Thursday, December 28, 2006

Thursday Afternoon

Gosh, it's been a busy day. My new (replacement) cell phone arrived and I had to activate it and load some phone numbers in it. Then there was more packing. And a sermon. And Ben will be here tonight. And I had some repairs to do in the building. And I cleaned off two older computers so that I don't have to move them. In the process of doing that I lost a bunch of pictures from one machine and my cell phone address book from the other. Well, I guess that life goes on and in time I can rebuild the phone book. A word of advice to all cell phone users -- DO NOT LOSE YOUR PHONE. It's a pain in the ass to get it replaced and to have to rebuild valuable information. So now I have to make a quick trip to the store, come back and shower and get beautiful (as much as is possible), and try to get some semblance of order to the apartment. Then I think it will be kick back and relax for the evening. Tomorrow the first load will go from here to Ben's. I hope to have most of the work done by the weekend. Only time will tell -- pray for good weather. And pray for a smooth move. EEEKKKK. And pray for my sanity in all this.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Chaos Continues

Today was such fun -- I began cleaning, sorting, and packing in preparation for the big move. I am pooped and the house looks like a huge disaster area. I've made a couple of trash runs already and accumulated a huge load for Goodwill--all the "too small clothes." Ben will be here tomorrow night and we will take the first load to the house which will lighten the mess and make room for me to make a new mess. Pray for us as we muddle through. EEEKKK

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Boxing Day

It's actually December 26 and the big Christmas rush is over. You can read Ben's account on his blog. For me it was a great and fun time, exhausting and blessed as well. Everyone got along, I got to see lots of family and share my sweetheart with them all and they were all great. Gifts and food were in abundance as well. I was so thrilled to get my stained glass Santa from Ben. I left it there so I wouldn't have to move it and move it and move it. Tomorrow starts the moving process in earnest as I aim for a final move date of January 3 (more or less). It is a daunting task that I was dreading up til now. I came home tonight and as I did, I thought, "I won't have to do this commute much more and soon Ben and I will be together every night." I got a little excited (Yes, about the last comment, but over the whole thing of moving). I don't look forward to all the little details (phone, computer service, address changes, and the myriad of tasks -- not to mention the packing, sorting, unpacking and the moving of furniture. Thankfully, it's not THAT much stuff to move, just more than I moved in with two years ago. It will go well, and Ben is as excited about me being there as I am about being there. Back to the Christmas recap. As you know my Mother had surgery on Thursday and got home on Saturday. She was there and ready for Christmas, but somehow she seemed so much older than before. I believe it's primarily the effects of the surgery and the fairly heavy meds, but it brought parental mortality (and my own) into real plain focus. We spent the night there last night, and about 6 this morning, I heard bagning and pounding. I dashed up the stairs from the basement and found Mom sitting on the bathroom floor where she landed when getting tangled up in her robe (scared the stuff out of me). I went and got Ben up and together we helped her up. Then it took a good while for her to regain some composure. I am hoping and praying that as the new year looms, she will start to feel better and get a little of her old ZIP back.

Her mind was pretty "zippy" this morning as I came out from getting cleaned up, just in time to hear Mom and Ben in conversation. She was saying something like, "I didn't pick Nick's lifestyle, but no one picked mine either." I kept right on moving in order to let them chat about the gay thing and anything else. Actually, I am told it went quite well, and all is well. Mom is a really great lady -- no, she's not wild about me being gay, but she has accepted and welcomed Ben, and I rejoice in that. Our next hurdle will be adjusting to co-habitating full time. The only other biggy to deal with then will be me meeting his family. THAT could be fun, but that will be next year and the likely subject of a bunch of blog posts. I trust that all of you who celebrate Christmas had a wonderful day. Keep the spirit that is Christmas in your hearts and lives every day. Be good to yourselves and take a day to regroup. You might notice that I've reset the Christmas countdown clock for 2007. Ready or not, it's ticking. God bless .....

Weekly Poll

Well -- here's the results of last week's Christmas tree poll: 5 folks had artificial trees, 2 had real ones (Good for you!!), no one reported NO tree, and one soul answered, "What's a Christmas tree?" Thanks for your input. You will notice that there is a new poll for this week concerning Christmas spending -- come on, take a minute and answer and be honest. These are for fun, not for great research! Thanks for answering....

Sunday, December 24, 2006

December 24 Counting Down

Happy day before Christmas (Christmas Eve, I'm told, begins at dusk tonight -- geez, technicalities). Well, it's been a busy weekend. Friday after finishing some stuff at home and calling my boss to give notice (a nice Christmas gift, don't you think?), I headed to Ben's. On Saturday, after doing some running around and busy work, we went to a Christmas gathering with a family from his former congregation. It was wondeful -- they even had gifts for us -- and even ME. We got our first real "US" gift -- a salsa bowl, complete with salsa and chips. Along the way, between home, the party, and Meijer, I lost my cell phone. So, today I called the phone insurance people and filed a claim and will have a new phone by about Thursday -- 50 bucks later. In the meantime, I am relatively incommunicado. This morning was church, this evening is church again, and then on to Ben's for opening gifts. Dinner and gifts at Mother's tomorrow -- can you believe even after major surgery, she still wants a houseful of us? What a trooper. In the midst of all this holiday frivolity I need to start planning my upcoming move. It's frightening, but we will get it done.

Let me take this moment to thank each of you for your support and care over this year and to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza, or whatever winter holiday you care to celebrate. For those in the Christian tradition, may all the blessings and joy and discovery of this holy time be yours now and in the year to come. Each of you is special and loved. God bless.

Friday, December 22, 2006

And So It Continues

Well, it's official -- I am relocating. I called my boss today to give notice. He was not amused -- I figured it would make his Christmas. I had informed SOME of my residents -- the ones who will be sorry to see me go. I figure I don't want to give the rest of them any satisfaction for the holidays -- let them figure it out as the truck is being loaded or when they hear it through the grapevine. So opens a new chapter in my life -- life with Ben fulltime. Poor guy will have some adjusting to do. He's lived alone for so long this will be a new experience for him. Hee Hee. It should be good for several blog posts from each of us over the next few weeks. Now I'm figuring out what to do with extraneous "stuff". It amazes me how "stuff" multiplies to fill the available space. For instance, I have two TVs, three computer printers, assorted furniture (some of which is going to other people), two coffee makers and a microwave (and Ben has a fully furnished home with all those kinds of things -- YIKES. This would be a crappy season for a yard sale! LOL. Beyond that, it's the usual crap that goes with a person's life -- ah, the joy of blending two lives and households. EEEKKK. Anyway, that's the way I see it at the moment. Hoping you all have a wonderful Christmas (or Hanukkah, or Kwanza, or winter solstice holiday). Take care and love yourself today

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Thursday Night

Well, I am back from Detroit and Mom's surgery is behind her. It appears to have been a success and some blood circulation was restored to her left leg -- sure beating the alternative if this procedure had failed. I stopped off and submitted my hair sample for drug testing for the new job and had dinner with Ben before heading home. Tomorrow I need to call my boss and update him on what's happening. Ironically, he stopped by today while I was away -- dropping off a ham for Christmas -- now what am I going to do with that? Tomorrow is my usual Friday morning drive to the clinic and breakfast, then some laundry, paperwork, packing, and back to Ben's for the start of the weekend. So, having shared all that and taking a moment to thank you all for your thoughts and prayers, I will sign off, and go read what you all had to say today. Good night and God bless.

