August 2003

Getting Ready for the Long, Strange Trip

Well, not exactly. Earl and I are headed off to the midwest on Tuesday after work, and we’ve begun preparations today. We’ve decided to do this trip on a budget, so we’re packing lunches and snacks in a cooler. I think we’re both determined not to regain weight we’ve recently lost and this is a good way to keep our health in check during this vacation.

Tomorrow night I take Tom up to his Grandfather’s (my dad’s) for the week… it is never a joyous experience taking the cat for a ride in the car. He absolutely does not like the car and will probably be a mess the entire trip. I’m not looking forward to that experience. Wish me luck.

Earl and I went to the New York State Fair yesterday. We decided to go for the entire day and ended up taking a leisurely, relaxing stroll through the fairgrounds. We visited all the barns, watched some livestock competitions and ate some good old fashioned fair food. You know, it’s amazing how much pride these youngsters show when they’re showing off their prized llama or whatever. Or the men and women that put together beautiful flower displays, or place settings. You can tell each and every person has worked hard for that moment. It’s a wonderful thing to watch.

We never did make it to the midway, but that’s o.k., because the state fair isn’t about amusement rides to us. It’s more about the people of New York State… admittedly, mostly Upstate N.Y. It’s rare to hear a New York or Long Island accent amongst the fair crowd.

One thing I got a kick out of. A young boy, around 9 or 10 years old entered one of the talent contests as a singer. His voice was absolutely amazing. He could belt it out like no one I’ve heard at that age, and his voice quality was impressive.

I was most impressed with his choice of song. “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor. He was living my dream back when I was 10-years old… singing “I Will Survive” in front of an audience and getting a rousing round of applause. Good for him!

Just your average Thursday

It’s Thursday, just one day away from the weekend. I’m getting a little antsy, because Earl and I are going on a trip… we’re leaving on Tuesday night for Madison, Wis., Chicago, Detroit and all points in between. We want to take in some sights of the midwest, visit with his family in suburban Chicago a little bit (don’t tell them, it’s a surprise) and visit Taliesin, the summer home of architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

Honestly, I’m looking forward to the weekend as well because the great New York State Fair is underway in Syracuse. Earl and I go to the fair every year. And it’s always a blast. Being a native of the Syracuse area, I’ve gone to the fair all my life, and it’s very special to continue to go in my adult life with the person that I love. It’s very nice.

I have to visit every barn, pet every type of animal, go on a ride or two, cheer on the farm kids that are showing off their prize animals, people watch, sit in the State Park in the middle of the Fairgrounds, listen to some free entertainment at Miller Court (last year we caught Captain and Tenille) and basically just enjoy the fair. I’m really looking forward to it.

Earl got home from his business trip to Pennsylvania last night. He was quite impressed with all the work I had done on the landscaping while he was gone. I must admit that it looks very nice. I’m looking for more to do during the weekend during the times that we are home.

We watched the finale of The Amazing Race 4 tonight. Chip and Reichen, the married boy-boy team (that makes them gay) won! Yay! They were fierce competitors and they did a fantastic job. Honestly, I was torn between them and the last co-ed team, Kelly and John – because they did very well as well. It was great to see Chip and Reichen win though. They thoroughly deserved it. That’s one reason that I don’t lump The Amazing Race into the rest of the Reality TV show trash bin – because you have to actually do something to win. You have to be physical, you have to use the resources available to you whereever in the world you are, and you have to mentally prepared for the challenge. I thoroughly believe that it’s the only Reality TV show really worth watching on a regular basis.

That being said, I must admit that we’ve been watching Boy Meets Boy as well. You know, I’ve really been hoping that James (the lead guy) hooks up with the man of his dreams, even though a TV show is an odd place to meet your kindred soul. The twist of having straight guys in the selection seems cruel to me. I think America would be raising a stink of The Bachelor had lesbians in the mix and he had to figure out which ones were straight and which ones were gay. I think this whole twist thing on reality TV is stupid. Just let the people do their thing. If the ratings suck, then it probably wasn’t a very good idea anyways.

O.k., I’ve ranted enough for one night. Now for a little praise. I’m typing this blog entry on the iMac because my computer is downloading it’s 15th update for Windows XP this week. I really need to save some money so I can buy myself a power book and ditch the Windows based machine. Honestly, I’d like to have an iMac powerbook AND a Unix/Linux based desktop machine – but something not quite as powerful as my current Windows machine. A decent processor, videocard and lots of RAM. I’ll do all my multimedia stuff on the Powerbook. Now to convince Earl! 🙂

Straight Eyes on the Queer Guy

I can not believe the latest television rage that has swept the public this summer. No, I’m not talking about that ManBEAST on “Paradise Hotel”. (Memo to Fox – do NOT employ ‘Toni’ on anymore reality shows. She as fun as a case of SARS.) I’m referring to “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”. It seems that every day at work someone is talking about this show like it’s the best thing to hit the airwaves since Diff’rent Strokes.

I initially wasn’t going to jump on the whole Bravo Tuesday night thing, with “Boy Meets Boy” followed by “Queer Eye…” (which is now being referred to as “QE” apparently.) But Earl treasures our together time in front of the television so I’ve settled down to include the two shows in our television viewing schedule (the other two shows include “The Amazing Race” and reruns of “Bewitched” in case you’re interested).

