Friday, June 30, 2006

Some Things I'm Thankful For

I'm thankful for many things including:

1. God's grace -- Where would I be without it?

2. Ben -- Your love and support are priceless

3. Sunshine and Rain -- Each is beautiful in it's own way

4. Comfort Food - Whatever form it takes, it's nice to have

5. Friends -- a true gift from God

6. Good health-- I've been blessed

Thoughts on Gas, Consumerism, and Society

First of all, my apology for the poor quality of the accompanying photo -- perhaps I was in SHOCK as I took it. It really happened! I never before dreamed of paying in excess of 3 bucks for a gallon of gas, but here's the proof of it. If you've read my previous posts on the price of gas, take that frustration and multiply it several times. As I thought about the helpless feeling I have regarding gas prices, my thoughts turned to other areas of life. My day started with the Today show. That's where I get most of my news and information (along with the web of course), so imagine my disappointment when the biggest segment I saw was Al Roker's interview with Star Jones-Reynolds, the recently terminated member of THE VIEW cast. My biggest response was somewhat below "Who cares?" Is THAT the most important matter before us? What about gas prices? What about terrorism? What about the hundreds of social issues that beguile us on a daily basis. So the woman lost her job -- big deal. Now she does the talk show circuit and will probably have a new job tomorrow! The homeless are still homeless; the unemployed still have no jobs or positive prospects; troops are still in Iraq; there's still racism, sexism, and homophobia, but we all are dying to know the juicy details of the departure of this poor soul that I've never heard of from a show that I don't watch. Ah, priorities!!

After that and the gas thing, I was sitting in the doctor's waiting room watching the TV. I was reminded about how we have to lose weight, fight wrinkles, smell good, drive the newest and best car (never mind that it only gets 12 miles to the gallon), have all the latest techno-gadgets, be the biggest, brightest, sexiest, best looking, have the smartest kids, and be able to retire with a huge retirement account. What a fantasy. The reality is that this "American dream" does not produce happiness, health, or harmony, but instead leads to disappointments, depression, and disunity. If I have the "best" and you don't, does that make me better or you worse? NO. There's nothing wrong with possessions, self care, and a bit of pampering, but it has to be kept in perspective. Relationships are more important than gadgets; self worth and appreciation of who we are is more important than the latest diet fad; self respect and dignity are more important than bank balances.

I know this has been a lengthy post, but the bottom line is this: Be happy in who you are, be all you can be, and take some time to smell the roses along the way. Here's hoping that my day becomes brighter.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Always Learning New Stuff

I continue to amaze myself! I was sitting at home today with way too much time on my hands. I was watching moviews, playing on the computer, and fooling with the digital camera. Well, I discovered that, with a little ingenuity and planning, I can take photos off the TV with the full zoom feature on the camera -- don't know why I would really do that, but the accompanying picture is the result of my discovery. And I be the pic would be even clearer if I would quit fooling around and clean the TV screen. I'm about to head out to buy some gas -- anyone want to send money HA HA. I hope I don't blow a gasket at the price which I hear is now over 3 bucks a gallon for regular. Guess I need to fix the bicycle soon.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

What a Relief!!

I've spent an hour or so today pacing and being on pins and needles as I waited to hear the outcome of Ben's meeting. We were hoping for the best and fearing the potential worst. Thankfully, our hopes were met and exceeded and our fears were for naught. He received not only positive results that will open the door for him to take the next step in this process, but he also received very real compassionate concern. I am amazed at how smoothly every step of this coming out journey has been. I am beginning to think that times are changing and that being gay isn't the horrible thing it was once thought to be. Further, I have told Ben and openly share here that he has handled this whole process with dignity, honesty, and openness. Those things have rewarded him with acceptance and support from family and colleagues. This is not to say that there aren't people out there with negative reactions, but thus far there has been nothing but support and nurturing from the people who matter. Thanks to those of you who have been following this process for your support and prayers. They have been answered today. I am so happy for Ben and so doggone proud of him.

Monday, June 26, 2006

World's Smallest Beach??

