A Weekend in Santa Fe

Santa Fe & Española, NM – 17-21 April 2018

Spent a really nice long weekend with my sister and sister-in-law at their lovely home in Española. I was coming from a business trip in Phoenix and I flew directly into Santa Fe Municipal Airport. It was a bit pricier than Albuquerque Sunport – but not having to wait for the shuttle to Santa Fe and spending over an hour en route from there was well worth it.

Andrea met me at the airport, since it’s just up the road from her work and I was off the plane and out of the tiny airport in about three minutes! We picked up Marybeth and then headed to Gabriel’s for dinner. It was as good as always – with the notable exception that we didn’t get our second round of margaritas we’d ordered, so the entire trip was obviously ruined… We did however stop at the highly glamorous Kokoman liquor store so we could at least have that second round of drinks once we got back to the ranch.

It was nice to get back to their place. It’d been four years since my last visit (#worstbrotherever) and they’d made some changes around the place, most notably putting in a new staircase to the upstairs, which was now the location of my guest suite! Very comfy – though cats Parsley and Donut, as lovely as they are, didn’t provide the same level of hostess service that Porkchop (#RIP) provided on my last visit – she would snuggle with me at night and then wake me up in the morning by sneezing in my face. Try to find that at the Waldorf Astoria!

Friday was spa day. Andrea works at the Sunrise Springs Spa and Resort, so she treated us to a morning massage, followed by lunch. The whole property is lovely. The massage facilities were just gorgeous and I had 90-minutes of deep tissue massage and reflexology from the very-skilled Oliver. My only complaint was how quickly those 90 minutes flew by!

Lunch on the terrace at the Blue Heron. I had their deservedly award-winning green chile burger and we all shared a lovely bottle of rosé. The meal was really delicious and the service was wonderful. And an hour soaking afterwards in one of the private hot pools was the perfect way to wrap up our visit.

Back home, we alternated between watching reruns of The Royal Wedding and napping, before having a yummy dinner of shrimp with rice and zucchini.

Saturday we visited a lavender farm up in Abiquiu, which was fun – though perhaps not quite meeting our expectation of endless vistas of waving fields of lavender à la Provence. But the scenery up there is beautiful nevertheless.

We’d not reserved early enough to make a visit to Georgia O’Keefe’s house in Abiquiu, so we had to content ourselves with a nice lunch out on the terrace of the Abiquiu Inn. We also stopped at Freddy’s, a regional fast food place, that serves burgers and frozen custard. I got the “Hawiian Delight Concrete” – a blend of frozen custard, pineapple, coconut and macadamia nuts (hold the strawberry, please #c’estleger) and it was pretty darn tasty.

Another dinner at home, prepared by Marybeth, followed by a few episodes of “House Hunters International,” with the three of us all yelling at the contestants and their stupid choices and opinions. In other words, a perfect night.

Sunday we were up and on the road early. Annie and Marybeth dropped me off in the center of Santa Fe, where I met up with my guide for a two-hour tour around town. It was really enjoyable, insofar as I’m always happy when I have an opportunity to ride. With that being said, my guide, while pleasant enough, wasn’t exactly overflowing with knowledge about Santa Fe – or even about alternative bike routes. I mean, it was fine – but I’d probably have been just as happy renting a bike and exploring on my own. Next time…

Meanwhile, though, Annie and Marybeth were on an important mission: visiting a litter of puppies, with the hopes of adopting one. And lo and behold, they did! They picked me up downtown along with the new addition to their menagerie, Pearl, an eight-week-old Great Pyrenees! And she already weighs 17 lbs. – she’s gonna be a big girl.

When we got back to their place, Pearl was a little woozy from the long ride in her crate and had a bout of carsickness. But soon enough she’d had some food and water and was bounding around the yard, settling into her new home, while also getting lots of hugs and belly rubs from the three of us.

While Marybeth got started on dinner (#hero), Annie and I went out to run some errands: getting wine and going to Dairy Queen. Seems simple enough – but not so fast! First liquor store was closed since it’s Sunday (#wtf), so we had to go back to Kokoman, a bit further down the highway. It was actually pretty convenient, since the DQ is just up the road.

