Saturday, July 07, 2007

I gotta try harder

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I finally bit, and decided to see what my rating was after seeing this on both Bigass Belle and I Need More Cowbell. WTF! No... wait! What the fuck! I need to start using more fucks, shits, pisses and general bad language. Damn I mean... does butt fucking count? I will have to consult my list of invective and get back to you.

(shit, fucking lousy, asshole R rating. I want a goddamn X and I don't care what I have to say to get it.)

The new arrivals

Here are the new baby robins. It looks as though only 2 of the 5 eggs hatched and so we will see how these little guys do. Lynette has expressed worry about cats, however, these guys need to worry more about raccoons and red tailed hawks. I'll keep you posted on progress. So far, things are fine though I am having to deal with the hysterical parents every time I step into the garden. Once again I am in the position of just wishing the kids would grow up and move out of the house.

Friday, July 06, 2007


Eric, Tater and Dave have all been showing off their ink. I figure I'd show off one of my favorites. After all everybody loves big dicks!

Living large

I have run across a number of posts on different blogs about people (other gay men) trying to deal with their bad body image. I am no stranger to this. I have never been too satisfied with my own appearance and a long stretch of letting myself get tubby didn't help.

I wear a size small in shirts. I have always been a size small. So, today when I decided to buy a tee-shirt off the Cafe Press site I checked the size chart before I put in my order. I am a large.

In the past 2 years since I started this 5th grade science experiment, that I think of as "how big can the old guy get, lifting weights" I have gone from a 37 chest to a 42. Now, I admit 42 doesn't sound all that impressive, but you should bear in mind that I am only 5'3". Proportionally, I suppose that means I am pretty big. I just don't see it.

When I look in the mirror, on my best days what I see is some scrawny short bald guy with love handles. That's about it. This attitude catches me a lot of shit, of the "what are you bitching about" variety.

One of the most recent attitude adjustments that was handed to me was when I was standing in the office door talking with my pal La Simpatica. This is a girl whose bras are a monument to the science of structural engineering. I was wearing an open Hawaiian shirt and a wife beater. Monkey walked up to us and made some remark about my chest. La Simpatica gave me a critical once over and announced, "Yup, girls with big tits get it all their own way."

Since this pearl of wisdom came from someone with a lot of practical experience, I may have to reevaluate my perspective on my shape.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Fourth

All of the Fourth of July’s of my childhood involved clear blue skies and perfect warm days. I am sure in reality there were Fourth’s where it rained, where the lake valley in the mountains of Vermont reached the unbearable heat and humidity that happens. People think the mountains and they think cool air. They don’t know about the days that reached 100 with the air so thick you could cut it with a blunt saw.

I think that the reason that I remember these days as being so perfect is because those days were always spent with Grandma Brown.

Florence Brown, nee Mallette was my mother’s mother. She was a grandmother straight out of central casting. She wore cotton house dresses and pinafore aprons. She kept her hair in a sensible pageboy and wore equally sensible, black Dr. Scholl’s shoes. Grandma was a country woman, raised on a farm, who didn’t drink and from whom I never heard a swear word. The strongest expressions I ever heard from her being “golly” and “my gosh”. Her only vice was Raleigh cigarettes. Grandma baked and cooked and put up pickles and vegetables and preserves. She raised a garden every year and the bounty from her little patch graced her table year round.

But the Fourth was a special day. We were sent off down the road to Hydeville to the house she kept for her son, my Uncle Burt, to spend the day and have a picnic at Grandma’s.

She spent days preparing. We kids would be sent out to pick strawberries days before, tiny fraise des bois, smaller than the tip of your pinky and sweeter than sin. These were used in strawberry rhubarb pie. There were always three kinds of pie at least. Strawberry rhubarb, blueberry and lemon meringue and sometimes there would be apple turnovers if there were still apples in the root cellar. Potato salad, macaroni salad and a green salad from the garden with radishes and whatever else good was in season. I had escarole salad long before it was a trendy dish for yuppies. I remember bitter escarole fresh from the garden with chopped chives and sour cream. Of course there were hamburgers and hot dogs, but they were served with piccalilli, green tomato relish and pickle relish that she had put up. Then there were the pickles. Sweet pickles, dill pickles, mustard pickles and bread and butter pickles. And there were always cookies. My grandmother always had cookies in the house in case we boys dropped in, which we did frequently. What I remember most were the molasses cookies and the sugar cookies. The molasses cookies were thick and cakey, like the best gingerbread you have ever eaten and the sugar cookies were as crisp as a freshly starched collar and as light as a cloud.

