away and this year

I felt like I got a lot accomplished this past weekend. I got ahead on a lot of homework and filed our taxes. Despite liking doing the taxes every year it still gives me quite a bit of anxiety before I finish them. I never know what they’re going to look like, if we’ll get anything back or have to owe. Especially, this year with all the new tax laws – although, I don’t think any of those affect us because we’re not millionaires.

Charlie and I are planning a couple of out of town trips this Spring. One is firmed up and the other I’m looking in to. Both trips include taking the dogs. That will probably be the extent of our trips this year as I can’t miss too much school. I will probably look into taking several stay-ca’s this year which will still be relaxing. I hope to get out and do a little trout fishing this year. This is something I think I’m going to do every year and then it never happens. A friend of mine’s husband is a fellow angler and every year when we see each other at Super Bowl we always say we need to get out and go fishing. I’ve already looked at the stocking times and rivers and plan on trying to get out there as early as March. March – mid-April is really the best times because it’s still cool. When it gets hot outside those fish dive to the bottom and are hard to coax out.

I just love when you have friends who read your blog and every time they tell you something they have to preface it with “Don’t put this on your blog”. It’s a double-edged sword having people you know read your blog.

But, I am not a professor and will not lecture people about their lives and choices. I have only myself and my family (which, I will preface with the family I have chosen not my blood family) to worry about.

It’s a large temptation of mine – getting involved. I’ve had to tell myself several times – don’t get involved. Worry about your own shit and stay out of others. That’s one of the NY resolutions. Others are:

I will not see The Indigo Girls for the 45th time. I will pursue hearing new music.

I will not let my sister or father hurt me and I will remain non-emotional when I speak to them. I will not give them details about my life so they can criticize.

I think the whole sex-change thing was the last straw for me. The last two conversations I’ve had with my sister she’s said she’s taken food down to our father and I never commented on it. She’s asked me what I’ve been up to and I’ve said just work.

Take more breaks from social media – honestly, I have been a little tempted to uninstall FB from my phone – especially, in light of everything that’s happened in the news. I get staying in touch with people and events but there’s a time when it’s just too much negativity and the need to take care of yourself.

I guess that’s enough resolutions for now. How are your resolutions going?

 

Advertisements

tuesday chex

The time of reckoning came. What I had been waiting for to happen for a whole year finally came – I got my yearly review. And, it was good.

Big exhale.

I was prepared for battle, believe me. My boss waited until the last moment to do mine last Friday afternoon – over the phone. That’s fine – he’s kind of a gutless twat. All I was looking for was the “meaningful impact” which is higher than the somewhat impact I got last year. Upon further investigation I was told everyone got the same rating (we were all evaluated as a team) and no one got the highest rating like I suspected they wanted. I was happy that we were all evaluated on the same plane and no one got more of a rating than others, more of a bonus structure, etc.

Now that that’s out of the way I can breathe easier and just hang out here until I get further through cyber security school before I start looking again. I mentioned in the past I’m in this computer basics class – that although I know most of the basics some of it stumps me from time to time – like the UNIX lab we did last weekend. My favorite class is the other one – the hardware class. We cover a part of the inside of a computer every week. Last week we talked about the processors and wattage tonight we’re going to talk about hard drives.

So, I dug out my old Macbook Pro – this is an early 2008 15” running OS X. After several attempts I finally got the thing to turn on. It ran and I played around with all the programs, it connected to the internet but the fan runs constantly on the thing. I suspect is has years of dust that has collected in it. I’ve been doing a ton of research on switching out the hard drive to a SSD and putting in more RAM. That all seems pretty straightforward but then I started looking into replacing the motherboard. That’s a whole other ball of wax. I plan on picking my prof’s brain on that tonight when I get to class. I think it would be a good little home project to do is switch out the hard drive and replace the ram.

I’ve bailed on the last two guitar classes – I mean, why would I want to go play Leaving on a Jet plane all night compared to having V-Day dinner with my wife? So, I don’t know if I’ll be back there. I plan on working on some stuff this weekend while Charlie is away if I can get all the homework completed that I need to. I’m going for all A’s this semester so I need to keep my GPA up and that’s way more important than Jet plane right now.

