Tag Archives: food

What I Learned This Weekend

3 Apr

File under “Being a Newbie Homo.” Also, “Learning to Adapt to Being Gay in a Straight World.”

What I learned this weekend can be summed up in the text exchange I had with Hippie Rancher today, about my Saturday night out with two of my straight friends from high school:

HR: Did you meet lots of women?

Me: No, I did not. We stayed one place longer than we expected to hear a band B2 knows. So we didn’t make it to the girl bar.

Me: I got to be a stand0offish bitch to all the straight guys who persisted in hitting on me. On a positive note, I now realize why gay people don’t like to go to straight bars.

And, the story could end there and you’d maybe get the point, but when have I ever let a chance to tell a great story pass me by? Uh, never.

I mean… for serious. I had a wonderful, amazing weekend of chilling with fun people with (relatively) little drama, in Wichita. Friday night, hit up my first MMA fight at a venue featuring local fighters, for a  kids’ charity event.  Great group of people I met through a friend at school. Bought shots for a ring girl. Screamed and jumped up and down while guys pummeled each other. Left wanting to MMA fight. Did a little dancing. Made out with a girl on the dance floor. Left, got DIVINE street ‘dawgs from a vendor — complete with cucumbers, pickles, onions, jalapenos, and chili.  Total heartburn special. Totally worth it. And topped the night off with local greasy spoon Mexican cafe, Rene’s. Colorado burrito? Hell yes. Get one.

Here’s where it gets potentially messy. No one in the group knows I’m gay, except maybe the guy from school but we’ve never had “the” convo.  On the way to drop people off, one of the guys I danced with had me sit in his lap because we were seriously smooshed in this truck. Well, he decides to get out when they drop me off, and follow me to the house. I’m like, “Uhhh… mkay. Maybe he left his car here. Maybe he needs to pee and they’re waiting on him. Maybe he just really wants to have a great conversation.” Really? I know better than that!

But I feel like, since I’ve come out fully, that there should be some external change that other people can recognize the same way I feel a huge internal change from how my life was even three months ago.  And I am still coming to grips with having to have the “gay” conversation with almost every human being I get in to a decent conversation with. Or assumptions are made (like the one that was made this night) and then people get confused. And a little mad.

So, this guy and I sit at the dining room table, alone in B2’s house at 2 a.m. And we have an awesome conversation about spirituality and life after death, and… of all things… our mutual history with WWE/WWF wrestling.  Random, right? My kind of shit. I LOVE meeting people through completely chance encounters and having great conversation. But I digress…

A couple hours later, around 4:30 a.m., this guy says, “Well, it’s late and I’d better either leave or go to bed.”

To which I replied, “I can drive you home if you’d like.”

“You can if you want. I’m just saying that if I crash in a bed with you, there’s a small chance I’ll try to pull something on you,” he threw out there.

After a pause, I managed, “Would it help you not feel that way if I told you that I’m gay?”

Proceed with 45 minutes of him vacillating between asking me questions about being gay, to him being a jerk about the “wasted time and effort” (though he never came out and said that), to him actually STILL trying to get me to sleep with him.  F’real. I finally made the choice for him, and took his ass home.

The next day, I was pissed. Why should I have to justify my sexuality to some dipshit 25-year old kid who only followed me home because he got a boner when I sat in his lap? Why do I even care so much? But most of all: how do I keep this from happening again? I talked to HR about it, and he advocated that I be as up front as possible if a guy starts to invest time in me.  And he also suggested that I dial down the flirtatiousness.  I’m not awful. But I think I have a sort of natural charm that just happens without me realizing it. Until I’m doing it. And then it’s too late to stop.

Saturday night. B2, Virgin Mary, and I are dolled up and ready to rock. If I do say so m’self, I looked pretty awesome. Jeans and rock graffitti Chucks, mohawk in a pomp, black chiffon corset topped with a killer leather vest, 50’s June Cleaver hot pink choker beads, and a huge turquoise ring. Oh yes.

 

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Wild Bean – Lewisburg, WV

27 Mar

It’s a first! I was inspired today to start writing about food  & drink stuff I discover, love, or loathe, and the charming little places from whence the aforementioned stuff comes. How apropos that my first comes from the quaint village of Lewisburg, West Virginia, and its local coffee shop/eatery/hippie central: The Wild Bean.

