Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Nice to be Appreciated

The Director of Development of the non-profit I've been doing work for took me and another person who's been let go due to budget cuts, out to lunch today.  Her department staff of two were also there.  She sincerely hated to let us go, and got a bit teary when raising a glass of wine to us.  She also gave us parting gifts.  She also said that she just got word that one of the grants we applied for was awarded for more than we had asked - over $20,000.  It was a nice note to leave on.  Glad I could help.
 I really enjoyed working for her and that non-profit organization. They always showed appreciation to the staff for the work they did.  They were voted one of the best non-profits to work for last year.

I will be trying to finish up a grant for them tomorrow, officially my last day.

When it rains it pours, as they say.  The Senior Center had its volunteer recognition dinner this evening at a local banquet facility.  There were close to 200 volunteers there and enough appreciation to go around.  Another nice organization to work for.

It's nice to be appreciated.  But I'm so overfed!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My Achilles Heel and Impending House Guests

My mother was "nervous" whenever things were in turmoil, or otherwise disrupting the customary routine of house and home.  Too many people coming and going, commotion, noise, spilled drinks, wearing shoes in the house could all give her anxiety.  I'm sure it is genetic to some degree.  I have the same gene.  I also have paternal genes that love bare feet, sandy beaches, music, and coming and going, and a laissez faire streak, so I generally keep things in balance.

But, in two weeks we are expecting house guests.  Leon's half-brother, his (half?) sister-in-law, three of their young teen grandchildren and of course, Leon's mother.  It's not that I am unwelcoming or inhospitable. I genuinely want to welcome them to our home.

I am just "nervous" or in the modern vernacular, "anxious".  Six house guests plus Leon and I makes eight people and a dog in a house of 1100 square feet, including the sunroom.  Three small bedrooms (queen-size master, twin-size guest, no-bed office), a kitchen, a living room, (fold-out futon), the sunroom with a small dining table and porch furniture, an unfinished basement/garage and ONE BATHROOM.

I imagine luggage, clothing and electronic devices everywhere, personal hygiene products on every unoccupied inch of bathroom shelf; 2 gallons of milk in the fridge along with 124 cans of diet coke.  Stacks of paper plates, cups, napkins; every dish, coffee mug and drinking glass in the house in or around the sink; muddy footprints on the carpet and floors; dirty clothes and laundry being washed throughout the day; people waiting to use the bathroom; a fair amount of yelling and screaming; and the cry of "I'm bored" from the kids.

And then there's the anxiety around meals.  What will we feed them?  Dozens of hot dogs, hamburgers, and peanut butter sandwiches.  Lots of spaghetti.  Cereal.  Kentucky Fried Chicken.  My mother's mother had 12 kids.  I don't know how she fed them all.  Three meals a day.  She was a saint.  My mother did not get those particular genes.  Neither did I.

Leon and I and dog Benni will be turning over the house to our guests and going out to the end of our 300 foot driveway to live in the Camper/RV/Fifth Wheel/Trailer.  We have a queen size bed, a toilet and shower, a fridge and a kitchen/living area with TV.  I may just stay there for the duration, but the family would think that rude.  I've thought of going to another State for part of the time, but that would be rude also.

The thing is, having the "nervous" gene, I know my potential for losing it.  I can act calm and collected for three days, not let a thing bother me, go with flow, take things as they come...on the outside.  I can even fool myself.  But, unbeknownst even to me, things will be happening on the inside.  Anxiety will be brewing...creating resentments, feeding guilt, causing more anxiety...someone will comment that the burger is raw on the inside or that we're out of ice, or do you have a clean towel.  Someone will spill a drink, step on the dog and make him howl, or decide that we all take off for the day without considering the dirty dishes all over the house and yard, the laundry in the wash, how the dog will get fed, packing the cooler, or how we're all going to squeeze into their SUV.  Then I'll blow.

Knowing this does not necessarily give me the power to prevent it from happening.  I always think I am dealing with things pretty well.  I congratulate myself on how well I am doing.  Cool, calm, collected.  Mature, grown up, sensible, keeping things in perspective.  Then it happens.  I blow.  My anger and anxiety erupt.  I get agitated. I get more angry and anxious. I yell. I swear.  Everyone will feel bad.  I will feel worse.  I will go sulk.  They will go off and have a good time.

"Where did that come from?",  everyone will ask one another out of my earshot.  I couldn't tell them.

I've got 13 days to figure out how to get through this.  Any suggestions?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Happy Pride Weekend - New York

Happy Pride Weekend, New York!  You've just won the right to get married!

Now, I can't imagine wearing this shirt when I was his age.  Hell, I can't imagine wearing it at my age either!   But the Rebel in me would like to think I could.   
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He does wear it well, don't you think?    We've come a long way baby!

Friday, June 24, 2011


In these lean times I've taken to cutting my own hair.  Having endured years of bad haircuts, I can't say my self-cuts are half bad.  I've also stopped "tinting" as they say.

And it turns out I will have to cut more than my hair come June 30 when my contract runs out with the company I do work for part-time.  I will be on no-time soon.  Like all non-profits, they are also experiencing the effect of this unending downturn in the economy and, no doubt, their employee health care costs are most to blame for their budgetary woes.  I could go off on that tangent ...but Raulito could do it better.

I'm hoping the constant rain we've been having doesn't ruin my vegetable garden or I'll have to moonlight as a non-liscensed barber.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Selebrating Summer Solstice

Summer is officially here.  My Summer muSic of choiSe is definitely Brazilian and Smooth Jazz.   Especially the old Stuff by Sergio MendeS which expreSSeS the Sultry Sensuality that I aSSociate with Summer:  Sun, Sand, Salt water and Skin.  Maybe even add Sweat.  Definitely add Sex.  Brazilian Samba Sounds exSite me.  Make me pine for romanSe and hot male bodieS.  Even when Sexy women Sing the tuneS...

