Wednesday, March 30, 2011

this post is so lazy, I am not even going to capitalize the title

I am still in bed, and have a headache so I must apologize for this blackberry-written-Excedrin-Migraine induced post. I copied this from a 13-times-forwarded email from my sassy cousin Ammaaayyy. It made me laugh. I read it several times to decide if it was inappropriate to post and then decided my readers can handle it..hopefully blind people aren't reading my blog..and if you like Nickelback...well, you have bigger problems. I have no idea who the writer is, so apologies for the lack of credit where credit is due.

Happy Wednesday from under the blankets with a bed full of kids and dogs. (The cat got pissed and left)

Dear Noah,

We could have sworn you said the ark wasn't leaving till 5.



Dear Icebergs,

Sorry to hear about the global warming. Karma's a bitch.


The Titanic

Dear America,

You produced Miley Cyrus. Bieber is your punishment.



Dear Yahoo,

I've never heard anyone say, "I don't know, let's Yahoo! it..." just saying...



Dear 2010,

So I hear the best rapper is white and the president is black? WTF happened?!



Dear Windshield Wipers,

Can't touch this.


That Little Triangle

Dear Rose,

There was definitely room on that Door for the both of us.



PS, you let go

Dear girls who have been dumped,

There are plenty of fish in the sea... Just kidding! They're all dead.



Dear Saturn,

I liked it, so I put a ring on it.



Dear Fox News,

So far, no news about foxes.



Dear jf;ldsfa/kvsmmklnn,

Please lknvfdmv.xvn.

Sincerely, Stevie Wonder

Dear Nickleback,

That's enough.

Sincerely, The World

Dear Skin-Colored Band Aids,

Please make one for every skin color.

Sincerely, Black people

Dear Scissors,

I feel your one wants to run with me either.

Sincerely, Sarah Palin

Dear Osama Bin Laden,


Sincerely, United States

Dear World of Warcraft,

Thank you for ensuring my son's virginity.

Sincerely, Parents Everywhere

Dear Batman,

What was your power again?

Sincerely, Superman

Dear Customers,

Yes, we ARE making fun of you in Vietnamese.

Sincerely, Nail Salon Ladies

Dear Global Warming,

You're the best imaginary friend ever!

Sincerely, Al Gore

Dear Ugly People,

You're welcome.

Sincerely, Alcohol

Dear Katy Perry,

I liked the kiss too.

Sincerely, Justin Beiber

Dear World,

Please stop freaking out about 2012. Our calendars ends there because

some Spanish d-bags invaded our country and we got a little busy ok?


The Mayans

Dear White People,

Don't you just hate immigrants?


Native Americans

Dear iPhone,

Please stop spellchecking all of my rude words into nice words. You

piece of shut.


Every iPhone User

Dear Giant Spider on the Wall,

Please die. Please die. Please die. Please die. CRAP! Where did you go?



Dear Trash,

At least you get picked up...


The Girls of Jersey Shore

Dear Man,

It's cute, but can you pick up peanuts with it?



Dear Dr. Phil,

Look man, there's only room for one fake doctor in this world and I

was here first.


Dr. Pepper

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Tiny Plane, A Sledgehammer and a Movie-Worthy Ending

It has been a while since I have flown about the Rockies, and in many ways I am relieved.
Gate Change? F!

And in other ways, I miss it.

(Mostly I miss the Heidi's Brooklyn Deli Cajun turkey sammies on the B concourse, but that is a post for another day.)

Ahh, flying. Good and bad. I will share more flying stories in the near future. Let's start at the beginning, shall we?

My very first solo flight happened about 6 months after my 18th birthday. I was newly married

(I know! Who let me get married this young?)

and was traveling to see Special Agent, when he was still Marine Intel Drinking Guy (MIDG). I was dressed in a very 1990's silk ensemble, flow-y and lovely. I had seen someone beautiful wearing something similar and I was trying to mimic it. In retrospect, I am not sure I pulled it off.

This was before cell phones, so I checked in with my parents via a pay phone and told them I was all set to find my gate/had plenty of time/all was well/will call from Cuba.

(CUBA? I know! Who let me travel to a foreign country this young?)

I looked around the Ft. Lauderdale terminal for the flight company Special Agent/MIDG had indicated. It was called "Sunshine Air".

Very tropical.
Very sunshine-y.

"Very SMALL", Special Agent had been warned. We weren't worried. We lived in small-town Wyoming and were used to the "flying hallway" that took us to Denver.

I traveled
to the depths of the airport, past the employee smoking lounge and possibly a poker game to the Sunshine Air counter. It looked kind of like a scene from Miami Vice. There were a lot of floral shirts and no one was speaking English. Being from Wyoming, I surmised that this was a cover for a drug smuggling operation. I started to feel a little prickle of perspiration.

Deep breaths.

I am an adventurer!!!

