Monday, July 31, 2006

Birthday Bash - Day Two

In my previous post, I detailed Sunday's birthday celebration. We woke up this morning and kind of dawdled about for a while. By around 10 or so, we headed out for breakfast and the day not knowing where we were headed. I told you before that life with Ben is an adventure. Anyhow, we headed south and ended up in the quaint little town of Rockford. We had breakfast at Arnie's, most enjoyable experience especially in light of our experience at Damon's yesterday. We wandered around in Rockford for a bit, including a walk down by the river where we saw several turtles, a stop in a bookstore and then a stained glass shop. From there, on the hottest day of the year, we visited Myers Lake Park, a nice little county park located on -- you guessed it -- Myers Lake. We hung there for just a few minutes and then headed for the air conditioned mall for some cool air. We headed back and napped a bit and went to dinner (Seems like we eat a lot LOL). Then it was time for Ben to head back home. So now I sit and post blog updates, check email, watch TV, send out a couple of resumes, and hopefully get a good night's sleep. After all, at my age (LOL) I need all the sleep I can get. I will actually spend my birthday (most of it) at church -- doing office stuff, planning, and topping it off with a board meeting. All in all, it's been a great birthday celebration. Thanks to those who sent greetings. Hug someone and tell them you love them.

Another Porta-Potty Shot

If you are a regular reader you will remember that as I find intriguing porta-potty signs I post them for a bit of comic relief. This one -- Pit Stop -- was found at Grand Haven beach last night. Can you think of a more fitting name? When we found this, it was -- for us -- exactly what it says --a Pit Stop. LOL

Birthday Doings

Well, it's now Monday evening and Ben has headed for home ready to go back to work tomorrow. He arrived yesterday afternoon to celebrate my upcoming birthday with a couple of gift bags, one of which contained my new friend pictured here to the left. The other gift items are just between us, but suffice it to say I am most grateful for his thoughtfulness. Once we got through the gift giving and some relaxation time, we headed out for an afternoon and evening of fun and adventure.

Ben asked what I wanted for my birthday dinner, and I replied, "Barbecued Ribs!" (probably my most favorite restaurant meal of all time), so he pulled in the Damon's in Grand Haven (We don't do short trips obviously). Our first surprise was when we ordered a beer and were told, "We don't serve beer on Sundays, just mixed drinks." Ah, the joys of being in the heart of Reformed Church country. So we ordered drinks and our BBQ ribs. All was going fine until Ben accidentally knocked over a glass of water. Well, our server came over and tossed a stack of paper napkins on the table and left. I assumed that she left those so we could keep from getting soaked and that she would be back with a towel. WRONG! She didn't come back, but left us there dining poolside so to speak. After waiting a while Ben went and tracked down the manager -- managers seem to be getting younger all the time. She came over and we explained what happened. She apologized and went to bring us napkins to go with our dessert -- she never reappeared nor did the napkins. I young fellow came over and mopped up the rest of the water with a towel. As if all this weren't bad enough -- our server came back and said, "I wasn't trying to be rude", and "I didn't see this as an issue!". She was appropriately rewarded when the check arrived. She got a whopping ten cent tip -- more than she really deserved. The manager, we were told, was buying our dessert. Actually the quote was from our server, "Courtney bought your dessert." Let's face it -- the reality is that the restaurant bought it. Anyway, we laughed about the whole thing as we put the place on our "Places not to re-visit list."

From there we headed down to the lakeshore and walked the waterfront all the way out to the lighthouse. There was a huge crowd of folks of all sizes, shapes, colors, and ages enjoying the evening. It was gorgeous and we walked and walked as we waited for the coming show of the world's largest musical fountain.

The fountain show was filled with religious music -- some modern and some traditional and the lights and fountain worked in time with the music. It was a grand show though it was a little short. By now it was 10:30, and this tired couple headed back up the road for home and bed. It was all in all a fabulous day. Monday's fun will be posted in a separate post so that you don't have to read it all at one time.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

A Discovery and A Question

As you know if you read this blog, Tuesday is my birthday. What you don't know yet is that my daughter shares the day as well. I chatted with her today and she discovered that she had miscalculated and thought she was going to be a year younger than what is the reality. Poor baby -- keep getting younger so I can stay young too. Of course, her blog profile lists her as "middle aged" though I'm not sure I agree with that description. However -- here comes the big question -- wait for it -- If my daughter is middle aged (a term I use in my own profile) then what does that make me? Don't everyone hit "comment" at the same time to tell me I'm old -- you may crash the whole internet not to mention hurting my feelings. I never really considered myself "old", but is it possible that we are simply at opposite ends of the "middle aged" spectrum? PLEASE! Ah well, whatever the answer to the question, having a birthday sure beats the alternative.

