30 March 2009

Turning 50

I’m turning 50 next month. A couple of days ago I got a card in the mail from the AARP. Nothing like the AARP to drive home the fact that your youth is long gone!

It’s ok, though, really. I mean, what’s the alternative? Dirt nap. No thanks! Not quite ready for that. I’m feeling good, most days. I’m healthy. I work out. I have a life that gives me both satisfaction and joy. I feel useful, often.

The decade of my 40’s was a great time for me. A lot of the doubt and angst that had plagued my 30’s was gone. I had lived through some rotten times but I had come out the other side.

I’m looking forward to my 50’s. I intend to live well. I am going to stick it out at my main employment, my “day job”, for another five years and then I’ll be done. Done with this phase and onto the next. I am determined to live the life I envision.

27 March 2009

Vanity and Age

When T and I first hooked up I wasn’t coloring my hair. I got tired of the grow-out phases, and mostly, I just didn’t care. Plus, I thought my hair looked good white/gray/brown. But, shortly after we started dating I went back to coloring my hair. And here’s why: I didn’t want to look that much older than she. We are the same age – although I was born in the spring and she was born in the fall, but in the same year. And, we both look pretty damn good for 49, I think. But, I didn’t want to look like some old gal going with a youngster. A cougar. A sugar mama. So, I started coloring my hair.

Now, however, my birthday is coming up. It’s a milepost year; a threshold. And I don’t feel like coloring my hair anymore. It’s very pretty. It’s longish, shoulder length, a warm caramel brown. It’s a pleasure to brush it. It’s long enough to pull back into a ponytail when I work out. But, I’m tired of it. I’m planning on cutting it fairly short and letting it grow out to its natural color. Ok, so people may look at us and think, “Wow, what’s that hottie doing with the old bag?” But, I don’t care. We’ll see how long that lasts. Because, after all, it’s just hair and mine grows out so fast that it can be completely different in six months.

26 March 2009


We saw “Milk” the other day. It was heartbreaking – in more than one way.

I grew up in the Bay Area, not San Francisco, but down the peninsula. I remember the times; I remember seeing Harvey Milk at a Pride parade in the City. It was wild back then! It was good and bad. One day it felt like anything was possible. The next day our gay brothers were dying right and left.

I remember the day that Milk and Moscone were shot. I remember the newscast when Dianne Feinstein announced their murders and took charge. I remember crying. I remember the absolute incredulity we felt at the “Twinkie Defense” and the outrage at the brevity of the sentence.

And, while I remembered all of that, watching the movie, what really broke my heart is the realization that we are still fighting the same damned battle. We are still second class citizens. We are still denied our civil rights. Sometimes it feels like progress is being made, but mostly it’s one step forward – two steps back. I get discouraged sometimes at the lack of real, substantive progress, the kind that is codified into law.

But, yes, there has been progress. My girlfriend and I are able to live openly. We can hold hands in the grocery store. Ok, only in the “gay” Fred Meyer by our house in NE Portland; we’d never do that in, say, Vancouver or Gresham or Hillsboro. Again, a glimmer of change but limited. My employer can’t fire me because I’m gay. In fact, I am able to cover my girlfriend on my health insurance – that’s a huge step forward. True, same sex domestic partners are taxed on the benefit while heterosexual married couples are not. Why is there always a qualification to the progress? Why does there have to be two steps back?

I know that in the future there will be equal rights for all. I know that we will have to fight to win those rights. My hope is that in the future, if I have a mixed race, homosexual, differently-abled great grandchild, she or he will have the same rights and privileges as any other citizen of the country.

We’ve got a long road ahead.