Daily thoughts by a guy that doesn't like to think deeply too often!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Baby Lily

My Assistant, Deisha, finally had her baby last week! Deisha's pregnancy seemed like it lasted about 3 years, but it's over now and she has a precious little girl to show for it! Congratulations, Deisha- now hurry up and get back to work! I got lot's of filing for you to catch up on!!!

Welcome to the world, Lily!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Am I a salesman or what?

I ran ads in a couple of local papers this week, featuring my catering service. Not new ads, not new newspapers. The same ads that I've run in the past. But something about this time of year has everyone longing for a catered breakfast for their office. My phone has been ringing off the hook ever since the ads were re-run last week! Each catering job translates into a little money in my pocket, so I'm not complaining! I sold over $6000 in catering today alone! They are all jobs that I will do between tomorrow and mid-December, but wow! That's a lot for a little one-man catering operation!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Tracking 'em down!

Last week I told you about the online reunion that I had with a guy that I went to grade school with. After that, I figured I'd try to take it a step further and it became my quest to find another old friend. This quest seems a lot more important.

The target's name is Cathy. She was my girlfriend throughout high school and into my first years of college. We went to different high schools, and we met at a church retreat. I thought she was the coolest thing alive, the first time that I saw her. She was about 14 or 15 years old, she looked a lot like Molly Ringwald, and she smoked! I thought that was awesome, especially since I was already a smoker and not many of my other friends would even think about puffing a cigarette (or a cancer-stick, as we so aptly called it). But here was this beautiful girl, standing outside the church and just smoking away. I knew it was destiny!

We did the teenage romance thing for years- we talked on the phone for hours each day, we wrote each other notes, we recorded musical cassette tapes for each other-- our songs! I taught her how to drive the VolksWagon that her parents bought her for her 16th birthday. I was as close to her family as I was to my own. We would take vacations to Bradenton, Florida to visit her grandparents; she'd join me and my family on our annual pilgrimage to Hilton Head every year. We were the "It" couple at our schools- we were practically married. And when it was prom time, we really blew it out! Since we attended different schools, we got to go to 2 proms each year (hers and mine)! After the Homecoming Dance our Senior year, we went to the bar on the top floor of the Peachtree Plaza and ordered drinks. We were dressed like young (very young) business people, having just come from the big dance. No one batted an eye as she ordered a frozen strawberry daquiri and I had a rum and coke. We were babies, but they served us! It was my first drink in a bar, and I shared that with my Cathy. We tested it one other time-- we were going to the Simon and Garfunkle concert (I'm realy dating myself now!) and we stopped at a pizza spot across the street. We ordered a pitcher of beer and we got it! We were only 16, but the drinking age back then was 18 (hard to believe, huh?).

Anyway, after graduation, I moved to Athens and Cathy stayed behind in Atlanta. We still talked everyday and whe'd mail me the greatest letters. She wanted to get married-- I wasn't ready yet. I knew I was gay, but it didn't detract from the feelings that I had for her. I couldn't repeat the history of my parents and go into a marriage that I knew would eventually fail. We parted ways, and within a few months she was married to someone else. She really wanted to be married!

And that's the last I ever heard of, or from, Cathy. We never spoke again after she was married. It seems bizarre to me that we could be that close for so many years, and then one day it was over and there was no looking back.

I decided this week that I wanted to find her and I started searching. I went to the internet and posted messages on boards that I had a feeling she could be involved with. Believe it or not, I struck gold! I still haven't found Cathy, but I did get a nice email from her little brother, John, yesterday. I learned that she has two daughters, ages 14 and 4. She's a "stay-at-home" Mom and makes a good living selling children's clothes on Ebay. I forgot to ask John, but I feel that she is still married to the same guy. John said that he would pass my contact info to her and hopefully she will get in touch with me. I don't know if we'd have anything in common these days- she settled down a couple of decades ago, and I'm still very much unsettled!

I would like to see her, or at least get to talk to her. I've thought about her often for the past 20 years- always with regret and the question of "what if?". What if I had faked it a couple more years? Maybe we would've been married, maybe we would've had kids together. The marriage would've been doomed from the start, but I could've had a son, or a daughter. I loved her, and she loved me- maybe we could've worked through everything else. Who knows? For now, all that I can do is wait. She has my email address now; she knows how to contact me if she wants to.

God, I hope that she want to.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Evolution of Keisha

Arts & Ale, 2004: "Come on Over" outfit

Arts and Ale, 2004: "Midnight Train to Georgia"

P.A.L.S Benefit, 2005: "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend"

P.A.L.S. Benefit 2005: "Dirrty"

Come on Over!

