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

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ode to Beverly...

I just found out last night that Beverly will not be returning from her visit to Washington. She has opted to spend the remainder of her days with her family. Her house is in the process of being sold; her dog, Cletus, is flying to Washington this week to be with her.

I have been crying uncontrollably for the past 24 hours. I feel so cheated and alone now. Beverly was my best friend. We kind of drifted apart over the past year... I got busy with work, and got involved with Michael. I stopped paying attention to the things that had been most important to me in the past. I never had a falling out with Beverly. We often disagreed and we fought often, but we always knew that we were there for each other and we still saw each other and reunited often.

If not for Beverly:

* my drag name would be Susan Stone (Beverly suggested "Keisha Lorraine" a few hours before my first show, and it stuck).

* I probably would've lost my house 5 years ago. After a couple of lay offs, my house was in foreclosure. Beverly came through with a loan and the rest is history. If it weren't for her generosity, I would've lost the house and God knows where I would've turned up.

* When Clara abandoned her new-born babies and I was faced with weeks of bottle-feeding a litter of hungry pups, Beverly stepped in and volunteered to cover the feeding shifts while I was at work. For 6 weeks we took turns feeding the babies every couple of hours. Most of the babies didn't survive, but King, Lady and Cletus made it. If not for Beverly's help, none of these dogs would be alive today.

I don't know where I would be today if it weren't for Beverly's support and encouragement. I find it hard to believe that I will not see her again. Please excuse me while I go cry some more..... I wish I was there for you, Bev.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

You Like Me... You Really Like Me!!!!

I found this award on my desk this morning and I felt very honored! Then I noticed the paperwork underneath-- it came from an engraving company and it was just a sample they made to show me their quality of work. I was a little disappointed to discover that it wasn't really an honor, just an advertisement. Of course, that didn't stop me from showing everyone-- coworkers and guests alike! I'm moving into my new office tomorrow and this plaque will be the first piece of decoration that I will hang on my wall! I even thought about hanging it from a very small nail, so that it would surely fall off of the wall every once in a while and I can make a big production about rehanging my award. The small nail theory would also work, because whenever it fell off the wall I'd have a reason to carry it around and show everyone again for a few minutes while in the process of rehanging it.

Find the Dog in This Picture...

OK, I guess it's time to cut the grass in the backyard! Last night I looked out and couldn't find Clara anywhere. Finally I saw her head sticking a little above the weeds! In all fairness, the whole backyard isn't this bad.. there's one section where I can't grow grass-- just weeds. After a few good rain storms, the weeds sprouted up enough and were higher than Clara!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Michelangelo's David returns to Italy ...

After a short visit to the United States , Michelangelo's David is returning to Italy .

His Proud Sponsors were:

Sunday, July 27, 2008

One Man's Junk...

I bought this floor lamp at a yard sale yesterday. You probably can't tell from this picture, but the "shade" is a light green color. The girl I bought it from said that she had a red cover for it as well, and will drop it by the Biscuit sometime this week.

I thought it was interesting and artistic. Michael thought it was an eyesore. I love it--- Michael hates it.

Friday, July 25, 2008

A Mind is a Terrible Thing...

I used to do some part-time work at a local store that sold antiques and home/garden decorations. I'm going to be very discreet here and not mention the store or the owner's name, but you will probably figure it out. I haven't worked there in several years, but somehow I got on their mailing list. I didn't sign up for it, and my first instinct is always to delete/ unsubscribe. But..... I get so much enjoyment from this newsletter each month! Apparently, the owner of the store is now an overly enthusiastic real estate agent. Hell, when I knew him he was only a slumlord! He's moved up a rung, I guess!

If I didn't know this person and I blindly received this newsletter, I would swear that the author was of Asian decent and that they used an inept translator to put this message together. I don't know why I'm picking on Asians-- I guess because it's written in a "Confucius Says..." style, or maybe I'm the only one that reads it that way.

I'm not trying to be overly critical-- it's just that I receive a newsletter from this guy once a month and each one is progressively worse than the one before. If I were interested in buying another home, this would be the last real estate agent that I would hire to help me. Real estate contracts are very technical and one word can change the entire legal meaning of the contract.

