Monday, August 29, 2011

A Year of Scruff

I know I've been slack keeping up with my blog of late, as my job has been demanding a majority of my time and attention. After putting in enough hours last week to make up for my recent trip to Chicago, I was looking forward to a relaxing weekend. As usual though, JB had made other plans.

On Saturday we went to a cookout at a friend's house in honor of some other friends visiting from Spain. I've known Pedro for several years, but this was the first time meeting his new boyfriend. They're both very nice and a lot of fun.

After an entertaining (and sexy) discussion of how Pedro and Carlos met online, I started reminiscing how it was exactly a year ago I first installed Scruff on my phone. I haven't logged into Scruff in months, but I credit the app for having made a significant impact on my life.

Believe it or not, all my hours on Scuff never resulted in any actual hookups. I've shied away from local woofs and gravitated toward hot furry men from distant lands. I treasure the friends and crushes I've made around the world, one of whom has become one of my dearest friends. In fact, it was he who convinced me to start my own blog.

Later Saturday night I fired up Scruff and logged in. I said "hi" to a few friends and went to bed. On Sunday JB made plans for us to visit some other friends for another cookout. While there, my phone started buzzing in my pocket. When I got a chance to check it, I saw several Scruff messages from a bear named "Mad Leather Cop". The pics were filthy. And hot. And familiar. Then he wrote, "My bf and I are visiting from Madrid and think you're sexy. Got any pics?"

Pedro obviously didn't know it was me he was woofing. My fault for not showing my face in my profile pic. I responded by saying "Sure..." and sending a pic of Pedro and me taken during Saturday's barbecue. We had a good laugh. This morning I noticed I had messages. More nasty pics from Mad Leather Cop.

Gulp. Logout.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

This 'Too Shall Pass

Many think this saying is a biblical proverb. But it isn't found in the Bible.

"This too shall pass" (Persian: این نیز بگذرد, Arabic: كله ماشي‎, Hebrew: גם זה יעבור‎, Turkish: Bu da geçer) is a proverb indicating that all material conditions, positive or negative, are temporary. The phrase seems to have originated in the writings of the medieval Persian Sufi poets, and is often attached to a fable of a great king who is humbled by the simple words. Some versions of the fable, beginning with that of Attar of Nishapur, add the detail that the phrase is inscribed on a ring, which therefore has the ability to make the happy man sad and the sad man happy. Jewish folklore often describes Solomon as giving or receiving the phrase. The proverb and associated fable were popular in the first half of the 19th century, appearing in a collection of tales by the English poet Edward Fitzgerald and being employed in a speech by Abraham Lincoln before he became president.

This weekend I was prompted to ponder the meaning of this proverb as I took a few days off work to spend time with the Chicago branch of JB's family to celebrate the wedding of one of his nieces. I was a bit apprehensive, as my past experience with these folks has been mixed.

It helped to remind myself that we'll only be there for a few days and I resolved to make the best of the situation. While there were a few tedious moments where my separation from Jerry Springer shrank to an uncomfortable 1º, overall I had a nice time and I'm glad I went. And true enough, the long weekend is now just a memory.  Fortunately I took lots of pictures...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Spare Room

I always think the best way to get myself out of a rut is to buy my way out of it. Some call it retail therapy, I like to look at it as investing in self-improvement. So in an effort to reclaim a room of my house, I dropped a bunch of cash on a scanner. Sure, I could have gone with paint and new furniture; and that would have been a wonderful idea. But my therapy typically comes in the form of consumer electronics.

This particular room doesn't really have a consistent name, it depends on the purpose it's currently serving. Sometimes "guest room", sometimes "office" and during the holidays, "gift wrapping room". Once or twice since moving in, it's even served as "Pac's dog house". But lately it's just known as "the junk room". With two people and at least as many cats in a 1,200 square-foot condo, it's not like we can spare an entire room just for junk.

How did it get so bad? I think part of the reason is that we haven't had house guests lately. It seems the only time I'm motivated to clean that room is when we're expecting an out-of-town friend or relative for the weekend. And even then only when their plane is on final approach. I'm sure I can dwell on the reasons for our lack of visitors, but I have enough insecurities at the moment.

I could blame JB's addiction to useless "stuff", but that wouldn't be the best argument to bring up when writing about how I self-soothe with gadgets. People who live in glass houses shouldn't have a dedicated "stone room".

Sure, there's stuff that legitimately belongs in a "spare" room. Two desks, each with an IKEA lamp and Herman Miller Aaron chair. You know, in case one of us actually needed to work and, in doing so, made the other feel left out and unimportant. In nine years we only occupied both desks once, the day we brought home the chairs. Which makes it even more ironic now that when JB wants to work on the computer, he asks me to set up the iMac on the dining room table.