Cleared My Calendar

Well it's now the middle of the afternoon and I've been to church, made a couple of family phone calls, done a little computer work, and now have the rest of the day and tomorrow cleart on the calendar to celebrate my upcoming birthday (Tuesday for those who want to send expensive gifts LOL). Ben apparently has some "secret" plans for the day so I am a little excited. Every time I am with him is an adventure - covered bridges, fairs, walks in the park, movies, museums, and just hanging out. He loves life and seems to live it to the full -- a wonderful learning experience for little old (and getting older) me. Anyway, I'm sure that there will be a post tomorrow or Tuesday to tell you the details - or at least some of them. Until then, hug someone and tell them you love them. It'll make their day and yours brighter and better.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Rainbow Kudos

This link is to an absolutely awesome story. When I read it, I dropped a note of support and thanks to the people involved. It really is nice to see that there is support for GLBT folks from what some would call unexpected corners. Check This Out

A New View on a Not So New Movie

I took some down time today to watch In and Out for at least the fourth or fifth time since it came out. What surprised me today was my reaction -- I cried, I identified, I saw so much in it. It made me think of what Ben has been going through during this past year. There have moments of discovery, denial, fears, affirmations and acceptance and more. Ben tells it better if you read his journey, but I sure identified his journey in the movie. His doesn't include weddings, movie stars, and such, but there's a lot of similarities. They say that life imitates art, but I really think sometimes it's the other way around. Anyway, I needed Kleenex!

This Seems to Work!!

I picked up the link for this quiz from Ben's blog. It seemed to describe him, so I gave it a whirl. I think it's pretty accurate for me too. What' do youthink? Give it a try!!

What Your Sleeping Position Says

You are calm and rational.
You are also giving and kind - a great friend.
You are easy going and trusting.
However, you are too sensible to fall for mind games.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Gas Watch

If you're a regular visitor to this page, you will know that I talk a good bit about gas prices and how high they are going. When I saw gas at 3.14 a gallon the other day and then heard about record high oil prices, I anticipated another record jump. Imagine my surprise when I saw gas at 3.02 this morning. I thought, "I ought to get some gas today," but put it off. When I went to get the oil changed this afternoon, I was overjoyed to see a gas price with a "2" as the first digit. Of course it was 2.99.9, but when I came by on the way home tonight, it was down to 2.97. WOW!! BTW, we passed a KMart with gas tonight and their sign had a blinking blue light -- either a male whore house or a KMart blue light special. As it turned out, it indicated a 5 cent per gallon reduction from their 2.98 price. I will be on the lookout for those in the future. We also passed a station where they give drivers over 55 (Yes, I qualify) a discount of $0.02 per gallon. Some stations are getting very creative in drawing in customers. Drive wisely and shop for gas wisely too!

Take Me to the Fair

What a surprise I got this evening! Ben called and wanted to meet for dinner half way between our far flung abodes. That is not the surprise because that happens from time to time. Well, I left early enough to get the oil changed in the car along the way (gotta keep it running). As I left the oil change place, Ben called back and asked if I was up to going to the fair, and of course I said yes!! After dinner, we jumped in the truck and headed out to the fairgrounds. We found a place to park and headed across the street accompanied bythe sounds of a Bible thumping nut job proclaiming salvation to those washed in the blood. Now -- I believe that street evangelism can be successful if done right. However, shouting threats and ultimatums into a megaphone at passers by who are ignoring him is not the way. To effectively evangalize, one needs to develop relationships with the people he/she encounters. But I digress. We made it past the Bible thumper and into the fairgrounds where we encountered all the sights and sounds of the fair. Carnies, rides, side shows, fresh cotton candy, corn dogs, elephant ears, and lemonade -- all mixed with the ever present livestock pavilions brought back memories of fairs long past. This one, however, was special because I was with someone special. We walked along and Ben heard the pitch for the freak side show and with a little effort convinced me that we should go in and see what was up. Fire eaters, sword swallowers, snake woman, spiderwoman (no relation to Spiderman), and more, along with jars with conjoined twins, cyclops, and such oddities were what met us. Some of it was a little hokey, some was kind of interesting, and some was plain weird, but it was kinda fun in a bizarre way. Then we walked some more, and then headed back to pick up my car. I headed north and west and Ben headed south and east. He has some church stuff and personal business stuff to do tomorrow so that he will be free to spend Sunday and Monday with ME. I just want to take a moment here to say thank you to Ben for the wonderful evening. He is so sweet; I am a very lucky fellow to have him in my life. Enough of the gush -- it was a great evening. Hope your weekend is as great as mine started out. take time to do something fun with someone you love.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

