Monday, June 26, 2017

Glimpses of Gay, part 5

Since June is widely considered Pride month, I was thinking about how I might celebrate on my blog.  My coming out story is easily accessible here on my blog using the 'coming out' tag.  But I came up with the concept I'm calling Glimpses of Gay.  This is where I will share occasions that occurred before I came out where I had a glimpse of gay life or an interaction with someone I understood to be gay.  Here's part5:

In the spring of either 1990 or 1991 I planned a week's vacation in CA where I'd drive the scenic Pacific Coast Hwy.  I had several family friends and relatives who lived in different places so I'd contacted them and set up a schedule to meet up with them during my visit.  I flew into San Francisco and rented a red convertible to take advantage of the beautiful weather as I drove south along the scenic Pacific Coast Hwy, stopping for my family and friends visits along the way.

At one point stopped in some southern CA town to eat and saw a 1950s diner with cool, vintage cars parked in front.  This seemed like a fun place, so I parked the red LeBaron convertible, looked at the beautiful vintage cars, then went inside to eat.

Not long after being seated I became aware of a large, crescent-shaped banquet where 8 men were eating.  They weren't making a scene or anything but I noticed they were laughing and talking and seemed to know each other well.  Then it dawned on me:  they were 4 gay couples.  I watched them as I waited for and then ate my dinner.  Aside from this glimpse into their shared meal, I wondered what their lives were like.  

I imagined that they lived in cute CA ranch-style homes with red Spanish tile roofs, and that they hosted dinner parties where they served cocktails and played Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday music.  I pictured them going grocery shopping together, one of them searching for a coupon and the other rolling his eyes. I pictured them cuddled up on their sofa at night watching TV together. 

Those thoughts comforted me and made me feel sad at the same time.  I imagined a life for them that I wanted for myself.  Little did I know then that I would create such a life for myself, minus the CA ranch-style homes with red Spanish tile roof.


Friday, June 23, 2017

Glimpses of Gay, part 4

Since June is widely considered Pride month, I was thinking about how I might celebrate on my blog.  My coming out story is easily accessible here on my blog using the 'coming out' tag.  But I came up with the concept I'm calling Glimpses of Gay.  This is where I will share occasions that occurred before I came out where I had a glimpse of gay life or an interaction with someone I understood to be gay.  Here's part 4:

Between 1986 - 1989 (I was 22-25 years old) I lived in a terrific 2-bedroom apartment.  It had big rooms, lots of closet space, a shaded terrace, and a convenient location.  I had 3 different roommates during those 3 years but I can easily say that my favorite was David.  I met David through a mutual acquaintance and immediately thought he was very handsome.  He had broad shoulders, nicely muscular arms, and later I would find he had a hairy chest.  

But what made David even more irresistible was that he was so incredibly nice!  He had a brother about 2 years younger, and a 1/2 sister from his mom's 2nd marriage who was considerably younger.  He was kind and respectful to his brother and sweet and helpful to his little sister.  David's mother had a chronic health condition and he was always mindful to try to ease her daily chores if possible.  Understandably, I fell in love with him. While I wondered if David might possibly be gay, I knew it was ridiculous to speculate about it.  He and I were both Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs), and as such you are not allowed to be gay.  

We got along well and shared many interests.  I assisted him when he'd agreed to help a friend move to a different home, and he'd come with me for dinner at my folks' house.  I tried to think of as many things as possible I could do to spend time with him.  

I eventually invited him to move into my apartment.  The only problem was that it was a 2-bedroom place and I already had a roommate, at least on paper.  My current roommate was rarely there.  Sometimes weeks would go by without me seeing him.  He was behind on his rent so sometimes he would come and get clothes etc when he knew I was at work so he wouldn't have to face me.  I knew it was just a matter of time before he would have to give up his room, so I convinced David to move into my room until that happened.  My room was huge so there was plenty of room for both our beds and I cleared some space for his stuff in my walk-in closet.  

