Monday, October 31, 2005

Jenny I Got Your Number

Sing it with me. "867-5309, eight six seven five three oh ni-uh-ine". How many times have you given out this phone number instead of your own? C'mon, we've all done it. We've all given out a wrong number on purpose a time or two. Sometimes even with the wrong name. I have a friend whose favorite bar name, Justin, is nowhere close to his real name. I've had bar names myself. One memorable Port Aransas weekend, Darci, Julie and I became Anita Mann, Ivanna Rideyou and Alotta something that I can't remember now. We'd bet each other drinks that the drunk guy approaching one of us wouldn't blink an eye at the double entendre psuedonym. Most didn't. And we all got pretty toasted that night.

I thought I'd heard it all when it comes to people giving out wrong numbers, wrong names or heck, their friends' names and numbers instead of their own. Today I heard a tale that amused me greatly. The names have been changed to protect the innocent, or at least so some of you out there don't guess and start your own phone call campaign. I have a friend we'll call Jeri. For some time now, Jeri has been getting frequent calls at the traditional "bar just closed" time around 2:30am. The guys will leave drunken messages along the lines of "Hi Jeri, this is ____. Umm, you said it was okay to call anytime..." wink wink nudge nudge. As if you want to meet for coffee at 3am. She's also been getting regular phone calls where the person asks for her by name, strikes up a conversation and shortly both parties realize they don't know each other. The calls and messages were starting to increase and it became obvious that the other Jeri spends a lot of time in bars meeting men. A lot of men. The other Jeri is living la vida loca.

Jeri was getting annoyed and decided to put a stop to the calls. She started asking people what number they thought they'd dialed so that she could call the other Jeri and resolve the problem. At the very least ask Jeri Two to please ensure that the correct phone number is given out or, if it is a purposeful wrong number, to give a totally different number than either of their's. And maybe, possibly to counsel Jeri Two on the potential dangers in a party girl world. So she called. And got his voice mail. Yes, the other one is Jerry, a gay man who is apparently quite popular. And that explains the slutty behavior, says Jeri.

Why didn't someone realize the mixup sooner? Jeri's voice is a little deeper than most girl's and Jerry's voice is a little higher than most boy's. A kacheery guy calling up for love wouldn't realize he'd reached a female, especially because Jeri's message says something like "you've reached Jeri, leave a message". Even funnier is that Jeri's spouse, Tiffany (yes, they are lesbians) had decided a while back that J2 was a man. So...Jerry's tricks are booty callin' Jeri the lesbian. Can you just imagine? Seriously, I can't make up stories this hilarious. Have you ever heard of a more amusing coincidence?

Jeri did leave Jerry a voice mail about the mixed up numbers and missed messages. There's been no response from Jerry. It's Halloween, a high holy day in the gay life. He's been far too busy making new "friends" to call back.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Ghoulies and Ghosties, Long-Leggety Beasties And Things that Go Bump in the Night

Halloween is such a fun holiday. In the U.S., Halloween is all about fun times: costumes, candy, collecting for UNICEF (in some regions but not one I ever lived in), ghost stories and haunted houses. We live for candy corn, jack-o-lanterns, miniature Hershey bars and wax lips. As children we pre-determined our Halloween costume in August, after a few weeks of debate with our friends.

It's hard to remember that this holiday is based on the ancient Celtic celebration of Samhain. Druids, or Celtic priests to us modern folk, would build huge bonfires for sacrifices (both plant and animal) in an attempt to appease the deities and keep the peace on the one night of the year when the line between the living world and spiritual world blurs and ghosts are free to return and be as mischievous or malevolent as they pleased. Samhain (pronounced "sow-in") was also a New Year's celebration marking the end of harvest and beginning of winter, a season associated with the dead...for obvious reasons. When the Romans gained power over the region, they incorporated two of their festivals into the mix. Feralia and Pomona were celebrated back to back, with Pomona on the day of Samhain. Feralia was honoring the passing of the dead and Pomona acknowledged the goddess of fruit and trees. Pomona's trademark symbol was the apple, and is considered the reason why we bob for the fruit at Halloween and harvest festivals.

