26 April 2007

I'm pathetic...

Why you ask? Well I'm going to tell you even if you didn't ask. I'm sure you remember my recent post about the upcoming arrival of our new oven and cook top Well it arrived last Tuesday and this past Monday it was installed. I was, and still am, as giddy as a school girl going on her first date ya'll! Now getting this excited over a new oven and cook top is pretty pathetic in my view, but then again what the hell do I care if someone thinks I'm pathetic. I got a new oven!

As I said it was installed on Monday and the first thing I said I was going to cook was a cheesecake. Well, I lied. I thought better of it and decided we should eat dinner first so I made a meatloaf. The whole experience was surreal. It's not like I've never used an oven before but I've not been able to use an oven properly for the past eight years and I was not sure what to expect. The most recent, and now late, oven burned everything to a crisp within the first 30 minutes no matter how much time I took off the overall cooking time or even how many degrees I cut back off the required temperature. I love too bake and cook and it was so frustrating to spend so much time trying to make something and to have that oven turn it into something so disgusting the the cat would hiss at.

So anyway, I popped the meatloaf into the new oven and watched it bake. Seriously, I sat there for the whole hour and watched it bake and to be honest if the pan it was in had not come out of the oven blistering hot I would have sworn the meat was still cold in the middle. But alas, the new oven did not let me down and the meatloaf was not only hot in the middle but it was PERFECT!

I thought well lets give my most prized recipe a go and I decided to make a cheesecake. Now my cheesecakes are almost legend among my family and friends and as I said I had not been able to make one in over eight years so all of my new friends and family here in Australia have never had the luxury of eating any of these gastronomic delights. I chose to make the milk chocolate version and like all of my cheesecakes they take three and a half hours to bake because you can't hurry perfection. I went to bed Monday night at 12:30 after placing what looked to be a perfectly cooked cheesecake in the fridge to cool. I did not dream of cheesecake as that would have not been so pathetic as it would have been just weird.

The next day we had invited two of our favourite people over for after dinner dessert. So at 7:30 that night the truth was known and all I can say is "IT'S A MIRACLE" I can bake again. I have been healed. The cheesecake was as smooth, creamy and evenly baked as any I have made in the past if not better. I feel redeemed after all the past two years of burnt and mutilated baked goods seem like a bad dream.

Now if that story isn't pathetic I don't know what is. Aren't you glad you stop by everyday to see what I may have written and the best I can do is talk about an oven and a cheesecake. Well what can I say I never promised you stories filled with debauchery, drugs, alcohol and naked escapades. You get what you get. HMMM... debauchery, drugs, alcohol and naked escapades there could be a story or two in that....NAH!!!

18 April 2007

Another year passes...

Twenty-one years ago in April 1986 my life changed forever. I figured that I would have said this about September 1981 (that's when I came out to everyone) but more important is that date in April 1986.

I went through hell and back when I first came out to my friends and family. I had spent so many years living a lie and in the end it almost killed me. When I finely told people I felt all of that pressure lift from my shoulders. I cruised along for the next five years exploring my new life and it was most definitely a new life for me. During that time I lost many of my old friends and relations with my family were strained, but they got better with time.

I was a young gay man living in the 1980's and the world was one of outrageous excess. I like so many others lived life like there was no tomorrow. We spent to much on clothes, cars, apartments and other material items. We partied to much, drugs and alcohol were our friend. Sex was just something you did, and you did it a lot. What we didn't do when we had that sex was we didn't use condoms. We didn't know we had too.

In 1981 there was a ripple of conversation beginning in a few large cities more specifically in San Francisco, LA and New York. That conversation became a large unknown as a clusters of gay men were suddenly getting sick and doing so very quickly. Those men were also dying from what ever was making them sick. In Dallas Texas we heard the rumors but no one was really sure what the truth was and unfortunately for many we continued to lead our lives to excess.

As the years progressed we named this disease. First back in 1981 it was called GRID (Gay Related Immune Deficiency) but health authorities soon realised that nearly half of the people identified with the syndrome were not homosexual men. In 1982, the CDC (Centre for Disease Control) introduced the term AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) to describe the newly recognized syndrome. In 1983 the virus that caused this syndrome was discovered by a French scientist and a year later an American scientist confirmed this discovery. However there was a huge debate as to who should be credited because each scientist called their virus something else even though they were talking about the same thing. Eventually in 1986 it was agreed that this new virus would be called HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus).

