It’s Not About Chicken

It’s not about the chicken. It’s not about freedom of speech, which I am 100% for. It has nothing to do with my spiritual beliefs, or the religion of others. It’s about hate, about wishing ill to someone for no reason other than who they love.
 
Yes, I’m gay. I’ve been in a committed relationship for thirteen years. Nine years ago, my partner and I flew to Toronto to exchange vows legally. No one from her family was there, and only my brother was there for me. Yet we had a great time with the family we created out of those who loved us for who we are. We’ve been together longer than a lot of our legally wed “straight” friends. 
 
We pay taxes. We’ve gone to softball games, Little League games, school plays and choir programs. We’ve helped friends and family move, grieved over lost loved ones and celebrated birthdays and anniversaries. We’ve bought Girl Scout cookies, wrapping paper and all sorts of things for school fundraisers, paid to have our cars washed for “free” for good causes and tipped the kids working hard at Sonic to buy uniforms or send them to camp. 
 
We’ve laughed, we’ve cried and we’ve spent countless hours at holidays – both with gay and straight friends and family. 
 
I’ve read countless articles on the “gay agenda”. On how “the gays” are trying to force other people into their lifestyles. I didn’t get that memo. My “agenda” is much like everyone else’s – to live my life as well as I can, loving and taking care of my family, my friends and my neighbors.
 
I support everyone’s right to free speech. But I cannot, in all decency, support hatred. My wife and I live in Texas – a very conservative state, in what has been said to be the most conservative suburb in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. Our neighbors know us, wave to us, and even stop to speak to us. Obviously, they have the same agenda as we do.
 
Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone’s agenda was like that?
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Just Another Day?

Valentine’s Day. Two words that can bring either joy, fear or angst to a person.

I’m one of the lucky ones – I’ve been happily partnered for almost twelve years, to a woman whose smile can still make my heart race. Thankfully, we don’t really subscribe to the whole “Valentine’s Day” hoopla. Neither one of us really need a special day for love. We show each other our love every single day – whether it’s in bringing morning coffee, or just looking into each other’s eyes for long moments at a time.

We figured out a long time ago the secrets to a happy marriage. Loving – Listening – Laughing.

Sounds simple, right?

It really is.

We both had troubles and issues before we got together. I think almost everyone does. But the months we spent talking on the phone and online before we ever met face-to-face, built a strong foundation that is solid to this day. Now I can’t remember a time when we weren’t together.

The hardest part, at least for me at the beginning, was to set aside egos. Instead of thinking, “I’ve done this for you, now what are you going to do for me?”, it quickly became, “I want to do this for you to see the happiness on your face.” Believe me, everything you put into the relationship, you’ll get out of it – double. At least that’s what’s happened for me.

Do we have our problems? Of course. Mostly because I’m a very pig-headed, stubborn person. But my wife never calls me on it – at least not in a way that I’ve noticed. She’ll listen to my rants and have me calmed down pretty quickly. Goodness knows I could never live with me and be sane – I don’t know how she does it. LOL!

She makes me laugh. We can spend time together, playing silly word games and laughing so hard that we both have tears running down our faces. Or we’ll be watching a favorite television show, seeing ourselves in the situations and giggling like little children. It’s never dull, and it’s often more fun than the program itself.

We have “date nights” regularly, whether it’s in a nice restaurant or a new “dive” we want to try, or a box of pizza on the bed while we snuggle up together and watch a movie.

She’ll see something, either a card or a silly gift, and bring it home to me. I’ll take a rose from the front garden and leave it in a vase for her as a surprise – no need for a special occasion.

For us, every day together is Valentine’s Day – no need for a “special” day once a year to remind me that I love her.

Clue By Four

So, we were cleaning out some old boxes and came across a very interesting photo taken of me on my eighth birthday.

While it wasn’t too much of a shock to my system considering my upbringing, it made me wonder – why did it take me until I was in my thirties to come to grip with my sexuality? I mean, duh! 

