Saturday, December 27, 2008

Where Can I Find?

Yes, I know it's an English staple, but I'd love to know if anyone knows where I could find HP. It's very similar to A1, but with a tarter bite, and not as thick. It's wonderful on eggs, and with getting ready for my new fitness minded lifestyle, I will be eating plenty of egg-white omlettes. Please give a shout-out if you know!

I've Made a New Committment

Ever heard of P90X? It's a series of fitness dvd's sold on late night informercial-vision. A new friend and I are going to be whipping ourselves into shape each day at my new gym, 3rdDegreeFitness. It claims to be able to transform your body in 90 days... although I think I may need to do it twice... I've never been so out of shape in my life, and I am ready for the changes to come!!!!

My new workout buddy is a trainer at this gym, and I have been following his fitness and weight loss battles on youtube for some time. At first, I didn't realize that he lived in Hot Springs, but it is such a small world sometimes, isn't it?? Anyhow, I've been doing my own battle with the bulge, as many of you who know me already know. My biggest mistake this year though, was taking on too many other obligations, and the gym somehow slid into bottom priority. By slacking off my gym time, I was able to re-gain nearly 20 lbs. that I had lost... and I did it in only the length of 16 weeks, or i.e., one Fall Semester. I'm not dissapointed, I just now realize that the committment I make to fitness and overall health must be a daily consideration, just like eating or sleeping, or I will die a very premature death. I don't want to die young. I refuse.

Luck would have it that my new friend and I would finally meet face to face yesterday, and upon discovering that we're to turn 40 years old within a month of each other, we have made a pact to celebrate our 40th Birthdays in the best shape of our lives. I am so, so, SO very excited about this! You know how when something is so exciting to you that you cannot sleep? THAT is how excited I was about this. (Which today, makes Alan a sloppy, dragging, tired fool.)

I am making certain preparations for the journey today, even though I feel like crap-o-la. I am getting the kitchen and pantry ready for a make-over as well. I know I will need to free up space in the pantry and fridge and freezer, for the new bounty of healthy foods I will now be keeping on hand. I am also rearranging the cupboards as best I can, and any other way possible to help me help myself in the kitchen.

And as tired as I still am from a severe deprivation of sleep.... I am still SO very excited. Tomorrow will be the day it begins.

Number 3

John Costelloe, also known as Johnny Cakes... the closeted gay love interest of Vito on The Soprano's, also has died.

Actually, Christmas Day brought us three deaths with one big wham. Besides Costelloe and Eartha Kitt, Nobel-winning and otherwise famous playwright Harold Pinter, all died on the same day.

In threes, ya know.....

Johnny Cakes and Vito share
a special moment.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Classic Eartha

You can even hear a Cat Purrrrrr!

RIP, Eartha Kitt

Eartha_Kitt, made famous for her role as Catwoman on the 1960's television series, Batman, as well as for her vixen-voiced rendition of "Santa_Baby", has died. Ms. Kitt comes in as my #2, in reference to my earlier post this month, "It_Happens_In_Threes,_You_Know...?

Isn't this ironic? Santa Baby is one of my favorite Christmas songs, and today, December 25th, was THE DAY Ms. Kitt would take her last breath. She recorded the song in 1953.

Coming a long way from her South Carolina roots - the daughter of a poor cotton farming family, her father was white - she proclaimed herself as a sex-kitten, Orson Wells called her "the most exciting woman in the world", and through her 6 decade career, earned herself three Emmy nominations... two of which she won, and also numerous Grammy and Tony nominations. Stage and screen icons like Eartha are a disappearing type of hybrid performer. Even entering her 80's, she had a large fan base that was less than half her age. I happen to be one of them! As of the past few years, Eartha had taken part in several children's animated series, doing voice characterizations. I will follow this post with a video or two (hopefully there's a clip on youtube).

Good Night, sweet and sexy Eartha. You were loved by many.


My friends at Wikipedia are a fascinating bunch. I just took the time to make a donation to show my appreciation for their hard work.

Where else in the world wide web can one search for information without the pesky ads and pop-ups? I can spend hours (and have) looking at anything and/or nothing specific, just to expand my knowledge. Of course, I was one child that read the dictionary and encyclopedia... for fun. Does that label me as a nerd?

Here's a link to donate. Do it!!!

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Monday, December 15, 2008

Open House Photos

Christmas Open House

I was able to take photos at the very beginning and at the very end. Sorry for the gap, but we had such a good time, that toting a camera was not on my mind. The photos in the kitchen were at the end of the evening, and things were getting messy:) My friend Sharon is actually wearing a shirt of mine, b/c she was 'burning up' in her Christmas sweater.

All be told, I think we had around 50 people show up.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Sprint through Christmas

Joe and I both took today off from work to prepare for our Christmas festivities. For those of you who have been in our home, you well know the amount of 'stuff', and the difficulties the 'stuff' have presented in allowing for a living flow throughout the house. Should any of you be able to visit within the next few weeks, you will notice the drastic changes we have made!

  • The front parlor has been totally cleaned, including each and every individual piece of antiquity, and the black baby grand has been tuned.
  • The library has been cleared and rearranged... and cleaned.
  • The dining room has been cleared of all the Brown_County_Art, cleaned, and selectively had its antiquities rearranged.
  • The back parlor has had all of its bookcases cleared of chachkies and replaced with, well... books... and cleaned.
  • The kitchen... cleared and cleaned.
  • The laundry room/powder room has had a nice treatment of Kenneth_Reeve hanging art added to its walls... and cleaned.