I checked in and waited around to board. I called Special Agent/MIDG and told him I was all set. We were excited to see each other after 4 months of being apart. He said he would meet me at the terminal. They called for the flight and me and my silk suit (a little mussed by now from sitting in airport chairs) hustled onto the tarmac to the plane:

10 Seat - Two engine  C402C 
visit to book your travel NOW! :-0

I felt my heart leap a little, and the perspiration increased, either due to the anxiety of this pint-sized puddle jumper, or because it was 90 degrees with 85% humidity. Suffice to say my outfit was not exactly the wicking-away-moisture variety. The plane had no bathroom, but lucky for me, I was sweating any extra fluid I may have had left out in short order in the heat.

The pilot greeted us extra exuberantly and again, I was telling myself that I was probably going to fly for THREE HOURS, over the Bermuda Triangle loaded down with cocaine. I had seen it on Dateline.

Have you seen this man on Dateline?

 I may have possibly been overreacting.

The Pilot began sizing us all up, and although the wind was blowing, I could feel the silk suit sticking to my skin. He was putting us all in order, moving people around, etc. It suddenly dawned on me that they were seating us to distribute the WEIGHT. Holy Mother of God.

We piled onto the tiny crafts, 8-9 passengers in each, and the pilots. I crawled to my assigned seat over a large beer cooler, tin of cookies and a stack of newspapers. (The other plane must not have had as many fat people, because they slammed the door and took off. I felt like I was experiencing the "shorter line" syndrome.) It was stifling with no air coming in and I felt some stirrings of claustrophobic panic.

The Pilot crawled over the cooler (and most of us) and gave us a quick, "we're outta here" speech and fired up the micro-plane.


One could see the plane was trying to fire, but the propeller out my window was having none of it.

Deep breaths.
(I am an adventurer....?)

The ground crew hustled around the plane, speaking in rapid Spanish and gesturing wildly. They definitely SEEMED enthusiastic about whatever was wrong. I watched the back and forth out of my window and tried to breathe the thick, hot air in the cabin. I tried to tell myself I could steam the wrinkles out of my lovely silk ensemble just by sitting there, sweltering.

In my free time, I noted that my seat did not have a flotation device. I looked around. THEY ALL HAD ONE. I considered who I would be able to overpower if need be to get one. In my silk suit, I contemplated MURDER.


Deep breaths. Deeeeeeep breaths.

I looked out the window to see the ground crew come back to the propeller. This was my face as I saw one guy swing around with a SLEDGEHAMMER and go to town on the propeller approximately 10 feet from my seat: WHAM! WHAM! WHAM! WHAM!...

I swung around violently to see the reaction of my cabin mates (the ones I intended to kill for their life preservers). I hoped we could all agree that this was an outrage, and that we demanded United show up immediately and fly us to Cuba in an environment with air conditioning and peanuts. And life preservers. Here is a review of my  cabin mates, all of whom I could clearly see and probably touch in this mouse-sized plane:

Clucking Hens #1-2 -  Happily clipping coupons and talking about me, but not TO me. Very 7th grade.
Off duty Military Guy #1 - Sleeping
Off duty Military Guy #2-3 - chatting with random guys trying to read
Random Guy - Eating candy and reading newspaper.
Random Guy - reading book
Pilot - Flirting
Young woman in co-pilot seat: being woo'ed by Pilot.

Did no one else notice that our aircraft was being repaired with a 30-lb SLEDGE?? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Deep Ragged breath. And one more. Eyebrows furrowing.

I am a logic based person, so I tried to reason with myself that this was ok.... All others on the flight were obviously USED to this........, and were not panicking........, so neither should I. Fine. Fine.

(I'm Fine. Fiiiiiine.)

They made us all de-plane and go into the terminal. Sweet baby Jesus, the air conditioning was a beautiful thing. I vacillated between feeling frustrated that i was going to be late to meet Special Agent/MIDG and wanting to kiss the tarmac. I called my parents and chatted nervously, NOT telling them the details of the delay and making sure to say I love you VERY CLEARLY. And not cry. I am 18 years old. An adult.

((whispering to self)) I am an adventurer-r-r-r...........(glancing around)

The plane was duct taped  repaired in a way we were not allowed to see, and we all re-boarded. By this time, i am certain I looked like a wet poodle. I told myself I must really love Special Agent/MIDG to be putting myself at this level of risk to see him. The couponing, sleeping, reading, and chatting, etc resumed and I looked out the window, thinking this could be my last day.

The aircraft fired right up, and I stared at the Pilot as he drove us down the runway to turn around for takeoff with his elbow crooked out the window like he was driving a 59 Chevy. If he would have had a cig, he'd be my Dad, Latino-style.

It was a smooth flight, over miles and miles and miles (3 hours worth due to air space restrictions) of water from Ft. Lauderdale to Cuba. I leaned my head against the window, no longer giving a shit about my hairstyle or my flow-y silk suit menagerie and just willed us to get there.

We landed, and military police stormed the plane. This was pre-TSA, so it was quite a spectacle. For me. The others looked at it like old hat and handed over their paperwork. I followed suit; I was catching on.

I was here! I was here! I

It was windy as hell, and the airport appeared to be the only building in existence. It wasn't tropical. More like Arizona brown and green? Hmm. ok. I was mostly happy to be alive, so I was going with it. I peered around the guards, looking for Special Agent/MIDG.


My cabin mates met their parties, or headed into the building. I followed them, thinking he must be inside. 