Obviously my parents didn’t care, as long as I was happy. And as you can see by the photo below, I seemed pretty darned pleased. I pointed out to my mother that while I was wearing a Dallas Cowboys football uniform, somehow she managed to make my cake with ROSES on it. LOL! Poor woman – she tried. And I won’t even go into the years of fighting over dresses vs. jeans.

A couple of years ago, Jan asked my mother if she and my dad ever thought that I was gay. Mom shrugged and said they did, but wanted to wait until I figured it out on my own. Gee, thanks, Mom. I sure could have used a hint or two along the way. 🙂

But, in the long run, things worked out for the best. It took me a while, but I finally understood why I always felt ‘different’. When my girl friends were swooning over the hunk of the day, I was more interested in what kind of car they drove. Besides, back in the Seventies, the “hunks” all looked like danged girls, anyway! Does anyone remember Leif Garrett, Andy Gibb or The Bay City Rollers? <shiver>  I had posters of Burt Reynolds (Smokey & the Bandit), Clint Eastwood (Dirty Harry) and a ton of silly animals. With Burt, I think it was more Sally Field and that awesome Trans Am that I liked. And with Clint…well, did you ever see what a cool gun a Magnum .357 was? 

But, since I waited until I was older, I was able to connect with the greatest gift I could ever be blessed with – my wife, Jan. And, to tell you the truth, I wouldn’t change a damned thing.

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Empty Nest? What Empty Nest?

My wife and I did our best to raise our daughter to be smart and responsible, so when she decided to move out a few months ago, we were pretty sure she’d be fine.

Only a couple of weeks went by and we were almost ashamed to enjoy the “empty nest”. But, being the troopers we are, we did our best.

At the same time, my mother, who turned seventy about two months ago, told me she was having trouble taking care of the home she rented. I can understand that, because it was a three bedroom, two bath house – much too big for a single woman to keep up with. I spoke to my wife, and we came up with a solution – move my mother into our daughter’s old room.

Before you think we’ve totally lost our minds, hear me out – Mom would always spend her weekends with us, even though we were less than 10 miles away. But she was lonely, and we loved the company. Our weekends tended to be filled with cooking, shopping and laughing – mostly laughing. So it really wasn’t much of a stretch to bring mom here.

So now, it’s several months later, and there’s been no blood spilled, and no threats to anyone’s life. Believe it or not, we enjoy having our new “roomie” with us – we watch a lot of the same television shows and movies, And, it didn’t take much work to add Mom’s desk to our office space.

Our weekends are much more relaxed – we’ll usually cook breakfast together, visit at the table, then retire to the office to play video games.

In other words, not much has changed. We just put a lot less miles on our vehicles, and get to spend Saturdays in our jammies 🙂

As for our daughter, she seems happy and well-adjusted. Other than the panicked calls asking where gnats come from (not her salad, that’s for sure), and the occasional “I have a cold, what should I take,” question, she’s doing great. And when she comes to visit, we actually spend more quality time with her than we did when she lived here. Everyone wins.

Of course, I haven’t even gone into the “pack” situation – with Mom’s chiweenie, we now have four dogs under twenty pounds. I’ll leave their adventures for another day.

It’s Official: I’ve Lost My Mind

Have you ever gotten completely and totally sidetracked? I seem to be the master.

Case in point:

I went to the sunroom to take out some cooked brisket to thaw for the weekend. Next to the freezer is a small fridge, which is the resting place for one of our two plants that I haven’t killed yet.

I noticed the plant had quite a few dead leaves on it, so I decided to clear them away. Looks much better!

Of course, that meant that I needed to sweep the sunroom in order to remove the mess I made with the plant. No worries. I go to the garage and get the broom & dustpan. Leaf mess too much for the dustpan, so I wheel the 45 gal trash can from the garage into the sunroom.

Meanwhile, Daisy went out back and started barking up a storm. Damned ducks are back in the pool. I went outside with our vicious 5 1/2 pound Chihuahua, and yelled like a crazy person at the two ducks that have adopted our backyard. They fussed at me – I waved the broom – they fussed some more – I yelled and cursed, Daisy barked. The ducks had enough of our noise and left….for now. Okay, I returned to the sunroom to clean up my earlier mess.

