Be It Ever So Mortgaged.

Earl and I have lived in our new house since December 1, 2003. Today we decided to decorate. Actually, that’s a lie. We didn’t start today. We just sort of resurrected the thought and did something about it.

When we moved into the new house, we bought new furniture for the “Great” room and the formal living room. Moving from a 155 year old country cottage to an eight-year old transitional, our old furniture just didn’t make it so we opted for something new. The dining room in the new house housed the old dining room table, sans chairs, and the kitchen set in the old house moved on to the same duties in the new house. It didn’t look quite right, but it would do. Oh, we bought a new master bedroom set too when we moved in.

I’ve never felt quite settled in this new house. It’s twice the size of the old one, plus, there was that naked dining room that was just begging for attention. And I’ve discovered that the bigger the house, the bigger the dust bunnies so that’s been quite a chore as well. We recently paid off a bunch of bills so what better way to celebrate than to go back into debt. So we bought a new dining room set and kitchen set, both of which were delivered today.

Unfortunately I was not able to join Earl for the festivities and eye candy of the delivery men, but when I asked if they were good looking, Earl responded, “Yes, especially when he was on his back.” Blunt, but concise. Naturally he was kidding, but after eight years we all could use a good fantasy.

The dining room set is an oak mission style ensemble, complete with hutch and separate buffet. Naturally, we augmented the room with several one-of-a-kind (wink wink) paintings from Pier One (or at least a distant relative, Kirkland’s). And of course, no room is complete in my house without an antique school clock – we had one that matched perfectly.

The kitchen set is a little different than what we’ve had before, it’s a “gathering table”. It seats four or six and is a little higher than your standard table. It’s more at counter height with backed stools for sitting. It’s a really neat concept and makes us feel quite nouveau. We augmented that set with a couple of shelvy-table things for the corners and of course a clock.

There’s still much more that we wish to do, but at least now all the rooms have something substantial in them. I’m going to take more pictures and post them on my .Mac page within the next couple of days.

Slow Down, You Move Too Fast.

Ever since I was a youngster, I’ve always had this need to do any given task as fast as possible. In sixth grade, I always finished my exams first. My teacher always scolded me for rushing through them. I knew I had the answers I wanted on the paper. I did my very best. I didn’t believe in going back and checking my answers. I didn’t believe in second guessing myself.

As I’m learning my new job, I’m finding a tendency to do the same thing. I’m trying to learn everything at once, as quickly as possible, so I can be up to speed and a fully contributing member of the team. This method has worked for me before. I feel it’s when I’m at the top of my game. But this scenario is a little different. I’m helping customers now. I provide technical-type support for them. I have to slow down and think the problem through. In many instances, there are several paths any given trouble ticket can take.

On Monday, I purposely slowed down when I was troubleshooting an equipment problem. I thought about it, calmly, quietly and rationally. I didn’t try to “get it fixed” as quickly as possible, not caring if I stumbled along the way. I reasoned my way through the problem.

It was a much easier to fix the problem this way. I was able to work it through, without asking my co-workers repeat questions. I was rewarded with a “good job”.

There’s always something to learn, every day. On Monday I learned how to slow down.

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I’ve added a link to my moblog again. It’s at the lower right of my blog page. Also, our main page now has a link to the Matthew Shepard Foundation. Please take a look.

Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft.

I had an interesting lunch today. I saw a UFO. Well, actually not A UFO, but a group of four of them. I still can’t believe it.

It was a beautiful sunny autumn day. The sky was mostly clear with a few clouds here and there. It was a brilliant blue, save for the clouds. Jetliners flying overhead did not leave a con-trail, they moved across the sky effortlessly, with no evidence of their path trailing behind.

I often park in the parking lot of the local ballfield to enjoy lunch in the car. I don’t know why I go there, but it’s a popular spot. The same UPS truck is always in the lot, without a driver in sight. I like to think he’s napping on the packages in the back. I parked in my usual spot… facing the firehouse across the street. I had the gay talk station playing on the satellite radio. I was enjoying a not-meat sandwich and some pasta salad. It was peaceful.

