Monday, November 19, 2007

Potato, Tomato, Red Meat & Wheat

Try to eliminate those items from your diet & just see how difficult it would be. Yet, that is what my new book, "Eat Right for Your Blood Type" tells me I should avoid. Believe me it is difficult, and there are many, many more it suggests I should avoid, but I thought that if I can avoid these four as much as possible then I'll be doing pretty well.

I'm type "A". The natural vegetarian. I'm not surprised with that at all. I'll do my best to follow the book's suggestions, then perhaps I'll see an upgrade in my general well-being. If that does happen, then I'll be much more diligent about eliminating/introducing different foods into my daily diet.

So much for chili and spaghetti, huh?

Monday, November 12, 2007

I Opened Joe's EOB

One emergency room visit. One EKG. One IV med for pain. Blood panels, CAT scan, yadda, yadda, so-on and so-forth. 8145 and change is what it would have cost Joe and I for his visit to the ER last month. The kicker? Not getting diagnosed with anything.

However, upon returning to work two days later... two co-workers (one happened to be Joe's regular doctor) made a visual diagnosis. Then was told to go home, and not return to work for 7 days. What was it that caused all the trouble? Shingles. An exacerbation of the same virus that causes chicken pox.

I can't imagine how one would begin to pay medical bills without having insurance. Joe talks about patients in the heart hospital all the time that have no medical coverage. Recently one comes to mind. A thirty-one year old male from Clinton, just released, will likely have a $250K medical bill follow him home. At least that's what Joe estimated his bill to be. After all, he was in the hospital for two weeks.

But, Eighty-one hundred dollars? Just for an ER visit? Un-fucking-real!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Diagnosis Pending

Today may be the first steps in understanding many of the physical problems I've been forced to deal with over the past several years. I had thought that the stresses my life had been presented in that time was the main contributor to why I always felt terrible. But now, my life is quite different. The major stresses I once experienced in daily life are no longer present. As I told my doctor... "my life has never been better". The professional, relationship, financial, and social components of my life are all in sync and have harmonized so that I live quite an easy, happy, and fulfilling existence. But in contrast to that harmony, I am always in pain. It is much worse at times (such as now), and I'm smart enough to realize the the pattern has been cyclical. In addition to the pain, I also experience a bit of confusion (I've always been a neat-freak, and that bothers me to no end to not be able to organize as well as I once did), numbness in various parts of my arms and legs, episodes of itching that can bring me to tears (without any evidence of rash or redness), and also an annoying blind spot in my field of vision that has been present since August of last year.

I was so frustrated in not being heard by my previous physician that I sought-out a practitioner that would be more in tune with me and the problems I presented. The problem I wanted addressed first was my sleep apnea, and I now have that problem under control. But when I presented all of my symptoms to him yesterday, his response was... "You definately have my attention!" Then he asked "Why didn't you tell me about everything earlier?" It was then that I just started to cry. "Because I feel so bad, I didn't know what I had said and what I had not..."

Today, I will have an MRI. Maybe now I will start getting some answers. Feeling so bad maybe won't be as difficult to deal with if I am able to know what is causing it.

_______________________________

Update:
I am very displeased with my doctor's lack of follow-up. Apparently, the MRI was only indicative of impacted sinuses, which I have no doubts I would have. But I know that cannot be the only cause of everything else I deal with on a daily basis.

I now have an appointment with a Neuro-Opthamologist at UAMS. In fact, he's the director of Neuro-Opthamology at the Jones Eye Institute. Dr. Joseph Chacko. Perhaps he will be able to determine why I have two permanent blind spots in my vision, one in each eye, and also at precisely the same area of visual field. Homonymous Quadrantanopsia. And if he's able to determine what caused that, then perhaps he will see more of what is going on with me. All the symptoms are classic Multiple Sclerosis indicators. I hope not, but at least with a real diagnosis, I could begin treatment and maybe even resume what mimics a normal life. Even if it is MS.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Content

Do you ever have days where you feel as if your inner-world is perfect? Despite the cold and grey day outside, and despite the terrible back pain I'm having, I am perfectly content with my life. Sure, there are changes I would love to make (my career, proximity to my kids, etc.), but I realize change will only come about when I am ready.

No path we choose to journey is ever perfect, nor does it promise to bring us all we want in life. All along the way are obstacles we must traverse. Whether we make that journey with optimism or with disdain is largely a decision we make each day. Today, I've made my choice.

Disclaimer:
I do give myself permission to not feel this way tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Charles. Catherine. You Mind If I Ask You A Personal Question?

No, what is it?

How Large is Your Footprint?

I found an interesting online reference today. It is a calculator that estimates your Annual_Carbon_Footprint.

See how you measure up. Bigger is definitely NOT better.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Depeche Mode - Precious

One of their best yet. I LOVE DM!

On the Pier

A skyline cruise at dusk enabled us to have this photograph taken on Navy Pier. June, 2007. Behind is a tiny little portion of the Chicago skyline. That was my first visit there, and I'll always remember it fondly.

Fifty

On September 7, 1957 in Little Rock, my parents committed themselves to love, honor and cherish one another, all the rest of their days. In the home of their pastor and surrounded by friends & family, they embarked on a journey which has taken them through a myriad of life experiences. Luckily for them, the good has far outweighed the bad. But as with any union, I do realize that the only way to reach this golden moment is through respect and love for one another. Equally, yet each in their own way. Just as no person is perfect, neither is any marriage, but what they've been able to accomplish is rare. I don't think anyone could say there is a direct and clearly marked path for every couple to mark 50 years together, but whatever path they've taken... they've arrived, and they truly are a guidepost for me and for all of their family.

I don't think Joe and I will have the chance to do the same, simply because of our age. I do know that he and I have the right stuff to make it to that point. I will be 87, Joe, 92. Maybe... but not likely. But whether or not we make it there, we do have the present. And the present is indeed the happiest and most centered I've ever been.

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad. May you have many more happy years ahead.

Friday, September 28, 2007

I Walk This Street


twice a day. Once before work, once in the evening. From home to the Majestic and back is 2.5 miles.
And lately, I've even taken on the Mountain Tower road in the evenings as well, getting in around 10 miles a day.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Knots Landing Pilot Opening

Ahhh, the 70s! Did anyone know that David Jacobs actually wrote Knots Landing BEFORE he wrote Dallas? Cool, huh?

Monday, September 24, 2007

RIP Bernice

I loved this actress. Alice Ghostley. She died over the weekend. We'll miss her.

It IS on it's way Rick, I promise...

I've had the priveledge of meeting (via internet) a good comrade. His name's Rick, and he and I share a similar personal history, with Mark Bingham having a pivotal influence on both of us.

I had asked Rick if he cared if I shared with everyone, a photograph of himself with Mark's mother, Alice Hoglan, along with an interesting and inspiring blog entry. He obliged, being the good natured guy I believe him to be, and I thank him for that.

Just know I will eventually stop rewriting the darned thing and get it posted... someday.

It's Amazing to me

how many hits my blog gets, even though I've been so lazy in contributing to it lately. Google searches for M.M. Cohn Dept. store(and their impending closure) and for Little Rock Central High School are often the most likely referrals.

Tomorrow, the 50th anniversary of the desegragation of LRC will be celebrated in earnest. Thousands of attendees will gather on the front lawn, many of whom are attending a gala tonight. Hillary's making it a campaign event, of course, and all other state dignitaries will be in force as well.

1957. 2007. Half a century. Incredible that so much has changed. Incredible still that much has not.

Friday, September 14, 2007

I Never Knew....


Alan Ladd, star of a whole slew of b&w westerns is a native of my fair town, Hot Springs... that I knew. I also knew that Cheryl Ladd is his daughter-in-law.
What I did not know, is that he was only 5'6" tall!!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

I May Not Have Good Gaydar, But I Do Have Excellent Peripheral Vision

Friends over tonight for cookout and pool time. Usual fun. Our great friend Charles, whom I've mentioned in various previous entries, brought along two younger straight fellows. One is Charles' stepson, who is soon to be done with his stint in the Army. Along with him was his best friend from high school. He just finished his service with the Navy.

