Thursday, November 30, 2006

Happy Birthday

The universe sure is funny sometimes. I was checking on my friend Troy's blog. He's working in Antarctica. They're 18 hours ahead, so it's already the 1st of December there. My friend posted the Wikipedia entry.

For those too lazy to click and read the whole entry, the item of note is that under births, it lists "1976 - Matthew Shepard, American murder victim (d. 1998)." I was a bit surprised that his birthday is listed on the official wiki calendar.

Don't get me wrong, I had not forgotten the date. The chatter on the Matthew Shepard lists (I lurk and monitor what the crazies are saying) has been going for some time now. Dec. 1st would have been Matt's 30th birthday.

No, I'm not going to get all morose on people. I celebrate Matt's life and the good that has come from his story. My point today is just that the little coincidences in life add up. Pay attention to them.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Giving thanks

So often we focus on the things that are difficult. The challenges we've faced, the struggles yet to come, and the trouble in between. It's easy to think about loss and pain; they leave a lasting impression on us. They stir up such a wealth of emotion it's hard not to focus on the darker days. On how hard this year has been. How tough the upcoming year will be.

I've been dealing with this a lot lately. It hasn't been the easiest of semesters. Or the easiest of years, for all that matter. "If I can just make it until my trip to Canada..." "Only three days of work before the holiday break..." I find myself saying things like this to myself (and others) all too often.

But this time of year is about being thankful. Thankful for those in our lives, the things we have, and the lessons we've learned. This year has once again taught me to be thankful for every precious day of life we have. For the amazing people in our lives, and the true friends who would give or do anything for us. I am truly blessed by the friends and family in my life. Though I struggle with money, bills, etc. I realize that I own a home, a decent vehicle, and have a college education. There are so many who don't have these basic material goods.

And I am thankful for the reminders, both gentle and forceful, that the universe gives me on a daily basis. The wisdom my friends offer me, even though they don't necessarily realize they're doing it. I'm also thankful for the good days I know are yet to come. The lessons I have yet to learn. The friends I have yet to make.

I wanted to pause for a moment and thank all of you for another amazing year, full of fun and adventure. And to tell you I can't wait for another year to come. Today I received a card from a friend in Chicago, with whom I am starting out on what promises to be an amazing journey. The quote on the front struck me, and so I'll leave you with this thought:

"Tomorrow is a new day,
You shall begin it well..." - Emerson

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

My feet hurt

Yes, gentle readers...I've done it again. Once again, I have channeled the Mouth from the South and embodied Ms. Martina Gras (but you can call me Marti!). The Stilettos had their most recent show in Cheyenne last Saturday. I started shaving things on Thursday.

Each time I perform "in face" as a women, I am struck by the amount of work that goes into being an "acceptable" woman. Shaving, waxing, tweezing, plucking, and moisturizing. Then there's hair to get done, makeup to apply, garments that squeeze/tuck/shape/otherwise contort, pantyhose to wrestle...and then there's the damned shoes!

Heels are, in fact, a medieval torture device designed to weaken, enfuriate, and otherwise harass anyone who wears them. I managed to catch a heel on a chair leg and roll one of my ankles. Not the most graceful thing for a drag queen to do. But I channeled my inner diva and stood right back up, righted the overturned chair, and continued with the number as though nothing had ever happened. It wasn't until after I left the room that my most fabulous dressor extraordinaire, Ms. Bryski, checked for a wound. And there was a doozie of a floor burn and run in my stocking the size of Texas. Great fun!

Though I've said it before, I think it bears repeating. Straight men: the next time you're grumpy because your wife/girlfriend/sister/friend/female whatever is "taking too long getting ready..." Shut the fuck up! Because the next time I hear a man doing so, I shall promptly put him in true drag. He shall learn that putting on a full face of makeup takes an hour when done properly. That your makeup must be retouched several times throughout the course of the evening. That whatever she is wearing is probably designed for someone built like a twig, and that she's wearing shaping garments to squeeze herself to a "more perfect" vision of loveliness. Not only is it likely uncomfortable, it probably outright hurts!