Anyways, these five fools are stereotypical gay men, right down to the witty remarks, coq au vin and spectacular grooming. But I have to admit they know their stuff. In fact, on Friday, I decided to take one of Carson’s pearls of wisdom and dress casually for work. Cargo shorts, a vertically striped button down shirt, open, with a matching T-shirt underneath. The openness of the button down, along with the vertical stripes, makes you look thinner. And I’ll be dipped… I received several compliments at work. I must look like a fat slob the rest of the week.

I must have made an impression… either that or the show is, because now my co-workers are asking me about all this queer eye stuff. How do my clothes look? Did I shave the right way this morning. Should I use more or less gel? What scent candles go well with latex paint. My child has an obsession with blenders, should I teach him how to make a smoothie… the list goes on and on. And this is where QE fails the majority of the gay population. It shows that gay men have all this extraordinary talent, when in fact, a very small percentage of us do. Heck, I’ve installed wiring on the outside of the bathroom wall with a staple gun and have been convinced it was “pretty”. I’ve worn clothes that make fashion plates crouch in terror at Filene’s Basement. I’ve had facial hair that seriously needed spring pruning. I do not have the Queer Eye. Am I gay? Of course I am, but I apparently skipped a whole semester at Gay Boy School.

One of the guys at work (cute, straight) is a little offended by the whole concept of the show. He claims that the gay community would be raising absolute mayhem if there was a “Straight Eyes for the Gay Guy”, where five straight men taught a gay man how to be straight, you know, punch a buddy in the arm, play football and survive a night out at Hooters. I commented that I wouldn’t be against that… just skip the Hooters part, and sign me up for the rest. But only if there’s a locker room and butt slapping involved.

Will this QE thing blow over? Of course it will. When it comes to entertainment, Joe Public has the attention span of a gnat. Then I won’t have to answer questions like “How do I clean my Alabaster?” (“Uh, with a garden hose?”). And we can settle down for the next fad. “Language Arts for the President!”

She hates to say I told you so…

Well, it’s Sunday night already. Time certainly does fly when you’re having fun! 🙂

My poor baby has been sick all weekend, so it has been a cozy weekend at home. I think he strained something when he was playing golf, because his back hurts terribly. He went to the doctor on Friday, who gave him anti-inflammatory medicine, as well as a pain pill. Plus, he had x-rays taken, though he doesn’t suspect that there’s a problem of that nature. So, Earl pretty much stayed in bed all weekend, or took to the couch and watched the PGA tournament on television.

Yesterday, I messed around on the computer most of the day, since it was raining like crazy. I got bored later in the afternoon, so I decided to change my look and shaved off my mustache. I think it looks pretty decent… I’ll have to share a picture when I get a chance. I don’t know how long I’ll keep the look this time, but it’s fine for now.

As I may have mentioned before, we recently had some landscaping done to the house. About a month and a half ago, the landscapers were here and, per our request, ripped out everything around the house (mostly weeds are grossly overgrown bushes). They put up 1/2 of our new retaining wall and then they disappeared for a couple of weeks. Well, last Thursday they showed up and finished the job. And it looks stunning. Earl and I are very pleased.

However, our budget didn’t allow them to landscape all the way around the house, just the most visible areas. So today I decided to be productive and continued where they left off. I ended up putting in a bunch of mums (it’s mum season you know) of various colors. The end result is pretty good if I do say so myself. One of the ladies I work with, who drives by our house every day, has been chastizing me a little bit because she’s one of those green thumb types and she thinks we spent way too much money landscaping when we could have done it ourselves. Honestly, I’m not one to go out there and rip everything out and start over from scratch. While others find that gardening, etc. is their therapy, for me it can be torture. Today I spent nine hours out there, including mowing the lawn, and I must say that I enjoyed it thoroughly. I have such a sense of accomplishment! And it looks very good if I do say so myself.

Earl is going away on business for the next couple of nights… I think I’m going to pass the time and continue my little landscaping project here and work on the stuff around the barns. He said I could use the credit card at Lowe’s, so maybe I’ll buy a few bags of mulch and such and make a party of it for the next couple of nights.

For The Health Of It

Well, the healthy kick has continued for longer than I expected. This is a good thing. I’ve always been one to jump into something totally and get bored with after two weeks or so. I think I suffer from a short attention span. Earl says I’m Aunt Clara reincarnated. (Ho ho).

Anyways, I’ve been a strict vegetarian for 15 days and I feel great. And I’m weighing in at the lowest I’ve been this year, which is one of my goals. My reasons for going vegetarian vary…would like to eat healthier – I want to feel better. This is definitely working out.

I also don’t like the way animals are being treated on farms. I swear that some night I’m going to sneak over to the farm behind us and let all the cows go. I grew up on a farm where we raised beef cattle, and I think I’ve mentioned before how startling it was to eat something we had named a couple of weeks before. My sister and I learned our lesson quickly when it came to naming the cows.