A Question

Well, after writing a brilliant post which got lost somewhere in cyberspace, I decided to post something much more probing. Why is it that TV cannot (or does not) advertise condoms? I'm sick of commercials for tampons, douches, deodorizer sprays, birth control pills, ED treatments, and the like. How about a commercial for condoms? They could be done tastefully -- of course some of the ones I've mentioned above aren't tasteful. How about a campaign? Maybe a "Trojan" horse? Anyway, that's all for now.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Wild and Whacky Wednesday

At least thats what the local grocery store calls it -- it's their sale leader day when they mark a few choice items down to a reasonable price. Other than my foray to the market, it has been a normal day. I did finally get the cell phone and the computer to communicate with each other -- FINALLY! I suppose it would have helped to read the directions, but what MAN does that? It only took a week, three phone calls to Tech Support, a lot of cussing, and a lot of prayer. I did some computer stuff for church, chatted with a few of the neighbors, and watched Wallace and Gromit - The Curse of the Were Rabbit. It was a cute movie to see once. Tonight will be some blogging, TV, and probably a phone chat with Ben. It's been kind of a crummy day -- rainy and clouds -- had the AC on all day to keep the moisture down and to stay comfortable.

I keep hoping that the right job will come my way so I can move out of this lovely (?) place and get on with a little more productive life. Stay well and hug someone..

Monday, July 24, 2006

A Quick Monday Afternoon Post

What a wonderful day it is! Ben came over yesterday and we had dinner, watched TV, and talked a great deal. Today we went to breakfast and took a drive to see where we will be staying for our upcoming mini-vacation. We came back and Ben is now napping while I write this post. It is so sweet to watch him sleep. I hope that the rest will help relieve his back pain. Of course once he wakes up, it will once again be time for him to head for home and we will be back to the week as usual. I live for the weekends anymore so that we can be together. I am so looking forward to vacation time when we can spend more than a few fleeting hours together. We can really begin to know each other much more deeply. It's only 8 days til my birthday. People have funny notions about birthdays. True, they are rites of passage and their coming marks another year of life completed. However I do not feel "a year older" on my birthday, but only a day older. Ben and I will celebrate the event over the weekend (after all, weekdays don't exist for "us"). Anyway, that's about all from this location at the moment -- take time to hug someone special and to stop and smell the roses. Life is a precious resource -- don't waste it!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Sunday Morning

Well, here I am FINALLY. What an interesting few days since my last post. Friday started out like a usual Friday with a trip to a nearby town to take a friend to his weekly doctor appointment and out to breakfast. That done, we headed home in time to join the building residents for a potluck birthday lunch hosted by a local church. I got out of there and finished my work and headed off to see Ben who went home a little early from his week at camp due to severe back pain. We had a quiet evening - dinner and TV. Saturday we headed to the Ann Arbor Art Fair. It was awesome -- huge crowd and lots of good art, but -- alas -- not much to look at in the people department. We had lunch and headed home tired and with Ben back in pain -- he really should have stayed home but he really wanted to go. We got back to his house where I had to collect my stuff and the dog and head for home. A pretty good weekend so far -- then I turned on the computer and the "fun" began. It powered up alright though it was slower than usual as if that is possible. Then I signed into my Yahoo account and found half my toolbar missing AND that I could not access my mailbox. OMG, an internet junkie fag without email access! A tragedy. Well, I finally got the toolbar back after I did a disk cleanup and defrag and finally restored the system to what it was a couple days ago. By then, I was exhausted and frustrated and went to bed. As for the mail problem, I old myself I'd worry about that in the morning. Well, during the night the computer ran its daily scan and downloaded some MS updates. When I got up, I had to reboot the system from the updates. Everything seemed back to normal, so I signed in to Yahoo -- lo and behold the toolbar appeared like a long lost friend. With a bit of hesitation and a bit of prayer, I held my breath as I clicked the mailbox button and, after a bit of groaning and whining (the computer, not me), up popped my mailbox with 18 junk mails, 3 "jokes" from friends, and a quick note from Warren at Northwoods Guys. If you haven't read this great blog, take a minute and visit -- you will fall in love with Steve and Warren and become a regular visitor just like me. Anyway, now it's off to the shower and then to church. This afternoon Ben is supposed to come over, but I told him to think twice about it if his back is still real bad. So pray that he receives a miraculous healing at church this morning (Do Lutherans get such things??).

