Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas...Looking Back

     So… Another week has passed. Is it just me or has this year rushed by. Where does the time go? It seems as if only yesterday it was… well not Christmas, that’s for sure. I always fall into reflection around this time of year.
     A Christmas Memory… (see how I worked that in? LOL)
    It was my fourth Christmas, yeah four years old. My mother, sister and I had moved in with my Grandmother a few months previously. Yes, my mother and father were on the road to divorce, which was rather scandalous back then. Anyway, things were a little tumultuous to say the least. Emotions were running high and I really didn’t care: I was with my grandmother, who I loved more than anything in the world.
     I remember being asked what I wanted for Christmas. What I really wanted was an easy bake oven, a set of dishes and who knows what else. I can’t really remember everything. Of course my father went ballistic. Those weren’t things to give a boy! My grandmother didn’t listen or care.
     Now you have to understand a little bit about my grandmother. She was one of those women who raised nine children during the great depression. My grandfather was injured in a railroad accident and wasn’t much help. She was a teetotaler and disapproved of anyone who drank. (Didn’t stop most of my family though. There’s a cute story here that I’ll try and get to another time.) She was also one of the most giving people I ever knew.
     Guess what? I got that easy bake oven and the dishes. I’m pretty sure it was my grandmother who got them, even though they said they were from Santa. The only problem, in my mind, was the damn oven was pink. I really don’t like pink, but those were the days that dictated that girls did the cooking. Boy did I prove them wrong.
     Of course that silly oven didn’t last very long. I was a pretty rough and tough little boy after all. The dishes… I was finally convinced to give them up when I was around eleven or twelve. My grandmother had died when I was eight years old.
     It was my grandmother who instilled in me the love of cooking. There were many early morning weekends when she would keep me occupied in the kitchen so my mother could sleep in, having worked late the night before. She taught me how to make pancakes, which I thought was the best thing ever. To this day, when I make pancakes, I think of her and smile.
     Her philosophy: “Food feeds the body. Food made with love feeds the soul.” I’ve always remembered that.
     Christmas Memories 2… (Ha! I did it again. I’m so clever. He he he)
     Back in 1984, I spent Christmas alone. In August of that year, the mom and pop restaurant I was working in closed. Okay, that’s a bit of an understatement. It was chained shut by the IRS. I was suddenly unemployed with a month’s worth of salary unpaid left me and completely broke. It didn’t help that it was also the first of the month and rent was due.
     That was a scary time for me. I almost became homeless for the first time in my life, and thankfully, the last time. I ended up working three jobs as I tried to work myself out of the huge financial hole I suddenly found myself in. It was definitely a low point in my life. I wouldn’t recommend it.
     Anyway, it was suddenly Christmas. My poor car was in serious need of repair so there was no way it was going to make the drive from Washington, D.C. to Tennessee. Most of my friends were with family or left to go to wherever they were going for the holidays. That left me in the city… alone. The first time I’d spent Christmas away from home. If I’m correct, that was also the last Christmas I didn’t work for close to twenty years.
     Being the stupid youngster I was, I didn’t plan ahead of course. Okay, hell, I was exhausted if I’m to be honest. That was the first day I’d had off since September of that year. What I’m saying is that there was no food in the apartment. Why would I buy food when I was never there and I always ate at work… at one job or another or all of them.
     I ended up going out into the city, which was mostly deserted, in search of food. Of course, almost nothing was open. Back then… everyone closed up for Christmas. I did find a crappy dinner that was open close to the Washington Post. I guess they stayed open because of the close proximity to the newspaper. News never stops ya know, especially in Washington.
     It was surprising how packed the place was. I guess I wasn’t the only one with no place to go on Christmas. I had a huge breakfast and hung out drinking coffee and talking to one of the cooks for a while. Later on… I left, found a gay bar that was of course open, albeit almost empty, and got as drunk as Cooter Brown.
     That was a rather expensive Christmas. Not only from the bar but from the taxi that I took home. Never trust cab drivers in D.C.!
     A Christmas Memory 3: (Yep, I did it again. LMAO)
     Now, I’m sitting here with this humongous tree taking up most of the living room and presents underneath. I sit staring at it wearing shorts, a T-shirt and flip-flops with the doors and windows open. The dogs keep running outside chasing who knows what. I have this great urge to go make pancakes. I’m very fortunate and thankful for all the blessings I have.
     A New Year…
     As 2017 approaches it makes me wonder what the future has in store for me. What adventures will I see? The one thing I do know for sure is that there will always be those who are less fortunate. There will always been a need. There will always be kids who find themselves on the streets or in homes that are less that functional. That makes me sad. But it also gives me opportunity to do something good. Maybe I can share some of the things I’ve learned along the way. Maybe… just maybe, I can pass along the love of cooking that was bestowed upon me by my grandmother. Of course, it never hurts to put some of those good Karma Coins in the piggy bank. Who knows what lies ahead? I do know that I will embrace the challenges ahead, good or bad.

