Category Archives: experiences

Name Day

Today I’m changing my name.  It has been a long time coming.  I’ve never gone by the name that I was born with, but instead have all my records, both medical and otherwise, in a different name with the exception of one:  my passport. 

But I’m not changing my first or even middle name.  I’m changing my last name.   

Why?  See my previous post.  And another post.   But really, as I think about it, it’s a way to honor my stepfather, who raised me.  

I’m sure this will be seen as a slap in the face by my father’s family.   My father doesn’t really care about anything I do.    I would hope they could see it’s not about them but about the name I’ve always gone by…even when I was five.    For as long as I can remember, I’ve used this name.  And it’s time.  It’s just time. 

So now, I’m waiting at the courthouse for my appointment.   One more hour to go.   And then, I will walk out with a new official name.  No one else will know really.  But I’ll know. 

At first, I was nervous.   Was I really making the right decision?  But the more I thought about it, the more clear it became.   Absolutely this was the right decision and I feel with every fiber of my being that this is who I am.    It’s just taken me 40 years to realize it.   

So, onward and upward.   Here’s to new things and new experiences.  

Home for the weekend…

I decided this weekend to take a trip to visit my hometown this weekend.   See my family in a non-holiday setting.  Hang out with them as people in a somewhat less stressful environment.  

I always had assumed that the reason I didn’t like going home was because of the hustle and bustle.  I love my family dearly but having moved away when I was 21, I’ve lived in a different state than them since. Sometimes with 600 miles between us, sometimes 3,000.  Still, I did my due diligence and would come home for all the major holidays and visit.  Them coming to visit me – well, let’s just say that with one person it is much easier to travel to them.   And I didn’t really mind.   

The last time I was here was 4th of July.  Always a big barbecue with lots of family members and friends. Good food and fun fireworks.  The least-stressful of all the holidays.   The time before that was Christmas.  

Oh, Christmas.  My most favorite part of the year.  And yet, when I’m around my family, I can’t wait for it to end fast enough.

I’m the oldest of four, and with all of the nephews and nieces and children of our own, spouses and granchildren, you would think we were trying to invade a small country.  There are so many people.  Then you add into the mix the fact that there are always several orphans–family friends who have nowhere else to go and probably use our family for fodder or amusing stories at their AA meetings — and the population grows exponentially.  

Then you take all of those people and cram them into a room designed for 5, 6 at the most –and it becomes CHAOS.  By this isn’t a post about Christmas, which I can share with you another day.   This is actually a post about just a normal run-of-the-mill family visit.  I’ll save the Christmas horror stories for another day.  

No, this visit was to get out of Seattle, spend some quality time with my siblings and reconnect as adults.  

I arrived off the plane and my brother instantly went into offend or defense mode -I’m not 100% sure.  He’s always called me the favorite.  I don’t see it that way.  But I do see myself as the one who got out.   Anyway, he started making some off-color comments about Caitlin Jenner out of the blue, with no real segue.   When I was home for the 4th he did it as well.    I bit my tongue and moved on.   

The next thing was getting home and going to breakfast with my mom and my stepdad. We went out, and after being told that my brother wouldn’t be joining us, my brother decided to because hey free food and let me show up and try to compete Ina competition that doesn’t exist.  

Not that I minded him being there, but I was looking forward to seeing my folks and having real-life conversations with them about things, vacations, life.  My sister showed up as well and it was a fine conversation.  

Then my brother left without a word and was gone.   Okay, so maybe his mechanism to deal with the fact that I’m in town is to pretend I’m not in town and go on.   Not that my brother and I really have anything to talk about.   

I don’t really consider myself that smart.   The app on my phone said I’ve got a higher IQ than most people and what does that have to do with the tea in China?  Nothing.  Nothing at all.   I’m realistic enough to know that while I have gotten out of the rut that everyone else seems to be, there’s still so much to be learned.  

And maybe that’s it.   Maybe it’s the curiosity factor of my life– the wanderlust, the desire to continue to try new things, to not be stuck in the same old thing day in and day out.   To stimulate my brain.

Here, it feels as though time has stood still.  As though if there were a jug of moonshine and a telegraph machine sitting in the corner, everyone would be perfectly content, with the only thing to talk about is each other.   

I love my family.   I really do.  But I think this blog post is coming out of the fact that I don’t really relate to them.  I’m pleasant and everything but I don’t have anything to contribute to their gabbing about who got drunk and who slept with who and this is how you should raise your child and so on and so forth.   