Food & Drink: The menu boasts an impressive and creative mix of specialty drinks and the old coffee house stand-bys. I decided to try a Sugar Maple latte, but modified.  Half the syrup (I like my drinks on the mildly sweet side), an extra shot (for caffeine and stronger flavor), and with whipped cream (because it makes everything better).  I can’t imagine how tooth-achingly sweet one with the full dosage of pure maple syrup would have. Mine was perfect. The taste of the maple highlights the smokiness of the amazing espresso shots. Extra point for a great barista who knew how to (and took the time to) pull great shots.

I saw after I already ordered that they have almond syrup. Since its discontinuation from the Starbucks lineup, I always get excited to see it in other shops. So yummy, but I’ll have to do it another time.  Other menu items that caught my eye: Stout Chai — a 20 oz. chai latte with a doubleshot of espresso; and Swift Kick — 8 oz. of espresso with brown sugar cream stirred in (okay, I may actually get one of those before I leave here).

Wild Bean has a kitchen and sports a small but interesting food menu that is super veggie-friendly.  I am sorely tempted to try the Grilled Peanut Butter and Banana, or the Ultimate Grilled Cheese. As I write this, they are baking chocolate chip cookies that almost make me drool on my keyboard.

Local Color: Artwork from local schools and local artists line the walls, along with vintage coffee makers, burlap bags, and pictures.  There’s a stage up front that is used for a raised seating area when it’s not being used by one of the bands or artists whose upcoming performances are listed on chalkboards by the front door.

Wild Bean has a nice selection of coffee and accessories, including hand-thrown coffee mugs and plates from a local potter.  Stone jewelry and photog postcards are also available, along with CDs and some books.

The Little Things: The only downside I found with Wild Bean is that their wi-fi access is not free or unlimited. You have to get a code for a one or two hour access window with your purchase. It makes sense to keep people from living up here online without buying things, but it’s kinda annoying.

The music is eclectic and loud enough that you can enjoy it without feeling like someone is beating the notes in to your head (Hello, Starbucks. Tell your stoner employees to leave the volume dial alone when they get to work.) It’s also at a volume where you can have a conversation in a normal tone of voice without feeling like everyone around you is eavesdropping. There is a good mix of people — hipsters, middle-aged marrieds, the requisite strange 50-something fat white guy, and maybe even a gay person besides me.

Seating areas are mixed and comfortable.  There’s a section with couches, a coffee table, and a fake fireplace. And toward the back of the shop you’ll find a kid’s play area with toys, a soft floor, and books. Nice touch.

They recycle! Gotta love that there are separate bins for plastics/glass/paper. Why every coffee shop does not do this is beyond me.  It just makes sense.

All-in-All: 4.5 out of 5 beans. I could totally see myself hanging out here and writing or meeting up with friends for a bite to eat.

Special Hamburger

20 Sep

Ever since I started renovating our side of the house, I have coined a nickname for our neighbor’s dog… “Special Hamburger” — so named because I would love nothing more than to feed it a special anti-freeze hamburger or five.  This thing defies all logic of ability in the amount of barking it does.  It’s probably deaf by now.  As are its owners, apparently, because they let the thing stand there and screech at them from inside its dog run while they are 20 feet away in the driveway, or inside, or in the backyard. 

So, I finally had enough after listening to it all.fucking.afternoon.  It’s a balmy 73 degrees outside and the only way I can open my windows and enjoy the weather is if I want to listen to the Barky McGee symphony all damn day. I realize it would probably be faster to just walk over there and tell them to shut it the hell up, but I’m a fan of written communication when possible.  Plus, this way, I don’t get arrested for punching someone in the face.

——————————————————–

September 20, 2009

Dear Dog Owners,

This letter has been some time coming, but it is after a full three hours (and still going) on a Sunday afternoon of listening to your dog bark and whine and yap that I have finally decided to write you and ask your assistance in getting your dog to shut up. It’s ridiculous that we can’t even have our windows open to enjoy a nice afternoon breeze… or morning breeze, or evening breeze for that matter, because, let’s face it, your dog starts barking at 6:30 a.m. and doesn’t shut its yap all day.

