Monday, January 19, 2015

It's Gonna Be a Great Year!

I have never felt this way about the changing of the calendar year. Part of it is because the last two years have been wretched on many different levels with multiple players fucking with our serenity. So how can this be a bad year comparably? I shouldn't tempt fate with that rhetorical question. (I swear Universe, it was rhetorical.) Also, many of the bad things going on are showing improvement or not causing the pain and hurt they once did. Sure I am being a bit cryptic, deal with it. I can say that our disastrous investment into the Tampa rental unit market is FINALLY turning around and after 8 months of no revenue and negative cash flow, the units are finally generating a positive cash flow. I hate to even say it because I have this superstitious jinxing fear. But that fear is unreasonable, as most fears are.

I've also made the oddest resolution I have ever made, and that is never to communicate with two unnamed people again. We were once all the best of friends but it's not bad enough that our friendship is terminated. We recently learned that they are actively campaigning our mutual acquaintances/friends to block me on FB and doing so by telling lies about me (apparently I am psychotic, who knew?) We thought they couldn't hurt us any more, but this disappointing discovery did, and just shows that they were never really our friends in the first place. I contemplated waging war, but really don't want to waste any more energy on human sewage. Hence the resolution. I rarely make new year's resolutions, but when I do, I have always succeeded.

Serge and I have also been discussing making changes to our life, a sort of ACT III if you will. We are both working and doing what we like, but we should be earning more and we certainly have the talent to do so. I am turning 50 this year so maybe that is playing a role. ACT I was the hotel/restaurant management career. ACT II as educator has been great practice for whatever ACT III will bring. So I am actively sending my CV out and going to work with Serge on his CV. We also want to sell our building (we haven't found a buyer the last two years, but I have this feeling that the third time is the charm) and price it to sell so that we can have mobility should we need to move to another part of North America. Everywhere is on the table. My goal, six figure salary within five years. Wish me luck.

Okay so I haven't been around here for a while. If you are my friend on FB, then you have seen probably more than you ever want to know about our lives. Still, I know at least one of you (Hi Rox) is not on FB, so I will do a quick skinny on what's happened since my last post. Wow, over two months ago.

Winter arrived in November and we have had snow on the ground since before American Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving was a real treat for me this year as I had blocked time off so we could celebrate in the states with friends.



We even took Georgie with us. I made sure we had all the necessary papers to cross the border with him and of course the agents never asked to see any of them. He was a pretty good passenger.




Our first stop was Breen Acres where Rita immediately claimed George as her boyfriend. We were 9 gay men for Thanksgiving dinner and afterward we played Hollywood Game Night which was great fun. I now own it. It was $49.99 on Amazon.ca (regular price $105) but it was $11.50 on Amazon.com. So I bought it while I was in the states over Christmas. Target just announced they are leaving Canada. They lost 6 billion dollars in two years. But it wasn't the same as in the states. Higher prices and much smaller selection of merchandise. I went in several times and never bought anything.




We tried to leave on Black Friday to visit our friends at Jellystone Inn (because they think of themselves as Yogi and Boo-boo, lol) but our car SCREAMED at us in a very STOP THE CAR RIGHT NOW way. Seriously, it was a ridiculously loud alarm while the oil light blinked. Yeah, oil pouring out of the engine. It took many hours to find someone to diagnose the problem, and we learned that the car wouldn't be ready for four days. Stranded, but we rented a car so we could go see our other friends anyway.



Georgie is afraid of cats but this cat is one of the friendliest I've ever met. Maybe because he's cold since he has no hair and wants to be close to a warm body. It took George a while to get used to him, but by the third morning they were curled up sleeping together. So cute. We were treated to magic rice krispy treats too. Did you know mixing in fruity pebbles tastes great and makes them multi-color? So cool but I do not have a picture. We ended up getting stranded an extra day as there was a mix-up for the car parts. And we missed Book of Mormon, tickets I had purchased for the Montreal show. I was really bummed. We resolved that we will simply rent a car for all future road trips. This is the second major car issue that has happened on a road trip. Remember last year when I drove five hours with no brakes of any kind? Yeah, that was memorable.