And I need to shed a few pounds. In April ’02, I weighed in at 220. At 5′ 10″, this puts me at rather heavy. Christmas ’02, I was weighed 191. April ’03, I was up to 195. Today, I’m at 188. Ideally, I’d like to weigh between 165 and 170, but let’s see if I can get to 180 first. One step at a time.

The weather finally cooperated a little bit this weekend and I was able to jump on my bike. Yesterday I rode the back roads around the house and logged on 12 miles. Not a huge ride by any stretch of the imagination, but it had been about 10 days since I had been on the bike so I thought I should take it easy. This morning I went for another ride – 15 miles this time, but I purposely tackled the big hills. The hills that I avoid when I’m riding. I discovered a couple of things from this ride:

1. The view from the top of the hills I’ve been avoiding is astonishing. Breathtaking. If you haven’t had the chance to visit Central N.Y., make a point to do so some day.

2. The hills really aren’t that bad.

I was able to complete the ride without resorting to walking, which is definitely a good thing psychologically. I had a companion for two miles of the ride – a farm dog decided he wanted to go for a jog and kept up with me for a bit. Since I was going uphill at the time, Mr. Pooch was easily able to keep up with me. But when I started my decent (topping at 46 MPH!), I waved adios to Mr. Pooch and enjoyed the FAST ride down the hill. Honestly, that decent scared the crap out of me, but man was it awesome.

Earl and I have made this a maintenance weekend, mostly doing chores around the house and such. We did go for a small ride this afternoon, but a rain storm came through and Mother Nature didn’t really lend herself to sightseeing.

Last night we went and saw “American Wedding” – brain candy as far as content goes, but it was enjoyable nonetheless.

It’s Not Nice To Fool With Mother Nature

It’s official.  I’ve been consciously eating healthier for the past ten days.  I’m back on the vegetarian bandwagon, and honestly, I haven’t felt better.  I’ve been trying to maintain a strict vegetarian diet – nothing that poops, no milk, no eggs.  The no milk and no eggs deal hasn’t been difficult, since I’ve been doing that for quite a while.  The no meat thing hasn’t been a big challenge, though I haven’t been confronted with my beloved Chick-Fil-A since I’ve started, so we’ll see how I hold out.  If I continue to feel as good as I do today, I don’t think it’s going to be an issue.

I’ve been having recurring dreams the past couple of nights.  In these dreams, Earl and I have relocated to another city, and I’m working for a food co-op.  (Think my diet is affecting my dreams?)  I wake up feeling very happy.  I’m wondering if these are pre-cognitive dreams.

I’ve read that one gets “déjà vu” as an affirmation that they are “on track”.  I believe, as many others do, that before we incarnated into this life, we pretty much planned everything out, that we have a pre-destined path in front of us.  It isn’t wildly specific, but the basics are there.  And that one gets déjà vu because that particular part of the life path was pre-planned.

Where am I going with this thought… as I’ve mentioned a couple of times, I made a couple of life altering choices a couple of months ago (the whole Reality TV thing).  I must admit that I’ve fleetingly wondered if I made the right decision (which I truly believe I have) or if I was meant to be a “TV whore”.  I think these frequent feelings of déjà vu are an affirmation from someone on the Other Side, whether it be my spirit guide, my angels, or even God, that I did make the right choice, and that I am right where I should be.  It’s a wonderful feeling.  I haven’t felt this great in a long time.

The hot, sweltering days of summer. They have dec…

The hot, sweltering days of summer. They have decended upon us like a

plague. Not that I’m complaining, mind you, because old man winter will be

here soon enough, but gosh does it have to be so humid that you stick to

everything you touch?

I went on a short bike ride today… only about eight miles. It was just

before noon, and the humidity was a little much to be riding in near 90

degree temps. So I went around the block.

Earl and I went and saw “Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life” last night, after

a day long ride through the Finger Lakes. It was a relaxing, leisurely

ride. We packed a picnic and ate at a Thruway rest stop. About a half hour

into the ride, we came to a grinding halt on the Thruway. There was a very

bad accident with an overturned mini-van. We were about twenty cars back

from passing all the action (after creeping for about 10 minutes) when

emergency personnel stopped everyone where they were. Minutes later, a

medi-vac helicopter came in and landed on the Thruway. So we knew we were

going to be there for quite a while. We shut off the car, and like everyone

else, got out and walked around a bit. The police didn’t let people up near

the scene of the accident (understandably), so we walked around talking with

others that were stopped. We chatted with a family from St. Charles,

Illinois (Earl has relatives there) and from Wisconsin. While it was a

tragic reason that we were stopped there, it was refreshing to chat with

other people from various slices of life. Traffic resumed after about an

hour. Fortunately, no one had been killed in the accident, though they did

have to use the jaws of life.

while we were riding, we took the opportunity to snap some pictures for my

great New York Counties project. I think we’re almost two-thirds of the way

to completion!

After the bike ride today, Earl and I did some grocery shopping, and just

kind of relaxed. Caught up on laundry and that sort of thing. Had a light

supper and now we are eating fresh strawberries for a little snack.

There are storms brewing after all of this sultry weather. I think it’s

going to be an interesting night with thunderstorms. I’m looking forward to