daily preciousness

Saturday, September 30, 2000

revelations 1:28

Tonight I got an e-mail message that made me laugh and cry and go giddy with excitement all at once.

A member of my extended family came out to me. She told me about how difficult it was for her to come out to her mother. She explained the widening gulf that she feels with her siblings. She said it all without even having to, because I could guess most of it.

It's my family, too, afterall. I knew what it was like, the pain, isolation and quiet little anguish of knowing that I am completely different from everyone else in my family.

Until now.

Now I know that I'm not alone. And I will have an ally when the darkness looms during the dark days of Christmas and Thanksgiving when I'm surrounded by the great, foreign OTHERNESS that is my family. Now I know I can be there for her and she'll be there for me.

I nearly cried tonight as I talked with friends about this great new discovery.

This is a great way to start off year number 28 of my life. Something tells me that it will be an exciting one.

I wonder what other revelations will come to pass?

Let's tune in and find out.

Hugs from a queer cousin,


Tuesday, September 26, 2000

unsent (part one)

Did you ever want to send a letter to someone who played an important part of your life? Did you ever want to contact them and let them know exactly what they meant to you?

I did.

I wrote letters, with the intention of leaving them unsent, to my former paramours, loves, sweethearts ... and to my various other romantic entanglements. The letters remain (and will remain unsent), but I decided to post them here, in the hopes that you might derive some small pleasure or vicarious thrill from highlights of my more romantic moments. Enjoy. (Let's just hope that I don't add you to this list anytime soon!)

Dear Cliff,

You were my first boyfriend. Thanks for being understanding of a ludicrously sensitive 18-year-old. I appreciate your tenacity at opening my mind to new possibilities: You de-programmed me from heterocentrism. Thank you for my first kiss. For all its awkwardness, it was sweetly romantic: the stumbling first step on this journey.

You will always be my perfect English gentleman, bushy eyebrows and all. Be that as it may, I can never forgive your terrible egg-drop soup.

Thank you for the day when you told me who the woman in the picture actually was -- not your sister, but your ex-wife. Kudos for the introduction to Thai massage. (I guess that marriage wasn’t entirely fruitless.) I hope your three black Yorkshire Terriers are healthy and asthma-free.

Dear Greg,

Every time I hear U2 music, I recall your piercing honesty – and how you honestly hated my early experiments with remixing. Thanks to you, I never tried to become a professional DJ. I owe you thanks for my career as a non-artist.

You and I totally ruined a dinner party by playing footsie under the table. Slammed down china and spilled wine attested to our lack of subtlety. Our host was furious!

You blew me away with your smile and your sincerity. I know we’ve had our static. Insecurities sometimes got the better of me, making me jealous of your relationship with my best friend, Jim. For that, I’m sorry.

Dear Jason,

You are the essence of the Narcissus story, my beautiful blond friend. I’ve never met anyone so concerned with his hair. I hope that you made it to California and have become a model. Not only did you teach me great patience, you showed me the truth behind the dumb blonde stereotype.

Do you remember getting caught on the pier on the bayou at the university? Those cops had no idea what was going on, thanks to your acrobatic recovery.

Dear Joel,

You were my first love and my first geek.
Do you remember our first conversation? We were at a forgettable party somewhere and we began chatting about Star Trek: TNG’s Beverly Crusher. Just like that fiery redhead swept Jean-Luc off his feet, you romanced me all the way down the proverbial Jeffrey’s tube.

Thank you for all the cross-country adventures. I can still remember the stink after our first 24-hour trek to D.C.! Can you recall the exhilaration of emerging from the subway station at the Mall, to behold a vast sea of gay people spreading out in all directions? It was a defining moment of my life. And you were there, holding my hand. I remember looking into your eyes (one blue, one brown) and realizing the thrill of being gay and being in the majority for the first time in my life. I get chills thinking about that experience.

I regret my betrayal of you in New York. David and our tour guide were not at fault. I have only my lustful heart to blame. I failed you. I was a selfish, ridiculous, ravenous man-whore. I apologize for that. I know we won’t be able to talk for some time, but I’ll always care about you. I only wish I’d been more caring then. I read about you in Timothy’s online diary last week. Just your name makes me smile.