They are all in each other’s business so much that it’s unhealthy.   My mom’s phone rang 13 times on a short seven minute drive.  Why?  Why is that so necessary? 

Sometimes I wish we were closer, that I didn’t feel something that I’m having a hard time describing—because I don’t want to write the word.   Ashamed maybe?  Wishing they could set their sights on something better?  Set their sights for the stars and even if they don’t make it at least they have the moon and all of the new, wonderful possibilities that opportunity presents.  

And yet — I’m grateful to go back home to my life.  My bed.  My things.  My world view where we talk about things and dream about ideas instead of the day-to-day minutiae of what someone said or what a spouse said.

This home for me is never really relaxing.   I always feel as though I’m on guard, needing to be ready to defend myself at a moment’s notice.   I don’t agree with some of their more conservative views – and it’s not even conservative for church’s sake.   No, no, no.   We were not brought up religious at all.   

No, it’s more that they are conservative because they are uninformed.  The world is a big place and there’s a lot goin on but they wouldn’t know it because it feels like this is the biggest place in the world where only the happenings here are of importance.

All of this sounds rather elitist.   And it’s really not meant to.   I love my family with all my heart and only want them to be happy.  I wish they could see past the ends of their noses to everything that is happening out there — but in the end, if they are happy being cocooned into their own secluded world, then I hope they are fulfilled. Perhaps I need to get over myself and just let them be.  And maybe it’s all right that we have nothing to talk about.  That we have nothing in common.   That our worldand life experiences are vastly different except for that shared experience of growing up together.   

I wanted out.  They never wanted to leave.   

In the end, nothing will change, except a few small things:  I will set different boundaries for my own sanity, and hopefully continue to practice patience.   I’m not going to change them, and they are not going to change me.   

Static electricity.   That’s the best way to describe this functionally dysfunctional family of mine.  

June 26, 2015 — Complete

Today, the Supreme Court of the United States made history and allowed America to overturn the gay marriage bans that had infiltrated state constitutions and laws for far too long.

Today the Supreme Court of the United States issued an order that said if I choose to marry a man, my partner, that I could, that it was effectively the law of the land.

This morning, I stood in my shower and just beamed from ear to ear, for I thought that this day would come but much, much, much further into the future, when I was old and gray, and perhaps had 15 cats and was living a life of solitude.

Instead, I am in my thirties, and see what so many people had fought for come to fruition.

I’ve always lived my life as an openly gay man, but still there was something missing.

Today, the Supreme Court says that my love is valid, and must be recognized as such.

No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right. The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed. It is so ordered.  –Supreme Court Majority Opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy

I never needed their validation to love the men I’ve loved, to be a gay man, but it’s nice to know that now there are laws that protect me as opposed to laws that try to squelch and oppress me.

This is truly an historic day, and I am so pleased and proud to be a part of this monumental decision, if only cursory and supporting from the sidelines.

I had no direct impact in the outcome of this case, as many of us didn’t — save for living our lives as authentically and truthfully as we could as proud gay and lesbian, trans and cis-gendered men and women.

Thank you to all who have given so much more so incredibly selflessly to fight for our rights.  As President Obama said, this decision has… “made our union a little more perfect.”

Disney Magic 

I’m just returning from two days at Disney World.  A little vacation.   It was lovely, as I got to spend time with my boyfriend and we had a great time.   But a couple of observations about my trip: 