Cute as buttons, they were. All muscley and fit and tattooed. Did I say cute? Anyway, they were not too uncomfortable in the element. The stepson has been over before. The friend was obviously taken in by the atmosphere. He began to loosen up considerably and became chatty. Chatty and cute. He also liked my choice of music.

"Who is that?" he asked with a strangely curious tone.

"That would be Erasure." I replied...giggling to myself inside. As I know it drums out a beat that many a gay man relates to well.

"I like it!" he exclaimed.

"Oh... they're fabulous." I felt I could only say 'fabulous' to properly describe my emotional basis of judgement of Erasure.

The evening progressed further. And as I was fullfilling my duties as grillmeister, I noticed a certain somebody had a great deal of interest in my side profile.

I know the look. In the closet or out... I know that look.

Gosh, he is sooo cute. I'da pinched his cheeks if I could.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Remembering Mark

I was reminded of a dark time in my life today. A very troubling and painful time. Four years ago, I was dealing with the myriad of emotions that some of us experience after coming-out. It was perhaps, the most challenging time of my life.

Most of my regrets, my anger, my fears... were all self-directed. I was one self-loathing pitiful mess. But my life began to turn around, and slowly... ever so slowly, the pain... the fear... the regrets... all faded away. Something had happened to me from within that brought me hope.

That hope was a result of recognizing that within each of us lies a hero. I had found mine. His name?

Mark Bingham.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

All is well.

I haven't been my usual blogging self lately, and quite frankly, I haven't cared one bit. Seems that in the past month or so, my life has taken on new energies, and the thought of sitting in front of a computer and banging-out entries was the farthest thing from my mind.

The meeting with the parental unit with Joe on my arm went splendidly well. I didn't sense anyone being uncomfortable in the least, and the visit was quite enjoyable. Mom and Dad live an hour north of Little Rock on a beautiful hillside overlooking the foothills of the Boston and Ozark Mountains, and we spent the afternoon hours of that day picking vegetables in their garden, and preparing a dinner that consisted mostly of those items. Tomatoes, squash, corn, green beans, purple hull peas. Mom sent us home with plenty of fresh okra and Texas sweet onions. Joe and I both LOVE fresh onion. Quarter up a couple of them, and they go with whatever. Add a few fresh garden tomatoes, and I'm in heaven. My sister Kathy dropped by for a short visit before we headed back home that evening.

It was one of those moments in my life when I was proud of my family. Very proud. As a middle-age adult, I now appreciate more and more the fact that I was raised by grounded and reasonable parents. Once I thought otherwise, but of course I was coming of age and thought I knew everything I needed to know. Gosh, was I wrong.

Perhaps my parents are learning from me as well?

Friday, July 13, 2007

Dad, Mom...Meet Joe

It happens today. A two hour drive to my childhood home. Joe and my parents get to meet for the first time. He does want to make a good first impression, but he's not very nervous. I'm glad, as there's no reason to be. My parents are very low key, and even though this will be the first time they've been introduced to their son's same-gendered mate, they will just be the good natured folk that they are. I'm fortunate that way, as Joe apparently severed ties with his own parental coupling for five years, out of disagreement over lifestyle. Okay... the disagreement was 100% with his mother, but you know how those things can go.

Joe asked if he could make a carrot cake to take with, which is fine. Actually, I'd rather he make one to keep at home for once...

Saturday, July 07, 2007

R.I.P. - m.m.Cohn



One of Little Rock's retailing icons is about to die. Possibly one of the last department store chains in the country to have kept it's original name since being founded in the 1870's, M.M.Cohn will be closed -along with it's parent company, Dunlap Stores of Ft. Worth at the end of 2007.


M.M. Cohn's was to Little Rock, as Neiman's is to Dallas, Sak's to New York... Nordstrom's to Seattle, etc. You always knew that you would always find 'the best' there, whether it was a tie, a bathtowel or a full-length fox. You can read a little about the store's history here. I remember, as a child, my family shopping at this downtown store (pictured above). I remember the elevator operator. Seems like I remember a lunch counter. I remember being in awe of the Christmas windows. I remember so much... I even remember it's neighbors: Pfiefer's and Blass Department Stores (later merged and renamed Dillard's). In all three, the entreprenurial spirit of these families who helped build Little Rock will live on only through memory of those who experienced it.


It is a pity that such a local legend has been allowed to die such a long painful death. Purchased from the original family in 1989 by the Dunlap Co., M.M. Cohn immediately began it's downward spiral. Terrible, since it was once not only the premiere retailer of Little Rock/North Little Rock, but also of Memphis, Oklahoma City & Tulsa. I was sad to also see a Memphis icon, Goldsmith's, fall victim to the nationwide Macy's rename, Marshall Field's in Chicago too, but it hurts more to see our little piece of history closing altogether.
It was our 'own little Neiman's'... now it's gone.




Sunday, July 01, 2007

They're Back....!!!

Funny how this vid seemed so 'cutting edge' when it was released.

Eight Little Things

A fun little game I read about some months ago in the Technorati website has made its way to me via Mike, over in D.C. & also from Kyle in L.A. The object is to list eight unknown things about yourself or your past, and tag eight other blogs that you frequent and then urge them to do the same. Expands one's readership, I suppose... Anyway, here goes:

1. Way back in the previous millenium, during college orientation, I took the Meyers-Briggs personality indicator. My result? INFJ (Finally, something to explain why I was always so freaking sensitive...).

2. When I was 15(1984), I tried riding atop my cousin Darrin's Camaro in the Electric Cowboy (read arcade) parking lot. Unfortunately, this was also the same evening I had first decided to experiment with drinking several beers. I crashed head first onto the parking lot, and ever since, I can touch someone and see their future.

3. Last week, I got to see first-hand, several Frank Lloyd Wright homes in Oak Park, IL that I often drew as a child. It was a profoundly serendipitous moment for me...

4. I have trouble finding appropriatly sized shoes, as I wear a size 15EEEE.

5. I live in a Victorian home built in 1892... and by writing this post, I am procrastinating my day's task of painting one of it's bedrooms.

6. I didn't get my first cavity until I was 20.

7. I secretly wish more people would leave comments on my blog. Well not so much a secret anymore, huh?

8. I often ponder how I would look if I was bald.

Now... for my tags!

My best blogging friend, Tony. And even a good friend in real life, too.

Kyle. A deftly talented writer in L.A. He and I are also alums of the same high school, though we've never met.

Passionate Lynette. I first found her by way of the Joe.My.God. commenteers, and now we read each other often.

John, over at Becoming A Doctor. His journey should be inspirational to just about anyone.

Mark. I easily place myself in his stories, and I can never get enough, no matter how haunting they are.

Homer. Genius-level archaeologist. Loves to take pictures of food and friends.

Belinda, over at Ninja_Poodles. Guest writer for the Arkansas Times. Very funny.

And always a fresh perspective on AR politics can be found at Matilda's_Advice_&_Rants.

Friday, June 29, 2007

80's Moment - Tears For Fears

I just saw the Gary Jules version over on Homer's blog, and it inspired me to find the TFF version. Both are great

Thursday, June 28, 2007

We're Home

Today, I'm quite tired. Twelve hours were spent yesterday on the road between Chicago and Hot Springs... and it was a hard twelve hours! Just over 700 miles from the driveway of our English-American friends, Graeme and Nikki, to our own. Only stops to top off the petrol, snacks & drinks, and quick potty breaks took us off the Interstates of 80, 57, 55, 40 & finally 30. Had we not encountered two construction delays (1.5 hrs in Illinois & another half-hour in Arkansas), we would have made record time.

I enjoyed Chicago. It was my first visit. Aside from Joe driving us into the city on Monday to deliver our Tiffany lamp to Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, I did the remainder of the driving in & to & from the city center. Yes, I got my first experience of Chicago rush hour traffic in the rain, down the Eisenhauer Expressway (I-290). Wow!! And I think I did extremely well. There were a few that we passed who didn't make it...... I hope they're okay, b/c their cars were really fucked-up.

What amazes me is how expensive it is to live within the city nowdays. Joe directed us to his old neighborhood in boys' town. Simple row house on Melrose... enough room on either side of the houses to drive a car... surprisingly a large number of trees lining the street... and now you can't buy one under $800K, with property taxes running about $8000/month. Hmmm...really a no-brainer to me b/c I know if we had the kind of income it would take to support such a household... I certainly wouldn't want to live in a row-house.

