August 31, 2009

Where did August go?

It has seemed to me like the summer has flown by! I can't believe it's the end of August already. Sure, I'm glad the weather in Texas is finally cooling down, I can do a lot more outside without wilting in the heat. It was nice to be able to sit outside while visiting my friend's ranch this weekend.

And I can finally go out camping!
I couldn't go in the spring since I had my nose stuck in my books, but now that the studying and exams are behind me I can get back out this fall. I drove past a couple of lakes yesterday on my way back from my friend's home and it made me yearn to get the camping gear out and dusted off. There is even a lake within 10 miles of my home called Joe Pool Lake where I could get to very quickly.

My birthday weekend was great! Thanks for all your comments and birthday wishes! I appreciate it! I had a relaxing time visiting friends and playing in the lake. The other reason for my visit to these friends is that she is home on leave. I will miss her when she goes to Afghanistan.

This weekend I also realized that I can still get my Project Runway fix! Yeah! I don't have cable TV anymore and thought I might have to miss out on one of my favorite shows that I would watch. Well, Lifetime has full episodes on their website! Woohoo! Although it is way slow if I have anything else running on the computer at the same time, and the words don't always sync to their movements, but hey... it's good enough that I know what's going on.

Well, hopefully this week will go by fast so I can have another long weekend with Labor Day coming up. Enjoy your week y'all!

August 30, 2009

Great music mash-up

Love this music mash-up! Thanks Jay!

August 29, 2009

Caption this

I'm just waking up with a bit of a hangover and will be going to the lake later to go jetskiing.

Thought this would be something fun to post today;

Caption this...
Or tell me a good story about what's happening in this picture!


Have a great weekend everyone!!

August 28, 2009

40 something...

Mom always told me the story of the day I was born.

I was overdue, by about two to three weeks. Monday morning mom started going into labor. Dad rushed her to the hospital and things started to happen very quickly. By the time the doctor got there I was well on the way. As he was getting prepped in a hurry the doctor asked the nurse if that was the father still standing there. This was in the day when the father were not allowed in the delivery room. I came very quickly and so I was the first of his 4 children that dad got to see being born.

Mom said I was born with lots of dark hair! I weighed in at 9lbs, bigger than any other of my siblings. Back then they didn't know the sex of the baby until it was born, my parents were surprised to have a baby boy as the doctor had told them I had a girl's heartbeat. I know, I know... jokes have been made about that for as long as I've been out! LOL. I would have been named Diane. Mom said she looked at me and knew the perfect name for me; Jimmy! So I was named after one of dad's uncles.

As I mentioned before I saw a website where a family took a photo of themselves in the same spot every year. It was interesting to see how they matured. So, since this is my birthday, the ultimate "meme" day... I thought I'd make a video using pictures of me through the years.
video
So...
Happy birthday to me... or as I've been calling it this year; "Jimmas" (it's like Christmas, but for me!)
LOL!

August 27, 2009

Poem by a dear friend of mine

Eating the Day
No longer afraid to scale life's bendy branches
I stretch myself
and
Pick this fresh peach of a new day
The fuzzy skin of awakening sensual to my rousing fingertip;
My mouth moistens with the tantalizing tang of rich, ripe fruit.

Eager lips part
and
I bite
into the messy flesh
of possibilities.

Enjoyment breeding messiness
a rivulet of juice trails down between my breasts and
my fingers grow sticky
with the sweetness of its handling

until
all that remains
is the feel of the coarse casing of tomorrow's tree
as the
last
sweet
droplet
of juice
slides down a welcoming throat.
swallow.

again, I sleep.
-Cassandra Cutlass Crowface

August 26, 2009

Random Question Wednesday

Share an experience you had with a grandparent.

This is a picture of my paternal grandparents, Ralph and Effie on their wedding day, June 9, 1920. Effie was 18 years old. My dad was the second of seven children. The photo below was taken in 1941 when my dad was 18 yrs old.

Dad is the one on the far right on the back row.

Just before this picture was taken Ralph was diagnosed with Amytropical Lateral Scerosis, later known as Lou Gherig's disease. Effie was left to raise her small children by herself while he went to the Mayo clinic. He returned home and passed away in 1944. She remarried on Nov. 17, 1950 so I only knew her as Grandma Liddell.