Anyway, thanks for stopping by and reading my rants. Take time today to go to the church of your choice and then find a way to show someone you love them.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Soggy Thursday

Here we go again. I awoke to rain and thunder and a little bit ago the lights flickered off and back on. It wasn't enough even to upset the multitude of clocks (TVs, VCR, Microwave, coffee pot, stereo, alarm clock, and the list goes on), but just enough to remind us how dependent we are on electricity. Those 29 hours without it earlier in the week were a lesson. Being in an all electric home, there was no hot water, no light, no cooking (or coffee), no TV, stereo, or computer. Most everyone in the building pulled together and pooled resources -- flashlights, food that could be eaten as is, radios with batteries, and even coffee. One of the residents has relatives nearby with a gas stove who brought multiple pots of hot water and instant coffee -- not my favorite, but a welcome treat in an emergency. It's also a good thing I mowed most of the lawn yesterday -- no mowing today.

Perhaps the funniest thing I encountered during the "blackout" was the recording from the power company. (isn't it amazing that 200,000 customers lost power but the power company was still running?). Its computer voice was telling me how to report a power outage and it was all making sense until it said, "you may also report your power outage on our website", and gave the URL. In thinking about it, if one had a battery back up AND the right kind of connection, maybe that would be possible. However my computer AND my internet connection both rely on -- you guessed it -- electricity!!! DUH! Well, someone must have got to them, because when I called later for an update, they had added "If you have internet access...."

The cell phone saga is just about behind me now. The new phone is becoming a little more familiar -- it's still got some things I haven't figured out, but I probably don't need all those bells and whistles anyway. The old phone gets disconnected on Sunday. If you are one of the folks who has that number, you should have received an email with the new number.

Well, today I have to cook a bunch of stuff that defrosted during the power outage. At least my freezer wasn't packed up like some. One woman I saw in the store yesterday had just bought a whole side of beef and lost it all. Let's hope she has good insurance.

And I see in the news that GW said "shit" and someone heard it. Now that really is news -- yeah, right. I've been saying that about his presidency since before he stole the election (I mean got elected). My first question when I heard the news byte was, "Was he talking about his approval rating?" But who cares if the president said that word? First of all, it's a word that lots of people use -- is it polite? Probably not, but it is common usage. Second, he had some expectation of privacy -- it was in a table conversation with his peers from other countries. Who knew (and why was there) a microphone was there to eavesdrop. Was someone expecting GW to come up with some brilliant statement? "G DUH-bya" hasn't been known for his brilliant statements thus far. If you are a Bush supporter (Now there's more than a few possible cracks there), I'm sorry. I konw it's not polite to pick on minority groups. We are all entitled to our own opinions and to state those as we feel led.

And wrapping up today's soggy post -- what's all the flap about the Pledge of Allegiance and the words "under God"? They weren't in the original and weren't added by an act of Congress until 1954. My question I guess is, "What is the government doing sticking their collective noses into theology?" No one can effectively legislate a belief system, and I don't sure don't need government sanction to believe in or pray to or talk about my beliefs. I think that "one nation under God" is at best a pipe dream at the moment. We are a divided nation and in many areas there is little evidence of any belief in a God of love and compassion. If we as a nation are going to profess a belief in God, then we as a nation had better be prepared to practice what that God teaches and proclaims -- inclusion, love, tolerance, peace, generosity, and several other things that many have forgotten about or ignored for too long.

Well, I guess I will get off my soapbox and end this for now. Take some time today to tell someone you love them -- it's good for what ails them and you will feel better too. CIAO!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Gas Watch

Gas that was 2.95 - 2.99 when I left on Sunday was 3.14 - 3.15 when I got home on Monday. Where will it stop?

Tourist Report

Here's a pciture of the Frankfort lighthouse on Lake Michigan. I stopped by there while up north (alone thank goodness -- wish Ben had been with me, but...). The beach was crowded with folks enjoying summer, though there wasn't much to look at (Wasn't in the mood anyhow). Anway, the trip did have it's good points -- like the beach, the lighthouse, and yet another view of Lake Michigan.

Back to "Normal??"

Well, here it is Tuesday night, and I am finally back and able to post some thoughts. I won't bore you here with all the details, but after church Sunday (Yes I made myself go) I went north to see the family (ending up with 6 adults, 7 teens and a preteen -- EEEKKK!). I felt like the outsider, especially when my mother (whom I truly do love) began ragging on me about my job, my love life, and my seeming failure to live up to her expectations. I'm sure she didn't know the depth of hurt she was inflicting -- after all she only had my welfare in mind, but I was both hurt and angry. I was proud of myself -- I didn't blow a gasket, I simply got in the car and came home early. Along the way I encountered the storm from HELL and came home to the building I manage where there no electricity -- a condition which was only corrected this evening after 29 hours of no power. Hats off to the hard workers who are striving to restore power to more than 200,000 customers -- I sure wouldn't want their jobs (of course that might make mother happy and the money they make would be nice).

