work has been weird. when i got back after my days off last week, i looked at my schedule for this week. turns out i have ALL evenings (2.30 to 11.00 and 3.30 to 12.00) which is highly unusual. they use a computer program that does it randomly, so there is no one specifically to go to about this. then i looked to see when i would be working with the two co-workers i like the most and saw that they had been given manager's schedules! they were both promoted and i was not! i about fell off my chair, except i was standing up. i am not so much disappointed that i was not promoted in this round, (although that is certainly part of it) as i am disappointed that none of the managers took me aside and told me what was coming down. it's the first time i've been unhappy about the way this company operates in the whole time i've been there. i have been reassured that i will be promoted "in a few weeks time." trust me i am not going to hold my breath. i remain confident that it will happen, but now with a measure of chastened reality in the mix. i'll keep you posted...

the rest of my life has held some humbling moments as well. the canning venture last week included a spectacular failure on the green bean/carrot project. the beans shriveled into disgusting little wrinkly things that tasted like a salt lick. i sampled them and promptly threw them all out.

i plan more canning for this week...something called rummage relish and another shot at the beans and carrots. i have the technique down and can accomplish the whole process in under 2 hours, including clean-up. the hunting/gathering part, where i drive around and get vegetables and vinegar and jars and salt takes as long as the actual chopping/cooking/processing part. it will be so nice to eat these things all winter long. i am trying to take the long view on that.

things in general just seem a little "off" lately. i suppose after such a fabulous ride over the last 8 months it's time for a "market correction"--time to put the brakes on the irrational exuberance, as the reverend greenspan would put it. i guess i'm up for that...or "down with that," as the kids of today say. somehow that seems to fit better anyway.



what's in YOUR refrigerator?

well, i got this idea from archerr, who got it from adam. it's also shown up here. as you can see, mine's kinda empty. what's really full is my freezer. when i cook for myself, i break whatever i make down into individual portions and freeze them. it's like a little mini stouffer's store in there. it has gotten so full that i keep a list on the side of the fridge detailing exactly what is in there and how many portions are left. i have developed this system over the years, after losing some yummy stuff way in the back, only to be discovered months later, covered with hoary frost. (how often do you get to use the word "hoary"?) so get up and take a pic of your fridge right now. let's see your larder!


happy summer soul-sister!

summer has officially arrived...huzzah! the weather has been beautiful the last few days. we had three days of sunshine in a row and it makes me wonder what hideous price we will have to pay for that luxury. cleveland is the seventh cloudiest place in north america, or some such nonsense. of course this was not told to me until the day after i had signed all the papers completing the purchase of my condo here. what are you gonna do? i do treasure each day of sun now...that is fer sure.

the last week has been alot of fun. i am learning lots of things at work as i wait for my promotion to be made official. the new regional manager was in town last week and they called me at home to come in early one day to meet with him. he is a great guy! he did small group interviews with all the managerial candidates to determine where everyone is willing to move to. the growth/geographic expansion of the company is being staffed largely from within by ongoing, voluntary transfers. i've made it clear i want to stay in cleveland, given that tony and my family are here. this could actually work in my favor, as others who are willing to move away may clear out spaces above me in the local hierarchy. in any event, i am confident this is a good company for me as well as a good locale. the regional said that they would be "promoting some people right away, some people in a month or so and some in a few months." given that i am one of only two people who are actually being trained right now, i think i can trust that mine will be in that first round of promotions.

the next question is where will i be placed? tony and i will move in together in a new location based on that posting. this probably won't be until late this year. it's fun to look at listings online and think about a larger space together. we actually went furniture shopping last night, even though we won't need that much. (between us we own at least two of everything, such as blenders, bedroom sets, couches, dvd players, etc.) luckily our taste in home decor matches. we both like a minimal, clean, modern style without a lot of frou-frou detail. it should make it easy to decorate once we find a space.

i've been doing some canning this last week, too. after making blackberry jam a couple of weeks ago, i also made strawberry jam (with ohio berries) and peach jam (with gorgeous georgia fruit). unfortunately, neither of them really jelled. i think the fruit was too ripe and held too little natural pectin. oh well, they taste good. i will just label it as "sauce" and folks will never know the difference. i went last night to the market and got the makings for some pickling action. corn and peppers for corn relish, beans and carrots for a mixed pickle and 5# of vidalias for pickled onions. it's been awhile since i did this type of canning so i am looking forward to it. and now i have christmas gifts for all those folks that you want to give a little something, but not a mink stole.