Perhaps many folks think the same thing, because condos are popping up all over the place up there(north side/lakefront/Wrigley Field area) In six blocks, I think we saw probably 10 buildings west of Halsted in the process of being converted. One on Halsted, finished and ready to move in listed for $475K. The pictures were cute. It had a great front deck over the street. The unit was quite small. But to live one flight above one of the gayest streets in the country?!? I dunno... I'm not about 'all that' anymore.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Neighborhood Elements


465 Prospect Avenue. A wonderful house...and it just happens to be for sale and is ready to move in to.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

A Sunday Rain

This afternoon started out to be so sunny and pleasant. Gradually though, clouds began to boil-up from the south-west, until they completely blocked the sun. Minute by minute, my friend Charles and I noticed that the air was growing with the activity one can sense before some serious storms make their presence known. Now, it is just after 5PM, and a very active thunderstorm cell has certainly interrupted what was once a perfectly sunny day. (I did get enough rays on my knees to get a little sunburned, though.)

Both Ann, our good friend and neighbor across the street, and Charles spent the afternoon poolside with me. I had a nice visit with my oldest sister, Liz, who was in town to pick-up her daughter from Camp Tanamaka nearby. Ann went home around 2PM when the sun was becoming less and less present, and Charles stuck around until just before the first huge drops of rain began to fall.

I sat on the porch, enjoying the misty breeze, the thunder, and watching the torrents, when I noticed three male figures running down the street. All Hispanic...perhaps a father and his two boys. They were completely drenched, soaked to the bone as we say here in the South, and I thought to myself, "What's the point in running now?".

Friday, June 08, 2007

Madness in my little town

Those of you who are familiar already know that Hot Springs, Arkansas is a charming tourist town. People from all over come and enjoy the laid back atmosphere... the Victorian architecture... the new influx of artists and galleries... but one problem we often have to deal with here is the traffic problems all of these tourists create. In the old town center, only one narrow four-lane road (Scenic Arkansas Highway 7) carries ALL the traffic in a North-South direction. This is due to the terrain limitations that lie on either side of the road. Steep mountainsides begin their upward thrusts just behind the cute streetfront buildings on the west side-the same on the east just behind the old bathhouse row, and the National Park property surrounds all of it.

So you have basically what looks like two big butt cheeks (mountains), with a narrow strip of land within the valley that contains all of the hotels, bathhouses, restaurants and shops, and one four lane road. Add tourists into the mix, and you've got one tremendous headache for getting around town. Unless one chooses to 'hoof it', of course. But this weekend, matters are extreme...

This weekend, Hot Springs is playing host to several annual events, that typically play-out on separate weekends. We have an annual classical Music Festival, the world championship Retriever (dog) competition, the Arkansas Bar Association annual meeting, and the H.O.G. rally (stands for Harley Owners Group)...ALL OF THEM CONVERGING on this town at once.

At this very moment, I could walk out my door on Quapaw Avenue, and within five blocks of walking, I would be downtown amongst nearly every lawyer in Arkansas, 25,000 brutally loud Harley Davidson bikes (and the men - mainly - that ride them), and classical musicians from all over the country. For some reason, I don't think I would see that many Golden Retrievers...but perhaps their owners, yes.

Actually, I just got back from downtown. And it is pure madness, I'm telling ya! And just wait until tonight when all of the attorneys and bikers get drunk. That will be a definite sight to see. But I urge you...if you do not already live in Hot Springs, stay out of town this weekend.

It's pure madness!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I Have Lovely Roots

Apparently, that is the collective opinion of all staffers in my endodontist's office. Doctor included. With the new technology in dentistry, my digital x-rays were immediately displayed on a flat panel screen just across the room. Other assistants would glance into the room as they passed by, pause, and usually say something to the effect of "Oh. My. Gosh." I have long roots. Very long roots. In fact this second molar I had done yesterday had roots measuring 27mm. (And that's the small molar.)



Aside from jumping a little at the doctor's first attempt to open up the tooth, and scaring the assistant, all went as well as could be expected. "That tooth must be hot!" I heard the doctor say, meaning it was extra sensitive. Another couple of shots of anesthetic, and I was good to go. My face was even numb enough that I had to consciously try and keep my right eyelid open. Weird.

I did pretty well. Dinner was Campbell's Beef Broth. And a hot dog bun. Yum!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

My Aching Arm

The room is complete. Hand applied joint compound over our surprise wall covering has left it unrecognizable as the paneling that it really is. Two days worth of spreading that stuff all over though, has left my right shoulder, elbow and wrist quite sore. Nothing I can't get over. I started taking Sam-e, as it is claimed to be good for joint discomfort. We shall see... Last year, I spent well over $100 on the product Osteo-Biflex, and I had results less than desirable. The problem at that time, were my hips and knees. I suppose I have worn them down after all that long-distance running in my twenties.

I am back to square one with smoking. Dammit. But I haven't given in completely. Two, three, sometimes four a day as opposed to 20.

I made sure I got myself into bed by ten last night, no matter what was going on downstairs(our home tends to be a magnet for activity with neighbors & friends), and the 5:30 alarm went off, I pulled on my jersey-knit shorts and t-shirt, then headed out the door for a brisk morning walk. 2+ miles. Thirty minutes. Went the usual route...Majestic Hotel and back. I feel pretty good about that. That last hill gives a good burn!

I just dread this afternoon. Triple root canal on #31. Ugh. Everyone have me in their thoughts around 1:00 Central time...

Saturday, May 26, 2007

What Lies Beneath?

To the idiots who thought that covering the plaster and lathe in a vintage Victorian home was a good idea... oh the SHAME! And to the real estate agents who not only sold this home to Joe and Kris, but were also the owner/occupants at the time of the sale who told them that ALL of the walls were plaster and lathe beneath the floral vomit wallpaper - that they hanged themselves... may you burn in realtor hell.

Yep, you heard right. We began work on bedroom 2 on Monday, and on that morning, as I prepared the room for our painter Steve to begin work, I realized that beneath the insanely wild floral wallpaper was a quarter-inch thick laminated nightmare. 1970's era, dark brown paneling.

Don't get me wrong. Paneling has its appropriate place and use (I'm not sure where nor when, necessarily..) but it certainly is not appropriate for use and placement in an 1892 Victorian with original plaster and lathe walls.

So began the process of deciding if we were in fact ready to face what lay beneath the paneling and possibly have to spend our budget for the entire remodel of the house for the repair of plaster in one room, or just do our best for now, cover it - disguise it as best we can, then come back to it at a later date.

We chose the latter. So guess what I'll be doing over the long weekend? If you guessed "Attempting to disguise fucking paneling", then you're absolutely 100% correct!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

I Screamed


This is no ordinary movie poster. I thought that is was, but should have known better. Joe asked me to help carry it down to show Bethanie and Ann, since we were talking about Joan Crawford.
It was wrapped in a thick moving blanket, and when it was revealed I screamed. We all screamed.
It is NOT an ordinary movie poster. It is the master template. After that was disclosed, I felt a little queasy.
BTW, that poster is 6' tall.

Preview

The Master Bedroom is nearly complete. Here_is_a_reminder of how it used to look. Yesterday, Charles helped me move the essential furniture into it, and Joe and I were able to spend our first night in the new boudoir. I made sure to dress the bed in the new 1000 thread-count linens. Pure Heaven. Here are a few preview pics with more to come after the room is accessorized completely:





























Note the painted door behind the bed... so as to hide it. We do not use it (it leads into the adjoining bedroom) and I think it was a great idea to do that. The bed would not have worked as well against any other wall. I suppose it could have worked in the bay, but the headboard is high enough that it would block access to the windows.

I am glad that Joe and I thought about the chandelier for this room. It's Checkoslovakian. I do not know how old...but thinking from the 1930's. Charles re-wired and hung it for us. It definitely needs a dimmer switch now.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Today...

is my 38th!

Gimme some love.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

I Wanna Go!

I have a fascination with NZ. Someday I'll make it there and be able to take it all in.

