Thursday, December 31, 2009

The End of '09, Short Flights, and Tequila Flights

Personally, I take issue with the idea that this is the end of the decade, of the aughts, as they say. We usually refer to counting from 1 to 10, not 0 to 9, after all. But, that's just me. Anyhoo...

Yesterday was busy at the restaurant - it has been all week - we were hard pressed even with 4 servers, but we managed. As usual most everyone was in great spirits. Then an amazing experience fell into our lap.

At about 12:30 pm, I answered the phone to hear a woman's voice asking for directions to the town and the restaurant, in particular. When asked where she was calling from, she replied the local airport. I was a bit confused by that, but since the airport is a private one only, I asked if she had flown in. Yes, she said. This meant they flew in by private plane. How's that, Watson?

So I gave directions for the most complicated first leg of the journey instructing her to call me back when she arrived at the first landmark. Sure enough, half hour later she's on the phone again and I guide her in the rest of the way. An hour later the door opens on two smiling faces - male and female - and with a twinkle in her eye asks if I was the one guiding them all the way into town. I said yes. She clapped her hands like a little kid almost squealing with delight.

Turns out this was a spur of the moment flight to visit the DE shore (their first!) and when they found a card for the restaurant at the airport touting a few menu items, they decided to spend time with us. We all had a great time. The manager gave them tee shirts and as they relaxed after their fajita lunch, they asked many questions about the town and area. They fell in love with the place and, since they were from New Jersey, surprised by the openness, generosity, and friendliness of the locals. Other diners visited their table, introduced themselves and offered ideas of places and shops to visit. This was one day-trip none of us will ever forget. They will probably be back in early Spring before the Season begins to spend a weekend and really get to know the area. I know the restaurant has two more fans after all is said and done.

On The Job Hunting Front: Last evening I arrived after a fun day at what will now be called Job #1, (the other job having ended on Monday) to find voicemail from the Manager of the Men's Clothing store, you know, the one who asked me to apply because there were only women on the sales floor, yes that manager. She asked that I return her call ASAP.

It was after 5 pm, but I gave it a shot and caught her just before she was to leave. She told me that the District Manager liked what she saw on the application (yes, another SHE in the men's clothing store business, go fig!) and would be willing to take me on for a "trial run" - at a very low hourly wage - with a promise of a 25 Cent per-hour raise after the 30 day trial period.

The hourly wage offered was an insult - to anyone - not only myself. Let's just say that I could earn more flipping burgers at a fast food joint - without the 30 day trial period. The salary wouldn't pay for gasoline, makeup, or work attire. The manager seemed sincerely surprised when I declined the less-than-generous offer, reminding me of the rough economy, a 25% discount on all store merchandise,and few job opportunities. I guess I was to be 'grateful' for the offer. When I declined again, she became miffed and abruptly ended the conversation, essentially hanging up on me. Oh well...

That's It! The End!
But We'll Get Over It.
My Friends.

The jewelry store formally closes today at 6 pm. The three other bauble peddlers want to meet me for a drink after closing and then get the hell out of town before the Blue Moon New Year's Eve craziness gets into full swing. I think I can do that. ONE DRINK ONLY... OK, maybe a few tequila flights, but that's all!!!

I have to work tomorrow.

And so it goes.
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Monday, December 28, 2009

Love My Blog-buddies

This was my last day of employment at the jewelry store so I was pretty down. This awaited me and cheered up my otherwise depressing day.

In a previous post I mentioned using a dutch oven to cook a pork roast to make pulled pork and wondered (in parentheses, like these!) if there really was a Dutch connection.

Well, it turns out, there is a connection and my favourite Dutchman, Peter, read the post and sent the following as a comment. I thought it would serve much better as a post, so here is the history of the Dutch Oven. Says Peter:
"Of course there's a connection..."

Early European history
During the late 1600s the Dutch system of producing these cast metal cooking vessels was more advanced than the English system. The Dutch used dry sand to make their molds, giving their pots a smoother surface. Consequently, metal cooking vessels produced in the Netherlands were imported into Britain. In 1704, an Englishman named Abraham Darby decided to go to the Netherlands to observe the Dutch system for making these cooking vessels. Four years later, back in England, Darby patented a casting procedure similar to the Dutch process and began to produce cast metal cooking vessels for Britain and her new American Colonies. It is possible that because Darby’s patent was based upon his research into the Dutch foundry system that the cooking vessels he produced came to be referred to as “Dutch” ovens. Other researchers believe that this term may have come from the itinerant Dutch traders who sold cooking vessels out of their wagons as they traveled from town to town and door to door. Maybe both accounts are true. In any event, the term “Dutch oven” has endured for over 300 years.