So pipe down or deal with women going out without make up or decent clothes. They'll start throwing on a hat and baggy shirt whenever they leave. And you're not allowed to bitch about how she's letting herself go. Or I'll use my glued on nails to claw out your eyes and will plant a size 14 6 inch heel in your forehead.

Friday, November 10, 2006

They made me come back

For the record, I had a ball in Canada. The hotel was nice, the mall was amazing, and the food was great! I got to catch up with friends I only see 3-4 days each year. I learned new things to bring back to work and improve my policies and procedures. I went to the indoor mini-golf course, the Asian supermarket, the dinner theater (where I was roped into dancing on stage, thanks to the aforementioned friends), and the indoor water park. I even managed to find a karaoke night and go out with my friends, who are the ones who got me hooked in the first place.

Things in Canada are a bit different than here. Everyone was dressed nicely, and the mall was chock full of high end clothing stores. The money's different, but the exchange rate isn't hard to figure out, and most places would accept US currency (for a fee). Everyone was quite nice and helpful, and the boys were PRETTY!!! Yum. Alcohol was pretty pricey, as there are several extra taxes. I'll get some of the GST (Goods and Services Tax) back, as Canada lets you send in receipts and get a refund if you don't live there. These taxes are what help pay for socialized medicine. Yup....every single person in Canada has medical care, so everyone is pretty healthy. Even the homeless (though I admittedly didn't see any hanging around the mall).

Just like my trip to Holland/Germany, it made me realize that there is a better way to do so many things. Since I'm gay, I could have claimed asylum and stayed there. The whole "I'd need a job and income" thing seemed to be a barrier to me, though. ;) I could live with higher taxes to ensure every person in the nation can see a doctor when they're sick. Besides...there are all those cute Mounties running around. *waggles eyebrows*

The trip back was long, and the weather wasn't great. I stopped in Seattle long enough to exit one plane, walk to the next concourse, and get in line for the next flight. 10 minutes from plane to plane, tops. During that time, I even managed to call NerdyGirl! I figured I couldn't very well be in her town and not call her, even if I was on the ground no more than 30 minutes. If I didn't, she'd send the Panda Army to beat me up. (Go read her blog and that comment will make more sense.)

If nothing else, it reaffirmed my belief that I learn so much when I step outside the familiar. When I embrace a new experience or a new way of looking at things. Today's homework: go somewhere new. See something different. Be adventurous. Try something you haven't before!

Friday, November 03, 2006

It's not even a real country anyway

Tomorrow morning at 4am I will leave for DIA with 3 friends/coworkers. From there, we will fly to Edmonton, Canada for our annual work conference. It travels around each year, and so far I have been to Denver, Richmond (VA), Portland, Providence, San Antonio, Baltimore, Monterrey, and now to Canada. Going to Canada is on my list of "Things to do before I die," though I had expected a visit to the International Peace Gardens or some other scenic detour. This is one more thing I'll be able to check off my list. Long time blog readers and friends may remember that I've had to expand the list in the past, as I had accomplished several of the things on the list.

I've seen a show ON Broadway (Phantom of the Opera, with my mom and sister), I've travelled somewhere that requires a passport (Holland), swam in the ocean on both coasts, and been to Germany (Kassel, to be precise). Still on my list: a trip to Hawaii, scuba diving, holding my niece, and taking a cruise. Note that several of these can be accomplished in one trip if I play my cards right. ;)

But this trip to Canada has made me realize that I have seen and done so many things in my life. Even with the pain and struggle that sometimes cloud our lives, there is a lot to experience out there. In the long run, I've had a good time of it and can't really complain. But now I have to come up with new things for my list. I'll keep you posted on the updates, but want to know: what's on your list?