And I hope that if you are not able to drop-in on The 602 this Christmas season, that all of the work that has gone into it recently will remain as is. (I can only hope.)

The reasons for all the 'to-do' are two fold... On Saturday, we will be having our first ever Open House. It is for our friends and neighbors, Ron and Leigh Linton, who will be having a jewelry show. They are fine artisans in precious metals and stones, and we have thought of hosting a show for them for quite some time. It is also a way for us to be motivated to get our house 'guest-ready'.

Then on the following weekend, my family will be gathering here to celebrate our Christmas. It will be the first time I have hosted my family Christmas in several years. The last time, Rachel and I were still married, and Luke had just been born less than a month prior. Needless to say, my circumstances have changed drastically since then, and I am very excited to be able to welcome my own flesh and blood into a home full of warmth and love.

I've got a lot more to do, so I'd better get crackin'!!!! I'll post pictures as I can.


By taking the Comprehensive Final in Accounting last evening, I am done with school for one whole month. I am proud of myself enough to post my grade chart! I hope it's large enough to see... The Green columns are my grades, the Blue represent the class average.

Click to embiggen:

Prior to my exam, I did the necessary calculations to know how well I would need to perform in order to maintain my A grade, and it turned out that by working so hard throughout the semester, I needed only make a 63% on my final. Had I totally bombed or skipped-out, my class grade would have suffered a drop to an 85%... or mid-B. So, I was in no way stressed about my test performance. After handing in my exam last night, my instructor graciously graded it, and I discovered I exceeded my expectations. 98%! When I arrived at home, I called my parents to congratulate them, in that their son is - for the first time ever - a straight A college student.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My Goodness!

I had not realized it has been over one month since my last post. Blame it on schoolwork. My last final will be Thursday (tomorrow). And after doing the necessary calculations with my grade, I've established that if I totally bomb that comprehensive final, I will still squeak-by with a strong "B"...! That was very comforting to discover, I might add. And in order to maintain my "A" average in Accounting, I need only score a 63%.

I have completed all my course work for Business Law this week, too. Our instructor, who just happens to be one of our esteemed Circuit_Judges, dismissed us after Monday evening's session, and not without letting us peek at our course grade. When he began class that evening, he immediately scaled-out the entire body of scores in bell curve fasion on the blackboard, from highest to lowest, and then drew dividing lines, so as to separate the scores into groups. Of course, this was to show the different grading divisions. Five students recieved A's, around 12 B's, then fewer C's, etc... I knew that I did not have the highest score in the class. I was really just hoping for the #4 or #5 spot! But to my surprise, I clearly saw that I was #3!!!!

Thanks Judge!

It Happens In Threes, You Know...?

Everyone knows the face. Having appeared in around 40 films, 200 plays and many television shows, Robert Prosky had a face you would not easily forget. Knowing and remembering his name was not so easy.

His son, Stephen Prosky, was quoted in today's Associated Press, "Everybody knows him as a fairly famous actor. My brothers and I know him as a marvelous father."

It always seems that it is at this time of year that deaths of famous persons somehow are quick to gel in our memories. Here it is, just two weeks from Christmas, and we have our first for 2008. Who might we mourn next? It never seems predictable, but I am sure to count on at least two more noteworthy deaths before the stroke of Midnight, 12/31/2008. Any predictions out there?

And a good-night to you Mr. Prosky. You now join an ever growing list of those who have become immortal by means of cellulose. Now, whenever I watch Mrs. Doubtfire, or reruns of Hill Street Blues... I will know your name.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Green Tomato Pickles

With a cool snap in our air, tis likely that any tomatos still on the vine will not fully ripen this year. About a month ago, I decided to pickle a few, and today I tasted the results of my experiment.
The result? FAAAAbulous!
In a Summer edition of Martha Stewart Living magazine, a mo' simpler version of this techinque was revealed. I took the same advise, but embellished and the results are quite delicious. Joe and I are big pickle fans, so I simply saved the leftover jars (w/ the brine). Once I had gathered, washed and cut the tomatoes, I removed the empty jars from the fridge, and rather than the simple technique that Martha suggested (simply add the tomatoes to the brine and put back in the fridge), made the pickling a bit more permanent....
The pickle brine was poured into a small sauce pan and was gently heated to a simmer. While the brine heated, I removed the jar labeling and diligently washed them in very hot water. The lids were placed in another saucepan of water and brought to a simmer, as well. Before packing the tomatoes into the jars, I added a heaping tablespoon of minced garlic. Once the tomatoes were packed into place, the simmering brine was poured back into the packed jars of tomatoes, and the lids removed from the simmering water with a pair of tongs, and tightened into place. Within seconds, the lids had sealed, forming a vacuum and thereby preserving the green tomatoes indefinitely.
One month has passed since this experiment, allowing the flavors to infuse, and the results are quite amazing. Very crunchy... not in the least bitter, either. I even added a few tomatoes that were a bit pink, for color, and though they are indeed softer than their green siblings, they are by no means mushy, as I had feared. Now my plan will be to gather ALL of the green tomatoes still left on the vine, and concoct as close a version to Claussen pickle brine as I can. I'll also need a few more jars, lids and rings. And with a little luck, I'll be known the world over for my green tomato pickles......

Saturday, November 01, 2008

the other blog

I wanted to give notice of another blog I started. No prose, just pictures of art. We've been in the process of cataloging much of the art that we eventually plan to sell. (Originally, we had hoped to have sold it before the downturn in the market.)

All of the pieces are from the Brown County Art Colony, Brown County, Indiana. Most pieces are also from the earlier years of the colony, from the 1910's to the middle twentieth century. Joe and Kris were avid collectors, and we would have better use of the capital it could possibly generate than to have it all gracing our walls.