Thursday Morning

Well, the merry go round of life continues, but things are looking up. Ben is now Father Ben. He will, I'm sure, be blogging you all to let you know and to share in the celebration. I am scheduled to start my new temp job on Jan. 4, which means getting moved and settled. It also means I will soon be out of the apartment job that has helped keep body and soul together for the past two years. That's the same job that drove me crazy both from tenant issues and questionable supervision. It also was too unpredictable in the paycheck department. The new job will bring home a good bit more in one week than the old job did in a month! And the topper of the whole thing is that the commute for Ben and me to be together will cease. HOORAY. Today I am sitting in Mother's living room posting on dial up before I head to the hospital to sit with my siblings while Mom is in surgery. Once she is out of surgery (hoping all goes smoothly and successfully) I will head to Ben's and on home either tonight or in the AM. Then tomorrow evening will be back at Ben's for a dinner party on Saturday, then off to the west again for church on Sunday, back to my place Sunday afternoon, church Sunday night, back to Ben's for the night, and then to Mom's (or my sister's house nearby) for Christmas day, back to Ben's on Tuesday, and home to pack for moving. I am beginning to feel like the ball in the pinball game. BOING BOING BOING. I am praying that my 13 year old car continues to get me all the places I need to be. It is not in BAD shape, but it does have its age related issues. I am going to claim the surrounding and protection of the travel angels as I zoom to and fro. I will post an update either tonight or tomorrow. Until then, dear friends, hang in there, enjoy the season, and hug someone special.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Life at a Higher Altitude


That title means that things today are really up in the air. Ben has his appointment with the ECUSA bishop this afternoon, I had a call about a possible temp job starting after the first of the year (I won't know much more until either next week or Jan.2), and I got a call last night that Mom is facing surgery -- probably tomorrow. The temp job will allow me to move to Ben's and help keep the wolves from his door and is expected to last until at least the end of March. Hopefully by that time, Ben will have secured a position in ministry somewhere and life will take another turn. Mother's surgery is not life threatening (unless of course something goes wrong -- the medical loophole they always give). She is in her 80's, has had multiple bypasses, and is allergic to skads of stuff. SO--I will find out later today what the scoop is and if I make the trip across the state to be there. I am sitting on pins and needles for that call and for Ben's call about his meeting with the Bishop. All this and Christmas looms large on the horizon -- oh joy. I remember several months ago posting a "Merry Go Round" post about life and how it seemed to be spinning out of control then. Here we go again -- I wish this plane would come in for a landing somewhere. Anyhow, those three things -- Ben, job, and Mom -- are my primary focus today. Send prayers and warm thoughts for all of them PLEASE. Thanks all for letting me share. God bless.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A Milestone

I see by my counter that I have surpassed the 2,000 mark of readership on this blog since resetting the counter several months ago. Thanks to all who keep me posting. Your comments and such are appreciated. Keep reading for more of my journey. God bless and thanks again.

The First Christmas

Can you believe that I was ever this cute? I was four months old when this picture was taken for my first Christmas. I can't say that I remember the event, but as cute as I was, it must have been a wonderful time. I am thinking that I may post a series of pictures of me as I grew up -- but once I got beyond the "baby cute" phase, they all look pretty much like me -- and who needs to take up blog space with THAT? HA HA. Anyway, enjoy.

Tuesday Morning Musing

If you are opposed to preaching or Christianity, or if you are offended or embarrassed by the content of this post, feel free to skip it and move on.

Well, here I am again and I am working on a sermon for the fourth Sunday of Advent, the Gospel reading for which includes the Magnificat (Mary's Song) in response to being chosen to be the mother of Jesus. There are many schools of thought as to the authenticity of the virgin birth and I am not going to debate those here, because in my book the exact circumstances surrounding the birth are far secondary to the reasons for Christ's birth, life, death, and resurrection. For those who choose to believe and those who choose to disbelieve the virginity of Mary, you are welcome to your own opinions -- and please remember that, without absolute proof -- they are that -- opinions.

But I digress. Whatever the terms of the call of God on Mary for that first Christmas, I wonder how you or I would respond to God's call for us. Let's look at Mary's situation for a moment. First, she was unmarried and pregnant -- not a good place for a girl in that time. Her very life was in peril, not to mention all the plans that she and Joseph had made. Surely he wouldn't want "damaged goods." She faced humiliation, rejection, ridicule, and more. Her dreams or hopes for her future went out the window. Yet, did she protest and complain? Not according to Luke's account of things. Not only did she acede to the will of God, but she praised God for being chosen. Her call and its affect on her life make our calls often seem insignicant, yet we gripe, complain, protest, refuse, question, doubt, and do most anything we can to get out of doing what we are called to. Hmmmm. We are too busy; we aren't good enough; it doesn't fit our plans; we don't want to be placed in danger; we aren't willing to risk; and the list of refusals goes on and on. What if we not only willingly answered God's call, but did so with praise and rejoicing. What if we realized that it is not we who accomplish these things, but that it is God working in and through us that accomplishes them. It is God working through willing vessels (us/Mary) that changes the world. We are in fact called to birth Christ in our world. Are we up to the task? How will we respond on this last Sunday (and indeed the last day) of Advent? Are we ready? Ready or not, God's gift is about to be unveiled on the world! Does your soul magnify the Lord? Is your spirit rejoicing in God?

Well, I didn't mean to preach here -- I was simply floating some ideas for your input. But -- hey -- God has called me to preach, so maybe that is why this messsage is here. All I need to do for Sunday is copy and paste this post, do a little editing and expanding, and I think it will preach. Thanks for putting up with a pondering preacher.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Monday

Well, the weekend is behind us and Christmas is looming on the horizon. It was a very busy weekend as previous posts will attest. The best part of the whole thing was being with Ben. I told you about our Saturday, so Sunday was church in the morning, two Christmas gatherings at my complex, and back to Ben's for the night. In the midst of the day, I got a phone call from my sister to tell me that Mom is in the hospital. This is yet another chapter in an ongoing situation -- not yet life threatening, but serious and painful. So I called Mom at the hospital, and she seems to be doing well except for the age old fact that NOTHING seems to happen in hospitals on the weekend. She went in Thursday night and other than better pain meds, nothing of note has happened. She was hoping for some test results and news today. We shall see. On Friday, Ben got a letter from Episcopal Bishop informing him that they have an appointment later this week. Read Ben's blog for updates on this exciting turn of events. We took some time to look at Christmas decorations -- hence the various posts and the birth of the word "dayflation". As we zoomed back and forth across the state, we were also on kitty watch as one of Ben's cats is prone to rectal impactions (Isn't THAT a wonderful blog subject?) Poor Madeline gets plugged up and a trip to the vet is in order -- along with a wonderful vet bill which no one needs right now. So far, it appears that Madeline MAY not be plugged up and Ben has been applying laxative stuff to her paws and massaging her butt (lucky cat) HA HA. Tonight I am off to a meeting at church and then Wednesday is our midweek activity. Then, before anyone is ready, it will be the Christmas weekend and on into the holiday hub bub. Take time in this furious downhill time slope toward 2007 to rest, to enjoy, to prepare for next year, and for you in the US to make those year end charitable donations -- you will be thankful come April 15. Well, I guess I've rambled on enough for one day. Be good to yourself and to each other -- and VOTE in my weekly poll. Peace!

Another Decorating Disaster

Here's another "dayflated" decoration picture. This one looks "Santa's morning after Christmas Eve" shot. He's so wiped out that he simply collapses on the ground as the reindeer stand quietly waiting for him to recover from the night. I really think that if you want those inflatable decorations that is great, but if you have them, keep them pumped up or plugged in. They look STOOPID when they are laying dayflated on the ground! But of course that is just my not so humble opinion!

New Weekly Poll

Hey everyone -- it's Monday morning and that means a new poll (located lower left on this page). I urge you to take a minute and vote -- it's painless fun. Last week's poll netted 10 responses (9 respondents were spending Christmas with family/partner and 1 answered "other"). This week I want to find out how many real trees there are out there. So take a minute and humor me, okay? Thanks.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Decorating Tip

When placing outdoor decorations, you need to be careful in the overall appearance. At first glance this particular yard decor looked to be a sick S&M scene being played out between Frosty and Mr. C. They really needed to anchor Santa better or separate these two decorations. Placement and presentation are everything!

Sunday Morning

Hey all! First of all, today is the last day to post your vote on my Weekly Poll found lower on the left side of this page. A new poll will go up sometime tomorrow -- watch for it.

This morning will be church -- as always. Then Ben and I will be back at my place and will share in the complex Christmas party with the old folks -- Ben will be in for a real treat LOL. This evening, one of the local churches is coming by to share the holiday spirit, so we will be at it again -- then it's back to Ben's for Sunday night. It's been a busy weekend so far. I headed to Ben's on Friday. Yesterday, we headed for the local coffee house where Ben and some of his music pals were singing. From there we headed out and went to Bronners (the HUGE Christmas store). Now that is a logical thing to do one week before Christmas -- it must be the thing to do since half the world was there. Then it was back to Ben's to pick up the dog and then on to my house and BED TIME!

I know it will be a busy week for everyone, but take time to enjoy the anticipation of the coming of Christmas. Don't let the world creep in and steal your joy. That's all for this morning!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Christmas Traditions


Well, by now you are probably sick of my ramblings about Christmas, but I've written about childhood remembrances and the like. How about an adult Christmas tradition? For several years I have been involved in Christmas Eve worship services -- until recently the 11PM to midnight kind. The tradition that kind of evolved for me was to go hit a few stores just before closing on Christmas Eve (looking for bargains and looking far more than buying), head to dinner, then to church. After church, I'd get home about 1AM, pour a glass of wine, put on some Christmas tunes, and dig into the packages. By the time that was over, it was usually about 3AM and it was off to bed. On Christmas morning I would sleep in a bit, get up and do coffee, and spend the better part of the day being lazy, wearing "jammies" and watching Christmas movies. If I was invited to dinner, great. If not, I kept it simple and quiet. The whole Advent season in church life can be exhausting, so that day of rest was so welcome. That tradition has kind of gotten skewed because my current church does Christmas Eve service at 8PM -- how absolutely odd to my experience. So for the past couple of years I have been kind of adrift as to this tradition. I am hoping that this year with Ben, I can begin developing OUR Christmas traditions -- perhaps bringing a bit of the old from each of us and birthing something that is special and ours.

