Monday, June 30, 2008

Hope on the Horizon

Well, I had a job interview today -- if one could call that an interview. It's not much -- a service desk clerk at a local superstore (similar to Wal-you know who, only local and nicer), but it's a start. Assuming I pass the background check (and Ben will attest that there is nothing wrong with my "background" LOL) I should start on Monday. It is only part time, but that can run as high as 40 hours. And since it is part time, I can continue to collect unemployment benefits (reduced of course in accordance with income) through the remainder of my benefit period. HOORAY! So stay tuned, faithful readers, for the outcome of today's visit.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Gnome Unmasked

Well, the keys have reappeared and the identity of the gnome is now known. It seems that Ben borrowed my keys to get something from the car last night and then left them in his pants pocket. Now, why would I check his pockets for my keys? Hmmmm. Well, anyway maybe it was in God's plan to give me a day off today. So all is well and we were out for a while this afternoon. Now it's sit and veg the rest of the day. Hope your weekend was as "interesting" as ours. Love ya!

A Frantic Morning

The gnomes are at it again in Howell. Ben left for church this morning, and as I was getting ready to go, I began looking for my keys -- and you guessed it -- I am still looking. I had to call my Administrative Assistant and my pianist and have them lead the worship service -- it was time for a good old fashioned hymn sing anyway I guess. I had the keys when we got home yesterday afternoon and I think I had them when we got back from the balloonfest last night. SO -- if those presumptions are true, either one or more of the animals hid the keys somewhere or the gnomes are being particularly playful. This afternoon we will go back to the balloonfest to see if anyone turned in keys, and with Ben's help we will tear the apartment apart one more time. Stay tuned for details.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

A Busy but Fun Day

Well, it's been a busy day and I'm pooped, but it was all worth it. It actually started last night when we literally walked across the street for the Michigan Balloonfest, an annual event with hot air balloons, carnival rides, vendors, FOOD, and tons of people -- all sizes and shapes. It was great to watch the balloons lift off and float freely over the city. This morning we headed to Lansing for Michigan Pride. We were a few minutes late for the parade kickoff, but we joined the tail end for the walk to the state capitol. Then we witnessed the mass commitment ceremony with several dozen couples publicly committing to one another on the capitol steps (Too bad the state won't recognize the relationships). From there Ben, the dog, and I headed back to the park for the Pride Festival. There were thousands of folks, lots of vendors, food, beer, and blaringly loud annoying music (Why must it be played at earsplitting levels?). The weather cooperated for us and we all came home tired but satisfied. We walked over to the Balloonfest for tonight's launch which appears to have been cancelled due to winds and threatening weather. Now we are just sitting kicking back and getting ready for the big day tomorrow --each of us off to church in separate directions. BUT the good news is that there is NOTHING we HAVE to do after church. We will probably walk back and see what the balloon people are doing, but I expect that will be about it. Of course with us, one never knows.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Now I'm Angry

Well, I reported on "bargain" gas prices last night. They didn't last long. Today I went out and as I headed east through town, gas prices were 4.08 and 4.09 (we live in a high price area) and then I found one at 4.25. Well, I went and traded cars with Ben to try to get him some gas before the price jumped. Well -- you guessed it -- by the time I headed back through town (a matter of less than 30 minutes) the prices had jumped and they were all 4.23, 24, 25, and even 4.30. It is nothing short of a stickup to see prices jump 15 cents a gallon at five separate stations in thirty minutes. I'm sure glad I was able to get me some gas last night at 3.98. Someone needs to do something -- not sure who or what, but if it doesn't stop soon, our economy and lives are going right down the toilet. Ah well, maybe the next President will have the answer -- this one sure hasn't found it.

An Anniversary

Tomorrow marks the 38th annivesary of the first Gay Pride celebration (Christopher Street Parade) in New York City as they marked the first anniversary of the Stonewall Riot -- the birth of the modern GLBT movement. Here in 2008, things are still difficult for GLBT folks -- we can't get married, gay teens get bullied or worse, we can often lose jobs, family ties, or other vital relationships if we come out or are found out. But if we think we have it bad, go back and read the histories of the gay movement. The people in this picture were taking a really big risk. Many of them are now gone, but the steps that they took that day some 38 years ago began a march for the GLBT community that has continued to this day and will continue until we are included as full, worthwhile members of society with the same rights and recognitions enjoyed by our straight neighbors. I look to the day (probably after I am long gone) when Gay Pride celebrations will not need to have a political or struggle aspect, but will simply be times to gather to remember how far we've come. Ben and I will be spending the day tomorrow at Michigan Pride in the state capital of Lansing. We plan to walk in the parade, attend the rally, and spend the afternoon among "our own". Take a moment to pause and remember with gratitude the folks who have gone before, paving the way for us to pick up the torch. Then find a way to stand up and speak up and be a part of the movement to set the stage for the next generation of GLBT folks.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Bargain (?) Gas

