Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Cliff notes

Sunday I met up with the LBGTQ group that I've joined for a lunch and a movie.  Out of the 5 people who showed up, I only knew one of them,.....lets call her Annie.  We went around the table giving a thumbnail sketch of ourselves, I was the only trans person present everyone else is lesbian. 

The topic shifted to our pets and other things, when one of the ladies asked me, "How long ago did you transition?"  I then went thru my whole story, and they seemed the same toward me as before, which was nice!  The restaurant we went to had an actual gluten free section of the menu!  I had gluten free pasta and meat sauce, it was nice to be able to order from the menu, only making one change, no cheese.

After a nice lunch and a long chat, we walked to the theater, and after standing about debating the merits of one film over another, Annie suddenly said, "They have Jurassic Park in 3-D!!!"  And that's what we all went to see.  I'd forgotten over the millennium since it first came out how fun of a movie it was.

Monday morning Marlene texted me wanting to know if I was up for lunch and some shopping.  She dropped by to pick me up after her shift at the library ended and off we went to lunch, food wise wasnt nearly as successful as Sunday's was.  Anyway, we were shopping, she needs new clothing for work, when she asked me what I did this weekend.  In a very off hand manner, I mentioned lunch and a movie with a meet up group.  A while later, I could tell she had been thinking on this, she asked me who I went with.  In a very, I hope, casual manner I told her its an LBGTQ group.  Oh, she said.   Later she told me that one of her very best friends for a very long time is a lesbian.

So, Marlene thinks I'm lesbian, I'm ok with that, sorta, its not the truth about me but at least its a place to start.  The next time we are together, if it seems like the right time, I'm coming out to her.  I'm tired of hiding who I am.  The one really wonderful thing about living a zillion miles from home is I can be me, and not have to worry about it getting back to someone I dont want to know, yet.

Yes, I said yet.  I'm at the end of the hiding.  At this point in time the way I feel is if they cant accept me for who I am, fuck em.  Just straight up fuck em.  What brought along this change of heart?  This is going to sound like an odd catalysis but whatever.  The library has decided that a nice way to honor their volunteers hard work is for us to each pick a book that is important to us, and they attach the book plate to it, which has our name and that we are a volunteer.  Later that night, I realized that the only books I was researching was LGBT books.  That's when it hit me, I'm tired of not being me, of waffling around when I'm asked why I dont carry purses, wear makeup, or dresses, heels or why I've never painted my toe nails.  I'm just going to tell them, its because I'm a guy, and guys typically dont do those things. 

The book I finally picked, "The Pink Triangle; The Nazi War Against Homosexuals" by Richard Plant.  It combines my love of history, my trying to unravel the why of the holocaust, and that I too am a gay man.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Driving on Antigua

While Antigua is filled with lovely beaches, soft ocean breezes and lovely friendly people, it does have one large, glaring mark in the unpleasant column, the roads.  They are very narrow without benefit of shoulders nor center line markings, add to this for the American of driving not only on the wrong side of the road, but the wrong side of the car!

There was no way at all that I was going to drive, none, nada, zip!  TH got into the car with a bit of worry but confident that he could do this, as he drives on the right at work, abet with the workings on the "correct" side of the truck.  Our delightful taxi driver the previous day gave us a hint about how to navigate the traffic circles, she said, "If you keep the drivers door against the inside of the donut, you'll do fine!"  Later on that hint was helpful as the desire to turn the usual way was quite strong.

Within a few miles we found a giant flaw in our map.  Here look at the map a moment and then I'll continue on.

See all the delightful road names?  Ahh yes, well the funny thing is while they are named on maps, they AREN'T labeled in reality!!  No, really.  For some odd reason, the only roads with street signs were small residential roads, which when trying to get across the island shockingly enough, isn't all that much help!

At one point we decided to turn around and head back to a gas station hoping the other turn would prove more fruitful.  We turned off the "main" road onto a street lined with houses, and turned again onto an even smaller road to find a quiet place to turn about.  When we turned onto this small quiet road, a man was digging about in his fan and he looked up, saw us and his face split with a wide grin.  He came up to the car and said, "Ya lost man?  Where you be headed?"  We told him Jolly Harbor and he laughed like crazy, "You be way off your route!  Here follow me and I'll get you back on the right track!"  He waves his arm, jumps in his van and takes off.  We follow him thru several turnings and then he pulls over, waves us up even with him and tells us to, "Stick tight to this road and you'll be ok!"  We thanked him and after a little bit the road sorta kinda maybe-ish bent into 3.....  We didnt find Jolly Harbor itself, but did find a great place for lunchies!

The waiter kinda bothered TH, sorta.  S/He was tall and thin, and very very pretty, with large earrings, false eyelashes and drawn on eyebrows, long hair finely braided and done up in a bun sorta affair.  I'm not sure if waiter was trans, gay, dressed for a later gig at a drag show.  Whatever, waiter couldn't have been sweeter and more helpful.  The funny thing about this restaurant is there is one, count em one menu.  Written out on a large blackboard they have to carry around and prop next to the table.  With full tummies, and a revived but misguided sense of optimism we headed back out to the wild roads.