A Pet Peeve

Are there terms, words, and sentence structures that just drive you nuts? One of my pet peeves of late is hearing people refer to the year as "Two thousand AND six". Isn't it strange that a few years ago no one said, "Nineteen AND 99. Is the current year "two thousand six" (without the AND) or is it "twenty oh six". Does it matter? Numbers, properly stated, do not contain conjunctions. The number 125 is correctly stated as "One hundred twenty five" (notice no AND). With regard to the year, one might expect or at least excuse the "AND" in common usage, but when one hears it from professional speakers such as newscasters and political speakers or preachers, it pushes my every button of intolerance. Ban the "AND".

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A Newer Tradition

Here is a picture of my Boyds Bears Nativity Scene. My best friend and his partner began this collection for me about 10 years ago and between them and me, the limited edition set is complete. Considering my love of nativity scenes (at one time I had somewhere around 50 but have downsized) and my affection for bears, this set is perfect and an important part of my Christmas. Right now I am down to this set, my Mexican nativity featured in an earlier post, and one cut into a piece of glass. I am working on rebuilding my collection, and I am somewhat saddened at having parted with so many sets -- especially the one that was handmade for me. At least I know that that set is bringing joy to the friend to whom I gave it. Thanks to all for putting up with my Christmas addiction.

Another Christmas Memory

Here's another hanging Christmas Card that I received as a kid -- this one was the early to mid-1950's. It's newer than the previous post, but every bit as much a part of my Christmas tradition. I hope that you enjoy these Christmas memories. Sharing with you is part of my Christmas experience this year.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Christmas Memories

One of my Christmas memories/traditions is this antique card which I received as a very young child back in 1949. The actual card is the cutout of Santa and every year this card and a few others hang on my Christmas tree. The past couple of years I haven't had a tree that would take something that size hanging and I've had it sitting out or hanging somewhere visible. Just having this card out reminds me of the many Christmases I've spent -- as a child, as a parent, as a single, with a partner, and so on. It draws the past into the present and sets the stage for the future. I guess that is rather Dickens-esque -- there's the Ghost of Christmas Past, there's Christmas present, and it sets the stage for Christmas future. Someday this card will pass on my child and grandchild who, I hope, will continue the tradition recalling that Christmas when I was just one year old. I just decided that I wanted to share this piece of MY Christmas with each of you. What memories and traditions do you have?

Update on Wedding Wars

Yesterday I posted information of A&E's new movie, Wedding Wars. I actually got to see it last night and I recommend it to anyone the least bit interested in either side of the gay marriage debate. Parts of it were corny and/or contrived, but overall it seemed to raise and address issues in a meaningful way. Of course for me the greatest "fariy tale" part of the movie was the solidarity of GLBT folks across the country. Perhaps we should all take a lesson from the movie and support one another. It is true that the proponents of gay marriage have suffered many defeats at the hands of the "traditional one man-one woman marriage" set, but worldwide we have scroed some major victories. We cannot and should not all move to Canada or even to Massachusetts. Instead we should hang together, strategize, speak out and generally become a royal butt pain to our opponents. We need to address their concerns rationally, calmly, and from a perspective of knowledge. I think that the movie addressed another perspective as well. There are gay people who have never taken the time to think about getting married. Up until recently there was no such thing as same gender marriage. For some GLBT folks, the subject is just as disturbing as it is to the Moms and Pops across America. The fact remains however, what business of anyone else's is my relationship? If I want to marry a man, how does that threaten you, your marriage, or society as a whole? Come on, America, stop being so tightassed and purtianical; open up and let people be people. One cannot legislate love or morality, so let's spend our time and resources debating important issues like how to reduce divorce or how to feed, clothe, and maintain the underpriveleged. Let's find a way to bring our troops home instead of taking sordid peeks into the bedrooms of America. Anyway, didn't mean to turn this into a tirade. Take time to try to see Wedding Wars on A&E. I am about to email A&E and thank them for their bold move in releasing the film and asking if it is expected to be released on DVD. Will let you know if it is. Enjoy!

A Timely Cartoon

I thought, in light of some recent posts about office Christmas Parties (It's my blog, I can say Christmas rather than "holiday"), this cartoon was especially appropriate. For those of us in jobs that are not fulfilling, it is also appropriate. Enjoy!

What a Fright

In hunting for a Christmas greeting picture the other day I came across THIS horror! It was so bizzare that I just had to share it with all of you. I have no idea if it is copyrighted (If so I apologize for borrowing it). I thought the caption was so appropriate. Of course, if I were the model whose body was used (Yeah, don't I wish?) I would sue someone - imagine imposing GW's head (empty as it is) on someone else's body. It's bad enough he's been imposed on the American people these past years. Anyway, relax -- I will NOT be putting this photo on my Christmas cards. Christmas is a season of JOY and there's no JOY in GW (except that on January 21, 2009 we can all cheer!! Thank God for term limits!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Wedding Wars

No, this is not Ben and I battling over who's the bride and who's the groom. Instead, it's the title of a new movie premiering on A&E tonight at 9PM. Go to Wedding Wars and check it out. I think once you read a bit about it, you will be tuning in. I will. Imagine if all the GLBT people in the US went on strike on one day -- the church's would have very little music, less preaching, there'd be a lot of empty teacher's desks, God knows there would be very few new hair-do's that day. Restaurants would grind to a halt, the movie studios would probably be dark, and I wonder how many seats in Congress would be empty. Anyway, I'm gonna tune in to see what it's all about. And, besides, even if the movie is crummy, it won't hurt to watch John Stamos for a couple hours. Happy viewing.

Monday Morning

Well, everyone, another weekend is behind us and it was a glorious time spent with Ben. He arrived Friday evening (poor baby, had to work all day and then drive 100 miles just to see me). Actually, he claimed he was coming to see the dog. The funny part is that she gets so excited when he arrives -- more so than with most folks. Of course, I guess I do too. On Saturday we went out for breakfast and got the car serviced -- how romantic. Then it was home to just hang out, watch TV, and just be together. Sunday, of course, was church in the AM. In the late afternoon we attended an open house that Ben got invited to some 75 miles from my house and 25-30 from his. It was really neat -- beautiful home, antiques, Christmas everywhere, good hors d'ouerves, excellent wine, a few "family" members, and a worthy cause. The host makes a dontation to the local Hospice for each person who attends -- and there were a lot of people through that house yesterday. Hospice benefits, everyone has a good time. Sounds perfect to me. It was interesting to watch Ben as we ended up in a seating area with three "family" members. As usual, he was charming, but he was a little uncomfortable as they were talking about church, and he really didn't want to tell the whole story. Try as we might to move the conversation, it came back to that. Finally, we excused ourselves and headed out. We wandered through WalMart (yes, I got him into the evil empire -- not once, but twice yesterday) and then he went east and I went northwest and now it's back to the boring world of Monday through Friday. The job searches continue and Christmas looms. Take a moment and hug someone today. Love to all.

New Items on Page

Hey all; I got ambitious this morning and added a Weekly Poll and a Today in History to the sidebar. Please vote in the poll and check to see what happened today. I will try to change the poll each week, so if there's any burning questions you think should be included, drop me a comment and I will file them for upcoming weeks.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Six Weird Things About Me

Lemuel at Greedy Maelstrom tagged me for Six Weird Things. My problem is that I don't think there's much weird about me -- but for the sake of good blogger-ship I will attempt to find some stuff.

1. I like to watch odd TV like Lifetime Made for TV Movies, old sitcom reruns and the like.

2.I dislike MOST green vegetables.

3. I love to walk down the halls of my building humming or whistling praise music. The seniors either love it or think I'm crazy.

4. Some of you won't find this weird, but lots in the GLBT community and lots in the mainstream Christian community will. I am both happily gay and happily Christian.

5. I love to be naked at home -- not in public (I'd hate to make anyone sick).

6. I love stuffed bears, and have a Boyd's Bears Nativity. A real bear now and then is always fun too.


I'm not gonna tag anyone specifically, but when YOU read this, consider yourself tagged and pass it on.