Later in December, my brother paid us a visit. He fell in love with our poutine and ate six during his visit. It is a wonderful thing and it is difficult to understand how it hasn't taken over North America. We had fun exploring the city and discovering some wonderful watering holes. My only disappointment was that I was so excited about going to the slide park (biggest in North America) and then the morning we were slated to go, I was overruled by them. Too cold, they said. Too turbulent, they whined. Pussies.



So we walked around the old part of the city and took pictures. It would have been the perfect slide park day, but the important thing was getting to hang out together. One week later we would meet up in Seattle for Christmas week.



Serge wasn't able to join us this year but we started the week off right meeting my brother and his girlfriend at the Fairmount for a late lunch. What you can't tell from this picture as I wanted it to turn out good, is that my brother is sticking his finger forcedly into my closed sphincter. Very unnerving.


The parents rented an amazing house on Bainbridge Island. We had a great week dining out and playing Hearts every night. The brother and I were in fart competition at all times, much to the unamusement of the others.We laughed our asses off at Bad Santa. I got a really bad cold just before Christmas and I probably shouldn't have gone to the party, but I did and invariably infected others.


I think we got the best family photo this year. Everyone looks just great. Too bad Serge couldn't come too. We had some good eatin!


After Christmas, Serge joined me in Southern California where we visited with friends and family. Champagne figured highly on this trip, I think we had champagne or mimosas every day that week.


We also visited our friend's beautiful home in Tehachapi, CA. They have a big rock in their house. It's very cool. We had one of the most awkward moments of our life when I pondered why someone would block me on FB to our friend. So she called the person in question to find out why. It didn't take long for the person to sing like a canary. Then she told us what was said and as the words came out of her mouth, you should have seen the look on Serge's and my face. Slack-jawed doesn't begin to describe it. What I liked was when our friend said that we would always be friends despite our falling out with the unnamed persons.


The big 3 Kings party was rather small this year but it turned out to be quite fun. Plus, Serge won the jackpot for the gateau des rois. Yay, money. My favorite clue in this video is "dung" when trying to get someone to guess "beetle".


Mom treated us to a day at Disneyland to cap off the trip. It was stupid crowded though and we only managed to go on 4 rides. The tower of terror ride is the best thing ever. I just laughed the entire time.

Okay, I think we are all caught up now. Winter is doing its usual suckiness and after 14 years I am finally on board with maybe trying to live somewhere where it isn't an ice box for 7 months a year. Did I mention that 2015 is going to be an awesome year? YAY! Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Autumn meanderings

I can't believe I haven't posted in nearly two months. Summer finished quite hastily and turned brisk by the end of September. I went back to work after an amazing summer and this is the first year in more than a decade that my work docket has not filled up. So it may be hot dogs, pork and beans and mac and cheese for the winter haha. Let me catch you up on the goings on of the last couple months in my usual photo stream style.



As I said, autumn arrived quickly and they keep mumbling about how it's going to be another snowy, cold winter. It can't be worse than last year's, it just can't. Although the leaves have just about all fallen now, this year's color display was memorable.


We spent the summer without a functioning dishwasher. Serge had left it open like you see there and I walked by it and my hip caught on it, ouch, and then for some reason it wouldn't work. I kept bugging my man to work on it (he's the mechanical one in the family) and he finally did and just as I thought, he got it going again. Now Georgie can resume his prewashing for us as it is loaded with dirty dishes.


We have been enjoying cultivating new friendships this year to fill in the void left by the people who have walked out of our lives. So fun to just text someone, "Wanna come over for happy hour?" and then spend all evening together and ordering pizza for dinner.


When the foliage was peaking last month, we went to go for a hike at Mont Ste Hilaire. The trouble was, everyone had the same idea and there simply was no where to park. So we went to an apple orchard, had some crepes and hard sparkling cider and took a stroll down the river. Turned out to be quite pleasant.


We celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary with champagne and a nice chef's tasting menu. We ended up eating duck hearts which the server didn't inform us about until after we had eaten them. I must say they were quite delicious.


I drove down to New York and attended one of the most beautiful weddings I have ever witnessed. Honestly, there wasn't a dry eye in the house. I feel honored to have been able to be present.