Book shelves, a filing cabinet, a futon, one of those doorway chin-up racks that's never been used because it only fits one door in our place and no one wants to work out in a linen closet. There's the Cuisinart blender, KitchenAid mixer and Le Creuset cookware that never really found their place in the kitchen. Over there is JB's bike which he loves too much to keep in the garage, but not enough to ride.

And stacks upon stacks of paperwork waiting to be filed. Tax returns, receipts, statements, articles, medical records, etc. Granted, this one's all my fault. When it comes to record-keeping, I become an obsessive-compulsive hoarder. Whenever I try organizing my paperwork I break into a cold sweat, gripped with fear that I'll get audited and won't be able to show the IRS agent that lemon bar recipe I cut from the April '03 McCall's.

It's yet another personality aspect I inherited from my dad. When confronted about his stacks of trash, he would claim he not only needed every single sheet of paper, but that it was completely and systematically organized. He would take pride in being able to produce -- on a moment's notice -- a random dental record from 1978 just for the fun of it. Handy in case any of us kids went missing in the stacks.

But me? A hoarder? It's not quite how I expected to land a gig on A&E. Inside the Actor's Studio maybe, or Celebrity Ghost Stories. Sorry, Dad... This is one personality trait-slash-disorder I refuse to accept.

JB was skeptical at first that a four-hundred dollar document scanner was absolutely necessary. Did I say "skeptical"? I meant livid. But at 25 pages per minute, I was scanning old paperwork faster than my shredder could keep up. By the end of the weekend, my hoarding went 100% virtual. Unless they create a series about extreme hard drive fragmentation, you won't soon see me on TV getting extracted from my home by social workers in hazmat gear.

What a feeling to get an entire room back! It's like building an addition to my condo for the bargain price of $400. So now what? I could invite family to come visit I suppose. Or... a dungeon could be fun.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Still Here

Thanks for all the concerned comments on my post about my blood pressure travails. It wasn't very thoughtful of me to post something like that and then drop off the grid for over a week. Sorry about that. I'm okay and feeling fine. Seems that's a common reaction to beginning that medication as one's body adapts to it. At least that's what New Doctor says. (I'm still working on a name for him.)

I've just been swamped with work these past few weeks as my new project ramps up. The Project Manager is driving me mad by scheduling meetings at 4am. No, the meetings aren't at 4am. That's when his insomniac ass logs into Outlook and starts rapid-firing the day's meeting invitations. He's forcing me into investing in a real alarm clock since my iPhone is no longer suitable for this purpose. I know I could turn off the alerts, but then I'd miss all those meetings. Hmmm.

Today's first meeting is a demo I've been working on for which I'm still not fully prepared. Just wanted to check in and say "thanks" and I'm not dead!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Competitive Pressure

Dr. Dilf retired last week. The news was unexpected, as he's only in his mid-fifties and, yes, still quite dilfy. He told me a few weeks ago and I made sure to get one last visit in on Wednesday, before his last day. It wasn't gratuitous, I'd recently changed blood pressure medications and was scheduled for a follow up.

You may recall my first attempt at controlling my blood pressure with medication resulted in an epic bout of dyschezia. (I know, fancy word. But so much more fun to day than "constipation".) So he switched me to another medication. After nearly a month with what seemed like the flu, Dr. Dilf told me it was a side-effect of my new medication. Seriously? He says it's very common, but insurance companies insist you prove an intolerance to the cheap stuff before they'll pay for the good stuff. Again, Seriously?

After nearly two weeks on the latest medication, all seemed fine last week when I paid my last visit to Dr. Dilf. My blood pressure looked fine and he spent the rest of his time referring me to his colleague (no name for him yet) and trying one last time to talk me into cholesterol medication. I made a lame joke asking if this means future prostate exams will be purely recreational. He chuckled like he hadn't heard that at least fifty times that week and sent me off with his biggest bear-hug ever.

My buddy Gil says I don't need medication as my blood pressure wasn't really that high to begin with. Perhaps he's right. Or perhaps he's just so competitive, he can't stand the idea of my blood pressure being better than his. My money's on the latter.

Lying on the couch Thursday night watching TV, I decided to call it a night. As I got up to turn of the lights, they went out on their own. "How odd...", I remember thinking. When the lights came back on a few seconds later, I was on the floor with my pudgy cat muzzling my forehead. I'm not sure if kitty was showing concern or assessing the feasibility of still being fed one way or another.

As I got up, nothing seemed to be broken. Then everything started going dark again. Weird. This time I held on to consciousness, barely, determined not to give that damn cat any further ideas. I sat down at the dining room table and took my blood pressure. 86 over 47. As another wave of dizziness washed over me, I thought, "Let's see Gil try to beat this!"