Bowled over

My grandmother and her sisters were great cooks. Each with her own area of expertise, grandma was the baker. One of my favorite memories is of huge salt-glazed crock bowls of dough rising on the stove, covered with a tea towel she embroidered herself. She's been gone a long time, but I've got those bowls, and one of the tea towels. That's how the collection got started.

The most recent addition is pictured above. If you spend any time in antique stores or malls, you've seen the barrel pitchers, pottery embossed to look like a wooden barrel. An auction last weekend contained a huge collection of old yellow ware, including this barrel bowl. It's in pristine condition and I've never seen one before, and I was thrilled when one of the ringmen finally picked it up to sell. I waited nearly 3 hours for it, I'm not sure if that's embarassing or a point of pride.

I'm also pretty omnivorous in the type of bowl I like. These glazed bowls are all marked USA, with the exception of the pale blue one on the far right, which I believe is unmarked Bauer ringware. I use my bowls for cooking, and often for serving, so I don't buy anything cracked. Chips don't bother me if they're small.

My favorites, from a visual standpoint at least, are the striped ones. Martha Stewart ruined the market on these years ago, but I've noticed prices seem to be trending back down. Really small ones, or complete nested sets can still set you back, but single bowls seem to be pretty reasonable again. Mine have come from auctions and estate sales, a few from eBay, and a couple were gifts from a friend when she thinned her collection.

Here they are all together on the workbench in the dining room. For now I keep them nested up in a cabinet, although I've already started planning for display/storage in the next kitchen. When I pulled them all out to shoot them Brett and I were both surprised at how many I've amassed. It doesn't seem so big until you unstack and spread them out.

Oh, and this doesn't include the white ones. Porcelain, ironstone, salt-glaze and restaurant ware. I'll save those for another post.

No longer protecting the innocent

HG suggested that referring to my boyfriend as "Boyfriend" made him sound replaceable, and asked if we might not assign him a name. An anonymous commenter added that calling him Boyfriend seemed like something Hillary Duff would do. I know that Hillary Duff is an actress, but I'm unfamiliar with her work. I'll assume it wasn't a compliment.

Boyfriend is a lawyer with his own firm here in town. Not a huge firm, but they do a fair bit of business and I decided early to keep him anonymous. He's a reader of the blog (hey baby!) and assures me that using his first name is fine.

So the secret's out. I'm not hiding Anderson Cooper, but I do have my own personal silver fox. His name is Brett.

The man behind the mayhem

It's been two days since my chance meeting with boozehound hit-and-runner Kory Snider, when what should drop into my lap today but his screename! He said so little at our initial meeting, of course now I know that was only because he was looking for an escape route. When we met again he was being cuffed and stuffed into the squad car, so there was really no opportunity for us to get to know one another. Curious, I poked around his profile to see if I could get a sense of just who Kory is.

I know what you're thinking, but no, this isn't Sunday night. Officer Santana was a handsome guy too, but this isn't him.

Kory describes himself as an "all around person who'll settle for nothing but experiencing life to the fullest." Trust me Kory, this is not going to get you a date. I know it sounded exciting when you wrote it, but it says nothing. Also, a photo in front of Olive Garden doesn't exactly scream "adventurer!" Mostly it says you enjoy breadsticks.

Having your photo taken with the singing cowboy while holding an I Heart NY bag? Meh. What's the cultural capitol of the world compared to a man in his underwear.

I read further, and he goes on to say "I enjoy meeting new people and learning new things because there is something new to learn everyday and alot of times the people you meet are the ones that teach these things to you." I'd like to teach you some things Kory, starting with grammar and punctuation, and ending with the dangers of mangled metaphors. If we have time I can also cover how to gracefully refuse a drink, or ask the doorman to call you a cab.

Look, my favorite photo of all!

Kory mentions that "I have just made a huge lifestyle change for the better and I am working towards doing all of those things that I have always dreamed of doing, but have never been able to do so." I'm not convinced, but hey, reach for the stars. I suppose if you've had to work up to property damage and fleeing the scene of an accident I should cheer the progress.

Finally, he ends by saying "I firmly believe you need to grab life by the balls before it takes off on you." I say keep reaching for those balls Kory, because I think life's getting ready to grab you right back. And I'm hoping its by the ankles.

Turkey Tagged

Jen has tagged me for a special Thanksgiving meme. Could someone give me some insight on the word "meme" please? I know what it is, vaguely, but that's about it. I assume it's prounounced as "meem" although a big part of me wants it to be "may-may." Anyway, five things I'm thankful for and why:

1. The love a good man.

Seriously. I'm fully aware that I'm no picnic to live with. The fact that he loves me as much as he does, and has for as long as he has, well, that's just pretty amazing. If he would occasionally wipe down the handle and door on the refrigerator, my life would be near perfect. =)

2. Dogs.

My schnauzers are barky little terrorists that I love only slightly less than Boyfriend. People who aren't fond of dogs don't understand the depth of this devotion. A neighbor of mine took a passive-aggressive verbal jab at my boys last week and I'm still mad about it. My new hall policy? No correcting, and no apologizing. I will love and adore these dogs until their last breath, and after we move I will never think of this neighbor again.