Once in charge, the Christians had to have it their way. Pope Boniface IV designated the official All Saint's Day during the seventh century, hoping to replace the Feralia festivities with a Christian observance of the dead. In the language of the time it was called Alholowmesse or All Hallow's day. The day before, Samhain, was called All Hallow's Eve, eventually just Halloween.

Whether your background is Pagan, Wiccan, Christian or whatever, it's still one of the most entertaining holidays. As a child I lived for Halloween. I loved planning my costume and getting together with friends to go trick or treating. My favorite costume was one that my mother made for a school play when I was picked to be an indian princess. The next year we moved to a different city and I got to wear my indian princess costume again. I adored it, with it's fringed sleeves and hem and the colorful beading. But no matter what costume we wore, the routine was always the same: rush home from school, start getting ready and wait, wait, wait until dusk to go trick or treating. Afterward, my mom made us go through our candy to check for tainted items, razor blades, etc., but we never found any. We'd trade candy for our favorites and give the ones we didn't like to our parents.

As I've gotten older, I don't do the dress up thing as often but I still love to carve jack-o-lanterns, toasting the seeds in a spicy mix while putting the final touches on a scary face, circle of stars, cat with an arched back or whatever design I'd chosen that year. Austin throws a huge Halloween event on 6th Street for costumed adults to drunkenly celebrate at bar after bar after bar. The gay bars in town revel in the holiday, each one packed with outlandishly costumed clientele. You have to love the Carmen Miranda-clad drag queen flirting outrageously with a hard bodied man wearing only a circlet of ivy and a well placed fig leaf. And I always have a good time, whether wearing my Sister Mary Feelgood costume (nun habit with a thigh high slit and red fishnets paired with cha cha heels) or my Bitch costume (just me, add whore red lipstick and a full dose of attitude). Every year finds me just as excited as ever that the holiday has arrived.

What are your plans for Samhain? Do you have a favorite costume?

"Double, double, toil and trouble; fire burn and cauldron bubble."
Act 4, Scene 1, Macbeth
~William Shakespeare~

Monday, October 24, 2005

Spandex For Days!

I did spend a little bit of time outdoors this weekend, watching the cyclist race at the Amli Bike Criterium in downtown Austin. The races were exciting, especially the pro men. There was one spectacular crash at the corner of 2nd & Colorado that took out four or five riders. I was bloodthirsty after that, holding onto Frank's shoulder and voicing my desire to see more riders skidding across the asphalt on their butts...major road rash! Frank chided me for wanting to see people get hurt, which calmed my savage nature a bit. The pro's were averaging 38 mph which made the turn in front of the Austin Children's Museum, with it's patch of rough asphalt, particularly treacherous. I had fun cheering on local pro's Zach and Will, both from PureAustin Gym, as they raced toward the finish.

Despite the fact that spandex is a privilege, not a right, there were many non-racers out on their bikes, sporting the skin tight fabric. People, please. I recognize that the fabric is great for it's wicking purposes and that tighter fabric cuts down on nipple burn, but if you are sporting a spare tire and you aren't actually on the bike propelling yourself toward some target location, do us all a favor and throw on a roomy tee shirt. Preferably one that will cover the very distinct outline of your twig & berries. I really don't need to know that much about you.

The one specimen of manhood that I was happy to see was George Hincapie (pictured). He stood next to me for a very short time, watching the pro's, until a gaggle of giggling girls interrupted us, asking if he would pose for pictures. He left as soon as he was done signing autographs, presumably back to his room at the Four Seasons. I'm certain he wanted me to follow him, but being the anti-stalkerish fan that I am, I let him wander off alone. Pity.

Now That the Kitchen is Packed, Of Course I Want to Cook!

