March 31, 2010

Random Question Wednesday

Complete the sentence: When I think of my childhood, I _________________.

Realize how lucky I am!

I didn't always feel this way. For some reason I got caught up in the little grievances, the everyday difficulties of family life. Especially when I struggled withe being gay. I think it was easier to blame my parents for everything that went wrong in my life, it could never have been my own fault! I kept in this mindset until I was in my thirties. Then I came to know my parents as real people not people who were supposed to be perfect and fell way short.

I remember complaining to a good friend once about how bad my family was and she told me; "Every family is dysfunctional, Jim! You should hear some stories about mine!" Sure, things were not perfect in our home. At least mine tried to put the "fun" into dysfunctional!

Seriously though, I had food and clothes; a roof over my head and parents who loved each other and each of their kids. We took vacations together, we went camping, we played board games, we really did a lot together! Dad didn't come home drunk and beat us, mom wasn't divorced and brought a new 'daddy' home every few months. I could go on an on... and listening to stories of friends telling about their childhood, I really do admit I had it pretty damn good!

I think that journey of self discovery, the finding out that your parents are real people, is a journey we all must take. Some get there sooner than others... some take years to get there. I'm glad I finally arrived.

Please feel free to share stories of your childhood!

March 30, 2010

An interesting missionary adventure

I was reading my old missionary journal the other day and I remembered a funny story. If there are any new readers to my blog, you may not have read that I was a Mormon Missionary in New Zealand back in 1980 - 82.

When I was living in the southern most city of Invercargill I would go with my companion to the local YMCA to play squash (a game similar to racquetball) and then we would sit in the sauna for a while afterwards. He came down with a nasty head cold once and he wanted to sweat it out in the sauna. Fine with me!

When I move to the city of Christchurch a few months later my next companion came down with a bad cold too and I mentioned that we ought to find a YMCA and go sit in the sauna as it had helped my previous companion a lot. Except the local 'Y' didn't have a sauna. I got this dumb idea that we could find a gym or someplace in the yellow pages that had a sauna. Easy enough right? I found a place, it didn't have a gym but it had a steam room and sauna.

We found the place, went in and as Elder Long was paying I started looking around. What were we getting ourselves into? There seemed to be a lot of pictures of men around! The guy taking his money had a big ol' smirk on his face! As I was paying it started to dawn on me where we were! But Elder Long was already behind the door. I was a young naive boy from a very small town in Utah and Elder Long was from a small town in Idaho, we had never heard of a gay bathhouse! Never even knew there was such a thing.

We were watched by the few guys in there. We kept our towels closely around us and left after only about 20 minutes. We got back out on the street and Elder Long didn't have to say anything, his look said it all. We were never to mention this to anyone, ever, for the rest of our lives!

OOPS! LOL!

It makes me laugh again just to think back about it.

March 29, 2010

Monday Funny Stuff


Having a good laugh if a good way to start off the day and the week.

March 28, 2010

Scents that make sense

My ex, Valdamort, used to tell me all the time that I was wearing the wrong cologne for the season. I would look at him weird and ask what he meant. Apparently I didn't know about what smells are supposed to go with what season. Is there really such a thing?

I love cologne. I used to have about as many different scents as I did shoes, but not any more. I will change my cologne every few months or so and I'm extremely picky about what I will buy and what I'll wear. A lot of current or popular colognes out there smell like soap to me. Or else they're too flowery or sweet. The one I currently wear is Burberry London.

Another one I love is John Varvatos.

I'm thinking of going shopping to get a new scent. I can see this turning into an all day event... plus I don't want to pay exorbitant prices! Maybe I need to make a trek to an outlet mall.

Do y'all pick a scent according to the season? Fresh and clean for spring and summer and spicy, musky scents for fall? Is that the general rule?

Help! I needs an edumication! LOL

March 27, 2010

Memories

March 27, 2007

I was laying in bed just barely awake, you know that time when you are somewhere between sleep and conciseness. I didn't want to open my eyes, it would mean I really was awake. I lay there very relaxed and at peace. It felt so good to be back in my own bed. I wasn't due back to work till Wednesday and I had the whole day ahead of me to relax, unpack, do laundry and catchup on the accumulated mail. My thoughts drifted back to the events of the weekend.

