that electric blanket on # 4, just putting off enough heat to beat back the chill.
Anyway, whatever it is I'm going to do today, I should go get started on. Have yourself a merry little weekend!
Thursday, January 3, 2008
"You are touched by a darkness, Ambassador. I see it as a blemish that will grow over time. I could warn you of course but you would not listen. I could kill you but someone would take your place. So I do the only thing I can; I go." A techno-mage, as played by Michael Ansara. Who as history and fate would have it, played Kang on Star Trek and was once married to Barbara Eden. I mean, how lucky can a man get - to be married to Barbara Eden.
Anyway, I liked this quote, and not to get on a soap box, but it just reminds me of politics and corrupt government today. I mean, I think every single one of the presidential choices are just choosing between bad choices. I think there may be one, possibly two at the stretch, who truly believe they could "do good" for the country. But I don't think they're even going to be good at doing good. While the rest just really want the brass ring for the sake of the hoopla and the power, even the one (possibly two) that may actually want to do good in the country. . . won't.
And how the 'ell do you come into a situation like they will - stuck in a damned war and no good way out or to win.
So anyway, for some reason, that quote, said to Londo, who is already touched by Morden and the shadows, struck me as similar to the political situation. They're all just touched by darkness and even if they went away, someone would take their place.