Click on my Blogger profile, and you will see it listed as another blog I own. Enjoy! (and if you are interested in any of the pieces, use my gmail address and let me know.

To make viewing even easier, here's the link:

Halloween was a Hoot, now back to bidness...

To have the priveledge of living in a house like The 602, I am more than happy to embellish the facade for Halloween. I spent a good three hours decorating the front porch and yard on Friday afternoon, and the crowd never seemed to cease. Probably around 300 children graced our front steps, and the nearly $90 worth of candy I purchased was whittled down to just a few handfuls that are now tempting me each time I walk past the bowl. We had Bethanie and Charles help us hand out treats (and douse the children with the hidden fog machine at the top of the steps), and then later on, Steve and Lynne brought their kids, their kids' friends, and one of the kids' friend's Mother... at about the time we wrapped up our treating. One thing about it being on a Friday night this year, I was uncharacteristically partaking of the spirits. I paid for it this morning, too. I'm a lightweight, so when one considers the two beers (actually, Irish Red ale), and the entire bottle of vino that I consumed, I was toast by the end of the eve.

Today, I have spent the majority of the day in the attic. Not your typical attic, I should add. The 602 boasts an attic the size of the average American home. Some 2000 square feet, with ceilings that reach around 14 feet (give or take), at it's highest point. My plan is to have the attic become a landing spot for much of the boxed goods that are scattered about the house. Some things will land there permanently, such as luggage and wrapping paper, and empty boxes, and Holiday themed stuff... but some things just need to have a place to land for a little while.

Since we repainted all of the upstairs last summer, things have never gotten to a state of normalcy, simply because of the sheer volume of 'stuff'. If I can get most everything up there that is now in our way, I plan to have the main house completely staged for normal living by Christmas*. Perhaps my library will not be painted by then, but to have The 602 livable in each room will do my psyche a heaping bit of good.

Last week was mid-term grade reports, and I am very pleased to say that in Accounting, I have a very solid "A", and in Business Law, I have a "B". Since getting back into the swing of school while working full time, I cannot imagine the folks who take a full load and still work. I realize that my two classes may be more time consuming than they are difficult, but these 6 credit hours are whipping my be-hind! Of course, my job is somewhat demanding of my time too... so I suppose it's a combination of both that are doing their number on me.

I guess that's it..... Check out the picture of the chandelier I installed in the front hall last weekend! Very blingy.

I installed a dimmer switch on it just before trick or treaters arrived last night, so that made the mood of The 602 even more dark and mysterious!!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Flashback Friday

This week, I offer something more upbeat and happy. I don't know why I was in the doldrums last week, but I'm all better now! It's also nice to get emails from people that I don't know who have read the blog. I got three in the last week!

Anyways, meet Echo and the Bunnymen. They are another of the essential 1980's bands, when one wishes to sample that decade of music. Jangle-Pop was their genre, and even though it was a short lived genre, it was awesome. The only other mainstream band to have made it in that genre was "The Mighty Lemon Drops". (Another band I adored).

Let your hair down, turn it up, and be happy it's Friday!!!!!!!!!!!!

More Echo:

More recent Echo (2005):

Saturday, October 18, 2008

More U2 to share

I am going through a sentimental phase. Bear with me and it will play out.

You may recognize the actors in this video. The female is Samantha_Morton, whom you would most likely remember as "Agatha", one of the clairvoyants in the film Minority Report. The male is played by the drummer of U2, Larry_Mullen, Jr.

Also, a video about the making of the video......

Friday, October 17, 2008

Flashback Friday

Giant-Mega-Band, U2 was a cutting new sound first in Ireland and the UK, then... the world. I was hooked with the first few songs that my cousin Philip had bought on the black market in Saudi Arabia. We were 12, it was 1981, and Pride/In the Name Of Love, the first American realease, had not even been recorded.

I'll always equate that time in my life with the pains of coming of age, my cousin Philip, and that hauntingly hollow beat we know as U2.

Even now I can see a chilling resemblance of Philip in the lead singer, Bono. Maybe it is that I will always hear Phil's voice singing along with Bono that helps bring it to mind, but to see them, one would think they were most certainly related.

Philip was shot in the face on Martin Luther King Drive in Little Rock in 1992. He lived on life support for three days, and then he died.

We were 23.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Spire

Architecturally inspired by a plume of smoke taking rise from the campfire of Native_Americans who would have resided along the banks of Lake_Michigan, the Chicago_Spire will soon begin its upward thrust to reign supreme over an already impressive and historic American city skyline.
The all-residential condominium tower at 400_N._Lake_Shore_Drive will sit just to the west of DuSable_Park, between Navy_Pier and Wacker_Drive. Topping out at 2000 feet in height, it will be the world's second_tallest all-residential tower, with a total of 1194 residences on 150 floors. The homes will range in size from a modest studio to a much larger 4 bedroom unit. Plans also include penthouses of undisclosed size.
At such a stunning height, subjects gazing out of the windows of the top-floor community room will be able to look downward at the famed Sears_Tower, once the world's tallest building, which will fall short to the Spire by 550'. Not only will one be able to look down on every tower in downtown Chicago, but will also be able to gaze across the waters of Lake Michigan and see the shorelines of Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin.
In order to achieve a design from his original inspiration, architect Santiago_Calatrava gently tapers the exterior walls inward, and each floor is offset from the one below by 2.44 degrees, for a total 360 degree rotation from ground to tip.
A spiraling plume of smoke that reaches 2000'? Must be one mother of a fire!
During an evening spent on Navy Pier last summer, I saw the construction site taking shape and the billboard posted with the coming development. Work was to have begun in the days that followed. The residents of 1194 condos must have a place to park, so construction first began on the building's seven story sub-terranian parking garage. With that in mind, I knew it would be quite some time before we would see any progress against- and into- the sky above.
2010 had been the original target date for completion, but the market turbulence has slowed progress and a tentative year of 2012 has been estimated for its completion.
Want a piece of Chicago sky in this particular vertical neighborhood? The sales office is open and would be more than accomodating in finding you the unit that is just right for you. But hold on to yer_breeches, studio units are priced at $750K and the prices spiral upward from there. The largest of the penthouses lists for $40Million. Anyone wanna go 'halfsies'??? Better hurry though, reports are that the tower is already 30%_sold.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Otherwise, I would be bored to tears