After finishing up lunch, I leaned the car seat back all the way so that I could soak in some sun and enjoy the blue sky through the sun roof and the driver’s side window. Living beneath a busy airline route, I would see the aforementioned jetliners from time to time. I turned my head slightly and through the back window, a bright “star” caught my eye. My first impression was, “wow, that plane is really reflecting some sunlight.” But it was moving slowly and in a different direction than the airliners. And it didn’t act like a plane reflecting light. It maintained its brightness. I thought of my favorite sci-fi book, “The Demu Trilogy.” The alien planet the main character finds himself on is impressive in that the stars are bright, even in full daylight. It seemed like I was seeing a star in the middle of the day.

I figured whatever it was would take a few minutes to pass through my “blind spot” in a few moments and I would be able to see it through the sunroof. But it never happened. Whatever it was never appeared in my sunroof. I figured it was jetliner reflecting light after all and moved my attention to something else.

A few moments later, I looked straight up through the driver’s side window and saw four “stars”. Two of them were bright white and looked just like the North Star, except it was broad daylight. They were moving, in tandem, ever so slowly towards the south. They didn’t seem to have a deliberate propulsion; they seemed to be floating along, moving from side to side ever so slightly, but always the same distance from each other. As I looked closer, I realized that I could see two more “stars”, about half their size and the most beautiful blue-green you could ever imagine. Just as bright as the two white objects, just half the size. These two objects were very busy moving back and forth between the two white objects. They moved along with the two white objects, but did their own thing back and forth. Again, not in a straight line, but in a casual line of sorts.

I thought maybe I was seeing a balloon or something, but the light from these objects was always consistent. It just didn’t look like something reflecting light. They looked like they were generating these lights.

This group of four objects did their thing and moved to the nearest cloud, where they then began to move upwards, slowly growing smaller and then they disappeared, really, really fast.

I looked down at the sidewalk, not sure of what I saw and saw a man looking up at the sky. He caught my glance, looked at me, shrugged his shoulders and moved on. But at least I had confirmation that I wasn’t the only one that saw the four objects.

I have no idea what they were. But it was absolutely fascinating.

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Come Out, Come Out, Whereever You Are.

Not only is today Columbus Day, (is it the real Columbus Day or is it just “observed”?), but it’s also another holiday of sorts – it’s National Coming Out Day. It’s on this day that gay men and women, regardless of age, strive to come out of the closet and announce to someone, be it the world, their family or even themselves, that they are gay. National Coming Out Day was designed as sort of a support mechanism, to let people know that they are not alone.

I don’t think National Coming Out Day was around when I “came out”. Well, I actually didn’t really come out, for the most part I didn’t really feel the need to. I guess people just assumed. After all, in high school, I ended the morning announcements with phrases like “Have a Wonderful Wednesday” or “Have a Fabulous Friday”. I mean, come on, all that was missing was the flashing pink neon light. When I lived in Massachusetts, my dear friend Donna told me that coming out was only a big deal because gay men and women made such a big deal about coming out. If it’s not a big deal to you, then it’s not a big deal to anyone else. I can sort of see the logic in that and it’s a theory that I subscribe to, though I don’t think it fits in every scenario. For example, I don’t think that a teenage boy living in the middle of the Bible belt is going to be able to drop a “That was a wonderful six hour sermon today. I really liked Maude’s punch at the church social afterwards. By the way, I’ve been sleeping with the farm hand, we both like boys, but it’s really no big deal” and not have the family get their panties in a knot. It would be wonderful is the Mother and Father then embraced the boy and welcomed the farm hand into the family, and the positive energy in me tells me that this has happened at least once in a great while, but I fear that there’s not enough of that type of support in the world.