By the time we got to Grandma’s the preparations had been made and we would help bring things out to the picnic table in the back yard near her clothesline, setting out the red and white gingham print oilcloth on the green picnic table. Then the parade of food would begin until the board was groaning under the food. Quite often the bluebird house would have a family going and the stage was set for a Fourth of July picnic that couldn’t possibly have happened outside a movie from the 1930’s. Grandma is one of the few people I have ever known that could actually get bluebirds to nest in a bluebird house.

Grandma would say grace and then we would begin eating and Grandma, encouraging us to eat more would tell us stories about her childhood.

Grandma had been born on December 31, 1900, one of 12 children of French Canadian immigrants. Born and raised in Vermont, she and her siblings were unusual in having finished high school. Her father had been a teacher in Quebec before moving to Vermont to become a farmer, he encouraged all his children to finish their education. Her love of learning colored her life and she passed this love of knowledge on to us.

She would tell us stories about her 2 favorite brothers Andy and Poly, (Napoleon), all of those stories began, “Andy, Poly and I…” how they terrorized one of their teachers in the one room school house that they attended as small children by making themselves bows and arrows out of reeds, putting tacks in the ends of the reeds they used for arrows and ambushing him, climbing rocks in forbidden areas, swimming holes and the pastimes of a long past era. She would tell us about the first time she ever saw a horseless carriage, the first time she saw and airplane, about the music that was made in a house of musically talented children, she the only one unable to master the violin. She had been taking German when the US entered WWI and the school stopped teaching the language. Grandma kept her text books and taught herself German.

Sometimes the stories were sad, once about the loss of a younger brother to diphtheria. Another about the brother who was the most talented of all at the violin and how he hung himself in the barn one day, no one ever knew why.

Grandma had a hard life. She had married a wild Scot from Nova Scotia, who turned out to be a drunk and a spendthrift and she had divorced him. She raised 4 children in the depression, making a living cleaning houses. The second world war came and both her sons were sent over seas. She suffered a nervous breakdown and was hospitalized in the state mental institution for 14 years. The state hospital in Vermont was notorious and the fact that she was able to overcome her illness is a testament to the strength of her will.

After she was released from the hospital, she lived with us briefly and then for economic reasons, she remarried Carrol Brown, so that they could combine their resources and live on their Social Security. She had never had much, so living on social security did not present any challenge to her that she was unequal to.

I didn’t really understand as a child how much these meals meant to my grandmother. It was in some way defiance in the face of want and it was about generosity and thankfulness for those things in life she loved and it was about love.

Grandma loved us boys. I don’t think I had ever given it much thought as a child, but we were the only ones of her grandchildren who visited her frequently. It think it must have been painful for her that my Uncle Joe’s daughters rarely came to call. Joe had been her favorite child, and she would tell us how she had saved a dime every week in order to save up enough money to help him buy his first car. His infrequent visits and the lack of contact with his family must have hurt in a way that Grandma never let show.

I loved that kind and gentle woman and these many years since her death I still do. I wish there had been some way that I could have shown her how much I loved her in the way that she showed her grandsons her joy in us by her annual display of plenty and generosity. Carefully planned and saved for out of a meager income, brought out of the ground with her own hands, prepared and then presented to us and while we were sustained with these good things we in turn sustained her with our pleasure in her offerings and her company.

In a fairly miserable childhood, I was given the gift of many happy Fourth of July’s, enough to last any man a lifetime. So on this Independence Day, I wish for you all to have as good a Fourth as any of the ones I had as a child.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Stupid fun

I wanted to see how liberal I am. Now I know.

How to Win a Fight With a Conservative is the ultimate survival guide for political arguments

My Liberal Identity:

You are a Reality-Based Intellectualist, also known as the liberal elite. You are a proud member of what’s known as the reality-based community, where science, reason, and non-Jesus-based thought reign supreme.

