Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"I want a life of souvenirs...

...I'm heading anywhere, but here."  (k.d. lang - Anywhere But Here)

It seems, to me, that I'm feeling my life...feeling my days breathing in and out.  Noticing the short amount of time I could have left in this body, on this planet.  Realizing that I might not be alive before finishing this post.

Is it age setting in?  "Mid-Life Crisis Mode", possibly?  I'm not really sure...but, what I am beginning to understand is my levity, in this context at least.

---

I spent a few days with a friend I hadn't seen, literally, in 22 years.  We were both 19 the last time we spent any time together.  She was off to join the National Guard, and I was off to just be me...a time which was very close to my realizing I was not bound to be in the realms of the 90% "straight" club of the earth, but rather a gay woman.  The last time I saw her we were both, "young and wild and free", so to speak - at least for a few minutes...we hadn't yet found our lives, saddle bagged onto kids, careers or anything heavier than a conceptual idea of what might be ahead of us.  Our lives looked like massive maps that we could follow to the end of the earth and around again - nothing holding us back but our own fear.  We were like little kids who hadn't yet learned the hard lessons of life.

Getting back together after 22 years felt...well, freeing.  It was somehow so easy, so natural.  She's got 2 grown kids, a new husband, a pretty new career and is going on another path.  Me?  I've got a wife (going on 5 years of being together this December), a new place to live within the past couple of years, a business I've built with my hands from the ground up that now lives with us as well, and a new child (new in our lives last year, the furry is).  We both have baggage, we both have stories, we both are vagabonds in our own minds.

Sitting there with her, it dawned on me, and I don't think I ever mentioned this...but, I should write our stories (we should write them together), paralleled.  We've both been down amazingly interesting paths and lived quite fantastically entertaining lives, so why not?  We're starting a new portion, 22 years later, with enthusiasm - it just makes sense to me.

This brings me to thinking about my life, again.  There's no reason I have to remain stagnant.

I watch videos of k.d. lang from when she was younger, singing with such freedom...and see it still in her now, but it's older and wiser.  I think to myself, looking back at my own pictures, and I see the happiness that was there - and I wonder, where did it go?  Do I look older and wiser now, or am I just angry?  Her older videos make me long for my earlier freedom.  I didn't realize what I had at the time, and now I'm starting to miss it.  

I think this is what is made of a "mid-life crisis" - but, I believe that it's people who don't know what to do with these feelings or realizations that really go off the deep end.  Searching for something you once had to make you feel young again - is that the answer?  No...the answer is learning how to break the chains you've put upon yourself.  You know you lost the key a long time ago - it's time to learn to become your own locksmith and break away from that which holds you down and makes you so tired.  "Anywhere but here" is a good concept, but there's no reason you can't stay where you're at.  "A life with souvenirs" makes sense to me - it's something I started a long time ago, and then stopped picking up postcards, and finally stopped traveling.  It's time for me to start again, both theoretically and literally.  I want to live again, and I think I know...well, I hope I know how to keep that passion burning.

((No pills has helped - I never realized before just how dampening mental drugs could be on a person, and I was on such a low dose.  Now, I know this isn't advice for everyone, but it is for me.  It was like a constant rain on my campfire...I tried to get warm, but couldn't, so resigned myself to a dull ache because it made me a bit happier, somehow, knowing it didn't matter if I tried to keep the fire going - it wasn't going to get any warmer.  Now?  Now I care!  Now my passion is coming out in waves, and it's a bit scary at times as it takes on an angrier form - and I personally think that is all about years of being repressed by something that wasn't me.)) 

I'm still re-discovering things.  When I was a kid, a Jehovah's Witness, I felt the same dampening effect...but I kept fighting and fighting and fighting.  I finally broke free and I ran and ran and ran - I wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote.  I let it all out.  I experienced things I didn't know could be had, mentally.  I did some damage, but it was amazing.  I don't regret those decisions.  I want to allow myself to feel the same thing now, but with the ability to realize the danger before I step into it (if only to prepare myself better for the outcome).  I'm okay with picking myself up, dusting myself off and carrying on...now I just have to get strong enough to actually get out there and put myself in harms way again.  Watch out...I think I might just be ready to start jumping trains again (if only in my mind).  ...Damn!, I think I just did.

-AA

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Somebody bring me some water...

Man, I just cannot even explain how much more emotion I'm feeling being off those damned drugs!  It's crazy!!!  Music that used to affect me intensely back 20 years ago is now again making me feel.  It's nice...it's actually fucking wonderful!  So amazing that I have to cuss all over the place about it.

Listening to Etheridge, thus the title.  Ahhhhhh....!

It's nice to feel emotions again.  I'm just having to re-learn how to balance them...but, for now, I'm kind of enjoying the minor highs from it.  Yes, this is a good thing.  This makes me think of people who are manic - in that society has pretty much told us all that if we're not completely "even keeled" there's something wrong with us.  No wonder kids are into the crap they're into these days - you push them down and drug them up enough and it's like a mental prison, of course they want to break out even more.

::sigh::

Another rant for another day.

-AA

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Turkeys Days are upon us

Yesterday was an interesting day.  The day following The Sister's departure, which turned out to also be an interesting day.  Let's start with...

Sunday, the kid happened upon a penny and managed to put it in her mouth and start choking on it...she crawled into the room that C was in and started showing signs of having something stuck in her throat.  C flipped out, did a maneuver she learned in "how to care for kids because you want to be state certified" class, years ago, and a penny popped out.  We have no clue where this penny came from...Sister thinks it might have came from her stuff.  Who can say?  The important thing is, Kid is a-ok.  Sister was acting calmer, too, which was good.  I do love her, but having people in my space is not something I enjoy for long periods of time.

::warning - I blather on and on a bit here...::

Now...Monday...yesterday.  Everything seemed fine, we decided to go out and have some fun at the bowling alley (about an hour away), but in the A.M. before we really got moving C tells me she has to talk to me.  Her mom wrote her and said she wants her up there for Thanksgiving and wants the ENTIRE family together one last time (as her sister is moving states away and won't be able to easily get back to the main-land anytime soon...yes, she's moving to one of those non-48 states), so, she offered to pay for C to go up there.  Now, this is HUGE.  A year ago, they were hardly talking.  

To digress a bit...when C moved down here from her old state, her mom didn't know she was gay (and I'm not quite sure how she didn't know, other than having blinders on that she chose to constantly wear)...she found out when her sister told her.  Nice, huh?  The sister who was NOT supposed to say anything, but evidently it weighed too heavily on her conscious and God wanted her to tell her mother.  (yes, blame it on God)  So...C was disowned and they didn't talk for a good year or two...then, they started talking and it's been up and down.  C went up there recently for a wedding and stayed with her folks and she said it was like night and day.  At first her mom was a bit reluctant and telling her that she knew she was unhappy with her life, and really needed to find God again, blah blah blah, but as soon as C informed her quite matter of factly that she was indeed quite happy and things were good, and the business was something she was actually good at, etc., things seemed to calm down a bit.  C has been down here for 5 years coming up in December (our 5/yr anniversary).  She told me they had a pretty good visit while she was around, and that things seemed positive.