The song that I've selected to be played on the Blog is "Come on Over" by Christina Aguilera. This was the song that I used for my first drag performance, in Fall 2005. They were having a big Fall Festival in East Point, (Arts & Ale), and I was asked to perform, for some reason! Actually, I was asked the year before, but I backed out at the last minute. I guess it's always been a dream to be in a drag show, but I was afraid that I'd be terrible and the dream would turn into an embarassment/humiliation event. I didn't want to take a chance- hell I was in my late 30's. I should be grown up by now and not experimenting with dressing up as a female!

As the showdate got closer and closer, my outfit began to take shape. I had borrowed a pair of tight jeans from a waitress (her name was Lay) at the Main Street Bar & Grill. I was talking to her about what I could wear for the show and the next thing I knew, we were in the women's room and she was taking off these cool jeans and asking me to try them on. During the fitting session, the bartender, Cat, came into the restroom and asked what was going on. We explained the situation and then Cat suggested that we would probably wear the same bra size. She took her bra off and had me try it on. It was a cool bra-- a waterbra that had built in padding. Both the bra and the jeans fit, so it was decided that I'd come back the next day to pick them up. In the meantime, my friend Erin gave me a bag of clothes, including a black sequined, sleeveless too. Bruce, my sister in crime, offered a blonde wig. It was all coming together, and I knew I couldn't back out. The only problem was a drag name. I tossed around a few names in my head, and then Beverly suggested Keisha Lorraine. It was perfect. Armed with a name, some music and a flawless outfit, Keisha was ready for her premiere performance.

The night of the show I realized that I had forgotten two very improtant things-- I didn't have any makeup or shoes. It turned out ok, though. Someone slapped a face on me that night. I don't remember who did it, but it got done thank God! Since I was wearing jeans and doing a Christina Aguilera song, it'd be ok to wear the black Converse hi-tops that I'd worn to the dressing room. It worked ok.

Just before it was my turn to take the stage, I realized that I wasn't even nervous. I guess that once you get the costume on, you kind of become a different person. I was wearing a mask and felt like no one could see me. If my part of the show was a failure, I could blame it on Keisha and take no blame for it!

But I wasn't a failure. In fact, I was pretty good, if I can say so myself without sounding like a diva! The audience was hooting and hollering, and handing me dollar bills left and right. I felt like a star; I felt worthy; I felt that I had won a life-long challenge at last. I did dance steps that I never could've done as Brian. Keisha was a whole other person and she could say or do anything that she wanted. It was an incredibly freeing experience for me and I don't regret it at all!

I thought that this would be a one time thing. I figured that Keisha would be born and would die on the very same night. Not true. Shortly afterwards, I performed a dramatic reading from "Steel Magnolias" in drag, at a Memorial service (bad idea). Later, Keisha did a drag play at Jesters Cafe entitled "Lesbians from Outer Space" (kind of another flop). Then came the PALS benefit 2005, the Fall Festival 2005 and another PALS benefit last June, 2006. I feel like I made some improvement with each show. I'm no longer scared or embarrassed to do what feels right. I don't think I'm making a fool of myself. And if I am, so what? Every show is for a good cause and we raise thousands of dollars for charity each time that we perform. Nothing wrong with that! Plus we have a hell of a time in the dressing room backstage! Jello shooters, anyone?

Thanks for joining me on another walk down Memory Lane!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Unusual Proposal

Congrats to my friends Susie and Doug! After dating for nearly 200 years, they are finally engaged! Susie has been a single mom to her pups Gilligan and Brinkley for years. Her dogs are everything to her. For the proposal, Doug tied the ring to Gilligan's collar, and the big question was tied to Brinkley's collar, and then told Susie to call the dogs. The dogs ran into the room when Susie called them and she got the message from one dog "Will you marry me?", followed by a ring from the other dog. Of course, she said yes. Congrats, Doug and Susie. I wish you years of happiness!

Gina Van Dyke, the Artist

I grew up on Lamp Post Court in Decatur, Georgia. We lived at the end of a cul-de-sac, between the Mogans and the Van Dykes. The Mogans had three boys, pretty much the same ages as my brothers and me. They were our closest friends in those days, although they were always a pretty strange family. I'll have to tell you more about the Mogans later- they deserve space to themselves! In this entry, I want to tell you about the Van Dykes. Phillip and Gina Van Dyke were an older couple. They had 6 children, and they were all a good bit older than me. By the time I was 8 years old, all of their children had moved away from home and Gina found herself alone much of the time. She would turn to her art to keep her busy. She was an incredible artist, too!

