Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Only 365 Days.....

If you take a look at the left side of this page, you will notice that I have restarted the Christmas Countdaown Clock. It is now 365 days til Christmas comes again. The fact that I have posted this info should send a few folks screaming from the room! But hey -- why not get started now? After all, I was in a major store on Saturday (three days before Christmas mind you) and what did I see? VALENTINES merchandise!!! That's right -- take out the Christmas cards and candy and replace them with Valentines cards and candy. I suspect it will only be a matter of a couple of weeks before we see Easter stuff! Why do we feel compelled to rush these celebration? Can't we just enjoy Christmas and its afterglow for a week or two without being hit up with the next celebration? Come on, retailers, give us a break!! Anyway, Merry Christmas to all. I hope you are being abundantly blessed today and always.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

I just want to take this opportunity to wish a joyous Christmas to all my readers. If you are offended by the depiction of the Nativity story -- clearly a Christian symbol -- I'm sorry, but Jesus is the reason that I celebrate. For those who are not Christian I still wish you a Merry Christmas. Take some time to live in the spirit of Christmas -- a spirit of joy, hope, love, togetherness, family, care and peace. I think that we can all agree on the importance of such lives in an otherwise whacked out world. For you and yours, then, may you blessed with joy, love, hope, and peace the Christmas and always. Merry Christmas!!

An ACLU Greeting?

I found this "ACLU Nativity Scene" when searching for a picture for a Christmas greeting. The funny thing is that the idea for this picture did not originate with the ACLU but with a Young Conserative group at a college in Texas. ULtimately another blogger took the idea and photoshopped a Nativity scene to produce it. I find it both humorous and a bit annoying, but I thought it was surely thought provoking! I will let you judge it for yourself.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Snow Day - Part Two

Well, Ben made it home safely - praise God, and the snow has subsided. Now he's at work and will be home late. Ah the joys of mulitple tasks in life. Thank you for the kind words and prayers. That is a good part of what blogging is all about for me. It brings a sense of community where we can voice our concerns and fears as well as our opinions. We can joke and cut up or just muse on life in general. The joy is that others read what we write and support us or call us to task -- hopefully in love and friendship. Oh we all get the occasional nut job comments, but even those say that someone took the time to read what we posted. Ah well, time to go watch "Diva Christmas Carol" with Vanessa Williams -- who plays the consummate bitch quite well. hug someone.

Snow Day

As I sit at home this Sunday morning during the first big snow of our winter, I worry about Ben. He headed out early this morning for a preaching engagement nearly 60 miles away. He called to let me know that he arrived safely, taking almost double the usual time for the trip. My worry is that the weather has not improved (It is still snowing and blowing) and he will need to make the trip back here this afternoon. I know that he is a responsible driver and that he will careful, but his small pickup bothers me on snowy roads AND I worry about the other drivers out there -- especially the "Rambo" types with SUV's and 4 wheel drive vehicles -- you know who I mean -- the ones who think they can go at breakneck speeds no matter what the conditions. You know, the ones we find in the ditches and medians or in accidents (or worse yet the cause of accidents for others). I opted to stay home this morning -- my great adventure was taking the dog to potty (she was not happy -- the snow was as deep as she is tall so she really did not take kindly to be asked to squat and pee. So, I sit here in the comfort of home, worrying about Ben out there -- and praying that the good Lord will see him safely home with no problems. It will be at least two more hours before he starts his trek back, so I can relax until then. The weather reports predict continuing lousy weather throughout most of the day -- at least the plows are out and the salt trucks are busy trying to stay ahead of the weather. I am sure that all will be well, but I can't help being concerned. That's what love is all about. Have a great day, stay warm, and hug someone special.

As American as Baseball

Well, the long awaited (by some) Mitchell Report on the use of steroids in baseball is now out. I was saddened to see the extent of the use of illegal and unauthorized drugs in the quest for victory in this long time American pastime. How sad -- these guys are people to whom our kids look up as heroes and role models. Scary! Now, the Mitchell Report from what I hear (I have not read the report) recommends not taking action against the players named as having used these drugs. I don't care if there is legal action -- that is for an authority much wiser than I to determine, but -- I do believe at the very least they should be stripped of all "records" (home run counts, games won, etc) AND there information should be removed from the annals of baseball history. Baseball, you see, was in my mind one of the last great bastions of honor, decency and fair play on the American scene. To see it tainted by cheating (and that is what the drug use amounts to) cheapens not only baseball but American culture as a whole. In a day when players have been kicked out and prosecuted for gambling on their own games, throwing games, and other offenses, to let illegal drug use go unpunished is just wrong. Additionally, what about the players who set great records without resorting to cheating? I am not a great baseball fan, but names like Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Don Drysdale, and other baseball greats are a part of my growning up experience. They worked hard and played the game with integrity and honesty, and they achieved greatness and, in one way or another, hero status. To see the same honors affording to drug crazed cheaters cheapens everything those greats of the past accomplished. Mr. Mitchell, thank you for your report. I respect your years of service and leadership in our nation, but I have to differ with you on your recommendation. There should be accountability for these players -- there would be for you or me. What makes them different? In fact, they should be held to the time honored higher standard of the American institution of baseball. And that, my friends, is the way I see it!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Events

Life is moving forward at a hectic pace. Work continues to aggravate and irritate, but at least (thank God) the job continues. Ben and I continue to struggle with finances and some amount of inaction on the job front. But on a bright note, I am about to be called as an Interim Pastor to one of our churches. This will be a one year part time post to prepare that congregation to move forward in calling a permanent pastor. It will be a time of reflection on the past, evaluation of the present, and focusing for the future. Pray for me -- this is something new. I know that by the end of that year, my toolbox of ministry skills will have expanded and prepared the way for bigger and brighter things. Yesterday I preached their worship service and then waded through a 90 minute "getting acquainted Q&A session." After being on the road and/or at church for a total of 7.5 hours I was POOPED upon my return home. Then we headed out shopping because one of the items I was looking for went on sale. It meant going to two different stores, but we got it. Then we went and had Chinese for dinner and headed home for TV Christmas movies and an evening to just relax. Take time out over the next couple of weeks -- for many the most hectic time of the year--to rest, to reflect, to enjoy each other and the season. If you miss getting that one "perfect" gift or if the decorations aren't just exactly right, so what? Christmas isn't about presents (isn't that a daring statement?), decorations, and parties. Christmas is about relationships -- between us and God and between us and each other. Take time to work on those relationships and Christmas will be a wonderful time. I don't expect any "It's a Wonderful Life" or "Miracle on 34th Street" moments, but I know that on Christmas day when Ben and I go celebrate with my family, I will look at him and know that he is a true gift in my life. There will be a sense of joy and fulfillment just in being together and experiencing anew the wonder of God's presence.

Didn't mean to preach, but as I said in the last post, it's been two weeks. LOL -- have a great day and hug someone special.

Life Marches On

Gosh, I just looked and realized that it's been nearly two weeks since I posted anything on this page. It's not that there is nothing to say or that I don't want to talk to anyone. I just get busy doing other things and put it off another day -- much like letter writing, dieting, exercising, and other such icky things LOL. The reality is that today I've been thinking about the latest rash of seemingly indiscriminate shootings at malls and now at churches. There have been trips to the mall recently where I was tempted (tongue in cheek) to shoot a few folks (or at least to invest in a cattle prod). While these kinds of rampages are just wrong no matter where they occur, I think they are especially wrong in houses of worship -- places of sanctuary. What has our world become when churches need to have armed security guards and people walk in with guns blazing? Where is the peace, the sanctity, the respect? I could make this all about gun control, but that would only address part of the problem. I think it more about self control. Our society is becoming anarchistic -- there is a pervasive attitude of "It's all about me." If someone hurts me, I somehow have the right to lash out at anyone and everyone. Why? What makes me responsible for your girlfriend dumping you or your employer shipping your job overseas? I wish I had the answers, but somehow we have to work together to overcome this pandemic of violence and self centeredness. It grieves my heart to think that someone could have sunk so low within his or her own mind that the lives of others become totally devoid of any value or meaning. During this holiday season, take a moment and at least breathe a prayer for those undergoing such stress and chaos in their lives. Pray for the families and loved ones of the vicitims of these senseless acts. Pray for the congregations and communities impacted by the violence. Seek after the promise of peace on earth. And that 's the way I see it today. hug someone

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Two Years and Counting

My goodness, how time flies when you are having fun. Today marks two years since my visit to Ben's house -- the visit that changed our lives forever. Over that two years, we have commuted between his house and mine, finally moved me to his house, and then together moved to our present location. His view of the world expanded dramatically that night and in the two years since. You'd never know that he was a "newbie"--he's a quick learner. Together we have worried and cried through the stuff with churches and jobs. Together we have experienced the coming out process anew and dealt with meeting the in-laws. Together we have dealt with the asshole neighbor from HELL (More on that in a moment). All I want to say besides restating the fact that I love Ben dearly is that even though HIS life changed dramatically, mine has as well. I think I am the luckiest guy in town to have him. There are times that he thinks he doesn't deserve me, but I disagree -- and I can't think of anyplace I'd rather be than at his side! Ben, here's to the past two years and to the many more to come -- I LOVE YOU.