Today marks one full week with our house guests. It might be difficult to determine if they have enjoyed their stay as much as I have enjoyed them being here. As luck would have it, I have been off work all week due to a medical problem and their presence has given me great diversion to my little problem. Had I been at home alone all week, I think I would have likely focused on the pain I'm experiencing more, and the time would have slowly crept by. Tomorrow though, I will return to work, and my schedule will be back to a more normal state. On one hand, I'll be glad to get back, but on the other I fear that I may be walking back into a mess. Hopefully, the replacement my home office has sent down will be able to keep work flowing properly. I hope, anyway.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

"Things are getting really bad here"

were Thomas' exact words when I spoke with them this morning. As Hurrican Ike was approaching, they had decided they would stay nearer their home in Houston, so that a trip back home would not be so complicated and exhaustive. Those were the best of intentions, yet none of us had any idea the area would be so devastated. I have been reading that the mayor of Galveston has now barricaded the bridge leading into town (I-45), has said that anyone still there needs to leave and that residents that fled cannot return. The situation is becoming more dangerous with each passing day.

Upon our urging and reassuring, Thomas and Marieke are on there way up here today. From here, they can better manage their personal affairs and eventually begin the process of getting their life back into order.

It may take weeks for issues in Galveston to be resolved and the city reopened. From articles I've read, all of the infrastructure is gone, and now health and disease issues are plaguing those that stayed behind. Reports range from that of cemeteries that have had their tombs disinterred by the flood waters with the mangled mess of old coffins and dead bodies and other debris washed against fences and buildings, to accounts of rescuers finding people with hundreds of mosquito bites, dead pets and sea-life littering the whole town, and cattle and horses now aimlessly wandering about that had escaped the flooded western end of the island that has no sea wall.

The Houston-Galveston media is apparently shielding this information from residents so as to prevent panic, and I can understand why. However, I do think they should at least be willing to reveal to Galveston residents that it will be quite some time before they let them go back home, and even longer before life can return to normal.

Yes Thomas, things are really bad down there. You have no idea how bad.

So, perhaps we may have house guests for quite some time. Joe and I look forward to being able to help these two special people get their life back in order... however long it may take.

Friday, September 12, 2008


I spoke with Thomas and Marieke last night to see how they were dealing with Ike headed straight for Galveston, and they were of the opinion that they would just 'ride it out'. Well, after seeing this morning how bad this storm is getting, I (along with Joe's urging, too) have tried to make contact with them.

I've sent them a text message, just to let them know they are more than welcome at The 602. There is no need to even call... just get out before it's too bad to leave.

So, tonight we may have guests. And as bad as this storm is looking... they might be here a while.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Meet Me in the Library

More work around The 602 has begun. The next room to succumb? The library.

The previous owners could not let one single room escape their obsession with wildly patterned wallpaper. Although not covered in the 'floral vomit' pattern throughout the downstairs, it is still quite dark and un-library like. Soon though, the paper's grasp will be released from the walls of this stately room, and it will take on an air more accustomed to our liking.

The built-in bookshelves anchor one wall in entirety. And rather than the shelves being open to the room, all are enclosed behind doors. Along the bottom, the doors are of wood panel, and the tall doors above are all stained-glass. On the opposite side of the room and tucked into one corner is a lovely fireplace, surrounded in green tile and topped by a wood mantel.

It's the kind of room that one would expect to find a moose-head hanging over the fireplace, a tufted leather couch... maybe even a bear skin rug. (I'm working on the other half to make all that a reality, but I don't know if he can see it just yet...)

When it's done, I do know that it will likely be my favorite room in the house. I'll be sure to make before and after photos to post here.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

School Days Are Here Again

My re-education has been jumpstarted. Last Thursday evening was my first back in school in several years.

Q: How does it feel to be the oldest student in the classroom?

A: It feels great!

At least the instructor has a good 10+ years on me. And, lucky for everyone in that class, our instructor is energetic, funny and engaging... and this is Accounting? Okay, one class can be checked-off as enjoyable. The true test will be whether or not my Business Law class will be just as pleasant. I have no fear that I will be interested in the subject matter, it is the instructor that I have my doubts about. He's a judge. A judge that I have stood before years ago. About 6 years ago, and in fact just happens to be the judge that ruled in both my separation and divorce hearings.

Ahh, life in a small town... Do not worry, I will in no way intentionally remind him of how we last met. I wonder if in his absence, my ex-father-in-law will substitute for him? They are very good friends, and, well... oh, just forget it.

My pursuit of a college degree has been a multiple launch effort. My last attempt, ten years ago, while hoping to someday be admitted to dental or medical school. Just days after beginning that term, I (we) discovered that a third child was on the way. (Somehow I still think that was intended as sabotage on her part... but I think that is a possibility with all three pregnancies.) And so, even though I finished that semester with a 4.00, I never attempted to reach for my goals again. Until now, that is.