One day I was in the yard playing and Ms. Van Dyke spotted me. She asked if I wanted to come in for a cookie and of course I did! Once inside, she decided to show me her artwork. We went down to the basement where she had a gallery of all of her work. I was so impressed. The people in her paintings were so life-like and realistic. There were portraits of her children and grandchildren- I had to look closely to verify that they weren't photos because they were that good! She asked if I'd like to have my portrait done some time. I told her that it sounded like fun. She said that I'd have to check with my Mom, because it would be a long process and committment. I ran home and asked Mom and she said that it would be fine. Cool! I was going to be a model!!!

I immediatley went to my closet to look for a good modeling outfit for my first job. I selected a light blue silk shirt with clouds on it. I loved that shirt and thought it would be perfect for my first modeling job. After breakfast the next morning, I ran next door and Mrs. Van Dyke was waiting for me. I was a little disappointed that she wasn't wearing a beret and holding a paintboard in one hand and standing next to an easel. Instead, she was sitting at the breakfast table with a sketch pad and a charcoal pencil. Intstead of a beret, she wore her long gray hair up in a tight bun. She said that she wanted to start off by doing sketches, and when she had them down pat, she'd start the portrait in oil paint. I asked her how she would like me to pose. I had practiced a pose in the bathroom mirror the night before-- a backwards glance over my left shoulder, kind of a come-hither look that I'd seen on a Farrah Fawcett poster. I showed the pose to Mrs. Van Dyke and she said she'd like it better if I'd just sit in a chair and face her. I thought that sounded pretty boring, but she was the artist so she knew best. Maybe she didn't think it was appropriate for an 8 year old boy to pose that way, but I thought it would be perfect! I even thought about unbuttoning my silk shirt enough so that I could slide it down over one shoulder and then make a pouty face for the portrait. I had lots of ideas in my head of how I wanted my first portrait to look, but she insisted on me sitting in a chair and looking forward.

I sat there as still as I could as she began to draw on her pad. I expected her to say things like: "Make love to the camera" or some other corney line that I'd heard photographers say to the models during photo shoots. Instead, she said things like: "What grade will you be going into this Fall?", or "Your father's rosebushes are looking so nice this year". This wasn't how I had imagined modeling to be at all.

By the end of the day, she had finished drawing my eyes. I was beginning to wish that I had found a younger painter to do my first portrait. She was old and slow! But, she had captured my eyes! When I looked at her sketch pad, I saw my eyes looking back! She was right when she warned me that this would be a long process.

I sat for her just about every day for the rest of the Summer. We'd take breaks and have hot tea, or she'd play her piano for me. Sometimes I got to play with her cat, Smokey, when I wasn't busy modeling. We'd talk while she drew and we were becoming close friends. By the end of the Summer, she had finished several pencil drawings of me and she said that we were ready to move on to the painting (at last!). She got a good start on the painting, but then school started and the holidays began and we were too busy to get together every day. It was the next Summer before we could resume the painting. By then, I had gotten braces on my teeth and my hair was longer, so she had to re-do some of the work that she'd previously done. She couldn't get together with me every day as she had the previous year, because she was busy taking care of one of her grandbabies, but she did take the time to work on my portrait with me a couple of times a week during that Summer.

I had noticed another painting that she was working on - it was of an African Tribal woman holding a pot. My first thought was "Why did she get to hold a pot? I was told just to sit still and look forward". My second thought was "Who is this African woman? Is she sneaking her in here on my days off and working on her portrait instead of mine?". The truth was that Mrs. Van Dyke was painting an image that was in her mind, there were no other models. But I was a little jealous that the African woman's painting seemed to be progressing faster than mine.

The Summer ended and my portrait wasn't complete yet. I looked forward to the next Summer when we could buckle down and get it done. Unfortunately, nothing happened the next Summer. Mrs. Van Dyke had some kind of illness that caused her to go blind in one eye. She had to wear a patch over her eye and couldn't draw or paint. I would still visit her often and she introduced me to her poetry. She had those books that were full of blank pages and in the books were her poems. I didn't understand most of them, but she'd read them to me while I sipped her hot tea and played with Smokey. I still remember one of her poems:

People walk their dogs,
So they can defecate in other people's yards

I'm sure she had some great poems in those books, but that two-liner stands out in my memory.

I think that she enjoyed my company as much as I enjoyed hers. While my brothers were out playing- getting broken bones and skinned knees, I was sitting in an air conditioned house drinking hot tea with my friend, the artist.

