Sunday, January 26, 2014

That's Love


Today is JD's birthday…kind of a big one…and unfortunately for him, I suck at birthdays.

I never know what to get and it's always the last minute-scramble to figure something out.  This year I came up with an idea a week ahead of time…a tennis racket and lessons.  But you can't just buy a racket for somebody.  They have to be along to know what fits in their hand and what color they think will work best with some future court ensemble.  We went to the sporting goods store yesterday and picked one out that I'll now order online and have shipped to Palm Springs so he doesn't have to carry it on the plane next month, but that's not something I can wrap and give him.  I got up at 6am this morning and now have a german chocolate cake in the oven.  It's his favorite and an annual birthday tradition, but you can't wrap a cake either.  This afternoon we're going to Watershed for brunch, but again, can't wrap that.

I feel guilty, not only about being such a lousy "birthday celebrationist" but now I'm also making JD's birthday all about me and my guilt.  It's an ugly, self-absorbed cycle.

He's awake. Time to get the coffee and bring to the bedroom.  I'll wish him a very sincere "Happy Birthday" and I know he'll be gracious about it.    That's love.

Monday, January 20, 2014

We All Dream

Atlanta is called the birthplace of the civil rights movement, but unfortunately Georgia has to be drug kicking and screaming to the recognition of equality for its LGBT citizens and same-sex couples.  JD and I have one foot in, in California and the other foot out, here in Georgia. 

May intelligence prevail so that the leaders in Georgia soon recognize the wrong side of history on which they stand.  Peace, justice and equality for all on this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Lemon Meringue Pie FAIL

Yesterday I watched "The Ninth Gate", aka: the worst Johnny Depp movie ever.  But determined to watch it to the bitter end I filled the time by multitasking, surfing food blogs and paging through my collection of cookbooks.

Food52.com was recommended to me by a friend several years ago and I love it.  They have great recipes, helpful kitchen hints and a stylish website.  They also allow their readers to submit recipes, so there are dishes on the site that you won't see on most others.  It's a blend of high-brow cuisine and home cooking.

The site's commenters do a great job of suggesting recipe improvements and providing clarification of vague instructions, but when I came upon a recipe for "Perfect Lemon Meringue Pie" it so whetted my appetite that I immediately went to the kitchen and started in.  Who has time for comments?

I should have known something was amiss when the first line of the recipe said, "Pre bake the pie crust", and there was no recipe for pie crust.  No problem.  I went back to the cookbook shelf and found a recipe, since the one I normally use is now located in Palm Springs.  After mixing the pie dough and putting it in the refrigerator to chill, I re-read the recipe and got far enough down the page this time that I made it to the comments section.  Scathing!  Commenters pointed out that the recipe's instructions called for egg yolks in the meringue, instead of egg whites, and that twice as much sugar was needed to get the egg whites to a stiff peak.  The recipe also provided no instruction for additional baking to give the meringue those prerequisite golden peaks.

Instead of finding a new recipe, I took into consideration the commenters' wisdom and forged ahead, just like my determination to make it to the credits of the Johnny Depp movie.  (As I type this, I'm beginning to see a life-pattern here.)  The pie crust was a dream and the lemon custard tasted fantastic.  Even the meringue turned out, with the addition of the extra sugar.  I threw it in the oven to brown the peaks and out came a beautiful pie!

To make sure there was room for dessert, I intentionally ate only half my steak dinner even though the rib eye and twice-baked potato were amazing (no comment on the Brussels sprouts).  After some time on the couch and a post-dinner cocktail, it was time for desert!  The pie looked so great that I was feeling really good about myself and a little bit cocky.  I even texted a picture of it to my mother to confirm what a kitchen wizard she'd raised.

I cut a big wedge for JD and as I removed it from the plate I was greeted by a YELLOW FLOOD.  The custard didn't set and it was like a bright yellow gravy.  The rush of yellow ooze also pulled the meringue away from the side of the pie remaining in the pan, like a white mudslide.




It still tasted great but it certainly wasn't what I had intended and probably should have been served in a bowl over ice cream.  (A trick I learned from my mother for situations like this.)  On the bright side, I have a new favorite pie crust recipe that came from Julia Child's, "The French Chef Cookbook".