American history
Over time the Dutch oven used in the American Colonies began to change. The pot became shallower and legs were added to hold the oven above the coals. A flange was added to the lid to keep the coals on the lid and out of the food.
The cast-iron cookware was loved by colonists and settlers because of its versatility and durability. It could be used for boiling, baking, stews, frying, roasting, and just about any other use. The ovens were so valuable that wills in the 18th and 19th centuries frequently spelled out the desired inheritor of the cast iron cookware. For example, Mary Ball Washington (mother of President George Washington) specified in her will, dated 20 May 1788, that one-half of her "iron kitchen furniture" should go to her grandson, Fielding Lewis, and the other half to Betty Carter, a granddaughter. Several Dutch ovens were among Mary's "iron kitchen furniture."
When the young American country began to spread westward across the North American continent, so did the Dutch oven. A Dutch oven was among the gear Lewis and Clark carried when they explored the great American Northwest in 1804-1806. The pioneers who settled the American West also took along their Dutch ovens. In fact, a statue raised to honor the Mormon handcart companies who entered Utah’s Salt Lake Valley in the 1850s proudly displays a Dutch oven hanging from the front of the handcart. The Dutch oven is also the official state cooking pot of Utah.
Mountain men exploring the great American frontier used Dutch ovens into the late 1800s. Dutch oven cooking was also prominent among those who took part in the western cattle drives that lasted from the mid-1800s into the early 1900s.

I suppose I could have looked it up, but I like the fact that a proud Dutchman did that for us all.
Better take notes, there may be a quiz sometime next year.

If you like good food and have an interest in Dutch history, check out Peter's site. He posts some great recipes. If you comment, tell him the cajun sent you.

Big hugs to you, Peter. I hope we get to meet in person, preferably in your country, sometime in the future.

Now we all know something we didn't know before. Doesn't that feel good?

And so it goes.
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Sunday, December 27, 2009

It's Not Where You Start, It's Where You Finish!

H/T to Tommy Tune and the Musical "Seesaw".
This was my second-to-last day at the jewelry store. Tomorrow will be the end of a 12-year run and by the total of holiday sales the decision to close the store on the 31st. was the right one. Granted, sales were down all over the area this year, but the luxury items took the biggest hit. My sales have been the lowest in all my years with the company and there will be no New Year's bonus to look forward to, either.

I want to get through tomorrow without breaking down or blubbering like an old fool, but at this point all bets are off. I don't know how I'm going to feel. We have conflicting emotions about the way the situation was handled by the owner and his wife. We're all feeling kind of used and abused as details of the larger picture come into view. No matter, once I punch out for the last time tomorrow I will not be looking back.

The 3 people I've worked with over those years helped me through the most difficult times of my life - the break-up, surgeries, homelessness, and the side effects of the drugs I was on for over a year - I owe them a lot. I'm sure we will stay in touch but it will be different, even a bit alien at times. The tie that bound us will be gone. We'll move on to the important things in our own lives.

There is rent to pay, hospital bills to continue paying off, living expenses and other obligations to meet, so the focus is shifting back to me, as it should.

Having time off Christmas day and yesterday I used the time to rest and work at getting rid of this damned cold. I slept when I wanted to, ate when I felt hungry, knocked back copious amounts of water, tea and juices, read, and watched a concert on DVD. The only sort of 'work' I did was cooking. (Well ain't that a surprise!) I've had this interesting recipe for pulled pork for a while and last week found a Boston Butt on sale at a very low price. The 3+ pound roast cost under $3.00! So I cooked it up, let it rest a few hours on a platter trimming off the remaining fat, as I made the vinegar barbecue sauce. Returned the roast to the pot (we call it a Dutch Oven - sorry Peter! Or is there a connection?) and let it simmer to absorb the sauce and additional spices. After shredding the meat I made a sandwich on a baguette with lettuce and tomatoes. It was tender, spicy, juicy, and close to heaven. There will be more of those in the future as well as baked potatoes stuffed with the pork, drizzled with the sauce and served with a salad over the next month or so.