     I hope everyone has a joyous holiday season,


Sunday, December 18, 2016

I Sit and Ramble... Again

     So… here I sit once again staring at a blank page wondering what the hell I’m supposed to say. I guess I’m going to just do what I do under such circumstances… ramble.

     I have a neighbor who is a bartender in an upscale restaurant not far from here. When I have to get up in the middle of the night to run to the bathroom, I can often see her just coming in from work or see her moving about, long after midnight. The other night, in the wee hours of the morning, she came in with a friend in tow.
     It reminded me of the days, when I was close to her age, dragging my ass in from having bar-hopped after work. There had been times when I also would drag a friend home to keep them from driving drunk as a skunk. Those were great times, as I remember through the alcohol induced fog.
     There was/is a slight pang of want there. I miss the kitchen. I miss of the closeness of working with others who understand the stresses of the job, the comradeship of your coworkers, the letting loose after a long hard night. Yeah… there is a certain intimacy when you work in a professional restaurant. There are bonds that form that you just don’t find anywhere else. And yes, I do miss that. I miss it a lot. Honestly, I’d still be doing it if my body hadn’t decided to fall apart. This whole growing old thing is a bitch, not to mention painful.
     OCD and…
     To be honest, I’ve never really hid the fact that I have OCD. I’ve always had it but as I grow older (seems to be a theme here), it does seem to be getting worse. TAT has pointed out that there are certain things she won’t even attempt to do because she knows it won’t be the way that I want it. It isn’t like I really make a fuss about it… okay, not much of one… I hope, but there are some things that just drive me bonkers. And yes, I do realize that is a very short drive, but it does send me there.
     I want my socks to be folded a certain way and they are, of course, color coordinated and they have to all be facing the same way in the drawer. My toothbrush goes in the same place and faces the same way each and every day. I place the cutlery in the drawer, lined up neatly like little soldiers ready for battle. Whenever I set the table, the plates have to all be facing the right way, each one exactly the same as the other. Napkins have to be just so too. Yeah, I have it bad. Even the remote control has to be facing the right way, in the same spot too. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it’s just the way I am. Don’t even get me started on the linen closet!
     But something has changed a bit. I’ve started to ignore clutter, which would usually send me over the edge like a mad woman wielding a machete. Not quite sure why. Okay, that’s a lie. TAT is a clutter-bug and I think I’ve gotten used to it… or not. In all actuality, I think I’ve just gotten lazy. Of course, now that I’ve realized what it is that is going on, it’s probably going to start driving me nuts. Better watch out TAT… I might just go on a house cleaning tear!
     Did you know…
     Confession time: I’m an idiot when it comes to technology. Oh, and I have zero patience for it. If I can’t get it to work, it is all I can do to keep from throwing out the back door. I recently had to get a new phone. I got the new iPhone 7 Plus, mainly because it has a really super nice camera. Yep, that was the primary reason. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to get the photos off the stupid phone and onto my computer. Grrr… that so pisses me off. I finally relented and let TAT take over to get it done. She figured it out so all is good now. The downside to all that is I have to rely on her to do it.
     That leads me to my website, which is sorely in need of attention. There is so much updating to be done on it, it isn’t even funny. I hope to have that remedied in the near future. We’ll see how that goes.
     Tis the season…
     Yeah, yeah… bah humbug. I didn’t get my fun sweater that I wanted. I went so far as to see if it came in a T-shirt version, but it didn’t. As I sit here, at 7 a.m., it is a balmy 70F and humid as fuck. Good thing I didn’t get it I suppose. But it was so perfect for me. I do love a good pole dancer, and… well I really wanted it. Maybe next year they’ll come out with a T-shirt version.
     I really need to find a decent strip club. I miss that.
     While I’m talking about the season…
     Have you ever heard that it is better to give than to receive? I truly believe that. Believe it or not, it doesn’t have to cost you monetarily either. Giving of your time is… more genuine if you ask me. There are so many people who just need someone to talk to sometimes.
     I became acutely aware of this recently. Poor TAT has some man nearly talk her ear off one day. The guy was lonely. Of course she got to hear his life story, and since he was quite elderly, it was a long story. Something for y’all to think about maybe? Just take the time to listen to someone. It won’t hurt ya and you might even rack up some of them good Karma Coins.
     ‘Bout all I’ve got for now. Have a grrreat week, y’all.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