Perhaps you have grown immune or deaf to the screechingly annoying sound that is your dog barking. Unfortunately, the rest of the neighborhood has not. Just because you live at the end of a dead end street does not mean there is an invisible wall surrounding your property so you can allow incessant noise at all hours. Yes, dogs bark. But more than a couple of minutes of barking in any given hour is, by most normal definitions, excessive. If I wanted to listen to someone’s mangy mutt bark its head off while chained to a stake outside, I would pay a lot less property tax and live in a trailer park on the other side of town.

There are a number of options available to you, as a responsible pet owner, to make your dog less of a yapping nuisance to your neighborhood. In addition to bark collars and training, there are also devices you can mount on your fence that emit a high-pitched noise whenever your dog barks, to help it to bark less. There’s also the novel concept of spending time with your dog, instead of leaving it outside squealing for attention. If you can’t do that, I highly recommend a friendly country home, placement with the SPCA, or euthanasia.

Obviously, I prefer to avoid personal confrontation. I’m afraid if I made this request in person, I would not be able to avoid using those naughty words my mom always taught me to not say to others in polite company. Please remedy this situation within a week from the date of this letter. If you are unable to do so, I will start filing noise complaints with the police department until the problem ceases to exist, or your dog finally keels over dead.

Thanks for your prompt attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Your Neighbors

Warming Up… 25 Things About Me

13 May

As you can see, it has been quite some time since I last submitted my thoughts to the blogosphere.  Not for lack of good intentions, or being asked by friends and family, or for a loss of words accumulating in my brain.  Rather than attempt a full-blown return to putting it all out there, I thought I’d do a Facebook-style “25 things about me.” Part warm-up, part getting-to-know-me.  Part attempt to realize that not everything I blog has to be some perfectly crafted story or contain some life-altering revelation (and not that anything I’ve written to date has).  Just that I need to start writing more because it makes me happy, and that should be enough.

25 Things About Me

1. My guilty pleasures include: reality television, celebrity gossip, decadent espresso beverages, hot Krispy Kreme doughnuts, excessive pedicures, and the infrequent (or frequent, depending on my stress level) smoking of cigarettes.

2. I have this weird thing where words get stuck in my head for no apparent reason.  Words that I haven’t (consciously) heard anywhere.  Words I don’t know the meaning of, and thus have to look up so they will go away.  Today’s such word was “avuncular.” Other recent words include: vituperative, obfuscation, and megaloblastic.

3. I hate beer.  Hate it. I prefer vodka, or white wine.  Working on my appreciation of reds. But, the older I get, the less I enjoy drinking alcohol.  The benefit to next-day-repercussion ratio is too out of whack for me.

4. When I lived in California, I decided to learn how to ride a motorcycle.  That was 11 years and 4 bikes ago.  There is no feeling in the world as liberating and I will ride until I can’t hold a bike up anymore.  And then I’ll get a trike.

5. I’m a closet espresso snob.  I mean, just about anyone who knows me knows that I am a fan of Starbucks (I know, big evil corporate entity killing mom & pop shops… bite me, I’ve worked for them and I like them and if there’s a good mom & pop shop, they’ll be able to hold their own and if they suck, they won’t… but I digress). Here’s the big secret, people.  I don’t really care for coffee.  I mean, I’ll drink it.  But coffee does not equal espresso.  I blame my year in Spain drinking insanely addictive cafe con leche.  Once you’ve had coffee/espresso like that, the drip pot just doesn’t cut it for a real fix.

6. In my lifetime, I have had 20 piercings at various times.  I currently have four (lip, each ear once, nose) and I’m re-doing my venom piercing at the end of this month. It’s decoration and it makes me happy, that’s why.

7. Some day I see myself living (avec ma famille, bien sur) overseas for extended periods of time to work.  I’d really like to get back to the Middle East and use my experience in construction to help rebuild homes, schools, and community buildings.  Another reason to get my Arabic back up to par.

8. My uncorrected eyesight sucks and it gets worse every year.  I wear contacts that have to be special-ordered because optometry shops don’t keep the prescription in stock.  If my vision could not be corrected for some bizarre reason by contacts or glasses, I would be considered legally blind.  But I’m afraid to get something like LASIK done because the thought of lasers in my eyeballs freaks me out.