3. The Internet.

While it may separate us in some ways, it's brought us together in others. Blogs, ebay, banking, chatting, porn, I mean entertainment...all at our fingertips. What's not to love?

4. Being 41.

Not the number so much, as the change in my mind once I hit 40. I'm far more interesting now than I've ever been. I've lost the ability to care about the inconsequential. I've lost the fear of growing old, of not succeeding, of others opinions. It's been wonderfully freeing.

5. Just being.

I've been lucky enough to be healthy all of my life. I'm rarely sick. I've never had any medical procedure outside of a dentist's office, and I've been to the emergency room exactly once. I turned 18 in 1986 when HIV was the "gay cancer" that wiped out a generation of young men, and I came through it unscathed. I'm a lucky boy.

So there's my five. I'm not tagging others, but if you're reading this and you blog, how about telling us what you're thankful for. Leave me a comment so I can come see what you say.

Here's to you Kory Snider

Who is Kory Snider? He's a drunk driver and hit-and-runner, and I met him last night while sitting at the stop light at 39th and Wyoming. Sitting at the stop light while driving Boyfriend's car.

I was looking for something in my wallet so I didn't see him coming, when boom! there he was. I got out and walked back and asked if he was ok. He seemed a little glazed but said he was alright. Then, and here's what probably caused a whole chain of events, I told him we needed to call a cop because I wasn't driving my own car and I'd need a police report.

He suggested we pull off out of the middle of the street, and I figured that was probably a good idea. You can see it coming: When I pulled over, he turned south on Wyoming and was off.

Now I've never loved Boyfriend's Acura. There's nothing wrong with it, I've just never loved it the way I loved some of his other cars. I have a new found respect for it now though, because when you decide to chase someone who crushed your bumper, this is the car you want. Speed, handling, braking, it's all there.

I'd forgotten my phone so I couldn't call the police, and I'm not really sure what I was thinking, other than I was going to catch him or he was going to get away. He led down Wyoming, and west on 41st (blowing stop signs all the way). He led still down State Line as well and turned on 42nd. At the west end he blew right out into Rainbow, and somehow didn't hit anyone. I got stopped by traffic and saw him turn west on 43rd, and I knew I'd lost him

So I pulled out to turn east on 43rd, go back to where I'd started, and find a phone. At the light I looked west, and what do I see on a side street but a flashing light. Could I possibly be that lucky? A turn around in the McDonalds parking lot and I was on my way. When I turned off 43rd towards the light, YOU CAN IMAGINE MY GLEE at seeing Mr. Snider pulled over, with a cop at his window.

So much glee in fact that I pulled right up, window down, and said "You just hit me and drove off you bastard!" The cop wasn't sure what was going on, he pulled him over for mowing down a stop sign. I told him to check the front of his car, and the back of mine, and it was all over. Cuffed and thrown in the back of the cop car with what I learned later was a DWI.

The car belonged to the passenger, who was also drunk, but at this point at least seems to be insured. The claim is being turned into his insurance company, and the police were pretty decent about making sure I had the info I needed.

So, don't drive drunk. And if you do, and you plow into someone, someone who gets out and inquires as to your well-being, just pull over and take what comes from the police. You could kill yourself or someone else driving like that through residential streets. And if karma pops up in the form of a stop sign, you end up in jail anyway.

As well you should, Kory Snider, you bastard.

The company we keep

Love it or hate it, the commenting community at Joe.My.God is always lively. I don't automatically agree with everything said, but overall the commenters are smart, compassionate men and women I've enjoyed getting to know. A number of them are bloggers themselves and participating in the community has turned me on to some incredible writing (Hey Lynette!) as well.

Joe has gained a fair bit of celebrity, and along with that comes the pleasure of trolls commenting on his posts. They usually come from WingNutDaily or some other conservative christian blog, and they're always breathtakingly hateful. One such commenter earlier today finished his diatribe by stating that he was looking forward to a new strain of AIDS. You know, so we'd all die.

I had two thoughts after I read that. First, I love the fact that my blog audience is tiny, thoughtful, witty and well-mannered. And second, could wishing a disease on someone as an insult be any more lame? I've insulted a few people in my day (it's rare, but not unheard of), but never once did it occur to me to say something like "I can't wait for you to contract an inoperable tumor, or a never-before-seen variety of liver cancer!"

