Sweetie

Let’s discuss:  Men who use pet names for you when they’ve only met you.

I’m tired of trying to minimize myself and make excuses for what I see as condescending behavior.

Don’t call me SWEETIE.

We’ve only just met.

People have to EARN the right to call you nicknames, it’s a badge of honor, not a sleight of hand trick to over-familiarize yourself with me.

I get what you’re trying to do.

You’re trying to act like you’re in my good graces.

You think perhaps you can short circuit my defenses, but you are SO WRONG.

My skin stands on edge when you call me sweetie.

My teeth grind.

I half expect you to put your feet up and ask me to fetch you a drink.

But SWEETHEART. . .

Do me a favor?

Punch yourself in the face so I don’t have to.

And stop calling me Sweetie.

Hiking Half Dome in Yosemite

Many MANY years ago, I hiked to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite with my friends Robin, Albert and Barry.

I figured I’d never be in better shape than I was then so I might as well complete the 18+ miles round trip hike and see the views from the top.

Me and my companions slept in and so we didn’t get a start up Half Dome until around 11 am.

Oh, was that LATE to start!

I remember as we made our way down the trail a mounted Park Ranger stopped her horse long enough to poke fun at us, “Nothing like an early start up Half Dome.”

Or some such nonsense.

Albert was not having any of her smart assery.

He mocked her for the next few miles.

Somewhere along the way, we lost Robin.

Her shoes weren’t gripping the terrain as well as they should have so she stopped at a rest area and read a book while the three of us kept on.

It was A LOT OF HIKING.

In retrospect, we DEFINITELY fell into the category of PEOPLE WHO HIKE HALF DOME TOTALLY UNPREPARED FOR IT.

It took damn near forever, but around 3 pm, we managed to reach the base of Half Dome.

If you’ve never been to Half Dome, THIS is what you see when you reach the base:

A rickety little “staircase” attached to the rock face, with periodic wood beams attached like stairs so you can rest securely on the rock.

One side of the ladder is people going up, the other side is people going down.

So don’t go thinking that you get the WHOLE ladder to yourself, now.

Albert blasted ahead, eager to get to the top.

I labored.

I’m not sure I would have made it up to the top at all if it hadn’t been for Barry who kept cheering me on and encouraging me to keep setting one foot ahead of the other.

Finally, Barry and I crested the ridge and arrived at the top of Half Dome.

This is us at the top:

The adventure didn’t end there.

Oh no.

By now, we were starving, having gone through our food and water, so we hightailed it back to Robin at the rest area and continued our climb down the mountain.

By the time we reached the valley floor, Albert’s knees had given out on him.

Even though it was a full moon, very little light reached us beneath the tall sequoias.

Fortunately, I brought one little rickety flashlight to guide us.

And EVENTUALLY we made it back to our car, back to our camp, and back to our lives.

It was QUITE the adventure and I’m so glad I did it.

I’m also infinitely thankful for Barry’s support getting up Half Dome.

Yes, we should’ve brought more food and water.

Yes, we were silly youngsters oblivious of the commitment it took to hike Half Dome.

But WE DID IT!

Visiting Lupin

Hey Lupin!

Long time, no see.

It’s not you, it’s me.

I’ve been holed up inside my house while a pandemic rages on.

I’d like to report that I’ve been productive, but other than learning a few words in Swedish and making a quilt for my sister-in-law, I haven’t done much.

This year will go down as the one in which I accomplished very little besides simple survival.

It’s time for me to come visit.

And, of course, I plan to bring a guest with me.

Someone who is fun and can handle nudity.

I know it seems irresponsible to go out during a pandemic, but I’m jonesing for some company.

I miss my friends and I think that we could handle social distancing at Lupin, if we all were to show up one weekend for a little fun.

I dream about laying out by the pool, coating my body in sunblock and enjoying the warm sunshine on me.

So, if I promise to wear a mask and stay six feet away from all my friends, would you be so kind as to ensure I don’t get covid-19?

I really miss my social life.

And I’ve had plenty of good times at Lupin.

Time to head back!

It’s all in the wort

I think I may take up beermaking again.

It’s been a while since the folks over at Comrades Brewing showed me how to make beer.

I’ve done the steeped grains and the whole grains methods.

Personally, I like steeped grains the best.

Far less calculations involved in steeped grains but adding maltose to the mix does feel like cheating (a bit).

In any case, I have plenty of time on my hands to start making beer.

And according to Tejas, who is an authority on this matter, I can make up to 200 gallons of home brew per year.

Nice!

I sure wouldn’t mind making another batch of the first beer I ever made – a Baltic Porter with a whopping 9.5% ABV.

Mind you, it’s been SIX years since I made it in September of 2014.

Somehow I managed to retain the recipe

This beer turned out so good that my mechanic took bottles of beer in lieu of payment for services rendered to my truck.

I can only hope to get so lucky again.

Beer me!

All I wanted to do was fetch my son a beer.

It is after all, his 21st birthday and that’s one of the milestones I was looking forward to.

Buying him a beer.

And since he was in training for two weeks when he celebrated his actual 21st, I had to wait an extra week to celebrate with him.

Mind you in the middle of a pandemic, “buying” your son a beer means remembering at the last minute that we’re celebrating his birthday the next day and Instacarting beer especially for the occasion.

IPA – which make me want to puke they’re so bitter!

But that’s what he wanted and damn, if I’m not getting my baby EXACTLY what he wants for his 21st birthday.

He fetched his first beer.

So I waited patiently for him to need a beer.

Lo and behold a while later, he and I BOTH needed beers.

So I, in true “my kid is finally 21 fashion” went to get us beers.

But first I asked him, “Do you want a beer?”

My mom, who was behind me and completely out of the conversation butted in, “Why do you offer to get him a beer?  Stop pushing alcohol on him!”