Health wise, I'm feeling better, less stuffy, but still have the nagging cough. Most annoying. Hopefully, the worst is over and I'm on the road to recovery. Must be careful though, folks who've had this crud say one can easily experience a relapse. I don't want that to happen. I can't afford any more down time.

Time for a festive cocktail and a bit of supper - in that order.

And so it goes.
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Friday, December 25, 2009

Poor Sales and Unemployment

Christmas in Delaware this year must have broken some kind of record in low sales. The parking lots were half full and those 'shopping' weren't carrying many bags. Christmas eve is usually our best day of the season with all the guys doing their last minute bauble shopping, not so this year. Ours was a dismal sales day. No spiked eggnog this year to celebrate the great holiday sales, because there were few.

The grocery stores and restaurants were empty, too. After work I drove into town to check the mail and the streets were practically empty. The drive home was strange because there were few cars on the road - not good signs that the economy is turning around, and on January 1, 2010 there will be four more people out of work here. The jewelry store closes for good at 6 pm on New Year's Eve with no other possibilities on the horizon for any of us. Two of us have other PT jobs to help get us through, but the other two have nothing to look forward to any time soon.

Normally, Thursday the 31st. would find me at the store but I can't face it and will end my employment on Monday, December 28 - and move on. Too sad after a dozen years working together there will be many tears and I don't want to be a part of that. Don't mean to be a downer because, truth be known, I am ready for a new challenge and positive change in my life - again. I feel really sad for the others I've worked so well with all these years. It's going to be a scary road, but a new door will open for us, I am sure. Which reminds me of this song from a Sondheim Show many years ago sung by one of his favourite leading ladies:
We're expecting heavy rains beginning tonight (at least it isn't snow!) and temps have been rising steadily since last evening. The snow and ice are finally melting so the roadway should be less dangerous tomorrow. All in all, a very gray Christmas day. There is a pork roast simmering on the stove which should be done by early afternoon to be enjoyed with baked sweet potato, and salad. Then maybe a movie to round out the day.

Meanwhile the cold lingers, as does the coughing jag. Nothing seems to have any long-term effect on this bug. Still, I'm better than I was last week, so that's something.

Here's hoping for a better life in 2010 for us all.

More later.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

"Feed the World" - Live Aid

Fifteen years ago it was Bob Geldorf who spearheaded the effort to help the starving in Africa. Today, he's all but forgotten replaced by Bono.

I always think of this song at Christmastime.

Merry Christmas to all.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Coughs, Clean Clothes, and Southern Comfort (food)

Three days before Christmas and I continue to hack until my eyes run water. The throat doesn't hurt, but every so often there's a stabbing tickle setting off a series of coughs that rattles the old body.

Interestingly enough, I feel better during daylight hours, especially when the sun is out as it is today, but as soon as night falls all that changes. The head begins to feel like it's stuffed with gelatin and the sinus pressure increases. I have no idea why, but there it is.

I dragged myself out this morning before dawn to do laundry. It had to be done; it's been three weeks, I work the next two days, and the place is closed on Christmas. It's very cold (20*F.) and the snow/ice is still everywhere, so I avoided back roads as much as possible. The place was clean as usual and I enjoyed another chat with the kinda hunky owner who arrives every morning to clean the machines, vacuum, and mop the place. He had the back-up heater cranked up making the place toasty and welcoming. No one arrived to disturb my concentration and serenity, so everything was washed, dried, folded (or on hangers) and back in the car in about 90 minutes.

Already out and about, I thought it best to get the other errands out of the way rather than wait until next week. So...fueled up the car, delivered a check to the auto insurance company to cover the next 6 months, ran items to the recycle center, checked the post office, picked up a few things at the grocery store, and stopped by the thrift shop to drop off a few boxes of household items I'll never use again. And there are more where these came from.

With the extra energy I decided to cook some southern, comfort food. (No Southern Comfort was involved!) I've just finished making a chicken and Andouille sausage etouffee with onions, green peppers, garlic, and white wine. As usual, with most NOLA cooking - "first you make the roux" - and I was pleased that I haven't lost my touch. This one had to be a golden colour and lighter flavour to set off the chicken and colourful vegetables, rather than the dark, heavier nutty ones used in crawfish etouffee. It will be served on a bed of parsleyed rice and a salad topped with artichoke hearts.