9. I was an Arabic linguist in the Navy.  I studied it (I use that term very loosely) for 63 weeks at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California. Yes, I could read, write and speak it. I still can but I’m extremely rusty and I abhor being put on the spot about my language skills. I hate it when people find out and then say, “Say something in Arabic!”  Um, no.  I’m not a circus monkey.  I don’t do tricks. But it’s my goal to be comfortable enough speaking it again someday that this doesn’t bother me so much.

10. I have always had a feeling that I will die before I’m 45.  The older I get, the more I hope that I’m wrong.

11. My next tattoo is going to be a line of Arabic script on the underside of my left forearm.  It will be my fourth tattoo, but not my last.

12. I don’t think I danced with either of my dates to junior or senior prom at my school.  One of them is now out of the closet, the other was my best guy friend who had a crush on someone else.  Then, post-graduation, I went to two proms in another town with my boyfriend at the time who, weeks after we broke up, knocked up and subsequently married a girl he had a one-night stand with at a bar in Norfolk.  Boy, did I know how to pick ’em.

13. I bought my first individual stock today. Ooh, maybe that should not be number 13.  *knock on wood*

14. My ever-growing list of food turn-offs includes: pointy french fries, seafood that isn’t from a seafood restaurant, the entrails or any non-muscle part of any animal, cinnamon rolls, and sushi. Blech.

15. When I build my Barbie Dream House one day, it will have a library with built in bookshelves and a fireplace because there are few things I find more relaxing than reading.

16. Baseball. I can’t stand it.  There, I said it.  The list of things I care as little about as baseball includes: Chia pets, MySpace, the actual price of tea in China, Heidi and Spencer, how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie pop, and why people wear those ridiculous looking Crocs. In other words, I really don’t care for baseball. Or hockey. Or college sports unless they’re in playoffs and even then… meh.

17. I’m a big fan of diversity and challenging stereotypes.  I hate intolerance and extremism.  There should be more of the former and less of the latter in this world.

18. 99% of the time, I sleep with a fan on to block out all the little noises that happen at night.  Otherwise I get zero sleep. And once I’m awake, I’m AWAKE.  I would also rather stay up until 2 a.m. and sleep until 10 a.m. than go to bed at 9 and wake up at 6.

19. Due to a combination of factors influencing the items in #17, I am decidedly NOT a morning person.  In fact, one should not risk speaking to me until I have spent at least 10 minutes vertical and ambulatory, brushed my teeth, and put in my contacts.  Until then, I am not human and cannot be held responsible for my actions.

20. I’m pretty sure I’m at least mildly OCD.  I’m also a part-time control freak, especially when it comes to driving.  And I occasionally consider the need for anger management classes (also especially when driving).

21. I’m a big fan of social Darwinism/survival of the fittest.  You’d think that having a kid would change that a little, but I still  really believe that our society has made it far too easy for stupid people to survive.  Thus, they procreate and make more stupid people because it’s a proven fact that smarter people have fewer children… so if we don’t start making it easier for them to kill themselves off (more lax gun laws, fewer pedestrian crosswalks, less safety features on power tools) then someday there won’t be enough McDonald’s drive-thrus in the world for them to work at, and things like G.W. Bush in the White House will happen WAY more often than we’d all like.

22. In 2012, we want to go back to Scotland with friends & family for a five-year anniversary celebration.  (Hint: save the date.)

23. I have lived in the states of Kansas, Washington, California, Texas, and Virginia (Northern, thnkuvrymch) and the country of Spain. Worked in the U.S., Spain, Iraq, Kuwait, and Germany. Visited 42 of the 50 United States, the Yucatan Peninsula, France, the Netherlands, and Scotland.  I like to travel.

24. I am a PC.  Although I find the Mac vs. PC commercials very entertaining (the marketing geniuses behind that series should be given an award), I’m not likely to be convinced in this lifetime that Macs are more user-friendly or so much better than PCs that they’re worth the switch.

25. It takes a long time to think of 25 things to write about myself.  And even longer to actually sit down and write them.  I started this blog last week.  That’s just silly, especially considering it’s probably more than anyone wanted to know about me in one sitting.  But thanks for reading this far. 🙂  Send me your address and I’ll mail you a cookie.