Now, on to the neighbor. This is the one that Ben told you about a while back who wondered if we had fornicating pachyderms (look up the words if you can't figure it out)in our apartment. Last night, about 11:10 PM, right after we hit the bed, there came a knock at the door. I grabbed a robe and answered the door -- maybe I should have skipped the robe and shocked the snot out of him. There was the infamous downstairs neighbor complaining that it sounded like a herd of elephants (no expletives this time -- maybe fatherhood has cleaned up his potty mouth) and that our "stomping around" woke up the baby three times. Now -- here's the odd thing. Until 20 minutes before his knock, I was home alone watching TV. The most "stomping around" I did was to walk from the living room to the bathroom or kitchen and I didn't stomp. Perhaps the 9 pound poodle or the fat cats were having a dance in the bedroom. Who knows? Perhaps the reality is that the guy is a jerk whose life is so empty that all he can find to do is complain. If he would find a job, perhaps he would settle down. When he said that if it continued he would call the cops, I told him to go right ahead. Can you imagine? "Hello! Police department."; "Um, hi, I want to report my neighbors making a lot of noise."; "What kind of noise?"; "They are stomping around like elephants." Possibly after the laughter in the station house dies down, the police will either tell him to get a life, or they will come and ask about it. We would tell the truth and the downstairs guy would look like an idiot -- which would be appropriate since that is what he appears to be. We have been in touch with the office once again, and we are documenting all this crap. If it continues, the complex WILL have to do something -- either move us or kick his sorry butt out. Stay tuned for more.

Hope you all have a good day. Send happy thoughts our way as we continue to bask in the warm glow of new love. Honey, i love you a bunch. Y'all hug on someone.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007

Im Still Here

Hi all! Contrary to what you might think based on my lack of posts recently, I am still here. I haven't had a lot to say and there hasn't been a great deal of newsworthy activity in my life.

As I was driving home this afternoon, I was listening to NPR and they were doing a piece on an illegal alien who was deported (separated from his family) to Mexico. He managed to find a way to come back into the US (again illegally) and to make his way all the way to Massachusetts and his family. He had make himself sick with all the struggle and, before he was "home" for long, he died. Now this is a sad story. I extend my sympathies to his family and friends BUT! He was here illegally!!! He chose to take the risks and broke the law!! He was hired by a company in MA (now they are in legal trouble). Now I think that our immigration laws are a mess and need some revision. However, they are the current laws. I have been hearing debates about giving illegal aliens drivers' licenses. Proponents claim it is a safety issue. I claim that if the illegals can be found to give them the legal privilege of driving, then they can be found to be sent home - they are here taking advantage of jobs and services to which they are not legally entitled. Many of us have parents or grandparents who struggled and sacrificed to come to the US for a new beginning, but by and large they did it within the context of existing laws. If the proponents of the "rights" of illegal aliens would work within the system to overhaul the laws instead of excusing illegal entry or looking the other way, then perhaps things would get better and those who want to come to the US for the "American dream" could do so within the context of legal entry. There would be no need for the subject of the radio piece to hide. There would be no need for companies to hire illegals. I don't know all the answers, but in my opinion, to overlook the fact that these folks are criminals (yes, that's what they are -- lawbreakers) is to promote anarchy. If we can overlook immigration laws, what's next? Armed robbery? Murder? Ah well, as I said at the beginning, I'm still here and I still have an opinion. Hug someone.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

A Quiet Day at Home

Here we are -- Saturday. Ben is off at the Diocesan Convention for the day and I am sitting here just enjoying the luxury of not having to go anywhere or do much of anything. I would rather be doing it with Ben, but a down day is just what I need. Last night we attended the Diocesan banquet where the guest was the presiding Bishop of the ECUSA. It was very nice to be included in this event through the efforts of one of the local priests -- all I had to do was stand at the door and collect dinner tickets -- a whopping 20 minutes of "work" and then I got to enjoy the rest of the evening. It was great to be out in a public setting with my sweetheart and no one had a problem with it. Perhaps the Episcopal Church is the place to be.

Yesterday I got the bill for my recent overnight stay in the hospital. The bill was over 5600 bucks. I will be following up with the hospital social workers seeking some relief from this bill. Either that or they will be getting 10 dollars a month for the next 50 years.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

An Update

Hi all. Well, yesterday was the big day -- got to meet the new doc! Let's say this -- I wondered what he'd look like an a leather harness and chaps LOL. Seriously though he seems to very nice, caring, knowledgable, and right on top of all the latest technology. He has a paperless practice. The first thing I noticed when entering the office was the total absence of those banks of lateral files bursting with the file folders with the multicolor lettered tabs. All the charts and information are computerized. The receptionist (his wife) entered all my info into the laptop, took me and it back to the exam room and entered my vitals. Then the doc came in with his thinkpad thingy. He clicked buttons and punced away with his stylus. He even punched in a few things and in the blink of an eye had the records from my recent hospital visit. And then to top it off, he zapped my prescription to the pharmacist -- again no paper. It was so 21st century -- a little more technology and it will be StarTrek revisited. On to more important matters, he changed a medication and recommended a couple of tests. The good thing was that he left most decisions up to me based on my lack of insurance. He said that if I had insurance, I could have this test and that test etc. It makes me wonder again about our health care system. We can spend trillions of dollars on a war that 1) makes no sense and 2) is unwinnable, but we can't take care of the people in this country who do not have health insurance or gobs of money. Ah well, perhaps after the 2008 elections we can do a little something.

Anyhow, I am now in the care of a competent health care provider, on new meds, and hopefully on the road to a long and healthy life. Of course......with THIS doctor, I wouldn't mind a few office calls (LOL). Thanks for all the concern and kind thoughts. Hug someone!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Another Milestone

Well, today I did it. I called the doctor to whom I was referred following my recent hospital escapade. I figured out that it's a bit better to be in debt than to be in the ground. I spoke at length to the doc's business manager (his wife)and explained my situation (no insurance, no money, etc), but this doctor is new in practice and is more concerned with patient health than with rapid payment -- isn't that noble? He also makes house calls for a few select elderly patients and treats folks at a couple of nursing homes 30-50 miles away. Sounds like a good guy. Watch for details next week -- perhaps this will be a good thing - we shall see....

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

An Adventure or A Misadventure

Well, this week I have had an encounter with our ever failing medical system and I am both pleased and furious. Yesterday morning I awoke feeling like crap -- kind of dopey and having intermittent strong chest pains. I, being me, decided to tough it out and let it pass and off I went to work. About half way to work the pain was mid-level on the 1-10 pain scale, but I pressed on. The pain subsided, but left me feeling bad. I ended up leaving work at lunch time (actually I went to lunch and could hardly stand the sight of food)and headed home. The pains were back though not quite as severe. As I sat at home worrying the heck of Ben, I finally decided that these pains had lasted long enough. I sought out a "doc in a box" (also called an urgent care clinic). Walking in the door cost me $90! Add to that a $50 EKG, and I was instructed very strongly to go to the ER. Well, I was worried enough that I actually did just that. The pleased feeling I referred to above was born out of the attitude and care I received at the clinic and at the hospital. Everyone I encountered with the exception of the receptionist at the clinic was considerate and compassionate, seeking to identify the source of suffering. The other side of the coin is the constant questions about my regular physician and my health care history. I am one of the ever growing thousands with no health insurance in this country. I don't even want to think about the hospital bill I racked up -- two more EKGs, a stress test, a couple of blood tests, and chest Xrays (just for starters) plus the cost of overnight hospitalization. The good news is that they didn't find anything wrong with my heart. The bad news is that they didn't find anything wrong. Yet, I sit here feeling mediocre, not knowing why, and facing a mountainous medical bill. Add to that a day and a half off work. And then there were the discharge instructions to -- you guessed it -- follow up with local doctors. Somewhere someone doesn't get it. If I could afford (with or without insurance) to do that, I would have been doctoring all along and never would have been in ER. To those who have good insurance and are opposed to nationalized health care -- think again! Oh, it is true that I could right now have some kind (not very good) health insurance, but the premiums are prohibitive. Why is it that in the "most advanced country in the world" people have to make choices between paying the rent or going to the doctor? Why is it that we can spend mulitple trillions on senseless wars, but we deny our needy children the care they need? Can someone explain it to me, so that I will be able to tell my grandson about the good old days when people cared?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

A Long Past Due Post

Well, it's been a good while since my last post. By the time I get through the workday, I am sick of any computer activity that requires serious thought. It is Saturday morning and Ben is at work. I will pick him up later and head to my "niece's" wedding. Now -- niece is in quotes because 1) she is the daughter of my sister-in-law (a blended family), 2) I hardly know the girl (probably seen her about three times in her life and then only briefly, 3) I don't particularly like her and really don't like her mother, and 4) I'm not big on hetero weddings when there are millions of loving same gender couples who are denied this basic right. In case you can't tell, I really don't look forward to going. But it is a family obligation so off we go. At least Ben is going with me and no one seems to have a problem with that. If anyone does, they will have to get over it. By the way, we (Ben and I) will not be doing the Hokey Pokey or the Chicken Dance.