Maybe he had to work suddenly? The Marines often said "if we wanted you to have a wife, we would have issued you one", so I knew perhaps I had been knocked off of the priority ladder. 

Maybe he had gotten so inebriated he had forgotten?

Not likely.

I stood around the tarmac and the listened to the hens clucking about me. I heard snippets of "he isn't here?.." "Oh no.." and "that happened to my friend Charlene when we lived..." I ignored them, and headed to the bus, which would take me to a ferry landing to go across the ocean to the windward side of the base.

(Internal dialogue) "F*** it. I am not a baby. I will travel to the other side, take a cab or hitch a ride to the Marine barracks and figure out where MIDG is. I can do this."  I rode the bus to the ferry landing and waited under the shelter for the boat to honk its way over. (Internal dialogue) "Special Agent/MIDG will be impressed that his adventurous young bride can take care of bidniss. And if he is drunk somewhere, I am going to kick him in the balls."

I felt only a LITTLE sorry for myself. I could feel the clucking hens looking at me. I glanced at them sideways and slumped on the wood bench. I could hear a weird sound in the background that sounded and then had a delay. ttttaaaa-eeeeee... (pause) Taaaa-Eeeee. (pause) TTTTTAAAAA--EEEEE! What the hell weird bird call is that?

I turned to look in the direction of the noise and saw Special Agent/MIDG running through a cactus field, yelling down to the ferry landing.

((sloooowwww smile spreading across my face))

To say my heart sang was an understatement. As one who keeps her layers under wraps in public, I stood there grinning while this speck of a man grew larger and larger as he ran toward me, yelling my name (good thing he was a Marine, he had a long run). He was making a spectacle of himself and now ALL of those at the ferry landing were watching him running and yelling toward us while I stood there smiling. He swept me up a'la Top Gun and kissed me. People clapped.

Special Agent/MIDG was sweaty, I was mussed-silk-suit-bad-hair-bad-plane-rumpled. It was truly NOT a Hollywood moment. But it was good.

I glanced at the clucking hens, now veklempt over this romantic episode... and smiled.

And gave them the eyebrow. You know the one.

Sunday, March 27, 2011



It's one of those ol' lazy Sundays....except i actually have a lot to do so that lazy part isn't really as beneficial as it would appear.

Need to work, need to clean, need to exercise, need to complete taxes, need to plan family vacation, need to plan for attendance to my niece's Make-a-Wish Trip to San Antonio (Need to tell you about Madmax one of these days), need to clean out closet, need to solve the world's problems, need to stop watching "Save the Last Dance" on TBS....


Shel Silverstein, who else? 
Planning a family vacation should be scads of fun and something to look forward to, yes? But, the kids are going to end up in therapy if we deny them access to the D-place any longer. I didn't go there and I turned out FINE. Well, mostly.

What a nightmare. I am actually considering HIRING someone to plan the trip for me. Everyone keeps telling me how much we will love it, how magical it is, how it will cement our family bond for life or longer.


These are the things I know about Special Agent and the Baboos:
1) They don't like crowds.
2) They don't like chaos
3) They don't like scary rides
4) They don't like waiting in line.
5) They don't like commercialism (ok, this is me)

SO, this seems like what we are after:

Yet, this is what we are considering:

WHY, I ask you? WHYYY?


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Rinnah, Rinnah, Robsta Dinnah!

After a few trying days of trying to finish up my taxes (sucky. I am spelling, not math-minded, people), I have had several  bits o' good news to brag about share.  My layers are practically bursting with joy. 

If I were any better, I'd be onion rings.

The Wyoming Woman Magazine has selected a shorty ditty I wrote about my Mother for their April Issue. It was a last minute deadline I ran across on Facebook, and there was a word minimum...never a good thing for a blah-blah like me. Luckily, my Mom is so great that it was easy to write about her. I will post it soon, maybe for Mudder's Day. 

(I won a weekend at a bed and breakfast which I should really offer to my Mudder. WHo, because she is my Mudder, will say "No, thanks.". Love ya, Mom.)

In even MORE exciting news, Blogher has selected my post, Just When Reality TV was starting to Pi$$ Me Off, to be featured on their site, TODAY. You heard me. My layers are quivering. It's HERE

Blogher is, in their words, "Reaching more than 20 million unique women each month* BlogHer is the leading participatory news, entertainment and information network for women online. Women turn to BlogHer to raise their voices, discuss relevant issues, aggregate their influence and engage with a supportive community of others doing the same..."

"more than 20 million..", DIDJA HEAR THAT NOISE?? 

I am veklempt. Truly. 

Take that, taxes. 

It is wonderful to be recognized by a peer woman's blogging group of that magnitude. I wrote a quick email to Special Agent to share my joy of womanhood. 

To which he replied:

Will there be pillowfighting?  


Monday, March 21, 2011

Just When Reality TV Was Starting to Pi$$ Me Off

I am not much of a reality TV watcher.

I find the Bachelor/Bachelorette nauseating, and yet I have to work not to even get a GLIMPSE, or I will mindlessly watch it and yell feminist mantras at the television. This has happened several times in a seedy-no-channel-having hotel on a work trip and all bets were off. I feel bad for my hotel neighbors, listening to me yell "Don't do it!!" and "Run, RUUUUN!"...