The next Summer, my parents put the house up for sale. We were building a new house in Stone Mountain, and Mrs. Van Dyke knew that it was now or never. We really buckled down and worked on the portrait. It had been four years since we had began it, and I had grown and changed a lot. My braces were now off and my teeth and face were totally different from when we had begun the painting. She painted and painted, even though she was half blind. Unfortunately, we didn't finish it before I moved. It was pretty close to being finished and it looked pretty good though.

The next time that I saw Mrs. Van Dyke was a couple of years later, and she was in a casket. As I looked at her, I wondered if she had worked on the painting after I moved away. Was she ever able to put the finishing touches on it, or did her lack of a live model or her blindness prevent her from finishing it? I wonder if that portrait was ever hung in her gallery, amongst her family and the African woman with the pot.

What a cool lady- a real artist! I'm so glad that I knew her. Good night Mrs. Van Dyke, wherever you are!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Internet Friends

Someone on the Vent brought up the name "Jinxie" today. I don't really know why her name was brought into the conversation, but it was. Jinxie is a friend of mine. We used to sit up late at night, talking and talking and talking (online). We shared a love for trivia, we loved the same movies and TV shows. She hosted a message board that I loved, and on the message board was a chat box, where she hosted a trivia game each week. Usually it was just me and Beverly playing along with Jinxie, but sometimes one or two others would join in. I remember one time when I asked the question "what number cannot be represented in Roman numerals?". Jinxie replied with "I'm not Roman, how could I know that?!?" (the answer was 0). I enjoyed our late night chats, but never got the chance to meet her. One day, her message board was taken down and I never heard from her again. I always wonder why? Why did she have to delete her board? If she liked me too, why didn't she contact me after the board was no longer around? She just kind of came into my life quickly and then vanished just as quickly. I hate that.

I have another internet friend named "Doggy Bruno". His real name is Brian. He lives in Minneapolis, with his aged dog, Bruno. We have probably been emailing each other for about 10 years. We speak once or twice a week. Mostly about our jobs, our dogs, or boyfriends, etc. He's a hairdresser and a party boy! I've always enjoyed our conversations and feel like I know him, yet we've never met. We've shared lots of emails and stories, but we could pass each other on the street and not even recognize each other, probably.

How weird is this new world of technology that we're living in? How is it that we can have such deep feelings for people that we've never met face to face? Maybe things will turn around and someday I will get the chance to meet Jinxie and Doggy Bruno.

In Memory of Jon Marc Rutherford

I got a sweet email from Jon Marc's baby sister this week and she asked me to spread the word that there is a memorial website for people wishing to share memories of her brother, Jon Marc. If you have any memories that you'd like to share, please go to http://rememberingjonmarc.com/ to post them. Thanks!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


My buddy EP Graves posted a Blog about Freddy Mercury today (I'm still not sure if it's spelled "Freddie" or "Freddy"- I'll just call him Fred for now). I've been thinking about the songs that he produced and the memories that I have attached to each of the songs. Some were from my high school years- "We are the Champions" was played at every football game! Some were from my elementary school days~ "Another One Bites the Dust" and invoke memories of the Murdered and Missing Children spree that scarred most of the Atlanta kids in my age bracket to death. When I hear "Bohemian Rhapsody", "Fat Bottomed Girls" and "Bicycle", I'm reminded of Russell Hall dormitory at UGA in 1984- there were probably 1000 guys living in the dorm and all of us had that album. You'd hear these Queen songs coming from most of the rooms as you walked through the hallways of the dorm. In those days there was no such thing as CDs, so more than likely the sounds were coming from actual record players or cassettes (possibly even 8 tracks!).

Fred became an icon to the gay male community. They all started dressing like him- growing thick mustaches, wearing their shirts mostly unbuttoned to reveal a hairy chest, opting to not wear underwear in hopes that other gay men would notice the buldge. He became what everyone pictures as the stereotypical gay man... the fantasy guy that a lot of us that were kids in those days deemed the ideal and began to search for when we grew up and started searching for partners, or husband material.

Soon after his death, Fred was replaced with the likes of Boy George, Madonna and Cyndi Lauper-- the girls (and some of the guys!) started dressing like them and Fred was soon forgotten- although once in a while I'll spot a 50 or 60 year old guy wearing the Fred Mercury costume and sporting the Fred Mercury look and not even realizing that the times have changed. They are like living time capsules- a tribute to the late Fred.
Thanks again for the memories, EP Graves!

What a Surprise!

