Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Living Each Day

Me (L) and my husband E (R)
Two weeks ago I was given a surprise medical diagnosis. Colon cancer. I have no symptoms. In fact, I feel great. I don’t smoke; I eat a low fat/low salt diet with no beef; I get plenty of exercise; my weight is average; my age is relatively young at 51. It all started when a stool test showed positive for blood. That followed with my first colonoscopy. More tests and doctor visits followed. Surgery is still to come. The cancer appears to be caught early and is small enough that chemo and radiation isn’t necessary before surgery. The last couple of weeks have been a challenge to come to grips with this new reality. Fortunately my husband, E, has been so supportive. He has made the last couple weeks bearable while we deal with a lot of uncertainty.

This short nine-second video has been a reminder that we should live each day like it could be your last. There are also no guarantees even when you have the right of way.


Tuesday, October 06, 2009

10 Gay Signs I Missed Growing Up

Me in grade schoolI’ve written before that I came out late in life. Reflecting back, however, there were signs of my gayness that I did not recognize back when I was in elementary and high school. I knew I was different but I choose to ignore it and repress it. Here is my list of 10 signs I missed:

(10) I checked-out and listened to all the Broadway Cast Albums in our local library when I was in junior high school. I made mix-tapes of my favorite Broadway songs.
(9) I didn’t start buying rock and roll records until the second half of high school (Elton John, David Bowie, etc.). Prior to that, I loved listening to the pop divas of the day on the radio (late 60’s & early 70’s): Karen Carpenter, Cher, Petula Clark, Melanie, Dionne Warwick, Cass Elliot, etc. I knew the words to all their hits.
(8) During grade school, my dad had a basement full of Playboy and Penthouse magazines. I always thought the pictures of the naked women were creepy and would flip by them quickly. However, I enjoyed reading the articles and trying to make sense and understand the sex jokes in the cartoons. I especially liked the Forum section of Penthouse which always had a letter that started "I'm straight but one day..."
(7) I thought my best Halloween costume in grade school was the year I dressed up in drag and wore my mother’s red wig.
(6) Ever since I was very small, I wanted a doll house of my own. My parents did not buy a doll house until my sister was born. Although the house was not mine, I was allowed to furnish and accessorize it.
(5) Playing sports was never an interest of mine but I always took my time changing in the locker room for PE or swim lessons. I was always secretly scoping out the other guys. If I had to try out for a sport, I always thought wrestling or swimming would be interesting.
(4) I was envious of my little sister getting to take dance lessons. But I never spoke up to my parents about it. It would be many years later before I took dance classes on my own.
(3) I always thought Paul Lynde and Charles Nelson Reilly were funny and outrageous along with the other queer-type closet TV comics, Don Knotts and Tony Randall. I would try to mimic their routines.
(2) I was a band geek all through junior high and high school. I thought half-time shows with marching bands were the best part of football games. Seeing a marching band in a parade still brings a lump to my throat.
(1) The highlight, for me, of the Key Club ski trip I went on in high school was sharing a double bed with the most handsome student body officer in our class. Nothing happened.

National Coming Out Day: Celebrate October 11... If not now, when? Whether you're lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or not, be proud of who you are and your support for LGBT equality. A simple conversation can change the lives of people you care about. Coming out information and guides are available at the HRC site.
In September the New York Times Magazine did a major feature on middle-school youth coming out. Outlet, a local teen organization that we support is mentioned in the article. Outlet supports and empowers local GLBTQQ youth by providing counseling and community, leadership training & advocacy, and outreach awareness.

Friday, October 02, 2009

October is for Gay Activism

CALIFORNIA: The Marriage Recognition and Family Protection Act will affirm that California will continue to recognize the marriages of couples who married outside the state prior to the passage of Prop. 8—and that those who marry out-of-state in the future won’t be treated as complete legal strangers in California.
Opponents of marriage equality claim are once again using lies and scare tactics to deny us equality. We must not let them win. Put an end to their campaign of lies! Enough is enough. Call the Governor today to set the facts straight. Let him know of your support for the Marriage Recognition and Family Protection Act.
Call the Governor's Capitol Office (automated line): 916-445-2841

MAINE: Protect Maine Equality. Vote No on 1. This is going to be a close vote. The anti-gay groups that won in California are now in Maine spewing lies and misinformation. Donate, volunteer, make calls, and write letters. Vote early.

WASHINGTON: Washington State's Domestic Partnership Law is under attack. A yes vote on Referendum 71 will keep Washington’s Domestic Partnership Law and ensure fairness and equality for all Washington citizens. Donations and volunteers are needed

NATIONALLY: The National Equality March, October 10-11, 2009 in Washington, DC, is an event to show support for full equality on the door step of those who can make that happen: the Congress of the United States. The goal is equal protection in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states.

NATIONALLY: GLBT History Month highlights annually the achievements of 31 gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender Icons—one each day—with a free video, bio, bibliography, downloadable images and other resources.

NATIONALLY: National Coming Out Day on October 11, 2009. Share your story, educate people.

- Repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT). Write, talk to or visit your congress person. Write President Obama. Spread the word by submitting a letter to the Editor to your local paper.
- Pass and sign into law the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). It is pending in Congress. The bill will ensure workplace equality by protecting LGBT workers from employment discrimination. The bill protects workers from discriminatory hiring, firing, promotion or compensation practices, as well as retaliation for reporting such practices. Write, talk to or visit your congress person. Write President Obama.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Firmware Flashback

Earlier this year my mother was cleaning out her files and found this old newspaper clipping. I am one of spellbound high school freshmen. See the kid on the right with glasses, standing next to the math teacher? That is me. The picture dates from sometime in the early 1970s.

We are being wowed by a new technological breakthrough called a programmable electronic calculator. Oooooo, look but don’t touch!

The back of the clipping says we are looking at the school’s new Wang calculator. I poked around the web and by comparing pictures I think I have determined that the calculator is a Wang 720c Advance Programming Calculator. Just about everything you would want to know about one can be found at this Old Calculator Web Museum webpage: http://www.oldcalculatormuseum.com/wang720.html

Here is a “flashback” song and video, an old school computer remix of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”. It is performed on an Atari 800XL, Texas Instruments TI-99/4a, 8 Inch Floppy Disk, 3.5 inch Harddrive, and a HP ScanJet 3C. (Found on Wayne’s Nude Musicians blog)

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