Anyway, we got the wine and then popped into DQ where the woman working there greeted us and then advised she had some bad news: no ice cream today! The machine was broken (#insertMcDonaldsjoke) so we were out of luck. I let her know that my weekend was ruined and then suggested they rename the place “Non-Dairy Queen.” (I didn’t actually do that.)

Luckily, there was another DQ back on the other side of town, so off we went and I finally got my fix. And the silver lining? Got to stop and take a photo of a really amazing old sign for the long-gone Arrow Motel.

Had another fine dinner that evening and hit the hay early. Annie drove me down to Albuquerque and we stopped into the Los Poblanos Inn. Their restaurant isn’t open for lunch, but we visited the shop and explored the lovely grounds for a bit. It’s quite charming.

Some lunch up the road (with wine for me since I’m still on vacation!), a walk around Old Town (which was kind of a snooze) and then to the Albuquerque Sunport for my ride home. It was a really great weekend and I can’t wait to come back to see my family and all the animals again soon.

Oh, and here’s a nice “now and then” bit. While there may have been some wine involved, no Donuts were harmed during the making of these videos. What a difference four years makes!



And contrast:

La Gon, Calvin…

Today was a special day for me here in Bangkok – both happy and sad simultaneously. My best little buddy and world’s most delightful cat died this past December. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with his ashes back home – but then I read about a Buddhist temple in Bangkok that performs funerals for pets. Since Calvin had already been cremated, I didn’t need the whole funeral ceremony – but I really liked the idea of scattering his ashes in Chao Phraya here in this city that I fell in love with so quickly last year and to which I hope I’ll return many times.

My dear friend Ak was kind enough to make all the arrangements, reserving a boat to take us out onto the river once we’d made it up to Nonthanburi. After a short ride, we were in front of Wat Bang Jak where a lay Buddhist (and our boat’s captain) said prayers to the river goddess and for Calvin while we burned incense. We tossed some coins into the river for Calvin for his journey, along with a garland of flowers. I scattered his ashes into the river and and then Ak and I strewed some more flowers and a bottle of fragrant perfume in his wake.

It was a lovely way for me to say my last farewell to an amazing cat who brought me so much joy. And it certainly makes me happy knowing that I can visit him every time I’m in Bangkok and that the great golden Buddha at Wat Bang Jak will be watching over him.


The Cat Who Came in from the Cold

After nearly ten years in my place, I’ve finally decided to turn on the radiators. They were on when I first moved in and were constantly clanging and spewing rusty water. Not cool. So I relied on a nice little space heater. Granted, it wasn’t perfect, but it generally kept the living room warm enough.

But, presumably thanks to global climate change, SF is apparently in for another bone-chilling winter. The last two winters have been uncharacteristically cold and my little heater wasn’t cutting the mustard. Of course, what with being old and infirm, I seem to take on a chill much more easily than when I was young and spry…

So, I turned on the radiators – and so far, so good. Had some clanging issues which the management company fixed quickly. And I’m still adjusting to having to keep the windows wide-open so that I’m not roasted alive.

But guess who is the happiest little creature on earth thanks to the new apartment heating protocols? Yep, the cat. Frankly, I’m a little jealous. While he hasn’t completely given up on lap-sitting, he prefers to spend his time splayed out in front of the white-hot grill. But on the up side? Good opportunity for me to find an adorable new kitty bed! And really, if he’s happy, I’m happy…

UPDATE: My mom pointed out that he’s closer and closer to the radiator in each photo – like he’s been building up his tolerance for the surface-of-the-sun-like temperatures he has to endure. Tonight one of his little paws is actually underneath the radiator. Soon, he’ll probably be sitting right on top of the thing…

Birthday Redux

For my  birthday, my father and belle-mère got me a great new Chrome backpack – in fact, the very one I’d specifically indicated as my favorite. A really wonderful gift!

I was visiting the Chrome site, looking at the accessories for the backpack (specifically the little attachable pouch for cellphone, etc.) when I noticed that there was another backpack that was perhaps slightly more to my liking – not quite sure why I hadn’t noticed this before. So, ingrate that I am, I decided to exchange the thoughtful gift I’d received. I attempted to do this on the DL so my ingratitude could go unnoticed, but a receipt was required, so I had to request said receipt from the ‘rents. “Hey, remember that great backpack you got me? The one that I specifically chose, even sending you a link to the website and to this particular model of backpack? Yeah, well, I don’t want it, so where’s the receipt so I can return it?” OK, I actually tried to be a bit more gracious than that…

At any rate, all went well. I got the other backpack and I love it! Even better – it was on sale! So in addition to the backpack, I got the cellphone holder, a little organizer bag and four pairs of socks! And no, this wasn’t my plan from the beginning as a way of maximizing my birthday haul!