The Teen Mom show is just sad and depressing since the story never really changes. Girl loves boy, boy sleeps with girl, girl gets pregnant, pregnancy is girl's problem, girl's life changes, boy's life continues on relative same path.


I DO watch Top Chef, and Project Runway because A) I love food and B) I love the campy and quirky characters on both. There is inevitably a secret romance or Drag Queen with an adoringly ridiculous laugh. And while there is a lot of bitchiness, no one sabotages or votes each other off. Much. There was an incident of pea puree, but it was never proven.

Fierce. He said it 1000 times. Per show.
It cracked me up. 
Special Agent and the Baboos love Pawn Stars, and i could find the show interesting if I wasn't reminded that the mope who has the most damned interesting item and corresponding story is selling it for much less than it is worth so he can gamble, or pay his rent because he gambled, needs a fix, etc. Currently it is a jackass selling his grandfather's well-loved harmonica after talking about it and his memories of his pappy playing it (tears). He sold it for $200 bucks and a bad watch.


But, take heart! Have you seen ABC's The Secret Millionaire?

I have caught a few episodes and the last one had the baboo and I bawling by the end. The super rich take a trip to an area of town that is struggling and live there, sometimes living off what the average person in the area would earn and then learning and participating in social service non profits in the area. And after spending some time there, the wealthy-but-wiser spring the truth on the unsuspecting, selfless community servant, along with a big 'ol check. Everyone cries and hugs. It is sort of in the vein of Extreme Makeover - Home Edition, but without the narcissistic Ty Pennington and his bad hair and annoying-ness.

Good work, bad host. What a tool.
This is a reality show you can get on board with. The episodes I have watched featured those who describe themselves as lucky in business, who are not flashy about their wealth and don't know the Kardashians. Some have even spent a little time living in the conditions they are now visiting.  The best part is, it isn't trite, as one would expect. The millionaires experience actual transformations as they see how even a small amount of their money can fund a program for a year, or a whole community. It rocks.
These soup kitchen sisters doing good work..

I don't care if watching the Real Housewives of Wherever curls your toes and you can't miss it. I am not judging - I have my own issues. But try to make some time for this reality show where getting off the island is actually a good thing. 

Ok, Ok, a Photo...Sheesh.

You don't have to yell, people. Below is a photo of my brother Jason, whom I wrote A Story that Needs to Be Told about. Isn't he handsome? People always said we looked alike (wink.) He is doing a weird "chin up" thing, I think to reduce our hereditary double chin unfortunate-ness. (Stop looking for  mine. It's there. Rude)

The Onion, Jason and Vic
(See the 70"s gay mustache on Vic?)
San Francisco, 1997-ish?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Food Co op FRENZY or, Take That Mango and Shove It...

Today was the second food co op pickup since it started and let's just say the idea has REALLY CAUGHT ON. There are only 93 baskets, so imagine, if you will that there were 93 basket owners coming to pick up their loot.
We were indoors, since the wind might have blown the lovely Swiss chard away, but you get the idea.

Volunteers can come an hour early and help to sort the fruits and veggies into baskets and share general goodwill. We arrived and patted each other on the backs for our altruism. Then we waited. And waited some more. We shifted our feet. No truck arrived. We read magazines and shared how we had prepared the last of our turnips. Still, no truck arrived. Babies tied to mothers looked at the crowd.

The volunteer organizer fretted and made several phone calls trying to hunt down the truck. The group of people grew as those who didn't volunteer showed up like birds with their beaks open and merged with the waiting volunteers. Several announcements were made about the impending arrival of the mystery truck. We were asked not to beat the driver when he arrived.

Babies cried.

This group was much testier than the Willie Nelson ticket line I waited in a few weeks ago...

Finally, mercifully the truck arrived.......... and could not get into the long, skinny lot.

People begrudgingly moved their vehicles. Eyebrows became tensed. Sighing was heard. It took approximately 12 hours for them to open the truck doors; OK.. 12 minutes.

I decided not to wait in the 15-deep line to haul in crates of goodness. I told myself my sweet baboo and I would wait inside because we could be of more assistance there, rather than because it was kind of cold and windy out there and I was feeling wimpy. We got right to work. Or tried to. NO ONE had any idea where things went or where to start. Except one person, and she was out at the truck. My inner micro-manager twitched, but I pushed that thought down.

If there is such a thing as too many volunteers we were definitely there. It was hectic. The Baboo and I waded in and grabbed a box of tangelos. There were numbers written on a white board, indicating how many of each item to put in the baskets. We felt renewed as we got to work, and we developed a system. Everyone else did the same and for a few minutes, it was relative peace and harmony.

Until the tangelos ran out.
And the cantaloupes.
And apparently, there was some drama with the cauliflower.

There was way too much celery. Mayhem ensued. The gathering crowd watched us snarkily, irritated to be kept waiting. We snarked back, since we had already been there an hour and they were watching us work.