I remember a night that seemed magical.  He liked to read in bed before going to sleep, and one night he asked if I'd like him to read out loud.  I said sure, so he quickly told me the jist of the story so far, then read aloud to me.  I'll never forget that.

Another memory that is clear in my mind after all these years is when we had a crazy heat wave.  In the DC metro area where we lived our hot summers were often accompanied by extreme humidity.  At that time I worked in a non-air conditioned warehouse and David did construction work.  One day we both came home from work hot and exhausted and joked that we should hang our clothes up to dry before tossing them into the clothes hamper.  As we both stripped down to our underwear David suggested we have a cold beer.  He left the bedroom in his underwear so I followed suit.  We sat on the dining room chairs (not fabric) in our underwear, drank our beers, and talked.

In hindsight, I'm surprised no one ever questioned our friendship.  I was so in love with David I'm surprised it wasn't noticeable to others.  Or, maybe it was noticeable but since JWs can't be gay they simply didn't understand.  I eventually moved out when I bought my 1-bedroom condo and David kept the apartment for awhile.  Years later I heard he was married, and just recently I heard he was divorced; his wife left him for another guy.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Glimpses of Gay, part 3

Since June is widely considered Pride month, I was thinking about how I might celebrate on my blog.  My coming out story is easily accessible here on my blog using the 'coming out' tag.  But I came up with the concept I'm calling Glimpses of Gay.  This is where I will share occasions that occurred before I came out where I had a glimpse of gay life or an interaction with someone I understood to be gay.  Here's part 3:

It was the fall of 1980 (I think).  I was almost 17, a junior in high school, and had gotten a part in the community theatre's production of Li'l Abner.  (My part had just a couple lines but I sang in all the chorus scenes).  Because I didn't have a driver's license yet, my mother or sister would drop me off for evening rehearsals and then I'd bum a ride home with some other cast member.  

One night I'd secured a ride home with 2 guys, one of whom had the lead and the other a supporting role, whom I knew lived near me.  I assume they were at least 5 years older than me based on their facial hair and maturity.  It was probably close to 10pm and it was dark out.  As we left the rehearsal location the 1st guy asked me if I had a girlfriend, to which I replied no.  He said that they didn't have girlfriends either, and the 2nd guy snickered.  The 2nd guy asked if I had a boyfriend, to which I also replied no.  The 1st guy asked if I'd ever smoked pot, to which I replied no again.  Then he said that with no girlfriend, no boyfriend, and no pot, what did I do for fun?  I told them that I played the piano and tried out for community theatre parts like this.  The 2nd guy asked if this was my 1st production and I replied yes.  He said congratulations and said I must be excited.

As we neared my neighborhood the 1st guy said that they were going to smoke some pot and that I could join them instead of going directly home.  I told them no, and that my parents would be expecting me.  They asked if I was sure, that it would be fun, and that they'd make sure I was OK since I'd never had pot before.  I said I was sure, so they dropped me off at my house.

Oddly enough, I do not remember being scared or feeling unsafe by this questioning or the offer to smoke pot with them.  I kind of figured out they were gay, but that didn't make me uncomfortable either.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Glimpses of Gay, part 2

Since June is widely considered Pride month, I was thinking about how I might celebrate on my blog.  My coming out story is easily accessible here on my blog using the 'coming out' tag.  But I came up with the concept I'm calling Glimpses of Gay.  This is where I will share occasions that occurred before I came out where I had a glimpse of gay life or an interaction with someone I understood to be gay.  Here's part 2:

It was July 3rd (I'm sure) of 1988 (I think).  I was 24 and lived in a 2-bedroom apartment with a roommate.  I was grocery shopping and noticed an attractive young man (probably a little older than me) reaching for something off the shelf.  He looked at me as I was looking at him.  I smiled innocently and wondered if he was gay.  I pushed my cart down the isle, around the corner, and up the next isle.  I stopped and picked an item off the shelf, pretending to examine its ingredients while I waited to see if the guy would follow me.  Sure enough he stopped near me and also pretended to look at products.  From my peripheral vision I saw that he looked over at me, but I didn't look back at him.  Instead I placed the item back on the shelf and pushed my cart away.

