Monday, October 31, 2005

Wildlife on the run.

Lunchtime run
Three or four times a week I go running at lunchtime. I usually do four to five miles at a time. The most common route for my workout is the foothills above where I work. The place is filled with interesting wildlife if you keep your eyes open.
Scary Halloween picture
Last week I saw two fist sized tarantulas walking along the trail.

Guydads’ “Wild Kingdom” list of lunchtime critters:
Three Mule Deer
One coyote, saw twice
Many Blacktail Jackrabbits
Thousands of squirrels
Half a dozen gopher snakes, but no rattlesnakes.
Lizards from a half-inch in size to eight inches.
California Quails, doves, swallows, hummingbirds, Great Blue Herons, egrets,
crows, owls, swifts, woodpeckers, jays, wrens, mockingbirds, sparrows, finches,
Red-tail Hawks
A hawk with a snake in its beak.
No mountain lion sightings. Many others have seen one in the area. In fact a mountain lion was shot in a residential area in May of 2004.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Opera novice

Before I met E., he use to have season tickets to the San Francisco 49ers’ football games. Gratuitous body shots
He had season tickets for years and saw many of the big games when Joe Montana and Steve Young were the star quarterbacks. The last few years the team has sucked. Two years ago we decided not renew the tickets. Instead we would try opera. We both saw our first operas two and a half years ago when we were on vacation in Vienna and Prague. We were amazed and entranced by the experience. We’ve been to countless musicals and plays but never to an opera. Two years ago this fall we bought tickets to the San Francisco Opera. We signed up for their new Rainbow Series. Although is seems redundant to have “Gay Night at the Opera”. Nevertheless, it is a lot of fun. The opera company has hosted special pre-show talks and private wine & cheese parties. At intermission they served Champagne on the rainbow lit balcony above the Opera House entrance. We’ve received a lot of fun, free swag too: CDs, note cards, extra tickets, etc. It has been great to be courted as new subscribers needing special treatment. It sure beats sitting in the hot sun or pouring rain watching Niners lose.

So far we have been to 10 operas. Listed in the order that we saw them: ranked 1 to 10 where 1=most liked, 10=Least Liked.
4 - Dalibor - Friedrich Smetana, Vienna
7 - Don Giovanni - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Prague5 - La Traviata - Giuseppe Verdi, Prague8 - La Traviata - Giuseppe Verdi, San Francisco Opera
1 - Billy Budd - Benjamin Britten, San Francisco Opera (Will at DesignerBlog has a great entry and some hunky pictures of Nathan Gunn who had the lead in the show as “the new, slimmed down, buffed up, frequently stripped to the waist male opera star”.
9 - Le Grand Macabre - Gyorgy Ligeti, San Francisco Opera
6 - Eugene Onegin - Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky, San Francisco Opera
3 - Così fan tutte - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, San Francisco Opera
2 - The Italian Girl in Algiers - Gioachino Rossini, San Francisco Opera
10 - Doctor Atomic - John Adams, San Francisco Opera

The last opera on the list, Doctor Atomic, we just saw last weekend. It was a newly commissioned opera. What a disappointment. It is in desperate need of rewrites. The source material is interesting has lots of possibilities. It is the story of the scientist, J. Robert Oppenheimer, key players of the Manhattan Project and the first atomic bomb. Unfortunately, it was three hours of no action and no melody, just static tableaus of Oppenheimer and the bomb and Minimalist musical soundscapes. The tension consisted of Oppenheimer and the other scientist singing (?) about how bad the weather was.

We have several operas yet to see this season:
Norma, The Force of Destiny, Fidelio, Madama Butterfly, The Maid of Orleans, and The Marriage of Figaro.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Gotta love teenagers

Gay or straight, parenting teenagers is one hard job. Sometimes seems like you can never get anything right. Last week on Yom Kippur, our rabbi gave the following blessing to all teenagers. As parents of two teenagers and two recent teenagers now in their early twenties, both E and I could identify with the sentiments. We were very touched by the blessing; we both had tears in our eyes by the end of it.

    If you are a teenager…if you are 13 to 19 years old, these words are for you:
    ...(B)ecause Yom Kippur is about asking forgiveness, and we want to ask yours. For underestimating you; for expecting too much of you. For not remembering what it’s like to be your age, or for not understanding that it’s different nowadays to be your age. For times when we talked too much, or were too busy to listen. For times when we weren’t around and you needed us. For times when we were short-tempered or short-sighted, or couldn’t manage to be the parents you needed us to be right then. For times when you were sad and we didn’t know how to help. For wanting you to be naches machines, whose success makes us feel better about our own lives. For not accepting you as you are. For our own failures of integrity, when we couldn’t live up to the behavior we ask of you.