Ben is away at camp with a group of kids, but he has been so good about calling to check in and stay connected. Don't tell him I told you all, but God, I love this man -- he's so thoughtful and considerate of me. He is the one thing that kept me sane over the past several months even while he is going through his own personal struggles and journey. That is a true barometer of love. You all realize of course that he will be reading this post soon, but hey, I call 'em as I see 'em.

Well, it's almost 11 PM and I am pooped -- got a ton of stuff to do tomorrow, so I guess that's all for tonight. Just pray that our power stays on now. Love you all!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

A Quick Sunday Morning Post

Well, here it is Sunday morning and I am in a dither getting ready for church and the trip to the lake. I can't seem to focus this morning -- everything I start to do seems to be unfinished; the things that I do finish just don't seem right; I feel as though I am forgetting something important; I really would rather just stay home and pull the covers over my head and spend the day in bed. I don't want to go -- I enjoy church when I am there but getting there is sometimes tough. I enjoy seeing the family, but I really don't feel like driving up there and being around people. I can think of a million reasons to stay home -- I need some down time, Gas is up again, my job needs me, I have things to do, and so on. However, it is days like this when commitment is the only thing that drives me. I WILL go to church and it will be fine. I WILL go to the lake and have a good time. I think I would rather be at Ben's , waking up next to him, and just spending a lazy day together -- but I can't do that and neither can he today. I guess I am feeling as though everyone wants a piece of my time, a piece of me. I am basically a people pleaser I guess and so I go. Sorry if this post sounds "down", but I just needed to vent and get it off my chest. I have to go put some junk in the car, drink a bit of coffee, close down the house for a day, and put on my party face. When I have morning like this I begin to wonder how many others who I encounter today will be wearing their party faces. How many will be putting on the front of happiness and sociability while deep inside they are bearing burdens and weights of sadness, depression, loneliness, anxiety or a host of other burdens that they are hiding? There -- now that I've made everyone's Sunday a little cheerier (LOL), I guess I should get my butt in gear and get into the day. I will be fine, just keep me in your thoughts today -- for rest and for safe travel and for the AC it the car to behave itself -- it throws fits and decides that it is in the arctic circle where it wants to blow massive heat (just what I need on a 90 degree day). Watch for the next post saying what a great time I had and how silly this post was. Love to you all, especially to Ben, my main man.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Saturday Night

Well, it's been a busy couple of days. Went to Ben's last night to spend some quality time with him before he heads off to camp. Lat night we made a KMart run so I could pick up a couple of items, had ice cream, visited the park, and headed home for movie time. Today we ran a couple of errands and then saw Superman Returns in IMAX -- Wow, what an experience. Tomorrow I'm off to church and then I hit the road for a couple of days to see family who are vacationing at Crystal Lake near Frankfort. It'll be nice to get away and it will be closer than driving to Detroit to see the gang.

While all this is going on I am in the midst of changing cell phone providers. The transition is going smoothly enough except that I haven't had time to sit down and learn all the features on the new phone. I love gadgets as much as the next person, but for some reason it is taking me longer to figure them out these days. Are they getting more complicated or am I getting dumber (or older?)? Whatever it is, I hope to take some of that family time this week to learn this new gadget. EEK. Pray for wisdom.

As busy as I am getting this weekend, there may be no posts until late Monday or Tuesday. Even though I am away from the computer, I still love you all. Stay in touch.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Happy Thursday

I thought that this was a good day to introduce you all to Amber (my pride and joy). She looks a lot better than she did this morning before the groomer did her magic. Of course, every time she goes to the groomer that means two trips for me -- a total of some 60 miles or so. And I get a really good deal on grooming and --as I am quick to tell people -- she's worth it. In the five years that I've had her, she has traveled all over the country, twice by air. She has fallen in love with Ben (who hasn't?) though his cats aren't crazy about her yet. I don't think she's ever met a stranger. I will say that in our community, our pets become like our children -- a very important part of our lives. There are days that I think Amber is a pain in the neck, but she's mine and she's sticking with me through thick and thin. Take good care of your pets -- they will love your for it.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A Quiet Day - Thank God