In the example below, this guy writes 4 paragraphs. I see a major grammar or spelling problem in each and every one of them. He even misspelled the first word of the message, and it's an easy one! Come on, man! This is your business- your livelihood! You have 4 paragraphs to "Wow" your customers... can't you at least bother to use spell check? I'm sure that someone has pointed out your lack of grammatical skills in the past!

Enjoy the newsletter below:


Its that time again for the xxxxx xxxx Lifestyles Newsletter. I hope that you are enjoying hearing from us and getting valuable info Real Estate, Interior Design and Lifestyles. If for reason you have recieved this e-mail by mistake or do not wish participate simply email me at xxxxxx@xx.com or please below.

I to enjoy hear back from you. So if you have questions or need on of my unique services I am here for you and all your friends. Please pass my name and phone number on to those that you feel would benifit for how I can help those you know.

Enjoy the rest dogs days of summer. Not sure why call it that my dog xxxxxx doesn't like the heat either.

Stay the best health and attitude it make a difference in your life. "

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Morningside Market

Delia and I did a cooking demo at the Morningside Market this morning. We brought along my buddy, Tiffany, to train her how to do these events. I'll be on vacation the first week of August, and Delia has several demos scheduled that week. She hasn't done a demo without me in about 5 years, so she's been a little nervous about pulling it off and getting a new assistant trained. Delia and I have been doing these demos for years, and we run like a well-oiled train! Tiffany did a great job today, and I'm sure that she'll make an excellent replacement for me during my absence.

After our demo, Delia spent some time selling and signing her cookbooks. I'm not sure how many we sold, but she had a pretty long line forming. Two of the ladies pictured here were very interesting. They were twins-- I would guess that they are around 65-70 years old. Their last name is Hilton, and they refer to themselves as the "Hilton Twins", not to be confused with Paris Hilton and her ilk! Nice ladies.

The Morningside Market is a very cool event. It's held every Saturday during the Summer, and there are about 40 farmers that participate each week. They sell mostly organic vegetables, but you can get organic eggs, cheap bouquets of flowers and other items there as well. I bought a bag of organic baby cucumbers. After the show, some of the farmers pitched in and gave each of us a bag full of produce. In my bag was several ears of corn, some multi-colored green beans (I guess that I should just call them beans, since they weren't all green!), a big garlic bulb with the stalk still attached (I've never seen it this way and I was amazed, for some reason!), a loaf of organic rosemary bread and some micro peppercress (what the F will I do with peppercress? I've never heard of it, but Michael says that it's a garnish). I got a bar of lavender soap also---- not sure how that fit in with the organic food market, but it smells nice and I'll use it!

I don't really get the fascination with organic products, but I do like the idea of an open-air neighborhood market. I like the idea of supporting local farmers, too. I wish we had something like this here in East Point. I'd support it every week. There's just something about meeting the person that you're buying the produce from... and you feel healthier and happier just carrying a sack full of vegetables and a bouquet of flowers around with you!

It was a fun day, and I'll definitely return to the market soon. BTW, there is also a green market event held at Piedmont Park each Saturday in the Summer-- we've done a few demos there and we're slated to do another one in September. I'll keep you posted-- you'll want to come to one of these markets and get your spirits lifted!

We're a Little Bit Obsessive...

...ever since we first planted the garden, Michael and I have obsessed over it. Each day we notice which plants have bloomed, and which plants have lost their blooms. We point out that the garden spiders are getting bigger, as well as the goldfish. We've even had lengthy discussions on which fish are our favorites and which ones are getting the biggest. Each night we inspect the trellis vines and reroute them so that the vines fill in the gaps. We sit for hours and discuss how magical the hummingbirds and dragonflies are to us. We were mesmerized yesterday when we saw a monarch butterfly feeding off of the window box flowers. We share a hatred for Japanese Beetles (doesn't everyone?)-- and flicking them off of the plants is a daily ritual. Another ritual is the feeding of the fish-- we do it every night at 8pm. That seems to be the magical time that the fish are hungry and willing to form the feeding frenzy that we most admire! Dead-heading the flowers is pretty much my job-- and it's done on a daily basis. I save the dead heads and put them in the house-- I dry them and pull out all of the seeds. Next Spring we'll spread the seeds and hopefully have a lot of free flowers in our gardens!