Lessons learned:  Great actors sometimes make crappy movies and posting a recipe on the internet does not make you Julia Child.


Friday, January 17, 2014

Is Georgia Turning Blue?

Atlanta is a progressive city, but Atlanta is not Georgia.  (Sometime I'll blog about the waitress in south Georgia who was convinced JD and I were Secret Shoppers, because we told her we were partners.)

There have been several national publications that claim Georgia could be turning blue and they all mention Jason Carter, Jimmy Carter's grandson, who has thrown his hat into the governor's race.  Below is his response to Governor Nathan Deal's State-Of-The-State Address.

Impressive.

Go, Jason!

Killing Ourselves With Economic Development?


I love Kimpton Hotels, have stayed in several of them and I think a Kimpton Palm Springs would be fabulous.  However, I would argue that the defining characteristic of Palm Springs is the unobstructed view of the mountain where the tallest structures beneath it are palm trees.  To build a 6-7 story hotel at the base of the mountain in the name of economic development is extremely short-sighted.

I can't help but to think of coastal communities like Biloxi, MS, where they have a coastline without a view of the ocean, except for the tourists holed up in the casinos that run the entire length of it.  Meanwhile, the residents of Biloxi live behind the hotel/casino towers in neighborhoods cut off from the thing that makes their city special.

I'm sure there's an argument that "this is just one building" but when the next seven story (or eight, ten or 20 story) project comes along, what will the precedence to deny it?  In 20 years, will we have a downtown of towers with a mountain peaking out behind them?

Visitors and part-time residents are what make Palm Springs thrive.  Let's not kill what keeps them coming here.


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Automobile Freedom


I haven’t shared a car since I was 15 and first got my license.  Even that wasn’t sharing.  My mom and dad rode to work together every morning and the second car was mine to drive my brothers and I to school and work.

When JD and I closed on the Palm Springs pad, we drove a two-person convoy from Atlanta to Palm Springs, he in his Chevy HHR carrying anything valuable or that required an inside ride and I in my Ford Ranger pickup with everything else stacked up and tied down in the back.  


 JD rode alone but I had the companionship of my plastic mascot, Road Monkey.


After the close and unload (in 112 degree heat), JD hit the road back to Atlanta, in the HHR, so he could get ready for an extended trip to Barcelona.  I stayed behind to continue the unpacking and to find some essentials for the place, like something to sleep in and sit on.

When it came time for me to return to Atlanta, I was saddened not only to leave our new desert paradise after just two weeks, but also because I was leaving my beloved Ford Ranger behind.  We bought it in Houston when we moved from NYC because any self-respecting man in Texas has a truck…even the gay ones.  I lovingly named her Candy.  

She’s the only car I’ve ever paid off and at eleven years she’s by far the longest I’ve ever owned a vehicle.  In those eleven years we rotated JD through a convertible Mustang, and Audi A4 and after the recession hit the very practical Chevy HHR.  I drove Candy straight through.

Now JD and I are doing a waltz of car ownership so that if I take the car to work he knows he’s homebound for the day (except for whatever entertainment he can find within walking distance).  If he drops me off at work, I lose the option of stepping out for lunch or the gym and he has to make sure he schedules his day so he can pick me up again.

I love driving Candy when I’m back in the desert and realize, now, that I had taken her for granted the past eleven years.  The HHR is OK, but it’s not the comfortable ride that she is with her bucket seats that keep you sitting upright instead of down on the ground with your legs straight out.  She looks good in Palm Springs, all bright red against the white desert sand, but I still miss her.

Annual incentives come in March.  Assuming it’s not a miserable year for bonuses, I’ll be getting a replacement for Candy.  No car can truly replace her, but a man has needs and one of mine is automobile freedom.  

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Planning Ahead

We're streamers; Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and Logo.  We gave up cable TV ten years ago when we left Texas and never turned back.  Television networks have nothing that would make me run to the cable company.  That said, thank god for a collection of Atlanta gay bars that show RuPaul's Drag Race, and to LogoTV that makes it available on their website the day after it airs.