Grandma was only about Four foot ten and it was fun to finally surpass her in height when growing up. She was a tough rancher's wife in Utah and we spent many Sunday dinners around her table. We thought it was funny that she kept a birthday cake for a whole year that mom made her, in her words; "it was too beautiful to eat". This was an early sign of Alzheimer's. We would go to her house and sometime she didn't know who we were. Or she would have a table full of food for all the ranch hands that are out working in the feilds, we'd look out the window, laugh and tell her that there wasn't anyone out there!

Alzheimer's took it's toll on her, she became bedridden and had to have twenty four hour care. She passed away on Mother's Day in 1986.

August 25, 2009

Smell you


Usually I don't have a sense of smell anymore. I have had so many allergies and medications that the olfactory receptor doesn't work like it should. I have learned to live with it. But there are times when it works very clearly. Sometimes that's not a good thing!

My gym is located on the top floor of a parking garage in downtown Dallas. There are two unreliable elevators that take you to the tenth floor. They are not air conditioned. In fact there are no fans circulating the air in them either! That makes it a smelly place sometimes on the ride down after everyone has been working out and sweating.

Since hot air rises and there is a big open building under the gym it can get very warm in the Texas heat and humidity. So usually my 'non-working nose' suits me fine.

Not last night!
Nasal cavity was clear and working just fine... much to my dismay!

The hottie that I had been making eye contact with reeked of sweaty ass! And not in a good or even primal way. I moved away, quickly.

Then later as I was doing cardio on the elliptical machine a big guy got on the machine next to me. I'm not sure he had showered in the last couple of days! It was bad, I considered moving to another machine but the gym was full on a Monday night. Don't get me wrong, I do admire someone who has 'more to love' making the effort to be at the gym... just please be sure to wear clean clothes every day or use deodorant before you start working out. Luckily he only did 15 minutes and I could breathe again for my remaining time.

Thank God the elevator ride down was empty! Hallelujah!

August 24, 2009

Settled into my new home - a year ago

About a month ago I posted some 'before' pictures and talked about buying my new condo. Someone left me a comment asking to see the 'after' pictures. Here they are:

Like I said, every wall needed paint.

Here is the living room.



The guest room and office.


Master bedroom! ;-)


The patio.

This is my favorite place to have coffee in the mornings on the weekends.

Hard to believe I have been here a year now! I still love it.
Always little projects to do... updating the kitchen is next on the list.

August 23, 2009

3 possibilities

I have two tattoos. I want another one. When I got the first one a friend told me that they're addicting. They are! But... since they are permanent, it's got to be something I love and know that I'll love for a very long time. I'm not even sure of when I'll get the next one, I just know I've been considering it for a while now.

I think I have narrowed it down to these 3 choices. The first two would go on my right shoulder.

Om.

It is a mystical or sacred syllable in the Indian religions as a symbol of God and of profound religious meditation. This would be a reminder to strive for peace.

The Royal Lion

Symbolizes dauntless courage. And a link to my English heritage.

Kiwi

I would get the national symbol of New Zeland over my heart to symbolize that I'm a Kiwi at heart. (New Zelanders refer to themselves as Kiwis)

What do you think?

August 22, 2009

August 21, 2009

Fun Stuff Friday

It's been a long week! I am so glad it's Friday!

Thought I would post some stuff that makes me laugh.

I know this is more straight guy humor... but it still made me smile!

Do I get to pick the 12 guys?

This one could have described any of the days this week.

August 20, 2009

A dear friend

I have known Julie for as long as I can remember.

This was my first grade class. The names are in my own handwriting then.

There were twenty of us that went all the way through graduation together. Julie and I went to primary together, (the Mormon children's group) and MIA, (the young adult group for teenagers). There was a core group of friends that would hang together but Julie and I were the ones who were always constant.

Julie was my date for the big Junior Prom (we didn't have a senior prom, the junior prom was the big deal in our school). There wasn't any real romance there (for obvious reasons) but we were just great friends. Here is the prom picture from 1978.


We stayed friends while at BYU. She got her teaching degree and my life went off in a different direction. She married a fanatical Mormon guy and had a difficult life. I last saw her in 1996 just before I moved to Texas. Friends tell me that she gained a lot of weight and gave up on family, friends and life.