This e-mail was shocking, to us both.  It managed to really sock me in the gut with emotions I didn't realize I still really had, and I was kind of in a dumpy mood for a good chunk of the day.  About 4 hours later I was fine with the whole thing, and it wasn't that I didn't want C to go, I told her immediately there was no question, she was going - an all expenses paid trip to home?  Heck, even I'd jump on that if I could manage it.  What really got stuck in me was some crap with my ex, that isn't really about the ex...it's about the holiday and holidays in general.

I remember at the age of 7 being told "this is the last Christmas we're celebrating", and before that, "this is the last birthday we're celebrating."  I'm a 7 year old kid having fun holidays stripped from me because "that's what Jehovah wants."  Ummmm...okay...who's this now?  Oh, God wants me to not have what other kids have?  Well, if you say so...and so went the years of humiliation of "I can't celebrate that because I'm a Jehovah's Witness."  All us Witness kids were outcasts because of that...just like the kids who couldn't dance in gym class.

Growing up we went to my grandparents house for Christmas, because my mother refused to have any type of Christmas stuff in the house, and dad was fine with that.  But, for Thanksgiving, he insisted that she make a decent meal for Thanksgiving and have my grandparents over.  Every year that is honestly the ONLY holiday we celebrated, together, sans the complete weirdness.  There were no presents to be opened, nothing really pressing to say, a joke about Saying Grace at the table every year, but that's it.  We had leftovers, and the house smelled good, and it was nice.  I could actually go to school and tell people that I had a nice holiday, that I got to spend it with my very small family, just like them.  They all thought we could celebrate Thanksgiving because of that, even though I told them we didn't technically celebrate it, but my dad wasn't a Witness, so we got to have food...it didn't make much sense, and typing it out I see why, but it was what I had.

When I moved to Florida at the age of 24, I was used to celebrating Thanksgiving with friends, and had started to adjust to the idea of birthdays and Christmas, the 4th of July and Halloween (wow, that's an awesome holiday, and was one of my favorites as a kid...I think the last time I went trick or treating was also at age 7).  I got to go door to door with my (1st) ex's little sisters the first year I had moved down, and that was the first time I'd been trick or treating since being a kid - that was so much fun, and so amazing to realize just what I had been missing out on...just the family feel of it and enjoyment of getting to go around and show everyone your cute costume, etc.  It's a silly thing to do, IMHO, but I enjoyed it.  I will also say I do remember us handing out Halloween candy a few times when I was a kid - I was in charge of that even though I couldn't go out and trick or treat.  I got to pick out the candy, too - I remember one year it was the Reggie Bar (Reggie Jackson being my favorite baseball player, it just seemed right to bestow him upon everyone who dared to bother to ask me for my candy).

Thanksgiving, for me, was the one solid holiday I understood and appreciated.  I tried to do the whole Christmas thing with both the ex's, but it never felt completely "right".  The entire "reading of the Christmas Story", opening presents, etc. - I get it, and I enjoy it a little more each year, even decorating has become something I like to see, but it's not as huge of a deal as Thanksgiving was.

The first year I got together with my (2nd) ex, "The Ex", as we were together over 9 years, she couldn't spend Thanksgiving or Christmas with me.  She had to go to her family's, and I got left at home.  I didn't mind Christmas as much as I did Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving was really, really lonely...I can't recall if it was only one year or two she did this, but she finally put her foot down and I quickly got invited up by the family - then I became part of it.  For Christmas they made me a stocking to go along with everyone's, and felt kind of sorry for me for not having the whole Christmas Spirit understanding...I didn't want pity, and was quite happy to go to movies or do something else with my time instead of sitting around talking about new babies bowel movements with the ladies (the guys, the two, son and father - I didn't fit in there, either).  But, Thanksgiving, again, was important to me.  We started having that at our house each year and would invite over anyone who didn't have anywhere else more pressing to be...we always ended up with a couple of friends without family, and it was our own holiday, our own time.  It was nice.  It became tradition.  We'd have to go up there for Christmas each year, but stayed at home for my favorite holiday.

With C, we've done much the same thing with Thanksgiving.  With Christmas, since my folks didn't celebrate it - dad doesn't care, and now mom's not around this year, so I'm sure he won't care doubly, we never go anywhere, and just enjoy the day to ourselves.  Thanksgiving dad comes over - the first year we were up here, they both came over.  That was the last Thanksgiving I'd spend with my mother...last year she was hospitalized and couldn't come (but kept telling me she'd be there with us...suddenly in her mental state it became important for her to join us, which was actually really comforting).  This year, now it's just me and maybe dad if he wants to come over.  

I could go to a couple of other places, but they're both 2.5/hrs away, and I don't want to leave the kitties alone on Thanksgiving just so that I can go and eat somewhere else (with a 5/hr round trip)...

All this stuff was going through my head yesterday and made me a bit miserable for awhile while I worked it all out.  I'm perfectly fine with C going up to see her family, and I booked the ticket for her today and the rental car.  It's good she's getting to go.  I know she'll miss me, but that's part of life, and she thinks it might do us both some good (I've told her it will do HER some good, and me some good if it does her some good - for me, I'll be working and taking care of the house - double duty during our busiest season, but I can handle it).  It's good to miss your partner, I agree...but the selfish side of me, which is pretty small, generally speaking, wishes that I could be with her on this one holiday.  It's the one I care about, and maybe I'll learn to appreciate it even more with her absence.  I don't think I'll feel as neglected as I did the first year with The Ex, not at all - different reasons here, completely...but, I know I'll be a little melancholy in some respect - just because it seems the numbers are dwindling...and I hope that it doesn't turn out to be permanent for any reason anytime in the near future (dad's not getting any younger, and neither am I).

So...my Thanksgiving will be unique this year, again, and maybe that's a good thing?

-AA

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Simplicity...

My sister is up visiting with my adorable niece.  I love my sister, but right now I love my niece more.  She's simple...going on 10/months, wants for little, enjoys the simple things in life.

My sister is another story.

I am another story, while we're at it.

My sister is not my sister of blood, but of choice.  We both like it that way, we ARE sisters in so many odd little ways.  She's married to a man who reminds her of me (the "frat-boy version", but he's whiny, and I'm not...neither is she, generally speaking).  They live in a suburb of a hub that is filled with tourists a good chunk of the year, and it's generally not somewhere I prefer to visit on a regular basis.

Her house is filled with clutter, baby things, work undone or forgotten, dirty dishes, electronics galore, forgotten cell-phones and mis-appropriated funds.  This is her life...she likes her life, she says.  I'm glad I don't have it.