Friday, May 04, 2007

We Took The Dogs

out for a walk last night. Our path followed the usual route: the historic Jewish Levi Hospital, turn of the century Victorian dollhouses-three in a row-that are appropriately called "The Three Sisters", then into the commercial district of downtown. We passed by a private courtyard on Exchange Street that I had just noticed for the first time. (I'll try and get a photo soon). It's amazing how there are several little treatlets in this town, undiscovered, even though I've called it home since 1994.

And when our walk led us past The Aristocrat, I sidestepped the slippery grates... much like Dick VanDyke sidestepped the ottoman. Well, no...but given the memory of the pain from falling horizontally atop it, I woulda if'n I needed to.

We came upon several of the new antique shops on the upper end of Central Avenue. Several of them really did their windows well, as they stopped us dead in our tracks. Saw a couple of palace-size urns (Asian) complete with their wood stands, a sterling trimmed crystal pitcher for $1000, and two very cool Yugoslavian beaded lamps (Joe sucked air when he saw the peacock). It was gorgeous. Couldn't see the price tag, though. I may go back and check when the shop is open...just to know. We've got several other Yugoslavian beaded lamps and they are real treats to the eye. Especially if they're the only illumination in a dark room. Intricate, delicate and feasts of color.

We (I) noticed the coolest lighting scheme in that shop. There were cables stretched across the room in pairs-about 4" apart. Along these cables were many small light fixtures that were aimed directly at the artwork. I made mention at how little impact that lighting scheme has on the structure, i.e no holes cut into the ceilings or walls. The fixtures were either halogen or LED.Joe lit up with curiosity, as we've been discussing how to illuminate all of the artwork upstairs... and to add additional lighting, as it is indeed a VERY dark house.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Kicked?

I'm doing much better than I had predicted. I quit several years ago and remember it was the most difficult challenge I had ever faced.

Well, that was 12 years ago. I've faced many larger obstacles since, and perhaps that is why this is far easier than how I remembered.

But I wonder... Do I now consider myself a "non"-smoker, or is that jumping in too far and too soon?

Sunday, April 29, 2007

A Big Step Forward

They're gone. Deleted. All of those dark introspective drafts of entries I had penned, over time, that dealt with my dark days of coming-out, lonliness, depression. They're gone. Those recollective entries are not representative of the life I've chosen for myself, and they will not be seen.

I was lucky to find a blogger with whom I share a similar disconnect with the at-large gay community. Mark. When we had made contact some months ago, I spoke of my own experience and made mention of how similarly we both percieved the world around us. He gave encouragement to me to give my experience a voice through writing. Thank you Mark.

I think it is an investment in one's self to look back from time to time. But there is also a time to let it go and move forward. Today, I cleaned out the past. I am ready to move forward.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I Was In The Mood For A Change

New template.

Whaddaya think?

I Think I Hurt Myself

Last evening, Charles and Gaye had dinner with Joe and me at our house. Knowing that I am gearing up for a change in lifestyle (quitting smoking, losing weight, treating my sleep apnea), Joe suggested we all go for a walk after we finished eating. With our two Scotties leashed and ready to go along...we headed out. From our home on Quapaw, we were to make a round trip with midpoint being here.

Slight drizzle began to fall as we turned the corner from Prospect onto Central, but we kept a steady and fairly quick pace. Especially considering all three of us guys are smokers(but soon to be ex-smokers). When we made it up Central to The_Aristocrat, the large metal grate which I most always step around, happened to end up under my feet...then suddenly, I ended up slamming my whole body against it.

I am quite sore today.

The B-52's Debbie

They always make me smile.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Wired

Sleep study #1 is complete. No results from the Doc yet, but I am sure I registered many apneas through the night, as I awakened myself - almost completely - several times throughout. That in itself is unusual for me, but given the strange envirnment I suppose it makes sense.

I did not rest well through the study. Imagine, if you will, the quality of mattress one might find in a Motel 6. An old Motel 6. That was the quality of my mattress for the evening... and Full-size, no less. It was the farthest sleeping experience from my accustomed surroundings: King-size bed. 600 thread count sheets. Big pillows. A warm body next to me. Add to that, about 15 electrodes (felt like 50) glued to my head and body, and it made for a challenging evening. Especially when awakening in the middle of the night and needing to use the restroom. I'll spare the details, but just imagine miles of wires coming out of your head, running up your pajama legs, and all connected to a module that had to be hand-held the entire time away from the bed.

But, it's all for the chance of having a better life, once I'm treated. So, I'll not complain anymore. I just know that if I need subsequent sleep studies performed, I must take my own pillows.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The B's are coming soon!

I've always been a huge B52's fan. Although I was a bit young for their more obscure popularity in the late 70's, I did however get to ride on the surge of their comeback in the middle to late 80's.

In fact, I had painted onto my Delta Hall dorm room window at Arkansas State University, the words "Love Shack" (even though that was the farthest thing from the truth...) with huge blasts of bright colors.

After my days at college, I delved into the B52 Archives and then was born the appreciation of their earlier sets. It was then that I learned the story of Ricky...member of the band, and Cindy's brother. He died in the early 80's from Aids related cancer, and it left a huge hole in the group...and in Cindy for much longer. And even though the band would regain it's momentum with the album Cosmic Thing, Cindy did not participate in the following album, Good Stuff. If I could ride the hands of time, one thing I would have loved to experience in this lifetime, would be to have seen this young 5-member band, rocking the CBGB with Rock Lobster.

One point of interest I've had all these years, has been how Keith Strickland has aged so well. I mean, damn...he looks twenty years younger than Fred, Kate and Cindy. I must confess that I always kept a crush on Keith, too.

I've been keeping my ears open for any news about any new releases they may have coming forth. It appears that late Summer of 07, we will be blessed with yet another B52 album!


I have no doubts that a third generation of college age kids will fall in love with these creative and fun folks from Athens GA & NYC.

The B-52's Legal Tender

One of their many late 1970's classics

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Morning Light

Morning sunlight rarely comes through this glass. The opposing side, once an open porch, was enclosed around 1908. Yesterday, I decided I would open the window coverings within that room, just so I could see the light coming through the glass this morning. Ahh...just as it should be.

The window sits just above a landing on the stairway-five risers from the top...and what seems like 50 from the bottom. And btw, the crazy floral wallpaper will have a short life now. ALL the wallpaper is a comin' down - right along with the crappy-do popcorn.

Working on the bedroom today

Some weeks ago, I had taken-on the task of removing the tragic popcorn ceiling in the bedroom that we plan to take over as the Master bedroom. Today, I take up the task again-repairing the ceiling drywall prior to repainting. The walls are still the original plaster & lathe, and I will be repairing them as well.

The room is nicely sized, with a bay window. Within the bay is a set of french doors which will allow us access to a deck, which is our main reason in making this bedroom our own.







Saturday, April 14, 2007

Wishes to Cancel and Not Be Re-Billed

I get so disgusted with certain companies that attempt to keep you as a customer, even though it is against your own will. Well, today I've had a discourse with Yahoo, in that I have found it impossible to cancel my subscription to their personals page, according to the instructions that are given to do just that. The "Cancel" link to which they refer within those instructions did not exist. I couldn't find it anywhere!! So, given the testy mood that has arisen from within me, I have given Yahoo a bit to chew on this morning:

I have cancelled my subscription to Yahoo! Personals some weeks ago, yet I have recently recieved notification by e-mail that my account will be up for renewal in the coming days.

I do not wish to continue my subscription to Yahoo! personals. I do not wish for the subscription to be renewed.

I have attempted for the last hour, to find a link within Yahoo! Personals, to cancel the service-according to instructions within the account billing links. I feel that I have wasted valuable time in attempting to find a "cancel" link which obviously does not exist. Instead, I have found this e-mail address to instead notify Yahoo! of my intentions to no longer use Yahoo! Personals and to express my angst and disgust regarding the time and effort I have wasted on my behalf in attempting to find a way to cancel the service within the Yahoo! Personals website.

Please send me proper notification that my Yahoo! Personal subscription has indeed been permanently cancelled and that my credit card will not be re-billed for a subsequent quarter-year of service.

Thank you, and good day
.


Hey...who woulda known that I would have found my significant other within just days of posting a profile there? Miracles do happen.

Friday, April 13, 2007

I Have WHAT In My Throat?!?

I recommend that everybody should seek fresh medical advice at any moment you feel you're not getting the answers you need with your current physician.