Having this garden, and maintaining it has become more than just a hobby-- it is our way of life! I don't know what we're going to do in the Winter when all of the plants are gone! I really enjoying having this oasis to come home to every day. Even on a bad day, I come home and see the flowers and the fish and the world all seems right again. Seldom does a day go by that we don't take pictures-- these are some of the ones that Michael took this week:

I Hope My Arm Doesn't Get Sore...

...from patting myself on the back! But sometimes it does your ego some good to brag on yourself!

Any of my regular readers can tell you how much I fretted over catering sales near the end of last year. My goal for 2007 was $140,000. It came down to the wire, but in the last couple of weeks of last year, I met and beat that goal.

Now it's July of 2008. I did some number-crunching today and realized that I've already passed last year's goal-- by June I had already sold/delivered over $140,000 worth of eggs, bacon, etc! My goal was to double the sales each year. In 2006 I did about $70k.... 2007 I did $140k. My goal this year is $280k.... I thought it was a little unrealistic a few months ago-- but I was over half way there on June 15th (the middle of the year)!

Of course I'll update you on sales/goals later in the year, but so far 2008 looks to be a very good year!

P.S. This has been a record breaking week in catering sales-- I passed the $8000 level for the first time!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Very Clever Boys!

I'd kill to have a 6 pack like the guy on the left!

A New Bloom!

I have a new bloom in the pond! This one appears to be from the same plant that bloomed a couple of weeks ago, but maybe I bought more than one water lilly plant that produces pale yellow flowers?

The only bad thing about water lillies is that their blooms don't last more than a couple of days. If you don't look every day, you might miss an incredible sight!

Nothing will ever compare to my first water lilly bloom, though. It was an incredible and tropical looking pink flower. It was the prettiest flower I've ever seen. The same plant is still alive and thriving, but it hasn't produced any flowers yet this season. Hopefully it will bloom soon-- I'd hate to miss it if it blooms when I'm out of town on vacation.

(The bloom from last year is pictured below)

All I Needed Was a Washer....

This tale sums up the tale of every home improvement project that I have ever begun.

It started about a year ago-- I had a drip in my kitchen faucet. After listening to the drip for a while, and being concerned about the amount of water I was wasting, I investigated and learned that the drip was coming from the hot water. I turned off the hot water in the kitchen and the problem was temporarily solved. I lived without hot water for a year, always intending to take care of it-- buy a new washer, call a plumber or something.

So, yesterday was my day off. I woke up early and thought of the one thing I wanted to take care of-- the drip. I thought it'd be simple-- a run to the hardware store for a washer. It wouldn't cost more than 50 cents and my year-long problem would be solved. I bought the washer and installed it, but the leak lived on.

Next I thought-- how about a new faucet? That would solve the problem. So I went to Lowe's-- and took a look. I spent over an hour in the faucet department trying to find a faucet that would work. Of course my sink isn't standard-- every kitchen sink in the world has hot/cold handles 8" apart.... I have the only sink in existence that has the knobs at 6" apart. There wasn't one faucet set at Lowe's that would fit my sink. So.. later in the day I had a brainstorm-- I bet the East Point Hardware Store might have a faucet that would fit a 1940's farmhouse sink like mine. I journeyed over the the hardware store and talked to a salesman that I had never seen before. He suggested that I buy a single handle faucet-- one with a baseplate that would cover the 2 extra holes where the hot/cold faucets were. I bought the single handled faucet and went home to install it. After trying unsuccessfully to disconnect the water pipes from the sink, I figured it would be easier to remove the sink, install the new faucet and reinstall the sink. Once I got the sink out of place and the old faucet removed, I realized that my sink only had 2 holes and the new faucet wouldn't work.