As I’m sweeping, I notice a ton of dead bugs/spider webs in the corner of the sunroom near the back door. Okay, I used the broom and cleaned them away. Then, of course, I sprayed the corner for *new* bugs. Now, what was I doing? Oh, yeah.

Took the broom, dustpan and rolling trash can to the garage. On the way, I saw dust bunnies in the kitchen. Since I already had the broom, I swept the kitchen. Dust bunnies vanquished! Oops. Knocked over the rolling trash can. More sweeping.

On my way to the garage, I noticed the washing machine had stopped. Hung up Jan’s tops to dry.

Where was I? Oh, yeah. Took the rolling garbage can to the garage before I knocked it over again. Tripped over the dustpan and scared the dogs with the not-so-nice language. Took that evil dustpan to the garage, along with the broom.

Started to put the garbage can back where it belonged, and noticed dust PONIES in the corner where it usually sits. Well, hell. Swept the corner, and totally ended up sweeping the garage. Did I mention that I opened the door so I could get some fresh air in the garage? Did I also mention that the wind is SWIRLING today? I think I ate more dust than I swept. Which of course set off an asthma attack.

Went into the house to use the inhaler. The dogs followed. I believe I heard giggling from Nuggie & Daisy.

Now, what was I doing? Oh, right.

Returned to the garage and put away the dust pan, garbage can and broom. Remembered the fabric softener dispenser from the washing machine that I took out last WEEK to clean. It’s still full of water, so I inverted it over a small trash can and went back in the house.

Where was I? Oh, of course.

Put another load of laundry in – last one today, yay!

Went back to the office, sat in my comfy chair and felt like banging my head on the desk.

I left the frozen chunk of brisket on top of the freezer in the sunroom.

Went BACK to the sunroom, ignored any other projects that clamored for my attention, took the package of frozen brisket off the freezer and took it to the kitchen.

And I can never figure out how I wear myself out during the day, doing “nothing”.

*sigh*

Another Fantastic Book Club!

We took a road trip to Austin this weekend to attend the Third Annual Lone Star LesFic Festival, hosted by the Sapphic Reading Group.

There’s only one word I can come up with to describe the event – FANTASTIC!

Okay, I’m sure there’s quite a few other great words, too – but I’m worn out. LOL! So many great, wonderful women – I’d name them all, but I don’t think I have enough space, or time. Suffice it to say that we met so many ladies, and had a lovely time. Lots of big-name writers were there and the readings were cool. Got to see many of our friends, although it seemed like there was never enough time to visit properly.

We also went to a private dinner party afterward and I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time.  Great food, wonderful company, and I think I’m going to have to drag, I mean, walk the dog around the block all week to work off the cheesecake 🙂

I hope that there will be even more people there next year – if you get a chance, please go. Lots of fun, great writers, and so many super people to meet. Whoo!

I survived!

Or, more to the point, I didn’t make a complete fool of myself.

Last night was the first time I’d ever made a “public appearance” as the only author. Usually, if I’m doing a signing, there’s a boat-load of other writers to keep the focus off me.

The Jewel Lesbian Fiction Bookclub is an amazing group of ladies. Friendly, intelligent, and just absolutely the best group of women you’d ever want to meet.  The book they read was Piperton, and they asked a lot of excellent questions. I can only hope I answered them well enough to make sense 🙂

Being a self-proclaimed recluse, I was somewhat nervous before the event. But, once we arrived, the wonderful women of Jewel made us feel so welcome, all my fears disintegrated. We had a wonderful time visiting and talking about not only Piperton, but writing in general. And, before you think I’m speaking in “royal-speak”, the we I’m talking about is Jan and myself. LOL! Really, I’m not quite that crazy, just yet.

Anyway, if you’re a writer and are planning on being in Dallas, give the women at the Jewel Lesbian Fiction Club a buzz. They’d love to have you join them, and you’ll be glad you did.