Imagine my surprise and joy when I found gas for less than 4 bucks a gallon tonight. It was 3.98, which by today's standards is a bargain. Needless to say I topped off the tank. Maybe there is a slight break in prices for the moment. The need remains to conserve and to find other means of energy. All in time (perhaps not my life time). Hope you are getting some relief too.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Funerial Funnies

We recently began subscribing to the local paper because we found a deal that was really to good to pass up. I look at the headlines, and then I move on not to the comics, but something funnier--the obituaries. I am not one who usually pokes fun at the grief or suffering of others, but some of the things that people put in the obits is just too funny or weird to pass up. The funniest I have seen in ages says (names changed of course): George left his wife Mary to go be with his sister-in-law Jean. This is but one of the creative ways that people say "He died." My feeling is that if your name appears in the Obituaries, it is to be assumed that you are dead --right? There are phrases like "he passed into glory", "she was called home to be with Jesus", "He was translated to the church triumphant" (I'm not one hundred percent sure what that one even means), "Departed this life for another", and more. Not only do they get creative in describing death, but some of the pictures are a riot. Some guy dies at age 85 and the family submits a picture from 50 years ago -- what's that about? Either the picture is way out of date, or the guy found the fountain of youth.

Today's obit winner: "Although Bob and his family lived in Ohio, his hear never left Michigan, especially his cottage up north......" My first thought was, "If he was in Ohio, and his heart was in Michigan, is it any wonder he died?" Perhaps my humor is morbid, but it does give me some chuckles at the start of the day.

My advice is this: Write your own obituary being careful to read and re-read it keeping in mind that although YOU know what you mean, others may interpret or infer something quite different. If you are going to put in a picture, make it a fairly current one -- and for God's sake, take off the hat.

Sorry if this kind of post offends anyone's sensibilities. That is not my intent. To those who have recently lost loved ones, you are in my prayers. I hope and pray that you are still able to see the humor in this post. Watch for other "winners" coming soon.

Happy Summer, Everyone

I just stopped in this morning to wish you all a great summer on this, the first day of summer -- at least in this part of the world. I hope it is a time of fun, rest, great vacations, and renewal. Enjoy it!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

And the World Hasn't Ended

Well, folks, I can only imagine the surprise and likely disappointment in the camps of the doom predicting right wing religious folks. For more than 48 hours, GLBT folks have been getting married in California and the state hasn't fallen into the ocean yet. I also haven't heard of an increase in the number of traditional marriages collapsing in the path of same sex couples heading to the county clerk's office. God hasn't sent floods, flames (other than some of the couples getting married), earthquakes, or other forms of Divine punishment. Is it possible that, unlike the religious right, God is smiling on and blessing the events rather than sitting on the Holy Throne plotting some evil response? Can you believe it -- a God who loves, blesses, and affirms the joining of people who are in love? Ah well, I knew all along that such a God exists and reigns. Now if we can get the religious right to get acquainted with this God instead of the God they know who sits at the ready to squash anyone or anything that doesn't fit the dogma set forth by the rabid religious right. Congratulations and thank you to the many newlyweds who have stood bravely in the face of criticism and threats. Hang in there and enjoy the blessing of wedded bliss. And don't worry -- California isn't falling in the ocean this week.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

When Did McCain Visit Utah?

I saw an online headline "Utah announces 'major dinosaur fossil discovery". Imagine my disappointment when the article was not about Sen. McCain making an appearance in Utah. Enough said!