I am going to prepare containers of the dishes for my landlady this evening. Last week she arrived at my door with a huge plate of Hanukkah brisket, vegetables, borscht, and amazingly delicious sweet pastries. It's the least I can do to return the favour.

It's cocktail time and though I would love a bit of cognac, (not in the budget) I'll settle for a Sazerac as I enjoy my festive Etouffee. My grandmother would be proud.

And so it goes.
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Monday, December 21, 2009

Flashback: Only When You're Drunk!

About two months ago I received an anonymous gift of a Pet Shop Boys CD and was told in the accompanying note to listen specifically to the lyrics of a few songs listed in the note. Here's the original post for some background.

Well, here is a "just found" video of one of those songs. It's scary how the lyrics are so accurate describing my previous life. Sharing is a good thing - sometimes.

No more later, I need some sleep. Going to try a home remedy suggested by a reader and hopefully I'll zonk out and sleep peacefully.

And so it goes.
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Dream or Hallucination?

Smacked down with a miserable cold I was awakened during the night by a cough attack. I sat groggy with head spinning and throat sore as the dream returned to memory.

I am alone
The land is tree-less and rocky
I am walking toward a hillside with boulders jutting out at strange angles
I am quite high up and wisps of cloud pass around me
I reach for the end of a cloud and it takes hold of me
I am no longer on the hill but floating along with the cloud
I feel no wind but am moving nonetheless.
Suddenly, there are many colourful birds of all sizes all around me
They seem happy to see me but are also concerned
I don't know why
The cloud decides to release my hand and I begin to fall
Slowly, at first
The birds are frantic and chatter something at me getting right in my face at times
Immediately they are gone and I begin to fall a little faster
I am not afraid
I look up rather than down, nothing but high white clouds receding as I fall
I feel something cool and damp on my wrists and ankles
The birds are back with long strips of cloud and attaching them to my limbs
Clasping the strips with their feet they fly and slow my descent
It's not enough
More birds help out - still no good
I am more concerned for the birds than myself
My midsection is enveloped in a wide swath of the same thin wispy cloud matter
Held firmly by many larger birds
All is quiet except for the flapping of many wings
I glide slowly to the ground and try to stand upright on the jagged rocks
I am alone
Suddenly it's very painful to walk
*Cough*

Somehow I think I was awakened too soon, that there was more. Maybe not. And that's all I remember, but it was beautiful.

People say I analyze things too much. I wonder what they mean by that?

If the cough persists today I may stop by the emergency care clinic nearby to get checked out.

More later, maybe.
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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

Guidelines for LGBT Political Contributions in 2010 and Beyond

From David Mixner:
1. Do not contribute to Democratic party committees like the DNC, DSCC and DCCC. They will use the funds to not only elect our allies but also Blue Dog Democrats. Even if they set up a 'special committee' for us that will enable them to loosen funds for candidates who are opposed to our freedom.
2. Contribute directly to only those candidates who have proven by either by vote or sponsorships of legislation their commitment to our issues.
3. Contribute to LGBT candidates who most often know how to fight like hell for us. The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund is one of the most effective groups in Washington,DC.
4. Contribute to our own community and its battles for freedom especially as our young resort to more traditional civil rights tactics.
5. Contribute to defeating our enemies at the local level which is a very powerful message to send those that oppose us.

Finally, do not be charmed by fancy appeals, hot parties, invites to special places and personal attention. Hold strong and let them know your five guidelines for giving. For nearly two decades we have poured money into the political process only to be ignored or betrayed time and time again.
Read his whole appeal HERE.

More later.
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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Video: Coming Out at Christmas

With the London Gay Men's Chorus. Yes, it's from a while back, but it's still jolly good.
There. That's better.

And so it goes.
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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Outdoor Lighting, or Not!

This guy may be asked to leave the community, but I love it.

And so it goes.
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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Certified, Satisfied, and a SNAFU

Whoa! Today was quite a ride! Mostly in a good way, though there was one minor snafu. More about that later.

I was slug-slow when I got out of bed. Having contracted a head cold sometime over the weekend last evening/night was the worst so I awoke completely drained. Dragged the tired ol' body into the loo and brushed teeth. Coffee didn't sound appetizing, so the first thing to touch my lips was a large mug of hot green tea with honey and lemon. {{{Heaven}}}.