  1. Flying standby is stressful.   I mean it’s actually a lot like gambling.   You roll the dice and hopefully are lucky enough to get on the plane.   We were lucky both times.   But it was very very close.   
  2. We were upgraded at Disney to a suite.    It was awesome.  Thank you Disney!   
  3. The magic seems to be gone.   Once upon a Time, there were characters walking around and spreading magic unexpectedly/.  Now, everything feels so regimented and organized, there don’t seem to be any unexpected surprises.   Meeting Mickey Mouse on Main Street?   No.   Peter Pan in Fantasyland just hanging out?   Uh-uh.   I. Get why they have to cordon off the characters but it just feels so…empty. 
  4. It feels as though the world loses their brain when in a theme park environment.   Like suddenly manners and grace go out the window.  
  5. This next point is tied in and I may get some hate mail for this thought … But it seems as though you need to wear steel-toes boots when at the park.   Not because children are running over your feet, which they do, but for all the rascals and scooters that permeate the park. Yes. The ones that children are in too.  Maybe I’m a grumpy old man, but just because you’re driving a vehicle that is supposed to aid you doesn’t mean you have to be so completely rude and inconsiderate.    I always say excuse me and thank you when passing someone.   And I’m highly aware of my surroundings when walking forward.    But if you’re traveling in a scooter from behind and you are approaching me three times as fast as I’m walking, perhaps a kind excuse me or some sort of warning could be sounded.   A bell?  A nice horn?  Something?   It’s crowded and I will gladly get out of your way.   However I don’t have eyes in the back of my head and I cannot see you behind me. So don’t hit me.   And while we are at it, if your child is “too exhausted” to walk the length of the park, mayb they shouldn’t be pushed in a stroller eating hot dogs, chips and ice cream.  Those kids didn’t get fat on their own.    Figure it out.  Same goes for the Rascal Flatts crowd.  No one is fooled by your disability in a scooter when you’re eating three hot dogs.   Yesx that happened.   Yes you have diabetes.  Walk and rest on a bench instead of thinking the sidewalks are your own personal autobahn.   
  6. When I see magical moments, I still get a little teary-eyed.   The mirror in Belle’s Cottage was amazing.   And the little boy dancing with her was awesome.   
  7. Looking forward to going back but two days is just simply not enough.  
  8. The new FastPass+ system is pretty cool.   I was apprehensive of it at first but really enjoyed the experience overall.   

That’s all for now.  

So long, Buddy

Hello readers.

Wow, two posts in the course of four days?  What’s going on?!?  Who am I?

I had a few things that were on my mind and one of them is the imminent departure of my cat.  His name is Buddy.

No, he’s not sick.  He’s not dying.  Nothing like that.

But he’s lonely.  And it’s all my fault.

A little history:  When I first got Buddy, I was working from home.  Self-employed.  I was there all the time.  And he was there all the time.  My partner at the time was also home during the day, and there was another cat to play with.  But then, if you read through these blog posts, you’ll discover that there was a rather sudden breakup, leaving me having to downgrade and figure out what to do next.  I was left with two cats in an apartment really designed for none.  I did my best to make it work, but there just simply wasn’t enough space.  Add to that a roommate who is not really cat-friendly, and it  cuts the space down even more.  Sprinkle in a new job that keeps me gone for extended periods of time, and it just came down to the only decision that I could make:  I would have to re-home my cats.

I made it work for a long time.  I didn’t want to give my cats away.  They had been my friends, my confidantes, my pals on days when I sat and wondered why I didn’t have as many friends as I would like.  There was something refreshing about seeing them at the front door when I would come home, hearing their meows when I’d open up a can of food for them, hearing their affectionate purrs as I stroked their head.

I admit that I am mostly a cat person.  Dogs are great, but they’re a lot of work.  And cats are independent, self-sufficient.  And, I truly believe this, much smarter than we give them credit for.  Yes, they’re an animal — but they seem to be so incredibly perceptive.

My other cat, who now has a new home, seemed to feel sadness when the first cat I owned had expired from cancer.  She moped, she would look in the box for her friend, she seemed to be absolutely miserable.  Which is how Buddy came into the picture.  He was only eight weeks old, and I adopted him from the New York Human Society.  Well, he adopted me.

I went in to pick out a new cat for Daisy (the other cat) to have a friend, and this little orange ball of fur came up and loved me instantly.  Jumped on my shoulder, and started nuzzling right away.  And he would follow me around the house, so he quickly became my buddy…and then it became his name.  It was supposed to be something regal and awesome — Shere Khan, Lionel — but Buddy stuck.

The two did NOT get along.  Daisy hated Buddy, Buddy terrorized Daisy.

Now imagine that reign of terror in a small apartment.  It was enough.  They were fighting anywhere and everywhere.  On the floor, in the hall, on my bed, on my face.  I got scratched a few times from their scuffles in the middle of the night.

I had to make the decision that I did, and gave Daisy a new home.  It just so happened that a friend was looking for a mature cat, and she adopted her.  And I’ve seen all the pictures of Daisy.  She’s so incredibly happy.  Peaceful, loved, and completely at home in her new digs.  It makes me happy to know she’s okay, that she didn’t go back to a shelter, possibly to be never adopted.

And now, with Buddy, he’s going to my ex-partner.  So, I guess everything comes full circle.  But yet, I can’t help but feel some melancholy around the situation.