I've been with the same doctor since '94, and I haven't been getting past a few problems I've been continually dealing with for some 4 years. The symptoms all pointed to sleep apnea, and it has gone years without diagnosis. (And yes Chris and Michael, I know you've told me that is what I suffer from...but I can be a stubborn beast, ya know.) Since I now share a sleeping chamber with another human being, I was told just how bad my nights really are. And it scared the ever-loving crap out of me. Especially since Joe is a cardiac nurse and he informed me on the long-term effects it has on the body.

Today, I got a fresh perspective...and I think it may have saved my life! Really. I'll likely have to have surgery on my throat in the next few weeks. Tonsillectomy. It appears that my tonsils take up over 50% of my airway while upright...even more while lying down. Now wonder I couldn't breathe!

Anyway, he went on to explain that adults typically have a much longer recovery time after said proceedure than do children. Grand! But as my friend Janine said, "adults get better pain medications too". Very true. At least I hope so. I sure don't want to hurt if it's somehow avoidable. He said he wouldn't be surprised if I took two weeks before getting back to a normal work scenario. Sounds like a lot of Vicodin, Soup and Juice to me.

..........Is it normal to feel guilt from essentially firing the doctor I've been seeing all these years? We don't necessarily rub shoulders, but he and his wife have been good friends of the family (and now he's my neighbor - I snicker).

I not only got some fresh and sound medical advice, but I was also hit on by the office assistant who checked me out. Well, maybe I shouldn't say I was hit on, but I think I must've had some effect on her b/c she couldn't say or do anything without tripping all over herself. (Even her co-worker asked her if she needed to relieve her b/c of the mess she was making)...but I was truly endeared by her blushing cheeks. "If she only knew everything about me"... I chuckled as the thought ran through my mind. I made sure to let her know I had picked-up on the reasons for her momentary klutziness, and left her with a "have a great weekend, gorgeous", and a very large smile.

Gosh, I feel good today!

Highlights from Ann's Birthday














Joe and I with Ann.
















Pucker-up, ya'll! (Joe and Bethanie)
















Joe and me - eyes shut. Look at the writing on the wall behind us. It's the name of this blog!
















I hope Bethanie likes sushi. (Kendall, Bethanie & Chef James)















Out for fresh air (?):
Miranda, Kent, Joe, p.alan, Alice, Bethanie, Kendall

Photos courtesy of Kent. Thanks Kent!!!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

State Legislature is Duped

Well, it seems that the traditional family values PAC, Arkansas_Family_Council intended all along to make the "Gay Foster Parent Bill" a dead issue. Now that the bill has died in a House committee(after making its way through the Senate), the gay-haters have stated that the issue will now be pursued as a ballot issue.

They will need to gather 85000 signatures on their petition to have the issue placed on the ballot in the next General Election. An easy task, given all they will have to do is set up a table outside the doors of those good Christian churches. Who in their right mind would be seen not placing their name on the list by their fellow church-going brethren? They might be seen as un-Christian-like by not supporting this witch hunt.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

We Are Busy Today

setting up a birthday party for our good friend Ann(and neighbor across the street).

50 is such a significant birthday, and we've pulled out all stops in making sure she will have an evening to remember. I thought that I would perhaps have some problems in finding musical entertainment (successive Spring Breaks at Henderson State and UALR made for an interesting hurdle), but I was able to find a group that will keep the party at an up tempo. Ted Ludwig Presents is a jazz trio based in Little Rock. Bassist Bill Huntington was a long-time member of Ellis Marsalis's band, drummer Brian Brown has just gotten back from LA, where he performed a few gigs with Herbie Hancock, and they will also be going down to New Orleans' Jazz Festival, where they will be a part of Harry Connick Jr.'s band.

I did good, didn't I?!? They weren't cheap, either.

The food was left to Joe, Bethanie and chef-friend James. And from what I hear...it will be extensive. As we speak, Joe is in the kitchen baking (by request of Ann) two fabulous carrot cakes. Joe's carrot cake is damn good. I do believe my toes curl with each bite.

I am sure most of the day will be low-key as we rest up for the evening ahead. And it's a perfect day to be lazy...fog and rain abound. Then, by 5:00, we'll be doing set-up for what I hope will be an evening to remember.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Arkansas Gay Foster/Adoption Ban Fails in Committee

Kudos to members of the House Judiciary Committee...and kudos to Gov. Beebe, who questioned the constitutionally challenged bill after it passed through the Senate. "I have constitutional concerns, not with one aspect of it, but all aspects of it", Beebe stated to reporters on Tuesday. Emphasis is mine.

How refreshing to now have a Governor in Arkansas who can make such a legally qualified statement. I can only imagine what the Huckster would have stated if the measure had arisen in his tenure. Of course, the proponents of the bill said that the committee "skirted the issue" by not opening discussion.

Touche. An attempt to open discussion of the bill died by a voice vote.

Proponents stated they doubted that they would press-on for a third attempt during this session, likely enabling the state's Supreme Court ruling to stand another two years, which struck down an internal agency's policy banning homosexuals from being eligible to become foster parents.

What really set me off on this bill, which was introduced by Sen. Shawn Womack (R-Mountain Home), was that it not only would have placed a ban on gays from becoming foster parents, but would have also made it illegal for them to adopt children...even if they were family.

Though an amendment had been proposed to allow adoption by gay relatives, the original intent of the bill was clear. I am sure that is why the committee members took it off the table, and placed it in the garbage where it belongs.

Wow...and this is Arkansas.

Monday, March 26, 2007

If I Do Say-So

I'm just so freakin' happy.

I look back to just a few short weeks ago, and my life is SO different than it once was.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Jones Gem has a new owner.





Stoneflower Cottage, a unique lake home in my hometown, designed by E. Fay Jones has finally sold. Though I realize the home was not built as a permanent family residence, I do hope some bachelor, or even a couple will live in this little gem year-round. She's had a rough life, as many family summer homes experience.

As property values have escalated on Eden Isle and many other lakefront areas, I am quite happy that Stoneflower is now protected by it's assignment to the National Register of Historic Places. It would only take one nuevo-riche asshole from Memphis to potentially come in and plow the old lady down, making way for his/her garish retirement compound.

Believe me...it happens all the time.

*****
(courtesy of McKenzie Realty Group)

FAY JONES' STONEFLOWER COTTAGE on Eden Isle. Situated on aboulder covered lot bordering the Red Apple Championship Golf Course and over looking Greers Ferry Lake, Stoneflower is a treat for the eye. This home is one bedroom, but can sleep many. Two living areas, waterfall shower, large deck, stone and wood floors. Stony Ridge entry and separate private entry on Rock Ledge Lane.Two adjacent large lots are currently available. This Fay Jones designis on the National Historical Register. Owner has a 360K appraisal thatwas done in 2005. SOLD! $ 349,900 SOLD!
MLS 10120611

Saturday, March 17, 2007

This is home.















It was too beautiful today, to not capture the Tulip tree and Bradford Pears in their glory. The sunlight today is amazing!


So, I believe that I am understood when I say "I never thought I would live in a house like this." Being the nostalgic nut that I am, I'll be researching the home's history and digging up old photographs.

Those of you who are familiar with architecture will notice that this house has two prevalent styles. Queen Anne & Craftsman. A part of the home's history involved the fire that destroyed much of downtown Hot Springs at the turn of the 20th Century. That fire burned up to the block just across from this house, and scorched much of the gingerbread trim that once adorned the now enclosed porches. It was then that the home changed it's roof-line (and lost the cone atop the turret) and the limestone front was put into place, so as to make it more fire-resistant.

So, here is a Queen Anne, built in 1892 - then modified around 1910, with Craftsman influences.




New Directions

I am filled with positive energy today. My cup runneth over... I only need to look around me and see what influences my thoughts and actions have done to bring me to this point. It further solidifies my belief: 'that which we think...becomes our truth'.

For many years, I imagined myself in a relationship which would enable me the freedom-plain and simple-'to be'. I am here now. It came through many life lessons to arrive here, but I AM here.

I also imagined myself living in a home where I felt the same freedom and where I knew I had safe shelter. Here I sit. This is home. I never imagined it would be as significant and full of wonder, but here I AM. I've always loved art, history, nostalgia... and now it surrounds me and keeps my creative energies flowing at high-speed, yet calms me from within.

