It’s time to be merrily grateful

Merry Christmas y’all!

It’s coming to the end of the year and it’s time to celebrate, reflect and give thanks.

It’s been a horrible 2 weeks for me lately and I have been bitter, miserable and just no very pleasant to be with. Boyfriend J has to put up with my nonsense again and I’m grateful for that.

So yes, we should be grateful this time of the end.

Maybe we don’t like our jobs.

Maybe we don’t have a dedicated partner to spend time with,

Maybe we don’t everything we really really want.

But we have our health, our families, our friends. Most importantly, we have our ability to make tomorrow better for us.

I’m trying not to be a grouch this holiday period (god knows I have a lot of reasons to be), I’ll try to put a sock in it so that J doesn’t put up with more than he should.

So merry xmas everybody.

Eat more, laugh more, love more.

xmas

I’m better than you and I can prove it

Sweetie boyfriend J is coming tomorrow and knowing how he likes things neat and clean, I decided to bust out the rags to clean up the room.
Cos we all know how he gets all uncomfortable with the usual state of my room. Meaning dusty, untidy and generally a mess.

So I got down to my knees to clean the floors and walls Japanese style. I immediately thought of this really old Japanese drama series, Oshin, where the protagonist spends alot of time cleaning the floor that way cos that’s the only way to keep the floors clean to the Japanese. I always thought it’s a particulary cruel way to spend your time.

But I actually felt quite good cleaning the floor that way today. It felt good preparing the room for him since he is flying across the country to be with me. And it feels good to clean things the right way. It shows my devotion. My committment. My love.

I felt… righteous.

That this adherence to absolute floor cleanliness is a reflection of me somehow. That I’m disciplined? Tough? Worthy?

Maybe that’s how it all starts.

You gain emotional validation from the material and it strikes a chord with your values/beliefs/morality and somehow your brain scrambles to rationalize this connection.

Maybe that’s why Americans shop so much.

shopping

It’s a stake in the ground. To buy a bag/shoe/shirt that shows how smart/stylish/wealthy she is.

I used to think the need to use material stuff to reflect yourself was pretty sad. But is non-material ways to validating yourself just as bad?

Is travelling another form of showing off? Especially when you get the feeling people eagerly post their  fab travels photos on Facebook not so much to share but really to show off.

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Are we really all just doing the same albeit in different ways?

Maybe this need to validate yourself is not “bad”.

It’s just human.

I am peter pan

I don’t even know how I started watching those clips on youtube but now I feel sadly nostalgic.

You know you are of a certain age when you even know what nostalgia means.

And you know you are definitely of a certain age when you are nostalgic and wonder if life was better when “you were young”.

Yikes.

So I was watching those Queer As Folk (QAF) clips about the old gang of Brian, Justin, Michael, Emmett and Ted. I started watching QAF at 22 when I was doing my exchange program in upstate new york. I was staying in a dorm but would go to a friend’s place to watch QAF every Sunday since I didn’t have TV. I had a miserable time those 6 months since I was so lonely but those Sundays were special to me. Every day I was so fearful, so afraid of the outside world because I was in the states for the first time, I simply didn’t know how to relate to white people.

But every Sunday night, I found my escape from reality. Things were good for an hour at least.

qaf

So I came to rely on QAF as an emotional clutch. But even then, as much as I needed the show, I never really believed in the characters as fully actualized creations. They all seemed like archetypes to me – Brian the sex god, Michael the goody boy next door, Emmett the big nelly bottom, Ted the sexless nerd, Justin the twink.

They didn’t seem real. And I did fault many of the storylines as unrealistic and contrived.

As much as I liked and depended on the show, I found so many faults with it.

I was young and demanding.

Now, older and slightly less demanding, I realized what an amazing coup the show was even to be created in the first place. It really did push the envelope and galvanized the gay community. Asking for the right to be who we are didn’t seem so outrageous after that.

And those unrealistic and silly storylines seem so much more relevant to me now. When I watched the storyline of Michael getting “married” to Ben, the 22 year old me was like “oh please, that’s silly. Just live together, what’s the point of getting married?”

benmichael2

And then when they “adopted” a HIV+ teenager, it was just too weird for me. I thought “why would they want to go through all these trouble?”

Now I understand.

Gay marriage, gay adoption, monogamy, coping with friends with lifestyles you don’t identity with… these are real flesh and blood issues gay people face with.

Unlike straight people who typically get married, have kids and get fat (kidding!), gay people find a myriad of lifestyles and choice can be confusing.