I discovered something about people yesterday as I stood in an inordinately long line at McDonalds. I learned again about "personal space". It was fun watching people get in line, leaving a two to four foot gap between people. Every once in a while, a person would break ranks and move a bit closer. It was funny watching the reactions to such invasions. People shifted, glanced nervoulsy and so on, but people didn't seem to speak to each other. It appeared that the women in line were more willing to close the gap than the men. As I pondered all this, I realized too how few people anymore know their neighbors beyond the possibility of an occassional perfunctory wave. Where is the togetherness that we should be experiencing? Are we all up tight, too busy, frightened, incapable of social intimacy, or what? How sad!

On a bright note, it appears after record heat earlier in the week, Fall has arrived. It was down in the 30s last night and only in the 50s and low 60s the past few days. That simply means that winter is around the corner.

Anyhow, that's what new in my world, how about yours? Hug someone!!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Axe Swings Again

If you read my recent post about being a temporary employee, etc., today was the epitome of what I meant in that post. This week has been Customer Service Appreciation week at work and we have had different theme days, food, contests, and other events to celebrate quality customer service. This afternoon, in the midst of all this hoopla, two of my close co-workers and good friends get the proverbial axe. One of them had just won a small prize in the raffle drawing. Go figure. Thankfully, I managed once again to escape the swinging axe, but one of the folks that got it has been here two years. And of course, the ones who yak all day, take excessive smoke breaks, and generally goof off are still here. How does that compute? Doesn't make sense to me, but then I am neither employer or client, so for the time being I keep on doing my job. That's a little hard to do with a positive outlook in light of that ever present axe. EEK!

Monday, October 01, 2007

What Do You Think?

I have been working my temp job since January and it looks as though it might continue for the foreseeable future. This is good news, especially on payday and when the bills are due. However, the fact remains that, since it is a temp job, any day could well be my last. I live with that eventual probability on a daily basis. I know that is one of the down sides of temp work. The temp-ermance (How's that for a word?) of it is a known factor and I accept that. That is not my issue. The issue at hand is that the company where I am working keeps talking about being a team, and about "world class service" and all that happy stuff. We are expected to be prepared for internal and external audits. They plan "events" like potlucks, dress up days, dress down days, theme days, and more. They treat us in many respects as permanent employees -- BUT we are not permanent any more than snow is permanent on the ground. People wonder why I question the need to be ready for audits or why I care less about dressing up to impress some corporate bigwig who will never happen down my row anyway. If they are going to treat us in actions and expectations as permanent employees, then why not hire us and give us a reason to give a crap about their goals of "world class service."? Why doesn't the leadership recognize the skill sets we bring to their business? When is an employee not an employee? When it suits the business. I won't say "employer" because my employer of record is the temp agency through whom I work. That's the company that should be expecting things of us and including us in things -- not their client! That's the way I feel, and today I feel it as much as anything? What do you think?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Senator Craig Back in the News


Well, as I suspected weeks ago, Sen. Craig is again backtracking on his announced decision to resign from he US Senate in the wake of his bathroom arrest in Minnesota. Please understand that whether or not he resigns is not the core issue and whether or not he solicited sex is not the core issue either. At issue here is a far greater principle -- that of integrity. Senator Craig announced publicly that he would resign his Senate seat on September 30. Then a few days later he amended that to say "may resign". Now he is saying that he will not resign until the Minnesota court rules on his request to reverse his guilty plea. If I lived in Idaho, I would be asking myself, "What else is Larry Craig saying that I cannot believe?" The man has exercised poor judgment and wavered throughout the course of this silly issue. He plead guilty and then backtracked saying that he just did it to hush it up. He seems to want to blame anyone and everyone rather than step up and say, "I did something wrong." It is not unlike a certain Democratic President who lied about sex in the Oval Office. Again, I don't care that the sex occurred -- more power to them all. Sex is healthy. What I care about are two things: 1) the perceived need to lie about it, and 2) the American public clamoring to condemn people for doing the same things that many of them are doing. The difference is a matter of position and of who gets caught. Anyway, a note to Senator Craig: "Make a decision, announce it, and stick to it." Integrity and trust are next to impossible to regain once they are damaged. If you are going to resign, do it. If not, take the high road and say something like, "My earlier announcement was hasty; I made a mistake; please forgive me." and then stand by it regardless of the consequences. Your wavering and backtracking damages not only you but the integrity and respect of all elected officials. AND that's the way I see it.

Friday, September 21, 2007

It Is Finished

It is finished and so are we -- we emptied the house today and now the apartment is all but impassable with boxes and the endless stream of stuff. But with the exception of a couple of items still in the truck, the steady stream of trips up and down stairs is done. Tomorrow we dig into boxes and start to move things into their appropriate places. I think that closets and cabinets will be bursting at the seams, but we will make this all work out and this will be home for at least the next year. Life will begin to have some normalcy to it -- praise God. It was weird leaving the house for this, the last time. Ben hung in there, though I know it is a tough time for him. He is so much stronger than even he realizes. Now that we are out of the house and the memories -- good and not so good -- that it held, we can begin to forge forward in our life together. Thanks to all you good folks who kept us in thought and prayer through this whole process. More later.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Word for the Day Is "Exhausted"

You may have noticed that this blog has been pretty silent this week. That is because I leave the apartment a bit after 7AM to head to work. After an 8 hour day, I head to the house to help Ben pack up another load (There have been so many!!), and then back to the apartment, often getting home after 8 or even as late as 9. Besides the time, the house is 2 stories plus attic and basement and the apartment is a third floor walk up. That ought to tell you how physically exhausting each load can be. I am so in need of a down day just to rest and regroup. Actually, we both are and it will come soon. If you check Ben's page, he presents a photo of one room in the apartment -- boxes everywhere. Multiply that by another bedroom, the living/dining room, and the hallway and you can imagine the seemingly endless sea of "stuff." I am hoping that today's load will just about complete the task. There is literally no more space in the apartment. I need some time to get stuff put in drawers, closets, and secret hiding places so that we can get the job done. The poor animals are almost at a loss for places to lay about as are we. We got the great cable package with the HD receiver for the living room TV -- guess what? The LR is so crowded right now that we can't sit there and enjoy the superb quality TV. Besides, there's hardly time to watch it anyway. Even though we are both physically and mentally fried, we both seem to handling things pretty well. Ben has moments of bittersweet--his life has gone through so much loss and turmoil over the time we've been together. Yet he presses on. What is truly amazing to me is that throughout this grueling process there has not been one cross word or moment of disagreement. That, my friends, tells me that either this relationship is right or else we are both some zombied out that nothing matters. I can tell you this - the first option is the right one. Perhaps this weekend things can slow down just a bit and we can concentrate on making our new digs "home". Watch our blogs for more pics as the place becomes presentable. Hug someone and stay happy!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Settling In and Trying to Regroup

Well, the bulk of the big move has been accomplished. We loaded up the big truck yesterday morning and met my sister and her husband at the new place in the early afternoon. Thank God they were here to help. My knee cooperated up to a point -- thank God for Aleve. Ben says, "Oh, now you can do permanent damage to your knee and not even feel it." We are butt hole deep in boxes and there is still a lot of little "stuff" in the house to move over here. Plus we need to get Ben's glass supplies out and to the new "studio". So this week appears to be another week of fun and frolic. BUT we are here and, as you might have read in Ben's blog, already locked horns with the downstairs idiot -- I mean -- neighbor. Hopefully I have here clothes and stuff for work tomorrow; if not, they get what they get. There's still some "fluffing" to do (pictures on the walls, a few more nicknacks, etc., but this is now home and it will be so until the lease is up or something major breaks in Ben's journey. Stay tuned for more fun details. Try to get some rest and hug someone special. I'm pooped!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Another Step Closer to Moving