In no uncertain terms, my life partner has been nothing but encouraging about this new pursuit. I had toyed with the idea of going to culinary school in Little Rock, and even though I know I would enjoy the subject matter immensely, I realize that the job security in that field is not as solid as I would like.

Upon being visited by our friend Jerry from El Dorado, Arkansas, I discovered that a degree program in his occupation, and one which I had been interest in as a much younger person was now being offered at the University of Arkansas campus in Hope. Prior to that program, one would have had to attend a school out of state with the closest being in Dallas.

The degree program is in Mortuary Science.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sunday Mornings are good for reading...

I have not been my blogging self lately, nor have I been my usual blog-reading self. Today though, I've been milling through my blog-roll, and happened upon a story I had read some time back. The author, Joe of Joe My God, recounts his experience of losing an acquaintence/friend back in the days of the gay scourge... the gay plague. Anyway, Joe has reposted the piece on his blog, as the original date of the posting has high significance.

I urge you to follow the link and experience it:

Also, I cannot believe that Madonna just turned 50.

Thursday, July 31, 2008


First, it was Joe. He called on Monday afternoon asking if I knew where he might could find a copy of his proof of insurance for his car. He had been rear-ended on Central Avenue, and could not find a copy in his car. Since he was on-duty, and to make sure any injuries were to be covered by workman's comp, he would have to go to the doctor for blood work and exam. While there, the Doctor diagnosed him with bronchitis.

By the time he got home, he could not speak and was delirious with sickness. On top of it all, he was sore from the auto incident, too. The bag of prescriptions that I fetched for him raised pharmacy staff eyebrows significantly, as it not only included narcotic cough medicine, but also vicodin and muscle relaxers for his muscles.

Needless to say, within an hour of arriving back at home with his meds... he was toasted.

Luckily for Joe, he was able to call-in sick for two days and was able to rest and heal. I, on the other hand, became ill the next day, and could not take off work at all. Apparently, the person that stands in for me when I am ill or on vacation was already filling-in for staff in our North Little Rock lab. In other words... I was shit out of luck.

"Just go home as soon as you get all your work done" says my boss. Seemed simple enough, but after having already gone to the doctor yesterday morning prior to work, my meds had kicked-in too... and I was doing good to complete my work at all without grinding off my fingertips with the dental drill.

So, yesterday I got to leave a whopping 5 minutes earlier than usual. Today was a bit better though. I got to leave much earlier. Much, much earlier! 2:00!!!!

Gee whiz, maybe I'm just pissy b/c I'm sick... or maybe I just want a new job.

I'm thinking it's both.


Our neighbors, Ron and Leigh Linton, brought over this photocopied photo of The 602. I am thinking that it is probably around 1915.
The Black Friday fire of 1913 that destroyed much of downtown, the courthouse and the east side of the Quapaw-Prospect neighborhood also damaged The 602. When new(1887-1892), she was a grand Queen Anne Victorian covered in gingerbread trim, a tall hip roof, and I'm certain that the rondelle had a pointed turret, too.
Well, as evidenced by signs of fire in the attic, I'm thinking that the roof either burned off ... or was damaged to the point of being replaced. And the house underwent a total renovation, not only to repair the burn damage, but to also add indoor plumbing and electricity. It was at that time that (according to the version of the story we've been told) that Dr. Collings decided to make the house as fire-proof as possible. Hence... the stone facade & the Craftsman/Prairie inspired lines that she carries through to this day. Notice how prominently the large Frank Lloyd Wright inspired porch planter stands out on the corner of the front porch.
The lines of the Queen Anne aren't completely lost, though are toned down significantly. I can imagine lots of lattice work for the house's underpinning... lightning rods on the tips of the turret and hips... and lots of scroll cut trim work... all cut to perfection and painted 10 different colors. Can you see it??? Nevertheless, she's still a grand old home. A hybrid of sorts...
Perhaps a Craftsman Queen??????

Friday, July 18, 2008

Makes My Blood Boil

I know many of you have seen this already, but I thought it worthy of a post.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Think Cool Thoughts

It's July in Hot Springs, and it is indeed hot. Joe and I tag-teamed yard duty this morning, and even though we started just before 8:00 and finished just after 10:00, it wiped us out. Even the Scots are bushed after walking back with me from the groomers. As soon as we walked in the door, Wills laid himself out on the slate floor in the kitchen, where he still remains some 40 minutes later. He occasionally lets out a groan for us to hear. I totally understand what he means and how he feels.

The photos above were taken the day of our last snow this year. I made sure to capture it, as I knew it would not be around long. Snow in Hot Springs is not nearly as common as one might think. I've seen winter here pass without seeing a single flake. However 2008 gave us snow on two occasions. What made it even more uncommon was that both snowfalls occurred during the same week. March 3rd and March 7th. The first two photos are of home 'the 602'; then, looking up West Mountain; next, the tan Victorian on the next corner on Hawthorne St. (we don't know them very well, b/c they are assholes); and finally, our dear friends Danny and Janine-owners of Prospect_Place_Bed&Breakfast just around the corner from us.