People park just willy nilly along these narrow roads, making them even more tricky to navigate.  In a particularly narrow portion of some road, there were cars and pick up trucks and a large truck parked alongside of both lanes of this road.  Making an already narrow road, nearly impossible.  Now people will stop for you, and when they do, they flash their lights, telling you 'tis ok to go.  We were behind the parked delivery truck and were awaiting our turn to go, and TH saw his moment, and started to creep forward, slowly, slowly, slowly and then he gunned it! 

                                                      CRASH ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

Our mirror didn't make it around the truck. 

TH was horrified that he had damaged the rental car in only about 20 minutes worth of driving.  We continued on, he was worried that he would get arrested, but was worried about calling the police.  After about fifteen pull off to the side of the road to look at said cartoon map, we finally figured out that all of the important crossings have gas stations on them, and are duly marked upon the map that we finally managed to find our way to Nonsuch Bay Resort.

After my trip to the hospital TH had to return to pay the bill as their system was down and couldnt take any form of payment.  The taxi driver as she pulled passed our car asked if that was our car.  TH sighed and agreed as how it was, causing her to laugh like silly.  Turns out her cousin was sitting on the porch of one of the houses there and saw the whole thing happen.  Small island, yeah?

Armed with a sense of how to read the map, and with firm instructions from the taxi driver who took TH to pay the hospital bill, we found the airport without any wrong turns, raised blood pressure, nor leaving any of the cars bits and bobs along the road.  When we return we are bringing Martha (my GPS wife) with us, hopefully she will work a treat there!

Luckily the price of the mirror wasn't outrageous, only $375.00 USD, or $1,012.50 EC.   The lady at the car rental place acted as if it were no biggie, and we were in and out of there in quick quick time.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

18° 0' 0" N / 61° 54' 0" W

Location: Antigua

We spent one night at Trade Winds Hotel.  This hotel is laid back and very rustic, it reminded me of the old fashioned road side hotels back in the day of two lane highway travel.  The food was amazing, the employees were warm and helpful and made us feel right at home.

Then we moved about a mile down the road to Grande Antigua Resort.   The beach was fantastic, as you have seen.  Miles of the softest sand I've ever stepped upon.  All of the employees were fantastic, super friendly and welcoming.  Due to all of my food allergies, I was having some issue finding food that was safe for me to eat.  One of the front desk ladies overheard me and made me an appointment with the chief at the OK Corral.  He wrote down everything that I'm allergic to and then made me a special meal!  It was the best meal I've had, maybe ever had!  The next night we ate at Kimono's and they cooked my salmon and beef before the chicken and shrimp!  Talk about service, wow.

However.....it felt as if we were on a cruise ship.  The minute we stepped foot on Sandals it no longer felt like we were on Antigua.  The resort is beautiful, well maintained, the food was good, but it felt removed from reality in some way.

We are currently at Nonsuch Bay Resort.  It's quite remote, after leaving Freetown its about 5 miles down a gravel road.  There is little to do here, so the relaxation factor is extreme.  We had hoped to do zipline (TH only) and then a snorkel/kayak trip, both of which were canceled due to my allergy episode that is still kicking my butt.

We love this island, love it!  Friday is coming way to soon for both of us.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

wherein biki's day takes an unexpected turn

Last night at supper, we decided to split an order of mussels.  When they came, starvation caused me to dig right in, but after eating two of them, the sauce gave me pause for thought.  I thought the sauce had creme in it, turns out it did, so hubby sat there an was powering thru them, when my lips started to tingle, and then my tongue, and suddenly my throat had a huge lump that made swallowing nearly impossible. 

TH ran back to the room for benadryl, and i ordered coffee, but the swelling continued, and soon it was if I were massively drunk.  A very worried TH, went to talk to the lady at the front desk who told them the fastest way to the hospital was in a taxi. A taxi was called for, and after a 40 minute ride, we arrived at the hospital.  By then the benadryl had started to work, and they gave me a giant shot of hydrocortisone, and just like a Christmas miracle, in about 10 minutes I could breath again. 10 minutes after that I could open both my eyes completely.

I'm worn out, and feel as though I were in a fight, but ok.  This totally trashes the two events we had scheduled for today and tomorrow.  Today's because TH wont leave my side, and tomorrow due to the physicalness of the outing looks to be a wash as well.  Oh, well still tis paradise here.


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Another day in paradise

 This gazebo was where youngest and his bride were married.  Their wedding was lovely, simple and tearful.  Her sister's husband died last summer in a horrific car crash, and when the officiant said the words, "to death do you part" she lost it.  She stood there bravely, with tears streaming down her face, not a sound left her lips, what a stalwart girl.

don't ya worry, i'll let ya know where i be, but just not yet!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Pizza + Fiber = A Happy Man

Life since the doctor discovered my many food allergies has been eye opening in many ways.  I've realized that I've been sick my entire life.  Life before the diagnosis I would drag my carcass thru the day and every day was an effort.  Now?  I dart about hither and yon, my mind is constantly questing for more input, after a 4 hour shift at the library where I dont sit the entire time and am a blur of activity, I'm still full of energy.  Totally amazing to be this way.