I felt much better following a hot shower and enjoyed a scrambled egg sandwich and two glasses of orange juice before checking the to-do list and getting dressed.

One errand took me to the bank; another to the jewelry store where, it seems - though everyone knows the combination - I am the only person who knows the trick to getting the small safe to open. Greeted by a frustrated co-worker who busied herself elsewhere, I quickly had the safe open and its special contents ready for the display cases. Co-worker was immediately grateful and gave me a little hug. It looks like I will be doing this until the store closes because NO ONE else can get the damned thing open. What they're going to do once I've moved on, I don't know and I am not going to fret over it. Their problem, after all.

I was a bit early for the 4-hour class to be certified to mix and serve alcoholic beverages in the state, so I began reading the rules and laws concerning alcohol and tobacco products. Oh Boy! They regulate everything here. The word "control" doesn't cover half of it. Many interesting questions were raised by attendees from other less regulated states, to which there were no satisfactory answers - 'cause the rules make no sense, really. The four hours of painful nitpicking many silly laws provided me with a sparkling headache to go with my aching sinuses.

Anyway, I passed - missed two answers. One I totally misread, the other I stupidly circled the wrong answer by mistake. Don't ask.

Note to self: Try not to take any exam while under the influence of an antihistamine. One can easily get their mords wixed.

I may now - legally - publicly mix and serve alcoholic beverages in Delaware. Yay, Me! Who-da Thunkit?

Now, the SNAFU. Last week when I signed up to take the class I asked the weekend Host if he could cover for me this one day. He agreed to cover right away. I made sure to ask him twice more if he was sure it was OK. I was assured everything was a go. I even informed the boss of the switch and the reason behind it. He was thrilled - I don't know what he has up his sleeve - but yes, he was thrilled. Whatever it is, I hope it is good for both the business and me.

Fast forward to this past weekend when I received a call from the weekend host asking that I cover for him this coming Saturday - 12/19 - to which I replied I'd be happy to, and reminded him once again, that he was covering for me today.

Fast forward to this afternoon. I arrive at the apartment to 5 messages on the voice mail. The first from the weekend host (who is usually a server on Tuesdays) wondering where I was and reminding me that I was "scheduled to host lunch shift today and call us as soon as you can." The following 3 were left within 15 minutes of the first with one being from the boss. The last call was about an hour later and again it was the boss, but this time more subdued asking simply that I call him when I get in. I did.

Seems the lousy memory of the dumbass weekend host threw the place into a tizzy and it wasn't until the boss spotted the class schedule that he confronted said dumbass who began flopping around like a fish out of water. After a few risky dodges he reluctantly admitted his forgetfulness and apologized for the drama he had caused.

All ended well. But...Trust me, he'll be paying for this one a long way down the road. I am quick to forgive; the boss, not so much.

And so it goes.
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Video: A Doggie Christmas Surprise

This was sent by a friend and I wanted to share it with all you dog lovers out there. Enjoy.


More later.
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Monday, December 14, 2009

Katrina: Chaos in the Streets...and Police Ranks

Four years on and the truth is slowly being squeezed out to reveal the actual behavior of NOPD following Katrina.
Originally published by ProPublica

During the turbulent days after Hurricane Katrina made landfall, New Orleans police shot 10 civilians, at least four of whom died, according to interviews and internal police documents.

Some incidents involving police were widely publicized and have prompted a U.S. Justice Department inquiry into the conduct of the New Orleans Police Department that has brought dozens of officers before federal grand juries to testify.

But a fresh examination of the post-storm period — a joint effort by ProPublica, The New Orleans Times-Picayune, and PBS “Frontline” — raises additional questions about the actions of police who shot civilians. It also reveals deep flaws in the department’s efforts to investigate its officers’ use of deadly force in the chaos after the storm.

Any time an officer squeezes the trigger, a few issues immediately arise: Was the shooting justifiable, a situation that left the cop with no choice but to use lethal force? Or did the officer fire on someone who didn’t truly pose a threat?

At the NOPD, each shooting is supposed to be thoroughly scrutinized to ensure the decision to shoot was proper. But in the Katrina shootings, the department performed only cursory investigations before exonerating their fellow officers, interviews and internal police documents show.