She's up here visiting, as I said...and while I love having her here, it's always like a tornado has come through and strewn everything about, including my sanity.  C and I are at each others throats this morning, and we had a wonderful day yesterday before they showed up.  Why?  Because we're in the storm, that's why.

My kitchen counter was clean, and now it's filled with various baby foods.  My spare room that I use for working on the business was happy with it's various bits here and there, but has been re-arranged by me to accommodate baby et al, and now it's like the aftermath of Hiroshima.  Yes, it really is that bad.

My sister used to come up and visit, pre-marriage and child, and would always leave things behind.  One day I told her, "here is a stack of things you've left over the years, please don't forget to take them home."  She was rather offended, honestly, that I didn't want her various artsy DVD's, random CD's, books that I had no interest in reading, and clothing that would never fit me in a million years (even if I did lose half my weight).  She's preparing to do this again with the baby things...last night, while shopping, she was very possibly about to purchase a LARGE baby-run-about-mobile, and I was just thinking, "why?  She's almost 10 months old, pulling herself up all over, pretty soon she won't need this type of contraption...heck, she doesn't need it now, really."  Her response to my much more subtle, "why?" was, "well, she has one at my house and one at my mom's and is always in it."  Ummm...so that justifies this baby-thing in OUR house for a once every 3-months if we're lucky visit?  No, I don't think so.  Thankfully they didn't have exactly what she wanted.

Now we get to the point of this diatribe.  If it's not name brand, it's not good enough for the kid.  That, to me, is really sad.  C and I were discussing that when we grew up and didn't have a lot as our parents were broke on both ends, in both decades we were being raised in, second hand things and less was better and appreciated.  This kid has baby-Gap socks, mini-jeans, boutique shirts, and "the best tested and safest travel play set"...is that really necessary?  I bought "the kid" (as I've taken to calling my adorable niece who's being trained to be an expectant Princess) a simple Garanimal toy.  I gave it to her this morning, attaching it to her car seat she was held in while her mom showered, and she LOVED it.  Pulling on it, playing with it, laughing, smiling.  Sis comes in and C says, "the kid really loves that thing."  Immediately Sis has to pull up one of the other obnoxious, way too big, too much going on, in your face, all the bells and whistles toys and pop it up and says, "oh, it's like this, she likes this too", and starts waving it in her face.  Okay.  Point taken.  If it's not what you want her to have then it's not good enough.  Sad, really.  When the kid was born we bought her some very useful items, like onesies.  Are those in use?  Oh hell no.  Her kid CANNOT be in a onesie...ever.  Said child is always full of gunk, by the way (her clothes, that is)...too much trouble to change outfits all the time, but the child, who can't walk and army crawls everywhere, has to have ***designer duds***.  ::sigh::

The point is...what happened to simplicity?  Where are the happy times in life?  Why does everything have to be such a big huge production?  This poor kid may or may not have any siblings, not sure yet on that front (the relatives and husband all want more...I don't think the sister is too keen on the idea, and since she can't do anything one handed with this kid and constantly needs someones help for a second hand, I think it's wise she just stick with the one).  Today, sis went to an event with friends, and the kid had to have on a "related" item that coincided with the event...is that really necessary?  No, not really.  It would be like me saying, "we're going to the forest" and you dressing up in a shirt with trees on it to prove a point...that's exactly what the kid was adorned to do.

It's depressing, to me, to see how people are raising their kids to be fashion victims and needy little Princes and Princesses.  Kids don't understand the value of money or how to take care of things around them, and they're learning at an early age that they can have anything they want.  What happens when the castle falls down?  They can't function.  I'm also convinced that all this constant coming and going and the "oh, you don't like that?  Let's try this and this and this and this and this" is causing more ADD type issues in kids...if you don't like something, discard it and try something else - try another toy, try another food, no schedule, no normalcy.

No thanks.

I love living simply...moving away from the life I was immersed in has been one of the biggest blessings - it's just taken a little while for me to start to really understand the gift I've been given.  I'm grateful I'm finally starting to figure it out.

-AA

Monday, September 26, 2011

Free at last!

I went off my "anti-depressent, anti-anxiety, anti-emotions" drug...Zoloft (well, the generic, at least).  Man, I'm finally starting to feel GOOD!

I started taking this crap years ago because my anxiety levels were literally out of control.  The Ex told me, "you need to do something about your anxiety because I can't live with you like this!"...she was right, that was a good choice.  I did something...and I went on an anti-anxiety (with anti-depressive benefits, that I didn't really feel I needed as I never really felt depressed), and it helped, a lot.  I could get to work on time, it calmed me down, and it allowed me to FIGURE OUT HOW to deal with the anxiety in my head.

I started tapering myself off this drug from 100mg/day to 50mg/day to whenever in the hell I could remember to take it (several times a week) and for a little while I felt anxious...and I told C what I was doing, and she has supported me.

Today, for the first time in a long time, I'm really, really, really starting to fell like I'm waking up emotionally.

I initially noticed that I'm starting to do more around the house - I actually care (again) if the dishes are done before we go to bed, I keep things straightened up more, I'm becoming more anal retentive about particulars that I used to be very picky about.  Yes, I'm getting more annoying, but I can handle it, and I know what to look for if it starts to really get to me.

The other thing that helped, I believe, is that I actually took a full day off yesterday - first time in awhile, it feels like.  I didn't watch TV or drink alcohol until after 5PM, I don't think...which is also good (usually on Sundays off we sit in front of the TV all day drinking and watching football/baseball games and recorded TV).  I actually sat and talked to my SisterFromAnotherMister, messed around with the new HP Touchpad we got, talked to C, looked at a catalog (how exciting!), and read a little bit.  Yes, it was GOOD.  We went out for breakfast and did some shopping before all of this.

...I've gotten back in touch with a dear friend, and have found out some things about her that I didn't ever know before, and that has rattled up some new emotions in me - in the past, on the drugs, I probably would have just dismissed it, but now I FEEL IT.  It's like experiencing snow for the first time in 20 years!  It's really amazing!  I feel like shouting from the rooftops!  This is the same feeling I had when my first ex (first LTR) split with me back in '96 - I just felt amazing...like a huge weight had been lifted off of me.  It's that good.

I feel like I'm having more feelings and emotions towards my wonderful wife (also a good thing) - I feel like she's been robbed a bit of who I really am, and I hope that she can have more of the good and not just the annoying.  FINALLY.

For those of you out there who are reading this and have never known me OFF the anti-anxiety meds, if you see a difference, please let me know.  I know there's probably only a couple of you who might know me and know this, but I'd love to hear your comments.

I'm hoping this doesn't pass anytime soon...I know I'll come down, but for right now I'm going to enjoy it.

Further...