So here it is, National Coming Out day, so I’m going to share my story. I knew my sexual orientation in my early teens. Actually, now that I think about it, I knew I liked other boys when I was in elementary school. Second grade to be exact. I always opted to be on the girls’ team when we played “shove the kids on the ground” on the playground because after all, the girls needed help (wink wink). I actually wanted to be pushed around by the boys and I wanted to wrestle them to the ground. But it wasn’t until my early teens that I knew what all this meant. I figured it was just something that all guys went through. God Bless my mother and father, they never talked to me about how these things worked so I had to figure it out myself. It wasn’t until my later teens that I figured that whatever “this” was was here to stay and I might as well just live with it. Even though I had a girlfriend at the time. Luckily, my girlfriend dumped me (guess I didn’t put out for the prom or something) and I was free to pursue my true feelings. I had a crush on a classmate named Dave, but he ended up going out with my sister. She always got the cute ones back then. Towards the end of high school I accepted the fact that I found some of my male schoolmates attractive, though I didn’t really do anything about it. When my parents dropped me off at college, I made a vow to myself. I was never going to hide who I was again and I would always allow my inner feelings to be. And boy, was I “out” in college. It’s all I ever talked about! Small wonder I failed out of school, I was too busy trying to be gay (even though I didn’t go on ANY dates!). Someone should have dumped a bucket of water on me because my pilot light was flarin’ WAY too high. So much for preconceived notions on how gay men should act. Luckily I was at a music school or else I would have been beat up a lot.

I didn’t really talk about my homosexuality with my family until Earl came along, save for my mother, my sister and my cousin Stephanie. I told my mother my first break home from college, with the usual dramatic flair, but she told me she knew all along and that she still loved me very much. I can still picture sitting in my parents’ living room having that discussion with my Mom back in 1986. My sister just knew. Perhaps it was the discussions years earlier about how cute Rick Springfield, Jack Wagner and the guys in Duran Duran were. And my cousin and I were very close and she always teased me about being gay so I finally just confirmed it. I finally calmed down a bit and ended up having one boyfriend in the year or two after college that I brought around once or twice, then a half hearted attempt at a relationship after that, but until my commitment ceremony with Earl it was just an unspoken assumption, I suppose. I just went out and did my thing and everyone worried about me. I think everyone breathed a sigh of relief when Earl and I began wearing our wedding bands after our commitment ceremony. Then it was like the closet doors just blew off their hinges, even though no words were spoken. I was in love and I was happy. And am even more so to this day.

I wish everyone had an easy path with their homosexuality, coming out and acceptance. I cringe when people say that being gay is a choice. It’s not. It’s part of who I am. Without the “gay”, I would not be the man I am today. It is just as inherent to us as eye color or left- or right-handedness.

So on this National Coming Out Day, whether you’re contemplating, talking or listening, know that there are others in similar situations. You are not alone.

Maddening logic

With all this talk of the lack of Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, I continue to find the logic of this war even more maddening. As VP candidate John Edwards points out, the ‘Axis of Evil’ that Bush loves to talk about is comprised of North Korea, Iran and Iraq. And of those three, we went to war with the ONE country that didn’t have Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Talk about maddening.

In Touch With Nature.

With the rustling of the leaves and the crispness of the autumn winds, I have found myself with an inner yearning to get in better touch with Mother Earth. Earl and I celebrated this feeling yesterday, at least a little bit, with a trip through the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, in the Finger Lakes of Upstate N.Y. We took a drive down the observation road, watching geese and ducks rest a bit in the wet areas before continuing their flight south. I guess Montezuma is a migratory service area of sorts, along that familiar Thruway in the sky that birds follow when they head south for the winter.

I’m always amazed with the precision birds use when they fly south. Their “V” formation is always in perfect alignment, each bird lining up with military-like precision. One wonders if their honking are orders from a command bird or more of a commraderie type of encouragement. “Just a little bit further, we’re almost there!” “Service Area – 2 miles”. “Tell Esther to flap a little bit harder!”

One of the odd things about the Montezuma Refuge is that the New York State Thruway passes through the upper 1/3 of it. So you have resting birds and whatnot, deer, various other animals and then snotty people with their SUVs breaking the speed limit and not giving a care to the beautiful world surrounding them. They’re too intent on their inboard DVD systems. Whatever.

After the trip through the refuge, we continued the trek into the Finger Lakes and did a small winery tour, stopping at three different wineries, tasting lots of wine and bringing home three cases to stock up the wine cooler for the impending holiday season.