incidentally, i have become addicted to the gelato and sorbetto at la gelateria. we have been to all three locations. the flavors are intense, the portions generous, and the staff adorable! what more could one ask for?


lighten up!

well that last post was SO HEAVY...sorry about that. i'll try to keep things a bit more up-tempo this time.

this weekend was action packed and very fun! saturday tony and i took his mom out for breakfast and then to the outlet mall at aurora farms, south of here. we shopped and shopped and shopped. she got some shoes and i got a mini whisk and some socks. despite his warnings, i found his mom to be completely charming. she has a lively sense of humor and is a great conversationalist. this made the time pass quickly. we even got to go to marc's on the way home...woo-hoo! tony loves that store and it seems to run in the family.

then that night we went on the GIFT cruise on the goodtime III. every year there is a gay bowling tournament weekend here in cleveland and one of the activities is a pleasure cruise (the proverbial three hour tour) on the cuyahoga river and the shoreline of lake erie. basically, it's a floating cocktail party. every one comes out for this event....hundreds of queers commandeer all four decks of this ship and we sail around town. once again, it was amazing to me to see how many of these people my man knows. i guess he was born and raised here, but still.... we had beautiful weather and it was very romantic, sailing along the skyline at sunset with my honey. as a bonus, when we were driving away, we saw patrick of the travelling spotlight. even though we didn't meet, it was cool to see a fellow blogger there!

sunday we got to go out to chagrin falls. my niece was co-hosting her high school graduation party and invited the two of us. it was a great way to get to introduce him to everyone on neutral ground.. they were all really nice and friendly, so it felt good. even my brother-in-law came and spoke with us! it was kinda cool, as we sat at a table for two and "held court," and the other guests each came to us and talked in turn. plus a table of 16-year-olds was right behind us and i think it was good for them to see us there together. the food was good, my niece loved her gift and the music was a blast--they had a polka band made up of local highschoolers! so now we have met one another's families, so that seems a relief. no one was rude or unpleasant, so i have high hopes about our future interactions with them. keep your fingers crossed.



time to speak out

i have remained silent about the news this week, but after having a few days to digest the way the story is headed, i find i must speak out. the report this morning that some want to put ronald reagan's face on our money makes me livid.

i lived in nyc from 1983 to 1988 and was a firsthand witness to the explosion of the AIDS crisis in the gay community there. after the diagnosis of a close friend, i chose to get involved in the People with AIDS Coalition. they operated a "living room" drop-in center where folks come come and hang out, share a meal, play cards, watch tv or just talk. i cooked for these men and women and became friends with some of them. as the months went on, i attended one funeral after another. this was the time before effective treatment was available...the time when a diagnosis was a death sentence. surviving more than a year was the exception rather than the rule. i stopped counting the friends who had died when the number reached forty. i eventually had to leave the city as it was just too much to bear. dealing with so much death in my twenties was not something i did gracefully. but then we're not supposed to face that much death at such an early age, are we?

much of our grief became anger during that time, and much of that anger was directed at a president who refused to even say the word AIDS. while we were experiencing a plague in our daily lives, he was sitting in an ivory tower, ignoring the whole thing. the following piece presents many of the facts of that time. i present it here as a reminder of what happened and when. the media seems determined not to let this be a part of this week's presentations. i feel compelled to post this so that we might never forget how dangerous ignorance can be.

8 June 2004
by Keith Griffith

For Jay. For all the many tens of thousands of men, women, and children
who are gone and seemingly forgotten to revisionist history, I write these
words. For them and my own personal sanity, I feel this need to recall
historical facts.

Jay Rindal was my partner, boyfriend, lover. Jay died of AIDS in
September 1987 and I can still remember standing there, alone in the
hospital room, talking to his dead body one last time. Standing over his
lifeless body, I raised my fist and swore to him I'd never forget the
people responsible for this. All those who looked away, all those who
could have or should have done something, but didn't. The one person I
called by name was President Ronald Reagan.

