Sunday, August 30, 2009


I am rarely at a loss for what to say.

This weekend has been great. These posts about facebook and some of my
thoughts on my past have opened up some new incredible vistas in my
brain and into my life.

I'm loving it.

I have to say I am overwhelmed, humbled and grateful to you guys who
read all my stuff and you guys that have known me since I was that
tall gifted embryo.

I'm starting to realize that I've just gotten the edge pieces of my
puzzle sorted out but I'm really excited about fitting in the center

There's so much more to say but I've yet to process it all.

A Childhood Revisted

So this whole Facebook thing where your past walks up, knocks on your door and wants to know what you're doing now, has set my brain to thinking. Ouch.

It can stir up memories of the last time you saw someone, when you really were good friends, why you weren't friends later, who you were when you knew people versus who you are now. That kind of stuff.

Someone recently found me that I've known since grade school. Since he felt compelled to tag me in photos that may (or may not) have a date stamped on them, I feel compelled to tell you I was a very smart child prodigy and was placed in an advanced honors class while I was still in the embryonic stage. I was very tall for an embryo.

Looking back at things, I think by 5th grade it may have been obvious I was gay. Most of my best friends were girls. We played with toy horses. I had opinions on fashion, "No! I can't wear that shirt, I've already been seen in it in a class photo!" While some took a wait and see attitude around me, others had already made up their minds.

There was a neighborhood friend I had whose dad told him he couldn't play with me any more because I had saltwater sandals. With perspective, what the hell did that dad know? He beat his children with his police belt and poured straight Tabasco sauce into their mouths if he thought they were lying. He was a very bad man. I only know what he said because that friend was honest and told me. We continued to secretly play together in the neighborhood a while longer, but I was never allowed to come over to his house again.
We were staying a week at the beach. The saltwater beach. These shoes were perfect, in the water, out of the water, and so summery! I loved those shoes. By the way, they still sell them for boys.

I'm pretty certain there were other disapproving parents, I got pieces of information but never full stories from friends as they became less available. Friends fell away when we moved from 5th grade to 6th grade and joined Middle School with kids from other grade schools. New cliques, new alliances, new outcasts to be made.

I was okay for a year or so. Gym class arrived with middle school along with communal showering. At both of these, I did not excel. And so began a nudge to the sidelines. I broke my arm halfway into the 6th grade and one of the hallway bullies attempted yet another smartass comment on me and I took my arm with the cast and knocked the wind out of him. Once he was on the floor I stood over him and told him I would kick him in the nuts and finish him off, unless he promised to leave me alone, forever. (Such high drama!) That ended the bullying.

By grade 8, I was skipping a lot of school. I had a lot of "stomach aches". If I knew then what I know now, I would have switched it up with a rotation of excuses, stomach aches, diarrhea, twisted ankles and migraines. Live and learn.

High school arrived and it was the same deal all over again, new cliques, new alliances, new outcasts to be made. I found a group of people I really liked and we did fine for ourselves. I still saw friends I'd had in grade school in the halls and they obviously saw me, (I'm not invisible!) but they became more of the "hey friends" variety. You know, the people you nod and and say "hey" to, then keep walking.

But there was always a nagging in the back of my head, what happened? Why aren't we friends anymore? What did I do? (notice how self centered I am? I, I, me, me, I never wondered about them.)

Finally, college came and then the real world of work and finding your own sense of self and community. I discovered that what made me "weird" all through school gave me entry into a fabulous world of other people just as "weird" as me. I stopped looking backwards and started looking forward.

And now, Facebook arrives. People I thought I would never see again start arriving in my inbox. (Lets face it, I had no plans to go to a class reunion until these plastic surgery scars have completely healed and are virtually undetectable) Since I have evolved, I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt that they have evolved. Time and again I am impressed. As one person just told me, "most of us have evolved as much as those who moved to LA or NY or Paris. We just have lower house payments and it only takes us 10 minutes to get to work." A very wise observation.