Cops who were present when the gunfire occurred took no statements from witnesses, or even their names and phone numbers. They repeatedly failed to gather important physical evidence, like weapons and bullet casings.

Weeks later, when homicide detectives began looking into the shootings, they did little more than speak to the officers involved. Interviews with the cops who fired shots lasted as few as seven minutes.

In one case, the lead NOPD detective examining a fatal shooting completed her 12-page report without reading the autopsy. She did not realize the victim, a 45-year-old man, had been shot in the back, an injury that contradicted the officers’ version of events, sworn testimony shows.

More than four years later, the performance of the police after Katrina remains a matter of debate. Many officers who stuck it out during those days behaved selflessly, saving lives while working in the worst of conditions. However, Katrina also dealt the department’s image a blow, as hundreds of officers abandoned their posts, and some were spotted stealing from stores.

Read the rest HERE.

And so it goes.

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

We Have a Choice - Every Day

Twice today, not once but twice, I was asked if I ever have an "off" or "grumpy" day and the answer is, YES! And NO!

When I wake up in the morning and see this strange image in the mirror I have 2 choices - to project a negative or positive attitude to the universe. I always choose the latter. I may not always be 100% successful, but it gets my best shot. That decision has been both a life-saver and a problem depending on the circumstances. (When I was young living in NYC there were roommates who almost went mad because of my cheeriness and silliness. But that's a whole 'nother story for another time.)

The need to share these feelings is almost uncontainable. Although it would be nice to have someone close by to talk with and confide in, that's not the way things have turned out so far. Making do with long distance phone calls and the ocassional weekend vist isn't the best, but it's better than nothing.

I find that the more I give out the more I get back thanks to the people being cheered up by my personal behavior and thereby affecting others with whom they interact throughout their day. I love that.

If one wants to be pissy, throw hissy fits and carry on, please, just stay home and do not interact with others. We don't need hissy fits, thanks very much. Positive energy tends to lift spirits of those in need of such and that's the best reward. Those who choose - for whatever reason - to remain on the dark side only want to suck energy out of you; make you miserable, too. Once they realize you're not going to join the pity party, it is my experience that they give up eventually and slink away. Let them. You can't reach them if they don't want to be reached, anyway.

As the Divine One sang, "You're Beautiful, Dammit!"

The image above is the ring I had made last summer upon learning that the store might close. I figured it was now or never to get the beautiful amethyt put into a setting. Although the stone looks more like a tanzanite in the photo, I assure you it's a AAA 12 ct. dark purple cut oval stone in a simple yellow gold setting. It was on hold with monthly payments for 6 months so now that it's paid off I wear it almost every day. Some of the properties and characteristics of amethyst are:

"Purification and regeneration on all levels. Calming, strong protective properties. The stone is of the heart."

Works for me since purple is my fave colour. (Click the image above to embiggen.)

(OK Dr. Spo, what say you?)

And so it goes.

Hey! It's Hanukkah Caturday!

And the Rabbi is not amused.

More later.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ready to Par-tay!

Sky cleared? Check.
Chores done? Check.
Errands run? Check.
Clothes laid out for the par-tay? Check.
Shaved and showered? Check.
Gift wrapped? Check.

I am ready to enjoy my first holiday party in three years! Don't know what to expect since it's been so long, but I am sure I'll enjoy myself.

I have to stop on the way to pick up a couple of bottles of wine, so it's about time I get dressed and hit the road.

The image above is one side of the dining room sporting some decorations and looking all warm and cozy. (Click the image to embiggen.)

If I get any good pictures, I'll be sure to post them soon.

Holiday Cheers to all!

And so it goes.
*

The Ideas of the Possible, and Flexible

Well, guess what? Yes, it's raining again. I was awakened by the sound of rain beating on the windows thanks to, you guessed it, high winds. (click the image to embiggen.)

This would happen today, of course. With the restaurant closed preparing for the Holiday party this evening (and I lose a day's pay) I made a list of things put off for weeks and am now stuck with a car packed full of things; an antique Barrister's book case - in parts - to deliver to a local shop for resale, 4 boxes of household items for the thrift shop, an old laptop for the recycle center, and a birthday gift from a month ago that has yet to be delivered. Don't ask. There is barely room for me, plus the small backpack at this point.

The forecast is for rain to disappear by midday leaving us with cloudy skies and even higher winds. This should make for a fun time on the roads later on.