And let me add this – when I was visiting Chrome’s website, all of the people who reviewed the socks were kvelling about them. Really? Socks? Whatever. Or so I thought until I got them home and put them on. OH MY GOD! They are the most delightfully comfortable, well-fitting socks I’ve ever worn. Not only do they come in four sizes, there is a “left” sock and a “right” sock in each pair! And yes, they are marked “L” and “R”. They are a delight – not only am I kvelling about them, I am plotzing!

Happy Pride!

Let’s not forget the debt we owe to the fags, dykes and trannies who fought at Stonewall almost exactly 42 years ago.

And this is an amazing photo, and captures just a bit of what I’m feeling tonight.

Une semaine merveilleuse à NYC

Four trips to NYC in the last six months – I was going to say I’ve fallen back in love with the city, but I don’t think I ever stopped. I simply wasn’t spending time there…  Now I just need to win the lottery so I can afford an apartment. Sigh…

Arrived Wednesday without incident and was welcomed with antipasti and a bottle of wine chez Ralph. A good night’s sleep and then a morning walk before work to Murray’s for a bagel with cream cheese and bacon (dairy and pork on a bagel – so many rules broken!). Swung by Rocco’s for a cannoli, only to discover it was being “remodeled” – at the demand of the Health Department. Quel dommage! If there were any rat feces in my cannoli last time I visited, I didn’t notice.

Dinner Thursday evening at Le Gigot. We sat at the bar and had a good meal – steak for me, boeuf bourguignon for Ralph. We had excellent wine and a very friendly bartender, who I regaled with jokes (“Would I? Would I?” “Hunchback! Hunchback!”). I’m sure he breathed a sigh of relief once I’d finally left. Oh, and Ralph shushed me at one point, if that gives any indication of my demeanor…

Friday spent working hard – and discovered how to tether my netbook to my EVO. The 4G connection on my phone was WAY faster than a wired connection to Verizon DSL. Oh these modern times!

Took a lunch break and got a turkey sandwich at Torrisi Italian Specialties. I’d read that the pepper sauce on the sandwich combines with the mayo to create heroin. I would not argue with this hypothesis… Also had a quick stop at the New Museum to see Cronocaos. A fascinating take on the preservation of architecture in the modern world…

Friday night, Ralph and I headed to Lincoln Center to see War Horse. The story was perhaps not the most subtle or nuanced piece of theater – but the horses on stage were completely magical. There’s really no other word for the puppetry that brought these animals to life – they were the most engrossing, engaging and poignant characters on the stage. I’m honestly welling up with tears as I write this, just remembering how incredibly alive they were, whether they were galloping around the stage, rearing up on their haunches or standing nearly still, nickering while their ears twitched. It was a theater experience I will never forget.

Post-theater dinner at Rosa Mexicano, a really cool looking place just down the street from the theater. Guacamole made tableside, margaritas, giant slabs of beef – all was right with the world…

Saturday: le shopping! Made the usual stops at Uniqlo, Topman and Ben Sherman. I bought the most adorable pair of cropped khakis from Uniqlo – and they fit perfectly! Sadly, though, to quote Michael Kors, the crotch was insane, so I had to return them (by which I mean I told Ralph to return them once I’d flown back to SF since I’d forced him to pay for them – because I didn’t want to try them on at the store and figured he’d have an easier time returning them if they were on his credit card. So really, I was just being polite!). Also, a trip to K-Mart (in Manhattan – I know!) so I could pick up a beach chair. Priorities, people!

That evening we saw The Normal Heart. It was preachy, statistics-laden, heart-wrenching, polemical – and marvelous. Joe Mantello turned in an amazing performance. And Ellen Barkin (!) delivered a monologue in Act II that elicited sustained cheers and thunderous applause.