Now that these two relevant and substantial truths have become evident in my life-they have become 'my truth', I seek even more personal growth. Indeed, much of my former personal self 'died'. But only I can take much of the blame for that. I was tired. Weak. Unsure. Complicated life lessons and people with negative energy erroded much of who I once was. I now give myself the opportunities of unlimited personal growth. I know now that I can close the doors within and keep any bad energy from manifesting itself.

I have a new saying for my life: "I once was nearly as happy as I am today. That was yesterday."

Thursday, March 15, 2007

On A Clear Day

Several months ago I had the pleasure of forging a new friendship with a guy named Dan. Although we had both entertained the idea of it becoming something more than friendship, we soon realized that a certain chemistry wasn't there. We had gotten to know each other quite well, and we both enjoyed each other's company by just being pals.

It would be typical for either of us to call and chat every couple of weeks. We had even, on occasion, met for dinner or an evening out at Sidetracks. Rather than the usual beer or Cape Cod, I would refrain from drinking around Dan out of courtesy. Dan did not drink. Not because he was in recovery, nor had he ever been an abuser of alcohol. Dan had a genetic liver condition, and was awaiting transplantation.

I recall that last day that he and I talked at length about the recent changes in my life. He was so happy that Joe and I had met and had decided to make a 'go of it'. I not only heard his words, but also I could hear the sincerity in his voice. He was truly happy for me. Also during that conversation, he was telling me that he was going a bit stir-crazy. Apparently, his doctors had placed him higher on the transplant list, and his normal weekend activities had to be limited to near his home, in case he recieved "the call".

Dan was an avid hunter and baseball player. His involvement with adult-league softball amazed me, as he would often be flying all over the country to play in tournaments with his team, the Memphis Hobos. I knew that his limited activities would eventually get to him, but fortunately that same day that we spoke, Daniel got that phone call. A new liver awaited his arrival at UAMS Medical Center in Little Rock.

Dan's younger brother Ed had called me to tell me the news. I had been finalizing my move that weekend, and with it being Sunday evening, I was quite exhausted. Ed proceeded to tell me that Dan's transplant had gone very well, and that Dan was feeling great. He also noted that Dan's color was the best that it had been in years. But on his fourth day in the hospital, a blood clot had apparently detached itself from somewhere in his body. Dan was dead.

It's ironic really, that throughout several years of awaiting a liver, taking numerous medications, living with the consequences of their side-effects, and the one thing that puts him down is a tiny blood clot. Damn!

I spent the following day remembering Dan. Many funny moments helped to carry me through. One memory in particular reminded me of how on occasion, Daniel could be spontaneous. He had called and asked if I wanted to fly to Vegas for the weekend. The occasion... to see Barbra in concert. I could have easily afforded the flight and the room, but considering my other financial obligations by being a divorced father of three, I felt that taking the $500 out of savings for concert tickets would have been foolish Certainly, I would have something out of the ordinary happen, and then not have enough funds to cover the expenses, if I had chosen to go. But, I deeply regret not saying yes. Especially now. He returned to his room after the concert and left me a voice mail. He was beside himself with excitement.

I'm glad he siezed the moment. I'm glad he offered the same to me.

I kept replaying that moment in my head throughout the day. After work, I made one last trip to the condominium to give it a final cleaning. All the rooms were void of any furniture, but as with any move, they were in severe need of a quick cleanup. As I made those long-armed stretches across every room with the Oreck, I could not shake the regrets of not accepting his invitation that weekend.

The carpets now clean. The kitchen and baths scrubbed. I left my keys atop the refrigerator, and bid a farewell to what was once my home. I sat in the car for a moment prior to engaging the engine, admiring the beautiful sunset straight ahead of me. Then, with the click of the seatbelt a twist of the ignition, I prepared to make my exit. Nearly simultaneously, as if the song had been programmed for play as soon as the engine was started, the voice of Barbra came beaming through the car stereo. It was my easy listening station, KLEZ.

I was stunned. Somehow spooked and intrigued and delighted... all at once.

"On a clear day... stop and look around you..."

I continued to sit without driving away for the majority of the song. Tears were streaming down my face. My throat ached as it held back the emotion trying to come up from within my being. I felt Dan right there with me.

As Barbra belted out one of her longest single notes, I placed the Lincoln into drive, and drove away.

"...On a clear day, on a clear day, you can see forever, and ever, and ever more."

Life is too short for many of us. I always hope that I will make the choice to truly LIVE each day... with the fewest number of regrets.

Thank you Dan. I was lucky to know you & have you as a friend.



Shirley Bassey sings "On A Clear Day" It's not Barbra, but it's still pretty darned good!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Too. Many. Martinis.

Last Friday was a first for both Joe and me. It was our first Gallery Walk as a unit. Bethanie, and then Charles, joined us at home for a cocktail primer before we set out on the five block journey to Blue Moon Gallery, where our good friend (and neighbor across the street) Ann stood in reception-along with her artwork. Chef James was to join-in on the fun as soon as he was able, and did so a short time after our own arrival.

One reason for this group to convene was the planning of our good friend (and neighbor across the street), Ann's 50th Birthday bash. Thank You, Miss Pat, for allowing Blue Moon to be our venue!! Chef James agreed to help with food, and had several smashing ideas that I will love to see come to fruition. I hope $500 will provide enough food for 40...??? Now, only beverage and entertainment are left to finalize.

With planning halfway complete, we decided to cap off the evening with a visit to The Porterhouse Club...not to be confused with The Porterhouse Restaurant. The Porterhouse Club is up a blindingly steep and extra long set of stairs above the restaurant. We made our way to a table in a corner, not too far away from the piano...and the evening began it's slow, gradual descent.

One round, two rounds, three rounds, four... That is about the time, I believe that Bethanie and James began a slow dance and somehow ended up making out. Nothing too out of the ordinary to my readers, I suppose, but let me explain that Bethanie-buxom, beautiful Cajun...and James-6'6", over the top, loud, verbal, queen...should NOT have been in as conjunctual a position as they allowed themselves. Funny, yes...and I did notice all eyes in the room were fixed upon them. I doubt anyone (but me) noticed that the piano player had announced and was now playing a song dedicated to me from Joe, My Funny Valentine. I even had to tell everyone to shut-up so that I could hear my song....

"Do all gay men kiss as good as you?", was Bethanie's remark as they made their way back to the table. Eyes rolled. James then turned his attention to Charles, the only straight man at the table. At least Charles can flip any remark right back at James. It was a pleasure to hear his sharp-witted tounge, because James can be quite the sarcastic queen...and loud.

We did all agree that if we could clone Charles and make him gay, we'd all be bizillionaires. Charles-bald, 37, 5'8", with chiseled German features, has that fierce look about him. Perhaps it was all those years as a cop...? Anyway, Charles has a versatility to him that makes him look smashing, whether dressed in crisp linen (as he was that evening) or even if he decided to tatoo himself all over and wear biker leather. Fierce.

Six rounds, seven rounds...eight??? We began loosing track of each other by this point. I think James had gone to the restroom when Joe, Ann, Bethanie and I had decided to call it quits and go home. Sorrows to James if that is indeed what happened...and I wonder if he even noticed? Charles had shown his wisdom, and had gone back home to his wife some time earlier.

Thank God we live downtown.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Move Is Complete.

This entry was written some days ago. The news of a personal tragedy kept me from posting the entry in a timely manner.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Last evening, I returned to the condo for a final cleaning and vacuuming, and now all that remains is perhaps some Comet residue on the bathroom fixtures, the criss-cross patterns on the carpet from a final vacuuming, and three keys placed atop the refrigerator.

257 Belvedere Drive - Condominium 205 is now vacant and ready for it's next occupant.

I spent the days of the past weekend transporting some final large items, none of which I've really needed since moving into Joe's house (ahem... excuse me, our house). So the cleaning I did yesterday was my final step.

I have always been one to take a final look around and remember how the emptied space appeared during the weeks and months I called it "home". Some very happy memories, some sad, all experienced - lived - within that very space. But something different about this move, is that I feel quite happy about it. I know it is one huge personal step forward for me, and I am very sure-footed about the whole scenario.

