We’re Here, We’re Somewhat Queer. Like, a Skosh. Get Used to It!

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

Image courtesy of Wikipedia. Art by Keith Haring.

It’s National Coming Out Day! This is such an important day in so many people’s lives. I wonder sometimes how many actually wait until this specific day to come out or if it’s more of a symbolic day for them. Probably a bit of both.

I’ve never had to come out to anyone — not in an official capacity anyway. I think the closest I ever got was telling my estranged aunt that I had a girlfriend back in 2000. But since we were estranged, I felt no nervousness, it was, for me, a non-issue and nothing she said was going to affect my relationship (a relationship which ended in a ball of fire and girldrama, naturally).

I consider myself  lucky in this aspect.  Not having much family sort of eliminates the need to please or worry of judgement.  I skipped the wailing sobs of a mother who thinks she’ll never have grandchildren (which is ludicrous, by the way). It negated the potential disapproving glances from old school aunts or uncles at family gatherings. I just sidestepped that whole thing.  I’d rather have a family to tell, by all means — I know they would have been relatively cool (after a few whispered concerns about how I’m known by the company I keep) — but I guess the point I’m making is that it’s never been a source of angst for me. I love who I love and that’s my business. Period.

Once, when I lived in Texas and first started dating women, I got scolded at a party that was being broken up by mentioning to the police officer that we were “just a bunch of girls having lesbian fun”. (That’s how I was identifying at the time — I was new and hadn’t read the bisexual handbook yet. And yes, I’d clearly been drinking. Lesbians love wine. It’s in the handbook next to Jeeps and golden retrievers.)

“Don’t tell him that! They can arrest us for that here!”

I found that totally absurd, being the occasionally naive and always open-minded person that I am, but it was Texas and I was used to California police officers.  And legally, no, we couldn’t be arrested for being gay (anymore), but we certainly could be given a hard time.  I was also dating a black woman, which was like a double whammy in Texas according to my friends, so I was told to basically keep my mouth shut.

You may have guessed I don’t like to keep my mouth shut.  But I did and after several lewd comments, a few threats of tickets for public intox (even though we were inside an apartment) and one V-fingered facial gesture I won’t demonstrate, they left and I got an earful about the laws in Texas.

The next day, I volunteered the Gay and Lesbian Community Center to learn more about my rights, as a woman, as a member of the LGBT community, as a human being on planet Earth.

Last year, I talked about being a bisexual and how I’m not a fan of that label.  You can read more about that here, if you’re so inclined.

My heart and thoughts go out to those who are brave enough to come out to someone they care about today — and every day.  Be proud, be honest, be vocal and most of all, be who you really are.

Categories: Life, thoughts

Just Deserts

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

I’ve been in Las Vegas for about 10 months now and there have been many adjustments to living in the desert. My skin is now used to the dry air (as long as I remember my moisturizer), but my allergies are worse than ever. The desert landscape, while quite tonal (mostly beige), does have surprising elements, like incredible sunsets and sunrises, and the striations and layers in the surrounding mountains are really beautiful. People drive like 90-year-old palsied crackheads and I’m nervous a lot on the roads here. The summer weather sucks, but it wasn’t as horrifically hot as I expected it to be.  The winters are much colder than I expected, but not unpleasant. I like sweaters and once it even snowed, so not a big deal, really.

I don’t love it here, but I hate it less than I did last November. I’d go as far as to say I don’t even hate it. It’s… acceptable. For now.  I would like it more if there weren’t things like huge centipedes and fist-sized black widows, insane electric bills and a lack of friends. I feel very isolated, despite having a view of America’s Playground from my bedroom window.

The year has flown by very quickly, so I know the next will. We committed to 2 years, but now that the first is almost up, we might actually stay in Las Vegas longer than planned. There’s nothing I want more than to go home — to go back to moisture in the air, buildings with character, better Mexican food and my social life. However, we’d also be going back to higher rent for less space (which we’re alright with), but Mike needs to be able to transfer with his job or find another job that’s willing to wait for him to relocate. So the move kind of hinges on those options being available.  Staying allows us to save more money, allows Mike to advance further in his job and gives us the opportunity to take some trips we’ve wanted to take, but might not otherwise be able to afford.