Dinner was going to be at Maria Pia, a nice little Italian place I’ve been to after the theater a couple of times. But the kitchen closes at 11PM! In New York! On a Saturday night! WTF?! Boo, Maria Pia!

So we wound up at Uncle Nick’s for some Greek mezes – roasted peppers, tzatziki, scordalia, etc. All really tasty. But the tastiest thing of all? Our adorable Greek waiter. Seriously. Handsome as the day is long, with a charming smile and a twinkle in his eye. He must rake in the tips from all the swooning ladies and dudes-who-like-dudes. Quel bateau de rêve!

Of course, since we were in the neighborhood, a visit to Posh for some drinking and dancing was in order. It was as fun as always…

So, Sunday. We didn’t arise quite as early as we’d hoped. But we still managed to make it onto the 1:30 ferry to Sandy Hook. A wonderful ride past the Statue of Liberty and then a lovely afternoon laying on the beach and walking along a huge and nearly empty expanse of sand adjacent to the main beach. The water was too cold for swimming, but what a wonderful afternoon. The boat ride home took us under the Brooklyn, Williamsburg and Manhattan Bridges – twice. It was a perfect day…

A late dinner in the East Village at Arcane. It was late and still delightfully warm out. Cucumber-coconut soup and pork curry for dinner, reggae music and a leisurely walk home. It was a perfect evening…

Monday was for walking. A subway ride up to the Armory to see the amazing Ryoji Ikeda installation, which was rapturous. A stroll down Park Avenue, where we debated which building was sufficiently lovely to actually warrant buying a co-op in the boring Upper East Side after acquiring winning lottery tix. A snack and a couple of glasses of rosé at The Drunken Horse, followed by a marvelous walk along the Hudson.

Dinner that night at Morandi, where I had a very delicious and dainty plate of hand-rolled pasta with lemon and parmigiano. Ralph had a veal cutlet that was larger than his head – and had no problem eating every bite. For dessert, I had a plate of excellent cannolini and some moscato d’asti. Another wonderful evening.

Home to pack, a brief but good night’s sleep (530AM pick-up!), on-time from JFK – and I was back in my office in SF before noon. And already plotting when I can make my next visit…

Un Weekend de Printemps à NYC

Well! Spent a wonderful five days in NYC – it was a leisurely visit with Ralph that also seemed to end in the blink of an eye. Good thing I’m heading back next month!

I’m quite liking United’s “Premium Service,” offered on all flights from SFO or LAX to JFK. Coach is entirely “Economy Plus” with extra-legroom but no additional charge. Plus, with a very large business class section, there’s always plenty of room for overhead storage, even on a full flight. It’s not quite Virgin America, but it’s pretty great for United – and I’m racking up the miles…

Arrived without incident in the West Village on Wednesday evening and, after some snacks and a glass or three of wine, went for a very late dinner at Bar Pitti. Ralph and I shared some wonderful polpette and then I had a simple and delicious penne all’arrabbiata. And to cap the evening, I spotted Fran Lebowitz as she exited the restaurant and lit up a smoke before heading off into the night. My favorite NYC celebrity sighting ever.

Thursday and Friday spent working during the day, though I did go for a walk on Thursday for lunch. It was a lovely spring day, the dogwood in bloom everywhere. Dinner on Thursday night at Negril, a very lively Jamaican place in the West Village. Had a jerk pork tenderloin with sweet potatoes – spicy and yummy.

Friday night Ralph prepared an Italian feast. Antipasti of bresaola, cippoline and broccoli rabe, followed by saltimbocca, patates fritte and fagiolini. The pictures pretty much speak for themselves – but I can assure you that everything was molto delizioso. And for dolce? An amazing tiramisu – seriously one of the best I’ve had, due not only to the fact that it was homemade, but that ingredients included both Cointreau and amaretto.

Saturday was rainy and cold – but we still managed a nice long walk with stops at Chelsea Market, the studio where Ralph works and La Maison du Macaron (whose macarons were decidedly mediocre). We’d thought about hitting the town that evening, but the pouring rain, thunder and lightning changed our minds. We stayed in noshing on salumi, cheese and tiramisu while debating politics and concluding that the world would be a better place if one or the other of us were in charge (though obviously I’d be the best choice to be King of the World).