Yesterday we had our big moving sale. We sold a lot of stuff and made a few bucks. Among the items sold were the stove and refrigerator (pick up is Monday), so we are scrambling to move the kichen stuff so we have at least a place to keep some frozen stuff. On the other hand, the spare microwave didn't sell, so we can at least heat up our take out food (I suspect a high amount of eating out this week.). I can tell you all that a yard sale is a LOT of work. Thanks to our good friend Annette who came and helped price and sell. The best part of friends helping with yard sales is that they tend to buy -- and Annette was no exception. LOL. Plus she and her pals got a lot of the rocks and stuff from the yard. Today, Ben is preaching in a nearby town. He took off without some stuff he needed, so I made a speedy trip down to deliver the stuff. Then I came home and packed up about a third of the kitchen stuff for a moving trip later in the day. Then it's back to work for both us tomorrow. Where did I ever get the idea that weekends were for rest and renewal? I'm going back to work tomorrow to rest!! Anyway, have a great rest of the day and hug someone special!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Weekend Report

Ben has posted pictures from our weekend getaway to Mackinaw (or Mackinac), so I won't post any now. Go take a look--there's some neat stuff there. After signing the lease on the new apartment on Friday and moving a bunch of stuff in, we were pooped out on Saturday night. Ben preached on Sunday morning and then we headed north. Sunday morning I did something to my left knee, and it hurts to bend or twist it -- made walking lots of fun. Anyhow, we headed out and drove north. As we often do, we got off the freeway and hit some back roads. We re-visited some spots from Ben's past and then headed on the Cross in the Woods Shrine. It was actually much nicer than I expected. It was awe inspiring without being overdone, though I still thought it a bit much. Then we headed the rest of the way and found the campground. We got camp set up and headed out for dinner and wandering around Mackinaw City for a while. Then it was back to camp for a really good night's sleep in preparation for the big walk. We got to Mackinaw City about 7 and finally got off the shuttle bus at the north end of the bridge in St. Ignace about 9. After standing in the potty line for a while and taking care of business (no place to pee for the next five miles) we struck out along the bridge. It was beautiful and it was kind of awesome to see that large number of people paricipating. By the time we finished, I had two blisters and my knee was screaming. BUT I did have a really good time and I would love to do it again (maybe next year). Then we had lunch, headed back to the U.P. to visit the Mystery Spot (a real tourist trap I thought). Then it was time to head south -- with LOTS of other travelers. Once again, we got off the freeways and headed down backroads. I don't know if it was faster or not, but it was far less stressful. Ben was wonderful (always with a sense of adventure and always showing concern for my wimpy ailments). I just gotta tell you all -- I got very lucky when he came into my life! I wouldn't trade him for anything!

Some folks think that it was silly of us to take the time away from moving over the weekend, but I say it was exciting, fun, and therapeutic -- well worth any sacrifice of time and money. Today it was back to work -- ten hours -- much work to make up from being away yesterday. Our European clients don't celebrate Labor Day so the work went on. That's the way it is today -- enjoy one another and give someone a hug.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Partly Cloudy on a Bright Sunny Day

Here it is Sunday morning and the sun is shining. Ben is off to church, and I will likely go for the 10 AM service about as soon as I finish this post. I had a wonderful night's sleep, and we head north for the bridge walk later in the day. The lease is signed and we've moved a few things already. I should be feeling upbeat and anticipating the day and the future, right? Maybe I should, but, alas, I'm not. I feel as though about half of my posts here are real downers, but I count my readers among my friends and confidantes -- SO -- you get to hear it all. I am sitting here this morning in a real down mood with no apparent or specific cause. I have borken down and cried twice and am having a heck of a time getting motivated. I know that I am dealing with a fair level of depression, but I also know that I will just have to deal with it. Therapy is beyond my means at the moment. Ben is great at being supportive and caring about my well being. Just sitting here and writing this post is helping the sun begin to pierce my clouds and darkness, but it is a tenuous sun. I know that once we get on the road this afternoon, I can put all of the transition and upheaval out of my mind for a few hours and relax a bit. Then perhaps I can truly enjoy the beautiful day. I guess it's off to the shower and on the way to church for me now. Thanks as always for listening to my whine list. You all are more comfort than you realize. Thanks for being there for me. Hug someone and let them know how special they are. Happy Labor Day!!!

Friday, August 31, 2007

The Big Day

Well, here we are on the big day -- we just got back from signing the lease for the new apartment and moving a few things in. I thought I would never get there -- as it was I was 15 minutes later than the latest time I gave them earlier in the day. Traffic was == well, just say it was a lot of it. The lease was a normal legal document that went on and on. The scary parts were the info on late payments and early move outs. If the rent is late, it will cost us well over 200 bucks extra (the full market rent plus fees). If we vacate early, it costs 1200 bucks plus all remaining rent due plus reimbursement of all previously received discounts. If something happens that we need to move, it would be cheaper to leave the place empty and pay the rent. All in all, the event went without a hitch and the move has begun. There was one hitch when a dining room chair jumped out of the truck on the freeway -- other than cosmetic damage, it is fine. Ben pulled over and collected the chair and went on his way. Thankfully there wasn't a lot of traffic when it happened. He must have found the route without traffic. I guess I forget that it was Friday afternoon of a holiday weekend -- YUCK. I was frazzled when I got to the apartment. After moving the first load, we got some dinner and headed home. Tomorrow will be at least one more load and then Sunday will have us on the way to the bridge. Hope you all have great holiday plans.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

So What About Senator Craig?

By now, the name Larry Craig seems to be a household word. In case you haven't heard (What cave have you been in?), Senator Craig has come under fire since the revelation of his having pled guilty to a misdemeanor as a result of his restroom caper. Anyway, now there are calls for his resignation from the Senate. These calls are coming from all sides and for all kinds of reasons. So what is the issue here? Is it hyprocrisy? Senator Craig's voting record on GLBT issues is surely not reflected in his alleged behavior. Senator Craig is far from the only hypocrite in elected office. Many elected offices would be vacant if all the hypocrites were cast out. Is it the fact that he has pled guilty to a misdemeanor? If so, then apply the same rule across the board -- kick out any elected official who has ever committed any misdemeanor. Is it perhaps the TYPE of midemeanor? Well, how different are Senator Craig's actions from those of elected officials who consort with prostitutes? Yet, no one seems to be calling for those folks to resign. Is it that Senator Craig MAY (I did not say IS) be gay or bisexual? If that is the root reason, it is nothing but blatant homophobia. I would hope that Senator Craig has been through the wringer enough over this to reconsider his far right conservative stance on GLBT issues. Perhaps -- just maybe -- his votes would be more balanced. It's amazing how people come to a better understanding of the issues when they land at their own doors. Based on his voting record, I don't much like the Senator. I don't really approve of what he is said to have done. Do I think he should resign? That much depends on the reason. Whatever "rule" is applied in this situation should be applied across the board. The halls of Congress will rattle with the sounds of skeletons in closets everywhere. It is a sad day in this country when people, news media, and colleagues swarm like vultures and move in for the "kill". Senator Craig's political career is pretty much over. His conservative constituency will not likely re-elect him. Why not let him finish his term and then go home to deal with the consequences (and meaning) of his situation? That's how I see it. Have a great day.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A Week of Fun and Business

Well, here we are on Tuesday of what promises to lead to a very busy weekend and begin a series of very busy days over the next several weeks. On Friday, we sign the lease on the new apartment and begin moving. Now most people would take advantage of the three day holiday weekend to make the move, but not us! We will do some moving and packing on Friday and Saturday, but on Sunday after church we will head north to the Mackinaw area where we will camp Sunday night in preparation for the 50th anniversary Mackinac Bridge Walk. We will head to St. Ignace on the north end of the bridge, and with thousands of others, we will walk the five miles south across the bridge to Mackinaw City. Once we do that and do a little touristy stuff, we will head home and begin packing and moving in earnest. We are looking at doing a yard sale the next weekend and doing the big move on the 15th (Want to come and help?). By the 22nd, we should be completely out of the house and beginning to settle in in our new digs. Perhaps by the time October comes, we will be ble to stop and breathe. Keep us in your thoughts as we make this transition. We are hoping and claiming that, even though we are losing our first home together, this will be a good move and a new beginning for us all. Take a moment and hug someone.