The latest thing we did, which was totally irresponsible given our financial situation lately, was take a little trip down to Key West. (Oh did I mention the roof started leaking at the house in Florida and we had to cough up over six grand to replace it? No? Probably because it makes me ill inside.) We planned this trip in honor of our friends who are no longer speaking to us because we stood up in their wedding and honeymooned with them there. Do we regret going? Absolutely not, it turned out to be one of the best trips, albeit only five days, that we have ever taken.


So nice to wear tank tops and shorts again. We won't be doing that again for quite a while. Our friend from Camp, Roger joined us and we all got along great. We kept going to town to the main drag but after a couple of days of that, we realized there was really no reason at all to leave our resort. The Cuban food was pretty good though, and the lobster rolls too.


The free happy hour every day was great and made for some fun socializing time. But the absolute best thing to have happened was to make new friends. I feel like we have known these guys forever even though we just met last week. Not talking about the guy in the hat, the other two, a lovely couple from Dallas. We Skyped last night and we gabbed for hours. Great making new friends, especially at our age. I think it gets harder as we get older, but it was definitely easy with these two.

So now we are all caught up on the adventures of Torn and Serge. Until next time. Mwah!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

My Awesome Summer Vacation recap part II


So the very next day after I came home from being out west for nearly a month, Tom came to town with his husband and two other couples whom I didn't know. They had come up to do an Iron Man competition, which, when I heard what that entailed, made me quite certain that I will never do one. I don't think I could do even one part of it. Anyway, it turned out to be just the most wonderful day. I asked Serge if he would come as we met up for breakfast in old Montreal so he did, but instead of heading back home after, he tagged along all day as we hit the main sights around town. It was just one of those weird happy chemistry things and we hung out the whole day and evening together. What fun.


The next weekend we were invited by our new friends to go out to the woods for a hike up to a gay nudist spot on a river. It was wonderful being out in nature and watching people. Serge and I didn't go nude and it seemed like none of the guys we wanted to see nude were nude and all the ones we didn't were. We also noticed the first yellowing leaves and August wasn't even over yet.


We met up with some friends for brunch for what would turn out to be our last meal in Montreal on a restaurant terrace. The summer seems to have ended so abruptly and although I can remember it being hot here in September, it is downright chilly this year.


It was Camp Camp week but we bowed out this year due to what were our best gay friends in the world completely severing all contact of any kind with us. We didn't want to spend a week of feeling uncomfortable and it turned out to be the right decision and you'll see why later. Instead of Camp Camp, we planned a long weekend getaway to Ogunquit, Maine with a gay couple who we have never travelled with before. You know that is always a dicey situation, people change sometimes when travelling but it turned out just great.


We decided to split the drive up in two and scored a nice little hotel in Rutland, Vermont. I love visiting any kind of new place and the town was a charming little hamlet in the hills. We walked around and Serge bought a coat since it was cold, something we didn't think possible in August.


We bar-hopped for happy hour and met some of the colorful locals who recommended the restaurant just behind our hotel. Here is Serge being his tipsy self as he demonstrated what he thought that looked like on his bowl. It was a very yummy dinner with a nice bottle of Shiraz to go with.


We drove through Vermont and New Hampshire and discovered beautiful little villages that we would like to return to for ski season. The area around Woodstock, VT is just amazing and Serge and I sang show tunes and gawked at the beautiful scenery. Then we made it to Maine.


We had some time to kill since the hotel didn't quite have the room ready and our friends were meeting us later on so it was blogger meet-up time! Finally got to meet Colleen. She is the saintly person who sent us the chocolate covered potato chips last year. We hung out and shot the shit for a couple of hours.


And we got to meet the girlies! The more I hang out with chickens, the more I find them adorable. Serge confessed that he is scared of them but only after we left. I had a pet rooster when I was a kid and that thing scared the crap out of me, but chickens are so docile, it's not the same. And omg my hair is thinning! Most people won't notice though since I pretty much tower over everyone else. Well except when I am sitting.


And we stopped for a couple crab rolls, oh my gosh so delicious. We prefer crab over lobster rolls and since they are cheaper, double bonus. And why do they call them a roll? It's crab salad sandwich in a hot-dog bun so where did this roll business come from?


Our friends finally arrived after hitting some long-weekend getaway traffic through the Boston area and we whipped up a batch of cosmos. We brought the glassware from home and all the fixins.