With sweetness and light,

Monday, September 25, 2000

Zelda was never being boring

It was on a Thursday, when I unearthed that dusty old box from the basement. It was a cache of old photographs and invitations to teenage parties. "Dress in White," one said in quotations -- from someone's wife, a famous writer in the nineteen twenties -- Zelda Something or Other…

I remember thumbing through the pages of her biography, sitting in an alcove of my father's library. It was springtime. The dandelion's offerings drifted lazily into the open window. "Confidence is a curious thing," I remember her saying, "since you alone determine whether or not you lack it!" Funny, that.

You know, when you're young, you find inspiration in anyone who's ever gone and opened up a closing door. That Zelda opened doors, windows -- and a young boy's mind. The long-forgotten cache was stacked with pictures of father’s parties. Or were they our parties? (In many ways, I am my father, so that our memories sometimes converge.)

One Saturday afternoon, there was a chimpanzee riding around the living room on a bicycle. Just imagine Mom’s shock! (How did it learn to do that, anyway?) Someone on the upstairs landing blew clouds of soap bubbles. A thousand of them, filling the air, caught the sunlight in the foyer. (Or were we the ones floating? It's hard to say now.)

Zelda would've liked that, I suspect. She said, "We were never feeling bored. . . chiefly because we were never being boring."

I’d like to think that I carry on that little tradition. Yeah, I suck the marrow out of life, as a great man once said. I live by these words. But it's somehow harder now… I mean, like my friend Neil told me once,

"I never once dreamt

That I would get to be

The creature that

I'd always meant to be."

Well, somehow, I managed to get there.

But I thought, in spite of all my dreams, you would be somewhere, here with me!

I’m still waiting.

Saturday, September 23, 2000

the run (and run dmc)


I made a 24:08 time on my 5K Homecoming Race today. That's an improvement of about 20 seconds over my time last week! Be happy. These small shavings of time mean a lot. Just watch the Olympics. Every little bit counts, especially when you're as unserious about running as I am!

I was #102 in the men's division. I think there were about 400 participants in my group. By my estimation, the top 25% is not that bad, especially since I'm relatively new to competition. (This is my third.)

We were raising some much-needed funds for the Louisiana State University Library system. The Bengal Belles, a civic group composed mostly of coach's wives, organized the soiree.

I was impressed with the prizes. The winner in each category got a football jersey signed by every member of the football team. (I guess that would be worth more than a dustrag to most people, but not me.) If by some odd quirk of fate I HAD won it, I guess I could use it for a costume or something...

The guys in the race were built like human physiology charts. They were so physically perfect that I couldn't help but stare. You know those guys that are professional sport models that have PERFECT abdominals and pecs? That's what most of the guys at the race looked like. (I felt so flat-chested among them!)

To compensate for my lack of physical prowess, I wore my Banana Cafe rainbow shirt. I got this little number from my favorite gay spot in Paris, the Beauborg. It's the cute little area around the modern art museum. Fabulous cafe and a fabulous little shirt. But nobody noticed it or commented on it... I suppose that the 400 people happened to be either str8 or not very outgoing. :( Oh well, maybe I'll meet up with a friendly lesbian next time. It's always nice to meet folks after the race... after I catch my breath.

I lunched on jambalaya (a Louisiana rice dish, for those of you unfortunate enough to have never tried it). It was a fine meal.

For dessert, I brought home about 3 pounds of bananas (leftovers) and a pound of Australian oranges. That's about as close as I'll get to the Olympic games, I suppose.

Oh, as a side note, I had a great picnic last night with some friends from school, work and play. I met with eight people to go to the university pep rally.

The pep rally included a bonfire (watch out!), a bunch of screaming sorority girls (cookie-cutter blondes with irritating cheers) and Run DMC (80s rap group that went platinum).

The girls, Jane and Lori had a good time at the event. I met April, a new arrival from California. Doug and Nick just had a good time. (Most impressive: Doug's thrill-a-minute hip hop stylings! No wonder he's known as "Doug E. Fresh!")

I got to dance with Jane and Lori, who showed amazing versatility in the hip hop dancing category. And I snacked on Cadbury Picnic chocolates, another Aussie import, bought by a friend's sister who just came back from down under last week.