The manager of a men's clothing store in the area got wind of my employment situation and asked that I apply to work at their store. It seems there are only women working there and most guys are uncomfortable with that, which is puzzling to me. I always thought that straight men hated shopping, preferring their women to do it, but maybe I'm wrong.

Whenever I'm in men's stores the only men I encounter are gay and the women buying underwear, shirts, socks, ties, and the like for their men - and with a few exceptions - not a straight man in sight. Maybe it's just where I live, who knows. I've never worked in a clothing and accessories environment, so this would add another new twist to my increasingly bizarre life.

Anyway, I returned the completed application before work yesterday morning. There are two other possibilities I've been told to check out and plan to do that today when (if?) the rain stops. One is another privately owned jewelry store. I don't hold much hope for any of them, considering my age, but it's worth giving it a shot.

Meanwhile I am scheduled to attend the four-hour class offered by the state liquor board next week to obtain the much needed Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) card. This card will allow me to mix and serve alcoholic beverages in Delaware. The restaurant owner suggested I take the class so that I can help out at the bar in busy times. As it stands now, if I should step behind the bar I could be arrested. Got to have that card, in Delaware anyway. Yes, this means I will lose another day's pay, but it's got to be done. It's investing in the possibilities of the future.

Yesterday, the owner also hinted that there may be more hours for me at their other restaurant, if I can be flexible. Flexible? You bet I can!

Stay tuned.

More later.
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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Yale vs. Street Preacher


Under the all inclusive list of sinners, this street preacher's sign reads "Hell Awaits You!" Well, street preacher, public embarrassment awaits you. Everywhere you go. Not only is the stunt pulled by these Yale students great, but the preacher's chin to chest reaction is perfect. He must be pondering how these fornicating homosexuals could do such a thing. In front of his highly convincing sign, no less.
Found at HuffPo.

This will be all over the Interwebs in 3. 2. 1. .....

UPDATE: Original story can be found HERE.

Off to work I go. More later.

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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Wind!

Love this. Click image to embiggen.

And so it goes.
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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Cold and Wet

And then there is the weather...Ba-dum-bum! Same, same.

In any event you'da been proud of me today. Braving the wind, rain, and cold I trudged through and got all the errands out of the way, returning soaked to the skin and chilled to the bone. Shed the wet clothes and enjoyed a hot shower. Sipping a hot green tea with honey as I thaw some more and type this up. Then it's time for a nice lunch of soup and grilled cheese sandwich. My meal of choice in weather like this.

Seems there's one beautiful day of sun and mild temperatures followed by three or four of rain, etc. I suppose it could be worse, like the poor folks with all that snow in Texas. While it feels cold enough for the rain to turn to snow, the forecasters insist it won't. Like they're never wrong.

My fave supermarket started a "gasoline rewards" program recently and it turns out to be quite a deal. One point is earned for each dollar spent in the store. With each 100 points I receive 10 cents off the going price of gasoline at their pumps. Today I saved 30 cents per gallon when I filled the tank. I paid 2.19 per gallon instead of 2.49. A nice savings. The points disappear after 30 days and I knew the end was near, so I snapped it up while running the other errands.

The restaurant Christmas Party is next week so I picked up a gift card and decided to buy a new shirt for the event. A very festive RED one I found at L.L. Bean. Picked up wrapping paper and a couple of bows for the gifts I have planned for my co-workers at the jewelry store. And two stuffed toys for the Toys for Tots box. To my delight all of these items were heavily discounted - always a good thing.

Last year's gift was a container of homemade soup mix with the recipe and instructions. It contained all the vegetables, herbs, spices, and pasta - only needed to add water and their meat or poultry of choice. It was a big hit. In years past, I would bake up a couple of batches of my grandmother's famous pumpkin/pecan bread, but without a proper oven those tasty days are over. Sigh.

The store is closing at the end of the month, so this week I begin the job search all over again. Oh the joy! Not the best time to try to find work, I know, but there's no other choice.

Just received an announcement from my innards that it is time for lunch.

More later.
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Busy Caturday

And that's the truth.

Unexpected day off and the opportunity to get many errands off the list and out of the way.

Oh, and it's raining - again - and there's a 50% chance of snow in the forecast. (sigh.)

More later.
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Thursday, December 3, 2009

"It's Full of Stars!"

Still recuperating from the latest full moon. Oy!