He’s a good cat, and full of personality.  But with me being gone all day long, and him having no one to play with, him left alone from morning until night, it’s just not fair to him.  It feels like he’s in a large 800 square foot prison.  He can’t go out and hunt (we’re city dwellers) and he has no one else to play with.

Before you eviscerate me, readers, please know that I gave this a lot of thought.  I knew that I had to find a new home for Buddy, but it was for Buddy’s well-being.  Not my own.  I love having the cat around.  I just didn’t think it was fair for him to be alone all the time.  And work situations aren’t going to be changing anytime soon, as much as I would like them to.

I reached out to my former partner, as he loved these animals as much as I do, and I asked him if he was interested in taking Buddy.  I didn’t want to have to re-home him, but was going to, and wanted to give him first crack at it.  He said he would take him.

I felt relieved.  At least Buddy would be going to someone who cared for him — not being left to a cage somewhere where he might or might not be adopted.  That was the part that was the most difficult; I couldn’t fathom the idea of Buddy not being adopted and loved.  And it hurt me so to think that I couldn’t give him the attention that he needed and deserved.

I remember when I moved across the country with Buddy.  He was terrified and he hid under the bed at a friend’s.  And nothing would coax him out.  I leaned down next to the bed, and saw his huge eyes, looking at me, recognized, but terrified.

Buddy had been a great duet partner when I would sing around the house, or even a captive audience member.  I would be singing to myself, and before I knew it, I had this cat sitting at my side who was watching intently.  I’d finish my song, and he would come and rub up against me, giving his approval.  I’d start singing again, and he’d lay down, that peaceful content look on his face.

Trying to coax him out, I thought that maybe he might respond to my voice, so I started to sing to him.  It was a little made up song — something along the lines, “Buddy, Buddy, it’s okay, Buddy, Buddy, come out and play.”  After a few minutes – his head popped out from under the bed, and he was nuzzling up against me again.  He felt safe.

So, tonight will be Buddy’s last night in my apartment.  Gosh, I’m a sentimental old fool.  I write that sentence and tears come to my eyes.

Tonight, he’ll get the most treats he can stomach, he’ll get all the playing with he can get, and he’ll get his coat brushed – a new pastime of his that he absolutely loves.  I’ll stroke his head.  I’ll sing him a little song, and tell him what a handsome boy he is, and how lucky I was to have had him in my life.  And how I’m going to miss him, but I know that he’ll be much happier being in a place where he can be played with all the time, loved all the time, and given the attention that such a wonderful cat deserves.

I don’t really expect people to give me sympathy over this.  This is a choice that I’m making of my own volition, and with a heavy heart.  But it’s because of that heart that I have to make this choice.  I can’t see him suffer anymore at home — alone, by himself for almost 12 hours a day, with no interaction.

I think this blog is really more to work through these feelings, as I feel so on the fence about this.  I KNOW in my heart that I’m making the right decision.  And yet, i can’t help but feel sad about the whole thing.  Like I’m abandoning a child.  Like I’m a horrible person because I’m giving up on something, an animal, who has only known me for his entire life, and has only shown unconditional love.  Being beside me through the worst breakup of my life, traveled, sat by my side when the nights were lonely, kept me company on weekends, and was just another presence in a life that seems to be so permeated by solitude.  His beautiful eyes looking at me, whether for approval or just to say, “Hey, I’m here.”

Okay, I have to pull it together before I completely embarrass myself with these tears..

If there’s any silver lining in all of this, it’s that he’s going to someone Buddy knows, who Buddy also loves and who loves Buddy right back.  He’s not going to a shelter, he’s going to a safe, warm environment.

So, thank you, Buddy, for everything.  For the last seven years of being faithful, of being not only a good pet, but a good friend.  I wish I could only have been half the friend that you have been.  Please know how incredibly difficult this is for me, and I’m only doing it because I know you deserve better than I’m able to give you.

Take care, Buddy.

Budget Cuts

I’m getting ready to start a new adventure, directing a show that is very near and dear to my heart.  The meeting I had on Friday, however, left me feeling somewhat disheartened.

The theatre company, due to some incompetence on their former executive director’s part, has been forced to cut the budgets for all the shows by 50%.

Whoa.  That’s a lot.  I don’t profess to understand the inner workings of the theatre, but one thing is clear:  perhaps producing five extravagant shows on a shoestring budget doesn’t make as much sense.