So, on that note I’ve gotta fly – cheers and have a great weekend if I don’t talk to you before then!

 

rainy day chex mix

It’s a disgustingly rainy day here in Atlanta. Not just a light drizzle that you would expect from Atlanta winters but a FULL ON downpour with thunder chiming in from time to time saying, “SO THERE” and “TAKE THAT!” 

Yesterday, when I was inside all day and had class that night it was beautiful, of course. 63 degrees and sunny. -SIGH- It was the first really nice day we’d had since last Saturday and it was cold even then.

We had a great Super Bowl and the turn out was what most of us wanted. Link was still there in her NE scarf but she held back on the jersey this year – maybe because she had a premonition that they would lose? We had a ton of food and a medium crowd – around 15-16 people. Remember the couple that messed up our spare room three Super Bowl’s ago? They came – this was the first they have been back since that night. And, miraculously they’re married now. (and, no, they didn’t stay this time)

So, I have a new guitar to take to class with me [to play leaving on a jet plane]. Well, it’s new to me. LB is letting me borrow it while I’m taking classes because she just got a new guitar. This one is a little damaged – it has a crack in the side but it still plays well and the crack doesn’t go all the way through (don’t ask me how that happened). She said I could have it since she didn’t need two but I just asked to borrow it. Anyway, it’s a big improvement over that Ibanez I’d been playing that Lee left at my house after we broke up. (I think I’m even going to gift that thing to someone in our neighborhood who wants it)

This Friday we’re going to go see our friend Hannah play for her birthday bash at Eddie’s. Last year when she had it Charlie was sick and couldn’t go so Benji went instead. Hannah always has a full band of rocking women behind her on her birthday bash so we’re looking forward to it.

I broke down and got a flu shot today. There’s only two other people in the office I work and one of them has the flu. So, hopefully I will dodge the bullet. Well, that’s all I got right now – I just wanted to pop in and say hi. Have a great rest of the week and stay dry if you’re in the ATL.

 

Cheers!

 

 

leaving on a jet plane

Guitar lessons are not what I hoped them to be.

Our teacher in guitar looks like a hippie from the ‘70’s – in fact, I’m sure she was a hippie in the ‘70’s – and we keep working on these chords which you would expect guitar lessons to be. She has a strange way of presenting – the best I can explain is that say we play something in the key of A then A= I, D=IV, E =V

Does that make any sense to any of you guitar players out there?

Then, the key of D is D= I, A = IV, A7 = V

What is with the Roman numerals, lady? If you want me to play the chords of D, A & A7 just say so instead of arbitrarily writing these Roman numerals on the dry erase board and testing us on this. I’m a bit fed up to be honest. Last night we played the key of G (since we just learned G & C last week) and it was this: G= I, C = IV, D = V then we had to play this tune in this order: I, IV, I, V, then the next line I, IV, I-IV-I-V the dashes between being switching the chords quicker like a quarter note as opposed to a half note.

It was hard enough just to switch between the chords quickly let alone having to just remember what the IV, V was – especially since we just did something in the key of A. I admit I’m not memorizing the Roman numeral/chord/key correlation quick enough.

Again, does any of this make any sense to you guitar players out there? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

To top it all off – all we’ve been playing in class are these old songs. She even mentioned some old cowboy song last night and I groaned inwardly. In the last class recap email she said to start practice playing these songs in the key of A – Bury Me Under the Weeping Willow and Hello Mary Lou.

What.the.fuck.is.THAT?

There is a list of songs online (229 to be exact) that were made in this last century in the key of A we could be playing instead of some songs that were released in 1927 and 1961.

The second half of the class we’re all supposed to go downstairs and jam out with the old people. There’s always some guy standing up front announcing the songs we’re going to play in some key and he holds up fingers that correlate to the Roman numerals. The last two classes my friend, Yolanda and I have been skipping the jamboree. The last week of class we’re supposed to have a recital and play – get this: Leaving on a Jet plane (1967 – at least we’re getting more recent here).