Friday, August 24, 2007

A Puzzling Question

What is it about the overseers of public restrooms that makes them think that those huge rolls of narrow stiff paper (so called) are beneficial to anyone's butt? I can understand the logic that it is probably cheaper than Charmin or AngelSoft, but it takes about three times as much of that underprocessed tree bark to do the job and probably ends up costing more. It's enough to make one want to carry a private stash of real toilet paper for those emergency moments. I guess it's not an important issue, but it's another of life's great mysteries.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Next Step


We often make fun of signs like the one to the left, but this one is becoming a reality for us. Yes, we found a place to move to when we vacate the house next month. Subject to approval and such, we will take possession of a 1000 sq ft. 2 bedroom 2 bath third floor apartment. It's balcony is in the upper left corner of the building in the accompanying picture. We were kind of driving by and saw the place so we stopped to look. Actually we went to the Melon Festival (yes, there is such a thing) and wandered around some booths and watched about thirty seconds of the parade first. Then we went back and looked at the apartment. They are running super specials right now which will make our move much more possible. They are waiving the pet deposit and additional pet rent, giving a free months' rent, discounting the rent by almost 25 percent for the first year, and waiving some or all of the standard security deposit. So now it is time to really dig into sorting, packing, throwing, selling, giving, etc. all our crap and getting ready for the big move. We should be doing the big move the weekend after Labor Day. We are now a step closer to know what's going on in the world for our future. HOORAY.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Life is Tough

Well, it's been 10 days since I posted, and what a time it's been. I have come to realize even one more time that life is tough and I am really tired of the uphill battles and struggles. Between stress and trials at work, medical stuff, two or three customer service battles, and the crisis we are facing in housing, income, and future, I am exhausted. I begin to wonder what's the point?. So far this post is pretty vague, but there's a few examples to follow, so keep reading.

Last Sunday I ended up at the local urgent care clinic with a blood pressure that should (If I had insurance) landed me in ER. Instead the doctor lectured me, gave me two prescriptions, and instructed me that any pain would a sign to head to ER. More than 100 bucks later, I was home resting. Things are calming down thanks to medicine. What bothers me with this whole story is that I have needed to visit the doctor and deal with medical issues for months, but without insurance the costs are restrictive or prohibitive. When is this country going to realize the depth of the health care crisis?

Then there's been the week at work. The company where I am working has changed Contract Houses for Temps. That means I have a new employer. Now, you would think that all the wrinkles would have been worked out BEFORE they actually made such a major change. Yeah, in a perfect world. Today ends the first full pay period and it was on Friday that we received info on how to enter our time -- now we will wait until Monday morning (the deadline for reporting time) to see if it all works. On top of that, the project I'm on is getting stupid! When it started, it was supposed to be for about a month -- that was a month ago Friday. At least two or more times a week, we are on a conference call with our colleagues in Malaysia and Europe receiving more training (hmm -- a month in and more training -- doesn't sound quite so temporary). The most recent training was for a task for which we don't have the required file accesses. SO -- Why train us for something we aren't able to do? Would make more sense to me to get the access first and then train us and let us do the work. The stress level on the job is a key factor in the blood pressure battle I am certain.

On Monday, I took the new car in for service. I bought it the end of May with 25400 miles on it, and have put about 4000 miles on it. The service advisor informed me that it was time for the 30000 mile service at a cost of nearly 600 bucks. I blew my cork -- that should have been done as part of their "certified pre-owned vehicle" process. I called HONDA's national customer service number where I spoke with an agent who appeared to have not cared less. Between this experience and others with the dealership and corporate, I informed them in that call and by mail that I would not purchase another HONDA. I love the car, but if they don't care about their customers, then I will seek a manufacturer who does. Of course, it will be years before that threat (or promise) will be exercised, but I did let them know that I would be sharing the story with LOTS of people.

On top of all that is the reality that in just 6 weeks Ben and I have to be out of the house. We have no idea where we are going, whether Ben will have a job, how we are going to pay for a place or a move, what to keep and what to sell, etc. It's like moving in the dark!

My most likely reaction to all of this is to pretend none of it is happening -- I think they call that avoidance. But, with deadlines rapidly approaching and bills still arriving, avoidance would be deadly. So, I try to deal with each piece of the puzzle as it comes. Ben is wonderful in putting up with me, but I know that he is as much a basket case as I am. It seems that when I'm down, he's okay, and when I'm okay, he's down. We support each other and do the best we can. There's no quick solutions and this is not a bid for sympathy or anything like that. It's just me sharing where my life is going. If you are a praying person, keep us in prayer. Beyond that, it will all work out somehow -- it just seems too hard. Anyhow, hug someone special and have a great weekend.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Ten Things That Piss Me Off

1. Those guys who wear their baseball caps backward! What do they use for brains?
2. The drooping pants look showing off the underwear and more!
3. People who throw cigarette butts and garbage out the car window – pick it up!
4. Inaccurate grammar – most of it is just laziness.
5. Cashiers who can’t seem to count change but rely totally on what the register says!
6. Folks who seem to have missed the turn signal option on their cars!
7. The drivers who speed up to pass you only to slam on the brakes to exit in a matter of yards.
8. So called religious folks who deny love and compassion to certain people or groups.
9. Incompetent parents – you know the ones I mean!
10. People who “flip people off” in traffic = how ignorant is that?

That's my current list of pet peeves -- what are yours?

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Saturday Fun



It's Saturday and for us that means a play day. Today we started out at the ArtFair in nearby Williamston (it was pretty much a YAWN). From there we headed out for the small town of Elsie (yes, there is one) to see the cow pictured above. Ben has been spending time on Roadside America finding all the oddball attractions in the area. It was fun -- weird, but fun. From there we headed east and a bit north to Frankenmuth -- first to Bronners for our regular dose of Christmas (Yes, Lemuel, it is coming!) and then into town for lunch, sightseeing and shopping. I managed to get a good shot of the covered bridge while the paddleboat was coming under it. We headed to the mirror maze which was mindblowing. Notice the picture of Ben (and his evil twin LOL). We came back hone tired but somehow recharged as well. Ben preaches in the morning and on Monday it's back to work for me -- with a new boss and a new contract employer -- so having this play day was excellent therapy. Hope your weekend is going as well as ours. Hug someone special.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Get Ready

Today is July 25 which means there's just five more shopping months til Christmas. Time to clean your acts, everyone and get busy shopping. Merry Christmas in July.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

A Trip to Hell




Ben and I headed out to go to the annual (our 2nd) Ann Arbor Art Fair today. The festival was great and crowded, and the weather cooperated nicely. On the way to Ann Arbor we made our second trek to HELL -- Hell, Michigan that is. The last time we went to visit, the town was awfully quiet and the souvenir shop was closed. Today everything was open and I managed to get Ben's photo in his true light -- the tour guide from Hell (Just kidding -- he's really an angel). I guess you could say that we went through Hell to get to the art fair LOL.

As a side note, I saw the height of gutsiness in the parking lot at the fair. We parked and headed toward the shuttle bus stop when I realized I left my hat in the car. I went back to get it and there was a young woman standing there leaning on my car chatting with her friend. She looked and stood up saying, "Oh this guy is leaving." Just to be chatty, I let her know that I was only getting something out of the car. As I turned to leave, she was back leaning on my car again. My passive agressive nature came out as I remarked, "Why don't you just go ahead and lean on my car a while?". If I were leaning on someone else's car (highly unlikely), and they came back, I would straighten up and apologize, and I for sure wouldn't go back to leaning against the car. This woman, however, didn't seem to have any problem hanging out on my car. She didn't hurt anything, but there is a principle of respect for other peoples' property here. Ah well, people will be people.

The greatest part of the day was coming home and finding an email letting me know that I don't need to go to work tomorrow. If you read my previous post, you will know what a relief that email was for me. Of course, the realtor called and is having an open house tomorrow afternoon -- good grief, time to clean and hide stuff in closets. I sure hope that someone shows up to look -- and maybe make an irresistible offer. Who knows? It could happen. Hug someone and have a great day.