But there’s the rub.  Which show do you cut, if any?  And if there are no thoughts for fundraising in place, how can you guarantee that the show/theatre/et cetera is going to be in place by the time my show, the fifth in the series, can be produced?

It is a conundrum.

I just have to hope that the theatre gods will somehow smile down and everything will work out.

Praying, praying, praying, praying….

The Leech II

For those of you who emailed me asking what I was going to do about my last blog posting, this is the letter I’ve written.  I’ve included it here, but I’ve changed the names to protect the innocent.

*************************************************

Dear (NAME REMOVED),

I hope this message finds you well.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to write this letter, and trust me, it hasn’t been an easy task.  There have been all sorts of things I could have said.  Things like starting a new job, opening two shows, other things that occupy attention and resources in my life.  None of those things are really what lie at the heart of the matter, however.  Rather than give a litany of excuses, I have to be as honest and forthright as I possibly can be.  It’s who I strive to be every day, sometimes succeeding, sometimes not, but yet the effort is always there.

Let me get to the crux of the matter which is this:  Over the past several years now, I have been there, offering support when you have needed it, offering suggestions, listening, even going so far as to to call the police when you were threatening to do yourself bodily harm, for fear that you were lying in your bedroom, with your wrists slit.  It has been incredibly draining on me as a person, and on my spirit.  The well of how much I’m willing to give without getting anything in return has been tapped dry.

This is not a feeling that has suddenly come up, but something that has been building momentum over time.  While often our chats can be enjoyable, more often than not I’m roped into what I feel is a manipulation if I don’t say or suggest the right thing, if I don’t have an answer that you want me to provide, or even if I happen to have other things going on in my own personal life that require lots of energy.

I struggled with the concept of even writing this letter, better to just cut all communication with you completely, but even that left me feeling trapped, as you have shared so often that so many other people have done that before.

And yet, I feel at a crossroads with this relationship.  Friendship is a give and take, and I feel I have given the lion’s share without receiving anything in return.  Too often, messages start off with a simple hello, a response back, and then into a litany of what is going wrong in the world.

I recognize that often it can be cut and dry in how to look at things, but I also believe we have to make the best of our situation, whatever that situation may be.  From poverty, to our upbringing, to our depression, to our health, to whatever it is that is in front of us, it’s our duty to ourselves and to those around us to be the best example of ourselves that we can possibly be.  It’s the only way to move forward and gain any momentum.  Otherwise we become static, stuck in our past, never enjoying the present, and fearful of the future.

And this seems like a relationship that is stuck.  The cycle repeats itself over and over again, with no end in sight.

I don’t profess to know the answers to life’s problems, to my problems, or to the world’s problem’s at large.  All I can do is set realistic boundaries, and then abide by them.  Life is too short for us to sweat the small stuff when it’s the small stuff we should be enjoying and learning from.  It’s what makes us more complete as people, and allows us to live rich, full lives in which we can grow.

I have done my best to be a friend, but time and time again, I am left feeling that is not good enough.  I don’t have the training nor the wherewithal to be able to assist you in finding a way to make everything better.  Conversations wherein I am left feeling backed into a corner by not providing the answer that you seek leave me feeling exhausted, drained, and set on edge.  It is affecting my own personal relationships to which I have a commitment to be present and available for.

We are only responsible to ourselves, for our time on this planet, and creating the happiness as life moves us forward.  For my own wellbeing, as well as yours, I believe it is best if we no longer communicate.

I wish you all the luck in the world, and hope that you are able to find some counseling of some sort, to be able to work through your issues so you can have a happy, productive, and fulfilling life.  That’s all I’ve ever wished for you.

 

**************************************”
And with that, I believe I have the necessary closure needed to move on.

 

The Stranger and the Friend

“Hey there, I’ll be in your area.  I picked up a trip to the Northwest, let’s go get something to eat.”

“Okay!  Let me know about what time you’ll be in the area, and I’ll make sure I’m out of work, and ready!”

“Okay, sounds good!”

Sounds innocent enough, right?  Don’t worry, this doesn’t lead into a gruesome tale of murder and dismembered bodies.  I mean, would I be telling you that sort of information if my head had been chopped off?  No.  I suppose I could write, but I would probably only get about three sentences out before my body finally quit working due to the massive loss of blood.

No, this is a story that sums up a lot about my past, my present, and my future.