Doesn't it look wonderful? I feel cooler already.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Shirtless Yard Man

Sitting in my office, looking out my little window to the world...
I spot this across the street.
Two thoughts crossed my mind:
1. How much would he charge to mow our yard, and
2. Would Joe approve?
Uh, YEAH! And only if he works without his shirt all the time.
(I must have some kind of awesome camera, as this guy was not only across the street, but was down the block, too. I did not realize how tight I could close-in on subject matter:-)

Monday, June 30, 2008

Not Until Autumn

I'm finished. Through. The outside projects around the house will have to wait until the next solstice draws near, as it is far too hot, and I too easily succumb to the effects of heat and humidity to make it all worthwhile.

The effort I put into the project over the past weekend has rendered me into an achy, moany, grouchy old poot. So, the decision for me is to only tackle regular outside duties: mowing, trimming and watering as needed. Period.

I am sure the decision will please the mate to no end, as we've finally begun the ominous job of staging and decorating the old Victorian that we call home.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Ivy Be Gone!

I have had a love/hate relationship with the English Ivy growing about the fence that separates the front lawn from the pool area. Granted, it gives the needed privacy from the street, and it graciously covers the hideous chain-link fence with the white metal privacy sleevy inserts woven into it, but tends to have an invasive nature. Over time, the small strip of ground between the fence and the pool deck has become thickly woven with the gnarly shit, and frankly, I just got tired of trimming it back to the edge of the concrete.

So... I ripped it all out. Yesterday.

I had done a small area weeks prior, just to give a glimpse of how that might look. I liked it. It pleased me. But I didn't have the gumption nor the energy reserves to tackle the entire 50' stretch, especially since the area is in direct sun by 9:30 until 6:00. I knew it would be a project that would have to commence early on a weekend day, before the area succumbed to full sun.

Yesterday morning, I arose at 6:00 on the dot, and I began my dreaded task at 6:30, equipped with shears, rakes, shovels and a pot of darkly roasted coffee. My luck would have it that the early morning sun rose... then disappeared behind a heavy bank of clouds around 8:00. I'll take 90% humidity and overcast instead of 90% humidity and sunny, any freakin' day.

All told, the entire project to completion took about 12 hours. I think I burned at least 10,000 calories.... With the ivy gone from the strip of ground, the remaining ivy on the fence was given a 'high and tight'. (I had no idea I would haul so much of it away, and thank goodness the city will pick up at the curb.) I also removed two large holly bushes, and the two that remained, were given a bonsai-type treatment. (Who in the hell plants holly bushes by a pool, anyway? Please, would somebody tell me the logic in that?)With all of it now out of the way, I then proceeded to cover the area in hardwood mulch. Three miniature roses were planted, a large metal sculpture was set, protective reflecting orbs placed around the roses, and the palm trees on the far end of the pool were trimmed of their deadness.

Pictures to enjoy(clicken to embiggen)....

From our bedroom deck above.

The roses with their protective reflecting orbs and, well... rocks.

The palms, all trimmed and fresh. I wintered them in the sun porch, and they lived!


Joe and his late friend Gary bought the sculpture in Sandwich, IL. It was an original fixture in a bank in Dixon, IL. I saw the maker's mark on the bottom when I was moving it... but I've forgotten what it said.

I will eventually look at it again, but it won't be anytime soon. That fucker is heavy! So is the stone block it sits on. They don't really go together, but I married them, and I think they look right smart.


I remember. It's a Horvath. Gene Horvath (1927-1995). He was a well-known abstract metal sculptor in the upper Midwest, and there are many public works of his in Rockford and Rock Island, IL and Davenport and DesMoines, IA.

From the looks of his other work, I bet this one is very early. Guessing late 1950's.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Not Today, Please.

To see the positive side of a difficult situation is a quality I've been able to put into practice on most occasions. It is not a difficult task to bear a majority of the time, but I am only human, and today has proven to be a day in which I am not up to carrying the burden. I'm tired, and I reserve the right on this day, to roll around in my own self-pity. I don't allow myself to do such on most occasions, but today, yes. Poor, poor me.

No calls on the phone
No cards in the mail
No glimpses of my kids
No sticky melted ice cream kisses...
No Happy Father's Day wishes.

Just bear with me and I will get over this. I've had to deal with so much more. I just hope they know how much I love them...
And when they're grown, I hope they will want to still know me.


Well, I did finally receive that all important call. And even though it came at 9:30pm, it changed my mood tremendously. It was so nice to hear those sweet little voices.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Come Saturday...

Endora should be sitting in our driveway!

New Toy

I'm a sucker for old classic cars. Recently, we've been serious about tracking one down to actually buy and enjoy. It just so happens that on Memorial Day, I actually had the winning bid on this lead sled. A 1971 Cadillac Eldorado convertible. She needs a little attention, but nothing too drastic (I hope).
I had mentioned naming her "Divine", but that was more fitting of another car we spotted... a 1967 Buick Electra 225, and Joe happened to come up with a more fitting name.
We will name her "Endora".
I will also post different pictures of her. I stole these from the E-bay listing...

Friday, May 16, 2008

Born on this day...

Clockwise from top left:

David Boreanaz(1969), Liberace (1919), Debra Winger (1955), Gabriella Sabatini (1970), Janet Jackson (1966), Tori Spelling (1973), Henry Fonda (1905), Richard Page (1953), Pierce Brosnan (1953), Mare Winningham (1959), Tracey Gold (1969). Center: Moi (1969) w/Joe.

Aren't we a lovely and talented bunch?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Something Has Clicked

Several years ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I was a very slim and svelte young man. A young dad, two jobs, college classes at night, and yet I still had enough energy to arise every morning at 4:30 to exercise. When I was my slimmest, I averaged a weekly total of 30 jogged miles, and as many or more walked or hiked. I remember the endorphin rush each and every day, and the high would last me long enough to do everything I set my sights upon.

