Our Little Man !

I have not posted to this blog since my Grandmother died.  It’s not that I ran out of gratitude, it was just that my last post was all about family, specifically her, and I just couldn’t bring myself to “move on”.  Anyone who knows me well, or has followed this blog at all, knows what my Grandma Blanche meant and still means to me.  Of course many things have happened since her death, and many of them I am grateful for.  So why now?  Why renew my Grateful Bunny blog?  Well as it turns out, I have a new man in my life.  A little guy who has brought this whole circle of life thing in to perspective.  And while I still grieve the passing of my sweet grandmother daily, I find myself highly anticipating my first meeting with my new nephew, Kelson Blaine Siepert.  Yes, that’s right…for better or for worse, my sister Jill and her husband Chris have given their bundle of joy my middle name (my first name is actually Clinton, for those that didn’t know).  I’ve not met him yet, but I already feel an immense kinship to him, and I have not felt THIS particular feeling since Grandma Blanche left us.

For the record, having a namesake is a peculiar situation.  I am so incredibly humbled that he has my name, and yet I only hope I can live a life that justifies the honor.

I am not a religious person.  I simply have no use for organized religion, but that is another topic entirely. This attitude does not preclude, however, a feeling of continuation..of remembrance…of renewal.  I am grateful to little Kelson for many things, but most of all, for reminding me that death is a fact of life.  That birth starts it all anew.  I am so blessed to experience both with such amazing people.   And it occurred to me recently, as I was thinking on my grandmother, that our best hope of honoring a legacy of someone who has gone on, is to love and appreciate the ones that are still here…and especially the new kids on the block.  Welcome, Kelson…may you never know anything but unconditional love and acceptance.  And may I make damn sure that happens…I love you already, mister man!


Today I am grateful, again, for my amazing crazy family.  I recently had the extreme pleasure of camping with my entire family.  Mom, Dad, Sisters , Grandma, Niece and 2 Nephews.  Seriously, I think once you get over 5 people in one place at one time, the chances for conflict and dysfunction grow, and the more you add, those chances increase exponentially.  I am so damn lucky, because that is simply NOT the case with my family…hell, the more the merrier it seems.  How blessed I am.  We all went to Ponderosa State Park (I kept an eye out for Adam, Hoss and Little Joe, but to no avail) in McCall, Idaho.  I have been coming to this area, featuring stunning Payette Lake since I was a kid.  Boy Scout camp was here, and too many family camping trips to count.  We do it the “traditional” way…sleeping in tents, and cooking over and open fire!  Stop snickering, y’all…I am a darned good camper, and so is my family.  We had some really great meals, spent lots of time on the lake in my sisters boat, and scouted out the location for my Niece’s wedding coming up in October.  It was kick-ass fun!  It still amazes me actually…that I even have a family left, after the drama of coming out to them several years ago.  I seriously didn’t know what would happen at the time, and I am extremely fortunate to have the love and support of those closest to me.  Some people say “family doesn’t matter” and I am all about creating your own “family”…but I am lucky enough to have BOTH.  And for me at least…family matters.  I love my family so much…even with all the dysfunction, weirdness and “non-traditional” cooky-ness.  My family rocks, and I am grateful for it more than I can say.

The picture features my grandma Blanche (94 and going strong) and our latest addition, my niece Savanna (she just turned 1).  I love both of these ladies with all my heart, and they are but an example of the immense closeness my family enjoys.  I know it’s rare.  I know it’s almost weird, but my family are best friends and trusted confidants, and I this bunny is eternally grateful for that…

Today I am grateful easy -to-assemble products, and for the tiny amount of “horse-sense” that I possess.  That is the term my Grandpa would use to describe one’s ability (or in my case, the complete LACK of) to put things together…generally involving tools and equipment very foreign to me.   At any rate, I decided it was time for me to learn how to grill…one of the glaring holes in my cooking repertoire, and I decided I wanted to learn.  After much serious shopping, I decided on a grill that I found online.  It’s a Cuisinart (did anyone else know they made grills?  I sure didn’t).  There are many things I like about it, mainly that it is portable and I can take it to the DUCKs football games this fall, but I have to admit one of the major factors in my purchase was it said “easy to assemble”.  Now, I realize that term is relative, especially when it comes to ME.  I am well aware of my ineptness and complete lack of “horse-sense”.  I mean, let’s face it…tools like screwdrivers, drills and wrenches scare the crap out of me, okay?  I know it…I embrace this short-coming, I just avoid tools as much as possible.  I have found that to be very common among gay men.  Certainly not ALL gay men, but most…that’s why most of us have lesbian friends to help us in these matters (also an observation…most lesbians rock a tool box).  So my grill arrives in a nice pretty box, and I am excited to get started.  I realize I could probably use some help, so I called my friend Ken (yes the same one that regularly kicks my ass on the racquetball court), who as it turns out is almost as afraid of tools as I am.  Nice…now we have TWO gay men trying to figure it out.   I blocked out an entire afternoon to put this grill together…thoughts of “insert tab A in to tab B and bolt together with washer (c), lug-nuts (d) and screwdriver (e), and don’t tighten TOO much our you’ll break the lock-washer, but tighten enough to get a snug fit”  Geez…just TYPING that last sentence gives me a headache.  So, we take everything out of the box, and lay it out on the new patio in nice neat piles, which I thought about labeling (the piles) but decided to risk knowing what I was doing.  Then it all went wrong.  First of all, there were only 4…count them FOUR screws and wing-nuts.  Huh?  That’s impossible…look at all the pieces scattered about, I reckoned.  So I opened the instructions…which were written in surprisingly good English…I mean, even I could understand it.  I quickly leafed through it…there were only 4…count them FOUR steps!   Huh.  Amazing.  So, we decided to start in on it (beer in one hand…screwdriver in the other).  Honest to god, we had it done in less than 10 minutes !  It snapped, and clicked and assembled with surprising ease.  Our biggest hiccup was figuring out what the hell a ” flame tamer ” is…I’ll let y’all figure that one out on your own.  In the end, I had to use a single screwdriver for about 2 minutes tops…HAPPY CAMPER!  Erecting this particular grill was pretty easy after all…even for this tool-challenged Homo.  🙂  So, if you are in the area, come on over for a BBQ sometime, cuz this grill is fired up, and the steaks are on…