I waited in the parking lot for him to show up.  He arrived, and went immediately to the pump to fill up the truck.  “Wait for me over there, and I’ll find a place to park.”

After about 10 minutes of waiting, he walked over.  “There’s nothing here.  I found another place down the road.  Follow me there.”  I agreed, and we started down the road, only to be driving for 30 minutes.  This way, that way, under ways, over ways.  And we ended up back in the same parking lot.

“Well, I don’t know what to do,” he said.  “Did you see those trucks parked over there by the casino?  I can park my truck there.”

We started over towards the Casino, and he parked the big rig.  He disappeared in the back, and emerged five minutes later, completely changed.  He got into the car, and I said, ‘Where would you like to go?”

“How about we go in there?”  He was motioning to the casino.  “Okay,” I said.  “They have a few restaurants inside.  That should be fine.”

We find parking, making small chat about the day, mostly his, and start to walk in the casino.  As soon as we get inside the doors, he hands me $20 and says, “Go play.  I’ll come find you.”  And then he’s gone.

Not gone.  But gone.  In a different part of the casino, playing whatever games he could find.  I stood there for a moment, looking like a lost puppy, with $20 in my hands.  “Okay,” I thought to myself.  “Let’s see if I can get lucky.”

I sat down at a slot machine, and played the $20.  It was gone in a matter of minutes, as is the case.  I wandered back over to him.  “How are you doing?”

“Doing okay.  I just won $100 on $20.”  “Congratulations,” I said.  He cashed his ticket out of the machine, and went up to the teller, handed it in, and got his cash.   After receiving the cash, he turned to me and handed me another $10.  “I don’t want you to be bored while I play.   I’ll be right here.”  He sat down, and played.

I sat near him, and played that $10.  It went incredibly fast, and I turned and saw him.  He was staring intently into the one-armed bandit’s screen, clearly engrossed in the game.  I needed to use the restroom.  So, I went.

I was gone for maybe a minute, at the most.  When I came back, he was gone.  I looked around to see if maybe he had moved to a nearby machine.  No dice.

I wandered around the area, looking, trying to place a call on my cell, but reception was spotty.  I walked up and down the casino, looking for his distinctive white shirt, but nothing was popping out.  I couldn’t find him.

Of course, this casino was pretty large.  About the size of two football fields.  Finally, I decided I would page him.  I had sent three text messages, and was able to get out two phone calls, but I was hearing nothing back, and the evening was waning, and my stomach was getting more and more hungry.

I went to approach the concierge desk, and then I saw him, playing some sort of Asian-themed game.  “There you are!”  “Yeah, this game isn’t doing so well,” he said.  Silence.  “Are you getting hungry?” I asked.  “Yeah.  Let’s get something to eat.”  He cashed out.

We went to the small deli, and he ordered the meals for us.  As I was telling the server what I wanted my sides to be, another server placed a new batch of food into the serving area rather forcefully, sending hot water up and over the spit guard and onto the front of my body, hitting my hand.  More shocked than anything, I just stood there.  This was turning out to be a perfect representation of what this evening had become, just a complete and utter mess.

She apologized, and handed me some burn gel, but fortunately it was more the shock of the water than the actual temperature.  I was okay, as my clothes took the brunt of the liquid.  I received my food, and went and sat down.

We then went and proceeded to have a conversation, me asking about his wife, about the boys, about babies that were on the way.  He answered, as most people would.  People like to talk about themselves.

I wasn’t trying to mitigate the silence, simply just keep the conversation flowing.  After all, we hadn’t seen each other in five years.  This was the first time he had been out to my neck of the woods since 1998.  There was a lot of catching up to do.  I was busy rehearsing two shows, had a job interview lined up, was getting ready to celebrate a birthday, and had a son of whom I was very proud, due to his scholastic achievements this year.   Lots to talk about, if he had asked.  But why volunteer the information when clearly he wasn’t interested?

After about 20 minutes of this uncomfortableness, he said, “Well, I think I’m going to go back and play some more.  I’ll walk you out.”  We walked out to my car, making more small talk.  “I’ll call you tomorrow.”  And then he said, “I love you,” and opened his cell phone, and walked off.

I stood there, somewhat dumbfounded, wondering how in the world how I could be completely different from this man, a man whose name I share, a man whose DNA courses through my veins.  He may be my father, but he was a stranger to me.  Completely different, separated by 36 years and 2,500 miles.