Last One out of Michigan, Turn out the Lights

It's time for Michigan to wake up or give up. There are all kinds of things going on in this state that are literally driving people to move to other areas. Of course, there is the same sex marriage issue. While California and Massachusetts are allowing same sex marriages and New York has been instructed by the Governor to recognize the unions, Michigan holds fast to the horrific constitutional ban on same sex marriage (which actually gives a very narrow and bigoted definition of marriage). Legalized discrimination is not the way to keep people in a state that is facing other major issues as well. Not only are we one of the most publicly bigoted states in the country, but we also hold the number one slot in unemployment. So Ben and I find ourselves in a state where we are leagally banned from formalizing our relationship and where neither of us is able to find employment with income and benefits that can keep up with the record inflation. Hmm, sounds like a commercial for the Chamber of Commerce -- Come to Michigan where you can live in poverty and where you will be discriminated against. On top of that, our votes only count for half (if we're lucky). And then our largest city (Detroit) is governed by crooks, idiots, and wimps. The antics of Mayor Kilpatrick and the wishy washy actions of the city council are an embarrassment to the entire state. It would be so refreshing to have our state make the news for something GOOD for a change. And the big wigs in the state can't figure out why people are leaving the state! DUH! Wake up. Our plan is to be out of this cesspool of a state within the next year or two. Anyone have suggestions as to potential relocation sites? Employment, inclusion, weather, and such will all be factors in determining our eventual location. Come on, Michigan, wake up before your entire structure implodes.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I Need Your Help

Hi readers. This is an unusual post, but this is the only place I know of to seek what I need at this moment. I need to find one or more people who have experience as the partner of a person who has had a penis piercing. I need someone to chat with about this subject because Ben now has an adornment in that area. Suffice it to say, I have some concerns and hangups, but I know how ever it goes I will be fine and we will adapt to this change. If you -- or someone you know -- has some experience (not as the pierced one, but as his partner), I'd sure appreciate a comment or an email so that we can chat and I can get the assurances that my old fashioned mind is seeking. Thanks in advance for your help.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Another Grammar Mess

Well, here I go again. I often find grammar or language useages that drive me nuts. The most recent was on the morning news. The weatherman was reporting the forecast for "Your Fathers Day." The traffic reporter was talking about an accident blocking "Your left lane." When did I take ownership of holidays, weekends, roadways, and more? What about a clear forecast for Fathers Day? a blockage of THE left lane? It's really not a huge deal, but it is annoying to me because it is a lazy, bad habit and a miserable misuse of the English language. These are supposed to be professional people, and yet they seem to have trouble mastering the English language. Come on, newscasters, weathermen, and others--have some respect for yourself and for the primary language of this country. Learn to speak it correctly. And that's the way I see it today. Hug someone.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Following all of the stops I talked about in the previous posts, we arrived in Dubuque for the celebration of Ben's parents' 50th anniversary. Here's Mom, Dad, Ben, and his siblings at the party. Ben got both looks and brains. The rest of them are a wonderful bunch and I fit right in. There is another picture of the family with their spouses/partners and I am right there in it with the rest. Hooray.
On Monday, we went to the Mississippi River Museum. Here's a picture of Ben checking out a hut on the property. Here is one of the several stained glass windows at St. Lukes UMC in Dubuque. This is the ONE that is NOT Tiffany. What an awesome display of art and faith.
After seeing the Cavalier (found in Ben's parents' living room) I know where he gets his taste in tacky art. This is perhaps the ugliest thing I've seen in a very long time.

Here's a shot of the Lock and Dam on the Mississippi at Dubuque. It is taken from atop Eagle Point (no steps here -- we drove up)Here's Ben at Pikes Peak. No, it's not the one in Colorado, although it is named for the same guy. Ben has a weird sense of humor -- Paris in Michigan, Pikes Peak in Iowa. Ah well, that's one the things I love about him.These two pictures are a bit odd. The first is a beer can permanently implanted in the side of a tree. At least in Michigan, we return them for the deposit.This one looks pretty normal but in reality the table is about twenty feet down the side of the bluff at Eagle Point. Throwing it over the rail to where it became litter must have been some idiot's idea of fun.There's more photos and memories from this trip, but I won't drive you all nuts with all of them. As you can see from what I have posted, we had a good time and saw a lot of suff. Now we are home and the trials and troubles of life picked right up where we left them a week ago. Ah well, that's life. And that's a wrap. Hug someone you love.