First off, the accompanying picture has nothing to do with the post, but I took it last weekend and liked the view. It's one of the many small lakes that are scattered around Michigan. Well, anyhow, today was totally different from yesterday. Yesterday was crazy (see yesterday's post for more) today was fairly quiet and peaceful. I did a little yard work -- as little as possible -- and spent a good part of the day on the computer. That, along with a few phone calls and some TV has made the day. I had the opportunity to see "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" which I thoroughly enjoyed. I think it's much better than Willy Wonka both in story line and in character development. Tomorrow the dog goes to the groomer and I'm having dinner with the tenants, and I think on Friday I am heading to Ben's. He's leaving town again on Sunday and I am heading up north to see family -- sure hope gas stays under 3 bucks for a few days anyhow. Keep us both in your prayers and thoughts as Ben's transition draws nearer and as I face some challenges in my jobs. There's changes on the horizon, but we aren't quite sure how they will all pan out and that's a tough place to be.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

A Frustrating Day

I think this picture will tell you what kind of day it was. It took nearly two years for my cell phone provider to figure out that I moved out of their network area -- duh!! Now they tell me that too many of my calls are out of network and that I need to change my usage. I had a better idea -- change providers! So, after 7 years and three phones, I spent hours on the phone and the web finding just the right phone and deal. After that I went to church to deal with canceling our AOL account -- and this picture is very accurate as to my attitude toward that process -- an hour and a half and three phone calls, a supervisor, some guess work, threats, and tears AND finally it is done. If you are an AOL'er -- good for you. I will tell you that the horror stories you hear are true -- "But this is all for your protection" really means, "If we can keep you confused and angry, you will hang up and we will be able to bill you for another month of overpriced service." After the run around today, I told the last customer service rep (and the nicest) that if they gave me a year's free service and a block of AOL stock, I would still cancel just because of the crappy service. But enough of that. Then I got to drive home in a deluge of rain -- much needed but harder than heck to see where I was going. YUCK!

Oh -- and the topper of all stupid stuff. I made a trip to KMart (a rarity for sure) for some stuff they had on sale. I actually found what I was looking for (also a rarity at KMart) and happily proceeded to the check out line where I discovered to my horror that I had taken all the credit cards out of the wallet and didn't have enough cash in my pocket. At least I made this amazing discovery BEFORE I got to the cashier. So I excused myself to the folks behind me in line and with as little attention as I could draw, put the items back and walked out emptyhanded (and apparently a little empty headed too). After all of the above fun, all I can say is that I am glad tomorrow is only a little ways off. Now if I could just be like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day and do today over (of course with full knowledge of what to change) everything would be perfect. But I expect that when I awake it will be Wednesday and there will be another whole day of excitement and challenge. Hang in there and be blessed.

Monday, July 10, 2006

A Very Tired Monday Night

Hi all; I'm gonna try ot keep this short 'cause I am pooped tonight. Sunday was church time, than home for awhile in the afternoon, then off to Ben's for his grand homecoming. It was wonderful to have him back on the ground in good old Michigan -- even though his flight was over an hour late. After some getting re-acquainted and debriefing (now get your minds out of the gutter -- we talked and snuggled a bit -- and they were boxers LOL) we turned in for the night. We slept kind of late and had a lazy start to the day, went out for breakfast, back to the house for a little bit, then I headed home. I wasn't home but about 2 hours and had to head out for a church meeting. It was after 10 when I got home, then checked mail and chatted a minute with Ben -- and here we are at 11 PM, ready to zonk out for the night. I took the attached picture in Ben's driveway last night -- these flowers are so pretty. Have a good day and hug someone special.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Saturday Night Live

No, not the TV show - just my post of the day. It was a good day -- spent some time at church doing prep work for upcoming services, then home to work on a sermon. Had a call from Ben which brightened my day. He sent me a picture of himself from Texas and it made me miss him all the more. By this time tomorrow night, I will be waiting at his house for his return and I suspect it will be a warm reunion -- though we may just cuddle up and sleep -- I know he will be exhausted. Just to have him home will be wonderful. It amazes me that, even though I don't get to be with him much during the week, I seem to miss him even more when he is away. I think the difference comes from the distance. When we are each in our own homes, we are still in decent driving distance (100 miles or so), but when he is out of state, there's no chance of being together in the moment. Call me a sentimental old fool, but there is comfort in knowing that I can jump in the car and be with him in less than 2 hours if he's home -- or I can even meet him halfway. Ah well, have to constrain myself until tomorrow night. Now it's time for me to go put finishing touches on tomorrow's service and get some sleep. Wherever your weekend plans take you, take time out for God AND take time to tell someone you love them -- and mean it! Blessings...

A Most Excellent Post

I was going to wait until later today to past, but I was surfing and found a most excellent post on another blog. David is an insightful and somewhat humorous writer whom I had never enountered before, but have now bookmarked for regular visits. Check out "Someone in a Tree". I hope that you will be as impressed as I was. Have a great day!!