What the…

26 Oct

As I’m writing this blog, my son, who refuses to nap even though he is grouchy and whiny and hasn’t slept since 7:30 this morning (which, for a one-year-old is a long stretch), is on the floor putting tampons (clean ones, duh) in his piggy bank.  And I am just too mentally and physically exhausted to take them away from him.  Because that would require five minutes of tantrum and fussing and finding something to redirect him towards.  It’s not hurting anything.  Besides, if he gets really creative, we could use them to give these as Christmas gifts this year.

Like he is, I am grouchy and whiny and haven’t slept since 7:30 this morning.  And I could have used a few more hours, thanks to the Tylenol PM-induced haze I woke up in.  It was that or drinking myself to sleep, and there’s not a drop of alcohol in my parents’ house.  Except for the bottle of wine that my mom bought two years ago in Germany because she liked the bottle.  I wasn’t quite desperate enough to risk those repercussions.

I have been having far too many “WTF?” moments lately.  You know, those times when you feel like you’ve had just about as much as you can take until life decides to throw you another curve ball, usually when you’re still juggling the past three that were lobbed your way.  Yeah, those.  I had a good one last night.

As I drove home from a long day of Neewollah festivities followed by a family cookout at my grandparent’s house, I was looking forward to putting Bug to bed and relaxing with the heating pad on the couch.  Traffic actually sucked, for a Kansas highway on a weekend night, from everyone leaving Independence to head home.  I was stuck behind three school buses and two Suburbans until they pulled to the right in a right-hand turn lane at a highway intersection.

Continuing straight, I saw around the first bus just in time to realize that there was someone at the intersection who wasn’t stopping.  And I was right in his line of travel.  I honked, I swerved in to the other lane to buy some time/room, and then I hoped that he would miss me.  Just in time to feel the impact, simultaneous with that sickening crunch/thud that anyone who has been in a wreck knows.  It threw the Durango I was driving in to the other lane and I let instinct take over while I tried to regain control from almost spinning out in to the opposite ditch.  Somehow, I managed to make it to the right shoulder and come to a stop.  Needless to say, I was shaken and shaking.  But otherwise unscathed.

More importantly, Bug was fine, too.  He had been sound asleep in his car seat and I don’t think he woke up until after the impact.  He lost his pacifier and started to fuss at being woken, but I told him it was okay and he just sort of looked around.  Some of the band moms from the Suburbans behind the buses came over to make sure we were okay, and a driver who was behind the guy who hit me came over as well.  I managed to call my parents while he called the police.

What confused me was the other driver’s car was no where in sight.   Glass and car parts littered the highway, his bumper and other parts of the his car were attached to mine, but no car.  No driver.

Long story less long, the fucking idiot who hit me was drunk.  We found out later that he had apparently intended to just keep going.  Fortunately for us, a ditch decided to jump out and intervene in his escape.  It was probably a good thing that his car was a half-mile down the road or I’m pretty sure that I would have been in the back of a cruiser myself for causing a scene.

We are SO lucky it wasn’t worse.  I was going slower than the speed limit because of the buses.  I saw him and swerved so he didn’t hit me as hard as he might have.  He supposedly stopped at the stop sign so he wasn’t going as fast as he could have been.  What pisses me off is that if any of those factors had been slightly different, we could have been seriously hurt.  What pisses me off even more than that is that some jackass decided that he needed to drive his stupid ass home more than someone else needed to make it home safely.

I’m willing to be that pretty much anyone who has consumed alcohol has driven when they shouldn’t.  I know a couple of my good friends have been caught and suffered the legal repercussions.  I know families who have been impacted by the death of their loved ones who died from a wreck caused by a drunk driver.  And, as I sat there looking at my baby boy wondering how the hell someone could do this and thanking my guardian angels it wasn’t worse, I realized what is really at risk every time someone gets behind the wheel impaired.

When I got home, the adrenaline wore off and I had a good sobfest.  I don’t understand how or why these things happen to me.  Or why on earth I have had one of the most challenging years of my life at a time when my husband is halfway around the world.  Or why I can’t have a week… just one week… where something stupid, shitty or insane doesn’t blow up in my face.  And maybe I’ll never know.

Nietzsche said, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”  So if, after all I’ve gone through in this short little life, I’m not dead yet, it’s going to take one hell of a bang to take me out.