Holiday lack of plans

It is a funny day. I have been getting things done, though largely I am acting on auto-pilot. I have had to put up with asshattery and have also been fortunate in having competence come to the rescue as well.

In the garden the baby robins are hatching. We have moved from blue eggs to tiny grey balls of fuzz, newly hatched and as delicate as membranes. They manage to be grotesque and beautiful in a strange miraculous way. I will try and get photos but the proud parents are a bit hysterical and I don't want to wind up like Tippi Hedren.

I have no plans for tomorrow. It seems as though people have all made plans, assuming I had as well, or will be out of town, or simply refuse to come into town and deal with the unwashed masses as they descend on Boston to spend the entire day camping out on the Esplanade in anticipation of the evenings fireworks. I am looking, or at least attempting to view this as a karmic break. This is a gift of peace and quiet to be embraced.

Whatever your plans for the 4th, I am looking forward to sloth.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Cure for the blues

Well, they've managed to piss me off, which has been a great cure for the funk that I had allowed myself to get into.

I got up Friday morning in plenty of time to go to the gym. I got there, right about on time, maybe a minute or 2 past 6. But, Eddie, our faithful front desk guy was late. That did not piss me off. Eddie usually is not merely on time, he usually will let us in a bit early.

No, pissedoffness came in the form of some buff assclown. I found myself waiting with one of the regulars who I see just about every morning. We were chatting and these 2 characters come up. One being Mr. Buff Assclown and his friend Mr. Desiccated Yuppie. Buff Assclown says something about "Is he always late?" The regular and I look at each other and sort of mumble something about how Eddie usually has the doors open early.

"Well, he's batting 3 and 0 with me!" was the response.
This kind of ticked me off, because I've been using this gym for about 2 years. I go usually 5-6 times a week and I am usually there at opening time. In all that time I have never clapped eyes on Assclown.

Eddie shows up about 5 minutes late, apologizing. He had called the assistant manager to let him know he was running late and had asked Mike to open the doors for him. No harm no foul as far as I am concerned.

The morons get on the elevator with me as I headed down to my locker room, and were giving me the look that as far as they were concerned they had scraped more acceptable things off the bottoms of their shoes. So taken were they with their display of disgust that they neglected to push the button to get off on the level with the machines, and rode down to the basement level where we lesser mortals have our lockers. This also seemed to be an annoyance since I had not read their minds and intuited that they wanted the machines and not the free weights.

I changed and went up to the machine room to pre-exhaust before I hit the free weights. This is when they really worked grandpa's last gay nerve. These guys were using one of the cable machines so I went over and set up and used the other one. I did one set and then went over to use the parallel bars to do some dips. When I started back to the cable machine my new friends had decided that the machine I was using was for some reason much better than the equipment that they had been using. I really didn't feel like getting into it with these 2 bozos so I used the machine they had abandoned. I finished my set on the cable machine and started to head back over to the bars. Guess what? That's right, they were over there. Once again I improvised. This kind of went back and forth until I headed down the stairs to the free weights. Fortunately, free weights seem to be something that happen to other people.

I actually had a pretty good workout. I shook the dust of these two mooks from the Ganomish skirts, and then it was off onto the city streets where a larger than usual number of morons crawled down the sidewalk, managing to move as slowly as possible and block the entire sidewalk in their glacial progress. I managed to get past all of the wide loads, hit my usual coffee shop and was down the stairs of Park Street Station. Actually, I was half way down when the next aggravation transpired. I got to the top of the stairs to the Red Line as a train disgorged it's load of commuters, all of whom packed both sides of the stairs not allowing anyone to descend. I fought my way down the stairs and reached the platform just in time to see a nearly empty train pull out of the station.

During the 15 minutes it took for a Alewife train to come the platform filled and finally when the next train pulled in, it was a)packed and b) the air conditioning was out. I finally got to work and Monkey came over to my office to say good morning and ask if we should try for a quick smoke before the day began. He then said something about reading my post and asking how I was doing since my post was sounding pretty glum.

"I'm fine, today. I just had a whole bunch of people piss me off and it snapped me right out of my funk!"

So, to all of the assholes that aggravated the living piss out of me first thing Friday morning, I say a hearty thank you. You actually do serve a useful purpose.