I'm through packing up my kitchen in anticipation of the Big Move Out. No sooner did the boxes get taped up did my need to cook surface. I can think of so many things right now that sound fabulous and tasty and are spurring the crave to create a culinary delight. I want to make an omelet with spinach, tomato, roasted garlic and slices of the earthy smoked mozzarella from Whole Foods. While taking a pic of my beloved but rarely used hot pink Docs (pictured left) so I can post them on craigslist, I was hit with an urge to mix up a pitcher of refreshing and nicely alcoholic pomegranate champagne cocktails.

I'm jonesing for a bowl of warm from the oven spicy peach cobbler, topped with Blue Bell Natural Vanilla Bean ice cream. I'd stop packing the bathroom up if someone brought over everything I need to make a chicken alfredo pizza. I have been hit with a sudden yearning to learn how to make a fiery hot Thai curry. Or an authentic Indian curry. Or perhaps not a curry at all, but a batch of salsa so tasty and hot that despite the feeling that you may have blistered the roof of your mouth you just can't seem to stop yourself from grabbing another chip to dip.

I want to make ribs, tender and soaked in a citrusy chipotle barbecue sauce. I want to bake gooey and decadent chocolate heart of darkness cakes from the recipe I got off the Food Network's website years ago but have never used.

I'm sure that the longing to cook will remain with me until addressed. Until then, I will daydream my way through cakes and cornbread, roasted pork and rare steaks while finishing my packing.

What sudden crave were you hit with this weekend?

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Where Are They Now?

Where are the teen idols of my youth? And for the one person out there who dared to think "dead", don't think I don't know who you are, Frederick. I am not ancient enough that my teen idols are dead. Some of my idols from when I was much, much younger are dead, though. John Lennon is one. Allow me to clarify that I was listening to the Beatles and John Lennon at a very early age. I think I was the only person in third grade who knew what the White Album was. As a result, when the movie version of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band came out in 1978, I was probably first in line at the box office. Who can't love an acid trip love fest of a movie starring Peter Frampton, the BeeGees and Steve Martin with notable appearances by Aerosmith, Alice Cooper and Earth, Wind & Fire? Not to mention all the celebrities of the moment who showed up in the Heartland scenes!

One of those celebrities in the Heartland scenes was Leif Garrett. I had a huge crush on Leif from the moment his face graced an issue of Tiger Beat. It was even more intense when I found out he could sing. Where is he now? Leif is actually touring again, although his website does list a club date for later this year. His latest album (2004) is called "Betty Ford for Xmas" and is by Leif Garrett and the Crush Ups. He has two movies coming out, one called American Black Beauty, where he plays Pete and another called Popster in which he is billed as Janitor. I'm not sure if these are straight-to-DVD releases or if they'll be in selected theaters. The pics of Leif on his website are entertaining. At one point he has so much facial hair he's almost unrecognizable. Gone is the dreamy faced cute boy I remember!

Another Big Star for me is Shaun Cassidy. Shaun, who was well known for his role as Joe Hardy in the "The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries" t.v. series enjoyed success at a young age and hasn't stopped. I fell for Shaun when he released his cover tune single "Da Doo Ron Ron" in 1977. (Apparently the late 70's were my prime starstruck years.) I thought he had hit his peak and fizzled out after he did "Breaking Away", until I realized that he is simply a behind-the-scenes success. Unlike his brother David "I Think I Love You" Cassidy, who resurfaces in Vegas from time to time, Shaun has built up quite the resume as a creator & producer for television. Some notable projects are "Invasion" currently on ABC, was the executive producer for the 2003 season of "Cold Case" and "Cover Me: Based on the True Life of an FBI Family" on USA. He's busily building a career out of creating, writing and producing. Who knew?