I have explored the city more and discovered areas of town much, much, much better than the one we’re currently in. Our house is nice — big (maybe too big) and new-ish — but the general area is kinda of… meh (says the spoiled Southern California girl). Lots of heavy BOOM BOOM bass on the car stereos, myriad dogs barking and sirens — so many sirens. The retail/commercial areas leave something to be desired, as well.  Like functioning ghost towns, there’s lots of empty and spotty retail spaces and we have to drive 5 or more miles to find a decent grocery.

We’re thinking, if we stay, we’ll move to Summerlin/The Lakes area — the southwest side of the city. It reminds me of SoCal Lite — lusher landscaping, more greenery, more palm trees, better retail offerings and it’s close to Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s — the only places in town I can find lively produce. It’s also a bit closer to The Strip for those times I do want to go over there. It’s considered one of the more affluent areas of town, I think, but we can likely get a comparable place for around the same price we’re currently paying. Now that we’ve been here for a while, we know what we want and what we don’t:

MUSTS

  • Covered patio. We don’t have one now and our back “garden” is basically useless space with a concrete slab.
  • Backyard that contains more than just gravel. It’s so not gratifying to weed rocks. At least in a proper yard, when you weed, you’re able to enjoy the scenery afterward.
  • Big tub (I can’t part with my big tub)

WISHLIST

  • Wood burning fireplace
  • Pool (maybe — it depends on the costs to maintain such a thing, but I wouldn’t hate having one)

NO, THANK YOU

  • Water closets (our master bath has a toilet in a tiny stall with a door — I feel like veal in there)

We’ve got another year to go before our lease is up here — but I know with work and travel next year, time will zip by.  We’ll likely hire an agent to find something for us so we can pretend we’re on House Hunters — except I won’t quibble over the wall color.  (Seriously, why do they always bitch about the hideous colors? There’s this stuff called paint, Mensa.)

Anyway, we’ll see what 2012 brings. The point is, despite me missing California so much it hurts, I’m not ready to throw myself off the roof just yet.  Vegas isn’t so terrible.

Me Living Room. You Man Cave.

Monday, July 25th, 2011

I’ve been watching a lot of House Hunters lately — mostly International — and I’m noticing a growing trend among American men.  Lately, it seems that men are increasingly requesting — if not insisting on — “man caves“.

I hate that term — how Neaderthal-ish.  Do you intend to go out and club dinner and drag your wife around by her hair?  Man cave. Give me a break.

I appreciate that everyone has a right to privacy.  Everyone needs some personal time without their significant other — or even a roommate — around. You need space, I get that. I cherish my time alone because ultimately, I was always really content living alone and while I’m happy, it is an adjustment living with another person 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The standard argument I’ve heard is, “The wife/woman/girlfriend/significant other gets the rest of the house to decorate and do with what they want, I just want my own space that’s mine to put up my action figures/sports crap/ugly leather recliners so I can watch the game/play Magic the Gathering/jerk off in peace.”

While I can appreciate the desire for said space — what makes men think “the woman” gets the rest of the house, especially if they have kids?  Does the woman get her own “lady hut”, too?  Why do the men get to escape to a “man cave” that’s just for them when the woman is stuck with the messy living room or the kitchen and potentially screaming children? Where does “the woman” go to read her magazines/watch her programs/use her vibrator without interruption?  Why do only the men get to ‘escape’?

Now, I actually DO have my own space — my office is my domain.  But it is for work — I don’t hang out in here.  But, I decorate it how I want —  it’s pink and girlie and I have all my crap up that I probably, for aesthetic reasons, wouldn’t display in the rest of the  home.  Just as I wouldn’t love it if mikey hung a Fathead of DarthVader on the living room wall, I refrain from hanging hot pink velvet curtains in the living room.