Honestly, I feel like we should be attempting to play more recent songs and the last 30 minutes that have been devoted to a jam session downstairs should be cut to 15 minutes with an extra 15 added on to our lesson. Last night the teacher, Shelly, said that if we didn’t learn all the 7 and minor chords by the end of the remaining 4 weeks then we probably wouldn’t be ready for Guitar Repertoire next semester and that we’d probably have to take Guitar I over again.

Not me, sister.

I’m not playing Leaving on a jet plane another 8 weeks. I keep looking at online guitar lessons by Fender (and they have all kinds of recent songs to play) and wondering if that’s a better option for next semester. Regardless, Yolanda and I have both said we’re done with Guitar I down there after the semester is over – we’re both flying outta there onna jet plane.

 

 

an inflated sense of the future

So last week it dumped a bunch of snow on us in the middle of the night when it was, like,        21 ° outside and it remained so for two days. You can imagine what people in Georgia were doing…..

Schools, businesses, state offices were closed the remaining week. By Friday it was a balmy 51 and all the crap had melted and we went to our friend’s Holly and Darren’s down the street for homemade pizza. Since Darren got this pizza oven, Fridays have been a standing pizza date with them. We bailed on the last two invites – the last because other friends Brianna and Keith were wanting to watch this really weird film – Charlie and I aren’t really movie people – especially weird movie people. They watched this movie and talked about how weird it was – I guess sometimes you just need to watch something weird to talk about something weird? Speaking of weird…

I think basketball fans are weird. We all know that basketball isn’t Lanie’s sport of choice. One year an ex of Lanie’s had box seats to the – what’s the basketball team here – oh, The Hawks -where everything was paid for including booze and food and asked if Lanie wanted to go and of course the answer was no. No amount of hotdogs and Budlight could make Lanie want to watch 7 foot men dunking balls for three hours.

Speaking of balls…….

That effing Brady is in the Super Bowl again. That’s going to be his name from now on – That Effing Brady (TEB). I was really nice when I sent out the party invites, though. Instead of, Let’s beat effing Brady party I said, Our 6th annual Super Bowl party.

Charlie and I don’t actually KNOW if it’s the 6th one since we lost count ages ago but 6 sounds good. We all want the Eagles to win (except for Link)– and try as I might I couldn’t find an image of an eagle flying away with TEB in its talons. And, we won’t hear from Brady’s wife unless they lose. What’s her name? Gizelle? Do you pronounce that Jiz-zell? Or GAAAAAAA-zell? Or should we just call her hooved animal wife (HAW)?

And we all know that HAW will have a lot to say to people if TEB loses because he’s such a [female part slang] that he needs her to stick up for him. Here’s what HAW had to say about TEB’s balls, too.

But, I think he CAN, HAW! Ok, HAW and TEB are going to be old news soon so I’ll move on. Has anyone tried that Marco Polo ap? It’s hilarious! Stiletto (who is secretly rooting for the EAGLES) turned us on to it and we’ve been chatting back and forth. I love the voice changing button – it looks like a flexing arm and when you push that it makes your voice sound like this:

It really should be called the RuPaul button. The other two buttons helium and robot are ok but the RuPaul button is really the best. It’s kinda scary in a way because Charlie said this would be our real voices should we ever get on testosterone and change our sexes – Ok, but – why would we do that? Where did this subject come from? Lanie is very comfortable in her skin and with her sex. There’s NO WAY after going through all this menopause shit that Lanie would want to complicate things even more by wanting to sew on some appendage and have to pump it up –

-here we go with airing things up, again – we just can’t get away from this, can we?

Ok, well I will just wrap this up and say have a happy Tuesday and please if you’re a Patriots fan don’t let those heads get too inflated.

 

strapless

The first week of school went off without a hitch. My first class was Tuesday evening. I made it to school in plenty of time to eat my salad in the car and hang out until class started. This class is hardware installation and maintenance. In short, we take computers apart and put them back together and learn about what all the stuff inside them do.

The class was pretty full and we went around the room and introduced ourselves. Then, the professor went over the syllabus and talked about grading and assignments. I felt a little like his lecture on turning stuff in on time and not missing class was for the benefit of the youngsters in there.