Friday, December 08, 2006

It's Not All About Me

I have discovered through blogging a whole world full of interesting people with thoughts, ideas, problems, fears, hopes, and dreams. As I read Yarraville Paul's post about the bushfires in Australia I was reminded that there is more to the world than the good old USA, more than my job search and financial problems, and so on. As I read Ur-Spo'spost about attending his aunt's funeral, I was once again reminded that others suffer losses and that others have memories to share. I am once again amazed at the internet is making the world smaller in that we can know instantly what's going on anywhere in the world, and also making it larger by making us all a vital and regular part of each others lives. Just as Ben marveled at the functioning of the human body, I marvel at the functioning of the world and the "internet" society. I sometimes chastize myself for spending so much time on the net -- Lord knows the time I spend reading all the interesting blogs and news stories and such could be used for other things -- but then I realize that I am building relationships with people all over the world. And in my book, our journey is all about relationship. Anyone we interact with is someone with whom we have begun a relationship -- what we choose to do with that relationship is up to us. Do we simply say, "That's nice, have a great day" or do we continue to develop a friendship or at least a casual acqauintance? To all of you out there in blogger land, thank you for being bold enough to share yourself. My life is richer for your presence in it. I don't read every blog out there -- who could? -- but I find those that speak to me and that help me to put my life and issues into a grater context.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Pretty Well Travelled

Thanks, guys, for posting your maps. Here's mine. I feel a trip to the northwest or the northeast coming on. I rather suspect, since Ben is from Iowa, that I will get there one of these days soon.

create your own visited states map
or check out these Google Hacks.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Tuesday Afternoon

I talked to Ben last night and the concert was a great success. Missing it was a huge disappointment for me, but that's the way the snow falls. Ben had the opportunity to fellowship with some folks from his previous congregation, and that was a good thing that might not have happened had I been there. Who knows? Today I shoveled snow (again) and began painting a vacant apartment. One thing I am learning is that I am not 18 or even 25 or 35 anymore, and things take longer and take their toll physically. I decided rather than killing myself any further, I would stop, clean up the mess, and start again tomorrow in another room. I am beginning to wonder if I am physically up to the demands of this job. Most of the time it's no big deal, but when it comes to shoveling snow or rehab-ing an apartment, then that is another story. I think I 'd like to be around for a long time to enjoy life. I sure hope that one of the myriad of job applications pays off soon. Tonight, it's off to church for a Board meeting -- oh joy of joys. If you've ever been part of a board of a church you know how much fun those things can be. Then it's home to bed so that I can start painting again. BLECH! Ah well, at least it racks up the hours and boosts the paycheck!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Wouldn't You Know It?

Well, I'll be. Just a little bit past the time I had to make the decision whether or not to go to the concert tonight, the weather miraculously began to clear. I suspect that we haven't seen the last of the snow, but it has stopped for now and I would have ventured out. Problem is that now it's too late to go. SO -- Ben and I are both disappointed that I can't go, but we will live. Theyare recording the concert and I think someone will take his picture in the tux (If not, he will have to put it on and model it for me.). There's just something really HOT about a good looking man in formal attire-WOOF. It's just ironic that the weather decides to clear right after the time window closes. Ah well, life is full of little disappointments.

Weather -- PHFFFT

Well, it is Monday afternoon and the weather in west Michigan is crappy. It's been snowing all day and I have shoveled the sidewalks twice so far and will need to do so again this evening. I am told that the roads are lousy and there are patches of whiteout -- for those who don't know, that means you can't see crap! That all means that I am not going to be able to go to Ben's or to the concert in which he is singing tonight. I was hoping to see him in his tux and hear the results of the weeks and weeks of rehearsal. I am so disappointed -- but it would be foolhardy to attempt the 100 mile drive today. So, once again, the cloud of disappointment and frustration settles over my living room. I will sit home, watch TV, play on the computer, shovel snow, and hope that the weather improves soon. I hope that they record the concert tonight -- would love to hear it even if it's second hand. Winter came suddenly and with a vengeance. Well, we shall persevere and Spring will come sometime!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Sunday Night

Well, life is interesting. My blues period of this afternoon evolved into a little Christmas decorating and an hour's nap. Now it's late evening, it's snowing like someone busted a sack of flour in a wind tunnel, and I've just kind of mellowed out. I got ot the Nativity sets, the cermic tree and some nic nacs. Tomorrow will be a WalMart run for some odds and ends to assemble a small tree, a few lights in the window and -- voila - ready for Christmas. Of course the lovely nap made me awake again and now it's bedtime - -wonder if I will sleep. I had better since I will no doubt have to be up early to shovel this lovely white stuff. Boy, when winter decided to arrive, it hit fast and hard. Hope you all have a great week. Take time to hug someone.

Sunday Afternoon Blues

Well, I'm back again. This time it's just a little time to whine about stuff. I decided to break down and decorate the old homestead for the holiday since it looks as though there will be no moving before year's end (That sucks). I dug through the closet only to discover that the Christmas tree I thought I had was in my mind -- that along with the Christmas tablecloth. So I jumped in the car and headed to the local store -- Dollar General -- in hopes that they might be able to help reslove my problems. Their merchandise was not up to the standards of this member of royalty, so I came home defeated. I may venture to the Evil Empire tomorrow to check out their stuff, but the mood for decorating the apartment has kind of passed. I think it is a good thing that 2006 will be history in four short weeks -- with the exception of developing a wonderful relationship with Ben, the year has been a bust. The job market has been closed, the finances have gone down the dumper, and I am no better off than I was at this time last year. Lord, I hope that the big miracle comes my way in the new year. Between Ben and I, we are giving God all kinds of opportunity to show a miracle. Well, I guess that's enough bellyaching for now. I think I will go watch the Telly! Harry Potter is on . Later all

Sunday Afternoon

Well, here it is Sunday afternoon and I am home alone. Ben and I spent a great weekend together. Saturday we went to breakfast, hit some craft bazaars (whoopy -- they need some gay guy help) and went to see Santa Clause 3. It was cute and fun and not too bad, but it is third in the series and the cuteness and cleverness of the first movie is starting to wear off. Martin Short did well as Jack Frost, Ann Margaret and Alan Arkin played Santa's in-laws. It was worth seeing, but I hope they don't try to make a fourth movie. There's not too many more plots. This one was "Santa Clause" meets "It's a Wonderful Life" meets "Back to the Future." From that description, you can tell that they are trying too hard.

We went to church this morning -- separately, which was really weird. For some time now we have done it together, but Ben had to head home after church so we drove separately. Now I am sitting here updating the blog and watching Harry Potter. I am watching it snow and wondering if I will have to shovel this evening. I hope not.

I will see Ben tomorrow night when I go to his area for a concert in which he is participating. Then, weather cooperating and all, I will spend the night and come home on Tuesday morning. Let's hope.

Friday, December 01, 2006

One More Quiz

This one is a grammar quiz. I can't believe that anyone who has English as their primary language could mess this one up..

Your Language Arts Grade: 100%

Way to go! You know not to trust the MS Grammar Check and you know "no" from "know." Now, go forth and spread the good word (or at least, the proper use of apostrophes).

Are You Gooder at Grammar?
Make a Quiz

Just 14+ More Years

According to my "death clock" I am destined to depart on May 13, 2021. THat would make me age 72. Hmm, better start taking better care of myself I guess. But anyway, it's nice to "know" that I will make it though Christmas LOL. Who dreams these things up anyway? I will die when it's time and I don't really think it is predictable. Ah well, anything to keep busy while the laundry is drying. Ah, just did another death clock quiz and will live for nine years extra -- April of 2030. I think I like that better.

A Christmas Quiz

You are 95% knowledgeable regarding Christmas culture.

CONGRATULATIONS!!! YOU DID IT! YOU PASSED! Now you're ready to go on to gotoquiz.com/how_christmas_are_you Have a blessed Christmas!

THE CHRISTMAS QUIZ
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

World AIDS Day

Today is World AIDS Day around the world. It was established several years ago by the World Health Organization, and gives an opportunity for communities everywhere to remember those who have been lost to HIV, those infected and affected, and to look toward and work for a brighter future relative to this disease. I don't think that there is much new that can be written; there are facts and there are fallacies; it's not a "gay" disease or God's judgement; it is simply a blood borne disease that is acquired. There are risk groups but the reality is that no one is immune. People have been infected through sex, through infected needles, through blood transfusions of infected blood, and so on. Over the years I have lost many a friend to this illness, and my very best friend is a 20+ year HIV survivor. Take time today to remember all those we've lost and all those who lost spouses, children, parent, or siblings. Remember all those who are currently and literally fighting for their lives. Take time today to think about contacting your government officials to discuss funding for care and research and to talk about the horribly unfair US immigration policy. Above all, if you are a praying person, remember the whole HIV issue in your prayers today. One day a year for all of this is not enough, but it's a start. If there are activities planned in your community, take part it them. If there are no activities, contact your local health department and see why not. Perhaps you, your church or school, or some other group can band together and plan something for World AIDS Day 2007.