While there, I ran into some old pals from high school. I was happy to hear that they'd just gotten an RV and planned to "tailgate" tomorrow at the game. (Tailgating is basically sitting outside before a football game to drink, bar-be-cue and hang out.) I guess the best part about seeing them was seeing how well they're doing and how sweet they were when they realized we went to school together. I had to refuse offers of beer several times before they relented. (It's a shame, too. I would've had a great time drinking with them, but I had a race to run this morning!)

And what a race it was. It was the first race that I've been in that had sun, rain and 100% humidity. It was so humid that I was sweating the moment I left the apartment at 6 in the morning. Ouch. That's slap-yo-mama bad weather for a race. The crazy part is that the rain didn't cool things down at all, it just made everything extra slippery.

I guess that the upside to all of this is that if I can make a 24:08 with these crack-addict conditions, I should do swimmingly this fall when we get more clement racing day weather!

Saturday, September 16, 2000

silent all these years

This one's very self-indulgent, folks. Don't read unless you're ready to roll your eyes.

Sometimes I wonder where I’ve been all this time. Why have I been silent all these years? Was I ever even here? Where, then, was I? Off on a holiday?

Perhaps I’ve been off sipping umbrella-topped cocktails on a beach, curiously watching the topless women? Did I miss your sofa and your scent when I was feeling sticky in the sun?

No. I remember now. I was on a Thai beach. Hocking junk to the German tourists. Have I been peddling sunglasses to tourists on street corners, my fingernails dirty?

Was I a second-rate musician on a broken piano, the lower C badly out of tune?

Now, I am a chord in a minor key, played in a darkened room on a cloudy evening. I resonate in the floorboards of my bedroom.

Spilling out onto the courtyard through the open window, I am as luxurious as a trailing vine.

I am noticed subconsciously by a passing stranger delivering a present to his lover. He hears me and quietly pats his back pocket, to check his wallet. He is afraid of me.

No. I lied. I’m not a minor chord. I am the sound of a garbage truck that wakes up the couple who slept fitfully atop their mattress on the floor, surrounded by used paper plates and plastic forks.

The kitten is licking the remains of last night’s dinner. It registers the taste of salt from the cheese on the plate. It sits, licking its mouth quietly near the woman’s face.

The woman wakes. Rubbing her eyes, she yawns. Gently, she reaches out to the kitten, to hold it on her stomach. The creature purrs. Her lover opens a tired eye in the morning light, smiles to see her happy, holding her new pet. "She’s beautiful," the woman whispers. She's the best birthday present ever. She considers that statement. "But maybe the trip to Thailand last year was better," she thinks. But decides not to mention that. The man runs his hand through her curls. He hears the beeping of a garbage truck. It reminds him of the piano upstairs. He wonders if he'll meet the squirrel in the courtyard today in front of the library, among the twisting oaks.

Outside the albino squirrel glances furtively into the bedroom window, scampers up a branch and disappears. At the bottom of the tree, I sit quietly reading a book. He’s watching me.

I remember how wonderful it was to fall asleep on your sofa and wake warm in your embrace. You rubbed my back. I thought about roasted chicken.

I am here, now, breathing in an awareness of my frailties and forces. I am contemplating, in the abstract, my future triumphs. The possibilities spill out before me, in an eight-fold path.

I am here, now, breathing in an awareness of my frailties and forces. I am contemplating, in the abstract, my future triumphs. No longer silent, just like it was yesterday after I drank half a bottle of cheap wine.

The peppermint patties had melted in the sunlight and I sat, brown-fingered and sticky. Embarrassed, but silent no longer, I told you how much I love you.

You smirked and gave me a pretend punch to the chin, as gentle as a kitten's touch. The green candle marked "La Mano Mas Poderosa" flickered behind you and I blew it out with a single puff.

Tuesday, September 12, 2000


Man, have I been a pitiful journal writer lately. I just realized that it's been *weeks* since I wrote in this thing. That's whack.

So I thought I'd write about one of my favorite people today: my brother. On September 12, 1975, Christian Cameron Blender was born into this world.

I remember when Mom came home from the hospital. I was about 3 years old. Christian came wrapped up in a soft mint-green blanket and smelled funny. He had a huge head, complete with a soft spot at the crown.

Mom said I could hold him if I was very gentle. I was. He was a big baby. Healthy. His green eyes and whispy head of hair were immediately endearing to me, even though all the attention he was getting was not.