She passed away in her sleep yesterday morning.

I spent last evening talking to her family and then to lots of old friends from high school. It's very sad, we all loved her and wish she could have had a better life.

Something likes this makes us think of our own mortality. Life is short. I wish I would have called her and told her what her friendship meant to me for almost all of my life.

August 19, 2009

Random Question Wednesday

What school subject has been most difficult for you?

Math!
I know... I know. I work in banking!
This was always a difficult subject for me.
I still have issues with somethings.
Thank God for calculators and "formulas" in MicroSoft Excel!

What was a difficult subject for you?

August 18, 2009

What's in a name?


I once read a story, I can't remember the name of the book nor can I find it in my library, but it's about a country family that didn't name their son, they left it up to him to chose his own name. It got me thinking... what is in a name? I don't know that people put a lot of thought into naming their kids, they seem to just pick a name that they like. How does a name shape a kid's identity? What about all these celebrities that name their kids weird names? (like Apple, WTF were they thinking?) LOL What do people do that don't like their name? There are people who go by their middle name and don't identify when someone calls them by their first name.

Well, I'm one of those that never liked my given name. James isn't a bad name, I just don't like it. I went by that name while I was in grade school and high school. I am not that same person. It was annoying to see my given name on company records and legal documents. I know it's kind of weird, but it does bother me! So much so... that today I went before a judge in Dallas and had it legally changed. My legal name is now Jim. And I dropped my middle name and now will just use the initial. One might say "why the big deal, you already are called Jim". True, but not legally. Just like my reasons for leaving the Mormon church. I never go anyway and don't believe their teachings, so why take the step to have my name taken off their records? Same thing... it bothered me! I'm not that person anymore.

Anyhoo.... my friends on the farm south of Waco (the one's I married in June) have some Scottish Highland long-haired cows. They had a baby on Sunday! Woohoo. I can't wait to see him! The pictures of him are sooooo cute!

They still have to name him. A traditional Scottish they tell me....Hhhhmmmm.

August 17, 2009

40 years since Woodstock


A sea of bodies colored miles of open fields. Naked or clothed, tripping, drunk or sober, they gathered together in Bethel, N.Y., to let go, listen to wide-ranging tunes from various bands and to relive an almost indescribable peace of history.

"It was three days to get away, meet new friends and show your love for human society. Three days where you don't have to hate people, where if a stranger walks up to you, you give him a beer and just hang out," said 19-year-old Rich Wilson from Pine Hill, N.J.

Wilson said he and his friends, on returning from the great pilgrimage, were talking about how impossible it would be to describe their experience at Woodstock to people who didn't go.

"We were saying that we took in so much in the last three days ... maybe more than in a lifetime," he said. "It's almost indescribable."

But Wilson's deep voice, groggy from partying for four days straight, had an extremely mellow tone that his words illustratively floated upon.

"It was being surrounded by people that aren't uptight and worried about the 'right things' in society. If you want to be naked, you are naked, if you want to be tripping, you are. You just feel free from everything."


I was 7 yrs old, it was still a few more weeks of summer left. I remember hearing about this "hippy festival" on the news. We heard a lot about these hippies and occasionally saw some. They were flower children and peace lovers. Protesting a war that didn't make sense. I wanted to be a hippy after seeing pictures like this.

It's hard to imagine that these hippies are in their 60s now!

August 16, 2009

The Way of the Small

I finished reading the book I was reading on the side; The Way Of The Small, Why Less Is Truly More by Michael Gellert. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking to find more out of life and looking for inner peace.

Here is part of the closing chapter that summarizes the book very well:

The way of the small would immensely enrich us. We would become smaller in our concentration upon what's important. We would be keenly involved in the details and circumstances of our lives, yet not defined by the grandiose times and society we live in. We would deal with complexity as best we could, but strive to keep things simple. We would curtail our distractions and egocentric attachments. We would develop a focused way of living, recognizing our limits, our responsibilities, our ordinariness, our exceptional qualities, our capacity to love, our dark side - all the things that make us human. Penetrating our humanity in this way would deepen and broaden it, giving our personhood more weight and substance. Being thus more grounded in ourselves, we would be more fully self-possessed and comfortable in our own skin, knowing who we are both in the world and spiritually. Still we would remain humble and try to be of service to others. We would flow with life as it unfolds, but prepared to go against the grain if necessary. We would take things seriously but with humor. We would try to improve what we can, but accept our fate with equanimity. Surrendering to our smallness would bring inner peace, which in turn would enable us to face our death with composure.