I'm going through the refinance process. The last time I refinanced was in 2001, and at the time I had really good credit. Since then, I've gone through 2 layoffs and at times I didn't pay my bills in a timely manner. I figured that my credit rating would be in the dumps because of this, so I never attempted to apply for credit anywhere. I was scared to see my credit report- I guess it's the Scarlett O'Hara point of view- if I don't see it, it's not real. Well, reality slapped me in the face today. I was approved for the loan, even though my suspicions were correct- my credit rating sucks! But, the good news is that all of the companies that are showing bad scores stem from an identity theft that happened in 2000.

In 2000, someone that I don't know had checks printed with my name and a former address. The checks were drawn on a First Union bank account. I've never had any dealings with First Union, and the address on the checks was at least 2 years old. Over 50 checks were written on this fradulant account, and it took me months to straighten it out. I received a notorized letter from First Union, stating that the checks in question were not mine and that I did not have an account with First Union. I also got a notorized affadavit from the bank to back up the letter. I went to the police to file a report, but they wouldn't file one since nothing was actually stolen from me. Anyway, most of it was cleared up, except for three companies that went as far as tracing me down and putting the bad credit ratings on my credit report. Luckily, I keep my paperwork and I read through it all today- I have copies of the checks- not my handwritting. The checks have a driver's license number written on them- not mine. One of them even has a social security number written on it that traces back to a guy that lived in Social Circle, GA at the time. I remember calling him and finding out that he was a victim of identity theft, too.

Anyway, I guess I need to contact the credit agencies and send them all of the documentation that I have and dispute the ratings. That being done, my credit report will finally be something I won't be disgraced by. Suprisingly, my mortgage companies and auto financing companies gave me a great rating even after they've threatend to repo or foreclose on me in the past. They still rated me with A1 credit! That was a shock. Worse case scenario, if I'm not able to clear these errors, they will fall off of my report in less than a year anyway. Wish me luck!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Caught in a Hotel Room, with a Minor!!!!

No big scandal, it's just me and my nephew, Jaime, packing our suitcases on the last night of the family vacation.

Somebody needs to call Sally Struthers- at least one of these guys in the pic needs her to share some food!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

As BB Turns....

Well, my wish came true last week on Big Brother 7 Allstars-- Marcellas was evicted. Hope his butt didn't hurt too badly as the door slammed on it on his way out! He's probably a delightful guy in real life, but on the show he came off as a pompous ass with a "better than thou" attitude. Glad he's gone and life in the big Brother house can move on.

That same night, Chicken George won the Head of Household competition and had to nominate 2 houseguest for eviction on the spot. In BB history, the HOH has been given a couple of days to strategize their nominations. Not so this week- it's a double elimination week and someone will be evicted tonight and again on Thursday.

Chicken George didn't have a chance to think for very long and he nominated James and Erika. I'm rooting for James to win this time. Mostly because he's from Atlanta, and also because he's hot and he often goes around the house shirtless. I also agree with him that his alliance with the Season 6 alumni was faltering and he needed to jump ship before he became a victim.

Erika-- hmmm, what can I say. I don't dislike her, but I often forget that she's even part of the game. She seems nice and I've never seen her argue or cause a problem in the house. I wouldn't be sad to see her go, though. She doesn't add anything to the show, besides being a pretty woman.

Time will only tell who is evicted. In less than two hours, James or Erika will do the walk of shame to the couch to be interviewed by Julie Chen on the way out of the BB house. Let's keep our fingers crossed that Erika will be the one to go.

Happy 45th Anniversary!

Yesterday would've been a big day in my parents life, if fate hadn't stepped in a few years back and showed it's ugly face! My parents were married on August 19th, 1961. The marriage lasted 25 years- the divorce was finalized in 1986, and Dad died a few years later in 1990. I wouldn't call the marriage a failure- they produced 3 fine sons (very fine, in my humble opinion!) and 2 incredible grandchildren (although Dad never got meet his granddaughter Ashley, and only knew his grandson Jaime as an infant). Dad went to his grave still in love with Mom, and she's still devoted to him after all of this time. Happy sapphire anniversary, Mom and Dad!

Weekend Wrap Up

What a weekend! Could I have crammed any more activitiy into a 48 hour time period if I tried? It started of with a going away party for my friends Susan and Michael Walsh. Michael is a General in the Army and he is being deployed to Iraq. While he is away, Susan moved to Virginia to be closer to her sons that are attending college there. She will be teaching the 6th grade when school begins in a couple of weeks.