So many of the chapters of my life over the past few years, have been dark... cumbersome... sad. This new chapter though, is full of light and promise. I feel I have finally found something solid on which to cling. I'm so glad...I was really beginning to tire.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

And the winner is...

I've made a few predictions for the top six awards to be handed out tomorrow evening. I'm a big fan of movie critic Renee Shapiro, but she and I only have three of the same picks.

Best Supporting Actress
p.alan - Abigail Breslin
Renee - Jennifer Hudson

Best Supporting Actor
p.alan - Alan Arkin
Renee - Eddie Murphy

Best Actress
p.alan - Helen Mirren
Renee - "

Best Actor
p.alan - Forest Whitaker
Renee - "

Best Director
p.alan - Martin Scorsese
Renee - "

Best Picture
p.alan - Little Miss Sunshine
Renee - The Departed

I think Peter O'Toole more than deserves the award, but considering his rejection of an honorary award some years ago, his fate may already be sealed as forever being an "Oscar Nominee". I will consider him as the ultimate upset of the evening.

Although Little Miss Sunshine is a great picture, it may not come out on top b/c it is too light. Babel and The Departed are dark and serious, and those types have historically beat out the competition. I consider LMS as the upset in this category, and I'm putting all my money on it. (And will likely loose it).

Eddie Murphy and Jennifer Hudson make me tired. Here it's just her first film, and I'm so tired of Ms. Hudson already. As far as Eddie's concerned, he can be a creative influence, but looking at his body of work(current releases included) his talent takes an incredible nosedive after completing something worthwhile. Tisk-tisk.

*********
Hey, at least I got 4 of them right.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Welcome to Spring, Allergy Victims

One clear indicator that Spring is now upon us, is the pollen I can now see on my black car. Here in the middle-south, we've been subject to a very high pollen count in recent years. Namely, last year & three years ago, where I can remember it was necessary for me to take a daily dose of ClaritinD for weeks on end. I actually popped one through the blister-pack this morning. A morning walk around and through my new neighborhood today subjected me and my respiratory system to the delightful yellow dust floating through the air.

But otherwise, the walk was wonderful. Just last week, morning temps were in the middle teens. Today...52!

I am actually excited about having a yard again. Today, I will be giving the row of crepe myrtles a good pruning. Any good green-thumb will tell you that must be done before the end of February, and with recent daily high temps topping out in the 70's, those babies will be budding out really soon.

Friday, February 09, 2007

I walked into the condo today

and realized I had not been here at all since last Friday. I had been here just one week ago today, to gather a few clothes and what-nots. The importance of coming back simply never arose all week. Now, I'm back to gather up even more. Actually, I've come to get everything.

Ever since my days of coming-out, I've witnessed the birth of many 'instant relationships'. I've also been witness to many of them crash and burn. Of course, I always thought that people who seemed to rush into an espoused situation were lacking better sense. Perhaps that is quite accurate in many cases, but after what I've been witness and participant in over the last few weeks, I'm more inclined to say that in some cases...it does work. In some cases...it does make sense.

All of my immediate friends know of the dating disasters I've encountered over the last several years. The Ellen movie "Mr. Wrong" always comes to mind when thinking about my dating experiences. What amazed me though, is that I encountered SO MANY Mr. Wrongs before I met Mr. Right. I have to admit that those experiences did make me a stronger person, and helped me to define exactly what qualities I was looking for in a potential life partner. I was beginning to think that 'this man' didn't exist in the real world. To even imagine that he existed in the gay world was even more laughable to me. I was wrong. Man, was I ever wrong.

When I was convinced I would likely spend the rest of my days alone, Joe came into my life. A first date went really well, both of us commenting across the restaurant parking lot to each other, "You passed the first test" ,laughingly, as we made our way back to our vehicles. The second, third, fourth dates...showed us exactly the qualities each of us hold most important in our ideal of what makes a 'good partner'. And well, let's just say that we came to the decision that it didn't make sense to not dive into this, so that's exactly what we did.

Let me tell you a little about Joe... Intelligent, low-key, no extreme opinions/behaviours, hard working, focused, passionate, independent. What makes Joe seem so noble and attractive to me is the life experience he brings with him. Joe came out in college, and upon completing his plan of study, met his first partner, Kris. They remained together for nearly 20 years. A whole lifetime-in Gay Years. Unfortunately, Kris was diagnosed with cancer in his last years of life, and Joe took care of his every need...day and night, for months on end. He put his career completely on hold, not knowing if he would even have a job when or if he came back to work, and nursed his partner through death, in the Hot Springs home they had just purchased and moved into after transplanting themselves from Chicago.

Joe didn't get to experience much of what I did in the dating world, but I know he's got all the right stuff. He wants a relationship similar to what he had with his first partner...something traditional, and I'm probably the most traditional kind of guy anybody would ever meet. I was looking for the same...and everything has just fallen into place, exactly where we're comfortable for it to fall.

So now, the rest will be our history to make...

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

This Time, It Is For Keeps

I have fallen, and I have fallen hard. I am forever changed.

I want all of my pals to know that I am, in fact, still alive and well. I realize it seems I have fallen off the face of the earth, but I am indeed still here. I never thought anything this significant would ever happen to me, so I have not been as communicative as I usually am.

Yes, it has been but a short time since I met Joe, but when considering exactly what we are to each other...we've decided to make the situation permanent.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

I know how cliched this may sound,

but I've met someone recently and I am very interested in knowing more. I am quite sure the feeling is mutual.

This is different than what I've experienced before. Very different.

Is it normal to have all these strange feelings? I thought I had forgotten how to feel anything.

I Think This May Just Happen...

(and it scares the hell out of me). Arkansas, 1932 - Hattie Caraway is appointed by Governor Parnell to fill the vacancy left by her deceased husband in the US Senate. Later that year, Hattie is elected to a six year term, making her the first woman ever elected to the Senate. She was reelected in 1938, and by the end of her 13 years as a United States Senator, she had become the first woman to chair a senate committee and also the first ever to preside over the senate-upon invitation from Vice President Curtis. Having been involved with her husband's affairs on Capitol Hill since their arrival in 1913, Governor Parnell knew she was more than capable to carry his term for the remaining year after his death.

Although First Lady Jeanette Rockefeller(wife of Governor Withrop Rockefeller) would heavily dabble in some issues during the 1960's, Arkansas did not see another wife of a politician become an active participant in legislative affairs until the election of Bill Clinton in 1979, where he and Hillary co-habitated the office of Governor.


And we all know their history up to now.











Will Hillary become the first woman elected to the
Presidency? I not only believe it is possible, I'm thinking it is quite likely. As she stated in her announcement, she's "in it to win", and I have no doubt she'll put up one very capable-if not fierce-attempt to gain that which she seeks.
As Bush had Rove as a strategist, Hillary will have Bill. Anyone who has lived in Arkansas since the "Bill and Hill" factor entered into state politics, will agree that they are a dynamic duo. No matter what odds are stacked against them, it seems they always come out on top.







I'm sure this time, it will be no different.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Little Rock Senior High School - 1927


This is one spectacular school building, as much as it is also one spectacular school. Selected by Newsweek as #20 on it's 2006 list of the Nation's Best High Schools, Little Rock Central High School has supplanted it's previous claim in history.

When construction was complete in 1927 at a cost of over $1.5 million, it was hailed as the country's most elaborate and significant public school building. It was also the country's largest. The school's football field, Quigley Stadium, was also the first home to the Arkansas Razorback football games held away from it's home campus of Fayetteville. Razorback games in Little Rock are now held in War Memorial Stadium, built after WWII.

Lois (Rollins) Reid, now deceased, was a member of the school's first graduating class. She was the grandmother and guardian of my old and dear friend, Daphne. As a teen, I recalled her vivid recollections of growing up in 1920's Little Rock, and attending school here. In fact, once she finished high school, she continued on here in the newly organized Little Rock Junior College, which soon after established a permanent campus elsewhere in town. (LRJC later became Little Rock University upon attaining a 4-year curriculum, and was again renamed when becoming a part of the University of Arkansas system, as UALR). Mrs. Reid, or less formally, 'Grandmother'-as all of Daphne's friends referred to her, fondly recalled the easy and fun life in those times, and how her older sister Hazel (Rollins) Rowe, was the first young lady in Little Rock to bob her hair. It was 'scandalous'!...well, at least for those times.