Yet it doesn't stop the flood of some amazing childhood memories both good and bad. Along with the return of that nagging question: Why did we stop being friends?

I own my part in this. After school ended, I left. I needed to go find myself without expectations. Growing up in a smaller city everyone seems to know your name. You learn that lesson the day you get a speeding ticket and your dad knows about it before you get home for dinner. So I left to become anonymous and create a new version of me. (Younger! Blonder! Just as Gay!)

I think I would have hated Facebook ten years ago when I wasn't so certain of who I was. Can you imagine being in high school now and having Facebook a part of your life forever. Never being able to fully separate from your past to create that new adult you? I think Facebook, like tattoos, should be prohibited until you over 30. I've got the tattoo. As for Facebook? BRING IT ON.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Liza! Liza! Liza!

My photos from my phone may suck, but Liza was AMAZING!!!

Reunion comittee

Ah Facebook, will we ever need a class reunion anymore?

More and more I find myself being found by people I went to school with via Facebook. I signed up for Facebook to be political. Last Fall after Prop 8 passed there were protests and massive rallies. All of them organized by someone on Facebook, you had to have an account to view the info, so I reluctantly signed away my life.

I got hooked and was surprised when I suddenly had 40 friends. FORTY! Wow, I would have told you I didn't even know forty people. Then along came someone I went to school with (yes, I went to school) and they friended me, and then their friends friended me and so on and so on...

I made it a policy to not seek people out from my past. I've moved, I've changed, I've evolved and though I love my life, some people from my past...? Uh, why stir shit up?

But people found me. I am very open about who I am. And if they didn't like it, well, you came looking for me so tough shit. (Oh my god, I just used the word shit twice. I never swear on this blog!) There are ways to partition your friends in Facebook where you can shield information from some people. Me and my life? Kind of an open book (you get that way with a blog) and I don't have that kind of energy to learn how to do all that stuff. You pick me as a Facebook friend, you get all of it, not just some of it.

People surprised me. "I see your status as Married. I'm gonna take a guess that Lyle's the lucky guy. Congratulations you look so happy!" came the opening of one email from someone I used to go to church with (that's right, I've been to church).

Then the class president from high school found me. Nice guy. Not someone I hung out with a ton in high school. But it was a small town and you sort of know everybody. So I said yes. Hey, he came looking for me. Turns out he went looking for EVERYBODY. Suddenly he is friending every single person we went to school with (and more) and I panicked. I un-friended him. There, I confessed it. I panicked that EVERYONE I went to school with would suddenly find me via him and I wanted them to have to work a little harder. (irrational I realize because I am already friends on Facebook with about 4 other people who were (are) friends with EVERYBODY.

Okay, so here's where I just plow into this and disclose it all. So he friended me again. Damn, busted! I thought, "600+ friends, how in the world did he notice I went missing?"

I decided on a new tactic. I would be an ass and the next time HE would unfriend me. Whenever he would post a status, I would look for some smartass thing to say. He posted a status that said, "Without putting a whole lot of time coming up with the 'most impressive' answer - What are you thankful for?"

"My beautiful daughter"
"That I am saved by GRACE (God's Riches At Christ's Expense!)"
"Everything God has given me"
"I'm going with: family"
"the love of my life, my husband."

I'm certain those people meant what they said. And not all the comments were all like that. But remember, I had decided to be an ass and try to get unfriended. So I sat down and had my fingers poised to type, "gay sex". Then I remembered that this friend is a teacher and has lots of students as his friends. And did I really want to be THAT big a jerk? Instead I wrote:

"Sale at Gucci."

Not a jerk response, but certainly taking the piss out of all those other "holier than thou" comments. I went to bed satisfied that I would get some form of "tsk, tsk" in the morning.

Instead I got a personal email from him, " 'Sale at Gucci' - LMFAO : )"

Well shit.