Season 6 finally starts on February 24th!  The other reality shows should take a lesson from Ru and his fun, positive message.  I'm going to have to start looking for a bar in Palm Springs where I can watch the girls.  In the meantime, you'll find me at the Atlanta Cockpit cheering them on.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

In The Beginning

More than a decade after blogging took off, I’ve decided now is the time for me to jump in the water.  I’m late to the party as usual when it comes to popular culture, but until now I didn’t think I had anything to say.  This blog might prove I actually don’t have anything to say, but at least I feel like I do and since I expect I’ll be essentially writing to myself, “What the hell!”, I’m blogging.
What’s behind the sudden urge to put in writing all my…umm…thoughts? dreams? rants?..whatever this is going to be?  We bought a condo.  Not just any condo.  A second home.  A second home in Palm Springs.  Palm Springs, California, playground of Classic Hollywood and gay men!
My husband (henceforth known as “JD”) and I have lived in Atlanta for more than nine years.  Our first four years together, I moved three times.  In 2000 I moved from San Francisco to NYC to shack up with him, then together to Houston/Galveston for a job and finally to Atlanta when they saw fit to move us again.  That was in 2004 and we've been here ever since.
As was typical, I worked at my corporate job through the holidays of 2012 and was pretty much alone in the office for two weeks while everybody else was taking their vacation in conjunction with their children’s holiday schedule.  It’s my favorite time of year at work, the time when I purge everything from my desk that was filed away “just in case” and catch up on those projects I swore one day I’d get to.
Atlanta is nice, but I don’t want to live out my days here.  This is my company’s mother-ship, though, and I didn’t see another job related move on the horizon but I did think I could see a light at the end of the Great Recession tunnel.  With the reelection of Barack Obama I was feeling pretty optimistic that holiday season, so while eating a sandwich from the cafeteria’s limited holiday menu I surfed real estate porn.  I was surprised how affordable a small Palm Springs condo seemed and it looked like it could be within our budget.  Still eating, I called JD and said, “What do you think about getting a condo in Palm Springs?”  (It was kind of a dumb question, since we’ve gone there in the spring of most years for a week-long vacation at one of many clothing-optional gay resorts.)  The quest began.
I’ll skip all the details of learning about leased land (which is owned by the local Indian tribe), tripling the price range from where we started and flying out on short notice to look at a condo that wasn’t even listed yet during the Palm Springs wild fires of 2013.  Short story…we got our condo!  It’s a mid-century, one-level complex with 22 units surrounding a pool with a beautiful view of the mountains.

Although we still hold the lease on our apartment in NYC’s East Village, we share it with a roommate who is there the vast majority of the time.  JD goes a few times a year for shows, to cultivate work and “make it rain”.  The new condo is truly our get-away pad.
(Full disclosure…this will not be a blog about the lifestyles of the rich and famous homo’s.  Our tiny NYC apartment doesn’t cost us anything, thanks to our sub-letters, and the combined cost of the Atlanta and Palm Springs homes is less than what many people pay for just one in a large metropolitan area like Atlanta.)
We’ve only had the condo for five months, so how much time we get to spend there is yet to be seen.  JD has a more flexible schedule than I, so I bet he won’t be able to stay away too long.  For now, most of our time is spent in Atlanta in an up-and-coming neighborhood that still has enough elements of the hood to make it interesting.  The gas station next door makes getting a bag of ice and the New York Times convenient.  The view from our front stoop looks down on a busy four lane road where traffic backs up in front of our house and affords us a view inside the cars of rush hour drivers stopped at the light.  Peering inside the sedans, SUV’s and eighteen wheelers provides for hours of conversation during our summer post-workday happy hours.  The deck on the back of the house looks up the length of our back yard to a stand of trees at the end of the property that provides us complete privacy…the polar opposite of the house’s front.

So, there you have it.  This blog will be about living part time in Palm Springs, beneath a mountain, next to a pool, surrounded by palm trees and the rest of the time living in Atlanta above a busy street, next to a gas station, surrounded by fast-food restaurants.  Two coasts and a life.