Now that the sink was removed, I opted to just go buy a new sink-- maybe then the bottom-of-the-line faucet that I bought would work. We headed to Lowe's and found the perfect sink-- a black porcelain double sink! We bought it, brought it home and started to install it. The new sink was wider than the old sink, so I had to get out my jigsaw and circular saw to make the hole big enough. I spent a couple of hours getting the hole just the right size--- that's when we realized that the new sink had a crack in it--- project over.

I took the sink back today and exchanged it for one without cracks and chips. When I got home, I installed the new faucet and put the sink in place. And it fit! However, now I had to connect an extra drain to the mickey mouse set-up that already existed in my cabinet under the sink. I didn't have all of the pieces I needed in the drain installation kit that I bought-- so I had to rig it. After a few hours of work, I came up with a plumbing concoction that looked like something you'd see in a Dr. Seuss illustration. I had to use masking tape to make all of the connections work, but it does work!

I'm not too worried about the shotty plumbing job I did, because I know that I will have to remove the sink in the very near future to replace the counter and the PVC pipes. That's on my list for next week. Well, that and a new backsplash... and possibly another new cabinet.

Until then, I am happy to report that I have a new sink that works, and once again I have hot water in the kitchen, and about a foot of new counterspace!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Boycott Begins...

My boycott of the East Point Package Store has begun. I've been a loyal and steady customer for over 8 years, but as of today I vow to not ever shop there again. I'm tired of being hit up for money every time I enter their parking lot. Lately there seems to be a line of people standing near the doorway-- each one of them has a sadder story (or a bigger tale) then the next. I'm sick of it. If the new store owners cared about their reputation, they would try to run these folks off, or call the police. Apparently they don't care and allow these people to beg from all of their customers. I'll pay a little extra and shop elsewhere from now on.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Just 3 Weeks 'Til Vacation!

Three weeks from now, Michael and I will be in Paradise! Although we are going with my whole family, we'll have the condo that I grew up in all to ourselves. The rest of the family will be in the larger unit down the hall. It's going to be a blast and I can hardly wait to show Michael the sites and re-live Hilton Head through his eyes!

Lola Lorraine-Bustamonte-Taylor-Johnson-Mobley

Keisha's sister, Lola, got married again yesterday. Lola is only 24, but this is her fourth wedding! She had 2 weddings just last year! She seems to enjoy the wedding part much more than she enjoys the marriage part. Who can blame her? She goes to lots of trouble to pull these things off, and the planning can be a lot of fun. And bless her heart, she still wears white to each of her weddings! I never knew that they made maternity wedding dresses, until the day I saw her waltz down the aisle last year when she was pregnant with little Odessa. Her water broke shortly after that ceremony. Within a month, Lola kicked Tommy out of the trailer and had a huge yard sale. That's where she met Larry Mobley and fell in love again. Larry got her a good job waitressing at the Waffle House and she loved it. Larry proposed to Lola right there behind the counter as she was scarfing down her discounted employee meal of hashbrowns (scattered, smothered, covered and topped). With Lola being a new employee, she didn't get to take any vacation time, and the tips were so good that she didn't even want to take a day off. She asked Larry if he would mind getting married right there in the Waffle House-- during their break. Larry agreed, figuring that he could save a fortune in wedding expenses.

I won't say that the wedding was thrown together quickly, but I received my E-Vite on Friday around 11pm announcing the marriage would be the following afternoon. I didn't know what to expect of a Waffle House wedding, but I must say that they really carried the theme out well. There wasn't an organist at the wedding. To quote Lola, "Who needs an organ when you got a jukebox full of Trisha Yearwood and Wynonna?". Larry's brother, Earl, was chosen to be responsible for getting the music started at the proper time. They gave him a handful of quarters and a list of songs to play (written on the back of an order pad sheet). I was a little surprised that Earl was trusted with this responsibility, and with a handful of quarters since he is still on parole for grand theft. He did a good job though, and even returned 50 cents afterwards. Just as the Judds began to sing "Love Can Build a Bridge", the ring bearer emerged from the little hallway where the restrooms are located. As he walked towards the bride and groom, I noticed that he wasn't carrying the traditional pillow containing the wedding rings-- he was carrying a plate containing a waffle- the rings were sticking out of the middle. Very imaginative! The rest of the ceremony was pretty normal-- well as normal as a Lorraine marriage can be. Well, other than the fact that the bride and groom were standing in the smoking section of the restaurant-- and both smoking throughout the short ceremony. The preacher suggested that they should put their cigarettes out during the holy service, but Lola insisted that this was her break and she always smokes during her breaks. Plus, she wouldn't be getting another break for over an hour and she needed to get her nicotine fix in while she could!