Others who could not quell their inner micro managers started talking about how this SHOULD be done differently. When the organizer started giving away extra fruit to the waiting crowd (instead of the hardworking and helpful volunteers) the bitching really ramped up. I admit, I participated in my head for a minute and then got to work taking one, and later two oranges out of 96 baskets to redistribute to the baskets who didn't have any.

In the end, I got my loot and only felt a little guilty for picking a basket with a damn large bunch of Swiss chard.

Don't judge, I VOLUNTEERED!

I think the food co op may have gotten their $15 bucks out of this old girl this week and my sweet baboo too. Incidentally, he charged me $5 for his Japan relief fund for his efforts. I told him next time he will have to wear a hairnet.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Seriously Random Thought of the Day..

I am tirelessly wielding the toilet brush today (sexy, no?) and I am wondering this:

Does anyone else feel like they kind of wish they had to throw up after the toilets are sparkling and hygienically clean, since this is the MOST opportune time to put your face near the john? You could even lay your face on the side with reckless abandon at this very moment.

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

(I  miss you, cleaning lady.)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Wyoming Conservatives, Thanks for Staying Out of my Virginia..

I am bursting with both pride and annoyance at the Wyoming Legislature this session.

Some elected members deserve a king size Sea Salt Soiree chocolate bar for using common sense in a crazy world, while others who latched onto the tea party teet and tried to ruin my state deserve a kick in the ass and a "no" vote at the next election.

Also, I hope legislator Bob Bechtel comes back as a woman in his next life.

The Tea Party keeps blabbering on about keeping government small, but apparently they only mean UNLESS they want to put on their morality police badge and help me make decisions that are only between me and my doctor. (Or about gay marriage, but that is a rant for later, alligator)

No other medical procedures require a 24 hour waiting period or an government required ultrasound. This hidden guilt tactic really only serves to further the agenda of the radical right and to presume that women aren't smart enough to realize the decisions we are making about our bodies and lives.

A majority of old white men have no business making decisions about what my friend Crazy K calls "my Virginia", thank you very much.

Women are not such idiots that we need the government to help us make the hardest of decisions, but thanks for asking.

In my VERY Republican state, thankfully there were enough old white men who agreed that women are just fine on their own. Thanks to the help of a couple of Wyoming ladies who worked very hard to keep big government out of the Virginas of Wyoming women.  Rachel Maddow covered it below.  Please to enjoy two smart and forward thinking cowgirls from the Equality state. After this and the gay marriage ban failure, I think Rachel is definitely headed to her Realtor to get a Wyoming summer home. Welcome!

Check out 3:48 to skip to of that which I speak.

So, a shout out to all those who, even though they may not agree with abortion, supported a woman's right to choose. This Wyoming woman thanks you from the bottom of her layered, sea salty, chocolate heart.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


In this post, I shared my intentions toward a fun-filled trip to our new local food co op. In short, it rocked. See my loot? $15 for the whole she-bang, and supports small farms. Yay.

Spinach, little gold potatoes, green beans, acorn squash, turnips,
tomatoes, summer squash, bananas, oranges, apples, pineapple,
and mangoes, 
 The Baboos (and a spare we picked up from the neighborhood) were thrilled with the loot, although the two shorties arrested me in the driveway when I arrived during a rousing game of cops. I cut the pineapple they were eating wearing actual handcuffs, until we could track down Special Agent to set me free. Frown. 

You can see how upset the kids are at my being detained. 

I thought cops were supposed to eat doughnuts.
I am proud to announce I have toiled to prepare and eat ALL of the fruits and veggies in the co op baskets, much to the chagrin of the fam. The only items we didn't eat were the mangoes, which were a little weird and squishy once the pretend cops ate all of the pineapple I intended to use to make a pineapple-mango salsa. They were trashed after they got soft and brown spotted. The summer squash and baby potatoes are still on deck.   

I made the Acorn Squash using this Recipe from The Pioneer Woman. It was met with mixed reviews. While the flavor was pretty good, there was a consistency to the squash that was stringy and weird. 

The turnips were last night and were interesting enough. I heard from a friend that they were good sliced thin and baked with olive oil, salt and pepper. The friend was right. If you squinted, they were almost like fried 'taters. 

I have thrown the spinach bunches in with potatoes and the turnips. Spinach disguised as turnip greens. It was good wilted in everything.

I also bought five loaves of 9-grain bread for an extra $10. Great toasted w PB. Served with the bananas whose peels never quite turned yellow, but were very fresh and good on the inside. 

The tomatoes went into some guacamole, and a sammie to two. They are a little gourd-y, so I say "small farms-small farms small farms" when i eat them to remind me. 

A little balsamic vinegar can cure anything.

If you are interested in a food co op in your area, check out Say The Onion sent you. :-)

Farm fresh, that's me. 

Or just fresh.

A Story That Needs to be Told

Two people have asked me recently about in a round-about way about my brother and/or why I post vehement messages of support of gay rights on my Facebook page often. While I don't think I need a better reason than the good ol' Golden Rule, like most, the events in my life have shaped how I feel.