The last of my Holy Trinity from the latter 70's is Rick Springfield. He caught my attention in "Battlestar Galactica" playing Lt. Zac. I followed him to his "General Hospital" debut as Dr. Noah Drake, the best looking doc in the whole of Port Charles. Does anyone remember that song that named all the characters in General Hospital at the time, such as Luke and Laura? Extra points if you can find the lyrics and post them in comments! For those of you still fans of the soap, Rick is reprising his Noah Drake role starting December 2nd. What has he done lately? A lot! His website was by far the best of all three. Don't skip the intro. His touring schedule is heavy and this year he added a date or two in Japan. His newest album "the day after yesterday" is a decent cover tunes cd of "all the songs I wish I'd written" says Rick. I did learn from his website that he recently obtained a "carded, double telescoping Obi Wan Kenobi" figure and that for Halloween he's going as "the guy who had to have two hernia operations" and hopes to "scare the hell out of the little kids". I must say that he has aged gracefully. And perusing his website has me jonesing to listen to "Working Class Dog". I'm hopeless.

Who were your teen idols?

Monday, October 17, 2005

Wowsa, What a Weekend!

I had a fantastic weekend. Friday night was Family Night at the Reinhardt-Miller household. We made pizzas ranging from your basic pepperoni to my favorite smoked salmon/goat cheese/anchovies/capers/red onion one. Adrian worked the crowd, bestowing smiles as favors to all his aunts, aunties and Tía. We all fawned over him, tickling him to elicit those oh-so-cute belly laughs and playing with him until bath & bedtime. After our boy went to bed, we continued our revelry by playing a few games of Catchphrase. I don’t know why Tanya is so lucky, but she doesn’t know how I guess her clues, either. We’re a great team, TT! Our new folks attending Fam Nite were probably less than impressed with our zeal for Catchphrase, but once you’ve been Tanya, and won a few games in a row you’ll find that it is quite addictive.

I started packing up my apartment on Saturday. I have to be out of my place by Halloween, so it was time to get cracking. Packing is one of my favorite tasks, right up there with cleaning the bathroom, getting a root canal and being abducted by aliens. I’ve put it off for as long as I can. I am happy to be moving, though. Frank is excited to be acquiring a live-in chef with a Netflix account. J I broke it to my father on Sunday that I’m moving. I may be knocking on 40’s door, but it’s still hard to tell my parents that I’m going to be living with my boyfriend. Why is that? As the youngest child I must have an ingrained need for their approval and blessing. Well, they don’t quite approve but they know that at my age I’m an adult and can make my own decisions. They like Frank and know he is a good man, and that is the most important part. On the other hand, they were thrilled that I had sold the Granny furniture. I’d been holding on to a bedroom set that originally belonged to Great Aunt Cissy (obviously of the anglo side of the family) and then to my grandmother. I sold it to someone I work with who was very happy to get a full sized bedframe with headboard & footboard, the matching chest of drawers with nifty wheels on the legs and vanity with little stool. I can only wonder if my great aunt and grandmother will make any visits from the other side to the furniture’s new home. It’s been their inclination over the years to, ahem, check in, so to speak. Pretty damn scary if you aren’t used to it. Caveat emptor!

Saturday night I made a fabulous meal for Frank and Corrie. I’m housesitting, and am taking advantage of the large kitchen and a Big Green Egg, a smoker/griller that is based on the Japanese kamado clay-fired stoves. It is a large, heavy, thick ceramic egg shaped grill and smoker. It is perfection! I grilled a chicken breast for Corrie and a salmon filet for us and the flavor really is a cross between smoked and char-grilled. The asparagus and Portobello mushrooms were equally flavorful. For dessert, I cored and sliced an apple, added a tiny bit of butter and some extra dark brown sugar before wrapping it all up in tin foil and placing it on the cooling Egg. In the house, I’d made toasted ciabatta bread with herbed goat cheese for a starter and baked polenta rounds topped with diced tomato, basil and capers as good carb side for Frank. He had a 10 mile race on Sunday and needed to carb load. Dessert was great, but I’d have killed for some vanilla ice cream to top the apples. Mmmm!

