Thursday, July 31, 2003

Running on empty

I've pretty much abandoned my marathon dreams—at least for this summer. It seemed like such a cool thing to do to celebrate my 35th year, but I've reached a point in my training where I just don't want to do it anymore. Pick your excuse:

• I'm tired of having no social life. After three years in Chicago I'm finally getting invited to parties and dinners and movies with some halting regularity, and suddenly I have to turn everyone down because I have to run.

• I have worked my ass off (or on, as the case may be) in the gym to put muscle on my naturally skeletal frame. And it's paid off—people actually hit on me now. I think. But this constant running has been the fastest way to strip off many years' worth of muscular accumulation. Which is NOT something I'm emotionally ready to face. Not, at least, in the Year of the Homosexual.

• My knees always hurt. Which is making me feel OLD.

• Despite my varying training routes and my regular runs with FrontRunners, it's all getting rather boring.

• I'm just not having any fun.

But have no fear—I've put in enough training that I can easily be ready for my first half marathon in September. So I'm going to go for that. And in the mean time, I'll be pumping up at the gym. Or waiting by the phone for you to ask me on a date.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

I'm back from a great trip home. A few highlights:

* Seeing a bunch of old theater friends in a spectacular production of La Cage aux Folles. I'm so proud of everyone for doing such a great job clomping (in heels, no less) through unfamiliar territory like drag shows and potential public scorn. Iowa has more than its share of thumper wackos (whose obesession with all things gay often prompts them to turn out in anti-gay protest of things that aren't even gay), but the director of the show said there wasn't even a peep from that corner about this fabulous drag musical.

* Seeing a bunch more theater friends in the audience. It was a homecoming reunion to beat all homecoming reunions.

* Being the hero to my 4-year-old nephew. A kid's love is so genuine and so unquestioning, and it's such a moving gift to receive. But he LOVES to sleep with Uncle Jake whenever I visit. And he's a kicker. So his love can also be exhausting. (I'm still working on being a hero to my 20-month-old niece. She sat on my lap once and she handed me her prize bunny once during my visit. So I'm making progress.)

* Hanging out with my family. I'm so lucky to be related to such cool people. I always enjoy their company, and the time always flies by whenever I visit.

* Visiting my friends Dave and Carol and watching their daughter camp it up in front of me. She definitely got the performing gene from her parents, and she's ADORABLE. (Not as adorable as my niece—nobody could ever be—but you probably already knew that.)

* Seeing my ex, Jeff. He's such a great guy and we had such a good run together. But our breakup let me move to Chicago and find a sense of personal and professional happiness I never knew I could have when I was in Iowa. And he seems genuinely happy with his new beau, Matt, so I'm looking at our whole history as win-win.

* Running through my old haunts to satisfy my waning interest in running the Chicago Marathon. Cedar Rapids was hit with a devastating storm a week ago, and many of its grand old trees now lie in piles at the curb -- so the old neighborhoods look markedly different. But the city is still a beautiful place, and so much of it is filled with happy memories for me.

* Shopping in malls where people smile and act friendly and don't pull things off shelves and drop them on the floor if they don't want them. And in Cedar Rapids, there are things in my size on the racks and savings in my pocket every time I head back to my car. Woo-hoo!

Friday, July 25, 2003

It's Friday afternoon and I'm headed to Iowa for a weekend with the family. You regular readers (all three of you) will have to wait until Tuesday to hear about my adventures.

Dear Newsweek,

Newsweek wouldn't print my letter -- though it printed some far-less-articulate responses to its coverage of the Supreme Court's sodomy ruling last month.

Anyway, I'm posting my expertly crafted angry-homo letter here in a revenge-of-the-unpublished attempt to justify the time I spent on it. Please enjoy.

* * *

Lou Sheldon doesn't believe the followers of Christian mythology deserve to have their faith "trampled" by the dawning social equality of gay people. But what hierarchy places the chosen beliefs of the religious (and religious affiliation is arguably more a choice than sexual orientation) over the legitimate rights of gay people not to have patently demeaning laws enacted against them?