I took my time reading this book and I always had a colored pencil close at hand to underline things that were meaningful to me. I will be able to go back and reread things and continue to apply them to my life.

This book definitely goes along with my belief that life is a journey. It's not just about reaching a destination but enjoying the little things along the way.

August 15, 2009

It is....

The picture from yesterday was the top of a hurricane lamp.
Does this picture help it make sense now?

This has make me think.

Sometimes things aren't always clear. We see something and make assumptions. Sometimes our guesses are right or pretty close. Other times they are way off.

This is true of how we judge others. I'm reminded of the guy I knew in high school who contacted me on FaceBook back in March. He made assumptions about me from my one inch square picture and decided that I had that "light of the gospel" look in my eyes. He knew he could save me from this awful gay lifestyle. He was promptly blocked when he compared me to a serial killer, rapist and pedophile.

On FaceBaook I'm finding people I was in high school with who I have not seen in 30 years! That's a long time, a lot has happened in 30 years! Some have asked me what I've been up to all this time. How does one summarize 30 years? I see their pictures and read the very short entries about their lives now. But do I make assumptions of them from what they were 30 years ago or about their one inch square pictures? Do they make the same assumptions about me?

Back then I was an uptight, closeted, extremely shy, active Mormon boy. I was teased about being gay and I was constantly trying to convince them (and myself) that I wasn't. I didn't even like some of these people. So, here we are on FaceBook 30 years later!

Maybe I need to take a step back, get a different angle on the picture I'm seeing of them. Just like the picture I posted yesterday and the one today. I need to re-adjust my vantage point to make better assessments.

August 14, 2009

What is this?


Photography is a hobby of mine.

Or maybe I should say it was a hobby of mine. I haven't felt very creative lately. I used to get an idea and get the camera and the tripod out. Or I would go for a walk with the camera, just to see what I could photograph.

I was looking at some pictures the other night and I came across this one. I love it. I showed it to a few friends at work and they had no idea what it was.

Can anyone figure it out?

August 13, 2009

What's your turn on?

What is the thing that turns you on the most when you see someone?

Sometimes it's a first impression. Most of the time you may just like a particular part of the body.

I overheard some straight guys talking them being a "leg man" or a "breast man". But I don't think it's solely a straight thing.

Maybe it's not the first thing you notice about someone... but it's a body part that turns you on. If you see a person with a perfect one of these it makes your heart-beat quicken, or makes you sit up and take notice.

Is it the eyes?

How about the smile?

Does facial hair get your motor going?

How about a guy with great hair?

Or none at all?

How about a nice chest?

Great abs?

Does a hairy chest get you growling?

What about some muscular legs?

Here is my confession:
I am a butt man!

I will slow down to let a hot guy walk in front of me!
I can get hypnotised watching him walk away if he's got a muscular bubble butt!

My heart melts like butter, seeing some hot buns!

August 12, 2009

Random Question Wednesday

Talk about being homeless.

Growing up in Utah I never had any dealings with someone who was homeless. My first encounter with seeing someone panhandeling or sleeping on the street was when I lived near Las Vegas. Then when I got the deli in downtown Baltimore I saw a whole new side to people living on the streets. This is when I realized there is a difference between, what I call "street people" and the "homeless".

Working in an urban environment I saw people everyday who lived on the street! They would often come into the deli and ask for food or coffee. To be honest, before this I was like most people and would avoid street people. I wouldn't even look them in the eye, I would turn from them and ignore them the best I could.

But here were several who were coming in to my place of business asking for food. My business where my paycheck came from selling food! My partner would give them coffee after the breakfast rush and he would let one or two sit for a minute. This kind of bothered me, but it got me thinking. These are real people! I got to know a few of them by name and I wondered about their stories; how did they end up here? But, I also didn't want 'word' to get out that I was giving food away.