Another Week From HELL

It's been a week from Hell at work == again. I have found myself pushed to tears of anger and frustration a couple of times, sometimes even feeling unable to even function for several minutes at a time. Now, the work I am doing is not particularly difficult and the physical environment is acceptable. The money isn't bad either. However, the management (?) philosophy and practice leaves much to be desired. The management of the company in general (as I have said before and Ben has mentioned in his posts) is problematic, but the management of my current project is beyond organized chaos -- the term "torential turmoil" comes to mind. We are processing work for our European clients. This has involved several conference calls and webmeetings for "training", adding access to several software applications, and more. Of course, the training and the software never seem to coincide, so that by the time we get what we need to do the work, the work has changed. We are being called on to work 10 hour days and weekend hours to catch up the European backlog. The interesting (and ironic) thing is that European labor laws severely limit the number of hours workers can work and weekend work is nearly unheard of. So -- we are being called to work excessively to complete the work of people who aren't allowed to do extra. Go figure. Now, if I were a permanent employee, I might have some interest in the success of this endeavor. However, being a temporary contract employee, the future of this company means little or nothing to me. However, if I refuse the extra time or complain about the work, I could be gone in sixty secconds. I think what is so horribly upsetting is the feeling of powerlessness. Short of quitting -- and losing needed income -- there is nothing I can do to change the situation. To top it off, we learned this week that all of the temps are being transitioned from the agency we've been working through to a different temp provider. Again, what is the choice? I can either sit back and accept the stuff being thrown or I can quit. The upside of this is an increase in my hourly wages. However, there is no holiday pay or vacation pay or anything extra. I suppose it's a fair trade off but it's all a decision in which I have no say. Hmmm! Do I sense a pattern?

On top of all this, I received a rejection for the fulltime position that I was hoping for in the Boston area. As with most rejections, there was the "Thank you" and the "we've selected a different candidate" statements with no explanation or suggestion as to what might be lacking or how I might improve my resume or my skill set. Go figure. I am dying to see who got this position. My guess is that it will be a woman -- this is a position that I have been following for a few years -- I have applied for it twice and been rejected. Interestingly, over the past six years, there have been either five or six people in the position. It's either a horrid job or the employer doesn't have a clue as to how to hire people. I offered to sign a two year contract to provide some stability, but that fell on deaf ears.

Anyway, it's time to end this rant. Suffice it to say -- this week has sucked on many levels. Hopefully, next week will be better -- we shall see. Thanks for listening to my tale of woe. Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

What a Weekend

Well, the long awaited trip to Iowa is now history, and I am pleased to report that a good time was had by all. Ben has posted some of his pictures and here's a few of mine. Pictured to the left is the farmhouse featured in the movie "Field of Dreams." It was a real thrill to visit the location where most of this timeless classic was made. I got to walk the ball field and out into the corn just like those in the movie.


Ben hung out for this shot with Shoeless Joe Jackson. The primary purpose of the trip was to delived the stained glass piece that Ben made for his parents. It was also my opportunity to meet the family -- parents, siblings, some of the spouses, kids, and others. Everyone was great and no one made me feel like an oddball (any more than I already am LOL)
After the Field of Dreams we went to Galena, Il (also featured in FOD as Chisholm, MN) to visit the home of President US Grant. I find Presidents and their homes and museums fascinating and Ben, his sister and nephew, and a good friend were kind enough to indulge me. After visiting the home (and falling in the front yard) we wandered around downtown Galena and shopped and ate and just had a fun afternoon. Then it was back to the house for a cookout with the family.
It was great to be able to see the city and the Mississippi River by night. This picture was taken from one of the many bluffs overlooking the river. The picture quality isn't all that great, but you get the idea of the awe I felt at seeing the sight. Ben drove me up hills and over ridges and it was more fun than a roller coaster.

On Sunday we went to Ben's sister's home which happened to be on the route of the local "July Festival" parade. The rose pictured here is growing in her yard, and I was struck by its beauty. The parade was full of fire trucks and tractors, and tractors, and tractors...... It really good to spend time just relaxing.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

What Kind of Liberal Are You?

Here's my results; how about you?
How to Win a Fight With a Conservative is the ultimate survival guide for political arguments

My Liberal Identity:

You are a Working Class Warrior, also known as a blue-collar Democrat. You believe that the little guy is getting screwed by conservative greed-mongers and corporate criminals, and you’re not going to take it anymore.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Happy Independence (?) Day

The land of the free and the home of the brave! Is it? As we sit here on the eve of Independence Day I wonder how free we are and how brave we are. Freedom exists in this country for some, but not for all. I am not free to go to work and talk about Ben as fully as others talk about their other gender partners or spouses. I would likely lose my job -- not for being gay, but for some obscure or unidentified and unspoken reason. We cannot walk down the street hand in hand or arm in arm or sit in a restaurant touching one another in any way -- you know, the way hetero couples do without even thinking about it. If they do it, it's natural. If we do it, we are throwing our perversion in their faces. Freedom? NO. People of different ethnic backgrounds don't have the same freedoms as the rest of us. Some are assumed to be thieves or worse, some are painted as terrorists. Freedom? NO. However, we do enjoy more freedoms than folks in many other parts of the world. There is great inequity as well. If you are connected to those in power, you don't have to do the jail time for your crime. If you are a celebrity, you end in jail for three weeks for DUI's and somehow are miraculously transformed upon your media blitz release. Hmm.

As to bravery, there are too few people today with the bravery that was inherent in our founding fathers. They risked their reputations, their resources, and their lives to stand for the ideal of freedom for all. Today, it seems to be everyone for him or her self and every one else be damned. What a sad commentary of 231 years of the celebration of freedom.

Tomorrow as you eat your hot dogs or steaks and watch the fireworks, stop and take stock of your own life and ideals. Are you free? Are you willing to stand for the freedom of your neighbors regardless of their gender, class, race, economic standing or anything else? Are you brave enough to speak your mind when your government does stupid, wrong, unethical things? If so, celebrate and rejoice in freedom. If not, what better time to re commit to the ideals that birthed these United States?

Have a happy and safe fourth of July.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Kind of Gross I Thought

Monday

Well, folks, today was the first day live on the new phone support project at work. I had a whopping two calls in eight hours. The first was from the second level team seeking additional information on a case. The second call was cut short when somehow we were disconnected while I had the customer on hold. The day was fraught with "bugs" and "blips" in the system. The "Do it this way, not the way we told you before", and "Don't select that option" comments were a little wearing. I expect that as we get through the holiday week and the plant shutdown and as we get the bugs out of the system, it will be fine -- more calls and more sense. My shift was moved an hour earlier starting today, but thankfully I was able to trade with a co-worker who wants the earlier hours. So my work schedule hasn't changed much. What I need to do though is take a book or something for those times between calls. I sure hope I get more calls tomorrow than I did today. We shall see.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Another Left Handed Slam


This article about Enrique Iglesias pissed me off. I don't normally use that word in print, but this article was worthy of it. The upshot is that Iglesias says he is envious of his gay friends (his hairstylist -- no stereotype there) and George Michael (no newsflash there) -- because they have open relationships that allow them to play around (or in some terms cheat on their partners) when they are out of town. Enrique wishes he and his girlfriend (who was off and now is back on) had such a relationship. I find this article odious in that what most uninformed (many hetero) readers will read is that all gays have these open relationships. Now I am not so naive as to claim that those relationships don't exist or that they cannot work, but the majority of same sex relationships are closed monogamous committed relationships that should be cherished rather than discounted by such trashing as presented in this article. I have news for Enrique -- there ARE straight relationships that are as open as those of the unnamed hairstylist and Mr. Michael. I hold Enrique and the media responsible for this misconception of glbt people. I won't stop listening to his music -- never started. However, I think that some folks should rethink their undying support of "celebrities" who make such irresponsible statements to the media. And that's the way I see it today.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Work Update

Well, the job continues to unfold (or is that unravel?). We finished training for the call center the other day and spent most of the past three days sitting on our asses doing almost nothing. Each of those days we would do a couple of "practice" calls and today we began "live testing" calls. I was on the phone today with my computer connected to a web meeting being observed by at least 17 people. Additionally, I had four of my co-workers looking over my shoulder. I survived the call, but made a few fixable boo boos. Today's calls were with the ATT support folks and our own company people. Tomorrow's tests calls will be with the actual client company. They won't be observing our input, but only taking part in the call and seeing the finished tickets. That should be a bit better. And after the test calls for this project, they are putting us on the regular help desk for the rest of the week (this is the job that I was told, "Don't worry, you won't be doing this). This is the computer help desk (I wonder if we should call it the HELL desk instead). At least beginning next week we will focus again on the new project and be working day shift Monday through Friday. YAY. Pray for me tomorrow and for the poor fools who call me for correct answers to their computer problems. Boy, are they in for it.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Nature is Wonderful

I took this picture yesterday up near Houghton Lake. This pretty little creature had just run across the highway in front of us and then stood there looking at us. We even backed up and sat there watching for several minutes and the deer did not move. It was incredible to sit there and watch this animal in its natural habitat. Isn't nature great?

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Some Thoughts During Pride Month

Ben has been reading a lot of the "ex-gay" stuff and anti-GLBT rhetoric on the web == mostly to see how nutzo much of it is. Don't worry -- he's not buying their pitch -- he's gay and staying that way. I stopped reading that kind of stuff a long long time ago. However, the more he reads it, the more crazy that bunch sounds. I realized this morning that there are couple of things that we as a GLBT community should strive to do. Read on!