Later in the day, a new name popped up in the comments during a verbal evisceration of Michelle Malkin. Let me note that I did not take part in the ritual because I don't really know much about Ms. Malkin (apparently she's just dreadful!), and because the original post linked to the Live Puppy Cam. (I'm watching it while I'm writing this, one of them just peed. On the pee pad. Good Puppy!)

The new commenter, who to his credit was not anonymous, and linked to his own blog (which I looked at briefly, he thinks Obama is a communist) said the following:

"Look, I will do you all a favor. This is obviously a blog where no one outside of your coffee klatsch is welcome. I will depart. May I suggest that you tone down the vitrol please? You want people like Michelle Malkin to stop writing about Gay hate, stop it here. Prove it to the outside world. Peaceful demonstrations, not interrupting church services and going after people who donated to Prop 8. Keep it civil, keep it peaceful and maybe people will listen. Give them fists and profanities and they will hit back and hit back hard. There is a blog I regularly comment on. It is liberal and the Blogmaster if you will is gay and has been to many PEACEFUL, NON VIOLENT demonstrations."

Then he gave the link, signed off with "peace," and was immediatly lambasted by the fast-typing, foul-mouthed homos that are the JMG regulars. God love them.

I thought about it all afternoon, and reread his comment a number of times, and I'm just not sure what to make of it. I do have to give him props for not hiding. And more credit for what, on the surface at least, seems to be an effort to add something to the conversation, especially when he'd have to know he'd be the minority viewpoint standing squarely in hostile territory.

But telling us to tone down the vitriol? (note I spelled it right) You really should know your audience before you start making those suggestions. Then I get to the part about gay hate (we have our own now!) and it starts to sound like blaming the victim. The comment about interrupting church services I actually agree with. (That stunt pulled by Bash Back was just stupid. Don't give ammo to the enemy!) As for Prop 8, using the donor list doesn't strike me as much different from the boycotts the evangelicals have been staging for years. Let's all put our mouths where our money is.

But then he says "Keep it civil." And if you read my big Prop 8 post you know how that pisses me off. It's like saying "you be good gays, quiet gays, and maybe we'll think about easing up on the denial of rights thing..." I'll point out here that we really shouldn't have to ask for any of this.

Then there's his follow-up warning that our foes will "hit back hard," which seems to suggest we should be fearful (we're not). And he closes by telling us that he's a reasonable conservative. Why, he's even a regular commenter on a liberal blog run by a gay dude! Who demonstrates peacefully!

I'm stumped. Who would I rather have a conversation with, those who's opinions and beliefs fall somewhere near my own, or someone with whom I'm bound to disagree on almost everything? Does a discourse between opposing viewpoints educate both sides, or are the sides so far apart that in this battle at least, there's little chance of finding middle ground?

Protest Virgin No More

I'd never protested anything before today, but Kansas City joined cities across the country in protesting California's recent passage of Proposition 8, which removed our newly-minted right to marry in the Golden State. Held on the edge of the Country Club Plaza, we got there early and headed over to Restoration Hardware to buy new drapery hardware for our bedroom. So gay! But they were having 20% off the entire store, and our current curtain rod sucks. Here's some recap photos in no particular order:

Before and after the speakers (who we couldn't really hear because their PA system was small) everyone lined up along 47th street and cheered the cars that honked as they passed. The event organizers said that we needed to keep the sidewalks clear and people gladly complied.
When we got there the crowd was just assembling, and as always, some of Fred Phelps' family were across the street with their fag signs. Not sure why, but they didn't stay much past the start of the rally. They'll never realize how much their brand of crazy has helped our cause. Just think if they'd focused all these years on something positive, who knows what they might have accomplished.

After the speakers finished we went back to the street, and the crowd was big enough at that point that some crossed to line the other side. So much honking and waving. Only one thumbs-down that I saw from the female passenger half of an old couple in a big F-350.
The crowd assembling by the JC Nichols fountain (which is my favorite in a city full of fountains).

One of the speakers, I'm afraid I don't know who he is. Obviously I need to get out more or something.

My favorite sign of the day, because sometimes, even the most noble of causes benefits from a sense of humor.

My other favorite sign.

So there you go, a great day for a great cause, in spite of the cold. Way to go Kansas City, I'm totally proud of all of us!

Quality, not quantity

Decorno started a conversation on holiday decorating, which we're going to try again this year after a two year hiatus. I don't like lots of decorations, but what I do decorate, I like to decorate fully. The mantle above was at our old house. I did something similar the first year we were settled here in the condo, and will give it a go again this year.

I may not use fresh greens however, as they dried out really quickly here, probably due to heat from the tv mounted over the fireplace. I may use slightly fewer glass balls too. I hadn't looked at this picture for a while and it seems like there's just a few too many.

It's a start

Ok, time for something lighter after that last post. Let's talk about my den.
This is the second bedroom in our condo. It's been Boyfriend's office and a storage room for boxes. It's also been chocolate brown, and a bad shade of pale blue. Finally, it's going to be our den.