I Feel Pretty...

     So… I’m sitting here with my electric warming house shoes on. What the hell? The temperature here is 51F and my feet are cold. Oh, I still have shorts on, but… well this is a little cooler than I like it. I guess it's okay. Makes it feel a little like Christmas. I’m just glad it isn’t going to last long. It will be going to be back up in the 80’s next week. So ha!

     Getting a bit serious…
     I don’t know if anyone has noticed or not, but I withdrew from most things social media. There were so much hateful things… so many things that were negative, things I didn’t want to see. I might dip my toe in the waters and see how it is, but I’m not promising anything.
     You know, if someone asks how you are and you say, “Oh, my back hurts and I stumped my toe and my life just sucks,” more than likely, whomever you’ve just told, their eyes probably glazed over and they zoned out. How are they supposed to react to that? What are they supposed to say? “Uh… I’m sorry?” Well duh. And then they run like hell.
     “How are you?”
     “I’m good, thank you, how are you?”
     They don’t give a flying fuck if your toe is broken. Okay, I may care but let’s get into it later in the conversation, just don't lead off with that. But let me tell you one thing, if someone starts off a conversation with them bemoaning all their woes, I’m going to tune them right the hell out. I have enough of my own issues to take on someone else’s, thank you very much. Let’s stay positive folks… at least to start off with.
     What else…
     Okay, as much as I hate to admit it, sometimes my sister is right. This growing old not only sucks, it’s downright painful at times. My mind says, “Yeah, you can do this!” and then my body says, “Oh the fuck you say!” Ugh… there are things I used to do with no problem. I’m all gung-ho about it and do it and then I pay for it. LOL
     Now you’d think I’d learn to take it a bit easier, but nooo… Stupid me goes right ahead and nearly kills myself. The end result is me hobbling around like an eighty-year-old man for a few days. Yeah, running a jackhammer, with that flipping Frankenstein boot on, is a prime example. I had that thing rented for 2 days and damn it, I was going to get it done. Well, I did but boy did I pay for it later. But hey, it was something that I’d wanted to do for some time, so I guess it was worth it. The only big problem was the following morning I got up outta bed… and then promptly fell into the closet. How apropos, eh? And here I thought I’d left that stupid closet decades ago. See how I waited to whinge until midway through this blog?
     Did you know…
     I really hate shopping. I specifically hate shopping for clothes. However, I saw this cool Xmas sweater that I really, really wanted. I went so far as to select the size, add it to the cart and was about to check out when I was rudely reminded (of course it was TAT that was so rude) “You do realize that you live in Florida and it’s like 80(F) degrees outside.”

     Talk about your party-pooper! I mean really. Alright, she has a point. How much would I actually wear a sweater in Florida? Doesn’t make it any easier since I did want that sweater. And yes, the photo is of the sweater I wanted. I guess I’ll look at is as having saved $40.00! Bah Humbug.