Was it a mistake to tell my siblings that I was coming to Utah to see mom on her birthday? They had turned it into a big family reunion and birthday party when I had only wanted to spend some quiet time with mom, probably the last time I would get to see her. She got the diagnosis a few weeks earlier; multiple myeloma, cancer of the plasma cells in bone marrow. No wonder she had been in so much pain for so long! Why hadn't they diagnosed it earlier, before it had gotten to this advanced stage?

She was heavily medicated and I wanted to be there for the short time she was lucid during the day. When she was awake my sisters and sister-in-law kept asking her about her funeral; what hymns she wanted sung, who would she like to have giver her eulogy, who should dedicate her grave? All those questions about her own funeral made me angry! I finally did tell them all to go back home and back to their lives for at least a few hours so I could spend some time with her.

I told her I loved her and I promised I would be back to visit her in a few weeks when she was feeling better and when we could catch up, just the two of us. I gave her encouragement and asked her if there was anything I could do for her while I was here. She asked me to read to her from her favorite passage in the Book of Mormon. I did. This was not the time to discuss how I didn't believe in it anymore; the words brought her comfort so I read to her about faith, hope and charity.

I didn't want to tell her good-bye, I told her that I would see her later as I headed for the airport to come back to Dallas. I remember her looking at me, could see the love she had for me and I felt sure she felt my love. And now here I was back in Dallas, back in my own bed, feeling peaceful.

The phone began to ring and I knew immediately what it was about. "Mom passed away a few minutes ago" I was told.


Three years have passed. I miss her. The family isn't so close anymore. But I can still feel her love for me.



Y'all said I could write whatever I wanted.... It feels good to share this story, to remember my mom.

March 26, 2010

Random Stuff

Thank Odin It's FRIDAY!!!

This has been a long week!

Friday has become a day when I feel blogger's block; a not so creative day for blogging. I think it's because it follows 2 days where I know what I'm going to be writing about; viz. The Ungame "random" question and then the "SBTP" series I started.


I've also been thinking: why do I blog? There are a lot of bloggers out there who have more of a theme or purpose; like gay news or political rants. But mine seems to be all over the place. In my very first blog I mentioned that I want this to be like an online journal, "stuff" about my life. Do my fellow bloggers try to keep to a theme? Am I just putting too much pressure on myself?

March 25, 2010

The story behind the picture # 8

Weed


Have you ever looked closely at things?

How many times have you seen a dandelion and really looked closely at it? Have you ever noticed how fragile it is and wonder what is keeping it from blowing apart?

I notice things like this. I love to notice the small everyday things and marvel at how perfect they can be in their own way.

I was in the mood to take some pictures one evening back in 2004 and I took a few close ups of some beautiful flowers. As I was walking home I noticed this little dandelion and thought; "eh, why not take a picture of it too?" And I couldn't believe the beautiful detail in it when I downloaded the picture into my computer.

So there ya go... the story behind the picture.

March 24, 2010

Random Question Wednesday

What was your favorite story as a child and why did you like it?

There were two books I loved as a child, both of them about a boy being outdoors. The first was Where The Red Fern Grows and the second was My Side Of The Mountain.

A teacher first read our class Where The Red Fern Grows in class and it was my favorite part of the day. I loved hearing about Billy's adventures and about his faithful companions Old Dan and Little Ann. It was the first book that I ever bought and I know I read it about a dozen times. I still have that book to this day and is one of my treasured possessions.


My second favorite book was about a young boy who learned to survive on his own in the wilderness. I always wished I was Sam and that I had a pet falcon, raccoon and weasel! I loved being outside and mom would practically have to drag me inside in the evenings to bathe and sleep. That's probably why I love camping now, it's my inner child wanting to be Sam.