The party was held in the home of Mark and Charlotte Cagle. I can't believe that a home of this grandeur is anywhere in this city- much less, only a couple of miles from my house! I've been admiring this house ever since it was first built a couple of years ago. I drive by it every day and always wish I could get inside to look around. Little did I know that my friends lived in that house and I could've gone to visit anytime over the past couple of years.

Anyway, the going away party was decorated with a patriotic theme, in Michael and Susan's honor. Everything was decorated in red, white and blue. Even the front porch was festooned with patriotic banners and streamers. The neighbors must've thought we were a little late in celebrating July 4th! It was a great mix of friends and we all got to tell the Walshes goodbye and relive some memories with them. It will be sad to see them go, but hopefully we'll see them again soon.

Last night was the "Butterflies and Biscuits" baby shower that I catered. It was a supper for 75 people. I was truly worried about how it would turn out, since I was cooking all of the food in the small kitchen of the Providence Club House in Mabelton, GA. Luckily my friend, Wayne, came to the shower with me and helped me transport all of the food, because it never would've fit into my little car, and our delivery van was already reserved for another purpose. So, Wayne & I carried all of the food into the club house and then he left me alone in the little kitchen- staring wild-eyed at the array of food that needed to be cooked or heated. The party was set to begin at 5pm. However, at 4:45pm, I was still in my shorts and T-shirt- covered in flour and grease (from the fried chicken); my car was still parked in front of the clubhouse with the trunk open. I had 15 minutes to move my car, change clothes and stock the buffet table. My body just went into automatic pilot and by 5pm everything was ready for the guests to arrive; and I was dressed in my black chef coat and black slacks. For the next 3 hours, everything went like clockwork. I served:

* Fieldgreen Spring Mix Salad with Mandarin oranges and Granny Smith apple slices, topped with cashews and pecans and served with creamy Poppyseed dressing
* Fried Green Tomatoes, with cashew jalapeno relish and goat cheese
* Our award-winning Creamy Dreamy Grits- made with white cheddar and cream cheese
* Southern Potato Salad with Sweet Vidalia onions
* Buttermilk Fried chicken
* Our signature Biscuits- 9 dozen! All of varying sizes-- some huge, and some bite-sized.
* Veggie Strata- a quiche made with spinach, mushrooms, sun-dried tomoatoes and mozzarella cheese
* Southern Strata- another quiche made with oven-roasted potatoes, turkey bacon, collard greens, carmalized onions and cheddar cheese

I don't want to give the wrong impression- I didn't do this all on my own. I have a wonderful prep team that got everything ready for me and all I had to do was pop it in the oven to cook it, or re-heat it. Still, no easy task to cook/heat that much food in a small home-style oven. But I pulled it off- none of the dishes on the buffet table ever came close to being empty- I constantly restocked everything throughout the party. The party hosts and guest all raved about the food. Most of them said that they'd never been to the Flying Biscuit before, but they plan on visiting soon to taste the rest of the menu. Overall, it was a successful party, both from a catering perspective, but a marketing perspective too.
Like I said before, I had my doubts and I spent a few sleepless nights wondering how in the hell I could pull this off, and what was I thinking when I accepted this job? I got a lot of experience and learned a lot about what to do, or not do, on future jobs. This was my first actual catering job- all of my others have been of the "drop it off and run" variety. This time I actually stayed, served, bussed tables, washed dishes, cleaned up afterwards and made sure that the party was a success from start to finish.

Now that the Baby Shower is over and done with I was able to take a day to myself for a change. I went to church this morning and then to brunch at Malone's afterwards. Then to Petsmart for some much needed supplies. After that, the day was mine to do (or not do) what I pleased. I planned on cutting the grass today, but God sent me a message (in the form of a huge thuderstorm), that I should just watch TV and relax for a change. Hey, when God talks, I listen. Now it's time to go lay on the couch with a beer in one hand, a remote control in the other and some good old movies playing in the background. Ahhhhh!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Team Building

It's official- I'm now considered part of the Raving Brands Management Team! Exhale, at last! Raving Brands is the company that purchased the Biscuit- I've been on pins and needles for a couple of months now, because I've never met anyone from the parent company, and I haven't really been acknowledged as being a manager. But today it finally happened. I was invited to the Raving Brands Senior Managers Get-Together on September 6th. They are having an "Amazing Race" party at Lake Lanier and all of the corporate staff will take place in a scavenger hunt-- we'll all be on pontoon boats and each team will go from island to island looking for certain items. After the hunt, we all go to Dave & Busters for dinner. It sounds like fun, and I'm so glad that I was finally included! This event will give me the chance to get up close and personal with the people that run the marketing and catering depts for the national chains. I can make contacts that will hopefully escalate me to a higher position within the company. That's my hope anyway. It may just turn out to be a few hours on a pontoon boat and a free dinner, but at least I can dream, huh?

