“I like Mitt Romney as much as one really good-looking man can like a really good-looking man and not break Texas law.”
— Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a former GOP presidential hopeful who touted his opposition to gay issues during his campaign, commenting on fellow presidential contender Mitt Romney at March 24 dinner. (Advocate, March 26)
“Animal husbandry — That sounds like what Rick Santorum thinks gay marriage leads to.”
— Former GOP presidential Rick Perry, referring to his college major while making a gay joke about another Republican rival during the same dinner. (Advocate, March 26)
Millie Pete is going blind. My 82-year-old mother was diagnosed with macular degeneration two months ago, and the condition is quickly taking away her vision because of damage to her retina.
As an artist, this has posed a serious challenge to her lifestyle, since the result of the condition is the inability to see detail or recognize faces. As the daughter of this artist, I have come to realize these past few weeks that is was through her art that I learned my most important life lessons:
• Shadows. My mother taught me never to use black when shading paintings. Instead you use complimentary colors to show depth to an object. As a child I saw shadows as dark places to avoid, but Millie Pete allowed me to see they are never as black as they seem, and that shadows actually help enhance the world around you.
It was a week ago, and I was at the Home Depot garden center, attempting to navigate the aisles pushing one of those flatbed carts while balancing the phone under my ear. I’d called Mama to ask for her advice about my flower beds. Not to diminish anything I’ve accomplished up to this point, but she made it pretty plain that this was the proudest moment of her life.
“Oh, Barbara,” Mama cried out to her sister. “Topher’s buying plants!”
Aunt Barbara let out a little whoop of approval and instantly suggested azaleas.
Our friend Leslie decided her life needed a little shaking up, so she’s moving to China for a year, where she will teach English to children. I’m not really clear on the logistics of this, as Leslie doesn’t speak Mandarin, but apparently there’s a successful system already in play.
My travel rule has always been that I never visit countries where I don’t speak the language, out of courtesy to the locals. But watching her plan her voyage to a mysterious foreign land is causing me to question that.
I can easily see her moving on from teaching her students English to showing them how to craft clever hair accessories and make really great Bloody Marys. Then the Emperor of China selects her as the tutor for all his children, and they fall in love and sing “Shall We Dance?” and then we would visit her at the palace.
Does your family accept your sexuality? Do your friends and co-workers? If the answer is no, and there was a pill that would cure them of that prejudice, would you give it to them? I’m sure most would say yes and the possibility of such a pill is not science fiction.
British researchers have been studying the issue of racism and found that a common heart disease drug seems to lower racist attitudes as well as blood pressure. The study was conducted at Oxford University where volunteers were divided into two groups. One was given the drug Propranolol while the other took a placebo. Propranolol is a beta blocker used to treat blood pressure, but can also be used in managing panic and anxiety disorders.
In one test, the groups were asked to sort pictures of black and white faces into categories along with positive and negative words. In another, they were asked to report how warm they felt towards certain groups, including blacks and Muslims.
“I have a man crush on Adam ... I want to kiss him. I want to kiss him so bad. I don’t care if it’s mutual or not ... He’s sexy, is the word I’m using.”
— Country singer Blake Shelton, on his “Voice” co-star, Adam Levine (inset). Shelton has drawn ire in the past for changing the lyrics to a Shania Twain song, tweeting, “Any man that tries Touching my behind He’s gonna be a beaten, bleeding’, heaving kind of guy.” Shelton apologized, saying “when it comes to gay/lesbian rights or just feelings… I love everybody.” (MTV.com, March 7)
“I love a gender play; I love not being sure. I love walking down the streets of New York and when people pass me by dressed in an androgynous style… That’s what I’m aiming to do. Bring a style that does look androgynous, but really does fit a woman’s body.”
When you own an older home, improvement projects come with the territory. Theoretically, these occasional updates to your dwelling should be fun. But for me, they are a source of high anxiety.
The reason is because the woman I live with is determined to complete as many of these projects as possible all on her own even though she has no qualifications whatsoever to be doing construction work, plumbing work, electrical work, flooring installation, etc. The result is that I have to stay at the house while these little projects are being undertaken, prepared at any minute to call 911.
For example, Katie decided months ago she no longer wanted a ceiling fan in our bedroom, so she took it down. Those wires protruding through the ceiling seemed to wave in jest at us each morning until last weekend, when Katie found a new light fixture and decided it was time to fix the problem.
Faith is trust in something unseen. Basically you willingly accept lack of control of a situation and simply let life play out on its own. You let go. That can be an easy concept on an emotional level for many, as our society encourages us to deal with experiences from our past, let them go and move on.
However, to physically let things go is an entirely different matter. It’s all well and good to say goodbye to a bad feeling, but giving up the souvenirs of a time gone by is the ultimate hurdle. Whether it be an overexposed photograph of your siblings or that cumbersome futon couch from your first apartment, throwing them out feels like ripping away a piece of your soul.
Just take a look in your attic or garage at all the things you intend to one day organize when you have time. You’ve actually planned to organize for years, but you just can’t bring yourself to throw out those old high school notebooks or that faded Raggedy Ann doll.
My Aunt Trish was passing through Atlanta, and stayed in our guest room for the night. I had to work late, so by the time I got home, she and my husband Preppy were already pretty deep into their second bottle of wine. The conversation had turned to big ideas, as the second bottle of wine tends to dictate.
Trish was reminiscing about her mother, my Grandmama, a fiercely loyal, funny, incredibly opinionated, strident woman. She was the sort of person who always let you know exactly where you stood with her, and if you stood in the wrong place, it would send a cold chill down your spine. I long ago made my peace with how much I take after her.
Grandmama died before I came out, and I’ve always felt that was for the best. She was a Depression-raised churchgoing conservative. My wanting to kiss other boys would have probably stuck in her craw, even if I did marry a nice fella from Mississippi.
Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate love — or at least the idea of how love could be. We see plenty of examples of young romance on television and in movies. But I wish there were more portrayals of couples still hot for each other after years together. Those are the couples who have figured out what true love really is and remind us that sometimes the secret is more simple than you would think.
My parents were married for 50 years until my father passed away from cancer in 2001. Their unique and touching romantic gestures towards each other began when they were newlyweds and had no money. On their first anniversary she arrived home from her teaching job and checked the mailbox first like she did every day.
Inside was a letter informing her that her gift was upstairs waiting for her. When she got to her bedroom, there was my dad waiting for her wearing a bow. My mom is in her ‘80s and this story still makes her smile and blush when she tells it.