Saturday, April 29, 2006

Leaving for a bit

I don't know if I'll get to post anything while we're in Europe. If not, I'll catch up with everyone in a couple of weeks.

Be good, kids! :)

Friday, April 28, 2006

Huh? My Sears card? WTF?

If you work in healthcare, you get (or should) regular training in infection control. One of the main lessons is that you have to keep your hands clean. Transmission by contact is one of the main ways disease spreads.

Even before I got into this field, I was big on cleanliness, but now I'm even more concerned. So when I grabbed a pole in the subway tonight and felt something sticky on it, I immediately wanted to wash. At Penn, there was a line for the Men's Room, so I went to Plan B.

There's a Kmart in Penn, and they have a pharmacy section. Since Plan B involved getting some Purell waterless hand cleanser, I headed there. I quickly grabbed a small bottle of Purell and headed for the checkout. When I got there, my purchase came to $1.72 with tax.

"Do you want to put that on your Sears card?" Huh? I'm not sure if it was how she spoke or pure confusion, but I had to have her repeat that.

My Sears card? At Kmart? I guess I missed that announcement. More to the point, when I'm already holding out two dollar bills to pay, why would she want to waste the time of everyone behind me by getting me to charge $1.72?

Yes, I'm sure she was told to ask, but shouldn't common sense come into things at some point?

Speaking of sticky poles (or potentially sticky), I'm on my train home now, and I'm sitting across from a guy whose pole I'd like to see! We've exchanged pleasantries, and my gaydar tells me he's definitely a teammate.

He's not my usual type. He has a shaved head (not normally my thing, but sometimes--like on him, where it just works) and big arms. He also had a tattoo on one bulging bicep. I'm not usually into tattoos either, but, again, it works for him.

I guess the main thing is that he has a nice smile, and he has been friendly. Honestly, I've always been a sucker :-) for a nice smile. *sigh*

"Hey, Bokey, he followed me home. Can we keep him?" :-D

Thursday, April 27, 2006

They've got to be kidding

Just when I thought members of the U.S. Congress couldn't be a bigger bunch of useless phonies comes this crap. $100 rebate checks to offset higher gas costs? And let's try to sneak through drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge while we're at it.

I suppose it's too much to expect them to take real steps to foster energy alternatives.

The United States Congress: the best representation money can buy (today's money brought to you by the big oil companies).

Monday, April 24, 2006


The audiobook to which I'm currently listening is Peter Mayle's French Lessons. In it, he tells of a rather unusual race called the Marathon du Medoc. Yes, it's a race, but it's really more like a party. There are regular stops for wine tastings, and people dress up in costumes (many in drag!) for the race.

Now that's what I call a marathon. What drove me to write this post, however, was his comparison of this event in the Bordeaux region of France to what he normally sees on the faces of runners.

He described "earnest joggers" as showing "all the signs of joy you’d expect to find in torture victims." And isn't that a great description?

Years (and a large number of pounds) ago, I was pretty seriously into cycling. I remember being 30 miles into a ride, and I'd pass a jogger. As rung out as I'd sometimes feel, I knew I didn't look as bad as the average jogger. I never could fathom the means by which anyone was attracted to running. Just the looks on runners' faces was all I needed to see!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

A good afternoon of shopping

We decided that we need a new piece of luggage for the upcoming trip. One old piece is too big to take on the plane without paying an oversize fee, so we're not using that one. Another piece won't hold what we need. So we went shopping.

Macy's was our first stop, since they have a great luggage selection and often run sales. Sure enough, they had the type we wanted (Atlantic Luggage's 29" "Suiter"--the smaller 21" version can be seen here). It has a thick 1600+ Denier outer skin and is expandable. We got it at a very good price, since it was 50% off list price (which, of course, no one ever pays), and then 10% off for using my Macy's card and another 10% for taking one of the ones that was on display--which was fine, since it was spotless.

After Macy's, we went to Petco for dog food, since the kids are running low. Then we went to Barnes & Noble, where I spent gift cards I'd gotten for my birthday, as well as buying a bunch more than the cards covered--this is what happens when I'm let loose in a bookstore.