This may sound like so much drama to many people today, but for Jay and I
and for many, many other people living in the 80s in San Francisco, AIDS
was extremely political, the battle of our lives and one we rose to and
all too often, lost. Jay and I had been arrested together in a protest at
the California capitol building in Sacramento. We'd even gone on trial
together for allegedly halting the business of the California governor
over his steadfast denial of the existence of AIDS as a real emergency.
I was far more political and outspoken when compared to Jay, but this shy,
reserved man, an accountant by trade, never hesitated to support me in my
actions and to volunteer himself when it came to pushing for recognition
of the gravity of AIDS in those darkest, desperate days. We both felt
abandoned by the institutions and the country that we had been raised to

I have been dreading this week for years, hoping that I'd be lucky enough
to be out of the country or in some remote location too busy to notice.
It was all so predictable: the media, the politicians, and the American
public have decided to do one more for the Gipper. We are witnessing the
revision of history, perhaps only unusual in how blatant it is. But I am
still here and so are many of us who survived to see the other side of
this epidemic and we will speak the truth to make sure our memories are
not washed over as people plan on putting Reagan on $10 bills or Mount

Ronald Reagan came to power at the precise moment that AIDS was taking
hold in select populations in the USA. It had already been a killer
elsewhere, but never had it shown up in North America, nor had any area of
the world seen the full extent with which AIDS could and would ravage
populations when Reagan was sworn into office in January, 1981. Even if
you grant Reagan some allowance that AIDS seemingly came from nowhere, his
administration had ample time to gear up the country to deal with the
disease. Every victory that did come about came in spite of Reagan and
because those who controlled the purse strings on Capitol Hill were held
accountable by small bands of activists who popped up in cities hardest
hit including San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York.

The facts are so clear and obvious that not much more need be stated than
what we know to be true:

1. Ronald Regan becomes the 40th President of the United States in
January, 1981.

2. The first reports of a disease that would come to be known as AIDS were
reported in Americans in March 1981 (see Hymes, K.B., Greene, J. B.,
Marcus, A., et al. [1981] 'Kaposi's sarcoma in homosexual men: A report of
eight cases', Lancet 2:598-600).

3. By the end of 1981, 323 individuals had been diagnosed with AIDS in
the USA, and 122 died. At no point in the year did Ronald Reagan issue a
statement nor was he asked to comment on the new disease by any member of
the news media.

4. By June 1982 speculation was gaining among doctors with large
practices of gay men that the disease was likely sexually transmitted.
(see MMWR weekly [1882] 'A Cluster of Kaposi's sarcoma and Pneumocystis
carinii Pneumonia among homosexual male residents of Los Angles and Orange
counties, California', June 18/31 [23]; 305-7)

5. By the end of 1982, 1,170 individuals had been diagnosed with AIDS in
the USA that year, and 453 died. Reagan remained silent about AIDS and
the news media continued to not ask him about the disease.

6. In early 1983, it was confirmed that heterosexual transmission of AIDS
was being seen in the USA. (see MMWR Weekly [1982] 'Epidemiologic notes
and reports immunodeficiency among female sexual partners of males with
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)- New York' [1982], January 7,31
[52]; 697-8.)

7. By the end of 1983, 3,076 individuals had been diagnosed with AIDS in
the USA that year, and 1,481 died. Reagan remained silent about AIDS and
yet again, the news media asked him no questions.

8. In April, 1984 US Health and Human Services Secretary Margaret Heckler
called a news conference to report that HIV was the cause of AIDS. She
added, "We hope to have a vaccine [against AIDS] ready for testing in
about two years."

9. By the end of 1984, 6,247 individuals had been diagnosed with AIDS in
the USA that year, and 3,474 died. Reagan remained silent about AIDS and
of course the news media did not hold him accountable.

10. In 1985 reports became more and more common about persons with AIDS
being denied services. Probably the most famous example was Ryan White, a
13-year old haemophiliac with AIDS, who was barred from school.

11. In April 1985 a small group, calling themselves Lavender Menace
disrupted a meeting of the first international Conference on AIDS held in

12. In San Francisco, in a single act of civil disobedience, John
Lorenzini chained himself to the Federal Building in that cities UN Plaza.
Months later, on October 27 Steve Russell and Bert Franks along with a
team of supporters chained themselves to the Federal Building at UN Plaza
and refused to leave. This protest action would continue uninterrupted
for years to follow.

13. On September 17th, President Reagan publicly mentioned AIDS for the
first time, when he was asked about AIDS at a press conference. Reagan was
asked whether he would send his children if they were younger to school
with a child who has AIDS. His response, "It is true that some medical
sources had said that this cannot be communicated in any way other than
the ones we already know and which would not involve a child being in the
school. And yet medicine has not come forth unequivocally and said, 'This
we know for a fact, that it is safe.' And until they do, I think we just
have to do the best we can with this problem. I can understand both sides
of it." (Reagan R. [1985] 'The President's News Conference', September 17,

14. By the end of 1985, 11,794 individuals had been diagnosed with AIDS
in the USA that year, and 6,877 died, among them Reagan friend Rock
Hudson, the former movie and TV actor.