Friday, July 07, 2006

A Few of My Favorite Things

1. Junk Food (Where would I be without it??)

2. Afternoon Naps

3. Nature -- Sunrise and Sunset are awesome

4. Love - It brightens two lives

5. The first good snow of the season - such beauty

A New Dawn, A New Day

Well, it amazes me how a night's sleep and change of view can improve one's situation. If you read my previous post, you know that yesterday was truly a day from Hell. Today I woke up - always a good start -- with a much brighter outlook. Things have gone very well today. I am in the midst of writing a sermon to be preached on Sunday, and yesterday I couldn't put two positive thoughts together. Today however the thoughts are flowing and I will have a draft finished in a short time, and tomorrow will polish and finish the task for presentation. God is awesome. I talked to Ben about 1 AM, and he continues to deal with the stresses and chaos of his outing with the kids from the church and with his co-chaperone. Keep him prayer that he has smoother sailing through the next couple of days. Whatever happens, he knows that I will be there for him as soon as he gets home. I suspect a lot of cuddling and holding, listening and caring is the order of events. I suspect that after being home a day or so, things will begin to have a normalcy. It will be time for him to focus on what lies ahead as he prepares for a major change in his life. I pray that whatever direction that change takes him, I might move in similar direction. A man as caring and decent as Ben is a prize to be treasured. Okay, so I get a little sappy now and then. I have to finish the sermon, teach a class at church tomorrow, prepare some resources for worship and do Sunday service before heading over to be there for Ben's return.

Whatever your plans are for the weekend, take time to celebrate the goodness of God -- attend the church of your choice, not so much to receive some thing new (though that is good) but to share your God given gifts and your faith. You see -- church is not about GETTING something, but about SHARING what God has already given and done in your life. See you in church.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Hell Expanding

Ben talked about the innermost circle of Hell as being in Texas, but after the day I'm having, I think that the borders have been extended to include this part of the world as well. It began first ting this morning with a tenant griping about something that was nothing at all (that's what some tenants seem to do for entertainment. That got some other tenants all up in arms, and I made a retreat (hasty but for the fact that my ankle was throbbing from being on it too much) for my apartment. Then I decided that the grass needed mowing, so I hobbled out and got the tractor out and went to work. I hadn't been out ten minutes when I rounded a corner where I always go and crashed (mildly thank God) head on into one of the tenant's cars (entirely my fault. Thankfully all I did was leave a little John Deere green paint on his bumper, but it upset me. After apologizing profusely and being assured that it was no big deal I got back to work. I went about another ten minutes and ran out of gas, so it was off to the gas station(speaking of hell)Where I experienced sticker shock once again. The price was up to 3.09 a gallon, so five gallons and $15.50 later I was back to mowing. I managed to finish the job without incident and came in to rest my ankle for a while. WELL, let's take advantage of the time and load some new software on the system -- wrong choice -- Satan struck again. It completely locked up my system to the point of a hard manual shut down -- twice. By now it was time to join some residents for dinner only to have one gripe that the AC was too cold, and the next saying it was too hot in there. EEEKK. Right now the sprinklers are trying desperately to save the browning grass and it's about time to relax with a movie -- as long as the DVD machine doesn't explode or something. All this and my two main bastions of sanity (Dan and Ben) are both out of town. Therapy beckons!! Hope your day is going better than mine.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Another Day

Well, I heard from Ben last night about 1 AM -- he made it safely to Texas. What a pleasure to hear his voice and to know that all is well.. Today was my day to kill some weeds and do a bunch of web updates and planning for church. I was going nuts trying to update blogs, only to find out that the problem was at blogger, not at my end. My ankle continues to be swollen and a bit sore, but it's doing better than yesterday. It has slowed me down a little -- guess I will try to mow the yard tomorrow. The more stuff I get done in the next few days, the better chance of having time to spend with Ben when he comes home. This was a pretty uneventful day, so I won't go on with this. Have a great day and be blessed.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Fourth of July Thoughts