What a wonderful day or two it's been. Ben came over yesterday afternoon and we spent the evening together watching movies and just hanging out together. Today, after having a visit from a friend, we headed out to eat and then decided to visit one of the nearby state parks. We followed the signs and found a place to park then began walking in the direction the signs pointed toward the "Beach Area.. We ended up walking down a flight of wooden stairs expecting to find a very nice beach. Imagine our surprise and disappointment when we encountered what you see in the accompanying photo. First, I would hesitate to call it a beach, but if one chooses to do so, don't plan on more than three people using it at a time. I'm sure glad that we weren't bent on a beach day. After a moment of disappointment we both busted out laughing over our discovery. We then walked on up the steps on the other side of this beach (about four steps from the stairs we had come down) and continued on along the low bluff above the river exploring and sharing the moment with each other. After a healthy walk we came home and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon and had dinner. Then, sadly, it was time for Ben to head home -- always a difficult moment. We most likely won't see each other now until next weekend. Please keep Ben in your thoughts this week as he takes the next step in his coming out process on Wednesday -- a step that if it goes well will move him forward in his journey with hope and expectation. However, if for some reason this step does not go well, it could cause some real upheaval in his life. I am trusting God to lead him through this challenge and will post info on the outcome as it is available. Many of us have faced such challenges in our journeys, but it is a very personal process for each of us and often we feel as though we are alone in it.

So, tonight my life gets back to normal (read boring) after my trip to Mom's, Pride in Lansing, and time with my sweet Ben.

Hope you all have a good day and are blessed.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Pride Report

This little fellow was at Michigan Pride in Lansing yesterday with his two Moms. Between his sign and his shirt (It says "I Love My 2 Moms), he embodies the future of Pride events. It's really too bad that he had to hear the garbage being spouted by the hecklers. His moms were part of the commitment ceremony too. There were skads of kids out for the day (and they say we don't have families). Posted by Picasa

Another Porta-Potty Picture

For any of you who read this blog you may remember my previous porta-potty post from jons "to go". This Ameri-CAN (pun intended no doubt) was found at Michigan Pride. Who comes up with the names for these outfits? Just thought it was cute -- who knows what will come next? HA HA Posted by Picasa

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Home Again

Well, I've traveled miles since my last post. Spent a day with Mother and then on to Ben's for a visit. Went to Michigan Pride today in Lansing -- my goodness, was I ever that young? Lots of people out and proud, and of course a few hecklers shouting religious garbage. Now there's nothing inherently wrong in religion, but when it is used as a baseball bat and misunderstood it is worse than dangerous. And even more than that, that kind of religion is more dangerous to its practitioners than to those who hear this hateful rhetoric. Now I believe that there is a place in Heaven for all of us -- the days and straights and them what hates, but I think that some folks will be mighty surprised at the reception that they and others receive at those pearly gates. But enough preaching for now. The couples' commitment service saw some 70 couples pledge love to each other on the Michigan capitol steps. What an awesome sight.

My gas woes continue as I saw prices rise while I was gone from a low in some little town of 2.71 to the 2.93 I will need to pay in the morning (unless it jumps again overnight). Ben will be here tomorrow for a couple of days, so we should both be in good spirits. I am so blessed to have him in my life!!

Tomorrow is Sunday -- hope to see you all in church!!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Gas Bandits Strike Again

Well, I just got back from filling the gas tank for my trip to see Mother tomorrow and I am angry and frustrated. Earlier today regular gas was 2.65 a gallon and over the past few hours jumped a whopping 7.5 percent (a bigger increase than I get in my paycheck) to 2.85. Why is it that the price jumps up by such whopping amounts, but then goes down maybe two or three cents? Where's the justice in this mess? What can we do about it? I understand that the days of 1.99 gas are history and that there are factors that affect the price BUT Why can't the industry find a reasonable price and leave it alone for a while? I don't get nuts if it goes up or down a couple of cents -- that fluctuation sounds reasonable, but such crazy jumps strike me as price gouging by someone and it's usually not at the local station level. Oil companies are making record profits and there are people having to choose between gasoline or food. I chose gas tonight -- Mom will feed me tomorrow LOL.. Well, thanks for letting me vent a bit. I guess I'm most mad at me for not buying early in the day when I would have saved 2.50 on the fill up.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Today's Thoughts