The next day we took a long walk around town and along the beach. The weather was just beautiful. We played tourist, buying souvenirs and such.



Then went to the outside bar at the Bluewater Inn for drinks. Bobby the bartender is always there and he had the soundtrack to Pricilla, Queen of the Desert on. We got quite the buzz and had to go nap it off afterward. I love this picture, it makes me think Rock Stars! We all bonded and shared lots of intimate details of our lives, something you only do with close friends which is what we seem to be becoming.


I really liked the sentiment here. I wanted to get it for our ex-friends because I think we should bury the hatchet and let bygones be bygones. But the sad truth is even if one refuses to let someone go, the other people can (and in this case did) go right on out of one's life.

As we walked around that last day with other friends who stopped by on the way home from camp, we saw our ex friends walking across the street. I messaged to let's bury the hatchet and have a drink. I also invited them to stop by our hotel for a drink. Serge was pretty astonished at the shattering silence as was I. And apparently I am just repugnant because I was blocked on Facebook a short time later. Sigh.


But then why not focus on the friends you are with which is exactly what we did. After celebrating our last night there Mexican style, the sky started to get menacing so we went back to the hotel and played Heads-Up for a while. We had the BEST time with Sean and Jeffrey and can't wait to see them again at Thanksgiving.


On the way home we discovered that they opened a new Trader Joe's in Burlington which is only two hours from home. We stocked up on all our favorites and can see popping down there every once in a while. Previously, the closest TJ's was a 5-plus hour drive away.

The next two weeks I still haven't worked and didn't go anywhere because the money well has run dry. I planned pretty well though even though I didn't qualify to get unemployment. My last day of work was June 20th and My first day back is this week September 17th. Three months off and it was just divine.


I will close with the obligatory Georgie shot. We are watching mother-in-laws dog this week while she vacations in Europe and I love having two dogs around. Makes me want to add to our family but Serge will be a very hard sell. So that's all I've got for you, hope you enjoyed it. Thanks for stopping by. Mwah!

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

My Awesome Summer Vacation Recap part 1

Greetings followers. What a fantastic summer I have had. I stopped working June 20th and am scheduled to restart September 17th. Three whole months and although my unemployment claim was denied, I have managed to have an extraordinary amount of fun on the slimmest of budgets. Serge kept inventing tasks for me as I was home day after day so I planned a bunch of trips to see people. Before that though, we were invited to a soiree with old work people when I worked at a restaurant after just having moved out here. Restaurant comeraderie is so special, those bonds never die.


It was a small gathering but quite fun as you can see. We are all getting to the age where mid-life crises and bodily ailments occur, so there was lots to talk about. There was much laughter at the Quebecers trying to pronounce the word "pond", as it usually came out "poned", lol.


Then I took my first road trip out to Toronto to visit with my cousin. I rode the six hour drive with the top down which was really stupid as I got quite a sunburn. Didn't end up peeling though, it just turned very brown and has remained that way all summer.


I realized I hadn't been to Toronto in 10 years. It was wonderful to catch up with my long ago student Tamae who I used to walk Sarah with when she lived in Montreal. Sarah, that dog still gets me choked up.


It was also wonderful catching up with my cousin who has been through so much in the last year, as have I. We comforted each other, which is what family is for right? So fun.


My favorite thing in Toronto is the Batha Shoe Museum. It is just fascinating the history of shoes in the world. If you ever find yourself in that city, I highly recommend it. Not boring at all and I am usually bored in museums.


After another week at home I hopped on a plane and headed to California. It was a nice long trip so I got to spend quality (meaning longer than usual) time with the people I love. Here with my friend Donna in Venice, we were nearly struck by lightning a few minutes after this photo was taken. Scariest thing I have ever encountered weather-wise. Also the fact that not five minutes before, we were walking on the beach at the exact spot where the lightning struck. You may have seen it on the news, bunch of people went to the hospital and one died.


Then my last annual Vegas junket took place. (This photo sums up the luck I had. Wager 50, win 1.) I didn't know it was going to be the last but my Vegas bud has given me the heave ho. I don't really understand, but apparently I am a terrible friend and I needed to be given the big FU. So sad, and I'd be lying if I said it didn't hurt but nothing to do about it but move on. That makes three people I thought would be in my life forever who have dumped me from their lives this year. All I can say now is that I understand the adage, that which doesn't kill you only makes you stronger. (And more cynical, less trusting and less willing to be vulnerable.) Onward!