Sunday morning found me at the Pervasive Powercharge bright and early. I learned that following the crowd isn’t always the right thing to do. You know how it is, you’re going to some big event but didn’t look closely at directions. If you’re like me, you’ll think “I’ll just follow everyone else. All of us can’t be wrong.” That line of thinking has now been proved untrue once all the occupants of about 45 cars realized we had parked in the wrong place. Luckily, we had plenty of time before the start and found it amusing instead of stressful. It was turning into a beautiful morning and all was well. Frank and his running partner, Hang, had a terrific run. Hang’s boyfriend, Jason teamed up with me as support staff and we rushed off before the start to make the first of several mad dashes to vantage points around the race route. Our first stop was at the top of a very steep hill on Spicewood Springs. This hill was one that I couldn’t walk up without exertion, much less run but when our runners topped it, they looked cool and were running smoothly. In fact, each time we saw them they were making it look easy. Once again I’ve made a mental note to go by a party supply store for noisemakers instead of bruising my hands clapping for hours. Maybe I’ll be more prepared at the next race.

They finish the race at the same time, according to the results website, but we know that Hang finished 1/10th of a second ahead of Frank. Way to use the girl power, Hang! The official times are listed for Hang, racer number 768 overall and Frank, racer number 769 at 1:35:48. There are a lot of things I can do in an hour and a half, but running 10 miles is not currently one of them. Since they are so competitive I’ll just throw myself into the fray by declaring that while Frank and Hang may always outrun me, I can read faster and retain more of what I’m reading than either of them. Nope, we haven’t tested that, but I’m certain of my skills. At any rate, they showed us once again what powerful athletes they’ve become. Congratulations! No pressure, but I’m expecting you both to run the marathon in less than 4 hours.

Sunday night was my usual burgers-at-the-Can evening. It was super busy, due to the AIDS walk earlier that afternoon. In between customers Margie and I caught up on current events in our lives. I didn’t feel like drinking, despite offers from several regulars to buy me beverages. In fact, by the time 8pm hit, I was more than ready to leave. I did stop by Whole Foods for an avocado gelato and to buy some smoked mozzarella. I know I rave in person to all of you about the avocado gelato, but seriously, you need to try this treat. It is delectable. And no, it does not taste like frozen guacamole. It is a light, luscious flavor and you will become a fan if you only do what I urge and at least ask for a sample when you’re in the store. You won’t be disappointed.

What did you do this weekend?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Back from El Paso

My boyfriend and I went to El Paso for the weekend. It was a very quick trip and like all quickies, we packed a lot into a little bit of time. This trip reinforced my belief that adult El Pasoans do not need sleep. There must be something in the water, a trickle of chemical goodness from the maquiladoras in Juarez that gives them the superhuman strength to survive on 3.4 hours of sleep. I did manage to stay up into the wee hours of Saturday morning, but I unashamedly crashed with the children on the couches in the living room on Saturday night. What can I say? I need my beauty rest.

Saturday was the big family event day, with two neices and a cousin getting baptised. Frank was asked to be Elena's padrino, with his sister Melissa as madrina. (That's godfather & godmother for you non-Spanish speaking Americans). I struggled through the sermon, with Father repeatedly preaching that a man and woman can get married and be a couple, be in a committed relationship but it isn't a family until they have kids. WTH? What if you can't have kids and for some reason are unable to adopt? Then you don't get to be classified as a "family"? Whatever. Anyway, I was glad when he finished the sermon and moved on to the actual baptisms. They were nicely done, with the older kids first and then the baby. The only one who struggled was Gia, the toddler. She is absolutely beautiful and complete demon spawn. This gorgeous kiddo beats up on her older brother and when admonished will simply look at you and smile a beautiful, "yes, I'm misbehaving but aren't I the sweetest" smile. I'm certain the holy water burned her. Desiree, on the other hand, was completely well behaved during her baptism. I had bribed her before the service. I promised if she was the most well behaved child in church I'd give her a dollar. Aside from Elena, who was a perfect baby, Desi earned her money. It went into her piggy bank as soon as we got home. Elena was so sweet during her baptism. She was happy and content in Frank's arms.