Me: 1998

Age: 28
Height: 6'2"

Chest/waist: 50/34

Weight: 220

Hair: Yes

Well, life situations changed (life actually became a living hell), and my "hot young daddy" body fell into disrepair. Fast forward a few more years, and I was basically living off of a diet that consisted heavily of vodka & mtn. dew, and lots of other 'junk'. I had experienced a very nasty divorce, which in actuality was not as bad as the 7 year marriage that preceded it. The quality of my life had become over-run with obstacles that I could no longer maneuver. Finances were spiraling out of control, job security waxed and waned with the moon, and in all my good judgement, I had decided that I would now finally come out of the closet. Little did I know that some of the biggest challenges of my life wre yet to come, despite feeling like finally living true to self would set me upon a road to happiness.
My life was upside down, and my health was taking a very serious turn for the worse. It was Easter of 2003 when I got my real wake-up call, and it was this photo taken of me with my sisters:

In four short years, the person who looked back at me in the mirror was a complete stranger. Seventy pounds can squash just about any person's will. Problem was... my will had already been through so much, that I simply didn't have the energy to do anything about it. All I could think of was the fact that not too long ago, I had been near single digit bodyfat percentage... without worrying a thing about what I ate! But the bigger kicker was how embarrased I was about myself at a time when I was very vulnerable, and still learning the ropes of this new gay world.
Looking back at all of it now, I feel I have come full circle. I joined a gym this spring and have been enjoying it tremendously. I haven't quite been able to completely quit smoking yet, but I do now watch what I eat, and do not really drink that much anymore. As of this week, I finally am beginning to feel like I did many years ago. I again, arise before 5 am, and make my way to the gym. I love every moment of it. In fact, I'm heading there now. All this week, I've gone back for seconds in the afternoons. I am trying as hard as I can, as hard as I am able, to find that "hot daddy" body again. I know I'll find him. In fact this time, he will be even better than he was before.
Damn, this has been one long-as-hell road to get to this point, and I feel as if I've paid my share of dues along the way. But I'm glad I am here again. I don't quite have as much work ahead of me as I did in the fat picture, but I know I can do it again. I had doubted it for so long.
I love my life again.

Taking Jesus to Town

Amazing footage, but a corny song. It's great they wanted to save such a pretty old building.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Kyle Farnsworth Gets Dressed

80's Moment - Depeche Mode

"Shake the Disease" Supposedly about an infactuation, but for many, an all too familiar memory for what was happening around all of us. There was only one real disease then, and it was swallowing up hundreds every day.

Today is my very good friend Bethanie's birthday, which also happens to be lead singer David Gahan's too.

It's fun to look back on culture through music videos. This was 1985. I was in high school, and remember all too well the bleached hair, mascara and lipstick wearing Brit boy musicians of the day...

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Look at what I've cooked up now.

I have lately called into question the level of satisfaction I enjoy with my current job. It now seems that I yearn for something new and different with increasing intensity each passing day. I must say that I do indeed have an 'easy' job and get compensated well, etc. But I know I need a change. I have worked in the dental field for over 10 years now. I'm sick of whiny patients. I'm sick of the drama that ensues in each and every dentist office I have dealings with. Most of all, I'm sick of dentists. I do enjoy working with a few, but for the most part, they tend to make my stomach turn and my head ache.

While wandering around on the internet one day (at work), I came across a particular specialty school that is new to Arkansas. Years earlier, I had often thought of entering such a program while I lived in Memphis, but it was during a turbulent time in my life and I had neither the funds nor the support of my parents in attempting such an endeavor. I have come into a chapter in my life though, that will enable me to pursue this once lost dream, and do so with enthusiasm and energy. I have Joe's blessing too, and with that, I know that it will be an exciting new change.

The program into which I will enroll at some point in the future, is Culinary Arts, now offered by Pulaski Tech in Little Rock. I will also enroll in classes to better educate me on the finer points of running my own business, as I will plan on working for myself eventually. Perhaps a couple of years of experience in a big commercial kitchen, such as The Arlington or The Embassy Suites hotels will be helpful, but my goal is to work for myself as soon as possible. The idea I've had of a business model does not include a restaurant, per se, but rather a retail shop that will have deli-like offerings for lunch, a cold case, gourmet items, kitchen and party accessories, with the heart of it all centered upon a catering business.

I've even thought of the name I want to use for the store...!

Friday, May 02, 2008

I'm Procrastinating

Here I sit, in front of my blog, pasting videos from youtube onto it. I should be at the gym, already halfway through my hour long workout. And yes, I've obsessed with video posts today, but I hope they are enjoyed.

I will write, soon. I promise.

This Is The Last Time, Ya Hear...!?

Keane is a wonderful current group out of England. Love em, and hope they make a lot more music.

80's Moment - The Mighty Lemon Drops

I have the extended version of this song on my i-pod. First heard them in college and they're among my top faves. Only a very few bands were in the genre that was called "Jangle Pop"...and they are (were) one of them.

Last Night Was a Movie Night

The Dying Gaul. Excellent! It was first a stage play, premiering at the Vinyard Theatre in NYC (I'm on their mailing list...) and wonderfully adapted to film. Peter Sarsgaard typically plays a deviant, or character with challenges, and he always pulls it off SO WELL! Didn't that last line in the trailer kind-of give you goosebumps? "I feel you!"

Watch it. Soon.

Friday, April 25, 2008

I've Been A Slug This Week

Yep, that about sums it up.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

What's that I hear?