1. Begin an ex-straight movement. Don't they realize that heterosexuality causes children and overpopulation? Too often it leads to marriages that often don't last, to loneliness, brokenness, broken homes, and such. Then there is the perpetuation of women as objects for male pleasure. Oh and the way that I see them throw their sexuality in our faces -- I get sick of seeing them walking hand in hand or arm in arm, kissing and hugging in public == makes me want to puke. Why can't they preactice the perversions in private? And they hang out in bars and make assigmations on the Internet. And don't they realize that the majority of sexual predators are heterosexuals? We need to show them the error of their ways and give them the hope that they can change and be free of their lifestyle that can only to misery and ultimate death.

2. On a little more serious note I think that when "those" church groups come and protest the Pride events on Saturday afternoon, we should gather a large contigent of our folks and make a visit to their churches on Sunday morning. Of course we should wear our Pride T shirts. We don't need to picket, spout rhetoric or anything -- just show up and be a part of what they are doing -- can you imagine how uncomfortable that would make them? I can see the church "MOM" asking how we came to be at church. My response would be, "I met your Pastor at the GAY pride rally yesterday." Just let that sink in for a few minutes and move on. I bet that church would never be quite the same.

While both of these options are offered "tongue in cheek", either would reflect the arrogance, hypocrisy, bigotry, and above all the stupidity of their movements. Well, I put the ideas out there -- what to do with them is up to each reader. Hug someone.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Rose by Any Name

How can anyone see a rose like this and not praise God? End of sermon.

Eight Things About Me

I got tagged by Bento complete Eight Things About Me, so here goes.
1. I hate things like this. If anyone else sent it to me, I'd ignore it.
2. I sleep naked
3. I can waste time with the best of them
4. I saw My Fair Lady 5 times in one week
5. I have a poodle
6. I ignore doctors as much as possible
7. I am a junk food junkie
8. I usually leave the car radio OFF. I enjoy the quiet.

Now, since Ben and others have been tagging folks and since many of us know the same group of folks, I will not pass this on. If you see it and haven't been tagged, go for it and pass it on -- just don't pass it back to me. LOL.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Knocked Up

NO -- not me. It was the movie. I have been swearing that it would a cold day in Hell before I'd go see it. I have a problem with the title and how it theoretically demeans women and trivializes pregnancy, but I overcame that. Instead of a cold day in Hell it was a hot (very hot) day in Lansing, and we wanted to get out of the heat and into the AC. Isn't that a great excuse? Anyway, the movie was cute (some of it was kind of silly), although it was kind of sad that the primary word in the movie was the proverbial queen mother of all words (F***). The word with or without suffixes appeared no less than 110 times in a two hour movie -- we decided that was about once a minute. Now I'm no prude and I've been known on more than one occassion to utter the word, but come on -- 110 times in two hours. You've got to be kidding. How did they ever make movies before the language was allowed and before sex became a major movie theme? Ah well, I'm showing my age. Still, even with the language and several other sexual references and innuendoes (inuendi?) I had a good time and just enjoyed the cool air, Ben's company, and yes even the movie. I would surely not take kids or my Mom to see it, but it was what it was...... It was worth the price.......Hug someone

Saturday, June 16, 2007

West Michigan Pride


Well gang, it's been a busy couple of days. Yesterday I played hooky from work and we went to the Detroit area and helped Mom pack up some more stuff to get rid of. Of course, that means that a bunch of stuff came home with us. After we finished there, we headed to the mall -- in such horrid traffic I nearly died (and I learned to drive in that area as a kid). We headed downtown to hit the church bookstore only to find it is closed on Friday -- go figure. Then we reached the main reason for the trip. It was a dinner party hosted by one ob Ben's fellow priests and his partner. There were about 8 of us -- all gay, all male, and mostly clergy people. It was a wonderful evening and then we headed home -- exhausted but renewed in some kind of way.

Then today it was off to Pride in Grand Rapids. See the pictures above. They "ran" the American and Rainbow flags across the park and onto the stage -- impressive. Notice the shoes in the second picture -- it was probably the most bizarre outfit at the event (After all, it was Grand Rapids). I conducted the annual commitment serive -- as the two or three token protesters spouted scripture and their other junk. It was helpful to the cause that the mayor was a guest of honor at Pride and that the police were so supportive. Most of the folks pretty much ignored the protestors, but one guy had to walk by and start shouting "F... You, F... You, F...You." Several of us quieted him down pretty quickly. If we ignre the protestors they won't have much impact. Do they really think that they are going to change anyone's mind about sexuality? Really!!

A wonderful day was had by all. It was Ben's first Pride event -- I imagine he will be posting something later. Right now I am pooped, so that's it for now. Hug someone.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Weekend is HERE

Yes, it is THURSDAY, but I am taking tomorrow off to go to the Detroit area. In the early part of the day we will be helping Mom get a step closer to closing out her house -- there is SO MUCH STUFF. She's given stuff away, moved what she's keeping, and had a moving sale, and still there is stuff to get rid of. So we will head over in the morning and pack up stuff for Goodwill or Salvation Army. In the evening we are dining with a group of Episcopal priests and their partners. That should bode for an interesting and informative evening.

So today I finished up training for the job they kept telling us we wouldn;t be doing and on Monday will start doing it until the new project kicks off July 1. I told my coworkers at least two weeks ago that we would be in the call center, and they kept saying, "Well, such and such (Boss) told me we wouldn't be taking calls". I told them that you can't believe ANYTHING that the leadership team tells you because they will do what they want. So Monday I start taking calls to assist people with information that I still don't understand. That should be fun LOL. I think I will just enjoy the weekend with dinner tomorrow night and the Pride celebration in Grand Rapids on Saturday. In the meantime, stay happy and hug a loved one.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sunday

Ben and I had a nice day today. It started out with church. Ben was supply preaching in one of the nearby churches and I went to offer moral support. After church we went out for breakfast and as usual ate too much. This afternoon we decided to dream a little. We took part in the annual Parade of Homes by touring at least 10 new homes. Some of them had features we really liked, though for the first part of our tour neither of us was "WOW-ED". The places were "nice" but not to our taste or liking. Then we hit upon the 600,000 dollar place on a small manmade lake. It was gorgeous. We went down the street and found one a bit more rustic in style with a view of the woods behind it. It too was beautiful. Then we decided to head to the other end of town and saw one we really liked. It was going for 550 thousand dollars but it was incredible. It was somewhere between a Frank Lloyd Wright appearance and a traditional "Craftsman" home. If I had the money and the means, we'd be moving in there really soon. There was plenty of room for the two of us, the two cats and the dog with lots of room for guests and partys (of course if I bought a half million dollar home I couldn't afford the party -- LOL). It was wonderful to dream and great to spend the afternoon with Ben sharing dreams, tastes, and time. It's now evening and we are kicking back with the TV on wondering where God is going to lead us -- probably not those half million and up homes, but somewhere where we can make a difference, make a living, and enjoy one another. Ah well, it was fun to dream. Hug someone.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

More Meanderings and Musings

Well, here I am again to share my thoughts and the journey of life. It's been a tough week. I've spent it in training for a job that they tell me I'm not going to be doing. Now that sounds like either corporate stupidity or corporate doublespeak. While the "plan" is to put us on the job that has been promised and to train us for that job, they will leverage us and move us to this "other" job for which we are training. Some of my fellow trainees have said that they aren't going to be working the helpdesk. I reply, "Well it's been nice knowing you." The truth is that we will either do the job the give us on any given day or we will be registering for work at Michigan Works and hoping for unemployment. We will be training until the middle of next week at which time some of us are supposed to be training for the new project for which we have been selected. We shall see. With this company the only thing that one person can count on for sure is that things will not go as promised or announced. AH well, corporate America. This evening Ben and I went to the choir potluck at the Episcopal church. It was very nice of them to include me and to treat us as a couple. There is some hope for Christendom.