The friend that I've known, since I was about 8 mind you, told me that she had feelings for me through our school years.  Wow.  We lost touch for awhile, like...almost 20 years lost touch, and recently refound each other via FB (thank goodness for FB - it's gotten me in touch with several of my old besties)...and, it's like we never lost the time.  Granted, there are kids now on her side, and husbands come and gone, but it's like time stopped for a bit - and that's when you know that the friend in your life is supposed to be there and never really left.

What I find so interesting about all this is that we have discussed, at length, some pieces of what we were both feeling during this time - and had we known I wonder how things might have changed for us both.  I was fighting against the system I was raised in, but she was being drug along out of fear...and our mutual friend was also in the same boat - somewhere in the middle (fighting, but not wanting to leave at the same time).  We were all close...and, I wonder what her life would have been like had she woken up a bit earlier.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I wish things would have happened to change where I'm at now - I just wonder HOW our lives could have been different...to have a close friend from childhood understand where I was at the same time I was figuring it out would have been amazing...for us both.

It's interesting, too, to watch people change over the years - and see where they end up.

Ahhh...I will probably write more on this later.

-AA

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Guess I've been slacking...

Actually, I've been mentally swamped.  LOTS going on...little to no time off during the week, brain is fried, and just got a call last night that a close friend most likely, 99.9998%, has late stage 3, or stage 4 Throat Cancer.  This is something she's been trying to get diagnosed for TWO YEARS - gotta love the V.A. Hospital...Government ran, and this is how they take care of their Vets.  Ya...honestly, while I think we DO need some assistance with health care, if this is what health care would look like if the Government ran it all, we'd all be dead...so, I guess I'll keep taking my chances with no money and crappy insurance and be grateful I have something, which is more than nothing.

This is what my brain has looked like...I have no clue what this is - I just randomly made it - out of specific types of parts.  I ran out of one type of part to make it bigger...guess I should buy some more.






-AA
 

Sunday, July 31, 2011

What is it about the 27th year?

I often find myself thinking while I'm working...which I do from home, sitting here in front of the computer, pondering.

Winehouse is the latest, Morrison, Joplin, Hendrix, Cobain, blues artist Robert Johnson, Rolling Stones founder Brian Jones...the list goes on and on and on...what is it about the age 27?

There has to be some major shift when you hit 27 that makes things like this happen...there just has to be.  Think about when you were 27, did something major happen, or right around that time-frame?

C moved in with me 2 months before her 27th birthday, moving to FL from WI, and we'd never met in person.  We're still together almost 5 years later.

I got together with my ex, of almost 10 years, when I was 27 and proceeded to buy my first house and settle down.  The house is still in my name, btw, even though I'm not living in it and have no financial obligation to it anymore (love these stupid banks).  Same said ex left me right after her 27th birthday...

It's strange, to me, that so many major events happen around the age of 27.  Does anyone else out there have this same experience?  If so, please share!

-AA

Saturday, July 23, 2011

My poor finger...

April, this is my finger - I wake up one morning with it like this:

Nice, eh?

I go to the doc, he thinks I probably just jammed it up at some point...and I can't disagree with him because I've been known to do things like that.  I broke my hand when I was in high school (age 16 or 17) from running down the haul and I hit it on a door jamb...and, that was that.  It swelled up, and it was broken (and, interestingly enough, it was the bone right below THIS swollen ring finger - so that was over 20+ years ago, and now the finger is swelling?  Strange).

Doc tells me, "if it doesn't get better in a week or so, go in for an x-ray" - so, we do that - nothing is broken.  He then sends me in for an MRI.  Nothing looks bad, it's just "non-specific swelling."  He wants me to see a hand doc.

I have a lovely hand doctor at Eaton Orthopaedics (Dr. Carlan) of whom did my carpal tunnel surgery last year on my right hand - it's healed terrifically, so I decide to go see him and find out what he thinks.  He says, "I have no clue what you did to your finger...we need to operate on it to figure out what's going on, I believe."  So...ya...too far to drive.  I get a referral from him, and he's nice enough to send up all the documents to me via e-mail, etc., and I see a new doctor at SHANDS in Gainesville.  Nice guy, really seems to know what he's talking about, and he says the SAME thing that Dr. Carlan did.  So, surgery it is...over a month later.

I had surgery at the end of May, and here's the immediate result (thankfully this was outpatient):

My whole hand looks puffy, and it really wasn't that bad.  I believe this was taken two weeks later, before they took out the stitches. 

Above, my finger post stitch removal...not too bad, really - the swelling is starting to go down, and it looks a lot better than it did.  Interesting thing is they told me on my follow up appointment, "the joint looks good, nothing came back from pathology, which is really good and what you want, but we have no idea how your finger ended up like it did."  NO idea?  Really?  Me either.  Almost $3,000 to get my finger fixed, and no one has any clue what's wrong with it (I'll be paying that off for awhile...), but at least I can bend it again.  I can ALMOST make a fist where pills don't fall out of my hand...it's not 100%, but before the surgery I could barely bend that finger.

Now I'm not sure I'll ever be able to wear my wedding band again, unless we get it re-sized (gold and platinum...not a cheap endeavor, so that will be awhile)...I guess I should just be grateful that my finger is healing, I've got a great surgeon (whom I go see again next week), and that C thinks my scar is sexy.  ;-)  Now I just have to come up with a good back-story for it!


 -AA

Monday, July 18, 2011

Randomness...

I really should do some learning on how to change my background and make things a little more interesting around here...ah, well, maybe eventually.

This morning I saw two rabbits in the back yard and took a couple of pics, which should eventually get loaded up here.
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Our coffee maker, for a third time (and we just replaced this one about a month ago) once again got a German Cockroach infestation.  That's it, I'm over it.  I bought parts today to go into my 6-cup Pyrex (7756b) Percolator.  I have a 7826b, also, that was my grandparents on my dad's side, but need some help with getting that one working again.  It seems the stainless steel stem won't hold the glass insert up correctly - dad things he can make a washer or some-such to hold it in place.  I'm sure he can.  I cannot wait for normal coffee - McDonald's the last two days, and tomorrow we start with instant coffee (ugh)...I could just drink black tea, but I like coffee.  So, until I get the percolator(s) up and running and learn to properly use them on my gas stove, this will have to do.  I'm actually pretty happy about stepping back into a little old-school coffee making.
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Last night, we had some pork chops that our lovely neighbor gave us (we gave her a ton of food when we changed our way of eating, and now she's slowly giving us food back, which is really quite considerate of her.  She's 71, and awesome.  We met her via my mom, and I'm grateful mom introduced us).  I have pictures of our cooking and finished products, as we're very proud:

 Our pork chops (butterflied) with spices, being cooked - and apple/cranberry/ginger chutney.

 Our delicious finished product on Fiesta Ware plates.