I realize while writing about these favorite stories of why I liked them so much. I really believe they taught me that I could survive and make it in the world. If they could do these great things and have these great adventures then I should be able to handle the things in my life.

In both these books the main character also just learned to deal with what was given you in life, not question it like so many people like to do now... but they dealt with things head on and survived.


What is a favorite story you loved?

March 23, 2010

Memories of Mom

Today is mom's birthday! She would have been 78. It's hard to believe it's been 3 years since I last saw her and since she passed away.

I thought I'd share some of my favorite memories of her.


Mom taught me to make friends easily!
She loved to meet new people. If there was a new family in the neighborhood mom was there with some homemade cookies or bread. If someone was going to be alone for the holidays she always made them welcome in our home. She was the often the first one to approach the new person at church and start a conversation with them. I used to joke with her that she liked my friends more than she liked me when I brought friends home from college.



Mom loved to laugh!
We would often sit around the table after dinner just talking and having fun. When she was asked to speak in church services she would have everyone laughing at some funny story or experience, I have many fond memories of mom telling a joke or funny story. She also knew how to laugh at herself sometimes. She would be on the phone with her mom or sister in Minnesota and they would be laughing and carrying on for hours.



Mom taught me to dance.
She always had music on when we were going up. She made sure her sons knew how to dance and proper etiquette to ask someone to dance. At any church dance I always saved a dance or two with mom and we danced well together.


I didn't always get along with her, we had some rough years, but I love her dearly.

Happy Birthday Mom! I love you!

March 22, 2010

That's Texas for you

They have a saying here: "If you don't like the weather in Texas, just wait a few hours, it will change." And this weekend it was no exception!

The last week or more it has been beautiful here, 70 degree weather and really nice out. Then their first day of spring hits and BAM! It's rainy, windy and feeling very cold! My sinus' notice every little subtle change like this... so just when I was starting to feel better from last weekend's sinus and upper respiratory infection the weather has to change like this. My chest is feeling tight again, I have a dry cough that is annoying as hell! And I'm feeling fatigued. BOO!

I hope everyone has a good week!

March 21, 2010

Jim's Stuff around the house

Shoe Edition

Obviously from the picture, there are some I haven't worn in a while... And boy do I need to spend a day with the polish!!


I used to work in the men's shoe department at Nordstrom many years ago. I have some interesting stories (NSFW) that I'll have to share sometime. It was a great job! We often had selling competitions where the top seller of a particular brand won a free pair of shoes! YAY me!

I'm a gay man... I like shoes.


So... here are the totals:

15 pairs of casual shoes
9 pairs of dress shoes
4 pairs of flipflops
2 pair of slippers
1 pair of cowboy boots
1 pair of tennis shoes

32 total

What's in your closet? Can anyone beat this total?

March 20, 2010

Vernal Equinox Mar 20 2010 1:32 PM EDT

Happy Ostara!

Have you ever wondered what colored eggs have to do with the resurrection of Jesus? Today is Ostara, the pagan holiday honoring the Spring equinox! The traditions are old German and all rituals have become the traditions of Easter.

Ostara is Goddess of joy, new beginnings and fertility. That is where Easter Eggs and Easter Bunnies (rabbits) come in. Eggs are an obvious symbol for fertility and the rabbit has a rather well known propensity for reproducing. Ostara presides over our personal renewal and fertility issues. She is goddess of the dawn and new beginnings.

I love the beginning of Spring! The earth coming back to life after the cold snows of winter!

And like fertility rites! [wink wink] So get out there and "celebrate" Ostara!

March 19, 2010

Favorite Music Stuff

A buddy of mine that shares my same taste in music told me yesterday that one of my favorite artists Kaskade is releasing a new CD in April! I am so excited! If someone doesn't know Kaskade here is some of my favorite songs:

It's nice too that he is a hottie!

March 18, 2010

The story behind the picture # 7

Arches National Monument

I grew up in central Utah about an hour drive north of the Arches National Monument near Moab. In 2004 I went back to spend a week with the family and decided I needed a day alone so I headed down to the Arches with my camera. It was mid June and already getting hot. I had a great day hiking up to Rainbow Arch, I'll post those pictures at a later date.