15. In 1986 Citizens for Medical Justice was formed in San Francisco,
carrying out the first organized protest actions to enlist large numbers
in protest. The first act was to close down the office of the California
governor, followed soon by a miles long march to protest the high cost of
AIDS medicines, among other actions.

16. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop issued the first report about how to
prevent the spread of AIDS in 1986. Knowledge of how to prevent AIDS had
been known among doctors, researchers and government officials as early as

17. By the end of 1986, 19,064 individuals had been diagnosed with AIDS
in the USA that year, and 12,016 died.

18. In 1987 Reagan made his first ever voluntary public statement about
AIDS in a public address, calling for abstinence as the way to stop the
spread of AIDS. In another address, he would call for mandatory AIDS

19. In March 1987 ACT UP New York goes public for the first time with a
high profile disruption of business on Wall Street.

20. In April 1987 a White House official admitted that President Reagan
had never discussed AIDS with his own Surgeon General Koop.

21. By the end of 1987, 28,599 individuals had been diagnosed with AIDS
in the USA that year, and 16,194 died.

22. In May 1988 the United States finally launched a coordinated AIDS
education campaign. The distribution took place of 107 million copies of
"Understanding AIDS", a booklet by Surgeon General Koop.

23. On October 11, 1988 the Federal Drug Administration was shut down by
demonstrations from various activist groups convening on Washington.

24. By the end of 1988, with only days left before Reagan would leave
office, 35,508 individuals had been diagnosed with AIDS in the USA that
year, and 20,922 died.

25. In January, 1989 Reagan leaves office.

In a 2001 speech at the Kaiser Family Foundation's National Symposium on
U.S. AIDS Policy, former Surgeon General Dr. Koop acknowledged that due to
"intradepartmental politics" he was effectively out of the loop on AIDS
discussions for the first 5 years of the Reagan presidency. Quoting Koop,
"Because transmission of AIDS was understood primarily in the homosexual
population and in those who abused intravenous drugs, the advisors to the
President took the stand, they are only getting what they justly deserve."

Those first five years, also the first years of the epidemic in America,
would have been critical in saving so many lives had only the word been
allowed to spread about the existence of the disease and how it might be
transmitted. Basic information such as how AIDS might be transmitted, and
how condoms might help prevent it were withheld from widespread
circulation because the Reagan presidency felt it was either inappropriate
or unimportant, but more likely for both reasons. Reagan is being
remembered now for having led us into so many policy decisions that, at
the time, seemed ridiculous (most famous being his belief that the Soviet
Union could actually be defeated without going to war), but when it came
to leading the nation and the world on AIDS, he couldn't be bothered to
even mention the name of the disease in public until well after it had
taken hold in the USA.

61,539 Americans died of AIDS (all statistics supplied by the Federal
Centers for Disease Control) during the Reagan presidency. Even now,
after living those years and helping many people die, it still seems
unreal that this many Americans could die in the prime of their lives in
the most medically advanced nation in the history of the world. How could
it have happened? Even now, have you heard one commentator mention this
fact about the Reagan legacy? The largest public health crisis the world
has seen since the Plague began under Ronald Reagan, but you¹d never know
it by watching TV or reading newspapers this week. For Jay and all the
others, these are the historical facts.


well as you can see i have finally figgered out how to post photos to my blog! it's been frustrating to not have images to go along with my words. the camera in my palmpilot will be very happy to have a place to put all the shots it has stored up...and now you'll have faces to go with the people i talk about here. woo-hoo!


one of those lists

after seeing this in a couple of my daily reads, i decided to jump on the bandwagon.

10 Bands You've Seen Live:
1. Boston
2. The Rolling Stones
3. Journey
4. The Beach Boys
5. Chicago
6. Styx (their first tour!)
7. Elvis Costello and the Attractions
8. Yes
9. Donovan
10. Genesis

9 Things You're Looking Forward To:
1. Moving in with Tony
2. My promotion
3. My parents’ moving here
4. The end of Dubya’s “appointment” and the inauguration of John Kerrey
5. Don Delillo’s next book
6. Exploring Cleveland
7. Making jam this summer
8. The season premiere of “Enterprise” next fall
9. Getting caught up on my sleep

8 Things You Wear Daily:
1. Glasses
2. Facial hair
3. Pants
4. Ring
5. Belt
6. Deodorant
7. Shoes
8. Shirt

7 Things That Annoy You:
1. People who are habitually late
2. Homophobia
3. Bad Drivers—have you noticed that they usually identify themselves by having an American flag on their car?
4. The Bush family
5. Terror alert levels
6. Religious fundamentalists—of any persuasion
7. Gay Republicans