My brother Jason was gay. He was always different, although we didn't realize it the way you would now that it is more accepted in our society (it is better now, I think). He was five years older than my sister and me, and was really a great older brother. We should have realized then that it was odd that he helped us cut and dye our Barbie's hair and liked to organize stage productions of "Grease" (1 and 2), and produced and acted in a live sitcom he created a la Partridge Family called "The Beckwith's"....A lot of times I was the dog, but I am over it. Yes I am. Really. I am.

When beard trimmers and markers go wrong..

While we were pretty Brady Bunch-like, Jason and my Dad had a tough time connecting on a man/boy level because their interests were so far apart, but not for lack of trying on my Dad's part. I was more of that person, since I caught salamanders and frogs while Jason cooked and Stephanie hid from the frogs. We had a pretty great childhood, so don't go there. Jason was very well known for singing and acting, and graduated high school "promised" a girl. Yep. You heard me. With the not-an-engagement-ring-ring. He was very popular with girls, which should have been another huge and glaring indicator. There were always rumors he was gay, but since he was always dating someone...

Any opposite sex escort taken to an event in an effort to give a homosexual person the appearance of being out on a date with a person of the opposite sex.
Half of the women on the red carpet at the movie premier were not real dates, but beards.

After High School, he toured with a musical group called Up With People *, during which his girlfriend broke up with him. She was still in school and he was traveling and performing all over the world (awesome!). It was pretty typical for the break up to happen at that age, and I think she probably realized what was up. He was devastated by the break up. I think the break up signified that he knew he could no longer travel down a path that wasn't his. He wasn't so great at facing things, so this was a tough time for him. I suspect he also found that when he left Wyoming, there was a whole world and many of the UWP cast who were having the same feelings he was, and FINALLY, he fit in somewhere. Still, he struggled with coming to terms with who he was and tried to fight it. He was still "in the closet" at this point, at least as far as we knew. 

* Up With People is a great organization and will not, I repeat, will NOT make you gay. Unless you are already gay. The end.

After his touring year he left Up With People, a mistake I think. He went downhill from there and really struggled with drugs and bad relationships over the next 4 years. I was 5 years younger and went from thinking he hung the moon to being very disappointed in his drug use, lack of responsibility and continued lying to my parents, who didn't seem to comprehend the drug use, especially my Dad.

At one point I told my parents I suspected the money they were sending was going toward drugs and that I thought they should stop helping him. My Mom knew, but I don't think my Dad ever stopped trying to help him. I was about 16 years old by then, i guess. I was ultra responsible and possibly a little uptight (Read: SUPER uptight). I was worried and I wanted him to come home so we could assess him in person, but he kept saying he couldn't. We all knew he was gay but my Dad (who probably knew too - ignoring reality apple didn't fall far from that tree ) so during a phone call I finally said we knew he was gay, please come home. (He seemed genuinely surprised that we knew. Again with the reality - my Mom had thought it for years.) He came home alone for a visit, but he was a hot mess. He had a new partner who was also trying to straighten him out, who was off-putting on the phone and seemed not to realize that we were struggling with all of this too. This partner likely saved his life, so I thank him even though he really pissed me off. It wasn't a good visit.

My parents struggled financially in those years of the oil bust and I was very angry at my brother for making their struggle harder, by not paying car payments, continually needing money that was likely not used for dental bills, rent and other excuses and the CONTINUAL LYING. I was pissed at him, done dealing. I stopped talking to him. He wasn't invited to my wedding. This was hard for my parents, and I spent a lot of time being angry at my brother since they couldn't be. I was a bitch about it, and I am sure I added to their stress over the matter. Apologies.

Onion: I'm furiously angry! Grrr...
Jason: Palm Springs! Mimosa, please..

By then, he was still with his life saving partner who had moved him from AZ to CA to get him away from some of the influences that plagued him. I think he may have had to stake him in the back yard for a time in order to keep him from returning to his former life. Jason prospered there and we started talking. No more hard drugs, good jobs, they bought a home and had two dogs. Finally he was at peace with who he was and thought he deserved a regular life. My sister and I went for a visit in 1997, the first time we had seen each other since he had left Up With People.

While I was ok with the gay lifestyle, I will admit I was a little nervous about what it would actually be like to stay with a living and breathing gay couple. I am from Wyoming after wasn't like I had ever really been exposed to it.
Wow, thanks for meeting us at baggage check...

Jason and partner Victor picked us up and we immediately started laughing hysterically like we were back in the day, sneaking cigarettes on the snowmobiles and saying "douche" a lot. Victor stared at us in awe, these people who had been so recently estranged and frankly, seemed like assholes. My sister and I were both married, and it was obvious that they, as a couple, were really just like us. They didn't stand around and make out in front of us, just like we wouldn't have in front of them. They argued about their checkbook (a lot) and made fun of each other (Jason called Victor's look "70's Bathhouse gay" and he had a point.) They bickered in the car. They argued about dinner. Victor was kind of annoyed at how noisy we were being while he tried to drive. It solidified how I thought I felt about a gay lifestyle not being so different from anyone else's.

My parents never talked the fact that Jason was gay. I understood it, but I didn't like it. They were accepting in private, more as time went on. Local people jerks would ask us "Is Jason Married?????? (they knew) and my parents would hem and haw about not finding that right person yet or whatever. I started just blurting out "no, he's gay...but you knew that, right?", to much sputtering of beverages. My parents did not appreciate this much, and I will admit I was being petulant because I was annoyed that people who knew damn well he was gay would make my parents uncomfortable by asking. Rude.