I was talking about this to one of my regular customers who worked for the Catholic Charities around the corner. She mentioned that there was a soup kitchen just up the street about a block away. She suggested I contact them about what I could do. I ended up taking a lot of the leftover food up there as a lot of restaurants would. Then when someone would show up in my business asking for a handout I could direct them up the street to the kitchen. I noticed that these "street people" often had mental problems. Most people don't know that in the 1970s, the deinstitutionalisation of patients from state psychiatric hospitals was a factor which increased the homeless population, especially in urban areas.

When I moved to Denver I went with a church group to work at a homeless shelter just before the holidays. This is where I met the true "homeless". People who had a bad stroke of luck and didn't have a home. They had jobs that they went to during the day or evenings, but who lacked housing; because they could not afford, pay for, or were unable to maintain a home. It was very humbling to see. This made me realize the old adage: "there but for the grace of God go I". The staff there also turned away the "street people" who wanted to bring alcohol into the shelter. Theses street people would rather find a place to sleep outside in the snow, than give up their drinking for a few hours.

Thank God I have always been gainfully employed! Thankfully I have not had injuries that have not let me go back to work. Thankfully I have always had a place to live and a back-up plan ready, whenever a change has happened in my life.

For the last 13 years I have worked in downtown Dallas, another urban environment. I see homeless and street people everyday. I don't turn away anymore and try to ignore them as so many people do. I try to at least make eye contact and mutter some apology when asked for money. I think they at least deserve a little respect and understanding.

August 11, 2009

Meh...

I'm not feeling 100% today. Feeling congested and I'm pretty sure a cold or upper respitory thingy is coming on. Don't feel like writing anything, so you get this...

August 10, 2009

Hair removal weekend

Every once in a while I get a wild hair... (or should I say that I want to remove some wild hair?) Anyhoo... Friday I got out the razor and this happened;

I have a kind-of weird thing about facial hair. I change it every once in a while, but it usually only last a couple of weeks at the most. I think to myself; "I wonder how I'll look if I shave this...?" This is the first time I've had the clean upper lip. (By the way, what's the name for it?) I've had a full beard, a "porn 'stache", a "fu manchu", big "mutton chops" and the clean-shaved face. The "soul patch" lasted less then a day though.... Not a good look on me, especially since my beard grows really blond right there.

The bedhead was really bad on Saturday morning so I went for a haircut... got the usual; #3 guard on the sides (high & tight) and a #8 guard on the top. Then did a little "manscaping" before I jumped in the shower.

Sunday at the gym while I was changing out of my sweat soaked shirt I noticed a long hair on my shoulder!! That's the first sign I need to see what's happening on the back lot. EEWWW! Got home and had to remove the hairs back there. Why does hair grow back there anyway? I don't get it, I don't want it there. See how much better it looks:

Anyway... I'm all freshly shorn and feelin good now! I'm "naked as a sheared sheep"

August 9, 2009

Journal entry; August 9, 1980

Here is parts of my actual journal entry (edited of the really boring stuff):

August 9, 1980
We woke up at 5:30AM, got ready and went to breakfast. Then we had class from 7:30 to 12:30 where we studied the Joseph Smith discussion some more. The instructor for the day didn't show up until 9:30. In the afternoon we had a mini P-day (preparation day - a time to do laundry, write letters home, etc) where we got to go down to the BYU campus and then some of us went running, my shins really hurt! Then came back, had scripture study and retention [of all we studied earlier]. I like my companion Elder Chamberlain, he's quiet but has a strong spirit. I have to remember to always keep a prayer in my heart and keep the spirit with me always.

This was my third day in the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo, Utah. It was a Saturday and the first time we got a break from the classes and from studying all day.

First, I'll explain what life was like in the MTC. The MTC is a month long training for Mormon Missionaries before the leave for their assigned areas. We lived in large college dorm-type buildings, 8 guys to a room. We each had a twin-size bed, study desk, closet and about 4 drawers for our clothes. Community bathrooms, showers and meeting area. We would go to an assigned room in the classroom building where our group of twenty-four guys would study and memorize eight "discussions", lessons that we would teach to people about the church. We would also have classes on respecting people and their different cultures called "ambassador classes" and we would also attend devotionals and large meetings with the 24,000 other missionaries in the MTC.