Today I remember friends varying in age from the eighteen year old who had sex once in his life and one of his parting questions was, "What is safe sex?'" to senior citizens who were infected late in life. I especially today ask you to keep Tim in your prayers -- he is the long term survivor I mentioned earlier. Over the years, he has had various HIV related illnesses, and he currently is in some degree of pain. Yet he keeps on going -- he is my Energizer Bunny -- he keeps on going and going and going. He lives in a small town in the midwest where there is no real support or good care, he doesn't have much family support, and often he feels very isolated and alone even though he has a partner. I am calling today, TIM DAY, and offering a specail prayer as well as giving him a call just to say hi and to tell him that I love him.

HIV isn't front page news much these days nor is it a top priority for a government so focused on terrorism, war, bad economy and so on. However, it is still very real and even though there are many new treatments and even though people are living much longer and with fewer outbreaks of "the illnesses", people are still dying and people are still beocming infected at alarming rates. Do your part today to bring HIV into your community's range of vision today - let us always remember and never forget!

And Tim, if you read this, know that you are special and that I love you and respect you. You are one of my real heroes -- you have been a front line soldier in the battle for health and for life for longer than most career military folks. And yet you are always there for me! Today is about you and I believe that in many ways you embody World AIDS Day -- you are dealing with the same cumulative grief, the same frustration with a government and a society who seem to not care much, and at the same time, you suffer the real presence of HIV in your life, your body, and your home. You, however, refuse to let it control you. God bless you and the millions of others like you in the world.

The good news is this: God is greater than AIDS! This post isn't really well focused and structured and that is because the subject is so huge and because while it affects individual lives, it's effect on society and whole communities is staggering. Today is a day in which YOU and I can make a difference!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Christmas Meme

I got this from Steve at Steve's Whirlyworld. Sure makes you think. Enjoy

Christmas Meme:

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
If I have to choose one, I will take Hot Chocolate, but really would prefer a good cup of hazelnut coffee..

2. Did you ever do anything for Santa?
Milk and cookies

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
Mixed colors and lots of them.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
Nah! I get kisses without it.

5. When do you put your decorations up?
Normally Thanksgiving weekend, but am hesitating this year since I might be able to move before Christmas. Guess I wll have to live vicariously through others

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?
Honey Baked Ham!

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child:
Going to see Santa at Muirhead’s Dept. Store in Dearborn MI. We got to ride around on a track in a sleigh. The whole family went and Mom still hangs the several years worth of pictures. Great!!

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
What truth? Santa IS! Now I know that there isn’t a fat guy in a red suit coming down my chimney, but Santa is a state of mind, a feeling. I think it parallels the peace on earth good will to all theme. Hmm.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
Usually all of them that I have by then – often after Christmas Eve service with a glass of wine. Then I sleep late on Christmas and spend the day watching the Christmas classics.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?
No particular way. Put it up, put the lights on it, hang the ornaments and it’s done. I am not anal about it..

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it.
Some say you can’t have Christmas without snow, but I lived in Florida for nearly 30 years, so who needs it!.

12. Can you ice skate?
No—some guys have limp wrists; I have limp ankles.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
My Boyds Bears Nativity –it’s awesome.

14. What's the most exciting thing about the holidays for you?
Recalling the birth of Christ – then just the general mood of people—somehow most get more pleasant at the holidays

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
Too many to list -- not fruitcake (BLECH!!)

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
See the question about opening gifts on Christmas Eve.

17. What tops your tree?
Varies from year to year. Wish I could find a star that I liked.

18. Which do you prefer give or receive?
Give

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song?
I love nearly all of them – skip Grandma got run over by a reindeer

20. Candy Canes?
Pretty but YUCK – give me chocolate

Sex Meme

I found this on Larrytronic's blog and decided that I would rise to the challenge and answer the questions. Made me think a bit. Give it a try!

1. Can you count all the sexual partners you've ever had on two hands?
I couldn’t count them all if I took off my shoes and got out the calculator.
2. When did you have your first sexual experience? About 8, a little fooling around; got real about 15 and wild about 18.
3. Do you like boys or girs? Boys. More accurately MEN
4. Have you ever had a threesome? Absolutely. Some good, some not.
5. How old were you when you first touched yourself? I was about 9 or 10 – watched a friend doing it and tried it too.
6. Have you ever dreamed about having sex with a teacher? Absolutely! He was a music professor (private voice lessons no less) in my freshman year. I imagine his wife would not have been amused but he was a hottie.
7. Have you ever dreamed about having sex with an animal? ICK!
8. Do you like toys in bed? Depends on the toy and the playmate
9. Do you like to be spanked? Been there, done that – it’s not all that.
10. Does size matter? Not near as much as what it’s attached to.
11. Who was your first crush? God, how does one define crush? I’ve had the hots for many, but a crush? Probably the teacher in #6
12. Do you enjoy oral sex? Does the Pope say Mass? Love to give it more than receiving
13. Have you ever had anal sex? Definitely
14. Did you enjoy the experience? Usually; depends on the partner and how I’m feeling
15. Do you shave your private area? No! Afraid of razor cuts and re-growth itching. Besides I like hair there
16. Do you have wet dreams often? Nope; had some as a kid, but now rely on the real thing.
17. Have you ever been tied up while having sex? Yes, and it was not enjoyable. The fantasy was far more a turn on than the reality.
18. Have you ever tied someone up while having sex? No.
19. Do you believe bisexuality is real? For some perhaps, not for me
20. If you could sleep with a celebrity legitimately, who would it be? I suppose I could build a whole list, but since I am deliriously in love with Ben right now I think I will pass.

I took the test; how about you?

Monday, November 27, 2006

Christmas

Geez, four weeks from today will see us celebrating Christmas. I'm not ready. Ben and I dug out his tree and stuff. I'm still undecided about my stuff and where I will be by then. There's been no real snow and the weather has been warm. It's kind of weird hearing "Let it Snow", "Dashing through the snow", "In the meadow we can build a snowman" and all the references to winter which actually have nothing at all in common with the first Christmas anyway. I'm gonna try to get a bit more in the mood by watcfhing some of the Christmas movies -- the older ones first -- A Christmas Carol (the 1938 version), Miracle on 24th Street (the original), It's a Wonderful Life (amazing no one has redone that one), and so on. Then I will throw in the much more obscure "Miracle at Morgan's Creek". Yes, it does exist -- starring William Demarest, Betty Hutton, and Eddie Bracken Jr (He was the park owner in Vacation). Then on to the newer stuff -- got to be sure to see Scrooged. And I want to hit the theaters soon for the new ones -- Deck the Halls and the Santa Clause 3. Between that, shopping with Ben, and all the ads, music, and church stuff, Christmas will come and I will be as happy as the next guy. For those who have difficulty with Christmas for whatever reason, just know that you are loved and appreciated. Dont make the mistake of locking yourself away and retreating. Go take a walk or drive through town and look at the lights,,,,,listen to the "up" Chrsitmas music, amke a pact with yourself to find a place to be for the holiday with positive caring people who will help you enjoy the day and the season. Only four more weeks ! EEEEKKKK.. I should get off here and get some of the holiday chores done? Hmm. Hope you are gearing up for a time of joy and celebration, a time of hope and renewal. A time of love and peace. God rest ye merry, gentlemen (and ladies too).

GRRRR!

Blogger is beginning to PISS ME OFF! I try to post comments to several blogs and continue to encounter user UNFRIENDLY steps. I have to sign in more often than not; if I try to sign in bith beta it kicks me out; if I try to use my blogger account, it kicks me to beta sign in and I lose whatever i've typed. I go to my own blog and try to sign in and the dashboard or post screen pops up behind the page and makes it tough to get to. And then there's the pesky little issue of wanting to comment on non-beta blogs only to be told that this cannot be done. Who runs blogger anyway? I think whoever it is is in league with the guy in the red suit -- the one with horns and a pitchfork who lives in a very warm climate. It's a good thing I enjoy blogging or I'd be telling the blogger folks to go blog themselves sideways. OK, I'm done venting.. Thanks for listening.