But the the thing I realized by being rude was that was when I said he was gay and asked if they already knew, most admitted they DID know, and then we had a nice pleasant conversation about Jason and his partner of many years. They were actually very accepting once we were honest. I realized that by acting like we needed to hide it, WE made it appear we agreed it was something to hide. When we were open about it, so were others. It was a much more positive experience. Like having a gay coke and a smile.

My brother and Vic joined us in middle America for my Granny Grunt's 80th birthday celebration a few years later. My husband and I picked them up at the airport, or vice versa, I forget. They immediately wanted to stop for drinks in podunk Missouri, so Special Agent liked them immediately. He surmised they were a lot more fun than my sister and her lame-ass husband (we don't miss him now that he is former, either). 

It was a little tense, thinking about the elderly folks of the bible belt having to mix and mingle with a real live gay couple and we were all a little afraid of how that might pan out. But again, we were pleasantly surprised as shirt-tail relation referred to Victor as my brother's "roommate". They knew too, and once again I was reminded that:

a) being gay is not a new concept brought forth in the 70's
b) Everyone (I mean all y'all) have some gay people in your families

That Latino roommate of Jason's is a keeper!

It was a great trip, and sadly would be the last time we would all be together in person. 

My brother died in 1999. I was pregnant with the first wisecracker at the time, and he was the first person in my family who knew about it. I am glad I told him early. He died of cryptococcal meningitis, which was related to HIV. He said he did not know he was positive, although he had told me he had been getting tested every six months. This was a lie, Jason was still not able to be realistic about being gay and the need to be tested often. I hate this. I would be mad at him if it helped at all. But being mad at a dead person is futile.

It was horrible and awful and there wasn't a damn thing we could do about it. My Mom and I went to CA on Christmas Eve, knowing full well we were not on a rescue mission. Special Agent brought my Dad a day or two later, something I will love him for until the end of time. Special Agent deserves props for being the manliest of men, who isn't afraid of a couple of gay guys, or to take charge of a scared and worried Father in law who desperately needs him to. And then to take said Father in law to a bar in gay town because they both really needed a drink. 

On Dec 29, we discontinued life support and let Jason go. He was 29 years old.
The Onion, Jason and Victor
(see the 70's gay mustache? Do ya?)
1997-ish, San Francisco

I feel that the root of Jason's death was his inability to deal with being gay in a completely open way, which started in Wyoming, in his childhood, in religion, in society. Not my parents fault, as they accepted him wholly, but the arena of people and culture who saw his differences as something he should hide from. Of the many after school specials dealing with self esteem, none of them dealt with what to do when you didn't fit the sexuality mold.

I think Jason's shame for not being "normal" led him to drug use, lying, and a more dangerous and risky lifestyle than he might have if he could have just been himself, grown into his life, and tried to be happy. He got there, but about 15 years too late, and not without damage that would eventually be his undoing. 

His story isn't unusual, you can hear the same from almost every gay person around. Hiding, lying, pretending...from an early age. Jason pretended, even to himself that he was being tested for HIV and might have been diagnosed and gotten the cocktail and still be alive today if he hadn't continued to hide in some way from the true reality of the risks he faced. It breaks my heart and frustrates me all at once.
This post surfaced partly due to a friend Jason went to high school with asking me about his death last week. She had "heard" a lot about it, but never really KNEW if he had died of AIDS/HIV. This girl's dad was my Dad's very close friend. My Dad's very close friend has no idea how my brother died. Even in death, we were still hiding the details, and only listed meningitis as the cause of death in the Obituary. I disagreed with this choice, but I also realize that everyone is not as accepting as I am. There were many who were afraid to shake hands with us after they knew we had been at his death. 

:-( Uneducated, ignorant asses.

As far as not being in agreement on the lifestyle and sin, I can accept that religion and the bible dictate that homosexuality is wrong. I am not religious so that doesn't weigh heavily with me, except to say that according to the Bible, God made every one of us just as we are. But for those who are worrying about other people's so-called sins, I say  "Let he who is without sin among you cast the first stone.."

We grew up as Methodists, and regularly went to church until my teens. The shine wore off over a few incidents and I could never accept that it felt like it was more a place of judgement than of community and acceptance. I saw even good churches do things I felt were not in the spirit of care for others.

My brother's partner was a Catholic, so they subscribed to a lot of religion, even in their own way. When my brother died, we had a hard time finding a local minister who was willing to perform his service, further sealing the deal that religion is not a path i wish to travel.

I don't think anyone chooses to be gay. Who would choose such a difficult path? I believe it isn't an option that someone suggested to you, a bored experiment, or because your Dad didn't spend enough time with you, or because as a girl, you played too many sports, etc. We are who we are, when we are born.

I have several gay friends and feel that there could be members of my family and social groups who may end up being gay as adults. I hope that those who are on that path can feel all of the ease and love possible and tolerance of something not quite the same, but not really that different. I hope acceptance will help them have a better start to an alternate lifestyle than my brother had. 