The attached picture was taken on the day I entered and was my first "official" day as a Missionary. This third day I was still adjusting to 'life on the inside' and realizing that I had no idea what I was doing. I was realizing that I should have prepared better before I got there. I was also trying my best to be that perfect Mormon Missionary when really I was a tormented gay boy!

So here is how I think the real journal entry should have gone:
August 9, 1980
We woke up way to early! But I got to see all the Elders in the showers again so it made up for it! There are some great looking men here, OMG! I'm developing a crush on several of them, Elder Hanson especially, what a beautiful man!

We showed up at class and I enjoyed watching the other guys horse around until the instructor showed up. I'm doing OK on learning these discussions, if I can just concentrate instead of thinking about the showers this morning!

We went down to BYU for a half-day off, I miss being able to do what I want when I want to! We also went running, we're supposed to be exercising here and I am not good at that at all, but I have to put on a good show. And now my shins really hurt!

We came back and studied some more. My companion, Elder Chamberlain is a nice guy but really quiet. I want to be in with all the popular guys, why did I get stuck with the geeky straight-laced guy? Oh well, he's nice enough.

God, I really wish I was doing something else right now! I wish I could be happier, but... this is my life for now, have to make the best of it.

Good night journal!

August 7, 2009

Saturday stuff

I had a great dinner with Mark and Steven last night! Then went out to the Round Up for some two-stepping and menz watching!

Having a lazy day today! Doing very little chores. I was hoping to get some pool time this weekend, but they are still repairing it. Bummer!

I saw this picture on FAIL Blog and it made me laugh.
A co-worker wants one in pink.


Have a great weekend everyone!

The rest of the "8 Things" story

The answers to the 8 Things I bet you didn't know about me.

True.
I grew up in the desert, I don't like the snow and cold. I have never had an interest in learning how to ski, I think it's because I have this fear that I'll have a "Sunny Bono moment".

True.
My first year at BYU I happened to see a sign for the tryouts for the ballroom dance teams. I auditioned and made it! I decided I had better take some dance classes. I was invited to go on the team's tour of China, but I declined because I was going back to New Zealand, read a little bit further down to see why I was going back to New Zealand.

True.
In Las Vegas I decided to go since I had never been in a strip club. I don't remember how the conversation started with the guy sitting next to me, but soon we were deep in conversation. I felt a tap on my shoulder and looked up. The topless woman on the bar in front of me leaned over and said; "If you tip me I can leave." I gave her a couple of bucks and I thought the guy sitting next to me was going to fall off his barstool because he was laughing. A while later I went to leave and he came with me into the parking lot where we talked some more. I don't remember how it came up, but I did go back to his place! I'll leave the rest of that story to your imagination. [wink wink]

True.
I met Dawn when I was serving as a missionary. Since missionaries don't date while on the mission I never gave her a second thought, she was divorced with 2 kids. She showed up at the airport to see me off. She gave me her phone number and address, we corresponded and called each other long distance a few times. We talked about marriage. I knew we had to spend some time together so I went back to New Zealand a year after the mission. I chose this trip over the China tour with the Ballroom Dance Team. Just before I flew down to NZ I had my first sexual experience with a guy. I almost married her anyway just to be able to stay in the country since they have very strict immigration laws.

True.
I grew up about an hour north of I-70 and we drove on it sometimes when we went to southern Utah as a family. When I lived in Baltimore I lived a few miles from the eastern end of the line. When I moved from Baltimore to Denver I drove I-70 all the way. I took I-70 from Denver to Utah many times. So yes, I have driven all of I-70.

True. (embiggen the picture, it's me in the deli)
Andon's Deli and Bar at 307 N Charles St in Baltimore, MD. I started the business with my boyfriend and partner Pat. The name is a combination of our last names. We were open for breakfast and lunch and tried to get customers to get something to take home for dinner, including their beer or wine. We sold the deli after a couple of years, but I have some great memories!

False.
I love to cook! I love to have small dinner parties with friends and I always join in on the pot-luck lunches we have at work by bringing something homemade!

True.
Although I wasn't in Cape Canaveral at the launch, I was driving from Ft Myers where I was working for a few weeks to a friend's home in the Tampa area. I was channel surfing while driving and I happened to hear that a shuttle was being launched that night and sure enough, I could see it lift off from the other side of the state.

Thanks for your comments. Spirit of Saint Louis wins!