Near the end of the day I drove over to the last area of arches where I was going to be able to spend some time before it was time to head home. This area has 3 arches very close together and I got some great shots from up on the edge of this arch where this guy is standing. When I got back down near the trails I happened to look back and saw this scene. I thought it would make an interesting picture so I snapped a few shots. The guy up there looking at the view as I had just been doing minutes before was moving around and finally started to hike down. I don't know who the guy was... just another guy out hiking.

When I got back to Dallas a week later and was downloading pictures onto the PC I noticed this one. It really stood out to me, the detail in the large format picture is amazing, in my humble opinion.

I was using Sony's photo storage area back then called ImageStation, they have since closed it down and moved my pictures to Shutterfly.com. Anyway... ImageStation had a photo of the day contest and I entered this one and a few others. It won! It was featured on their website and best photo of the day sometime back in 2004. Neato!

There you go... the story behind the picture.

March 17, 2010

Random Question Wednesday

Complete the sentence: A rule or law that I do not understand or see a need for is _________________.

This is easy; DOMA! The federal government defines marriage as a legal union exclusively between one man and one woman.

There has been much written by gay bloggers on this subject and I will echo all their words. This law is not stopping any gay people from loving their partner! This law is not helping a young gay person fell better about themselves. This law is not about morals or values as people claim. In fact, if you really push someone who supports this law, push them past the trite dribble and rhetoric, they will tell you: "God said homosexuality is wrong in the bible"! This is an example of Christians pushing their religious beliefs on the rest of the people who live in this country! What happened to separation of Church and State?

The different states and countries that allow gay marriage have not fallen apart. There is not a decrease in straight people getting married. The governments of those states and countries have not crumbled or fallen. There is not an increase of people suddenly becoming gay. In fact life is pretty normal. God has not destroyed these states and countries! WOW! Amazing isn't it!

It makes me frustrated to see straight people claim they're superior, only to later confess their "sins". Why even Utah, the holiest of holy places (or so they think) recently had a high ranking senator, head of the ethics committee and good old Mormon guy confess that he got naked with a minor!

No one is perfect.

I wish people in the government would stop denying ALL Americans their equal rights!

Please feel free to leave your thoughts on this subject.

March 16, 2010

Random Stuff

I'm feeling better! YAY! Thanks for all your well wishes. Although I missed a really great St. Paddy's Day party on Saturday day... it's good to be feeling better.


I got my Census form in the mail and I thought "What the Hell!" I might as well complete it and get it mailed back. I was thinking that I don't remember getting one in 2000. I was living up in North Dallas and really struggling with coming back out. If there are any new readers that don't know my story, I went back to the Mormon church to try to change... then came back out 8 years later, still gay! In June 2000 is when I really started to hit the gym, I was more than 225 lbs and not very happy with life.


Why are newbies still showing up at the gym? A friend tried to explain to me that with the warmer weather right around the corner, there could be more people going back to the gym to get ready for swimsuit season. Oh great! OK, I don't mind the newbies as long as they put the weights back in the right place and then don't "campout" on a beach doing nothing (or texting) when the gym is full of people! Please learn some gym-etiquette!

March 15, 2010

Beware the Ides of March

A line made famous by Shakespeare in his play Julius Caesar. It was on this date in 44 BC when Caesar was murdered.

But there is also an Ides of May, July and October. Wikipedia says: "The term idūs (ides) originally referred to the day of the full moon. The Romans considered this an auspicious day in their calendar. The word ides comes from Latin, meaning "half division" (of a month)."

It's really not a foreboding day, maybe I'll have some wine and wear a toga.

This is a picture I took at a toga party in Austin I attended with friends in 2007. Fun Times!

March 14, 2010

Lay low weekend

I finally went to the doctor on Friday to get my antibiotic. It seems that last week sometime I got another sinus infection and an upper respiratory infection. I get these quite often. So I have been laying low and trying to get a lot of sleep this weekend. The bad part... Dallas has had some beautiful weather! Oh well... I'd rather get over this infection.