Before I knew it, the couple had said their vows, exchange rings, toasted each other with apple juice, served each other a piece of cake (actually pancake) and disappeared behind the swinging doors leading to the backroom. A few minutes later, Lola was back at work behind the counter, never missing a beat.

Congratulations, and the best of luck to Lola and Larry!

Wedding photos:
Earl and his girlfriend, Rayleene:

Before the nuptials began, Lola's mother Hattie helped her with her earrings:

The toast (I'm still suprised that they didn't use real "toast"):

The Bling!!

Lola with pancake on her face, after the "cake" part of the ceremony:

Larry getting dressed to go back to work afterwards:

Lola, back at work again, minutes after her wedding:

Memories of a Sunny Day!

It's thundering and lightening out there today! The wind is blowing the trees around and the rain is pouring down!!! I can't remember a rainstorm this powerful-- oh wait, there was that huge storm during the parade last weekend!!! At least this time, I'm actually indoors and can enjoy it!

I'm glad I decided to take pictures outside yesterday instead of today. I got a great shot of my ponds-- it's actually two pictures that I stitched together to make one. I thought it came out pretty good!

Another cool set of pictures I took yesterday is of our cars. Our roommate, Matilda, borrowed her mother's car for the weekend. It turns out that it is a white convertible Sebring, just like mine (only w/o the Biscuit wrap!). I'll call this series "Before & After".

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Welcome to the 21st Century!

I have a friend that lost her job yesterday. The reason for termination: a blog that she wrote on her MySpace page!!!
There were extenuating circumstances, but basically she posted a blog a couple of years ago. A disgruntled employee found her MySpace page, read through her archived blogs, and found one that was incriminating. He printed it and photocopied it. He made several copies and posted them all around her workplace-- hidden under other papers on clipboards, in stacks of invoices, etc. He was bold enough to even hang one on her office door! I read the blog, and she was obviously having a bad day when she wrote it-- two years ago. She was basically venting, but she came off as being a racist.

This reminds me of a time a few years ago, when a co-worker of mine got framed by one of his employees in a similar method. "Matthew" (not his real name, obviously) had a habit of "dating" online. He hooked up with someone in a chat room and they went private. The conversation got steamier and steamier (or should that be "more and more steamy?). The anonymous person on the other end of the conversation asked "Matthew" if he had any nude pics. As luck would have it, Matthew did in fact have a few nudes and he emailed them to his new friend. Suddenly the "conversation" stopped- and the new friend signed out of the chat room. A few days later, "Matthew's" workplace was littered with copies of his nude pics. There were dozens of copies, and they were hidden everywhere-- in books, magazines, desk drawers, etc. Everyone that worked for him received a copy of his naked picture. He didn't get fired, but he was totally embarrassed.

In this day and age, it is pretty dangerous and risky to post anything on a message board, chatroom or blog. I'm a little dubious about posting any new entries on this blog now. Honestly, I feel like going back and looking through all of my archives-- who knows what's out there that may be offensive to someone. I wouldn't want any co-workers to get a grudge against me and use my own words to bite me. Who knows if I have ever posted anything offensive? I don't think I have, but who knows? What I think is just a simple blog entry could be misconstrued into something that someone could use to embarrass me.