Yummmmmmmmmmo!  It's lovely to be able to cook really good meals at home.  I know for some this might not be that amazing, but for us it's something new we've never done before.  I did NOT take a picture of the (canned) green beans as they really weren't that interesting.  LOL
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This is what we found yesterday morning in our driveway as we were going to leave:
The holes in this tree are quite impressive - woodpeckers and boring critters have all butt rotted the thing through.  There's still another full piece and a half piece to this tree yet to fall...guess we'll have to figure out how to get it down safely.  First, we have to chop this stuff up so we can move it.
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Saturday night...we decided to try out a George Thorogood song in literal form...enjoy!
 One Bourbon, One Scotch and One Beer...

-AA

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I wonder...

I find myself wondering if anyone who "knows" me is reading this (as in, anyone I haven't told about this, that might not like some of the things I'm saying).  If there is some person, such as an ex reading this (and it's easily possible they found this via someone I did share it with and/or via another blog, as I do read at least one blog in common with someone I'm an ex with), then so be it.  

I'd like to take this moment in time to remind anyone of whom might be someone that knows me that this is MY memory of things, and I'm keeping "AA" so that I won't offend you outright to the public, thus the anonymous nature of things.  If you don't like what I'm saying, leave a comment, or deal with it.  If you're mad at me, that's your prerogative, just as it's mine to write down my thoughts on the past as it helps me understand the present and future.

That being said, if you're still reading, welcome!

-AA

Monday, July 11, 2011

So not my mom...and so not my wife!

This is C, dressed up in some items we found of my mom's in a bag of things my father dropped off to us a couple of weeks ago (the scarf, glasses and gloves) - NOTHING I've ever seen my mother wear in all my years of knowing her, living with her, seeing her daily as a child...and things she'd kept for over 40 years.  Mom was a pack-rat, and this pic is lovely, so I had to share.  




And...some buttons from the collection of odd buttons dad brought over, as well.  These were the cream of the crop, so to speak.  Enjoy!


 -AA


 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

What did we do to the company car?


The company car, Portland, Oregon, circa 1990-1991.  TL and I decided that it would be fun to give MY companies car the "Maxi Seal of Approval", and so we did.  We took a picture with their letterhead and then moved the approval to the passenger's side door.  Poor Ben, the guy who looked like Emilio Estevez (with a paunch and beard, and wife) who ran errands for the company was driving around all day long like that.  He confided in me that he thought "Brett did it" (one of the company Traders).  He was livid with Brett for years...until I told him after I quit to work for a competitor in 1992, that it was I who did it (and a friend) a year or two earlier.  Poooooor Ben, he was such a sweet guy.  His wife, btw, looked like Demi Moore.  They were quite a cute couple.  Ben forgave me, and chuckled about it...TL and I always got ourselves into some crazy ideas and followed them through.

-AA

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Fate or ?

I'm sitting here wondering about people, today...about what makes us click with them, think about them - become part of their lives and want to stay in their lives.

I'm not necessarily one of those folks who believe in fate to the fullest extent, but I think there must be something to it...something in the tapestry of life that makes us fall into the patterns of people that we sometimes do - or go after those that we feel we need to be connected to.  There has to be, otherwise how could you explain it?  God?  Maybe.  Reincarnation?  Sure, why not?  "Fate" as an entity?  That makes sense, actually.  Maybe I believe more than I let on...that's entirely possible.

I have a lot of "exes" and I have a lot of "acquaintances" - some of my exes are acquaintances and some of my acquaintances used to be friends.  I can also say that some of my friends are my exes and we are friends for the better, and I'm very happy with that.  AO is someone that I'm grateful to have in my life as a friend, and I don't take that word "friend" lightly.  She came down all the way from Washington two years ago to help us move 2.5 hours north.  Now THAT is friendship to the umpteenth degree.  Of course, this was also a vacation of sorts for her - but, seriously, I can't ever remember jumping on a plane to go and help a friend move!  I don't know that I ever told her just how much her trip meant to us, but she saved us, literally.  This gets me to my point...if I hadn't dated her over 20 years ago, and we hadn't stayed in contact (fallen out, gotten back in) over the years, obviously she wouldn't have been here helping us in our time of need, correct?  Is it fate that had this pre-planned?  Or, is it just simply determination on my part that got us back into contact?  If so, WHY?  I guess it doesn't really matter in the long run, and I feel blessed to be able to call her my good friend of 20+ years, even though there's been big spots of time where we didn't know each other or where we were at - but, it didn't matter.  We came back together like puzzle pieces that were needed to fill in that field of flowers, just like in the picture on the box; 2 of 1,000.  Impressive, isn't it?  I think so.

I think about my friends, and people who used to be good friends but are now more or less stuck in the back of the closet behind the shoe boxes of old pictures...I know I can dig them out if I need them, if I think about them, and maybe we'll reconnect, maybe we won't and those pictures will go into storage.  I think about my exes...people that I got involved with on a weekly, monthly or even yearly basis.  I think about the ones that I know where they are but they want to have nothing to do with me - and I'm okay with that, too.  If you don't feel like I fit into your life, so be it.  No harm, no foul.  I don't want you in my life if I'm not a fit for you, because obviously it wouldn't work.

My previous ex, of 9.5 years, (my previous ex...as opposed to my current ex?  No, she's my current ex, LOL), my EX, we met when she was a mere 17...and I hate to admit it but I was 26.  We were together for a good chunk of time, but things changed.  I'll also freely tell you that I know things were changing, and not for the better.  Things in my current relationship, by the way, are changing on a regular basis, but this is for the better - we are growing together, but my ex and I were not.  We didn't see it until more time had passed as I think we both wanted it to work in some respect - we were, after all, the perfect lesbian couple.  We were that couple.  The one everyone looked up to, thought was amazing, etc., etc.  Ya, not so amazing.  Don't get me wrong, we didn't fight all the time or do anything wrong - we just didn't have much more going for us than the artificial front.  Sad, but true.  But, I digress...my ex and I got together, and we learned some things about each other - and it makes me wonder if Fate had a hand in that one, too.  Or, reincarnation, maybe?  Let me explain further...