I was introduced to Sergio Mendes when I bought an album, In the Brazilian Bag by Sergio Mendes Trio with Wanda DeSah, back in the sixties from those "cut-out bins" often found in in discount stores.

Thing was, when I first heard it, I didn't care for it at all and didn't play it again for several years.  When I picked it up again, probably in the mid seventies, and put it on the stereo, it was like hearing it for the first time.  I was mesmerized.  Wanda sings "Let Me" with that sultry voice on the original Brazilian Bag album before they were called Brazil '66. (but that just got removed from You Tube, so here's Wanda singing "So Nice")

 Wanda DeSah and Sergio "So Nice"

I have to give you a sample of the Portuguese language which is just so sensual: Wanda singing

Then there's a "Slow Hot Wind" on the album "Herb Alpert Presents Sergio Mendes and Brazil '66"

The album titled "Equinox" has such rhythmic songs as "Chove Chuva (Constant Rain)

And "Cinnamon and Clove" with its beautiful lyrics.

Just to leave Sergio for a moment - Lets not forget the one and only album Soul Flutes:Trust in Me an album put together by various artists including Herbie Mann, Hubert Laws and several others.  Here is "Trust in Me" (not the best quality sound on this one)

But the song I find most sensual and hypnotic, one that whenever I hear it, it remains with me for days and into the nights - one of those songs that I just can't get out of my head - whose lyrics are delicious and the sentiments expressed are sooo fantastical, is "Like A Lover" - the stuff of which daydreams are made. "Oh, How I Dream I Might Be Like the Velvet Moon to You..."

So by now you have an idea of my personal heaven:

After going for a nice refreshing dip in the cool, clear waters off Cape Cod...
lying naked on a dog friendly - but nearly deserted - nude beach*
in the late afternoon on a dry, cloudless Summer day 
with a gentle breeze off the water tempering the heat of the sun
and keeping the sand flies at bay...
listening to a mix of Sergio Mendes and Soul Flutes maybe with a bit of Wes Montgomery thrown in,
and drifting off to that level of consciousness between wakefulness and sleep
while hearing the sound of waves crashing on the shore in the background...drifting...

But wait, there's more:
... and after a nice nap, being gently awakened by my lover (hmm...or a maybe a "perfect" stranger)
as he feels my naked (156 pound, 30-year old) body with his hands,
kisses me lightly and pulls me into a sensual tangle of arms and legs and naked torsos...aah...

* Warning: anti-nudity laws being strictly enforced in recent years.
Alas: Tristeza em Mim.
I've always found it interesting that so many Brazilian/Samba songs contain the words Triste or Tristeza  - Sad, Sadness.  I think that all real sensuality has within it, the unconscious realization of the inevitability of death...even while experiencing the joyfulness of life...

Have a marvelous Summer.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Beach Day

This New England State has the least best beaches. And this one is pretty low on the list. It's actually in a small cove.  But it's deserted and I can take the dog.

One of those nasty creatures that spread the disease named for a nearby town.
A bunch of cormorants flapping and sunning.

Real big grains of sand.  They will be smaller in 10,000 years
The woodlands near the shore

Friday, June 17, 2011

Samba Blessing

That wonderfully romantic but way too straight French film "Un Homme et Une Femme"  had some good music. This Samba is nice.

Here it is in Brazilian Portuguese:

While I love the French version, the Portuguese is so earthy.

And one more - unfortunately I couldn't find this version by a male artist and there is no "Gay" version that I'm aware of...someone needs to do that.

More to come as I get into my summer Brazilian mode....

Let me Refer You to Fr. Geoff This Morning

Fr. Geoff on Marriage Equality

Thank you, Fr. Geoff.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Meadow on a Misty Morning

Is it just me, or are many of us just depressed, bored, discouraged, weary?  We are bombarded by bad news, bad behavior, bad noise, and bad clutter.  We can't afford to indulge in simple pleasures like dressing up the garden, going to nice restaurant, or a movie (if you can find a decent one).

The only thing that gives me pleasure is a walk with the dog in the woods or meadows.  Today we met some nice people there and Benni had a blast.  See his blog for a home movie.

This morning we've got some nature photos for you.

Monday, June 6, 2011

One the Tornado Missed

The possible parallels have already been drawn around Blogovia.

The Wicked Witch of the West arrives in New England along with Tornados.  But somehow, the twisters missed the bus and no house fell on the wicked witch!  Then came her rendition of the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere where he "warns the British" that they can't stop the NRA from carrying guns.

Now her followers are attempting to revise history to jibe with her version of Paul Revere!

I do hope Sarah runs for President.  Saturday Night Live just hasn't been the same without her.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Aftermath of Massachusetts Tornado

Went to visit our friends in Sturbridge, Massachusetts today.  There was considerable tornado damage just a few minutes walk from their house.  Mostly trees snapped up and some homes with roof damage.  We drove into Sturbridge, Brimfield and toward Munson and saw more damage there. Several roads were closed and we were not able to get to the areas where homes were leveled and blown apart.

The path of destruction went across the hills and valleys.  What we were able to see was mostly rural areas with "minimal" damage.

None of these pictures really do justice to the power of the storm.  And this was nothing compared to Joplin, MO.

Benni met the lumberjacks and posted the "photo op" on his blog, BenedictBentley, here.


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