Here we are on the fourth of July -- in the US commonly called(though not absolutely accurately) Independence Day. Oh yes, we remember the revolutionary War and the proud signers of the Declaration of Independence, we wave our flags (Funny though, I didn't see near as many as we used to see on the 4th), picnic, and watch fireworks displays. But do we give any real thought to independence and freedom? I believe that none of us is truly free until we are all free and equal in the eyes of both laws and society. Guess what? That is not the case on this 230th anniversary of the original independence day. There is economic oppression. There is oppression based on sexual orientation -- heterosexual couples who choose to exercise their freedom to marry immediately become the beneficiaries of in excess of 1000 individual rights and privileges that are not available to couples who desire to marry but are prevented by law -- even same sex couples who have been together in committed relationship for decades. Freedom? Independence? Why is it that we don't see as many US flags flying today? Gay and lesbian folks know oppression. People who read about the government eavesdropping on phone calls or making searches of dubious legality know the specter of oppression. The elderly and poor who can't afford decent health care or living conditions know oppression -- either intentional oppression or oppression by complacency. More and more our people are feeling powerless -- the job market continues to shrink and the gas prices (and in turn the prices of everything else) continue to rise. Entire groups of people are denied basic human rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and a burden of oppression is placed on them by well meaning politicians, religious groups and others. Thankfully, all is not as bleak as it may be. The flag that accompanies this post is a testimony to the fact that some of the oppressed are speaking out. But a few voices are not enough to stem the tide; freedom and independence take work. Freedom of speech comes only when we truly allow those with whom we disagree to state their cases fairly and honestly. Freedom of religion does not come from denying prayer in schools, but by allowing students to pray or not pray as they see fit. Freedom does not come by banning flag burning (A rather foolish and disrespectful act I think) but by allowing the free and equal exchange of ideas and information. Freedom comes though knowledge and through dedicated hard work to insure the dignity of every person who brings their uniqueness to our shores. When you think about it -- most of us (either the current generation or the past couple) came to this land to live in the freedoms that we profess today. Don't get me wrong -- I love the United States and I celebrate Independence Day, but I celebrate it by recognizing our imperfections and praying for the resolve to make a difference for the future. If we fall into the trap of thinking that we are perfect and all is well, then we are no longer free anyway. Make a difference -- stand for freedom

The Rest of the Weekend

Well, I just got back from Ben's and what a wonderful time we had together. After being together at my place on Sunday, we waited Monday morning for two service people (neither showed up -- took an extended holiday I guess). Then we headed out for the day. We stopped in one of our many state parks for some sightseeing which was cut short because it was drizzling rain and because I took the opportunity to be clumsy and twisted my ankle resulting in what I believe to be a minor (but uncomfortable) sprain. We headed home and shared the steaks that were there from the day before and had a pleasant evening of TV and just hanging out. Between last night and today we got him all packed to head off to Texas for the rest of the week. He's a little concerned about flying, but he's on his way. Now I 'm home and getting back into the week's routine. It's exciting to see that folks are checking out this blog from lots of places around the country and beyond. Take a look at the map to see where everyone is from.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Sunday Sunday

Well, I've been to church and to Home Depot (had to get weed killer before the weeds take over the yard). Church was alright, but it seemed that there wasn't much energy or excitement today --summer doldrums or something I suppose. I was excited by the fact that our new microphones (four of them) arrived. I spent a little time after service hooking them up and testing them out. I get to be the first one to use the system when I preach next Sunday. I got home and put a cake in the oven to share with Ben after dinner. He just called and is on his way here. The ribeyes that he talked about in his post are going to turn out to be spaghetti or whatever I rustle up -- guess we can have steak tomorrow night at his house. Actually, the menu doesn't matter nearly as much as having such a charming dinner companion. Tonight we will probably watch a movie (either DVD or on TV)and turn in early, although he may want to see "Pants Off Dance Off" on Fuse. It's one bizarre experience if you haven't seen it. Tomorrow I have a couple of things to do around the building, and then it's off to Ben's to help him get ready to head out on his trip. When I was asked by Mom why he needed help getting ready, I told her I needed to count the socks. Goodness knows that I didn't want to tell her everything. I mean she knows I'm gay, but I don't want to be in her face about it. So, once we get up in the morning I will count the socks HA HA. I was glad to see gas back under 3 bucks (paid 2.93 today -- better than the last purchase). That's all the news from here today -- have a great holiday weekend -- I will!!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Saturday Evening Post

No -- I am not posting the magazine. It is Saturday eveing and regardless of what the weather says, there was a fair amount of rain a little bit ago. It included two power blips that messed up all the digital clocks, the TV satellite, the computer, and me!! Now I have the dubious joy of resetting all those pesky clocks (none of which ever to be in synch with any other). It's been a day of lite cleaning and a little computer task or two, but mostly a day of goofing off -- isn't that what Saturday is for??

Tomorrow it's church in the morning (hope you all make it as well), some technical tasks at the church in the afternoon, and a fun filled evening with Ben. Not a bad way to spend a day. On Monday I will deal with some stuff job related and then head off to spend the evening and most of the holiday at Ben's before he heads out of town for the rest of the week.

If the power continues to stay on for the evening, I think I will curl up and watch Gone with the Wind on TV (don't you love those gowns of Scarlett's?). I hope that you all have a safe and happy holiday weekend and remember -- even though we take holidays, God doesn't -- see you in church.