A few isles over I stopped to look for laundry detergent which I actually needed.  I was not brand loyal so I looked to see what was least expensive and/or on sale.  I momentarily forgot about the guy as I narrowed down my detergent choices.  As I reached for my final selection, out of my peripheral vision again I saw the guy approaching me.  This time I couldn't help but to look at him and he smiled and said hi.  I said hi back and left the isle with my heart beating at least in double-time.

Later as I got into the check-out line I quickly scanned the other registers to see if the guy was in line.  I didn't see him, so my heart rate returned to normal as I loaded my groceries into my car and drove home to my apartment.  I took the 1st armload inside and as I returned to the car for the remaining bags, the guy from the grocery store walked over to my car!

He said he didn't mean to scare me, but that I'd left the store before he'd had a chance to introduce himself, so he followed me home.  Looking back on this now a big red "STALKER" flag goes up, but at the time his explanation sounded reasonable.  Or maybe I was just flattered.  

He offerred to help me carry the remaining bags inside and I allowed him to do so.  We talked for a couple minutes (where do you work, where do you live, etc) and then he invited me to go see the July 4th fireworks with him the next day.  I thanked him for the invitation but told him I'd be out of town.  (I really was going to spend the entire July 4th at my relatives' home in MD.)  He asked if we could exchange numbers and perhaps get together another time.  I said OK even though I knew full well it would never happen.  As he was leaving my roommate was coming in the door.  My roommate was a Jehovah's Witness too so we knew each others' friends.  He asked me who that guy was.  I casually brushed it off by saying it was an old acquaintance from high school I'd run into at the grocery store.

The guy did call me a couple times and left messages on my answering machine (remember those?), but I never returned his calls.  I wasn't ready yet.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Glimpses of Gay, part 1

Since June is widely considered Pride month, I was thinking about how I might celebrate on my
blog.  In years past I have posted links to my coming out story.  I really don't want to do that again, as the story is easily accessible using the 'coming out' tag.  I also thought about posting Pride photos found on the web, but this seemed a little lame.  Then I came up with the concept I'm calling Glimpses of Gay.  This is where I will share occasions that occurred before I came out where I had a glimpse of gay life or an interaction with someone I understood to be gay.  Here's part 1:

It was late afternoon in the spring of 1983.  I was 19 years old and working part-time in a men's clothing store.  I was offered a temporary full-time position shuttling specific merchandise between store locations while the usual driver was out with back surgery.

One day as I was driving on a multi-lane highway I looked over to my left and noticed an attractive man driving the car next to me.  He looked over and caught me looking at him.  Embarrassed, I pressed a little harder on the gas pedal to move away from his car.  He excellerated too and caught up with me.  I quickly glanced over at him again and saw him looking at me.  I may have smiled or just waved in that friendly kind of 'I acknowledge you' kind of way; I'm not sure.  But as I could feel my heart beating faster I decided to lift my foot off the gas pedal a little so the guy in the other car would pass me.  Sure enough, he slowed down too and once again we were window to window.

It was now obvious to me that my initial looking at him had started some sort of flirtation.  He was intentionally reacting to my changes in speed and trying to respond.  I started to freak out a little because I didn't know what I was doing!  But since we were both rolling down the highway at 55mpg or so, I was more excited than scared.

Until he began gesturing to me to pull over.

Ohmygod ohmygod ohmygood - what am I going to do?!?!?!  Nothing like this had ever happened to me before.  I literally didn't know what to expect.  Should I stop?  Should I just keep driving?  I felt like my heart was going to beat right out of my chest.

I decided to pull over onto the shoulder and so did he.  We both got out of our vehicles and introduced ourselves.  He then asked if I would join him for a drink somewhere closeby.  Rather than tell him the truth (that I was a Jehovah's Witness who could NOT be gay) I told him I was working and still had several stops to make.  He seemed a little disappointed, and asked when I'd be in the area again.  I didn't really know how to respond since telling him the truth (that I'd be back there in 2 days) would likely lead to some kind of planned meeting, so I just said I didn't know when my deliveries would bring me back to this area.  