     I Feel Pretty…

     Do not ask why I thought of this… just did. I’m thinking it’s because I need a haircut and beard trim. I hope you’ll take the time to watch this little video. It is so me at the moment. Yeah, I can be pretty nuts sometimes.
     Moving right along…
     Um… drawing a blank here. I think I may need more coffee. Be right back… Ahhh, more better. Now I remember where I was going with this...
     A grrreat big THANK YOU to all those who have donated books for the Zebra Coalition book drive. I’ve received so many great books. I’m sure the postman is wondering what the hell is going on. Of course the UPS man is probably wondering the same thing.
     There is still plenty of room on the new bookshelf for more books, so keep ‘em coming y’all. If you have a favorite Y/A book, please send it on. If you are an author who has a Y/A book, please, donate it to this good cause. If you know of a Y/A author, please let them know about this project. How important is reading to you? Don’t you think that these LBGT youths want books they can relate to? Of course they do. So… take your Grinch pants off (of course you can always just strip naked if you want, I don’t care.) and think of the kids. Tis the season ya know.
     Okay, I think that’s about all I got this week. I think I’m going to go find something to do that won’t put me in a wheelchair.
     Have a grrreat day, y’all,

Sunday, December 4, 2016

It's a RAMBLE!

     So… Once again I’m sitting here looking at a blank page, not knowing what the hell to blog about. Sometimes I can get it done during the week but it didn’t happen this week. I was busy and then I couldn’t think of anything and then… well just didn’t get one done. So guess what? I’m going to go by the seat of my pants and just RAMBLE!

     It’s all about the Sutton’s…
     I woke up this morning to a very nice surprise. Christmas Memories 3: Home Sweet Home was voted book of the week on the Love Bytes poll. Thank you everyone. I think y’all like this little series. I have to admit, I do like writing about them… when they decide to talk that is. There are a lot of good characters in those books that I do like a lot. Nice warm fuzzies for the holidays is never a bad thing.

     Tis the Season…
     I did get my Christmas lights on the house and one wreath done. I think they came out alright. I’ll try and get some photos this week and get them posted. We’ll see what y’all think. TAT likes multicolored lights, so that’s what I went with. At least she didn’t want to make a Christmas tree out of beer cans, like some of those other Aussies have. I should count my blessings I guess. But then she doesn’t like beer, so maybe I should be glad she didn’t want them out of wine bottles!

     The tree is up, but still naked. I might be able to get to that this afternoon, we’ll see. I may need several adult beverages to get it done though. Hell, it might even involve some carols to get me back in the mood. It’s kinda hard to get in the mood when it’s 80F outside. LOL Yeah, I do love living in sunny Flo-rid-ia!

     Oh, and I do have all of my shopping done. Didn’t take me that long either. I pretty much knew what I was getting and where, so it wasn’t all that difficult. A lot of it I got off Amazon so I could make sure that a part of my purchases went to the Zebra Coalition. Remember to use Amazon Smile so that you’re helping others while giving. A wonderful thing in my book.
     What else…
     Yes, I’m still working on several books at once, although one in particular is going pretty well. I’m more than halfway done with it I’d say. Looking at a release date of sometime in April I think. Will have to see how things progress. I was giving out hints and some have come pretty damn close. It’s nothing too heavy. After finishing Life After Living I needed a break from the hard subjects. I can only take so much of that ya know. The next one, well, it isn’t quite as difficult a subject, but one that isn’t exactly what I’d call fluffy, so that’s been on the back burner for a bit. All in all, the writing is going pretty well.
     I special shout out…
     No, I don’t mean that I’m going to buy the next round either. I wanted to say a little something to Ms. Theresa May: Thank you. All this week, I’ve had that silly theme song from the show Flipper stuck in my head and I don’t mind at all. That one day in Sawtell was one of the best days ever. I had such a wonderful time. I’ve got to say, that was a big highlight for my time spent in Oz. So, a great big hug and lots of love your way.

     I’m going to cut it off here…
      Just remember that there are others who need a hand up this holiday season. So many people have been left homeless because of the fires in East Tennessee, my home state. My heart goes out to them. Thanks to Dolly Parton and her gracious nature in helping them out. However, there are always those in need. Keep them in mind while you’re out there in the big bad world. Never hurts to rack up some of those good Karma Coins.
     Have a grrreat week, y’all,