No one, and I mean NO ONE wasn’t privy to her outburst.

Mouthpalm*

And that dear friends is how you spoil a 21st birthday party like my mom.

Belated Anniversary Celebration

When EXACTLY did I meet Tejas?

I met him at a Thursday Meet and Greet in March of 2015.

The EXACT date?

March 19, 2015.

That’s our anniversary folks.

Occasionally, people will ask me why I paired up with such an odd friend.

A man 10 years my senior.

The answer is simply that he helped me out, found me a place to live at Burning Man, and took responsibility for the success of my first burn upon himself.

If that isn’t friendship, I don’t know what is.

Maybe you need to know how bonded you become to your neighbors during a burn.

Maybe you need to know the robustness of friendships forged on the playa.

To truly understand my loyalty, you would need to understand Burning Man.

So I think my burner friends get what I mean when I say that if shit comes down the pipeline, he’s one of the people I want in my corner.

I think we should all celebrate the anniversaries of meeting people who are important in our lives, be they lovers OR friends.

Maybe we should think about celebrating our FRIENDVERSARY, after all they’ve lasted longer than many of the relationships we’ve had.

And so I celebrate my friend.

Steadfast.

Supportive.

And always up for a good time. . .

Tejas!

Drowning my sorrows

I got out of the house this weekend.

Yes, I did!

I went on a run to BevMo to get more booze for the wet bar.

Turns out, during a pandemic, people are drinking more at home.

Go figure!

I resisted the urge to buy stock in virtually everything they offered.

Instead I bought a handle of vodka, gin and rum.

I also picked up some delicious Fever Tree Ginger Beer so I can make Moscow Mules.

Doesn’t a Moscow Mule sound delicious with all the hot weather we’ve been having?

I’m still trying to get the hang of social distancing.

I find myself getting close to people, too close some might say, by accident.

I just keep forgetting that I’m supposed to stay six feet away from another human being.

It’s because I don’t go out shopping that much.

I do a lot of shopping via DoorDash.

Groceries delivered right to your doorstep?

Perfect!

Why leave the house?

Well, I’m here to tell you that leaving the house improves my mental health.

No doubt about it.

Getting out a little improves my outlook on life and reduces the stress and strain I’ve been feeling about the pandemic.

Yes, life will go on.

And if it doesn’t, if we’re all stuck in this new reality, at least I can drown my sorrows in booze.

Okay Writer

Nothing about my blog is elevated or lofty.

I’m not the best writer.

At my best, I’m brave.

At my worst, I’m boring.

Some blogs I’m particularly proud of.

Others?

Not so much.

Lately, I’ve been writing a bunch of not-so-great blogs.

But lately, life has been not so great.

And I’m doing okay.

No Covid-19 (yet).

I (still) have a job and health insurance.

I (currently) have a home.

So take everything I say with a grain of salt.

I write because I once heard that it takes 10,000 hours to get good at something (was it Malcolm Gladwell?).

If blogging nearly every day for 15 years doesn’t count as getting good at something, then I don’t know what does.

I practice.

And keep practicing.

It’s all I can do.

Summer in the tropics

It’s been a good day today.

Why?

Because my Sephora order arrived.

A week ago, Sephora emailed me an advertisement for a travel kit from Drunk Elephant – a brand my kid adores.

So I snapped it up for her.

Naturally, I added a few items for myself.

Because you know. . . I’m a sucker for cosmetics and skin care.

I bought two eyeshadow palettes.

Nevermind that I already have about fifty of them.

Those little pots of pressed color that shimmer and glisten really lure me in.

So I got some.

I must be in a violet mood, because I bought Violet Voss’ fun-sized palette in Sweet Violet and Urban Decay’s Naked Palette in Ultraviolet.

My order came with two samples – one for a face cream and other for a perfume by Sol de Janeiro.

Sol de Janeiro has turned their famous fragrance from their Brazilian Bum Bum Cream into a perfume and IT SMELLS LIKE THE PEAK OF SUMMER IN THE TROPICS.

Vanilla, caramel, pistachio and a hint of jasmine.

It’s just like those sneaky people at Sephora to drop a luscious sample into my order so that I’m forced into trying it and falling in love with it.

I am helpless to resist it.

Mind you, I haven’t bought it yet but I certainly went online and stuck it in my basket to buy at a later date.

It may seem insane in the middle of a pandemic to be shopping online for cosmetics, but hey. . . I’m not feeling my best, I’m a little depressed, and I have a lot of anxiety so I’ll take relief from the daily grind any way I can.

Even if it’s a virtual beach in Brazil that is calling my name.

Worried

Sorry for the lack of posts recently.

Literally NOTHING has been going on so there’s been nothing to write about.

No parties.

No costumes.

No dates.

Just a whole lot of sitting at home and watching old episodes of The Blacklist and No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain.

I must admit, I liked No Reservations more before Tony died.

Now it just reminds me of a brilliant life cut short by suicide.

And speaking of brilliant lives cut short, the deaths of Naya Rivera from Glee and Kelly Preston have saddened me.

It feels like the world has gone a little lopsided and I miss the good old days before death was the news du jour.

Now you know why I haven’t been blogging.

I’m a little depressed lately.

There’s been little to cheer me up.

And why write and infect others with my pessimism and fear?

I’ll tell you what frightens me the most.

The idea of opening up schools BEFORE there’s a cure or a vaccine for Covid-19.

I DESPERATELY need a project to work on so I’m not left ruminating on all the things I’m worried about right now.

The only good news coming out of all this is that my family is well (so far).

We are all getting along (so far).

And pretty soon we will get to celebrate Duncan’s 21st birthday.

I’m holding on to the little things to cheer myself up.

It’s not perfect, but it’s something.