I promised, some weeks back, to make mention of The Valley of the Vapors music festival. Sorry for the delay, Bill! But, it does start today and runs through the week. Sounds fabulous & everyone can read more about it here!

That is one cool Capone alteration, I must say!

Cold Turkey... Day Four

I've been good. Up till now. I want to eat a cigarette. I tore into that box of nicotine patches this morning as if I was Charlie Bucket, looking for a Golden Ticket inside. And the instructions... the instructions, dammit! Tell me to ask myself "why" I want to quit at the back of the bloody instruction manual. Tell me where to put the bloody patch on my body on the first friggin page, and let me worry about the rest later, dammit!

So it says to place the patch on a non-hairy area of skin on the upper body. Okay, so does that mean I have to put it on my forehead? Because I'm telling you what, there's not much of an area on my upper torso that is not covered with hair of some sort (...okay, TMI & so sorry), but it is the truth.

My solution... my bicep. And now I'm feeling SOOO much better. I love you all. Have a wonderful day!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

A Night at the Symphony

I was able to smuggle-in my camera to the Symphony concert last night. I had remembered that my camera took video, so I originally shot this with the intention of sharing it with my kids. They were in Hot Springs on short notice, and the fact that we already had tickets for the symphony was a bit of a sore topic. Had there been no plans for the evening, the kids would have had the treat of sleeping over... and they haven't had that opportunity in some time.

A couple of months ago, Joe purchased both of us these tuxedos, and Gay Lynn suggested we all dress to the nines and go out and have a good time. We certainly did! It was our first opportunity to meet Gay Lynn's good friend, Candy, and we all looked smashing... if you ask me!

Don't they look fabulous?!?

Friday, February 29, 2008

And.....They're Off

Our neighbor and friend Terry dropped by yesterday and left us two day passes for Oaklawn Park. Seems she has a co-worker that owns a horse that is racing today. I only work a half-day on Friday, so the 1:00 post time will not interfere. Last time we went, we took Joe's mother and a family friend of theirs. We all won 'something'... except for Joe. (Of course he was betting long shots all day). So, maybe today he will strike!

I'm already craving one of their reuben sandwiches and a beer.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Remembering Daniel

Underneath the big, burly and alpha exterior was a man as tender and sweet as they come. Dan was a friend, who for many years, awaited a liver transplant. In February of 2007, he finally recieved a liver and the transplant was successful. However, before being discharged, he died from a loose blood clot.
He was a good man and a good friend & I cannot believe a year has now passed since he left us. I'm glad I was able to know him.

We Visited the Old Galveston Bunker

Monday, February 25, 2008

Tiny Shells

They were everywhere.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


We're back from Galveston. We blazed a trail through Texas today after dropping our friend Monique off at Houston Hobby Airport this morning. One week of vacation was not nearly long enough, but it certainly was nice to get away, explore new territory and be with our good friends Thomas & Marieke and Monique. I'll be posting photos and videos from our trip soon!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Artful Dilemmas

The hallways have awaited a response from either of us since being painted and refinished, to display the multitude of artwork that is begging to be hung. The stumbling block for us has been what method to use, and the cute cartoon above clearly demonstrates our angst, but finding the appropriate hardware has been an exhaustive process. We clearly want to use a picture hanging system that blends into the period of the house (1887-1892), but just about all I can find up to now has been more of what one might find in a home fully appointed by Ikea. (I enjoy that look, but only if it can blend... which here, it will not.)

I'll try and remember to take some before and after photos...

Thursday, February 07, 2008

I Just Had an Election Revelation

Though it is far too distant to yet predict which candidates will earn their parties' nominations, I am speculating a "What if" scenario...

"What if" Hillary Clinton does win the Democratic Party nomination for President of the United States? With ghosts of elections past occasionally running through my memory, I made myself quiver when the recollective thought of Retired General Wesley Clark surfaced. Because it was at that moment that I was also wondering "who"-if Hillary might win the nomination-would she ask to accompany her as Vice President.

I then began reasoning, "Why Wesley?"

The all-too-obvious. Because he could (or might) convince a reluctant Hillary voter to elect him Vice-President.

I'm Just Saying...

Did anyone think it was kinda spooky that the states that gave Mike Huckabee a majority vote ALSO got themselves some ginormous tornadoes on Super Tuesday???

Wrath of the gods? I'm thinking, yes...! But I don't really believe in all that. I'd be on the same level as John Hagee stating that Katrina was 'God's' wrath for Southern Decadence(read Fat Gay Pride) in New Orleans that year.

........but it is delicious to finally have the same ammunition they(read fundamental christianism nuts) always so blatantly fire at us.

So, there. That gets two snaps and a circle, girrrl.

Well, dammit...

I was looking forward to seeing a lot more of these Romney boys. It just came over the wire that Mitt has suspended his campaign.
Just think. That would've been the WAY handsomest administration ever!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Isn't It Ironic?

That accidents in the bathroom account for a large percentage of household injury, yet we're told to go there in case of an approaching storm?

Sunday, February 03, 2008

I'm almost ashamed to admit I agree with this... Wintch.

Yes, she's nasty. She always will be. It's her purpose. But now, in this political atmosphere, I have to agree with her on a few of her points.

No, I'm not your typical run of the mill queen. I know for certain that we will have four rotten years ahead of us, no matter who we elect. It's why I voted for an out of mainstream candidate.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Three Important Lessons

1. While cooking on our indoor grill (attached to the cooktop), I have learned that the exhaust fan does not remove all of the smoke while cooking,

2. The smoke detector in the kitchen is hard-wired into the security system, and

3. The response time for the Hot Springs Fire Department to our home is just under 3 minutes.