These social conservatives' vitriolic fascination with "homosexual activity" stands in stark contrast to their lack of similar outrage over the destructive (and exclusive) byproducts of heterosexual activity: teen pregnancy, single-parent families, soaring divorce rates, overpopulation, and an unquenchable demand for abortion that polarizes our nation and diverts congressional resources—and tax dollars—from legitimate public interests like education, health care and the economy.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

Every day a little

Today is my three-year anniversary at my job -- and my three-year-and-one-week anniversary of moving to Chicago. Mom sent me an email this morning reminding me it's also the 30-year anniversary of her father's death. I barely remember that grandfather -- just that he was jovial and loving, but even those "memories" could be manufactured from the stories Mom and Dad have told me. Nevertheless, I've thought about him all day -- which seems the least I can do for a man who helped ensure I'm here today.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

It's been three days since My First Manicure, and I'm not impressed. My not-so-cuticles are shredded and bleeding, and my nails are already so long they need to be clipped. I think I'll forgo such dubious pampering in the future.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Observations about training for a marathon:

1) Everything hurts. All the time.
2) You spend every waking hour eating, and you sleep like the dead.
3) It's like taking a part-time job. The closer you get to the marathon (and I'm only in week 5 of 16) the less of a social life you have.
4) Your abs look RIPPED, but all the just-for-show muscles you've built up to attract men start to shrink.
5) Your house is always draped with half-sweaty clothes.
6) You go through underwear twice as fast (see "sweaty clothes" in item # 5).
7) You discover that an icy cold soda -- no matter how delicious it sounds -- is not even remotely thirst-quenching.
8) "Runner's high" is a dirty LIE.
9) You learn pretty quickly which energy bars make you gassy.
10) It's hard to fart quietly when you're running.

Monday, July 21, 2003

It's 4:51 pm (I'm including the time here to try to figure out what to do about the way-off time stamps Blogger is giving me) and I've had a productive day. I put Arno on the Orange Line this morning at 9:30 so he could head home from his whirlwind weekend visit. (We had every intention of spending yesterday museum-hopping ... but we somehow found ourselves getting manicures and pedicures instead. It was my first time for either, and I must say my nails look fabulous.) Then I headed to Crunch for a back workout and three miles on the treadmill. I got home at 1, put in five loads of laundry, headed to Sherwin-Williams for some "Morning Fog" tinted paint, and spent the rest of the afternoon painting the kitchen and running down to the laundry room to check on the progress of my loads. (Only one didn't dry all the way -- so in addition to a kitchenfull of crap spread all over the condo, there's also wet laundry hanging from every available thing that sticks out. It looks like a damn tenement in here.)

Tonight at 6 I have a second first date with M., who blew off the FIRST first date he asked me out on. But he scores high on the Boyfriend Aptitude Test (he's cute and blond and gainfully employed), so he gets a few more chances.

I'm still trying to figure out how to add a few things to this site: Links that create pop-up windows, a few pictures, a mailto thingie and maybe even a hit counter. Stay tuned.

Sunday, July 20, 2003

It was supposed to rain today, but right now it's just gorgeous out. Which fucks up our plans totally. Arno and I had intended to ride out today's storms amid the treasures of the Art Institute, but now that it's so lovely outside we may have to rethink. It's his last day here, and we've had a great time being Chicago tourists together: We took an architectural boat cruise, visited the top of the Sears Tower, scoped boys all over Boystown, saw a gay-ass musical, ate at every restaurant we've encountered and shopped our well-manicured little butts off. Tonight it's show tunes at Sidetrack. Tomorrow we put him on his plane home and I spend some quality time in the laundry room. Whee.

Saturday, July 19, 2003

Attend the tale

It's a hot July afternoon in Chicago. Arno is visiting from NYC, and he headed to Hollywood Beach for some sun and boywatching two hours ago. I opted to stay in and take a nap. But now I'm awake and I'm faced with a bunch of options: 1) Get caught up on last week's Tribunes. 2) Vacuum. 3) Clean the kitchen. 4) Start my own blog. Option 4 sounded the most complicated—and the worst new project to tackle when we're supposed to leave for dinner in half an hour. So here we are.