There has been impressive weight loss as well, from where 12's were tight-ish to wearing size 8!  Well, not in Lucky jeans, but they run mega small... even in them I'm wearing a 10.  So, yeah. amazing.  When I get back from the wedding trip, I need to buy some new jeans.  All I have that fits are capri shorts.  lol lol to call them "shorts" is an oxymoron, as they come nearly to my ankles.

While I have been tempted to cheat and eat foods I know will make me sick, I have been the model patient and havent cheated once.  However, I dream of pizza....lordy do I miss pizza....wow...yeah.  Many of the local pizza places have gluten free crusts, Score!  Pizza is still out of reach tho due to cheese, sigh.  Two days ago, I was tormenting myself by visiting my favorite pizza restaurant's website, and nearly dropped my lap top, they have vegan cheese!!!  Whoo-hoooooooooo!  Yesterday that was my main bullet point on my to-do list.  I go in, check the menu, yup yup they have gluten free, dairy free.   At that point I'm minutes from having pizza again, and am praying ever so fervently for the pizza to taste like pizza!

The pizza came and smelled heavenly, looked terrific and tasted WONDERFUL!  Bite after fantastic bite, bite, bite, bite....Wow!  I took the rest home for supper.  Interestingly enough I didnt feel heavy and bloated and sleepy like I used to be after eating pizza, that in itself was an eye opener.

I started the youngest's wife-to-be a sweater back at the start of December, but finally finished!  This has been the longest knit, ever!  The pattern was tricky, and if I was tired it was impossible to knit as I really needed pay attention close attention to where I was in the pattern repeat.  For the most part I couldnt watch tv while knitting either, it was just that difficult.  Its in my suit case ready for the Wedding Trip, where I'll give it to her.  Lordy I hope it fits and she likes it.....!!!  I'm not the best knit wear photographer, so my snaps arent all the good, but at least you can have an idea what it looks like.  The sweater is a deep black, but the light from the window really washed it out.  Without the sunlight I couldnt get the stitch pattern to show up nicely. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

When Its Spring Time In Alaska

TH wanted a new camera for his b'day, as his old one had died a horrid chip death.  So, he was out and about yesterday learning the tricks of his new camera and snapped these.

This is typical "spring" weather for April.  Today it is -10 and snowing like crazy, over an inch already and still coming down.

If your interested in a web cam in downtown Fairbanks, visit here..... arctic cam.

Meanwhile in Arizona, I sat out on my porch and finished the sweater I've been knitting for the daughter-in-law to be, it was 81 and pleasant as as can be.  Walked to the grocery store and when I came home my two mallard buddies were playing in the pond.  Yeah, I know there is only one in the photo, the other one is swimming in the larger part of the pond.

When I first came to Alaska Johnny Horton was da' man! in interior Alaska.  TH used to sing me this song all the time, and it always makes me smile....now it just makes me miss him.

The pictures on the video are all the extreme north and upper northwest of Alaska.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Roe v Wade, DOMA and You

The North Dakota legislature just passed a personhood bill it now heads to the voters.  If the voters pass this law it will effectively outlaw abortion in North Dakota.  This gives an unborn fetus the status of a citizen.  This is the version the North Dakota Legislature just passed.
Provide equality and rights to all human beings at every stage of biological development.
This law could have some unforeseen effects that could play in our advantage.  I see the words, "Provide equality and rights to all human beings..." and I think that if this law is voted into their constitution it could in theory give all LGBTQI folks equal marriage within North Dakota. 

Forty years ago Roe v Wade made abortions legal in our country, and since that glorious day, the anti-abortionist have been whittling away at the rights to have an abortion with nonsensical laws and rulings.  While 68% of Americans are for allowing abortions, the antis are in full steam making it nearly impossible in many states to find a doctor, or a Planned Parenthood Clinic that will provide this service.  Here is a good link that talks about this. 

Now, I bet y'all are sitting there wondering why I'm talking about personhood bills and run arounds to Roe v Wade.  What I fear will happen is that the moment DOMA is struck down, the attacks on equal marriage will commence.  That states with legislatures stuffed with the GOP will find a loophole, a work around that will restrict either equal marriages, or access to benefits that opposite sex marriages are entitled to. 

I think the first court case out of the box in many states, will be the religious angle of not wanting to provide health care, death benefits, etc to same sex partners, just like they are attempting to opt out providing birth control under the Affordable Health Care Act, due to "religious reasons".

In states where anti-discrimination laws haven't passed, LGBTQI will suffer discrimination when trying to access rights granted by the federal government for all legally married couples, and only win their legal rights thru long drawn out court cases.  The courts are going to be stuffed full of court cases trying to wrestle rights given to us by the feds, and taken away by the states.

The blue print to fight against equal marriage is in place, they only have to implement it.  Unless the justices word their ruling against DOMA very narrowly we could be in for a very very long fight.  By allowing the states input into abortion they handed the religious right a law that is as permeable as cheese cloth.