Yesterday I got cruise control put on the new car. They did it quickly and efficiently and I was so pleased -- until I turned on the radio and it was flashing "code." Of course I did not have any record of the radio security code, so the radio/CD/clock became inoperable. A quick call to the Honda dealer resulted in an equally quick trip down there to get the code reset. So off we went and soon the radio was rockin' again (rocking? on NPR? LOL). So as you can read from this post, my "gay agenda" is to make it through training, survive whatever new job, deal with the church community, maintain the car and several other equally "boring" events. So -- to any who think that GLBT people somehow avoid all the normal things of life in some magical mysterious way -- WRONG!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Life Goes On

Here we are, a week past Memorial Day. As you may have read, I survived a "downsizing" at work last week and was offered a different position. So far that position feels like the one where you bend over and grab your ankles. We've been in training -- surprisingly(?) not specifically for the job we were told about, but for working the online help desk. Now, if you have been reading my blog or Ben's for some time, you have heard or read some of the horrors of that career path. Theoretically we will complete that training early next week and then get a couple of days training on the job we are supposed to be doing. My gut tells that that will probably happen, but that we will often be pulled from our tasks to help handle calls on the help desk -- this company has a history of sneaky stuff like that -- they call it leveraging, I call it unfair abuse of temporary employees who are giving and working their butts off for a company who might can us all tomorrow. A real morale booster I'd say. Anyway the training has been tiring -- the trainer is both boring and disorganized. He'd rather go off and tell jokes, tell stories about his favorite movies or stand up comics than to train. And when he does work in a few minutes of training his "flow" is such that there is no logic or cohesiveness. Are we learning anything? Yeah, some, but I think that the two weeks plus a few days of training could and should result in better preparedness for the online help desk job that we are being backdoored into. Ah well, corporate America!

On a happier note, the new car is wonderful! Tonight it is sitting in the shop waiting to be fitted with its cruise control tomorrow morning. We took the car to Detoit on Saturday and it rode and handled so well. Its only problem was its desire to zoom up to 80MPH without batting a cylinder. Hmm -- maybe Ben's definition of the color as "arrest me red" is accurate. The cruise control will perhaps pay for itself by avoiding traffic tickets -- we shall see. I will have it back tomorrow and we will be off and running yet again. That's about all from this end of the world -- what's new in yours? Hug someone you love.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A Harrowing Day

Well, it is now nearly 10 PM on a day that started somewhere before 5 AM and I am beat. The day started with Ben heading off to work very early and me sneaking in a load of wash (and they talk about the gay agenda=HAH). I headed to work, and the fun began. There was NO work coming in and we soon found out that the much awaited and dreaded outsourcing had occurred over the weekend -- good bye American jobs. The temp agency agent was onsite and we knew something was up. Row by row in our section they gathered up five or six folks and took them to the conference room where they got the bad news that they were no longer needed. One of my new friends was among the victims and she was quite shaken by it. The rest of us sat with concern as we waited. What was next? They came and got about six more of us and took us in the conference room. As irony would have it, just as we were settling in for whatever lay ahead, I got a call from the car dealer with the news that my loan was approved at a better rate than I had negotiated elsewhere (Still not a great rate in today's market, but do-able -- more on the car in a moment). I asked if we could chat in a little bit, and hung up. The next thing I heard was, "This announcement should be more pleasant than the last one." That meant we weren't getting the axe - yet. Then one of the bosses asked, "Who is willing to take on a new assignment?" The obvious effect of a negative response would have been to join those who had just left. So tomorrow I start training for some new and exciting task in the organization that continues to shaft people and outsource US jobs. How exciting. After the hub bub of the announcements died down (a little) I contacted my salesman and arranged to be at the dealership at 5 PM. I called Ben and he met me at work and off we went to pick up "Little Red." We arrived at 5 and FINALLY left with the car at 8:30. It seems that lots of people bought cars on the holiday and all the sales people arranged for delivery this afternoon and evening. AND they had ONE finance and insurance manager on duty for these multiple deliveries. Finally about 7, we asked for keys (they had taken the keys for my "trade" along with my driver's license) so that we might get some food. We headed to McDonalds where 00 wouldn't you know it -- they screwed up an order. Not our day. We headed back to the dealer and proceeded to wait another half hour for the F&I guy to finish up with another customer (who happened to be a former co-worker of Ben's who managed to keep her temp job when he lost his-- seeing her buying a NEW car really made him bristle, but my ever diplomatic sweetie went up and chatted with her for a few minutes as she was finishing her deal and getting the hell out of the way so we could finish up and go home. (See -- Im not nearly as nice as he is LOL). We sat down and finally I got to see and hear some actual numbers -- I HATE CAR DEALERS. The number I heard made me nearly get up and walk out -- that is NOT the price that the salesman had quoted us yesterday. Well, my beginning to balk at the deal -- even after three hours of sitting around waiting for them -- got some attention. They refigured things and took out the check they were "giving" me to add cruise control. What they did was add the amount of this check to the price -- duh! I told them that I could pay for the cruise without their check and they revised the paperwork accordingly. Then I got to turn down credit life, extended warranty, GAP coverage, roadside assistance, and some other fancy add ons. Finally we were done and leaving with the new car. It's great. I still need to go back to the dealer tomorrow and pick up additional keys (they are part of the security system, computer coded, expensive, and controlled). I still cant figure why they couldn't get them made today, but that's car biz. We headed home and Ben medicated the cat and headed to bed in anticipation of a 4:30 AM alarm clock. So that was Tuesday. Wednesday will hold BS of its own, so I think I will close and get myself snuggled in next to my sleeping man. Have a good one and say a prayer for us to enjoy the new car.

Tuesday Morning

We've reached the end of a wonderful three day holiday weekend and now it's back to the grind. I hope you all had a great time celebrating the "start of summer fun." Around here, Saturday was kind of business as usual as Ben was working on his sermon for a Sunday morning preaching engagement. Sunday, obviously, started with church --Ben was brilliant of course. The rest of the day was just kind of a lazy time. The weekend did include some car shopping -- a difficult task since most dealers here are closed on Sunday and holidays. That did not deter us. On Sunday we looked on the Chevy lot (they were open). Not much there of interest, though they had the most pre-owned (they used to call those "used cars") of anywhere we looked. On Monday we headed to the east and south ends of town and hit several dealers -- mostly closed and without much exciting inventory. Then we hit the Honda dealer. They had the prettiest little 2004 Civic in RED (Ben called it "arrest me red.") and the salesman stated that it gets about 40 mpg. BUT it didn't have some of the bells and whistles I was looking for -- power everything and cruise control. So off we went to the Toyota dealer (Boy, they were proud of their stock!). They were open and had free food, so we gobbled down pulled turkey sandwiches and baked beans. While we were en route and looking at the over priced Toyotas, my mind and hear kept going back to the Honda. I decided that rolling down windows by hand was not beneath me. The car looked great and only has 25000 miles on it and the gas mileage sounds great (especially at 3.50 + per gallon). So we headed back to talk to the salesman. "What about adding cruise?", I asked. We decided to test drive it while he got the answer to that question. When we started it and drove off the lot, the low fuel light was on so we didn't go far -- who wants to run out of gas? It handled and rode really nice and I was falling in love. We got back and found out that cruise could be added (for a price of course). Then there was the dreaded "Credit app" process. I had already prearranged financing, but it never hurts to compare possibilities. He came back saying that they were quite sure that they could beat my other quoted rate, but they couldn't finalize that offer until the banks were open on Tuesday morning --DUH--I rather expected that answer. So they put a hold on the car and will be calling me today. Before we left, we got them to put a little gas in the car -- actually they gave us five bucks and we put gas in it. That experience was another whole story, but then we headed out onto the interstate to see what kind of zip or lack of zip we were buying into. Let me tell you this little baby car has PEP! SO -- the upshot is that I sit and wait for a phone call from them about financing today. If their offer is better than what I have as a backup, I will come home tonight with a "new" car. If not, I will wait a day or two for the paperwork on the other loan and complete the deal. Am I excited? YES! Is my entire future happiness dependent on this deal? NO! Am I counting chickens before they hatch? NO. I have cleaned out the old Chrysler for its final ride in anticipation of the new Honda, but I can always drive it home again if need be and keep looking. Updates later. Here's hoping!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

A Fashion Alert

There's something that bugs the stuffing out of me and I just need to sound off. That is the way in which so many of young folks today don't seem to know either how or where and when to wear their "baseball caps." It may be a generational thing but I believe that the caps are made with a brim that is supposed to face forward, offering the face some protection from the sun. Yet these days it is rare to see a hat worn correctly. They are off center, backwards or even sideways. It looks STUPID to me. And then there's the where and when -- my goodness, if I'd worn a hat in the house as a kid it would have been flipped off my head before I could say hello. And what's more -- at the dinner table: YIKES. I have nothing against wearing caps - I own a few and wear them now and then, but I wear them brim forward and when I get inside they come off. What is the big deal? Is the penchant for wearing the hats wrong a fashion statement? a statment of independent nonconformity or what? Whatever it is, please take a good long look in mirror. Wearing the latest "fashion" isn't always the most beneficial or becoming. If you're gonna wear a cap, do me a favor and put it on right! And do my mom a favor and take it off at the dinner table. And THAT'S the way I see it on this Sunday afternoon. Any comments?