By 1986 the conversation about HIV was stronger than it had been but many of us were still living on the edge and occasionally we did not heed the new warnings that we need to use condoms. I lost so many friends in those first years between 1981 and 1986. It was a bad time in the gay community but at the same time it was a time of great commoradery because no one was going to look out for us as many thought we deserved this disease and that we desreved to die. They gay community started support groups and other organisations to help those who other were going to leave to die. I continued losing friends all the way up to 1998. I remember one month in 1984 I lost 30 friends and or acquaintances all in the same month.

I had the worst flu ever in September 1985 and was ill for the entire month. Even after the initial illness wore off I just never felt right. I went to see the doctor and he kept giving more antibiotics for various chest infections and strange inflammations. I had not come out to my doctor so he had no idea that there was even a remote chance that I could have been exposed to HIV. I alos was not sure I wanted to know if I had been exposed. By late March 1986 both the doctor and I were extremely frustrated trying to find out what was wrong with me. I finally decided that I had to tell him and that I thought it would be best that we run an HIV test. We did just that and a few weeks later (the test took longer in those days) we got the results.

I was HIV positive!

Like almost every person I have talked to and/or have know personally that received the same news, the first thing I did was cry! At that time finding out you were HIV+ meant you were going to die. There was no treatment to prolong life and there definitely was no cure. So where was I supposed to go from there? In answering that question it would take me way to long answer and it would make this post even longer that it is now. The short version is this. I worked until I got so sick and couldn't work anymore. I tried ever new drug that came out and some of them almost killed me. I tried to lead a normal life and found a partner but unfortunately he eventually died from complications of HIV and I buried him. I tried love again but he also died from complications of HIV and I buried another partner. I almost gave up but finally met someone who is still with me.

I am still living with HIV every day twenty-one years later. I take 12 pills a day to stay alive a;long with a positve attitude, which is sometimes very difficult, and I look forward to every day. So as another year passes I am grateful to be here but I am also aware that I have fought long and hard to be where I am and will continue to do so because I am worthy of living. If you are truly interested in reading all of the sorted details, you can do so here.

17 April 2007

It's finally come to this...

We moved into this house just a little over two and a half years ago. We have not changed much but we have done a few things. One of the things that has needed changing was the oven. Now what we have would make most people happy it was a SMEG fan-forced oven. Now SMEG is a pretty nice brand and I expected great things. I was looking forward to getting back into my cooking/baking bow that I had a real kitchen again. The one we had in Sydney held one person if that and the oven didn't work.

Anyway, I had never had a fan-forced oven before and figured it would take a little time getting used too it. Well let's just say until this day I still have not gotten used to it. It BURNS every thing. I have tried cooking things for shorter periods of time and when I mean shorter I'm talking instead of one hour I only had to cook things for 30 minutes. I tried lowering the temperature now most things cook st 350F or here its' 175C I would have to turn the temperature down to 140C. I don't even know what that is in Fahrenheit but it sure isn't 350F.

I finally said enough is enough and we went out last week and bought a new stove. I figured while we were at it we would get a matching cook top. There wasn't anything wrong with the old one except it was old. So as boring as my life gets here is a picture of the two new items. They are going to install them next Monday and there will be cheesecake to be eaten by Tuesday!

Oh and they are by a company called AEG/Electrolux.

14 April 2007

Makes me proud....

I just had to share this picture with you, because it make me smile in my heart. My husband (James) is a very kind and generous man. James works in the emergency department at the local hospital. People will always get sick and people die everyday so his jobs is one of necessity. He uses his medical training to help people feel better when they are feeling their worst. Most of the people he helps treat usually go home and heal, some get admitted to the hospital because they need a bit more long term care and others never leave the department because they present at a time when their body is in a critical state. Those people that are so critical usually teeter between life and death. It is up to my partner and the other doctors and nurses to do everything they can to help each and every individual that walks through their door. James and his co-workers work to the point of exhaustion, both physical and mental, especially when it comes to resuscitating a person and trying to keep them from dying. Sometimes they will do this three or more times a night. When I say he save lives I mean he literally saves lives. I think it takes great courage to do what he does. Those people that do not survive do so through no fault nor lack of trying by my partner and the other staff members involved. After the death of a patient my partner is then regulated to comforting those left behind. He always shows great compassion to the people he is trying to help as well as for those left behind. He sees the worst of everything and he is still able to smile. He tries to find something good in a bad situation at a time when people are feeling lost. During that most difficult of times he is able to bring some peace and a semblance of normalcy to a very chaotic world. I applaud James as well as the doctors and nurses that work with him for the unbelievable work they do. I am a very lucky to know this man and I'm very proud of him and what he does everyday!