I think the world is getting better at this, and I am glad.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Succumbed to the Kindle..

The last vestiges of old school have left the building....

After telling most anyone I saw (who know I am a technological nerd-ball) that I did not want to have a Kindle, I finally received one as a gift.

After he dropped a few hints a while back, I told Special Agent I wanted to hang on to books as the last holdout for old school I still have in my repertoire, and then regretted my statement about 24 hours seconds later. But I couldn't admit it, so I had to PRETEND I still felt that way.

In order to cement it, I shared my feeling more widely to my friends, proclaiming my love for smelly old paper books  - yay. I lamented that i spent enough time looking at a screen without needing to look at one at the end of the day during my weird must-read-at-least-two-sentences-before-going-to-sleep-even-if-it-is-three-in-the-morning ritual. So there. I think maybe I even convinced myself for awhile. Kindle - Pshaw. So what if I have a shoulder injury from carrying books in my handbag?

Can'tcha just smell the paper? Smell it. No, seriously...smell it. 

But Special A knows me too well, and mostly, he knows I am full of shit. If there is a technological gadget out there, i am interested in how it works. Especially if it adheres to my work smarter, not harder life. I'm lazy. I like it when a machine does some of the work.

When he inquired about the Kindle, and a Nook a few weeks ago, my ears perked up like a Terrier. I also was smart enough to shut up this time and not ruin a perfectly good gift as I had before. And then..I waited. He couldn't wait for my birthday, and gave me my gift along with a co-conspirator friend who had bought me a cover. So I am now very stylish and smart with my Kindle and sassy cover. I kind of wish i had glasses to hang around my neck.

Get your own at

Its neat. It's very light. The sun doesn't cause a glare, which is apparently a problem with other readers. I downloaded four books right away that I have been meaning to read:

Death Along the Spirit Road (written by a local friend of Special Agent's)

Half Broke Horses (also wrote The Glass Castle)

I started SA's friend's book and the reader is very nice. It is still a little foreign to me where to put the bookmark, but I am sure I will figure out how to dog ear the pages soon enough. 

Only real annoyance: No Kindle ready People Magazine available? Suck.How will I become a literary scholar without that?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Small Town Girl in Tiny Town

I was born in a small town.
(Me and John Cougar Mellencamp)

This one had the least bullet holes...

I used to travel A LOT for work, and actually, a little too much, which is why I decided to go the consulting route. My travels took me to fun and interesting places like Houston, Oklahoma City, Santa Fe (a favorite!), etc.

But mostly, my travel took me to tiny towns, even smaller than the one I live in. We are talking, 10,000 population towns.

With no malls. No escalator laden department stores (OK, maybe one, but it was sad, with no escalator..and no public bathroom)

Not me, but it probably should be. 
With no Walmart. (Who am I kidding? I think they all had a Walmart.)

But most sadly...

had no Starbucks.

I have built a weird quirk about visiting small towns. I like to shop there. Its so random. They have everything...and nothing.

In last week's jaunt, I stoked my quirky obsession of going to obscure discount stores, like Pamida, Alco, etc. (Do they have these or DID they 20 years ago in your tiny town? Holla..) There is something so pleasingly depressing about these crowded, dingy retail finds. Especially when there is no bar in your hotel.

I half expected to see the Brady Bunch in here..

As I was heading into the store among a gale force wind (typical), I overheard a woman talking to another couple in the wind break entryway of the store. I smiled as I eavesdropped:

Hugely pregnant lady:  My guts had been killing me, y'know?

Couple: ((Nodding))

Lady:  So the doc said he would take a look. He put the ultrasound thing on my belly.

Couple:  ((More nodding))

Lady:  "So, I tell the doc "are you kidding me? and the doc goes "look right there...and you could see the head, the legs..EIGHT MONTHS PREGNANT!

Couple:  "No way..."

Lady: I said "Oh my Gawd...get me the phone, I need to call my husband.."

sllllooooooowwww smiiille as I strolled by..

The first bit of creepy goodness is that the place is just PACKED with shit. Stuffed. Seasonal junk is stacked hip deep much too early or way too late for the season. This past week was lawn furniture and Easter baskets, during a blizzard. Most of it half unpacked. It looks like a tornado came through here. From Mr. MacGregor's

Some other tidbits:

 - There is food available in brands I have never heard of before. I recognize the food, it's regular things like brownies, and pancakes, but they appear to have been 1978.

 - There is one crazy messy sale aisle that has everything from tampons (from 1978) to lawn sprinklers...

 - The place is bursting with match and the whole place would go up. It makes me feel itchy.

This lighting is perfect!
The two teenage boys hanging around in there were the only pulse that existed in the whole place besides mine and theirs were a tad on the slow side. I am guessing weed, or just complete and utter boredom. It was eerily quiet. I think they thought I was a strange bird, scouring every section in the store as if I had been living on an island for the past 10 years. I was a Caveman from 1978, coming to claim my brownie mix, and see what's new in power tools and cheap thread count bedding. says Pamida
I bought a couple of comic books for the Baboos and some licorice sticks (from 1978) and got out of Dodge.   But not before i winked at the check out boy. You know I did it........