On Sunday, we joined the rest of the gray-hairs for a matinee performance of The Importance of Being Earnest. I’d actually never seen nor read the play – how lucky I am to have this production be my first! It was marvelous, most notably for Brian Bedford’s hilarious portrayal of Lady Bracknell.

A fine post-theater dinner of steak frites at Marseille, then home to pack, sip prosecco and get a moment or two of shut-eye before my 430AM departure for JFK. On-time departures, though I didn’t especially enjoy the screaming toddler kicking my seat most of the flight home. But I did get some much needed sleep. Then straight to the office from SFO. Was I even actually gone? Sigh…

Just wow.

I do my best to remember that, despite the fact that some of my days can be frustrating or unhappy, I actually have a pretty amazing life compared with most of the other humans who live on this planet. But I still take so much for granted…

Then I see something like this, which reminds me to not only never take my wonderful life for granted – but to do what I can, large or small, to express and encourage the humanity that we all share.

Happy New Year!

So long 2010! It’s been a year filled with happiness, grand adventures, the love of my amazing family and friends (new and old) and super-cute shoes. And the Giants won the World Series. Can’t ask for more than that, really…

How I Ruined Christmas

Spent Christmas Eve with my father and stepmother, sister and brother-in-law and my two nephews, one of whom brought his girlfriend to the celebration (she’s clearly a brave soul, agreeing to attend an event Chez Cohen-Glick). And it was a wonderful evening. Dinner was fantastic as always – a giant rib roast was devoured (and my prize for helping my stepmother serve is that I got the first slice, all crusty and fatty and extra-delicious). Plus, she’d whipped up some homemade French macarons (I know!) to go along with the other desserts of profiteroles and coconut cranberry cake. Which came after the cheese course (duh).

There was also the traditional opening of Christmas crackers, so we could all don our paper crowns. This year’s crackers were music themed – we each got a whistle with a different number. The conductor (originally assigned to me but I couldn’t understand the instructions, so my sister was put in charge) uses the supplied baton and sheet of music to point at each numbered reveler, who then blows their whistle. The idea is that a lovely Christmas tune will be performed; in actuality, we spent our time whistling loudly and randomly while shrieking at my sister that she was ruining everything. Needless to say, this was a highlight of the evening.

Then we gathered ’round the tree for the festival of disappointment exchange of Christmas gifts. And actually, all went well. Everybody seemed pleased with their loot. Champagne continued to flow. Dad took his traditional stance, seated with a Hefty bag at his knees to fill with discarded wrapping paper, in an effort to eliminate all traces of Christmas the moment each gift was opened. I got a truly excellent portable speaker for my laptop and a handsome watch I’d been eying for months – very cool.

But then there were the electronic robot bugs. My step-mom got them as just a little impulse buy for the cats. And I made the mistake of opening one and turning it on – and it was horrifying. They are like over-sized, brightly colored cockroaches that go skittering around in a frighteningly realistic manner. They were seriously freaking me out. I think at one point I jumped up on chair squealing in terror like a cartoon housewife who sees a mouse.

So, at some point the bugs were reactivated and one of them came right at me like it was going to run up my pant leg, so I yelled, grabbed it and tossed it across the room – where it promptly managed to find the one tiny crevice in the fireplace hearth and  burrow its way in, until it was lodged deep inside.

All manner of picks, tweezers, magnets, duct tape, goose-neck pincers and various combinations of said tools were put to use in an effort to extract the still-buzzing toy. All succeeded only in lodging the beast further into place.  And the worst? We could all still hear the faint buzzing emanating from the hearth. I likened it to a live re-enactment of The Tell-Tale Heart.

My one prayer is that the battery wears out soon. Otherwise, my father will never sleep again.

Oh, and it was also during the failed robot-bug-extraction efforts that I realized my favorite new boots that I was wearing had left black scuff marks all over the floor from the kitchen to the dining room to the living room. I guess it’s a good thing I enjoyed myself so much this year, since I’ve likely been banned from all future celebrations.  Merry Christmas!

And here, by the way, are the terrible and freakish robot insects. Seriously, they are the stuff of nightmares…

The day after…

Slept in until 7:00 this morning. Considering that I’d been waking up at 4:30 most of the week, thanks to crossing the international date line last Sunday, I am delighted with this turn of events.