Monday

Gosh! It seems as though I haven't stopped running since my last post. What a busy weekend. I loved it of course, but the travelling back and forth to Ben's is getting exhausting for both of us. We keep hoping for the day to quickly come when we are living in the same place. We seem to be moving closer to that day. As Ben posted, we had all three animals in the same room and Claudia the standoff-ish cat was enjoying my petting her -- this only a few moments after she saw me, hissed at me and headed for under the bed. Go figure -- cats! On Saturday we decided to head to the Saugatuck/Douglas area to do some shopping. Now if you are from anywhere in the midwest US and know anything about gay culture, you will recognize the name "Saugatuck". It is the gay hot spot in this area. We enjoyed walking the streets and the shops. More than the Christmas stuff and the great art work and the like, we enjoyed the openness of the community. It was great to be in an area where no one gave two guys shopping together a second look (well, there might have been some looks, but if so, it was checking us out and not judging us LOL). There was some nice scenery too and we just had a fun time and even bought a couple of unique Christmas gifts for folks on our lists. Sunday was church day and then back to Ben's for Sunday night. We brought up the Christmas tree and began decorating his house for the big event. That makes me think about my Christmas stuff and wondering whether to dig it our or not. If I get the opportunity to move before the holidays, I will have to tear it all down and repack it. If I don't put it up and don't get the chance to move, I will miss having the stuff out. Maybe I should just throw caution to the wind and chuck the job and move without a safety net. That would be a very irresponsible thing to do. Not only would I be unable to pay my ongoing bills for very long, but doing so would put an undue and unfair burden on Ben. I guess I will do the responsible thing (YUCK)and stay put here waiting - waiting -- waiting. It's kind of like calling someone and being put on perpetual hold. Is anything ever gonna happen? Between us we are spending four to six or more hour every weekend on the road just to be together. Next weekend, for instance, Ben wil likely be here from Friday to Sunday and I will drive there on Monday for the concert he is part of. Then I will zoon back home on Tuesday and it will back to normal chaos until the next weekend. Where's this stuff going to stop? Good grief.

Anyway, sorry about the length of this post, but I just had to vent a bit. Ben is so good about the running back and forth and sacrificing other things just to be together. I wish for each of you your own "Ben" -- loving, considerate, etc. Well, you get the picture. I will post a couple other thoughts later in the day, but for now, stay well and hug the one you love.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The "Meeting" was a Rousing Success

Well, here it is Saturday and we are back at my place after our Thanksgiving trip to visit my family and introduce Ben to the gang. When we arrived, there were probably thirty folks there. My primary introduction was "Everyone,this is Ben; Ben, this is everyone." As I knew would happen, Ben fit right in and was conversant with everyone, from my 9 nine year old niece to my 80+ year old mother. A great time and dinner were enjoyed by all. Mid evening Ben and I made our escape to Mother's house to relax and get a night's sleep. When we got up on Friday, Mom woke up and we chatted a bit, did a few little chores, went to breakfast. Ben and I shopped a bit and went back to pick up the dog at Mom's. It was then that Mom, gracious as always, invited Ben to join the family for Christmas -- I guess the meeting was indeed a success. I told Ben that I have to keep him around now--the family approved. I can't wait for the day when we make the trek to Iowa to meet the rest of the Quest clan. I will say that Ben has started casually dropping my name into his phone conversations with Mama Quest -- wonder what she's thinking -- probably thinking that I am the evil old man who corrupted her perfect little boy. Who knows? It will be an experience -- can't wait. Hope you all had as good a holiday as we did.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Another Anniversary

Today the US pauses (I hope) to remember the 43rd anniversary of the assasination of President John F Kennedy. I realize that this event took place before some of you were born, but still we remember. I recall sitting in 10th grade English class when we were interrupted by the announcement of the shooting and that school would end early (of course it was last period, so we only got out a few minutes early). We were told to go to our lockers in silence, get our things, and go home. What an eerie feeling to see hundreds of high schoolers in the hallways and yet hardly hear a sound. It was as though the whole nation was in slow motion and silence. The film footage is still burned in the memories of many of us -- the Lincoln limo, the pink dress on Mrs. Kennedy, the book depository, Lee Harvey Oswald, Jack Ruby, and more. The days that followed were weird -- the funeral, the years of investigation -- we still can't all agree on who did it or why. Whatever the reason and whoever the perpetrator (a lone killer or a plot), it was a sad day and a great loss to our nation. In those days, it seemed that people were kinder to one another -- we were all impacted by a common bond of tragedy. Just as the folks of today will remember 9/11 and the horrid experiences of that day, so to we of the little bit older generation remember 11/22. I wonder what direction the nation would have taken had Kennedy's presidency not been cruelly cut short. Would things be better? Worse? Tha same? We will never know because someone took matters in his/their own hands and stole from us a precious resource. Today I remember a nation in mourning, the Kennedy family with its many tragedies, and my own personal sense of loss in that day.

Thanksgiving Eve


Here it is -- the day on which all surviving turkeys get nervous. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the US, and since I will be on the road (along with a vast number of Americans), I thought I'd drop a line today. I am thankful for life, for my God, my family, Ben (he's really very near the top of the list), health (not perfect, but could be a lot worse), semi-solvency (finances too, while not great could be worse), my friends, even the challenges that come into life that I write about from time to time -- they make me think, consider, ponder life etc. Think how boring life would be if everything went our way every day. We in the US have much to be thankful for and much to hope for. We have the most creature comforts in the world. We profess to be the land of the free and the home of the brave. Sadly, Frances Scott Key who penned those words might have to reconsider in this opening decade of the 21st century. Ah, there is bravery -- we see it in our troops fighting a horrible war (another whole subject), but in the commander in chief all we see is a bully -- hell, if he were as brave as he professes, he would be there with the troops instead of trying to push around the rest of the world. The rest of the world is tired of King George and his unAmerican antics. Even people at home are tired of it as evidenced by the recent elections (another cause for gratitude). Land of the free? Can you walk down the street holding the hand of the person you love? Can you marry the one whom God placed in your life? Can you make the decisions for the medical care, etc. of the person to whom you are the closest? Can you go to work and talk about your private life? Come on, folks, in the area of freedom for GLBT people, the US is WAY WAY WAY behind. Politicians and preachers (SOME, not all) are using faggots to fuel the fires of fear and hatred that help to keep them in their positions of power. Are women free? Do they earn the same wages as their male counterparts? Do they have decision making authority over their own bodies? (Somewhat, but not total and complete). And our freedoms are being chipped away little by little -- illegal wiretaps, unauthorized searches, walls across our borders -- purportedly to keep Mexicans out -- or maybe to keep us in? Soon we will need passports to travel into Canada -- a move toward isolationism if ever there were one. How many of us are financially free? Too many are bound by the chains of excessive debt, sometimes the result of our "buy it now, pay for it someday" culture -- hell, why not? That's the way the US Government runs. Believe me, I am not sitting here trying to bash America -- for the most part I am proud to be an American. I just ask that as you sit down to a feast of Turkey and the trimmings you take a moment as you offer thanks and just pray for God's guidance, care, and love to be made known in our lives in new ways that can lead to removing some of the things I've mentioned. Much of the problem is born of fear and hatred, and love (real love, not the Valentine Card kind or the kind that is simply lip service) can remove those barriers. That is perhaps what I am most thankful for today -- a God who, in the midst of chaos and crisis, brings peace, order, harmony, and hope.

Enough of the editorializing. I am thankful for you bloggers out there who invite me into your lives and worlds. What a wonderful gift. Take time tomorrow between parades, football games (whatever those are), and gluttony (Come on now, you know you are going to overeat) to pause and give thanks to the God who created and loves you.

Happy Thanksgiving all.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Christmas is Coming

Christmas is FIVE -- count 'em FIVE -- weeks from today. Are you ready? I am looking forward to it, but I am surely not ready. Ready or not, here it comes. Take time to celebrate it and to remember what it's really about.

Happy Monday

Well, it's Monday afternoon and I am home -- at least for now. Ben and I had a busy busy busy weekend that had us at his house, then mine, and then back to his with a lot of church stuff in between. It was all good, just exhausting. Last night as we were driving down back roads (Ben's favorite -- or second favorite pastime) we saw many many deer running too and fro. The great thing is that we saw them. Too many folks around here don't see them until it's too late and then there is an accident. Ben got us safely home (as always), but it was really incredible to see that many deer. How could anyone take a gun and take the lives of these beautiful creatures? Ah, but that sounds like my recurring theme -- quit shooting the deer. I am thinking that perhaps the best part of the entire weekend was Saturday night once we got home from a long afternoon and evening of church related activity. Ben went to the kitchen and whipped up a yummy dessert to take for dinner the next day while I took care of some busy work that needed doing. Once I finished and put on some music, I joined Ben in the kitchen and before I knew it we were dancing -- a first to say the least -- I have danced in many places, but never the kitchen and never yet with Ben. I really need to learn to stop and enjoy "the dance." When we went to bed, Ben was the most attentive, caring, sensual (or is it sensous? I can't seem to get the right word in the right sentence) partner one could ask for. Touching, caressing, holding, etc., not in a normal sexual direction, but just expressing love and care. Ben, I thank you for that gift.