So I have had to accept that people I went to school with are not actually the people I went to school with. I've changed and it appears possible that they could change as well. But now that I know who is thin and who is fat, I've seen all your photos of all your children, I know where you work and I know who you are sleeping with, what in the world do we have to catch up on from a reunion?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Palm's Hotel, Resort, Casino and Location

My work has a lot of "interesting" aspects to it. This week it took me to Las Vegas and the Palms Resort, Hotel & Casino. We were given a full tour of everything you've ever heard or possibly seen of on TV and in print. I'll be honest, MY FEET ARE TIRED.

We started off in "The Real World" Suite.So much went on in that bathroom area on TV. I was surprised at how small the suite is (it's actually HUGE, but looks even bigger on TV). I would go mental living for 6 months with 8 people confined to that size of space. I sometimes go mental living in twice that much space with just one other person.

Oh, and yes, I stepped into "the confessional" and whispered under my breath, "I hate those guys so much..." (just for fun).

Onward and most assuredly UPward we went to Ghostbar. The most dramatic feature of this bar on the 55th floor is the large deck that juts out from the building that has a large Plexiglas window in the floor:
You can see the pool below! Not only could Lyle not stand on top of the window, he also would not let me stand on top of the window, nor let me tap dance near the window and finally made us all go inside away from the window and the deck itself. (by the way, note my FABULOUS shoe!)

Changing towers we entered the "Crib Suite". One of it's features is a bed on hydraulics that mimics the motion you can get out of a "low-rider" car.
I greatly appreciated the chain-link pattern stenciled onto the floor.

In the "Hardwood Suite" the grand feature is the full size basketball court. However, after spending a couple of days last January working on a party in this suite I have to show you my favorite part:
Basketball skin walls. This stairway to the upper level bedroom, pool table and media room is covered in the same leather they use to make basketballs. Its stellar!

Obsessed with textures and colors?
Crocodile leather-like wallpaper covers the walls downstairs in the elevator lobby.

We changed buildings again to tour Palms Place, a hotel, spa and condo project attached to the Palms.
I think I am in NEED of a gold leather chair. NEED!

The view from the 58th floor penthouse tower manages to make the Palms Hotel towers look so small.
Lyle didn't spend a lot of time hanging out by the railing.

Sunset from our room at the Palms:
Evening descended and we took a tour of all the nightclubs open.

To see the views.

I swear we were in bed by eleven.

But before that...

Here's one you don't see every day.

Vegas breakfast of champions

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Big Girl Weekend, Big Finale

Ah Sunday, day of rest for some, but not if you're visiting from out of town.

We started at the Farmer's market in West Hollywood. Gathering supplies for the evening's meal. Then we dropped Lyle off at home to cook, and I took our guests to see the tacky tourist sights of Hollywood.
Like three goddesses waiting for fame to rain upon them.

At the Chinese theater Dorothy found the hand prints of Dorothy Lamour, for whom she was named.

The view from Hollywood and Highland. Yes, there were other photos where the elephant was on someone's head. But this one shows the Hollywood sign way back there in the distance.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, Lyle was prepping dinner. Lyle had originally planned cocktails and nibbles with a large guest list. Then in the middle of my inviting people, he changed his mind and decided to cook a sit down meal. I stopped inviting people, we only have so many chairs. And that is how it became an intimate dinner party for 12.
On the menu, lamb shanks, marinated in herbs for two days.

Roasted beet, avocado and lump crab salad.

A toast to the chef (and sous chef - Cindy).
Did I forget to mention the foie gras macaroons on the table?

Lamb shank, roasted potatoes and an orange with tomato salad. Tomatoes naturally from our own garden.

Almond financier cake topped with brown sugar and butter grilled peaches with just a small scoop (or two) of ice cream.

Lyle seems pretty happy and only slightly overwhelmed.

I find it odd yet so delightful that I enjoy all these ladies as much as I do. Who would guess that you can mesh so seamlessly with people you didn't grow up with and don't get to see nearly often enough. I begged all of them to return as soon as possible and also offered to kidnap them and not let them leave. But all highs get followed by a low and the next day everyone departed for the airport. My house has been so quiet. Is this how my parents feel after all of us descend upon them and then leave?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Big Girl Weekend, Out and Outer

Day 3, Saturday with out visitors, and we hit the beach.