In fact, I remember Mom and Dad prepping me before his arrival. I can recall mother ballooning out like a Gaia Earth Mother, telling me that I had a very important job to do. I was Christian's big brother and he needed me to help take care of him. (Of course, she told me this in gender-neutral terms, since this is before a baby's sex could be readily determined before birth.)

I really anticipated his arrival. And I was glad to have a new plaything, even if it was noisy and required a lot of care and feeding. When he first came home, I remember holding him very proudly in my arms and showing him off to the relatives. "This is my baby bwotha, Chwistian! He's onwy 6 days owd," I would tell the aunts and grandfathers, with a gleam in my eye.

"I have a new baby bwotha and I am a biiiiig bwotha. I have a vewee impowtant job," I would proclaim to the grandmothers and uncles.

They cooed and patted the baby, kissed the baby and hugged the baby. I looked on approvingly. They were also very happy that I was obviously so happy to have Christian around.

About a week after Christian came home, I asked Mom and Dad earnestly, "Now, when is he going to go home to his *own* parents?" I hadn't fully comprehended the finality of the new living arrangement. I thought the baby room was a temporary living arrangement. But it was not to be. This kid was staying!

After the initial shock, I got over the fact that he was going to linger on a bit with us. So by the age of 18 or so, Christian and I were best friends. (It only took me 15 years to really grow to love him.)

Now Christian is probably the person I know best in the whole world. He's such a great guy. Funny, sweet and charming, I am so impressed with him. He has a great sense of humor that leaves my sides hurting from laughing so much. I owe many of my laugh lines to Christian.

When Christian and I go to a new place or to a special event where there is a guest book, we often perform a little bit of grafitti. We usually sign the guest book as "Kiki Santana." This is the modern equivalent to "Kilroy was here" for us.

It's just a lot more fun to write than our own names. So, if you happen to be at the White House or Hearst Manor or the Eiffel Tower or some other such place, check for the name and you'll see a little piece of the Blender tradition.

Another inside joke between Christian and me is the L.C. Smoov phenomenon. This is the name of an R&B music group in Monroe, Louisiana. On greeting cards and correspondence, Christian and I often invoke the name of L.C. Smoov to show how much we like something. If we like a particular restaurant or bar, we say that it's "L.C. Smoov Approved," meaning that it meets the HIGHEST standards in every way. This is truly high praise. It's much better than an AAA rating or a "*****" restaurant. This is serious business. If something is "L.C. Smoov Approved," then you can rest assured that it is of the absolute best quality.

Besides being funny, Christian's also very intelligent. He has no problems tackling tough logic problems and mathematical stumpers. He can multiply so fast that it just blows me away. (I usually resort to counting on my fingers.)

He got the left brains in the family. I'm much more right brained. It amazes me how he can be so creative sometimes, even though he's usually so logical and scientific. I guess he got that from me. I always challenged his creativity.

Right now he's at Louisiana Tech University in North Louisiana, studying the biological sciences.

So this journal entry goes out to you, Boo, in all of your Pheonix Kickstand Glory!

Hugs to my brotha.


Monday, September 11, 2000



Bring on the drugs. It's time to lose all sense of my body. My new glasses, as fabu as they may be, are giving me a painful headache. Yes, the old Vogue 3246 Brown glasses are a lovely sight to see, but my poor little brain is having trouble adjusting to the new vision that they're giving me.

Douglas and I went shopping for glasses (for me), coffee makers (for him) and dessert (for both of us). We got all that and more. I also bought an electric razor, since my skin has suffered enough at my own hand.

The dessert was nice -- we went to Albasha Greek/Lebanese -- I had some creamy and delightful tiramisu with some decaff coffee. Douglas had some Lebanese coffee, which was incredibly sweet and strong, that left a tar-like residue on the demitasse. It was a scary sight.

I got home in time to call Gavin briefly before bedtime.

I also set up a fountain in my bedroom window. It's small and cute. It reminds me of a little Shinto gate. That's apparently the whole point, since it's called the "Shinto" fountain. I'm glad that someone's aesthetic sense was so much like my own that they created such an adorable piece of artwork. Good fun will be had by all if these sort of trends continue. And the killings will end.

You have my promise on that.

Off to go to work.

Croutons and blue cheese,