When I met my ex, she refused to talk about WWII or the Holocaust or anything related to it - it freaked her out.  Now, for most this wouldn't be an issue, but I, my darlings, I am one of those folks that is in love with Germanic Sociology from the WWII (mainly Hitler) era.  I have a whole bookshelf (tall, Ikea bookshelf) of WWII books on these subjects (and some Genocide reading scattered in for good measure), I even have the entire Nuremberg Trials in paper form, including the books of evidence (which are just as big as the trials).  **Side note, for anyone interested in this, a good chunk of the trials can be found here:  Nuremberg Trials (Harvard Law)

One day, the Ex and I were sitting in a park downtown and talking about things...and I asked her, what was it about the whole WWII thing that freaked her out?  She told me about something she'd always envisioned, and that freaked me out a little bit.  For back story, I had always had this odd "vision", if you will, of a Nazi soldier talking to a young woman in a cell of some sort...that was about it - but it was more the feeling I got from it that always resonated with me.  I don't recall if it came to me as a dream eons ago or what, but it had always been with me, and I just let that be, as well.  I never talked to anyone about that, as it never seemed like something that people would "get" or understand...and I didn't want to come off like I was a "Nazi Sympathizer" from that time period, as that's far from the truth.  That night, the Ex told me that she had this vision of a young woman who was in the throws of the Third Reich, she was in a prison cell, and a young Guard was being very sweet to her - making sure that she was okay...before he was called away.  That's all she really could remember about it.  Okay...freaky.  I ask you, is this "reincarnation" at it's best?  Is it her reading my mind?  My reading hers (before we ever met), or simply Fate?  Who knows...but, honestly I think from that moment on we both understood, somehow, that while we were together and seemingly happy, there was something underlying that shouldn't have kept us together - something wasn't quite right, and I know that I never really shook that feeling.  It's like I was getting a second chance at fixing something - and, maybe I was.  Maybe in a previous life I was that Nazi Guard...maybe she was that young woman?  Who knows...I really don't, and can't say that I do, but I do know that we were thrown together in some way, shape or form as to connect, and we connected on another level - one that makes us interconnected even though now we rarely talk and we had a pretty rough breakup (I'm not surprised if you counter in this story, but it never really came up again).

This stuff just makes me think...and, the ex before "The Ex", who was my first long term relationship, that's another story but I'll say this...when we were "dating" or "courting" or whatever you'll call it, and I still lived in Oregon (I moved to Florida for this ex I speak of, as I didn't want her to have to move to Portland - she was young as well and it just didn't seem right to me to displace her, especially with such an amazing family), I was writing pieces at that time about a man named Mark, who lived in the Vietnam War.  I almost felt possessed when writing these small pieces - I'd get them at random times and just be compelled to write them down...these thoughts.  My ex was on the phone with me a few times these came to me, and being a writer herself she didn't think this was strange at all.  I got a last name towards the end of these pieces.  Mark is another story, and one I might share more in depth in the future, but suffice it to say, it was a huge piece of my writing history and a good year of my life.  I met a Vietnam Vet at a job I was working once, who did a couple of tours and lived to tell about it, and I mentioned this writing to him - he said he'd love to see it so I brought him a copy.  He told me the next day that he'd never read such compelling, and accurate, writing about the war in the sense that this was written.  THAT was not only a compliment, but a truth - I never read Nam stuff, I was never that interested in it - sure, I'd seen Apocalypse Now, but I was only around 23, I didn't know enough about that part of history to really understand it...Mark was writing through me.  Mark...I got his name, as I mentioned.  One day, about a year after moving to FL, I came home and my ex had told me she found something for me on the Internet.  It was a website with The Wall names and information on them.  She found Mark, his full name.  He was born/raised in Wisconsin, and in my story pieces Mark was from Illinois.  He died in the War approximately a year before I was born.  I wondered...could it be some past, or some piece from a past that my soul had hung onto before being brought into this world?  Was reincarnation even possible?  Is it selfish to think that we are our only true selves and that we don't re-process?  I think there's got to be something to it...and, this brings me full circle to people in our lives.  If dead people can touch you, then there's got to be something to people in the present day coming in and out of your life and having some sort of "fate" interacting with us...maybe Fate with a capital F is the best way to look at it.  Some would call it God.  Concrete Blonde would call it Love.

I'll leave this entry with a piece from Mark from 1999.  Over the years I got a few more tidbits here and there - this was one of them, and I think probably the last: 

"and if anyone shall ever forget what it meant to send their men to war, if anyone shall ever forget what it meant to leave their mothers, wives, children and parents alone, waiting by the phone, by the t.v. for some glimpse of possible returned death - for some hollow face to wave back at the cameras...wondering if your son would come back in a body bag...if anyone shall ever forget these erroneous ways of the world, these horrid manslaughter ideas that spouted upon the refuge of idealism that we turned upon ourselves with loaded guns - bullets flying - death mounting...if anyone shall ever forget let it be me, let it be my sacrificed ghost that walks upon the graveyards...like so many others, let it be me, please let it be me who forgets, the one who died, the one who's gone...the one who's writing."

-AA

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hot Nut Sacks & Midget Conversations

I really love hot, brown sacks of spicy nuts.  Truly, I do.  Especially if they've been soaking long enough to get nice and tender...the nuts, that is, not the sack.

Today, after bringing our car home from the repair shop (an engine mount was coming dislodged), I stopped at Maria's Nut House (formerly Dixie Nut House) and picked up one of their $8 bags of Cajun Boiled Peanuts.  Honestly, there is nothing better on this planet, in Southern Roadside Cuisine, than good boiled peanuts.  As I was polishing off a pile of these on the way home I noticed a white car behind me a ways that might have been a police car...and I thought, "Oh, might be a cop car, better not toss these shells out the window."  Then, I started thinking about it - is it littering if the items you're littering are biodegradable and came from the earth in the first place?  I frown on littering of things that don't belong to the earth, but peanut shells clearly started out there and I'm just returning them to...the pavement - where they should get pulverized into something that gets carried off into the sides of the road and goes back into the earth, right?  Right.  Well, in my mind that's correct...I wonder, though.  

I wondered this same thing as I drove over a banana peel about 5 miles later...and, then promptly started wondering how a banana peel ended up in the middle of a highway (Hwy - 2 lane road you can go 60+ on out in the boonies)...and, of course, it had to have been left by someone like me, but you could argue that peanut shells are more natural to the area of the country we're in.  I don't know anyone up here that has banana trees growing nearby (of course...I don't know anyone that grows peanuts, either).

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On the way to the "City" that we took our car to get repaired at, to get breakfast and then check on the car, C declared to me "I want a horsey!"  This was, of course, after seeing the field of beautiful horses we always pass when on our way to this "City".  The rest of the conversation went very much like this:

Me: "I want a horsey too!  Let's go get one and put it in the back of the van!"  (that we were driving at the time, mind you)

C: ::gives me look like I'm absolutely insane for thinking I could fit a horse in the back of a 1997 mini-van::

Me: "Well...we could probably fit a miniature horse in the back!"

C: "They poop a lot."

Me: "They do, huh?"

C: "Yes, that's why they're so small!"

Me: "Ohhhhhh really?"

C: "Yes, it's a proven scientific fact that miniature horses poop a lot, that's why they're so small...they're always pooping."

Me: "So, you're saying that because they're tiny they poop a lot, so big horses don't poop as much because if they did then they'd be tiny, too, right?"

C: "Yes, exactly."

Me: "So, that means that midgets must be small because they poop a lot???"

C: "Yes!  In fact, midgets poop so much I've heard that a lot of them have to wear Depends because they're constantly dropping loads all over the place and can't control it."

Me: "I see...so I'm big because I don't poop a lot? (Even though some would argue I technically do)"

C: "Yep!"