Perhaps he understood this was all very new to me, and maybe he decided it would be too much 'work' to try and be with someone like me.  Fortunately he was very gracious and smiled as he shook my hand and we said goodbye.  More than 30 years later I still remember the excitement mixed with fear I felt that day.


Monday, June 12, 2017

Weekend recap

As usual, I worked on Sat and Spouse did some spot cleaning on a couple of our area rugs.  Once home from work, we met up with Steven & Thad and Joe P for dinner, and then I went to the Blue Moon to perform in the Legends show.  The owners decided to bring back some of my past Legends this year so I was Neil Diamond on Sat night.  Neil has a new costume this year which I like a lot, and a new wig this year which looks horrible.  We did the best we could with it, but...

After the show we walk around to meet and greet the patrons, and I had a nice conversation with a nice couple.  As I usually do, I asked them where they lived.  They said "In Virginia" so I asked where about, and they responded with the name of the tiny, obscure town where I lived about 7 years!  I mean, to illustrate how small this town is, when I asked where in the town they lived, they said "You know where the stop sign is?  We're in that neighborhood on the left" and I knew exactly where they were talking about.  Small world!!!

Then Sun Spouse & I met Steven for a late breakfast.  Thad was at a yoga class.  Afterward Spouse & I took the dogs for a walk around the block, deadheaded the Comical Roses and the orange roses, dusted all the roses to prevent bugs from eating the leaves, pulled some weeds, and just did a bit of yard clean up.  We both hate it but its amazing what 2 people can accomplish in just under an hour.

Next we grabbed our sunscreen and met Steven & Thad a the beach!  It was our 1st beach visit of the season.  It was an usually hot day for mid-June (91 degrees) but it always feels cooler at the beach with the breezes coming off the water.  We had a great afternoon there and it really felt like summer.  After returning to our respective homes for showers, we met back up for dinner, then we stopped by the new house to see how the renovations were going, then settled in at home for a bit of TV watching.

It was a nice weekend.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Roses

Spouse loves roses, so when we began planting stuff in our yard about 10 years ago we bought several Queen Elizabeth rose bushes.  They're light pick and rebloom several times between April and Oct.  They're planted in front of our front porch and grow crazy tall, which Spouse finds comical. So we refer to them as Comical Roses rather than Queen Elizabeth roses.

Later we bought 2 dark red and 1 magenta shrub rose bushes, which are planted on the side of the house.  These are great because they also rebloom but you don't have to deadhead them.  Then we saw some gorgeous orange roses at a nursery and bought 3 of those.  The orange color is so vivid the roses almost look artificial.  Last July for his birthday I bought Spouse 2 yellow shrub rose bushes which are planted by the front sidewalk.  They haven't bloomed much this year yet, but they may simply bloom later.  They have a lovely buttery yellow color. 

We've had more than the usual amount of rain over the last few weeks so the roses have all been loving that.  And although I don't love it when it rains, it does mean we don't have to water the roses.

I took a couple photos of the Comical Roses just after taking the dogs out in the front yard.  I didn't take photos of the others because the dark red and magenta ones had alreay peaked an the blooms were wilting, and the orange and yellow ones hadn't peaked yet.


Notice the height of the roses compared to the porch railing behind them.

Spouse's Comical Roses

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Random Acts of Kindness

I've written several times about how important I think random acts of kindness are.  Just click on the random acts of kindness tag on this post to read my thoughts and opportunities for doing this.  When you can do something nice for people who aren't expecting it, it makes them feel good AND you feel good.

So a recent opportunity I took advantage of was on Mother's Day.  After returning from spending the weekend in DC, we met up with Steven & Thad for dinner Sun evening at a restaurant we've frequented many times.  We had a waitress we've had several times who looks like Reese Witherspoon.  As we ordered our drinks Spouse casually asked the waitress if she was a mother.  She said yes, she has 2 kids, but that she hadn't seen either of them yet that day (it was after 5:00).  She seemed to become a little emotional, so to diffuse the situation I suggested "Well, you're working right now so maybe they'll be there waiting for you when you get home from work."  She smiled and said "Maybe so."