After about an hour lecture on chapter one we broke into groups to identify some of the internal parts of a computer. I had a young guy named Trey and a woman who was probably way younger than the dark circles under her eyes did her justice. Later, she said she worked at the Publix down the street evaluating their milk. I didn’t know what to say to that – I didn’t know they had milk evaluators and looking at milk all day long could certainly be the cause of those dark circles. I just said, I hear they have great benefits there.

The next evening I had my first guitar class. The first part of the evening is devoted to class and the second is a meetup downstairs for everyone to have a jam session. There are banjo, mandolin, fiddle, ukulele and singing classes going on there at the same time. A mutual friend of our neighbors down the street – Kim was taking the class as well as a friend of hers, Yolanda. Our class consisted of myself, her, Yolanda and two other women as well as the instructor lady named Shelly.

So, Wednesday evening I pulled up at the church after Kim texted me she was there. We stood out in the parking lot and talked while she smoked a cigarette. She was going on and on about not having a guitar case and feeling weird about just carrying the guitar in as-is.

Just order one on Amazon, I said.

I don’t know what kind to get because this is a slim guitar.

I mean, this isn’t the only slim guitar ever made I think you could find one.

Hers was a Yamaha slim both acoustic and electric. I liked it and picked it up a few times during the evening to strum but would get frustrated because it had no strap on it. She was dragging a strap behind her when she carried the guitar in to practice and had to explain to several people that this was a special strap because it was autographed by a favorite musician of hers that when asked who it was no one acted like they knew who this person was – myself included.

Well, put the strap on then, I said.

I don’t know how it goes.

Well, get the instructor lady to show you.

By the time the instructor lady put it on class was over and when I picked it up to strum again the strap fell off.

Girl, just go frame that strap and hang it on the wall and get something practical that will hold your guitar on while you stand up and play.

Yolanda had shown up late to the class and by then we were already past the D and A7 chords. I think she was also subjected to the strap story. So, we learned D, A7, A and E and if we get proficient in those chords then we can all play and sing Leaving on a Jet Plane. I like how no one cares how bad you sing, either. We’re all just trying to play and sing along best we can.

Saturday, I had my second class which was computer basics. This was the class I tried to test out of but missed by 10 points. The instructor basically just went over the syllabus and lectured on the importance of attendance and doing the homework and cut us loose. I was thinking that maybe I should have taken a third class as this one is starting to seem like it’s going to be a cake walk but we’ll see.

 

 

 

 

a resolution

I’m really tired of my biological family b.s. It makes me glad I live three states away from them. My sister called yesterday. I take about every third call of her and it really depends on my mood whether I answer or not. I’ve been going through menopause lately so it makes my emotions run a little high at times. The gym and cutting back on the alcohol has helped a bit but she still gets under my skin.

So, yesterday I answered and let her prattle on and on about her job and her dog and having a party for all the people at her office that got let go prior to Christmas. (Of course, she didn’t get let go). There weren’t any questions about how our holiday was, how the boys and their spouse/gf were, what we cooked, what we ate, where we went – no-thing. I’m was waiting for her to get to the part of going to see our father. Since our step mother passed this last summer she’s been going down there to see him once a week. She takes him food that he doesn’t eat and complains about it. I ask why she even bothers if he won’t eat it and she says she doesn’t know maybe if she puts it in certain containers he’ll eat it – like that makes a lot of sense. I could give a rat’s @ss to be honest – at this point in my life I feel like they both deserve each other.

She tells me she took him to friends of ours house for lunch the other day- Jack and Lilly. They have been friends of our family since they were all in kindergarten. In fact, they grew up together as my sister and I grew up with their children. Their youngest son, Doug, has taken over the family farming business and is the one that farms my deceased grandparent’s land – the land that my sister, father and I fight over. So, during lunch Dad goes outside to talk to Jack about some piece of shit farm equipment or some stupid MAN stuff and Lilly and my sister talk. It’s then that Lilly tells Jan that she heard from Dad that I had a sex reassignment surgery and that I had asked him for $25,000 for the surgery.

Unbelievable.

Jan (I hope) said she set her straight and it wasn’t true but Lilly said Dad had been the one going around telling everyone about my sex change and asking him to pay for it. She went on to say that when they were leaving one of Lilly’s daughters pulled up and Dad didn’t know who she was. I asked her if we should have him committed. She said, Oh, he’s not that bad, yet.