-AA, over and out.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Shower Scenes

While my finger has been healing from surgery (a couple of weeks ago), C has been helping me with showering as I've only got one usable hand (the other having a couple of Wal-Mart plastic bags and a rubber band over it).  Today, one of our fascinating conversations went mostly like this:

(C is scrubbing me down) 

C: (in a drawling Southern Accent - think "old South") "Well, I do declare Miss, I think you have the cleanest breasts in Dixie County!"

Me: "I'm going to write that in my blog today!"

C: "No!  Don't do that!"

Me: "Why not?"

C: "I don't want everyone knowing my secrets...them stealing my thunder!  I'm an enigma, I'm a mysterious enigma of mysteriousness and I like it that way."

Me: "Okay...well, at least it's not like I'm Twittering this!"

C: "Twitter is stupid."

Me: "It's pretty funny, actually.  k.d. lang keeps posting that she's every one's Daddy."

C: "Where, on Twitter?  She's who's Daddy?"

Me: "She keeps saying, "Who's your Daddy!" At least I'm not saying that to you!  Do you want me to be your Daddy?"

C: "No...I don't like it when lesbians call themselves "Daddy", it's kind of creepy."

Me: "There's also the whole "Mommy" thing."

C: "'Mommy' thing? What, those are the femme women?  Of course, k.d. would so be a top."

Me: "Ya, kind of, people who like "Mommy's" are into that...it's kind of part of the whole BDSM community, in a way - an offshoot in some cases, I suppose."

C: "Huh. Well, you're not a Daddy...you're a Captain!  You're the Captain of the Dykes."

Me: "I am?  Nice!"

((note - I am also a huge gay boy, and most all my friends would attest to this))

C: (in her best gay boy accent) "No, honey, you're the Captain of the USS Queen!"

We both crack up at each other...now...I ask you...do other people have such random discussions with their partners while showering?  I sure hope so, because it does keep me in a rather good mood!


-AA

Lots to say...

...but, little time.  In "work mode", so have to go shower, go out to the PO to drop off packages and go get lunch.  Hopefully I will find some time to write something a bit later.  Got my stitches out, and am supposed to be heavily exercising my finger (too bad it's not the "Giving the Finger" finger!).  But, stories should abound this afternoon, I do hope.

-AA

Monday, June 27, 2011

The breakfast of Champions!

Short entry, as we have a lot to do today (namely, aside from a lot of business/work stuff, going to the doc about an hour away and hopefully getting 1) answers and 2) stitches out!).

Last night we had a lovely dinner of sauteed chicken breast over low-carb pasta with a from scratch Alfredo sauce, simply delicious; also a large salad (Caesar dressing, cheese, black olives, lettuce, low-carb garlic cracker things crunched into little tiny croutons).

After dinner, we decided to play some more cards, and drink a bottle of lovely wine that friends brought us from Missouri when they were visiting - excellent.  The background started out as "8-Track" on XM and then moved to "The Acoustic Storm" on our local 70's Rock station.  A small glass of cinnamon Bourbon finished off the night.  

No hang-overs this morning, just us up and ready to go...and, we seriously decided on breakfast as if we were 10 year old latch-key kids left to their own devices.  I give you, our meal:
I'm responsible for the "bologna boats" with extra sharp cheese, C made the low-carb tortilla's with cinnamon and Splenda, and the deviled eggs yesterday.  That's also iced-coffee.  Oh ya, 10 year old's on a caffeine high, here we go!!!

-AA

Sunday, June 26, 2011

My Wife, She is Amazing!

I've been accused of many things in my life, and wanting a housewife has actually been one of them.  Is it wrong, for a woman, to want a housewife?  Is this somehow wrong for me to want because I'm not interested in being with men on a daily life basis, and men are the creators of the "housewife"?  I don't think so, but I suppose others might think this.

My ex friend, who's now my exes partner of roughly 5 years, was actually the one who accused me of this as if it were the most unjust thing on the planet that I could request or wish for.  Mind you, I never asked my ex to be a housewife, I merely wanted her to do her half of the household chores, at least, since I kept up with all the bills, made sure we had things in order so we could function, and was starting up a business to help us eventually move to another area where she could be closer to her family (as this was all she seemed to want, and told me as much, during our relationship of over 9 years).  I would come home during my lunch breaks at an office job and do the dishes, clean up the kitchen, make things tidy, pay the bills, etc.  My ex would come home after a day at work and read...or find other fun things to do.  I'd try to find time to spend with her but she'd rather be doing her own thing.  Now, I'm sure you can already tell from here that the relationship was doomed by this point - and it did take quite a few years to get to this degree of self absorbency on her end, but it was there and it was obvious to not only me.

As things started to get harder for me to handle (full time job with a 45/min to an hour drive each way for work, as the job moved farther out, starting a small business and working that at night, still paying all the bills and doing housework and errands on the weekends), she started to move further and further away, and that's okay - life is what it is and deals you the hand you are dealt, how you play it is up to you.  Sometimes I'm a very stealthy Poker player and sometimes I honestly suck.  This is probably the reason I'm not wealthy.  LOL

The ex friend, who was a friend at the time, was actually "hired" to assist us in cleaning up the house over the course of a couple of days - she was out of work, and we both thought we were helping.  This, somehow, led to her telling me that all I wanted out of my ex was a housewife...and, after we were broken up she accused me of this again.  This once again brings me back to, is that so wrong to want?

I was just sitting here thinking about how wonderful C is to me.  She's making deviled eggs right now, she did laundry yesterday.  She takes care of the kitty boxes and vacuuming every other day.  She's been talked into (*wink wink*) making her famous Alfredo sauce to go with the chicken strips she's making today, and we'll have that with low-carb pasta and a salad tonight.  It's our day off, and she's busy doing household things, and she's happy doing that.

When I met C, she told me she was raised to be a housewife.  I told her I was raised to be a husband, the provider, to make sure all things were taken care of, the bills were paid on time, the family happy.  My mother, of course, wanted me to get married to a young man (any) who were in the religion I was raised and be an obedient housewife myself, but that was not me, and I knew that from a very, very early age.  I followed my father's lead, and to this day wish I would have learned more from him (in fixing cars, electrical repairs, etc. - the man is like MacGuyver, and can even cook and grow things!).  I did, however, follow in my mothers footsteps in the sense that she paid all the bills and had the business at home.  Hmmm...again, I'm proving that I'm a split of my folks.

Anyway, back to wives.  C also told me she wanted to be a housewife.  She preferred to work part time or stay at home and work, having the freedom to clean the house, take care of the children (and we have 5, at this point, none of them of the human kind), make meals, and be a good caregiver and solid ruler of the house.  She is just that...she does rule with an iron fist at times, and honestly I'm quite happy with that.  She is my June, and I'm happy to say I'm her Ward...and yes, one of our babies acts like The Beaver (we also have an Eddie Haskell).  