When it came time to pay our $23 bill, I added at $27 tip and wrote "Happy Mothers Day" and a smiley face on the bill.  While the money won't make up for (possibly) not seeing her kids on Mother's Day, hopefully she'll use the cash to treat herself to something.

Remember, random acts of kindness don't have to involve tipping or money!  They can be simple, thoughtful gestures like holding the door, allowing someone with fewer items than you to go ahead of you in the grocery store line, picking up a dropped item for someone rather than just telling them they dropped it - you're only limited by your own imagination.  

I challenge everyone to open yourself up to all the possible opportunities to do good, feel good, and help others feel good too.
 

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day!

While Memorial Day is actually a day to remember those men and women who have died in military service to our country, it is also the unofficial start of the summer season here at the beach, bringing thousands and thousands of people here from neighboring cities and states.

I always hope for good weather on Memorial Day weekend because its typically our 1st time going to the beach and we usually go to or host a cook-out.  Unfortunately this Memorial Day weekend the weather has not been very good, with rain and/or overcast skies.  So we didn't get to the beach and our cook-out became a cook-in.  Steven grilled the hamburgers and hotdogs outside during a brief let up in the rain, and we ate indoors.  Spouse made potato salad and I made peanut butter brownies.  

It wasn't the best holiday weekend weather-wise but we did have a day off work and good BBQ food.

We offer our sincere thanks to all those who've made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country.  Happy Memorial Day.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Anniversary

Today is mine & Spouse's 21st anniversary!

We count our anniversary as the date we met, rather than our wedding date, since marriage was not an option for us for many years.  Besides, I like celebrating the day we met as our anniversary because it was also Spouse's parents' anniversary.

As always, I sent flowers to Spouse at his office.  This gets him lots of attention from his colleagues!

This isn't a milestone anniversary so we don't have any 'big plans' to go away or anything.  And after 20 previous anniversaries, its not quite as 'exciting' as it used to be to go somewhere fancy to dinner.  So we'll likely just go to dinner with Steven & Thad, as we typically do on Fri evenings.  It will be great because I'll be with my favorite person... my husband.
This photo was taken a few weeks after we met.  Yikes - we're barely recognizable!!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Homecoming

Yesterday was 5th anniversary of Marvin's homecoming!  You can read about the day he joined our family HERE.

I prefer the term 'homecoming' over adoption day.  It just sounds nicer.

Marvin Parker is such a good boy, and I love him more than I can say.  So instead of using words, I'll share some great photos of him.










 


 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

New house

On Mon afternoon we bought a new house.
Well, its not really a new house.  Its a used house, 25 years old, but its new to us.

No, we're not moving out of this house.
Grey Gardens, as our friends Steven & Thad refer to it
This is our house.  Where we live.  Its roomy enough to easily have guests stay over and works for us.  Maybe when Spouse retires in 10 years (and we're in our early 60s) we'll downsize.  But not now.

The new house is going to be a rental.  Its in a very convenient community, has a big back yard, a deck, and spacious rooms.  But the decor is reflective of its previous owner: an old lady.  So before we put it on the market for rent we're going to make some updates.  Nothing tos crazy or expensive; mostly cosmetic stuff to modernize it.  We're keeping the carpet and flooring and kitchen cabinets and appliances, for now.  Maybe in a few years we'll remodel the kitchen.  But for now we're replacing light fixtures, ceiling fans, towel bars an toilet paper holders in the bathrooms and the like.  

Oh, and we're adding an island.  The kitchen is big enough for one, but the reason we're doing it is to accommodate a dishwasher.  Apparently the old lady who had this home custom built liked to hand wash dishes because there's no dishwasher.  And no way to retrofit one into the cabinets either.  So we're creating an island that will house the dishwasher.  We hope to have it finished in about 2 weeks.  It should make a great home for a young family or older couple.  It'll be a fun project for me & Spouse too.