Had a marvelous Thanksgiving dinner with my dad, step-mom and all of the families. Dinner was excellent, desserts were copious, wine flowed like water… It is the best holiday.

Of course, the only drawback is a long-standing tradition of my step-mom’s: the post-Thanksgiving Friday night leftover extravaganza. Since it’s served buffet style, the size of the dining table doesn’t limit the number of guests, so it’s a big fun crazy house party. The only drawback? It means I don’t get any leftovers to take home until Friday!

Lucky for me though, another tradition is that my sister is forced to cook dozens of pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving – and I got a whole one to bring home last night! So, breakfast is served…


Yes, I’m still a crabby old craberella crabby crab-erson. But I honestly do give thanks every year on this day. The last year started off rather difficultly…  Yet here I am. And I am so lucky and grateful to remain surrounded by my loving and stalwart family; to come home every night to a joyful ball of fur who wants only to jump into my arms for nothing more than a scratch on the head and a bowlful of kibble; to keep on traveling far and wide; and, probably to my biggest amazement, to have a galaxy of friends, both near and far, who have touched me every day with their caring, their humor, their kindness, their joy and their beauty (and yes, I even mean the cranky old bitter ones like me).

I love this holiday – if only for reminding me how much I really do have to give thanks for… Happy Thanksgiving to one and all.

It Gets Better

In Minnesota and Indiana, two fifteen year old boys committed suicide after being subject to unrelenting anti-gay bullying and harassment. The rate of suicide among gay teens is four-times that of their straight peers.It’s a distressing and sobering statistic…

Dan Savage just recently started a campaign on Youtube aimed at LGBT youth called It Gets Better – gay men and lesbians telling the stories of their own difficult years as teenagers. And reminding kids to stick it out – because it does, in fact, get better.

Looking back on my own childhood and adolescence, I suppose I was in some ways lucky. I grew up in San Francisco, which made the process of coming to terms with my sexual orientation easier – I knew that I wasn’t the the only queer on the planet; I have a family that loves me (though those years were not a cakewalk for any of us – I mean, I was a teenager!); and by the time I got to high school, I’d managed to carve out a niche for myself with all the other misfits who gravitated to drama and choir.

But I still remember being called “faggot” on a regular basis in the hallways; getting shoved up against lockers; having my books scattered on the floor by some smirking dumb jock; avoiding certain areas of my school (not to mention the bathrooms! I think there were one or two “safe” ones); and getting hit or punched a few times, though never actually beat up. All of it was terrifying – people who I didn’t even know wanted to hurt me or be cruel to me based solely on their perception of my sexual orientation (an orientation I didn’t really figure out until I was 17).

But after high school, it did indeed get better. Once in college, I became more and more comfortable in my own skin. I gradually came out to my family (none of whom were particularly surprised by my revelation – and all of whom responded with the fact that their love for me remained unchanged). I made friends, straight and gay, who were interested in me as a person and unconcerned with my sexuality. I had boyfriends, good and bad – when I was in my 20s, I even moved to NYC with one of the good ones for a couple of years. And happily he remains a good friend, even these many years after we finished being boyfriends…

And now I’ve been back in SF for nearly 20 years, my beautiful hometown, living a life that is by no means perfect, but that is pretty gosh-darned swell.  My family are all close by and keeping me happy; I’m still amazed by the friends I’ve been lucky enough to surround myself with and who bring me joy and laughter (and who get me when I complain); and I keep meeting new people from far and wide who teach me new things and remind me that getting older and wiser can be pretty freakin’ great. So, yes, it gets better…

My Modern Cat

I first saw the ModKat litter box months and months ago and fell in love with it. Yes, that’s right – I fell in love with a litter box. Seriously – just look at it. For whatever reason, ordinary litter boxes are apparently required to be hideous – and they always come in the worst colors (almond, dusty rose, powder blue) with lots of superfluous edges and surfaces – adding not only to the ug but making them more difficult to clean.

The ModKat is quite lovely to behold – though even better is its top-entrance design, which is purported to keep one’s cat from tracking litter all over the floor (the bane of every cat owner’s existence).

So, nice looking and excellent design – what’s not to love? The breath-taking price. But with a combination of birthday loot and a recently-settled insurance claim, I decided to treat myself to a bit of luxury (sigh – I guess the fact that I think of a cat box as luxurious reflects poorly on me).