As I started my drive home, I thought long and hard about what had transpired, and made a decision.  I picked up the phone and called my stepfather.

“I just want you to know how much I appreciate you.  And I want you to know how much it means to me.”

“Where did that come from?  It’s sweet, but completely out of the blue.”

“Sometimes you have to let the people who’ve made a difference in your life know.  And so I’m taking this time.”

“Wow.  Thank you.  Is everything okay?”

“I’m fine.  I can tell you the story, if you’d like, or we can leave it at that.”

“Tell me the story.  Come on.”

And so I did, albeit a truncated version of what you saw above.  I got somewhat emotional, at 36 years, driving down the highway with my headset in, speaking to the man who had married into our family, raised me and my siblings as his own, and provided the best he knew how.  Rocky relationship at first, but something that has grown to be admired and loved over the years.

I closed by simply saying, “I love you.”

And that was the Sunday evening spent with two men, my father, the stranger, and my dad, the friend.

 

Happy 2013!!

What a great way to ring in the new year!  I went out with some friends to see “Dina Martina“‘s Christmas show last night.  Hysterical.  I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time.  Ridiculously entertaining, and incredibly well thought out.  These are the type of drag queens I like.  Funny, funny, funny!  The entire audience was in stitches for the whole show.  She’s got another show in April, and I’m hoping to make it out there.  That would be amazing!

After the show, we went up to a local restaurant and had ourselves some greasy food.  Because nothing says New Year’s like greasy food babies named “Paco.”

And then after that, we headed to a friend’s where we walked through a waft of pot smoke (yay legalization…???!?!?!) and stood on the balcony to watch fireworks over the Space Needle.  It was delightful, it was delicious, it was delovely, and those words were unscrupulously borrowed from Mister Cole Porter.

I sent a few “Happy New Year!” texts out to friends and family, and then we all settled around the living room of my friend’s place to play some very, very VERY competitive “Catchphrase.”  Wow.  It was intense.  But we had a great time.

What a wonderful way to ring in the New Year.  With friends whom I consider family, and laughter.  And this morning, I woke up to the sun shining down on my face.

2013 is going to be a good year.  🙂  I can feel it.

 

HT

The Most Epic Battle of All Time

It was a foggy evening, and there were no sounds coming from the villages nearby.  The castle’s lights had been vanquished, for the enemy was drawing ever so near.  People were speaking in hushed voices, afraid their voices would carry above the hills and waken the monster.  Still, there was a relative calm echoing through the halls, as everyone knew it was only a a matte of time before the attack.

Minutes felt like hours, hours felt like tortuous days, each person a prisoner in their minds, never sure where disaster would strike.  Glances were stolen to check in with loved ones, to make sure they were all right, and hearts warmed for a brief second, but then panic returned.

In the distance, a belch of flame lit up the night sky.  The dragon was on the prowl, and he was hungry.

The people scurried about the castle looking for safety, some sort of cover, some sort of protection, but the castle’s thin walls were no match for the dragon.  And only moments later did the dragon’s awesome frame fill the horizon, a mean look in his eye.  Sending belching flame after flame towards the castle rock, people were incinerated instantly, leaving only four knights to save the day.

Make that three, because as the dragon swooped down, it swallowed whole one of the knights, whetting its appetite for human flesh.  The knights knew they needed reinforcements.  The sounded the alarm, and the horns filled the sky, barely audible above the horrible din from the dragon’s roar.  Hopefully, the neighboring kingdoms would hear and respond.

And they did.  Moments later, Iron Man swooped out of the sky, followed by Astronaut Mickey, Super Grover, A B-52 Bomber, and another knight, the Dark Knight, all coming to defend the castle against this horrible, evil dragon.

They launched their assault, trading blows with the dragon from all angles.  Astronaut Mickey was no match, and the B-52 Bomber got in a few lucky shots before plummeting to the ground in a fiery death.  Iron Man’s suit stood up to the dragon for a while, but even he was outmatched.  The Dark Knight deployed every trick available, and used his mind to think like the dragon, anticipating his next move so he could counter, and proved to be a strong foe.  The dragon was unsure of himself, but began making careless mistakes.  He knew he had been outwitted.  He retreated to the safety of his cave, to await another dawn, another chance to overtake the castle and make all its inhabitants his dinner.

And this is how I spent Christmas Eve.  With three of my nephews, engaging in the most epic battle ever.