    Forgive us for being sentimental about you and worrying about you so much.

    Believe us when we say we are trying to do our best. We know it isn’t always good enough.

    And believe us when we say that even if you sometimes drive us crazy, we value and respect the very qualities that sometimes drive us crazy. Your ability to reason and think for yourself. Your challenging of authority. Your resistance to being managed and nagged. Your need to be independent. Your impatience with hypocrisy. Your desire to change the world. Your wacky sense of humor, even at our expense.

    All of those are signs of your strength – of the men and women you will be, before too long. Forgive us when we forget that sometimes.

    We know you are figuring out who you are and what you’re going to do with your life. We’re also trying to figure out who we are and what to do with our lives. Today, on Yom Kippur, we’re honest enough to admit that. Today, on Yom Kippur, when nothing matters but the most important things in our life, we want to tell you that YOU are what matters to us – more than anything else could ever matter – and that you can trust us, always, and that we love you, forever.


Tuesday, October 11, 2005

My Coming Out Anniversary

I came out four years ago on Labor Day. It had been a very long journey. I spent my teenage years in asexual denial. I didn’t understand why I wasn’t interested in girls. I tried not to think about why guys were more interesting and fascinating to look at and fantasize over.

When I got to college I was determined to make a conscience effort at heterosexual dating. I met a wonderful woman that lived across the hall from me in the dorm. We dated on and off through college. She was the only person I dated and had sex with in college. After graduation we decided to get married because it seemed like the thing to do. Shortly thereafter she was diagnosed with MS. At first the disease wasn’t too severe and the doctors said it would probably be OK to have a child. We did but her condition got worse. At age 28 she was confined to a nursing home and died at age 30.

I was devastated and scared of raising a 5-year-old daughter on my own. I remarried almost immediately to the second women I ever dated in my life. We had two more children. Towards the end of my thirties this second marriage began to erode. Other then the children, we had very little interest in each other. I soon discovered the Internet and the world of “married men looking for married men”. The years of denial, repression, and self-hating started to wear away. At first, I told myself I was just experimenting and testing my sexuality. Then I gradually asserted that I was I slightly bisexual. Finally, after I met E and we started to talk about a future together; I knew I was truly gay.

E and I came out within two weeks of each other. We came out in a big way. For a variety of reasons everyone knew within a couple of weeks. All our families, friends, social acquaintances, work associates, and synagogue members heard the news and gossip. We were ready to be ostracized by everyone. But miraculously that didn’t happen. Nevertheless, we still felt isolated and on our own. Fortunately, we had a gay friend that came to our aid early on and introduced us to other gays who had been previously married. It was a great relief to know we weren’t the only ones.

The best thing we did was to join several gay organizations. We got involved with a GLBT running club and a GLBT Jewish social group. We started attending a gay synagogue in San Francisco when we could. E joined the board of a nonprofit social service organization that has a huge outreach into the gay community. I volunteered to assist the gay employee organization at work. Being active and involved has made a world of difference.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Six Kid Recap

Oldest son got his first post-college job in Washington DC. The job relates to his degree and pays well. In the meantime he mulls over applying to law school.

Oldest daughter has decided on a major and career goal. Her studies have turned around and she is excited about her college classes.

Next son was able to bum around all summer in his coastal college town. He now has a part time job teaching Jewish Sunday school.

High school son is in the process of applying to colleges. He works weekends at a local hamburger diner.

The nine-year-old son has started to take tennis lessons and is playing fall baseball.

The first grade daughter has recovered from breaking her wrist when she fell from the school’s new monkey bars. She also has her first loose tooth.

Monday, October 03, 2005

L’Shana Tovah

Have a good year 5766. Tonight begins Rosh Hashanah. May this be a sweet year for all.

As expected Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed the marriage-equality bill last Thursday. He said the people or the courts should decide. What a copout. “The people” don’t support or look out for the rights of a minority. “The people” would have never voted out slavery, or extending civil rights to blacks or Asians, or even allowing mixed marriages. After all, this is all against the word of G-d. It takes true leadership to stand up to a majority and do what is right and fair for all.

But then on Saturday the Governor signed legislation that will strengthen current law that protects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Californians against discriminatory business practices. This is the first and most significant LGBT civil rights
bill the Governor has signed into law this year.
Politics is such a dance…couple steps forward, couple steps back.
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