After Barnes & Noble, we went to the south shore to visit a nursery Marc likes. Aside from their usually having good plants in stock, Marc called ahead and found that they had the type of peach tree he wanted (from the grower he wanted--my other half knows his stuff!).

With all of that done, we started to head home. By then, it was about 7pm. Around that time, my cell phone rang. I was driving, so Marc answered it. It was a friend of ours.

We'd completely forgotten a plan to meet five friends of ours for dinner at 6:30. Oops! They'd gotten drinks and appetizers and were wondering where we were. We don't usually run late. It's a good thing they called, or we'd have forgotten until it was too late.

So we headed over to the restaurant. It wasn't too long of a drive, and they hadn't finished appetizers by the time we got there. We had a great time, despite the delay, and then we headed home.

Here, in the rain, we unloaded the day's acquisitions. We each took some of the flats of impatiens out of the truck. Marc put the peach tree on the outside patio area behind the garage, and then I went and lifted it out of the box it was sitting in, so the box wouldn't be out in the rain (it's in a pot--the box was just to keep dirt from getting loose in the truck).

I brought in the books and the luggage, and now we're relaxing. I'm in Mandy's chair (well, she thinks it's her chair), and it's nice to be home.

Hope you're all having a good weekend!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

All we are saying is...

Give peas a chance.

This message brought to you by the United Pea Growers Association.

Yeah, that's all you get. I feel like a neglectful blogger, but life's just too busy! Between trip prep and the craziness of work these days, there's just no time. On the bright side, the big trip is only ten days away. Woo hoo! :)

Monday, April 17, 2006

A day to remember

One hundred years ago tomorrow. That's when it hit. April 18, 1906.

It was very early in the morning when the fault let loose. The earthquake that resulted wasn't the most violent in American history. Not even close. Compared to the 1964 quake in Anchorage, it was a lightweight.

It was, however, one of the most devastating natural disasters in American history. The city would rebuild, and the people--those who survived--would go on. But it was a horrible calamity at the time. The earthquake was followed by a fire that burned much of the city to the ground.

Sunday, April 16, 2006


Two weeks from now, barring any problems, we'll be in Milan. This isn't just any trip. The purpose of this trip is to bring Marc's mom on her first trip outside the United States. She turned 80 this year (Marc is the baby of the family), and she's never set foot on foreign soil.

Well, that's about to change. By four weeks from now, she will have been to Italy, Switzerland, France and England. I'm sure she'll be overwhelmed (but in a good way).

The problem right now is that I'm the one who is overwhelmed--although Marc is helping with that. Months ago, I bought books on each place, to help with the planning. Also, we've been to London and Paris before (two of the key stops), so that's easier to plan. Milan and the lakes of northern Italy, on the other hand, have been more of a challenge. For the entire trip, there are so many possibilities that it's hard to choose what to do.

Fortunately, Marc, who is a great organizer, is now in full planning mode. He grabbed a couple of the books last night and started discussing options with me.

I'm sure all of this will come together. These things always do, but I've been a bit worried lately, since this is a rather large (and expensive!) trip that I want to make as special as I can. After all, this literally is going to be a loved one's "trip of a lifetime." So that's a bit of a burden. On the other hand, if it goes more-or-less as planned, we'll really give her a time to remember!

Wish us luck! :)

Friday, April 14, 2006

Zay Harding

I like travel shows. They help me plan future trips, show me places I might not visit and remind me of places I've been.

So it was natural that I was drawn to an episode of Globe Trekker (despite the name immediately setting off a song pun in my brain--the Road Runner theme song with the words "Globe Trekker" substituted for "Road Runner." Yes, that's life inside my head). :)

So I started watching an episode on Southeast China. The host is a young American named Zay Harding. A photo of him can be found here.

None of the photos I've found online really do him justice. He doesn't have the looks of a model--which is a plus for me--but he's handsome and quite charming. Above all, he has a nice smile and seems like a fun guy. He's not a kid, but he has a boyish charm.