Today I am feeling somewhat useless and at a dead end. The background for this yucky feeling (how else can I describe it?) is this: I am a part time assistant pastor in a small church (small church = small paycheck) and part time (10-15 hours a week) resident manager of a senior apartment complex. The combination of the two positions provides almost enough resources to make ends meet -- almost. For over a year I have been seeking a full time position within a huge geographic area, as welll as serarching for a full time pulpit position within my denomination (Metropolitan Community Church). Neither search has returned anything but frustration and depression. Why is it that no one wants to hire a 55+ year old person? Why do so many prospective employers think that I lack experience? Nearly twenty years of ministry experience has provided background in customer service, public speaking, computer skills, management, budgeting, programming and plannning, and the list goes on, but no one seems to recognize this wealth of background. Neither of my current positions is horrible, but likewise neither is particularly challenging or rewarding. It seems that I spend an awful amount of time doing nothing productive (lots of TV, internet surfing, game playing, and my favorite pastime -- feeling sorry for myself -- which is where I find myself at the moment). At least all the bills (and there are many) are current. There is no extra money for emergencies or fun things, and forget about self care issues like doctors or medicine etc.

I have no idea how many people or who reads this blog, but I'd welcome suggestions, thoughts, prayers and the like as I seek some direction and purpose in my life. Some days it just sucks to be me.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Quality Time With Ben

Ah, what a time it was. After church yesterday I gathered up Amber (the poodle) and headed off for some quality time with Ben -- that special man I keep telling you about. We spent some fun time together at home, then went to run a quick errand. Then we decided it was time to eat -- the funniest thing is that we took what amounted to a road trip and drove nearly 50 miles to discover a wonderful Chinese restaurant in downtown Howell. I don't remember the name, but it's right on the main street, so if you ever get to the area look for it -- it's well worth it. The food and service were excellent AND it was refreshing to find a Chinese restaurant that wasn't decorated in the ways of so many of the ones we find. There were no red and black lanterns, Buddhas, etc. Instead, the place was more pub-like. There were a couple of small Chinese lanterns, but even they were much more muted colors than usual. The mens' room sported a bear head over the sink (how butch, eh?). After dinner, we headed back toward home, stopped for ice cream, and went home to watch a little TV and get a good night's sleep. We went to breakfast this morning, then I headed home as we both got back to the reality and schedule of our individual lives. The moments that we can steal to spend time together are a treasure and a treat. The rest of the week promises to be busy for each of us but there will be time for phone calls, emails and such. If you love someone, make sure to take time for them -- love and friendship are treasures given to us by God. Cherish and nurture them. I do!!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Pride Weekend In West Michigan

WOW! What a weekend it's been. Friday night a gang from church got together for dinner before going to the Pride Movie Night. The company was great -- food was adequate, service sucked and when it was time to pay up the server refused to split the bill up fo rus. Therefore, each of us had to scramble for cash when we had planned to plastic pay. Needless to say that this particular eatery has lost some of us as customers. It was a great opportunity for me to share Ben with some of the church folks -- some for the first time, others to renew the acquaintance. He was of course a hit -- he's such a sweetheart (of course I am prejudiced here). The movie (Adam and Steve) was outstanding. If you haven't seen it, DO SO. After the movie, he headed home as did I.

Today was Pride in Grand Rapids. The new venue (in the park) was great. It was a very hot day, but there was shade and abreeze. There was also a lot of great music, entertainment, booths, and of course EYE CANDY.

Tomorrow I will make the journey to spend the afternoon and night with Ben -- can't wait. These long distance relationships are so difficult. Thank God for unlimited night and weekend minutes and free long distance.

Anyway, that's all from here until at least tomorrow. Be out, gay , and proud!!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Overstating the Obvious

I found this sign posted on the door of a port-a-potty on one of Ben and my fun outings. As soon as I saw it I cracked up -- what else would one do in a port-a-potty but "go"? Sometimes signs just state the obvious!!

Getting Started with This

Well, this is my second post to the blog. It's Friday evening and I am feeling much alone right now. It's hard to believe, but I am really missing the man I am seeing. My feelings are so conflicted lately -- I think I am in love, but I am so afraid of making a mistake. I know that he is special to me. For sake of discussion I will call him Ben. He is out of town this week visiting his family and having "THE TALK". At last report all was well -- Mom took the news in stride. Ben will be here Sunday night and I can't wait. It's about a lot more than sex -- his presence, his touch, his voice and more bring JOY to my heart. His life and mine are both in transition career wise and so we don't know what's going to come down the road, but for the moment, we are experiencing each other's company and enjoying the journey. No onne knows the future, but I hope that this connection continues for a very long time.