This morning, before I left for home, I applied for yet another job in Ben's city -- one of these days I will be in the right place at the right time and all will be well. This is another case of "Thank you for applying; we will be looking at applications next week and will let you know." GRRR. I am ready to use that line on my creditors -- "Thanks for requesting payment; I will be reviewing things and make a decision next week; I'll let you know if you are getting any money then." Ah, such a temptation.

Today on the way home I stopped at McDonalds (for my occasional "sludge" fix. I had a meal with fries (Don't they all come that way?) and was driving with the fries on the seat between my legs. I got behind the slowest driver in the history of the world -- even the Amish guy with the horse and buggy drives faster -- which was bad enough for my blood pressure. Then he decided to turn into a parking lot (an event that seemed to take an eternity -- he slowed aand slowed and s-l-o-w-e-d down. I matched his slow down, but wasn't ready for his stop before turning right (Why, I will never know). I didn't come close to hitting him (at least not his car LOL), but the quick stop dumped french fries all over the floor between my feet. So, i pulled into the lot behind him, parked, collected my french fries, and went on my way, probably ending up eating God knows how much dirt and yuck that adhered itsef to the grease and salt -- but I predict that I will live. So, I guess, will the old guy who was oblivious to anything around him. He was out for his Monday morning leisurely (that is another way of saying pokey) drive. At least my burger was still unopened in the bag and my drink was safe and secure in the cup holder. I feared that the dog, sitting on the passenger seat, was going to go airborne, but I managed to catch her. It would have been laughable had I not been royally pissed. Folks -- if you are going to drive cars, please learn how!

Now I'm home until Wednesday when I will once again head for Ben's so that we can head on to the fun experience of introducing him to my whole family on Thanksgiving. My family is really good about meeting new folks, but there's a lot of them and they can be a bit overwhelming. Pray for us. We are even invited to spend the night (together) at Mom's. My Mom is pretty cool about it -- does she "like" that I am gay? Probably not. Has she written me off or cast me aside? Never. Thanks, Mom.

Anyway, that, boys and girls, is the Monday report from the wilderness of west Michigan. Have a great day and give someone a hug.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Now I've Seen It ALL


This morning as I made my usual Friday morning jaunt to the clinic and out to breakfast, I saw a high number of hunters on the roads and in the restaurant. As you know I am not a great fan of deer hunting, but I was brought to a new level of hysterics as I drove home. As we drove along the highway, we passed a pasture with several cows peacefully grazing. What was hilarious was that each cow had a big orange spot either strapped or painted on -- I couldn't tell which from the road. My first thought was, "What -- are those slow moving cows?". Then it struck me -- The owner of the cows had marked them with orange so that some dumb hunter wouldn't shoot the poor cows mistaking them for deer! Ah, score another point for the absolute insanity of deer hunting aka the slaughter of the innocents.

Well, boys and girls, I am getting off this page to get ready for another whirlwind weekend -- riding the highways between my house and Ben's -- there a night, here a night, there a night -- geez, the poor animals are confused. I wonder if I should paint the toy poodle orange to keep her safe. Anyhow, love and hug that special person on this weekend of the big Michigan/Ohio State game. My comment on that is -- Who cares?. I hear that tickets are scalping for as much as $1,000 a piece ... Can you believe it? And the deer hunters will have to choose between the brutality of their sport or a dose of football fever. Whatever you choose to do this weekend, do it with passion!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Here Comes Santa Claus

I am trying to find some information on this song to find out which verses are from the original version from the '40's, and which (if any) have been added over the years. Any music historians out there able to help?

HERE COMES SANTA CLAUS

Here comes Santa Claus, Here comes Santa Claus
Right down Santa Claus Lane.
Vixen and Blitzen and all his reindeer are pulling on the reins.
Bells are ringing, children singing, all is merry and bright.
Hang your stocking and say your prayers,
'Cause Santa Claus comes tonight.

Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus
Right down Santa Claus Lane.
He's got a bag that's filled with toys for boys and girls again.
Hear the sleigh bells jingle, jangle, what a beautiful sight.
Jump in bed, cover up your head,
'Cause Santa Claus comes tonight.

Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus
Right down Santa Claus Lane.
He doesn't care if you're rich or poor, for he loves you just the same.
Santa knows that we're God's children, that makes ev'rything right.
Fill you hearts with Christmas cheer,
'Cause Santa Claus comes tonight.

Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus
Right down Santa Claus Lane.
He'll come around when the chime ring out, then it's Christmas morn again.
Peace on earth will come to all if we just follow the light.
Let's give thanks to the Lord above,
'Cause Santa Claus comes tonight.


My reason for asking is that I don't remember hearing the last two verses in some arrangements. I have some theological issues with "Santa knows that we're God's children, that makes everything right" and "Let's give thanks to the Lord above 'Cause Santa Claus comes tonight." I get the feeling that those lines in particular trivialize the real reason for Christmas. We need to be careful blending secular and commercial traditions with religious beliefs.

Ah well, it's just me sounding off yet again -- any help or comments appreciated.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

An Interesting Post

I found this Interesting Post and wanted to share it with everyone. It's food for thought and laughter. Enjoy

Looks Like an Answer to Me


After my previous post, I was surfing the net looking at news stories and came across this item that tells me that maybe the animal kingdom will have a chance to strike back at the people who go out and senselessly slaughter innnocent animals. Go figure.

Happy (?) Hunting

Well, good morning everyone on this first day of open season to shoot deer in Michigan. As I searched for an appropriate photo to brighten up this post, I was thrilled to find this one. It kind of sums up my thoughts on hunting season. How would we like it if deer had a season for hunting and killing us? I couldn't believe my eyes a little bit ago when I looked out my window and saw my boss's truck -- he is an avid hunter (it seems to be the macho hetero thing to be) and he took time out of his opening day to bring back my leaf blower -- go figure. Of course, he already killed three innocent and defenseless deer during the bow season. I want to know when the dynamite season comes -- I could probably get one or two that way -- LOL. In case you couldn't tell, I am a pacifist when it comes to this subject. I know that we are overrun with deer and that Michigan is one of the highest states for deer/car crashes, but still, what did that poor innocent deer ever do to you? If we were seriously in need of them for food, maybe it would be okay. But, for most of the guys (and a few gals) out there, it's nothing but legalized violence, a chance to be out with the guys, probably downing a few beers (real sensible for boys playing with guns), scratching their gonads, and acting all "manly". What's manly about shooting an unarmed and innocent prey? Ah well, enough sounding off about that. Remember (especially this time of the year), if you live in deer country, be careful, slow down, and be on the lookout for deer -- shooting them is bad enough, hitting them with car just doesn't seem sporting -- and it really does a number on the vehicle!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

What Planet are You From?

You Are From Saturn

You're steady, organizes, and determined to achieve your dreams.
You tend to play it conservative, going by the rules (at least the practical ones).
You'll likely reach the top. And when you do, you'll be honorable and responsible.
Focus on happiness. Don't let your goals distract you from fun!
Don't be too set in your ways, and you'll be more of a success than you ever dreamed of.

HUH?


Well, customer service has sunk to a new all time low. I called a local outlet of the store in which I bought the now infamous Thanksgiving mugs to see if by chance they were available locally. I researched store locations and spent a good bit of time trying lots of ways of getting some more of the mugs. When I finally called a store in the Detroit area and made what I thought to be a simple request -- Are they available in your store? -- the response I got was simpy "Huh?". Needless to say, I simply said, "Never mind," and hung up. If the help that is hired these days is so ignorant as to answer a one "word" grunt, I have better things to do with my resources -- time and money - than to try to explain myself. I would gladly have repeated my request had I received a "Pardon me" or "Excuse me, what was it you wanted?" or some intelligent and polite (translate that as customer service appropriate) response. I refuse to become a victim of the dumbing down of America. Am I being petty or should we refuse to be treated like unimportant and ignorant clouts by a lower than average intelligence (or common courtesy) work force? So I continue to seek a source for additional mugs -- I have had no less than three requests for them. Hmm, maybe I need to start a "Thanksgiving Mug Store."