As a precaution-- I've gone through my MySpace account and weeded out any of my coworkers. I've also changed my profile so that it can only be viewed by people that I've accepted as friends. Call me paranoid, but I'd rather be safe than sorry!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Pride 2008

Yesterday's parade will go down as the most memorable ever, in my book! We had 2 wrapped cars in the parade this year-- my Biscuit-mobile, and William's Biscuit Truck! Our entourage included two drag queens (Mimi & Coochie) and three Biscuit Fairies! There were also about a dozen other people that rode in our cars and/or
marched alongside. We stocked the cars with T-shirts, Frisbees, koozies and beads to toss out along the route from Piedmont Park to the Civic Center. We arrived on time for line-up, getting there around 11:00am. The weather was nice and we all enjoyed a tailgate party-- eating sandwiches from Publix and drinking the potent punches that Delia brought along. The parade wasn't set to begin until 1pm, so we had a couple of hours to kill. We walked around and saw the rest of the floats, talked to old friends that we ran into occasionally, saw a few celebrities (Steve & Vickie from B98.5, Melissa Carter from Q100, and an 84-year-old gay soldier from WWII).

I guess it was about 11:45am when we heard the first round of thunder. It was followed by a few more big bangs, and then lightening bolts that seemed to be hitting ground very nearby. By this point, we were all in the cars ready for the parade to get going. Well, all of a sudden the rain began to fall-- a few sprinkles to begin with, then all hell broke loose. The sky opened up and dumped what must have been thousands of gallons of water on us. My car was full of drag queens and a few others, so I couldn't put the top up on the convertible. I figured the storm would pass quickly, as it usually does. No-- not this time-- It continued to downpour on us (and in my car)for the next 4 hours- nonstop! I tried, to no avail, to protect the interior of the car with an umbrella. A few of us thought about seeking shelter under Coochi's enormous wig. Delia and her merry band of "Biscuiteers" were also getting drenched in the back of William's pick up truck behind us.

Despite the rain, the crowds were huge and excited. The parade went on as planned, even though the gods were throwing lightening bolts all around us! There wasn't a dry spot on any of us. I swear that I could have jumped in a swimming pool fully clothed and swam 6 laps, and I would still come out drier than I was at the end of the parade! At one point I looked in the backseat and there were at least 4 inches of water standing in the floorboards! Not to mention the copious amounts of confetti that some jerk threw into the car. I'm not even going to talk about the Silly String that some chick decided to spray all over the side of my car (I had a grand time picking all of that off today!).
By the end of the parade, all of us were chattering our teeth and I had the heat blasting in the Biscuit Boat! Queens were bailing water out of the backseat, like a demented scene from a Gay Pride version of the Titanic!

But despite the inclement weather and the idiots (and gods) trashing my car, a good time was had by all. It's one parade that I won't soon forget! It was great to see the support that was given by those standing by. Even the protesters got a little smile on their faces as I tried to pelt them with a Frisbee!
I think I said it last year when I reported about the parade, but I'll say it again: it's a great feeling to be able to drive down the biggest street in your hometown and be applauded by hundreds and thousands of people! To know that these people are not applauding because they know me or like me-- that these people may have never eaten at the Biscuit or maybe never heard of it... they weren't applauding for any reason other than the fact that they were proud of our community-- that in this day and age, people had the guts to walk down Peachtree Street and hold hands, and kiss and dress up in costumes and not be ashamed of who or what they were. They were also cheering for the thousands of people that had the guts to do the same thing year after year, back in the days when people got rocks thrown at them and lost jobs because of rumors of their participation. I don't take it for granted for a second that generations of gay men and women paved the road for me. They used to walk in this parade as a statement. I know it wasn't easy for them. I remember in my own lifetime how reputations were ruined; careers were lost- just because someone was spotted on the news attending or participating in the Pride parade. Today it's more of a celebration and a memorial to those generations that went before us. I've had it pretty easy, but I know that I was lucky. I had a family that accepted me; I found friends and a community that not only accepted me, but celebrated me.

And that's what I focused on throughout the parade route. All of those cheering people on the sidelines reminded me that I have a lot of reasons to be proud. And I cheered at everyone of them right back!

Happy Pride, Atlanta!