Day two started by picking up my best friend, Tim, and heading to Galena, IL -- the home of US President US Grant. We didn't tour his home since we were there last year, but we did have to stop to visit Mrs. Grant (pictured below). If she looks vaguely familiar think 'Pancakes'. She is affectionately known to many of us as "Mrs. Butterworth." It is a classic example of tacky art. Either that or Grant was really drunk when he married her. Our wandering route took us through Benton, Wisc. so of course we had to get a picture of Ben with the sign. I was teasing him that his "alter ego" must be "Hazel Green".
Then we headed for Platteville, WI where we visited the Big M (the largest letter M in the world) and -- you guessed it-- more stairs (268 steps up to the top.). It was a great view of three states, but it was a lot of stairs. And it was windy as heck up there.

From there we headed on to our destination of Dubuque to visit with the family. We hurried out to Dubuque's Arboretum to see if the Iris were still in bloom. They were pretty beat up from all the storms, but we saw some incredible stuff.

And I saved the most incredible sight for last!!!


The first day of our trip took us from Michigan through the corner of Indiana and on to Freeport, IL. Aside from the numerous potty stops, we stopped at Starved Rock State Park for our first major set of steps of the trip. We walked the steps down from the lodge and back up the other side to the rock. The views were incredible and almost worth the cardio workout of so many stairs.
After doing the stairs again to get back to the car, we stopped to look at the wonderful wood carvings. It's amazing what they can do with a tree isn't it?
From Starved Rock, we headed up to Dixon, IL where Ben lived for a few years in a previous life. It was also home to a teenage Ronald Reagan (a real looker in the day). Being a freak for Presidential sites and the like, I had to stop and check this place out. We visited the gift shop (after all shopping is part of the gay agenda) and wandered around outside the rather unassuming house (Who knew back in those days that this hot lifeguard would grow up to be an actor and president?

From there, we headed to Castle Rock that overlooks the Rock River -- when I say "overlooks" you can interpret that to mean more steps!!! Again, the views were great and again I was pooped when we got back to the car.

It was a wonderful day, but by the time we got to Freeport, the dinner and company of good friends was a welcome treat. So was the good night's sleep in the motel. Had to rest up for the next day.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Hi everyone. The trip to Iowa is over and we are home. You can look at Ben's blog for immediate picture. I will post some tomorrow but tonight I am just kind of vegging out. It was a long and tiring (though wonderful) week and a long journey home today. And then once we got home, we had to get some help to restore the wireless network that gives me Internet access. So -- once I get the laundry in and some paperwork done in the morning, I will post a few more pictures. It's great to be home -- missed you all. Hug someone.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

A Truly Revolting Thought

I've heard that politics make strange bedfellows, but this is too scary to even think about. My eyeballs hurt just looking at it. Enjoy

Monday, June 02, 2008

What's With the Democrats?

Well, the Democratic Rules Committee met this weekend to determine what to do about the two naughty states -- Florida and Michigan. In their effort to resolve the problem of these naughty states who moved their primary dates in violation of party rules, they (in my humble opinion) have made matters worse. It seems that they are generously seating the delegates with one-half vote each AND awarding some percentage of the Michigan delegates to Barack Obama (who was not on the ballot as part of the party boycott). So -- what's wrong with all of that?
First, why does MY vote only count for half of what votes in the other 48 states are worth? I heard someone yesterday say that she was going to send a contribution check to the national democratic party -- actually she was going to tear the check in half and send half a check. If I recall my high school days, the US Constitution at the time of its signing counted African Americans as 3/5 of a person. That was changed along the way, but today the Democrats are counting Michigan and Florida voters as only 1/2 person! A giant step backward. On top of that, these wise folks on the rules committee are usurping the will of the voters in Michigan by (in spite of the actual votes) giving some of those delegates to Mr. Obama. At this point I really don't care who the nominee is -- I preferred John Edwards who withdrew some time back.

The Party claims that they have to punish the states whose primary dates violated the rules. They are partly right -- I HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH CHANGING THE DATE. Why is my vote being discounted? Let's think about the super delegates! Let's strip the super delegates from Michigan and Florida of THEIR votes instead. These are the politicians and players of the Democratic party who were invovled in changing the dates. And then, let's look at the possibility of a National Primary Day -- that way no state gets to "go first" or become more important in the decision than anyone else.

Whatever the outcome of this election, it will be tainted by this debacle. Whatever happens, we need some kind of election reform and we need it ASAP. We look at elections in some of the third world countries and send election observers to make sure that all is done above board. Soon, they will be sending people here trying to keep our elections honest and orderly. Come on, folks, wake up! There is no good or easy answer, but we need to take a long hard look at our processes. Who is electing the president -- the parties or the people?