The results so far are quite promising. The kitty seems to have adapted (he’s taken a couple of leaks, but the proof is in the pooping, I think) and the tracking of pebbles onto the bathroom floor has been virtually eliminated. Still less than 24 hours since the switch, but thus far the ModKat box appears to be all it’s cracked up to be.

UPDATE: He pooped in it! The transition to ModKat is now complete.

Happy Birthday to Me!

What seemed like it would be a rather ordinary-though-by-no-means-unpleasant anniversary of my 39th birthday has turned out quite swell. I received the best birthday card ever from my sister and sister-in-law, along with their menagerie. I got lots of calls, emails and Facebook posts feting my increasingly rapid journey into senescence. Friends at work took me to Yank Sing for lunch. There were cupcakes on my desk when I returned from lunch. And I’m being treated to after-work cocktails in an hour. Hooray for me!

The card's size is matched to my ego!
Bark! Meow! Cluck! Quack!
Even my cat threw me a party!

The Santa Fe Surprise

Arrived in Santa Fe last Thursday evening, showing up unannounced at La Boca where my mom, sisters and sister-in-law were having dinner.  Mom was in on the subterfuge, but my arrival elicited shock and awe from the rest of the family. The reaction reminded me of this long-ago item from Spy Magazine:

Shrieks of welcome could be heard blocks away as everyone’s favourite Ewok-ish willowy blond singer–actress–vixen–shut-in–survivor, Joey Heatherton, finally emerged from seclusion.

Granted, I’m not especially willowy any longer, though I think my facial hair does lend me an Ewok-ish air. And my vixenish nature is indisputable…

Whatever the case, the surprise was complete and the shrieks were genuine – the other patrons in the restaurant were craning there necks to get a glimpse of the commotion surrounding my arrival, apparently thinking I actually was Joey Heatherton… The meal was marvelous (particularly the special suckling pig and the carrot-garbonzo hummus).  And I had a lovely visit to the farm, finally meeting for the first time my many canine, feline, avian, leporine and apian nieces and nephews.

Of course, turn-about is fair play. At Gabriel’s for dinner the following night, the wait-staff was advised on the QT that it was my birthday (despite it not being for another few weeks). After dinner, a gaggle of waiters sneaked up behind me, plopped a giant sombrero (which weighed as much a cinder block) on my head and serenaded me en Español while literally (by which I mean literally) cramming flan into my mouth.

Saturday night was spent at the Santa Fe Opera’s production of Madame Butterfly – an excellent performance in a stunningly beautiful setting.

We also spent time lolling about the pool at Mom and Krissy’s hotel; snatching up bargains at TJ Maxx and Ross; shuffling around the plaza in downtown Santa Fe; wine-tasting; and enjoying a couple of excellent home-cooked meals at the ranch (including the tastiest pickled beets and green beans ever).

By every measure, the visit was a rousing success and a fine time was had by all.

I was asking for it…

Was traveling by taxi last night and snapped the following photo, which I then posted to Facebook – along with the caption, “I do all my shopping here…” My sister commented in response: “Did the Old Queen Market go out of business?”

Out, Loud and Proud

You know, I was thinking I’d skip this year’s Gay Pride festivities.  There’s a certain feeling of “been there, done that” – and I certainly have. Plus, this would be my first time attending as a single dude in nearly ten years – a rather stark reminder of how different my life  is today than I thought it would be a year ago…

But I read this post on Joe. My. God. Apparently, he re-posts it every year.  And it reminded me that I’m lucky to live in San Francisco and that I get to be an openly gay man without worrying about being fired from my job, evicted from my apartment or thrown in the clink because of my sexual orientation.

It’s not always been easy to be gay (you’d think I’d be used to being called “faggot” by random assholes on the street, seeing as I’ve been hearing it for well over thirty years now), but I honestly wouldn’t trade it for anything.  And the last Sunday in June is our day – to celebrate, to remember, to look ahead, to pay homage to those who paved the way for the rest of us, to honor ourselves and our brothers and sisters, to drink too much, to get sunburned, to flirt, to laugh, to hang out with friends who are also our family, to revel in our similarities and our differences.  And to have a fucking party…  See y’all there!

Watching The Defectives