Then it was time for Camp Mommy for several days. She threw a little barbecue in honor of my presence and it was the loveliest of days. My cousin Carley ate a hamburger! I never thought I'd see the day as she has been a vegetarian since birth. But she had been having issues and read a book about eating for your blood type and it turned out that red meat was the way to go for her. You really never can say never, you know?



It was quite relaxing and the folks took me out for my birthday, 49 this year, and mom and I went kayaking way out in the ocean. The weather was just perfect, if a little hot.



Then it was off to Camp Daddy. I think this is the longest we have ever visited together in my adult life. It was really nice to spend quality time together. It's hard when you live 3000 miles apart. His three dogs were lots of fun. This girl is Maya.


It was wonderful to see Grandma too. Three generations right there and if I were the procreative type, there could ostensibly be two more generations in the same picture. Dad and I look a lot alike but I didn't get the bald gene. Yay!


We went to the fair and they had an awesome petting zoo with baby goats, sheep, pigs, donkeys and even deer! Such beautiful creatures, I can't believe we eat them. Well, except for donkeys.


We took a day long road trip out to see friends in Tehachapi and discovered red rock canyon state park. It was pretty cool but also very hot! I would love to camp there sometime in the spring or fall.


We made it about 100 yards on our "hike" before we couldn't take it anymore. Air conditioned car please. Our generous hosts were delightful as always.


After my visit with Dad, I hopped on a plane to San Francisco to visit with my brother. We had such fun hanging out and DRINKING, talking about family and hanging mostly around the Mission district.


As his girlfriend says, he is the gayest straight man she knows. We caroused and I took him to my favorite place to eat in San Francisco, Sotto Mare, where they really do have the best damn crab cioppino on earth. My mouth waters just thinking about it.


It was a great weekend. Then I flew back down to Long Beach, hopped in a car with my pals and we headed off for our great New Mexico adventure. We made it to Flagstaff for the first night where I snagged a suite hotel room for $49 on Priceline. The huge breakfast buffet that three of us dined on was worth that but we also got free parking and internet. I don't know how the hotel makes money off of us, but who am I to ask. I AM the king of travel deals. Did I tell you how I flew round trip from Montreal for $310? That was me and my wheelin' dealin' magic I tell you. I need to write a book.


We stopped at the painted desert in Arizona and then El Morro National monument on our way. El Morro was really cool and was a stopping point for the caravans heading west. There is a natural watering hole here and the wall has graffiti from the natives (petroglyphs) and from famous old West characters dating from the 1600's. I would love to go back and explore the pueblo at the top of the rock. Got a great t-shirt as a souvenir.


Then it was aunt and uncle time. You see where I get my silliness, it just runs in the family. Tom is so wonderful to go hiking with. He knows all the flora, what it's good for, what's to be avoided and so much more. The forest is a buffet for him and he had us chewing on all sorts of things. The second night we did a sweatlodge, and although I wasn't able to stay inside the lodge due to weird pressure in the back of my head that scared me, I participated. I've been wrestling with blood pressure issues and even though I am on medication, it just didn't feel right. I stayed through the ceremony outside though, singing, bringing in the hot stones and even crying. At one point, thousands of ravens passed right over head and I couldn't help thinking they were drawn to the power of spirit happening. It was magical.


We did the drive back in one whole day. I took the girls on a small detour to Oatman, AZ which I had been to before and liked but couldn't remember why. Oh that's right, the dozens of "wild" burros roaming the streets of this quaint desert burg.

The last weekend of the trip was at hand and I went to my now ex-friend's (Can't believe I am typing that, but may as well face facts) 50th birthday party. Then met a friend to walk the beach and have a couple beers on second street. The last evening, I had dinner with my ex. Funny, the people who probably should be out of one's life are in mine and the ones that should be in are out. I am opposite man.

I got back the 18th of August. But the traveling wasn't over yet. I will get to that on my next post which I hope to bang out this week as well. But before I let you go, I must do my duty and give y'all a little Georgie porn.


Peace out everyone. Mwah!