That's James with one of his favorite co-workers. See I told you he is always smiling.

12 April 2007

I'm the great Uncle Charlie Brown...

...or something like that. What I'm trying to say is I am a new great uncle to my niece's newest edition to her family, and actually her first. I am pleased to introduce Damian Aidan Harris.

Congratulation to my niece Cinde and her man Phil!

10 April 2007

What can I say, I like to smell pretty...

I ran into this little bit of fun here. So I thought I would give it a go and apparently according to the test this is how I rate:

I don't think I can even buy Old Spice here in Australia and even if I could I wouldn't. It just doesn't do it for me, but the little test was fun. Click on the tag to see how you rate. Enjoy...

6 April 2007

Boy, how time flies...

I saw this meme over here and it has been sitting on my desktop for a while. Since I have not written anything in a few days I figured this was better than nothing. What I find form this list is that I'm pretty consistent and at the same time if you could see in between those years you would never believe what I have done to get where I am today. Not all of it good but not all of it bad either. Anyway, have a read and let your imagination run wild.

20 years ago

1.) How old were you? 29
2.) Where did you go to school? I had not been to school in over 10 years
3.) Where did you work? A large retail department store
4.) Where did you live? Dallas
5.) Where did you hang out? Oaklawn (aka Boystown)
6.) Did you wear glasses? No
7.) Who was your best friend? I hate limiting myself because it make it seem like one friend is better than another.
8.) How many tattoos did you have? None
9.) How many piercings did you have? None
10.) What car did you drive? Ford Fiero
11.) Had you been to a real party? One to many times
12.) Had your heart broken? Yes
13.) Single/Taken/Married/Divorced: Taken

10 years ago

1.) How old were you? 39
2.) Where did you go to school? Still not in school and not planning on going back
3.) Where did you work? I had taken early retirement
4.) Where did you live? Dallas
5.) Where did you hang out? Oaklawn (aka Boystown)
6.) Did you wear glasses? No
7.) Who was your best friend? Gene
8.) How many tattoos did you have? None
9.) How many piercings did you have? One
10.) What car did you drive? Mazda Miata
11.) Had you been to a real party? Still one to many and going strong
12.) Had your heart broken? Yes
13.) Single/Taken/Married/Divorced: Taken

5 years ago

1.) How old were you? 44
2.) Where did you go to school? NO, I told you already
3.) Where did you work? Still retired
4.) Where did you live? Sydney, Australia
5.) Where did you hang out? The botanical gardens and the harbour
6.) Did you wear glasses? Yes
7.) Who were your best friends? Once again don't want to limit myself but if I had to pick Moys, Cin and Hop
8.) Who was your crush? Didn't have one, I was very much in love
9.) How many tattoos did you have? One on my right shoulder
10.) How many piercings did you have? Two
11) What car did you drive? I did not own a car
12.) Had you had your heart broken? Yes
13.) Single/Taken/Married/Divorced/Bitter: Very much taken
14.) Any kids? One, a beautiful daughter


1.) How old are you? 49
2.) Where do you go to school? Look,at this age the closest I will come to going to school will be an adult education cooking course, but still haven't gone. Although I signed up but the class was full. Maybe next time?
3.) Where do you work? Still retired
4.) Where do you live? Hobart Tasmania
5.) Where do you hang out? My backyard
6.) Do you wear glasses? Yes
7.) Who are your best friends? Wayne and Lee
8.) Who is your crush? I don't have one unless you count my husband
9.) Do you talk to your old friends? Yes at least once a month on the phone as they all live overseas
10.) How many tattoo's do have? Still just the one
11.) How many piercings do you have? Just one, as I lost the other one of the after having to remove them before a surgery and then afterwards I couldn't be bothered putting them both back in so I now only have the one
12.) What kind of car do you have? I don't drive a lot due to my pain medications but we own a Volkswagen Golf
13.) Has your heart been broken? Yes, but it has mended well
14.) Single/Taken/Married/Divorced/Bitter? Still very taken and very happy
15.) Any kids? Still just the one, but with a grandchild