Oh my. As I'm typing this, he has taken off his shirt. He's trying his hand at making some pottery, and he claims that he took off his shirt to keep it clean. Um, yeah. If I had a chest like that, I'd look for excuses to take my shirt off, too! Not that I'm complaining!

Now it's time to get back to watching TV! ;)


An update (over two years later): I've come back to this post so much later, because I found myself posting about Zay yet again. If you found your way to this post and want to see a few photos, then go here.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Not that I had any plan to go to Kentucky

Some One of our best friends are is from Kentucky, but that doesn't do much for my feelings for Kentucky at the moment. Actually, I probably shouldn't condemn the whole state. Just the asshole governor, Ernie Fletcher, who went out of his way to strike protection of gays and lesbians from the state's affirmative action plan.

He went out of his way to kill an anti-discrimination provision. People like this defy understanding. Where do they come from? What's wrong with them? Why are they so full of hatred?

Saturday, April 08, 2006


There just hasn't been much time to blog this week. Even today, we had lots of things to do. One of those things may spawn some photos worth posting, but that will come in a later post. The photos were from a flower show. We'd gone to this show, held at a nearby university, in prior years. This year, instead of being free, they charged $8 per person. In exchange, they had a lot less to look at. So who worked out that plan?

In other news, I went for an exam at the optometrist. This is part of the process of deciding whether I'm a good candidate for LASIK (so far, it looks good). Then I have to decide if I want to go through the very expensive process of getting my eyes fixed. The surgeon we'd be using is supposed to be one of the very best, so that's good. Also, they guarantee to get it right. Since I have astigmatism as well as being nearsighted (I almost typed bearsighted, but let's not go there), it's a little more complicated than some but apparently nothing they can't handle.

I'll keep you updated on what I wind up doing. Whatever I do, I think it will wait until after our big trip to Europe (three weeks from now).

Other things to mention today: one of the unions where I work is giving out flyers about a "National Day of Action Rally for Immigrant Rights" on Monday. They're asking people who attend (this rally is at City Hall in Manhattan from 3-7pm, if you're in the area and want to go) to wear a white shirt. That's an interesting "sign of peaceful protest," as their flyer calls it. It should make a great visual, if everyone does that.

That's about it for now. I have to get back to my chores!

I hope everyone's having a great weekend!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Photos from yesterday's party

The main birthday cake--there were five cakes in total, and they all got devoured

Some hors d'oeuvres with 4 of the 5 cakes in the background

Me and my wonderful partner

Michael & Greg

Steve & Jeff

A terribly flattering shot of Jase

One of the wonderful ladies Marc hired to help with the party--they really did a great job!

Tom & Jeff

Michael, as inspired by a scene from Jaws

Various relatives and friends getting food in the kitchen

Michael again, this time with cake--how does he keep getting in these photos, anyhow? There were lots of other people! Just a camera hog, I guess!

Jase, another one who keeps throwing himself in front of the camera! :)

Patrick & Michael re-installing the pink flamingoes on the lawn. When we had our housewarming party last year, they bought these and stuck them on the lawn. Yesterday, they searched the house until they found them (in the furnace room) and then put them back out front. One of our neighbors was seen with a stunned look on his face! :)

The most wonderful man in the world

Patrick & John

And again

What was left of the five cakes. Even with 40 people here, I'm amazed they ate so much cake.

My younger brother and his youngest son (who just reached one year of age). Like his shirt?

Dodger taking a break outside

And Miss Mandy

Mandy keeping John company--yes, she thinks she's a lap dog. She's just a huge lap dog! :)

I hope the photos were enjoyable. The party sure was! I had a great time! Thanks to everyone who made the day special!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

FABULOUS DAY! (a/k/a Happy Birthday to Me!)

Today is my 40th birthday. My wonderful partner Marc threw quite a party. About 40 friends and family members came over, and we had a fabulous time! I also got some fabulous gifts!

Photos were taken, but I'm not taking the time to post them just now (sorry!). There's fun remaining, courtesy of my other half. So I shan't dawdle here.

More when I have time...