Thursday, August 17, 2006


I found a friend! I started out by searching for people that I graduated high school with. I found a guy that was in my same class (Mike). I asked him for his last name and he responded with the last name Estes. I couldn't draw any high school memories of a guy named Mike Estes, but I did remember a guy from 1st grade with the same name. I took a chance and asked Mike if he went to Chapel Hill Elementary School in Dekalb County. It turns out that he did. The guy I've been chatting with all week turns out to be a kid that I knew when I was about 7 years old. My mother was the real estate agent that sold his house when his family moved to Lilburn. I have memories of hanging out at his house and I particularly remember that he had a pool table in the basement, and the pool room had grasscloth/bamboo wall paper. I asked if that was true and he responded that he did have a grass-clothed pool room in the basement. How cool that I happened to run into a childhood friend after 33 years? How weird that we went to high school together and never made the connection that we were friends when we were kids? I remember thinking that he was very attractive when I was a kid-- 33 years later I see his picture on MySpace and he's still hot! He's gay and single, so maybe we'll meet again someday. For the time being, I feel like I'm playing head games with him- I remember lots about him as a kid, and he has no memory of me. He was my childhood crush and I found him by accident on MySpace.com. How cool is that?
What's next?? Maybe I'll be able to find Billy Dale, or Drew Fields- my other childhood crushes! The internet is a wonderful thing, huh?

Big Brother 7- All Stars

Most of probably already know that I am a Reality TV addict. I don't know why I enjoy this venue so much. I guess it's one of those guilty pleasures that we're supposed to be ashamed to admit (like my closeted desire to hear Barry Manilow singing "Copa Cabana"). Out of all of the Reality TV shows out there, Big Brother is my favorite. I've watched every episode for the past 7 seasons. Not an easy thing to do, because the first year it aired every night. In the years to follow, you really had to pay attention because it might be scheduled to air on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8pm- but Julie Chen (the hostess) would always announce at the end of the show that the next airing would be at 9pm on Thursday, or 1am on Tuesday, etc. I don't know why they could never get locked into a time slot. But at least this year has been consistent. It airs on CBS on Tuesdays, Thursday and Sundays at 8pm.

This year they brought back houseguests from previous years to compete. I like that concept- I already know all of the players and their strategies, but it's cool to see them inter-acting with each other for the first time. My favorite houseguest is Janelle. She won me over last season, and this year she's the bomb! She seems to win just about every competition. Even the one competition that she lost was replayed the following week and crowned her as the winner (there were technical difficulties, so they had to replay the game). She's playing and winning all of the games, but not making smart decisions, in my opinion. She needs to nominate and evict the members of Chill Town (Mike and Will). They have made it obvious that they would evict her if given the chance. Yet, whenever she has to nominate someone, she struggles over it and then ends up nominating some obscure houseguest that I had even forgotten was on the show. Get rid of Will! He won Season 2- he's the only houseguest this season that ever won the big prize-- he should be the number one enemy and first choice for nomination. Yet, here we are in week 7 and no one has nominated Will- even after he gathered everyone together and admitted that he hated every one of them, and he wanted to go home. They still didn't evict him.

Anyway, it's been fun this year- we're about half way through it and I've seen some of my favorites leave already- Kaysar and Jase. Tonight, Marcelles is on the chopping block- although he's the only gay houseguest and I should be routing for him, I've wanted him gone since day one. Hopefully they'll send him packing tonight.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A Miracle- I Hope!

Shelby is miserable. She's a Golden Retriver mix, and Summers have always been uncomfortable for her since she has a very full coat and she gets so hot. A couple of years ago, we had a bad infestation of fleas and she developed an allergy to the flea bites. I've taken her to vets and they always give her a Cortozoan shot and a flea treatment and say that it should help. It doesn't. I have tried giving her weekly flea treatments, and weekly baths. But the next day she still sits here scratching. I've set off flea bombs in the house and washed her bedding and treated the yard, but she still scratches. She rolls on the carpet a lot- so much that she has rubbed most of the fur off of her lower body.
I heard an ad on the radio for a product called "Dynovite". It's supposed to cure all of her symptoms. I ordered it and she's been on it for almost two weeks. The Dynovite people say that she should be in great shape within 90 days. We'll see. I hope that this is miracle drug and can do for her what the vets don't seem to be able to do.
The problem is that she doesn't like the taste of the food supplement. So, I spend my nights preparing things to disguise the taste for breakfast the following morning. I've been preparing chicken broth, raw eggs, etc each night to mix in with her morning meals. She cleans her bowl these days!
I'll keep you posted as soon as the supplements start to take effect. Hopefully it'll be soon!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Another Vacation Picture