My Mother's youngest sister, Glenda, attended school here one year before the desegregation crisis of 1957-58. All three of her older sisters had moved to Little Rock, and she missed them so dearly that my grandparents agreed for her to move-in with one of them and attend high school there. Although she did return to her parents' home in the north-central part of the state by the end of the school year, she fondly recalls her good memories of Central High, noting that on the first day of school, she was recognized as a 'new girl' by a group of boys, even though the enrollment of the school was quite large.

My nephew, Parker, is currently a member of the Junior Class here. Next year, he will be part of the school's 80th Commencement ceremonies. I look forward to sitting in Quigley Stadium next year to see him recieve his diploma. I cannot believe he is almost grown.

Friday, January 26, 2007

On the Hunt Again

I just could not make it work! The cute little studio loft I had planned on moving into was just too small. I returned the key back to my friend this week, and I am again on the hunt for an appropriate 'empty-nester/divorced-dad/gay-bachelor' pad.

Actually, I'm just looking for a good deal.

I looked at two different complexes this week. They're nothing special, but they're both spotlessly maintained. One is located in the Quapaw-Prospect Historic District, the other is situated in mid-town, several blocks south of Oaklawn Jockey Club & just two blocks from my office.

Of the two, I think the large one-bedroom near my office will work best. Two aspects of living there have factored into my decision. Last Summer, I purchased a wonderfully maintained Lincoln Continental (a 2002 & their last production year), and I will be able to now keep it parked, under cover & hoof it to work each day. My waistline can use the added walk.

I'm looking forward to the fresh start in my own space.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Sunday, January 14, 2007

With A Little Help From My Friends

I've been in a nasty mood this weekend. The five inches of rain that have fallen since Friday evening hasn't helped. Neither has the prescription-strength antihistamine I took on Friday, of which I'm still feeling the effects. My Seattle's Best French Roast hasn't really helped. As if it's possible, the combination of the meds and the coffee has put me into a state of being a nervous-drowsy person. It's not a good place to be...

I'm typically an upbeat guy, and often try to help my pals feel better when they are down. I hope they don't consider me a nuisance. (?) Well anyway, I've been in rare form-wallowing in self-defeat, and generally feeling sorry for my single gay self. Luckily I reached out and found some encouragement. Thanks babe!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

A Picture from Workplaces Past

I look much happier than I really was at the time. May, 2003.

This was such an eclectic bunch. Three of us are native Arkansans(me included), but the other points of origin included: Portland OR; Seattle; San Francisco; Tulsa; Melbourne, Australia; and Fort Worth.

Meet the Ex(wife)


I know all of my gay friends have been sitting on the edge of their seats to see an image of my ex-wife. They've certainly heard stories that curled their hair (or bored them silly). Stan is the only one who has met her in person.

This was back in the Summer of 2002. I had already left once...the final time was just weeks away. Actually, we get along rather well now. It's SO much easier.... (How does everyone like me without facial hair???)

Thinking about school again

I've been thinking about returning to school for quite some time. This past week the desire has been overwhelming, and I've been streamlining and adjusting my financial and personal timeline to make it all possible. I happen to work in a wonderful job now that gives me loads of personal gratification. I've been involved in my technical field for many years, and I've worked for, and earned, the dynamic position I now hold. However, working in this position leaves scarce time for personal endeavors through the week. I've attempted taking only one evening class some semesters ago, but my demands on time are too great to accomplish my goals one or two classes at a time. I've convinced myself that when I do decide to make the leap back into school, I will be prepared to do so full-time. If I will still need to work, I will be willing to do so only on a part time basis. It is quite a large financial committment, especially considering the fact I am a divorced father with three children and will have child support to pay for several years to come. I've convinced myself that I can indeed accomplish this, despite the financial challenges. My pending move into a smaller and much more modest living space will finally enable me to move forward with an aggressive savings plan, and eventually, my ticket towards achieving the educational goals I have set for myself.

My friends and acquaintances all know that my personal desire is to gain entry into Dental School. And though it will only come to fruition after I finish all my prerequisites, I still ponder just where I will want to attend. This past week, I finally put down onto paper, a list. I divided the country into quadrants, and selected schools in each region that I seem to have interest in. It's a mix of public and private schools.

South
University of Tennessee-Memphis
Baylor-Dallas
Louisiana State University-New Orleans

East
NYU-Manhattan
Harvard-Boston
SUNY-Buffalo

West
University of the Pacific-San Francisco
University of Washington-Seattle
University of Colorado-Denver
University of California-San Francisco

North
Marquette-Milwaukee
Ohio State University-Columbus
University of Missouri-Kansas City

I'm sure I'll make adjustments to the list. A few already seem to be more appealing than others. One interesting fact I've found, is that around 800 applicants apply to Harvard each year, yet only 35 are accepted.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Spencer - Lover of Cats


Meet Spencer Adam-age 3 years. I snapped this photograph sometime in 1999. He LOVED playing with the two family cats, Bootsie & Biker.

I will see my kids this weekend. I've missed them dearly the last few weeks. Our last time together was December 23rd.

This weekend, we'll be celebrating Spencer's 11th birthday.

UPDATE...Aside from the crappy weather we're having in the Mid-South, several other little factors added up, and now the plan is on for next weekend. Actually, I'm a little relieved. Southern Missouri & Northern Arkansas are to get ice, and I'm to get up to 4 inches of rain. Not a good travelling weekend. At least not with a carload of chillren.

Now...to decide what I'll do, instead.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Sufjan Stevens - Chicago (live in San Francisco)

Six Feet Under - Season 5 Teaser


For those of you who didn't remember... the final season opened and closed with the same score: Sia - Breathe Me

Six Feet Under - Season 5 Closing/Series Finale


That was done SO well. I think it's my favorite closing of any show. Notice how Claire nearly looses it when she sees her deceased brother Nate chasing her down the street.

Weeks of wondering - 20 minutes of searching...


I finally found the artist & song in this commercial.
The Teddybears-Different Sound...BOUGHT IT!

The truth about Iraq

One of the most intelligent perspectives I've seen on America's current situation in Iraq.

Less IS More

I've returned those previously mentioned rolls of wallpaper to Lowe's, and I'm moving forward with a plan which will better suit my empty nest syndrome. Just days ago, I accepted an invitation from a professional colleague & good friend to explore a small studio loft he will have available for rent at the end of January. It suits my needs perfectly. Sure, those weekends that my kids will spend with me will be somewhat cramped, but the remaining 28 days of the month I will be able to function in that space with supreme efficiency.

Some weeks ago, I had written a post here which alluded to the fact I had resolved an internal conflict with my present living space. Had this new opportunity not come around with such perfect timing (my current lease expires at the end of February) I would likely have stayed-put, despite the impending 13% hike in rent upon signing a new lease. Upon asking my friend what he charged for rent on this little studio loft, I'm sure my face expressed a somewhat otherworldly repose. Finally, I will have the financial break that I've been looking for since the days of being newly divorced. Sure I've been able to get by, and I've become increasingly proficient with each passing year, but not have I ever come across a situation which will enable me to live at such a modest level. This will be 'the opportunity' for me to reestablish myself. Imagine, if you will, a situation which would enable you to fulfill all of your personal obligations on only half your monthly income. That is the opportunity I will now embrace for myself, and I will also come much closer to living the ideals that are important for me. Having once lived the lifestyle many consider 'the American Dream', I am not so willing to embrace those same fundamentals for myself anymore. Being leveraged up to my eyeballs offered only the reward of immediate gratification and a false sense of security. To also put it bluntly, if I only attract friends with what material possessions I put up for show, then they are not the type of friend I would like to attract.

It seems that the older I get, the more I wish to live a life of simplicity. Rather than reaching for the latest newest things, I'd rather know I have resources carefully tucked away, growing for what I will decide in the future to be truly life changing. Whether it be a decision to return to school or simply to invest myself further into a lifestyle of self-sufficiency, it will be a decision I will be able to make on my own terms and in my own time.

I've come to a point in life where I now can admire the examples of my parents and grand-parents: Living well is the reward of careful planning and knowing what you truly need to get by.