Quote of the week:

“They'd have to shoot me to get me back to Illnois."

~Abraham Lincoln upon going to WDC to become president

Saturday, November 29, 2008



The opening number of Fiddler on the Roof, is “Tradition”. Without benefit of the audio, to give appropriate emphasis it should be “TRADITION!”. (I’m still too technologically retarded to put in the one word link that would take you to the You Tube video.) My first Thanksgiving in Chicago, back in 1995 started a new tradition. I had Thanksgiving with my then landlords and friends, Susan, Sam and their son Graham. Graham was five or six and was the greatest kid. (Now he’s a great young man.) They always have a good ‘family’ sized crowd of a dozen people plus, any given year. They had already dubbed me as “The Upstairs Chef”, as I’d bake and leave goodies for them in the foyer table when I lived there. I offered to make pies. The pies were a hit. After dessert was served, Susan feigned incredulity and jealousy and said, “I used to be the ‘pie queen’ of this building!” My TG role was solidified, and a new tradition was created. My subsequent TG plans were set, even after I moved two years later when I bought my first condo. They were part of my ‘family of choice’, and their extended family and friends became mine by extension. Susan’s Mom, especially took to me. Unfortunately she and her partner were not able to make it this year.
For the past two years, family of origin obligations took me ‘Bumblefuck’ for Thanksgiving. This year, I stayed home in Chicago and was able to regenerate our Thanksgiving Tradition. Of course I brought pies—only two this time (Shredded Apple [another TG tradition of mine], and Caramel Pecan) as other guests were bringing a version of Pumpkin pie. Sam’s sister, when she and her family arrived, generously and genuinely said, “It’s so good to see you again! I’ve been anxiously waiting for your pies.” The sentiment was echoed by Paula and Howard, other friends of SS&G who have become TG “regulars”.
I love this Thanksgiving gathering. It’s comfortable, relaxing, and there’s NEVER any drama. There’s laughter. There’s gratitude. There’s love and affection for old friends and new. I’m able to be myself. They ask questions of me without being intrusive. More importantly, they don’t ignore me or aspects of who I am. There’s never any pretense.
We have some beers beforehand, while noshing on hors d’oeuvres, wine with dinner, and since I’ve turned Sam on to single malt scotches, he usually has new one to try with dessert. (My parents are teetotalers—so there’s no imbibing in Bumblefuck.)
After a two year hiatus, I am thankful for the revival of "TRADITION!". I’ll lift a glass of Scotch to that.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Perception Part Deux: Subjectively objective

Back in late September , as my weekends on the beach were coming to an end for the season, I asked my friend Louie to take some candid pics of/for me, while I still had some summer color/tan, as it was the first time in many years I possessed a hue other than ‘pastey white boy’. Also, I wanted some pics of me since I’ve lost the weight and am trying to get more tone. I’ve made progress, but “Joe six pack abs” I’m not. While I don’t feel fat anymore, I’m not willing to go so far as to say I feel skinny. The last remains of the damned belly won’t go away.

All my life I’ve been self conscious of my body. I was an overweight child—not obese, but overweight. I had a belly. I had boy boobs. The first time I lost a good deal of weight was my sophomore year of HS when I got sick with a really bad ear infection. For the first time, I had a smaller waste than my older “hot” brother. (In 8th grade I was once introduced to someone as ‘the one with the cute, hot brother’. It’s something I’ve never forgotten).
When the SFm* told me he was leaving me, one of the reasons was, “I am no longer attracted to you.” If he was trying to find the way to cut me the deepest, and inflict the most pain and hurt with lasting effects, he found it.

After Louie took the pics, we went to his computer to view and select. I was looking at the pics with some amazement. “God, is that really me?” Subjectively speaking while objectifying the person in the pics, I said, “Wow, I have a nice ass! Who knew?” I haven’t lost touch with reality. I know I’ll never be posing for any calendars. My goal is to be able to be shirtless in the summer without feeling self-conscious.

Looking at photos is a lot different than looking at yourself in the mirror. The experience was a very affirming. The photos went far beyond their intended purpose.

*Stupid Fucking mormon