I know most men aren’t into home decor, so they figure “the woman” gets that honor and therefore “controls” the rest of the house, but that is simply untrue.  My opinion is that couples should decorate mutually.  And while mikey trusts me with my design choices, I do usually ask for his opinion if I’m choosing a statement piece for the living room  – like a rug or a piece of furniture.  And fortunately, we both have somewhat quirky tastes, so it works out. Not always – I’m not saying I love having 20 Domos in the living room, but I don’t hate it (I love Domo, too) and it makes him happy, so we have 20 Domos in the living room.  It’s mikey’s space, too.

So, I don’t totally understand this sudden surge for the “man cave”? Is it because they feel like their wife takes over? Do they feel emasculated in their own home?  Why do a growing number of men feel they need to escape from their spouse and family into their own domain when they get home from work or on the weekends? Isn’t that when they’re supposed to spend time with their family?  And when do women get their own space, away from their husband who doesn’t listen to them talk anyway, away from their kids?  You’d need a house with 2 extra bedrooms just to accommodate everyone’s “personal space”, but doesn’t that defeat the whole point of living together?

The only way I can abide a true man cave is if the woman has one, too, or the guy’s wife decorates with country ducks and dried flowers and has her scrapbooking crap spread out across the living room. Then he has my permission to set up a compound in the backyard for all I care.

Rockin’ the Cosmo

Monday, July 18th, 2011

If you follow my Twitter stream, you probably saw that I went to see Ben Folds live on Friday night at The Cosmopolitan on the Strip.  I got a little overzealous with my fangirl tweeting, but I couldn’t help it. I love me some Ben Folds.  A snippet for your viewing pleasure (there’s more here on my YouTube channel).  I apologize for the rough start… and my background singing.

The Boulevard Pool is amazing by day, but at night it becomes this incredible concert venue.  I can’t wait to attend a show there again. It was intimate and yet incredibly open. It wasn’t totally packed and we sat with our feet in the pool overlooking the lights of the Bellagio, Paris, Planet Hollywood and more on the Strip below. We weren’t more than 60 feet from the stage, if that, and could have easily walked right up to it, but we’re old folks who were perfectly happy with our feet in the pool.  It also helped that the massive LED screen that overlooks the Strip was also visible to us. So the action on stage was projected up there, too.  The overall experience was fabulous. read more >

Categories: Life, sociable

9 Unusual Things I Do With Chopsticks

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

I really, really, really hate it when I get Asian take-out and I forget (or they forget) to include chopsticks.  In fact, I hate that you have to specify that you want chopsticks.  I’m eating sushi or Thai or chowmein or whatever and I want to eat it with chopsticks.  I appreciate that there are people in this world that aren’t skilled with them — hell, I drop half my rice in my lap, but I still prefer to eat Asian food with chopsticks.

While popping into a Japanese market (Mitsuwa for SoCal, Jersey and Chicago people) to satisfy Mike’s craving for Pocky (I like Men’s and Coconut the best), I impulse-bought this huge bag of chopsticks by the checkout so I’d never have to be chopstick-less again.

Cut to 6 months later when I still have 300 sets of wooden chopsticks taking up space in my kitchen drawer.  So, I started thinking of different thing I could do with my surplus chopsticks. These are just some of the things I’ve come up with:

  1. Coffee Stirs
    I don’t know about you, but I go through spoons like crazy.  It was worse before I started using chopsticks to stir my coffee.  One set can last you for a while — you can use them stuck together, like one big stir or you can break them apart and use them individually. If you set the stick out on a spoon rest or something to dry in between stirrings, you can get away with using the same chopsticks for a couple days — or more if you’re in a dry climate like me.
  2. Toast Retrieval
    My toaster is a beast. I gobbles up everything I put in there — such as the case with many wide-slot toasters when you don’t intend to toast anything wide. My little sandwich thins get lost down there and over the years, the spring-load on the pop-up part of the toaster has gotten a bit tired. Sometimes, I have to fish my toast out, but hate sticking utensils down there, even when the toaster is unplugged. Since my “coffee stirs” are near my toaster, I once grabbed a chopstick, dug out my toast and never looked back.
  3. Aquarium Habitat Adjustment
    I have fish — several, actually, all with unique bowls.  More than once I’ve positioned the plants and marbles, but after adding the water and moving the bowl, things shift and start to float up or just otherwise need adjusting.  You don’t want to dump out the water or shove your hand in there — you might disrupt the pH or stress out your fish.  A stuck-together set of chopsticks makes a nice tool to insert rather unobtrusively and tuck those plants back where you’d like them.
  4. Plant Aeration
    I also have several, several plants — about 15 or so, mostly hibiscus, a tropical plant native to Southern California, Hawaii, Asia and other places with pleasant climates.  Though they are fairly hearty plants, they do require attention (though not as much as orchids) and since moving to the desert have had to make most of them houseplants. I don’t like using gardening tools indoors or slopping soil all over, so we started using chopsticks to move the soil around, aerating and allowing the water more access to the roots. It works great, doesn’t make a big mess and we can just stick the chopsticks in the soil for the next time.
  5. Scraping Non-Stick Coating
    Sometimes, non-stick surfaces aren’t so non-stick — especially baking sheets. I’ve used the slanty backend of a stuck-together set of chopsticks to scrape baked-on stuff from baking sheets and frying pants. Works great, doesn’t scratch the surface or make that hideous metal-on-metal sound.
  6. Drain Unclogging
    I have long hair.  In fact, I not only have long hair, I have long wavy/curly hair, which is notorious for breakage and shedding. If you have ever met me, you likely found a long, serpentine, dark brown hair on you after we parted — to remember me by.  It’s my gift to you.  It’s not a gift to my shower, which constantly needs to be unclogged. I’m usually butch enough to put on a pair of latex gloves, reach in and just grab the offending clog out, but sometimes there are clumps that go beyond the grabby area or are wound so tightly, you need to wedge something in there are drag the clog up. (Isn’t this delicious?)  Chopsticks, my people.
  7. Stirring Bath Salts
    As a rule, I’m not a big fan of the super oily scrubs that require you to stir them up to use them. That’s so inconvenient. I’m not sure who thought trying to manhandle a slippery, oily jar in the shower,  open it, stir it up, find a place to set it down out of the water stream, find a place for the lid, apply it to your person and then, with oily hands, put it all back together again was a reasonable solution, but shower beauty engineering is not their strong suit.  Anyway, I always hated that little plastic scoop they make you dig out from the bottom of the jar, all the while sloshing the oil down your feet.  So I’ve just started stirring the scrub up before I get in the shower with a chopstick or I just don’t buy that kind of scrub.  But sometimes you get it as a gift or don’t realize it’s one of those until you get it home, so chopsticks help a lot.
  8. Skewers
    So you’re making kabobs for dinner and you forgot to buy skewers.  Chopsticks will work, though they do displace a bit more food than a thinner skewer would. Just remember to soak them first!
  9. Eating!
    I do still use chopsticks to eat.  Sometimes I eat my salads with chopsticks. It makes it a bit more of an adventure and I take more time with my food than I might otherwise. I’m kind of a fast eater. I know it’s not like, super hot for a girl to admit that and it’s not like I’m hunkered over my food like I’m a prisoner trying not to get shanked, but I do tend to hurry through my meals and don’t always appreciate them. Chopsticks requires you to slow down if you ever want the food to actually make it to your face.

So there you go:  alternate uses for that metric ton of chopsticks you may or may not have in your drawer. Mine are almost gone, but I’ll definitely be getting more.  If you have alternate uses that I haven’t mentioned (and that don’t involve lubricant or adult entertainment), I’m always looking for something new to do with them!

Categories: Life, stuff i do