What do we do with our lives? Be like our straight parents i.e. get married and have kids? Be like our rebellious gay friends i.e. never settle down, have all the sex you want, possibly die alone? Is there a middle ground?

Or should we just go with the flow and not demand life conforms to any expectations?

Life’s pretty scary that way, when you go with the flow.

Or maybe that’s just my old age talking.

Iceland is my newest addiction

So I’m back from Iceland and boy am I glad I went!

You know how people always rave about how surreal Iceland is when they get back? Well it’s true, it is surreally beautiful, it does look like the moon.

Or at least what we think the moon likes like.

But yeah, Iceland is pretty amazing. There are few countries I would use the word amazing but Iceland is defintely one of them.

The people are nice and genuine, nothing American “I”m saying hi but I’m still walking cos I don’t really want to know if you are really alright” fakeness. When you talk to an Icelander, you know you are talking to a stranger. A nice helpful stranger but they don’t pretend otherwise.

Which to me is nice.

The landscape is awesome. Everything is so rugged and majestic, you feel like you are in “Lord of the Rings” except that this is even more magical.

Check out the moonscape:

gulfoss

Isn’t that gorgeous?

That’s Gulfoss, one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland. It was freezing (I risked my fingers everytime I took a photo) but we stood there the longest time looking at it.

The Icelandic countrysides were really an exercise in beauty, there were just so many things to look at. Including cute “My little pony” horsies.

horses

Surprisingly these horses were really friendly. You would think they are grouchy standing out in the cold all day.

We spent 2 days out in the countryside and 3 days in the capital Reykjavik. I wanted to like Reykjavik more and I do like it but as a city, it’s not the greatest. It’s a cute city no doubt but I would probably have more fun in Copenhagen, Oslo or the other scandi capitals.

I do like the houses there though. The cute box houses you find in Northern Europe.

houses

But above all, I love love love Blue Lagoon. It’s awesome. You feel like Frodo entering Mordor but when you are in the pool, the -yes I’m going to say it again- beauty just really strikes you. You kind of wonder around dumbstruck cos the colors just amaze you.

blue

And that’s only on the outside, check out the inside of the lagoon.

blue2

It’s like sleepwalking in a dream.

Iceland, wait for me. I’ll be back!

Love is love is love

It’s sad that prop 8 passed in California.

Of all places, California.

My image of heaven, tarnished just a little bit by the bigotry displaced.

I really believed that love will win the day, persuade those “religious” people that love is sacred regardless what forms it might manifest.

But in the end, dogma won out. By 2%.

It’s a sad sad day.

Especially when a church would spend its time and energy rallying people to stop people from marrying and loving. The world is full of hate, despair and sadness. And the Mormon church thinks denying people the right to marry is a worthy cause to spend $40+ million and countless hours on.

I don’t understand.

But we will prevail. With time. With patience. With grace

In the meantime, I take solace in the compassion and kindness of strangers. Keith Olbermann expressed my outrage with such eloquence:

Is it wrong to think about wine during breakfast?

“I like to think about the life of wine, how it is a living thing. I like to think about what was going on the year the grapes were growing. How the sun was shining, if it rained. I like to think about all the people who tended and picked the grapes. And if it’s an old wine, how many of them must be dead by now. I like how wine continues to evolve, like if I opened a bottle of wine today it would taste different than if I’d opened it on any other day, because a bottle of wine is actually alive. And it’s constantly evolving and gaining complexity, that is until it peaks, like your ’61. And then it begins its steady inevitable decline”
Isn’t Sideways the best love letter to wine? I don’t like what the movie did to the pinot noir wines (what? you want $30 for that bullshit Pinot from Santa Barbera?!?!?!) but the sentiments expressed in the movie really captures the romantic associations of wine.

If I am a wine, would I be a pinot noir?

Every writer probably thinks he is a pinot noir, it’s like every girl thinks she is Carrie.

Friday dinner with the Italian

I love Friday nights. So much promise of a wonderful weekend, you can smell the excitment building in the air.

You just know people are running out of office buildings, meeting friends, drinking too much, laughing their weekday sorrows away.

Friday nights are meant to be savored – the weekend might be as swell as you think but the anticipation is often more delicious than what you really get.

And so tonight, I celebrated with fresh figs.

I bought figs from the market, baked it with gorgonzola cheese and a honey balsamic sauce. It was lovey.

And Alberto came back and heated up his zucchini salmon pasta so we had that as well.

And of course, we needed to have some wine – what’s dinner without wine? A red and white bordeaux rounded up the dinner perfectly.