Monday, November 13, 2006

A Busy Weekend

Well, here it is Monday afternoon and I finally have time to dash off a quick post. What a weekend! It began with a trip to Ben's on Friday afternoon where we spent a great and quiet evening and night. On Saturday morning I got up and drove to Dayton Ohio for a meeting and a Sunday speaking engagement. I had a great and productive time and thoroughly enjoyed my stay in a house that was built in 1854 (YES -- EIGHTEEN) -- awesome. Thankfully, except for the car's usual poltergeist like behavior, everything went fine. By Sunday evening I was back at Ben's enjoying steak and baked potato, and hanging out for the evening. This morning I took my first blood pressure pill (Yes, I have reached the magic age where pills come into play) and headed for home. All is well on the home front. Now it's back to business as usual as I deal with the current job, church stuff, family matters, and more -- and as I sit here 100 miles from Ben until Friday. Hmmmm. As I looked at the calendar today I saw that Christmas is SIX (Count 'em folks -- SIX) weeks from today. Good grief. I was hoping (and am still praying) to be out of here and living with Ben before Christmas. Pray for jobs and everything to happen in good order. !

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Not So Nerdy After All

I am nerdier than 24% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

Time Flies Whether or Not

Time flies, it seems, whether or not one is having fun. I woke up this morning realizing that it is already Thursday and I haven't accomplished a whole lot this week. On top of that it is only two weeks until Thanksgiving (US), and only six and a half weeks until Christmas. That also means it's only seen and a half weeks until 2007 (That, by the way, is Two Thousand Seven, or even Twenty OH Seven, but not Two Thousand AND Seven). Pardon my little grammar lesson, but I am finding all the ANDs really annoying, even from those who speak professionally--geez!

I talked with Ben this morning and he is in a somewhat better space, though the finances continue to lurk somewhere just below the surface. The one joy of it being Thursday already is that tomorrow is Friday and I will get to spend time with him -- just overnight, since I am off for a weekend speaking engagement for Saturday and Sunday. I should be back at Ben's Sunday night and home on Monday and another week starts the whole cycle over again. Today will be spent cleaning up what I am to be saying this weekend, mopping floors, doing laundry, checking my own finances, and sharing in a potluck with the old folks here at the complex. There goes any hope of a responsible diet -- how many ways can one fix macaroni?

By now, the future of the US Senate is set -- for at least the next two years, the Congress will be led by Democrats with a Republican administration -- that should make for some intriguing news. Either there will be lots of fights or absolutely nothing will get done. At least it will be a nice change from the past 12 years of a totally Republican dominated Washington DC. Now if the Democrats play things right and if they can find a viable and electable candidate in 2008, perhaps there will be a Democrat in the White House. Talk of candidates like Barak Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry worries me. Each of them in his or her own right might be well qualified for the position, but I don't believe any of them to be electable at this point in time. I could see some hope for a John Edwards/Barak Obama ticket, maybe even Edwards/Clinton. I just don't think that this country is quite ready to elect a female or person of color to the office of President. It is a sad commentary on the deeply rooted prejudices in this country, but that's the way I see it right now. I think that Mr. Obama is potential presidential timber at some point in the future; I think that Ms. Clinton would fill the office well (except for the spectre of Bill's past--blown out of proportion by the right and the media). I believe that the only way to get a woman in the White House would be for BOTH parties to nominate women. How about a Clinton vs. Condaleeza Rice contest? Hmmm.

Well, I didn't mean to get so wordy or political. I think I am trying to avoid housework and homework. Blogging is great, but it sure does take time HA HA. Hope everyone has a great Thursday. Hey -- here's an idea -- if you know someone who might be alone for Thanksgiving, why not try to include them in your celebration? I would think that in most cases, there would be enough turkey and dressing to go around and it would brighten their day.

Be good to the one you love and pray for those you don't.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Wednesday Morning

I didn't know what else to call this post. Ben called this morning to tell me about some financial struggles and snafus he is encountering. He hasn't had to deal with living on the financial edge of things in a very long time. Seeing that there is less coming in than going out and that some bills are having to slide is very troubling for him and the problems are manifesting as feelings of worthlessness, badness, and so on. He has a tender heart which is one of the things I love about him, and this current mess is causing him such distress. I hope that he doesn't become cynical or hard hearted through this. His gentle yet adventurous spirit just seems so dampened right now. Because of my own situation, all I can do is be nearby to be a listening ear and a sympathetic and empathetic voice. I know that there is light at the end of the tunnel; I just hope that the long night of struggle isn't too long. I believe that something positive is going to happen very soon -- be that a call to a church for one of us, a job in his area for me, or something. One positive thing that I believe will come out of this is a new awareness on Ben's part of the plight of so many to whom he will be called to minister. The struggle of living from paycheck to two days before paycheck; the struggle of over extension; the struggle of seeking a job; the struggle of life when times are tough. I think that his heart, already full of compassion, will be touched more deeply as he moves through this stuff and that he will come out of it better prepared than ever to minister to the masses.

Keep him in your thoughts and prayers -- he is in a struggle that goes beyond the financial stuff. His transition from the church he was in has raised up all those old feelings of low self esteem, as though he is somehow to blame in all this. I keep looking at the picture of him with the scarecrow and seeing the peaceful innocent vulnerability of the man I love. Then I think of the daily dilemmas and storms that come his way and I fear their impact on that image. Well, I guess I've rambled on enough to get my point out and to process some of this in my own mind.

Election Day Plus One

When I woke up this morning, the song "There's Got to Be A Morning After" came to mind. I knew that the elction was over and we could move back to life as normal. Of course, as usual lately, there have been voting snafus -- not as bad as the famous Florida mess, but screw ups just the same. Some things are not yet decided -- such as "control" of the Senate. It is exciting to see that come January the US will meet the first woman to ever serve as Speaker of the House -- Rep. Nancy Pelosi. It doesn't matter at this point whether you like her or agree with her politics --for the next two years she WILL be in that position. It will be interesting to see what happens with a Democratic House and a Senate that is right now too close to call. It was really upsetting to see the number of states where anti-same sex marriage constitutional amendments passed. Thank you, Arizona voters, for at least recognizing the fallacies of such an amendment. Marriage is NOT a constitutional issue! How can a nation that claims life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and equal rights, and such be so backward? Whether or not you think that two people of the same gender should be married is irrelavent -- if you don't want to marry a person of the same gender -- DON'T. But what give you the right to tell me that I cannot solemnize my relationship? In reality, the government needs to get out of the marriage business`-- make all "marriages" domestic partnerships without concern about gender or other extraneous issues playing a role. Let the churches solemnize "marriages" as their theologies permit. That would make "marriage" a covenant between two people and God.

I was thrilled to see our governor and US senator re-elected. It was great that people defeated our proposal to allow for the hunting of mourning doves. Sadly, affirmative action was struck down. Now, I hate that we have to legislate equality, but as we see from the same sex marriage debate, some citizens are more equal than others. Now, employers and universities are free to discriminate. Go figure.

Of course, with the 2006 midterm elections almost behind us, now all the talking heads turn their attention to the 2008 presidential race. I, for one, don't care at this moment. I need a break from the politization (?) of life. I am sick of the over-analysis of every race, every candidate scrtuinized for every word and thought, every issue torn to pieces, and there is so much information that comes our way that it tends to confuse rather than clarify the process. I may start a "No one for President in '08" campaign. What do you think?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I did it -- my civic duty! I voted. I was the 356th ballot in my precinct (probably the first to vote a "D" straight ticket in this hotbed of conservatism, but I have spoken. Then I went looking for an appropriate picture to put on this post and found -- what else? -- portapotties!! For those of you who have read this blog for a while you will know that i have presented porta-potty shots with such interesting names as "Jons to Go" and others that I found humorous. I think that the ones in this picture should be named "Flush-a-dubya". If you think about it, Democrats will howl with laughter and the other party will just howl! But, hey, it's my blog and I'll laugh if I want to. I hope that all of you got out and voted. Too bad we can't all win, but if we all do our civic duty and do it responsibly, the good old US of A will ultimately win because we will elect at least some responsible and responsive leaders. If we fail to speak our mind (and use it in doing so) then we will all lose. Can't wait to hear the results tonight -- I suspect there will be a wake up call for one party; I just hope that the other doesn't take it as either a mandate or a full approval of their platform, but rather as a, "Here's your chance; let's see if you can do the things you've promised.". If they can't perform, there is another election just around the corner and things can change in one election! Leaders, be warned! You work for US the citizens of this land, not for yourself or for the special interests. Enough ranting about elections and voting. If you've voted already, congrats. If you are going to the polls after work, HOORAY. If you've decided to stay home and skip it, shame on you -- go read someone else's blog.