I love having a wife.  I love knowing, also, that if something happens to me things will get done!  I recently had surgery (my...4th in 2 years - ya, that's too many...), and I haven't been able to do as much as I'd like, and I'm constantly told to "not work so much, take it easy like the doctor said."  I know that if I do things will still get done, I don't have to worry about that.  THAT is amazing.

Sometimes I feel like I've got it easy - like I should be doing more than I am...and maybe I should be - but I hope that if I am slacking C will tell me.  She usually does.

-AA

A good chuckle for today


Ahhhhh...this is just what I needed to start my Sunday morning...a very good chuckle!

And to go along with this, let's add on a favorite, early video that always made me chuckle, too:



We're taking the day off...but, that doesn't mean I might not be back later, as C has been playing the new Infamous 2, so she might snag the PS3 before me.  LOL

-AA

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Rain...


For some listening enjoyment, for a few minutes...nice background music on the topic.

It's raining today - this is the second day in a row we've gotten a little bit of rain.  That is a small miracle.  I was beginning to think I was transported to Arizona with humidity there, for awhile - everything has to be watered when it's like this (if you want it to NOT die, that is, including yourself).  It's nice, refreshing to have a little rain.

The area we live in keeps our car almost white with dust.  Our street gets grated every month or two.  It's very quiet out here when it rains...I like that.  Rain stops the 4-wheelers in their tracks.  The critters (squirrels, birds) are so happy it's raining they are staying out in it to forage.

This song, it reminds me of the solitude I'd feel in the cold rain in Oregon.  It's nice I can get that feeling back every once in awhile, almost on command.  This band, Concrete Blonde, is truly an all time favorite...and, they invoke a lot of memories for me.

-AA

Friday, June 24, 2011

Things sure do change...

Ahhhhh Portland, how do I miss you?  Let me count the ways...or just recollect about them, if nothing else.  

I miss the grungy areas of Portland, that have since been pushed out to the farm areas (and built up, ganged up, screwed up).  The first time I went back to you, in 1999, after 5 years away I hardly recognized you, what with a Mexican fast food chain restaurant on practically every corner...with my old ghetto-ized neighborhood all cleaned up and sparkling new with micro-breweries and cute little markets.  What happened to your character?  What's that you say?  You were whitewashed?  Ya, that doesn't surprise me...not at all.

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So, thinking about My Portland, when living in {insert Elvis singing} The Ghetto, I did some pretty amusing things.  In a previous entry, you already know that I used to frequent the little dive store around the corner...I also went to this corner to a little music shop that was there for a brief amount of time (now it appears a Nails store is there - how exciting) Music Store Spot - the first time I went in I asked if they had "the new MC Pooh" (aka Pooh-Man) - after a couple of quizzical looks from the guys in the store they said, "ya, we gots that, you wants it?"  Of course I wanted that damn tape, otherwise WTF would I be doing in that dinky little African American owned and operated music store in North Portland?  Happily on my way with my new tape, I then went to the little liquor store across the street.  More odd stares, but no one bothered me (though I did get a couple of nods) and off I went home with my cheap vodka (I'm sure) and music.  Oh hell ya!  Only thing that might have made it better was a stop at the Discount Hostess store...maybe I went there too?

My neighborhood was cool, for me at least.  Here's a pic of the house one street over...it burnt down, obviously:



I know I have pictures somewhere of my old place, but I'll have to find them...they're probably lost in a box.  The house above, the story is that the guy who lived there fell asleep while smoking a cigarette (on his couch) - oops.

Now, this neighborhood was amusing for several reasons - aside from the fact we were in an odd pocketed corner, we really did have the makings of a good movie of the times.  My landlord (okay, it was Mississippi, then Michigan, then Missouri, where I lived) was a gay man with gay man tastes and a penchant for NOT fixing anything he rented out.  He owned at least 6 other properties aside from his own, including 4 on my street, and his and another on Michigan (where the burnt down house was - it was a couple doors down from him).  Having a gay man living in the neighborhood meant he'd rent to whomever was colorful and would put up with his bullshit.  This included, but was of course not limited to:

1) Nan - old roommate - a story of how I ended up there in her house that she rented from my landlord will come in the future.

2) The house 2 doors down that I eventually moved to (and Nan eventually dated Jill, who lived in that house at the time with Maria who was a member of the band The Cunts).

3) The house next door to that, of which an older lady lived in and Echo, who was Ms. Leather - Portland (or something close to this title) in the early '90's.

4) The house across the street from that, where a "woman in her '80's" lived - Mark said he bought her a bottle of bourbon each week and took it to her - she never got out of the house and had someone else bring in her groceries.

Now...in addition to this assortment was Lizzy Black, the lead singer of The Cunts and also a leather dildo maker who owned two large Dobermans.  I'm pretty sure she owned this house (she lived on the corner of Michigan).

As you are surely gathering, the neighborhood was interesting.  Between the first house I lived in and the next house I lived in (and last, but I started in the basement and moved up to the main part over time) there was a family who rented and almost set their house on fire by leaving the stove on one night...next to the first house on the other side was a family who had a crack-head son in his 30's.  He was told he couldn't do any drugs by mom/dad if we was going to live there (and was on parole, etc., etc. - he was always high), he'd hide his drugs in a plumbing pipe that wasn't in use outside...I'd see him get them when he though no one was looking.  He also constantly had used stereo equipment he was trying to sell me cheap - I had to keep telling him I didn't have a stereo so why would I need speakers?  Oh, of course then he'd say he could find me some stereo equipment for the speakers if I'd just buy them.  Ya, no thanks.  

I loved living there...it was cheap and interesting and full of character.  I'd walk to the bus stop a few blocks away and take the bus into my downtown Portland job.  I lived very close to The White Eagle, which was a biker bar, primarily that was thought to be haunted (and now I think the hotel is much trendier that's on top of it), and near the Widmer

I was also close to the grain silo's where they'd bring in vessels of grain, and railroad tracks - two of my other loves.  I was smitten with my little pocket of ghetto-fantasticalness, and I miss it deeply.

Not that you can see it, but the house I lived in secondly is here and the first one a couple down is here - mind you, that one looks completely different...it appears some major work has been done on it (including an added basement ::scratches head::).  Here's a recent picture of The White Eagle that I stood kitty corner from talking on a payphone.  This whole area is nice now...most of the beautiful desolation is gone.

I miss those times - they were quieter in my head.  Things were simpler in some ways and much, much more dramatic in others, but maybe that's what made it so damn sweet.

-AA

Los Angeles, the apartment building

Irolo St. Apartment

Link above takes you to the apartment I lived in while in L.A. at first (the one with 6 of us at one point, with CE, MJ, JZ, etc.).  Just in case you're curious to explore the area, now you can. 

Nothing more exciting about this, at this time, I'm afraid.

-AA