And so it goes.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

On Ploys, Toys, and Joys.

When I arrived to close out accounts at my bank they were suddenly attentive and apologetic, wanting me to remain a loyal customer by offering me everything I asked for previously and was denied. As Sarah Palin would say, thanks, but no thanks. You had your chance and blew it. I felt both sadness and elation when I walked out of the bank. Sadness because closing accounts is time consuming - and I have little time to spare - and elation because after two months it's finally over.

I had a similar confrontation with Comcast offering low price deals, bonus channels, and other incentives only to NEW subscribers. What am I as a loyal customer, chopped liver? You wanna keep my business, then toss me a few incentives and bargains. They laughed at my requests until my call to cancel service, then they were all over me like a bad suit; offering anything if I would remain a customer. I receive "courtesy calls" and special "we-want-you-back" mailings to this day. Ain't gonna happen.

After only a few months at the new financial institution, everyone there already knows my name and are quick to offer suggestions and any assistance I might need. I don't have a lot of money. Hardly. And, I work hard for what I make. These people get the customer service message and practice it with all their customers.

After depositing the bank checks at the new bank I still had time to go shopping for toys for the annual 'toys for tots' drive that's been sponsored by the US Marine Reserves for decades. Picked up dollies and miniature cars and delivered them to the box at the restaurant.

Speaking of the restaurant, the festive decorating continues. The two Christmas trees give the place a warmth and cheerful ambiance while the lighted candy canes and lollipops add life to the exterior to the delight of kids passing by. I must admit the holiday music is working my last gay nerve. Today I was forced to listen to "Rockin' around the Christmas Tree" by FIVE different artists. Oh, and a real high point was a heavily Italian accented version of "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" that had me laughing so hard I was in tears. No idea who the "artist" was on that one, and that's probably for the best.

I hope to post a picture of the exterior in the near future, but not tonight. It's raining - again.

I received a printed invitation to the restaurant's annual Holiday party being held next week. I am thrilled at being included, but...The place will be closed (so I won't have a shift that day!) as party preparations bring the place to life. Hey, you win some and lose some.

There is another tradition of an anonymous gift exchange meaning whatever gift I choose will have to be generic/unisex in nature. I think a supermarket gift card would be welcomed by anyone, considering this recession.

Let me end with this tidbit: late this afternoon two elderly ladies - dressed in holiday reds and greens, and well coiffed - arrived to enjoy our famous fajitas. Their jovial spirits and festive attire garnered a suggestion from the manager. If they ordered Margaritas, the server was to card them. Ask for ID. These two ladies had never been to the restaurant before, and were thrilled/shocked to be carded. They giggled like school girls as they presented their driver's licenses to the server and we all enjoyed a good laugh. They hugged the server and me as they left. I am sure they will be back.

It truly is the little things we say and do to connect with others that makes all the difference. Can I get an Amen?

And so it goes.
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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

German History and Fear of Involvement in War

This is a powerful, insightful and poignant essay posted with permission of the author. I will add nothing more, the piece speaks volumes about power, shame, and war's aftermath.

Growing up in a country with a reputation as bad as Germany’s in regards to war is tough. You learn about WWI and WWII just about every other year in history class, you get to visit former concentration camps, and you go to any holocaust exhibition near where you live. You get it rammed into your head that Germans did bad things, that they killed millions of people for no real reason at all, and that you have to do all you can to make sure that history never repeats itself. I didn’t grow up being patriotic and even today I have a hard time saying or writing that I am proud to be German (or, now that I have the American citizenship, that I am proud to be from Germany. I have no problem to say that I am proud to be from Berlin – but the words pride and German together just don’t feel right – they always make a somewhat uncomfortable feeling creep up, because those two words together always bring up pictures of Germans in Nazi uniforms, of the mass graves in the former concentration camps that I saw, and of all the horror that has been shown on TV and in museums. Even waving a German flag during a game of the National soccer team felt wrong – a shame actually. So when Germany was asked to enter the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, Germans were hesitant to do so, because there was a fear and believe that if anything goes wrong, other nations will find some way to blame Germany for it. Germans did not support Germany’s involvement in those wars — but it was expected.

During the last days I have followed news coverage of two German officials resigning because of air-strikes in September in Afghanistan.

Read the rest HERE.

Thanks redwaterlily.

And so it goes.

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