The color is the same as our kitchen/dining/living room space, Sherwin Williams' Restrained Gold. The room is about 11 foot square, and the pale khaki makes the room feel much lighter.

I wanted a piece with storage, and had been scouring estate sales and craigslist for months looking for a sideboard. I'd come up with nothing when I found the dresser above on craigslist. It's about a year old, and is Mitchell Gold for Crate & Barrel. I hadn't originally planned on something with a mid-century feel, but I did have a great mid-century side table I'd refinished, and the dresser was a great deal. And it had nice lines so I bought it. The two adorable boys who were selling it even carried it out to my truck.

So I've got a start on the room! The white lamp was a super cheap auction find that I've mentioned before. I've also got a large mirror at the workshop and I'll be hanging it this week after I paint the frame. (That tray of stuff needs serious tweaking, I know!) Boyfriend's desk will live on the wall to the right of the chest (with another white lamp with black shade), and to the left I've got a chair awaiting reupholstery, and the mid-century side table.

So we're moving toward a nice quiet place to read (or blog). Some art, a rug, and we'll be good to go. More photos to come as I make progress!

A ring and a cake

There was something in the air on Tuesday, an electricity just beneath the surface as Boyfriend and I stood in line to vote. The line stretched around Our Lady of Sorrows (yes, really) and down the street. People had books and cell phones, some brought chairs, one woman stood knitting in the frigid wind. All of us were prepared to wait, determined to make ourselves heard. I wasn't sure Missouri would go blue (it didn't) but I could feel the possibility. It seemed reasonable, given the disaster of the last eight years, that as a country we'd had enough.

I thought of California only once or twice throughout the day. Liberal, laid-back California. Gavin Newsom and Nancy Pelosi and the Governator. The left coast would never move to actively discriminate, especially now with gay marriage already on the books.

I trusted my gut, it was all going to be okay.

Barack Obama would bring some dignity and intelligence back to the White House. And sometime, when we had a few days and some extra cash, Boyfriend and I would go to Palm Springs, and after more than a decade together, make it legal. For the first time in a long time, it was all going to be okay.

But my gut was only half right.

I've been surprised at how Proposition 8's passing has effected me, the level of anger and hurt that I feel. I think that maybe it's because we seemed to be moving in the right direction, and now we've taken this gigantic step back. Or rather, we've been pushed back by the leaders of the mormon church

Yes, I've placed my blame.

I read an article that proposed the black and latin communities, not believed to be supportive of gay rights, made the difference because they turned out in higher numbers to vote in the general election. I suppose that could be true, but it seems both racist and facile. Money, on the other hand, always makes a difference when Americans have something to vote on, and on that front the mormon church led the way.

For these churches (mormon and others) the priority is not food for the hungry, treatment for the addicted, or apparently any kind of help for those in need. Ensuring that Boyfriend and I remain unequal in the eyes of the law, that's job one.

So, what do I do now?

As the shouting began, the mormons issued a statement asking for "a spirit of mutual respect and civility," and here I sit, feeling neither. After eight years of watching the Bush administration wreck our reputation in the world, of having my patriotism questioned simply because of my party affiliation, you'll have to pardon me if I'm less than satisfied with where civility has gotten me.

And now, for the religious right to effectively block my entrance to the courthouse, when I've never once asked to walk down their aisle, well I'm not feeling especially respectful. Am I supposed to stand quietly by, with a smile on my face, while they continue their work to ensure that I never receive quite the same benefits, or enjoy quite the same rights as my straight counterparts?

If Boyfriend were to drop dead, from a legal standpoint I'm nothing more than a guest in my own home. I don't believe his family would throw me out, but do we ever really know what people will do in the throes of grief? My friend Linda found this out the hard way. She'd lived with Ron for 25 years when he died suddenly. They'd never married. Were it not for one of his sisters, the rest of the family would have cleaned out Linda's home.

So I've spent the week trying to make some sense of it. I've written and re-written this post each day because I'm alternately disheartened and enraged, and no combination of words seems to adequately convey the way I feel.

I can only conclude that I'm trying to make sense of something that makes no sense. Were I to marry my partner none of those who voted yes on Proposition 8 would know, no change in their lives would occur. The institution of Marriage, battered and bruised as it is, would remain.

I've tried to explain this in past letters to representatives. I've asked why, legally, I should be denied this right. I've asked how my marriage would affect theirs. They've never replied with anything more than a form letter assuring me that my opinion counts. I can only believe it's because they know deep down I'm right.

So I'm left feeling lost, not sure what to do, if anything can be done. And sad. Sad because of all that transpired throughout the California campaign. And sad because as we enter the holiday season, and as I think back on Notre Dame, Sainte Chappelle, Westminster Cathedral, all toured on our recent vacation, I have no charity, at least for now, for the church.