This one is of me and my brother, Joel, on the Sky Lift in Gatlinburg last week. This was the most fun day of the whole vacation. The rest of the week, we spent driving around and checking into and out of hotels. We were in Gatlinburg for 2 days, and this picture was taken on the last day. We slept in a little later than usual, and then spent the day walking around Gatlinburg- shopping, eating, etc.

I was able to get a jump on my Christmas shopping- in one store, Ashley saw a figurine that she loved. There is a collection called Painted Ponies and Ashley told me that she collects them. I asked how many she had, and she said "just one so far". Well, I snuck back into the store later that day and bought her the Christmas 2005 edition. I can't wait to give it to her this Christmas, and hopefully add to the collection each birthday and Christmas for years to come.

On Tour at JD's

I found this picture on the Jack Daniel's website- it's my group from the Distillery Tour! Ashely is in the front row (wearing a purple shirt), Jim is behind her (wearing green), Jaime is next to Jim, Mom is in the front row (wearing white), and Joel and I are on the far right.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Good Ole Boys!

I've seen those Old Time Photo shops since I was a kid and I always wanted to have my picture taken. I finally got the chance last week in Gatlinburg, TN. While there, I found that they had at least one Old Time Photo shop on each block. Apparently (in the eyes of the shop owners), the past consisted of two things- the maffia and the Civil War. I wanted an old-timey photo of me with my brothers, but all they offered was props that made us look like mafia bank robbers, or Civil War army guys. After visiting about 8 different Old Time Photo shops in hopes of a less controversial theme, I finally gave in and got our picture taken with a Southern theme. God Bless the South!!!
P.S. You can click on the picture to see a larger version.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Slave to the Biscuit

If you're even thinking about taking a vacation from work, please take my advice-- don't do it! Sure it's nice to get away every now and then, but the problem is that you have to come home. Actually, the problem is that you have to return to work!
I took 4 days off last week and got to spend some quality time with my family. We had a great time and I'm glad that I went. I returned to work today and you'll think that I'm exagerating this when I tell you, but it's the truth: I clocked in at 5:45am this morning-- I clocked out at 10:30pm! Almost 17 hours on the job (in 1 day!), and I'm still not caught up yet. I was in the restaurant more than an hour before we opened and a half hour past closing time.
I'll be able to take some time off later this week, but for now I'm one tired guy and I wonder if the vacation was worth it. Of course it was, and I'd do it again- but paybacks are hell!

Friday, August 04, 2006

The Adventure Continues...

We left Huntsville Tuesday morning and took the short drive to Lynchberg, TN- to visit the Jack Daniels Distillary. It was a great tour, although it was an extrememly long walking tour, and not exactly what the doctor ordered for Mom, who is still recovering. But she made it and we had a good time.
A few hours later we found ourselves in Chattanooga. We didn't do much in Chattanooga, besides eating and sleeping. The next morning we left for Pigeon Forge! Dollywood was a trip-- lots of fun rides and good food. I think the theme of every ride is "You're Going to Get Wet!". And we did. Luckily we were able to rent a motorized scooter for Mom, so the day was a little easier for her, and us.
Today I'm writting from the Rivers Edge Mountain Lodge, in Gatlinburg, TN. My shoes are still wet from yesterday's adventure. I am writting on what must be the oldest, slowest computer known to man! Please forgive the spelling errors on this blog- it's hard to get a word typed, much less corrected! I'm not sure what we're doing today- probably just shopping, etc. We're having supper at the Dixie Stampede tonight-- the dinner is accompanied by a horse show... Ashley will love it! We hit the road tomorrow morning and will hopefully be home sometime in he early afternoon. I'm ready to get back to my own bed! And I miss my puppies!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Hello, From Huntsville

The tour of the Space Museum was really cool. We got to see an IMAX movie while there, which was awesome. I've never seen one before, and I was very impressed! We're staying at a very nice Holiday Inn in Huntsville- extrememly nice rooms.
We're leaving Huntsville in about an hour and heading to Lynchburg, Tennessee-- to visit the Jack Daniel's distillary! It's only about 1 hour away from here. After the tour, we'll had towards Gatlinburg.
I'll keep you posted!