Hope y'all had a better weekend!

March 13, 2010

TV Fun Stuff

The Food Network Sandra Lee mash-up. Enjoy!


(be sure to pay close attention starting at the 38 second mark!)

March 12, 2010

12 on 12

Here are a few pictures I snapped this evening instead of going to the gym: I have not been feeling very well, stuffed up and very congested.

Anyhoo....

My neighbors (the lesbians) got the bikes out...



Another sign of spring!



Going for a walk; the Indigo.



What a bunch of pansies!



I went to see the geese



This is where they live



Out for a swim now



I'm waiting for the day when I can dive in!



I even saw a bunny!



The sun has gone down for the evening....



Should I light a fire?



Finishing off the evening watching a new America's Next Top Model!

March 11, 2010

The story behind the picture # 6

The beach at sunset


This was the view from Villa Blanca, the condo where we stayed in Puerto Vallarta. I love Vallarta, the old section of the city, zona romantica!

My friends Ed and Kory had been going there during the second week of February every year for about 10 years. Valdamort and I went in 2006 and we stayed in the Penthouse Suite with them and another couple of friends from Kansas City. If anyone has been to Puerto Vallarta, Villa Blanca is directly behind the Blue Chairs hotel, up the steep hill.

We would spend the day laying on the beach or playing in the surf. We would take a siesta, have dinner and then hit the clubs for an evening of drinks or dancing. We would crawl back to the room very late and then sleep till about noon. Then we would drag ourselves back to the beach around one and our first order of mango margaritas would arrive shortly thereafter.

This picture was taken near the end of the week and was the best sunset that we saw. A lot has changed since then... but this picture takes me back to an evening of warm tropical breezes and good times spent with friends.

March 10, 2010

Random Question Wednesday

Complete the sentence: One thing I dislike about myself is_____________.

The old Jim would have said everything! The new and improved Jim says there are a few things, but for the most part he is happy. (Is this talk in 3rd person day again? LOL)

OK, I don't like the fact that I can hold a grudge. I have a really difficult time letting go of something when I know a person has purposely 'done me wrong'.

That 'forgive and forgive' saying is almost impossible for me. Does it really work for others though? Some may forgive, but do they really forget? I feel that if I forgive then I'm showing them that I'm weak and would let them do me wrong again.

This was very difficult for me even while growing up in the Mormon church as Christians are always told to be forgiving. In a general sort of way I am forgiving but when someone deceives me or is hurtful on purpose then forgiveness goes out the window.

How does one learn to not hold a grudge? I know there is a saying from Buddha; "Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned." I am learning this the hard way.

Thoughts and suggestions are welcome.

Also, what is one thing you dislike about yourself?

March 9, 2010

New cards

I was not sure why... but on Sunday I got a new deck of Tarot Cards.


After reading most of this book I know now why I got it. The author suggests that you have some cards that you use with friends and a special deck for yourself.

I am really taking to heart what the author is teaching about the Tarot. I have always been drawn to the cards, even when I was a child and was told by the church that they were evil.

For me now its the continuation of a new direction in a spiritual journey.

March 8, 2010

Difficult decision

I have not done this very often but the time has come.

Once I start something I do not like to leave it unfinished, but I just can't stay with this. What am I talking about...? The book I have been trying to get through since October last year.

I knew reading Dickens was difficult, I have read several others, but I was really struggling with Bleak House. I know that someday I will get back to it and finish it, but it's just not enough to keep my interest right now. I know I have had other distractions in my life, the iPhone is a big distraction and all it's apps! But I love to read and have not even wanted to lately. So it is time to move on.

What's next? I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb.

March 7, 2010

Breeders

Last night I went out with some friends of mine to celebrate a birthday. Somehow the conversation came around to telling stories about our breeder straight couple friends. It seems that others have had similar situations happen where a married straight guy will be "flirty" when they're comfortable with us. I told them a funny story of what I did to one friend of mine.