6 Things You Touch Every Day:
1. My Sonicare
2. A fork
3. My keys
4. The steering wheel of my Saturn
5. This keyboard
6. My jar of Nescafé

5 Things You Do Every Day:
1. Sleep
2. Eat
3. Talk on the phone
4. Look in my PalmPilot
5. Check email

4 Of Your Favorite Bands or Musicians:
1. Melissa Etheridge
2. Anita Baker (why did she have to retire?)
3. The Blue Nile
4. Janet Jackson

3 Movies You Could Watch Over and Over:
1. "2001 A Space Odyssey"
2. "The Women"
3. "Lawrence of Arabia"

2 Of Your Favorite Songs At This Moment:
1. "This Moment" Melissa Etheridge
2. "Jungleland" Bruce Springsteen

1 Person You Could Spend The Rest of Your Life With:
1. Tony


another week gone by....whew! the biggest news is that we've been back to the jeweler's for more ring action. the man...henceforth known as tony, has to get his re-sized. but whilst we were there, we found an identical style that fit me perfectly. so...i'm wearing his ring now! it feels really heavy on my hand, but it is the nicest thing in the world to be able to take him with me everywhere i go.

i start my pre-promotion training at work this week. it's very exciting! i am torn as to where i want to work, ultimately, but i honestly feel that either store will afford me opportunities for growth and advancement.

my folks are in town again this week (for my niece's graduation festivities) so we spent the day today looking at fixtures and door handles and toilets and granite. there is some really lovely granite out there that makes me think i would like it in my kitchen one day. that is something i do dream about as far as finding a new living space with tony --designing my own kitchen. i have worked in so many of them over the years...both professional and home. it has given me alot of insight into what works and what does not. we'll see if we get that far.

tony and i went to huntington reservation yesterday and walked in the woods and along the shore of lake erie. we also got some delicious ice cream at the honey hut, a northeast ohio tradition. tonight we are entertaining some friends of his here at my place for dinner. i'm making summer vegetable strudels with fresh mozzarella, caesar salad and a fruit terrine for dessert with rainier cherries, early peaches and blackberries. it should be delish!


toronto and more.....

again there is SO MUCH to tell! the trip to toronto was awesome. the city is like a friendly, clean version of new york. some of the highlights included the delicious breakfasts at the b&b (eggs benedict with smoked salmon, belgian waffles, etc); lunch up in the CN tower (for which the weather cleared right on cue); meeting the man's canadian friends for dinner; walking and walking and walking through city streets; getting (almost) caught in the rain and being forced to take shelter in a pub for a mid-afternoon cup-o-tea; the luxury of being able to sleep in and wake up together so many days in a row; seeing the falls at niagara; the scary decorating at the b&b there (have you ever tried to sleep under the watchful gaze of 214 angels?); the driving through endlessly beautiful countryside (yertl ) performed admirably); and laughing and laughing about the apparent lack of coffee in niagara-on-the-lake. we got on very well the entire time, which was encouraging. i would gladly return to toronto at a moment's notice. by the same token, i never need to go back to niagara falls again.

as for family, my parents' move seems to be staying on track. although they won't be here for many months, most probably, it is good to know they are on their way. my niece graduates high school this sunday. she will attend emory university in atlanta this fall. it will be great for her to get out from under her parents' roof and see some more of the world! she is awesome! i admire her and the things she has accomplished at her age--and i don't envy what she faces as a young woman today. this is a difficult time to be young and i wish her all the best. there is to be a graduation party for her next weekend and the invitation came in the mail addressed to both me and the man! i thought that was pretty cool, considering no one in their house has even met him yet.

all this brings me to the biggest news. the day before we went on our trip to toronto, i proposed to the man...and he accepted! looks like he is stuck with me now ;^) i had a speech all planned and then got totally verklemmt and ended up just thrusting the ring at him and muttering something about wanting to "grow old together." after a seemingly interminable pause, he said yes. when i finally exhaled i was so happy! so now we are starting to think about talking about the beginnings of making plans. neither of us is in a huge hurry to get to an actual ceremony. some type of ceremony is one of the things we have agreed to in principle, another being rings. we will be living together, too, but the location hangs on where i am placed with work once the new store gets up and running. this could be as late as february 2005. so there is time to work on all these practical details.

in the meantime, as sappy as it may sound, i never knew anyone could make me so happy! i am sure he feels the same way as well. it's a good feeling...one we want to hold onto.
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