Ok, let’s just everyone stay in denial about everything.

Denial about Mom’s cancer.

Denial about Step Mom’s cancer.

Denial about Dad’s Dementia.

Denial about every. Fucking. thing.

Let’s just play the denial game over and over again until something happens and we’re SHOCKED.

Man, I get so sick of it. I texted my cousin, Jake and told him that whatever he heard I have not had a sex reassignment surgery.

Normally, Jake takes a while to answer texts. He’s a busy IT guy running his own company and taking care of a sick husband but he answered right away.

I would have thought it would have come up in conversation by now so I wouldn’t believe it – who’s saying it?

Dad apparently – Jan was at lunch with Jack and Lilly and Lilly said something.

Oh, well I can’t see your dad talking anything about sex – I doubt if he’s ever uttered that word his whole life – you sure this isn’t coming from Lilly – she could be the one losing her marbles.

I could see that. Lilly is a huge gossiper and loves to stir up shit. I wouldn’t even put it past her to be a huge homophobe, too.

Yeah, she ran in the other direction when she saw me at Jo’s funeral.

I do recall Lilly gossiping quite a bit during the time I was in Indiana both before and after the funeral.

There was some speculation from Jan that Jo could have told Dad that in her moment of delirium from the morphine prior to passing. Even so – would you want to spread rumors of your daughter having a sex change surgery without even VERIFYING it first?

Regardless of everything I still can’t believe it. No one there has been able to comprehend my changing my first and last name. I always hated my first name and when mom passed I thought it the appropriate time. My first name is more androgynous and my last name is my mother’s maiden name. For years when my father cut the farm check to me he refused to make it out to my new name. This was even years after I had changed my name. I always had to sign it over to my new name before cashing it. I told my step mother over and over again to make sure he made it out to my NEW NAME. It’s only been a few years that it actually got made out to the correct name but only because the checks started coming directly from Doug and I instructed him to make them out to either my company or my new name.

Although, some have [stupidly] thought [an ex, my entire home town minus my gay cousin] that because I took a more androgynous first name that I wanted to become a man. Hello, there are plenty of other women with my name that are still women.

Just because I like my first name doesn’t mean that I want to change my sex. But, whatever – I’m done talking to them for another few weeks. This New Year I don’t want to let them get under my skin any longer or if they do they won’t know it. In fact, I find it would be amusing to get under my sisters skin for a change. Wonder how I can do that. But, alas I won’t have time because I’m starting school and guitar lessons next week. Guess it will have to be later.

 

 

it’s a wrap

Well, we got through the rest of ’17 without getting too beat up. The kids came into town on Friday. Charlie and I had driven all the way out past the perimeter to buy a ping pong table and spent [it seemed] the entire afternoon putting it together. In fact, we were almost done when they pulled up. We were somewhat in the weeds by then because we had a meal for 10 to prep but we managed to pull it off. There were six of us altogether with the kids along with our neighbors down the street and Emil and Sarah.

The next day we took a trip down to a very crowded Ponce City Market and then over to Wild Heaven for some libations. Later, we had a lowboil going on the porch with crab legs and shrimp. Sunday we took it easy for most of the day because we were going out that night to see a show at The Earl. We lyfted it over to Argosy in East Atlanta for dinner before the show.

I was amazed that the food came out so quickly at Argosy and the service was awesome. I had read some not so good reviews prior to us going so they must have stepped it up. The kids all got pizza and Charlie and I split a burger. Afterwards, we walked next door to The Earl and went to the back music venue where it was a smog of smoke. Mattiel was awesome, the two bands prior to her sucked (who would have known that you can actually shout instead of sing) and we didn’t stay for The Coathangers because the smoke was killing us–I doubt I will see another show at that particular venue because of the smoke.  We got home just in time to set off a bunch of fireworks.

New Year’s Day was very low-key. The kids left after breakfast and Charlie and I just hung out and ended up watching the game. (there was only one game yesterday in my opinion). Everyone I’m sure is just trying to get back into a normal routine today – I’m sure all those Georgia fans are a little hungover if not elated this morning.

So, Happy New year and I will leave you with 17 things to make you feel smarter in this new year.