All my pretties in a row.
Dorothy seems really flexible, doesn't she?

Beverly gives it her best Baywatch.

Cindy shows us how they make those bathing beauty photos.

Lyle gets tossed about in the surf.

I bought that safety orange swimsuit at the outlet mall the day before. You'll be sure to find me when I am swept out to sea.

I kept hoping for a wave to douse them all, but they wouldn't go in deep enough.

Home from the beach and after a frenzied tour of the Grove shopping mall, we are dressed and ready for dinner out.
That's right, I pulled out the Gucci pants. And the belt. And the shoes.

Can you guess where we went?
To Jar!

Just after dinner.
I think we should have had them clear the plates from the table first.

Then one of us went home and four of us went out. I wonder which group I will be in....


This is fairly early in the evening...

This is perhaps in the middle of the evening?

Dorothy desperately wanted to meet or see celebrities. So of course it was Beverly who met Wilson Cruz (and his deep V-neck posse).

Dorothy did get to meet a drag queen. She was most relieved to discover that they look nothing alike.

Coming in to the home stretch and its water, water, water. Time to rehydrate and prepare for waking up tomorrow already.

I was going to say that this photo pretty much sums it up. But that would be a lie. They were many other photo that really summed up the evening, but they involved shirtless guys, strippers getting tipped and a lot more glasses filled with delicious beverages. What can I say? I like these ladies and want them to return. So sorry, no photos.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Canadian Invasion

There is a group of women that Lyle went through school with that get together about every other year. A few years ago Lyle was invited to join them in Vancouver. I dubbed it "the Big Girl Weekend".

It is strictly a girl's only, no spouses or children event. Except me. I'm one of the girls. Don't ask for the reasoning, just accept it. I do, and it makes me very happy.

This year's event was long in the making and it took place in a most fabulous setting... OUR HOUSE! Our three guests arrived and our rollercoaster weekend took off.

An aside to Michelle, Angie and (wherever you are) Venita, you were missed and we did have enough space for all of you. You guys are going to have to bring it extra hard next time.

Day 1, arrivals. I cooked lobster risotto, with a cherry tomato salad (from our garden naturally) and then served store bought cupcakes for dessert (I only have so much time in my days people). There was an abundance of champagne.

Then, as these types of weekends often do, things spiraled off to the photos. Old and new.
Lyle, Dorothy, Beverly and Cindy digging through the box of Lyle's childhood.

Day 2, Up and out of the house for breakfast at Gladstone's in Malibu, followed by a drive up the coast to Camarillo and the outlet mall.

Gladstone's has some great vintage photos decorating the walls and beams. I think I saw some familiar faces in the old bathing beauties section...

Breakfast was delicious but we had no time to linger, that outlet mall wasn't going to shop itself!

Forgive me for the break in photos here. I have no photographic record of the shopping the Camarillo Outlet Mall. This happens. When I shop I forget everything else. I am a machine.

We re-join our Big Girl Weekend already in progress, having dinner at Marix.

Canadians love Mexican food. Probably because they can't get much of it at home. So we chose Marix to delight them. It helps that they have some seriously fantastic margaritas there as well. We arrived around 8 and we were seated just after 9.
Let's see... that time for at least one pitcher of margaritas before we even had food.

A few drinks (pitchers) more and we were having the time of our lives.

Things got a bit smoochy.

What can I say? There was a lot of love in the room.

Alright, keep your clothes on...

My favorite shot of the night, all five of us and some random stranger's finger. Even the finger doesn't ruin the photo.

After dinner we went home and talked more, looked at photos more, perhaps there was a drink or two more... perhaps there were more photos...

(okay, there were definitely more drinks and more photos - but I've made a promise to myself to keep this blog at least PG rated. All I can say is, Yes, those are lovely panties you girls bought at the Neiman Marcus outlet.)