Today Earl is making a delicious crockpot full of homemade chicken soup and I’m enjoying a cup of Echinacea tea. I need to give my immune system a little boost after this last bout with the common cold. I want it to be the last cold of the season. Let’s see if the tea and the zinc tablets help this year.

Politics, Part 2.

I took an amazing step in a decidely political direction and listened to a good share of the debates this evening. I usually don’t engage in that sort of thing, as I’m not that good of a debater myself, and I feel that I can get pretty much the same dialog by reading a transcript from various campaign speeches.

My first impression is that Mr. Bush has a really loose grip on the English language. He certainly made up his own words on several occasions. He has a stumbling manner that just makes me plain nervous. It undermines any confidence I have in a man that is suppose to be the leader of the “free” world.

My second impression is that I still think John Kerry will be a good or great, but not outstanding President. He’s not Bill Clinton, but he’s better than what we’ve got.

Listening to the debate has not changed my vote. I’m still voting for John Kerry.

I have been a little more political than usual in my discussions with various family members. When some mention that they are Bush supporters, I ask them how can they support a man that is trying to turn our constitution into a tool of segregation. You may not agree with gay marriage. You may be very well against gay marriage. And I’m o.k. with that. But I’m NOT o.k. with adding an amendment to the constitution – the only amendment that is taking away citizen’s rights rather than guaranteeing them. There was one other amendment that did that – and that was for prohibition. And we all know how that did! Yes, in my eyes, a vote for George Bush is a vote against the relationship that Earl and I share. It’s a vote for separation, it’s a vote for segregation, it’s a vote for division and it’s a vote for oppression. It’s a vote to guarantee that the United States of America will continue these turmulous times for another four years. It’s a vote for war, not for peace.

Please think hard and think very carefully when you vote on November 2.

Under the Weather.

I’ve been sick the past two days. Nothing major, mind you, but enough to make life a little intolerable. Major sniffles. Stuffiness. Fever. Achy.

The paranoid in me instantly thought it was something drastic like my sister had, but I think it’s turned out to be only a 48 hour bug or something. I wish my sister had it so easy.

Earl has been an absolute gem with his chicken soup service and making sure I was tucked in nicely when I hit the hay at 6 p.m. And the folks at work have sort of nursed me along as well. They’re good people.

It’s nice to be surrounded with kindness when you’re a little under the weather.

A Green Thumb.

The beautiful weather today kicked my Earth connection into high gear or something. I’m still Mr. Domestic, cleaning and whatnot around the house. And now I’m working on my green thumb.

I haven’t had much of a green thumb over the years. This past summer’s vegetable garden showed much promise. The previous owners of the house had evidence of a beautiful garden when we moved in last year. A neat, organized fenced in area that was nothing short of a starter kit for me to continue the tradition. So, always one to take a cue and run with it, I completely ripped everything out and reclaimed the lawn and grew bucket tomatoes again. I’ve never had any luck with a garden but I can handle bucket tomatoes. Five gallon pail, lots of dirt, a few plants and we’re on our way to Italian sauce baby. The tomatoes came out pretty well, and I actually grew enough tomatoes to garnish not one but two salads this year!

So of course I decided that our house needs to be filled with plants. I went to Lowe’s, worked my way around the Christmas decorations (grrrrrrr) and found the plant section, with some beautiful plants that showed lots of promise. Since sunlight can be a premium during the winter months here in Upstate N.Y., I also bought a tall lamp with a “Grow Bulb” so that I can provide some artificial sunlight. I set up the indoor garden in the formal living room. Earl was so impressed, he asked that I do the same in the Great Room. So now I have a little project for the winter. Keep the plants alive!

I also did a tad bit of photography today. You can take a peek at my .Mac site. I had to give the Mac stuff a whirl, and let me tell you, it was a SNAP. Watch for more pictures soon.

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Posing for Animal Crackers.

It’s been a while since I’ve indulged in my vanity and posted pictures of myself. Here I am ready to hit the road last weekend…



And, Earl recently bought me a pair of Joe Boxer camo underwear. I thought I’d show them off. Enjoy!