The rest of the day was spent celebrating with family. There was a table full of food, everything from brisket to hot dogs and hamburgers, potato salad, macaroni salad, nachos, chips and salsa, frijoles, much food! The salsa was wonderful. Frank's mom makes the best homemade chile, as they call salsa in El Paso. It was flavorful and so hot that I thought the roof of my mouth was going to blister. I couldn't stop eating it, it was so good. Luckily there was also plenty of iced down cerveza. Yes, I know you're supposed to drink milk to stop the burning from hot peppers, but I chose to ignore that advice and grab a cold beer. Or two. Or four. The entire day was one huge party, with the kids playing in and out of the house, driving us crazy with the number of times we had to yell "close the door!". The dining room table turned into a card game and the rest of us spilled over into the living room and back room, watching movies and talking. You know we had to raise a glass to the Longhorn's victory over OU. Or should I say slaughter?

Sunday was spent a little more quietly, having a late breakfast with the family, yummy chorizo and eggs that Frank's dad made along with refried beans and, of course, chile. Mmmmm! Frank and I visited with his grandparents for a little while, too. His grandfather was teasing me that since I didn't make any menudo on this trip he is expecting me to make it when we come for Christmas. I also was told in no uncertain terms that if I'm going to be a part of this family I need to learn Spanish. Who can say no to Grandpa? The patriarch of the familia cannot be denied! I assured him I'd look into lessons. My Spanish is pretty horrible. I did speak my one sentence that I know well to Grandpa. "Yo hablo Español, pero muy poquito y muy mal." He was happy that I said it in Spanish but will be happier when I can have a conversation without Frank needing to translate for me. We left to make a fast appearance at the church bazaar and say goodbye to the parents, who were working booths there before heading off to the airport. As always, it was hard to say goodbye. We promised that we'd stay longer on our next visit.

I ended up with a serious migraine on Monday, but today it's all good. I'm back at work and attempting to clear off my desk. How was your weekend?

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Commenting Gets a Little More Complicated

I love feedback on my blog postings, but I am being forced to add one more step to the process. Now, in addition to either choosing to comment "anonymously" or using the "other" button and filling in a name or nickname, you will have a word verification step. You know the kind, the box with the fuzzy lettered word in a font that looks like it's all stretched out like they used to do to glass Coke bottles in the 70's at state fairs and in San Antonio to commemorate Fiesta. Does anyone remember these? Anyway, back to the you'll have to type in the word or letters as they appear in order to post your comment. I am very, very tired of clearing out the comments that all say something like "YOUR BLOG IS GOOD, INTERESTING HOW ABOUT CHECKING OUT MINE AT _______" and the link is 9 times out of 10 for penis enlargement but once it was for cheap pharmaceuticals. Since I don't need either, I'm making this easier on myself with the word verification. It's still super easy to post a comment, so please, don't let a little fuzzy stretched out word verification stop you!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Love Is All You Need

Again, a Beatles reference in my posting. No, I'm not old enough to have enjoyed their music at the pinnacle of it's popularity. I'm a younger-than-that Beatles fan. Listening to the compilation album, The Beatles 1 makes me happy. And happy is what I need to be right now.

I've always thought that friends are the family you choose for yourself, the flowers in your life garden...the rich chocolate accompanying a crisp, cold flute of champagne. I know it is true. I can honestly say that without my family and my friends I wouldn't be able to handle life right now. I have had the worst week and a half in the history of my life and my friends and family are holding me up, helping me keep it together and steering me toward happiness.

It sounds so clinical to call my friends and family a "support system". That description always gives me images of Star Trek like flashing circuit boards and plastic shrouded wires leading off to something unseen. I think they are more like a tangible evidence of psychic nourishment...of sunshine and blue skies for my soul.

I will make it through this rough time in my life. I will make it through because I am strong, because my partner is a strong man, and because I have strong, caring, loving people in my world. I wish I could write a love letter to each of you that adequately explains just what you mean to me, but I don't have the words to do justice to how important you are. I will simply say, I love you and thank you, for all that you do, and for all that you don't do when it's time to do nothing but be there.

"When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares."
~Henri Nouwen~