We were drinking together but not really drunk; I explained how I don't believe what society wants us to think about straight, bisexual and gay people. People would like to think that there is only black and white; gay and straight with the bisexual exactly in the middle. I believe that there is a lot of gray area in between gay and straight.

Then I confessed that although I have never been with a woman, I wonder what it would be like. I don't think I will ever act on it... but I do wonder.

At this point I turned to my straight married male friend and said; "your turn to confess now!" His response; a long pause... and then laughter.

LOL... I'm soooo bad!

Then this morning on PostSecret I see this postcard and I really laughed!


Those crazy breeders!! LOL

March 6, 2010

New business venture


Yesterday a coworker asked me bring in my Tarot cards to do a reading for her. Apparently there are more people interested in getting a reading. I was joking with them telling them that maybe I should get a little house, put a big neon sign in the window and have gypsie stuff all over. What would I call this business though...? Any suggestions?

March 5, 2010

Friday Fun Stuff

I found these pictures on Failblog. They make me chuckle.






Happy Friday y'all!

March 4, 2010

The story behind the picture # 5

Squirrel

In 2003 I got together with some friends of mine to go visit the Arboretum. As I mentioned last week the Arboretum is one of my favorite places in Dallas, especially in the spring. I love seeing all the flowers and can spend hours there with my camera. Towards the end of the day we decided to sit and talk for a while and I was enjoying watching the squirrels run around. One of them found a nut and ran up into the tree not far from where we were sitting. I of course get my camera out, I wanted to see how close I could get to this little fellow. I was amazed that he let me get about a foot from him, maybe he was used to a lot of people feeding him. I got several shots of him and I can hardly believe the detail.

Plus I love squirrels, they always seem to be having fun!

March 3, 2010

Random Question Wednesday

Tell about a special gift you received as a child?

When I was about 4 or 5 years old I remember opening a box from my grandma and grandpa Erickson on Christmas Eve. Mom didn't like the Minnesota winters where she grew up so we never went to visit my grandparents during the holidays. They didn't have a lot of money and could never spend a lot on gifts but we all knew they gave them with a lot of love.

I remember the excitement of waiting to see what was in there for me; but mine was one of the last ones to come out of the box. It was a small panda teddybear! It wasn't wrapped, in fact it didn't even have a nice gift tag on it, it just had my name on a small piece of tape or a band-aid. The family all called me Jimmy back then so I decided that would be his name; he was my JimmyBear!

I had JimmyBear for a long time. I don't remember what happened to him, probably grew threadbare as all faithful bears tend to do. I remember falling asleep with him almost every single night. He was a favorite toy of mine for many years.

I think I need to get a new JimmyBear!



Please feel free to share stories of a favorite gift you received!

March 2, 2010

The Lion Roared

You know the weather proverb about March, "in like a lion, out like a lamb"?

The lions roared yesterday! OMG!



Not only was it rainy and cold yesterday and the drive in to work slow because people don't know how to drive in rain... but a co-worker had been letting something small stew all weekend and then called me into a "meeting" where she was sarcastic, condescending and then ended up yelling at me! It was completely uncalled for and unwarranted, I don't know why in a professional setting where I work at [major bank] someone would think that being condescending and yelling is ever acceptable!

So I'm hoping that the worst is over... better and more mild days ahead! In all respects!

March 1, 2010

Weekend Adventures

I had a great weekend seeing all my friends!

There was a new renaissance faire near Austin and this was the opening day! It was quite fun in that there were more people in costume than not. The place was beautiful! Of course started drinking at around noon, I didn't get crazy drunk like some people did. No licking of any boobs happened.... does that make you feel better David? hehehe
Here are some pictures:




After the faire we went to eat and ended up in a karaoke bar and we had a lot of fun. I don't know how we got back to the hotel or when, so Sunday morning was a little rough. We had a good greasy breakfast and I was on the road home by noon.

Did a few chores at home and the watched the closing ceremony of the Olympics. It's hard to believe they're already over.