 

new year chex mix

I hope everyone had a great Christmas!  Charlie and I had a low-key one with us putting a turkey in the smoker and heading out to our traditional mid-day cocktail at our favorite gay bar. (Leave it to the gay bars to be open on Christmas day because everyone knows us queers need a place to go and be Mary).

We weathered Christmas Eve at Martha and Dino’s for dinner – if you can believe it. This is the first we’ve really hung out with them since the whole nudity incident. Everyone – including Mike seemed to behave themselves. Charlie and I managed to get out of there before Mike (who had split a THC gummy bear with her housemate) and Dino got too wasted. Maybe that’s the key although if she ever lays a hand on Charlie again I’m going to break it for her.

Friday we went over to friends of ours for another Christmas party – this is a friend that I worked with at two previous companies many years ago – one being for a grouchy landscape architect who smoked in the office, laid me off right before Christmas one year and had a problem with my being gay. I told her that for several years after that I always had the raunchiest man on man magazines sent to his office. (I bet he looked at them, too). She cracked up. The other company we worked we had a gay boss that was turning 40 one year and we went to party city and rented a helium tank and filled his office full of balloons and sucked helium and left corny messages on his voice mail.

This week the kids are coming to celebrate New Year’s Eve with us. Friday we’re planning on roasting a pork butt and having the neighbors down the street up. Saturday we’re doing a crab and shrimp boil and NYE we’re going to hear live music in East Atlanta.

After this weekend I’m ready for 2018. I have no complaints of 2017 whatsoever. It was a pretty good year for us except for my step mother passing away. I’ve missed her dearly this holiday – more than I thought I would. My father continues to be an impossible @sshole. My sister continues to take him food every week which he doesn’t eat. He’s regressed into an 8 year-old child who eats cookies and crackers all the time. I ask my sister why she bothers but have realized that the two of them deserve each other – he’s an abuser and she’s an enabler.

Classes start up the second week in January for cyber security and I’m also taking guitar lessons at this church next to my office (I could literally throw a stone and hit the side of it from the front of my office). So, 2018 is going to be very busy which isn’t a bad thing.

Happy New Year if I don’t talk to y’all and, what’s going on in 2018 for you?

friday chex mix

a better luncheon 

Yesterday, one of my co-workers Big-D and I are forgoing the Christmas luncheon with the consulting company and going out for lunch on our own. Charlie’s came over to the office to meet me and we met Big-D at the restaurant.

I got a message from the Indian Defector wondering if I was going and I said, No- I’m not friends with them like some. 

This was a dig on Snarky @sshole and the head of the KKK who sit around and complain about them at meetings but yet won’t pass up an opportunity for free food.

So, Big-D, Charlie and myself went out to Houston’s near Buckhead for a fabulous lunch. We happened to sit in the same both that Big-D and his wife got engaged. In fact, he was on the phone with her when we arrived telling her just that. His wife is the head of admissions at the college that I’m enrolled for cyber security. She helped me through the enrollment process – in fact, it went really smooth because of her.

NYE 

After lunch we went back to the office to do a little work before calling it quits. I was already in a festive mood and decided to forgo the gym and go home and hang with Charlie on the porch. She made me a killer margarita and we sat out until we couldn’t stand the cold anymore and went in. During our time on the porch the youngest and his girlfriend called to say they got their cards and that they’re  coming up for New Years Eve. So, we have both sets of kids coming so it should be a party. They’re all going to The Earl with us to see that show.

bro

We had Charlie’s bro here last weekend and it was a party every night. We took him to all kinds of places – Ponce City Market to Biltong Bar for drinks and he bought a ton of bitters from 18.21 bitters.

In Decatur we hit Leons for drinks and played ping pong at The Victory bar and got drinks from their Tiki bar in the back. (I won’t mention the sushi place we went to because it was a huge disappointment). By the time he left we were whipped and needed some recuperation.

this weekend

Tonight, we’re probably going out to dinner with our neighbors to celebrate a birthday and this weekend more of recuperation. At some point we’re hoping to take the dogs to the park and hit Blakes for a queer Christmas drink on the patio if it’s warm enough.

Hope y’all have a great weekend! Cheers!