Today I am grateful for the new book  ” The Greater Journey – Americans in Paris ” by David McCullough.  I consider History one of my strong suits, to be honest.  Anytime there is trivia questions, I always choose Art or History (and avoid Sports like the plague).  I’ve spent a lot of time learning and examining history throughout the years, and always got A’s in school when it came to this subject.  I am also pretty versed in Art and Literature.  Despite my  arrogance, I was intrigued by the title of this book when I saw it in an airport bookstore recently.  With a SINGLE sentence, I was hooked.  Mr. McCullough writes ” …not all pioneers went west…”   Brilliant.  This book was a shoe-in for me, mostly because I am an enormous Francophile (this isn’t anything naughty…look it up for cryin’ out loud).  The book deals with a surprising number of men and a few women who were to become luminaries in their given fields of art, music, literature and politics…and their adventures across the sea in Paris between 1830 – 1900.  I have to admit, names such as Fenimore Cooper and Samuel Morse rang distant bells for me.  But who the heck was Elizabeth Blackwell, or George P.A. Healy?  I am about to find out, and very much looking forward to the journey.  I did have one thing surprise me.  I bought the hardcover !   I honestly can’t tell you the last time I purchased and actual book (having become an enormous fan of my Kindle APP on my iPad and iPhone).  I bought the hardcover because it was roughly the same price as the digital version…and I could tell very quickly this would become more of a textbook for me.  With lots of cross-referencing, highlighting and the like.  Besides, the hardcover has some gorgeous photos, and I like the idea of spending time with this book in my hands.  I had forgotten how HEAVY a hardcover book can be !  But somehow, the heft only adds to my excitement and desire to learn about a period of history I simply don’t know much about.  Perhaps the Greater Journey will be my own…I’ll let you know!

Today I am grateful for Dan and his infinite patience with me.  So I got it in to my head that I want to spend more time outdoors in the back yard this year.  Our biggest problem is, right now, there is room for the hot tub on our patio…AND THAT’S IT!  No chairs, no table, no fire pit, no bbq….nada.  You all know how much I love my hot tub, so that ain’t a goin’ nowheres.  Anyway, I’ve been on the hunt for a nice patio set.  I mean…seriously looking.  I’ve been on the hunt for a few weeks, now.  I am picky.  That  will come as no surprise, but in a way APPLE has spoiled me.  I want things that WORK, that LOOK GOOD, and that I can RELY on.  Is that so much to ask?  Apparently in patio furniture…it is.  Okay, so anyway, today we go to Fred Meyer to get milk and eggs (no joke).  While we are standing in line, I spy a patio set I’d not seen before.  I mosey over and sit down in one of the chairs.  OMG !!!  Comfortable…fashionable…and sturdy!  Could it be?  And to boot, it was ON SALE!  Happy day!  This is where Dan’s infinite patience kicks in.  I get all excited, and find someone to help me.  “Let me check to see if we have it”…wait…wait…wait.  “Sorry, we don’t have any in stock, and it’s being cleared out, so I can’t order any more…and no, we can’t sell the floor model.”  ARGHHH !!!  Refusing to take no for an answer, I get on the phone.  I call all the Fred Meyers in a 25 mile radius.  I FINALLY find a store that has one.  Great, I say…we’ll be right down.  Poor Dan.  Then I have a thought.  I call back.  “Hey, can you measure the size of the biggest box for me”.  It occurred to me that my new CRV doesn’t have the same capacity as my VUE.  I was pretty proud of myself for figure it out BEFORE we got to the store.  He measures.  4 feet.  Too big.  Dammit !   Still…I really like this set.  After some problem solving, Blaine decides to rent a U-Haul.  Yep.  20 bux, plus mileage, and the patio set is all mine.  Poor Dan.  So off we go to get the U-Haul.  14 feet of truck madness.  And a very large steering wheel!  So we motor off to Fred Meyer to get the damn patio set.  As I am driving, I am thinking…hey!  With this big ass truck, maybe I can talk THEM in to selling me the floor model, so I don’t have to put the think together (not one of my strong suits…even worse for Dan).  So with all the charm and big smiles I can muster…and a big ass truck…it actually worked!  We are now the proud owners of the Bridgeport Premium Patio Set.  At a great price, I might add!  And all put together!  I be one happy (and grateful) bunny!  And I was thinking as I drove the U-Haul back to the garage…you really can’t put a price on patience.  Especially with me.  Especially, my sweet, amazing man.  Dan, I love you.  Thanks for putting up with my obsessiveness.  It comes in many forms, and Dan accommodates them with grace and aplomb.  Priceless.  🙂

Today I am grateful for the INCREDIBLE trip Dan and I took to Hawai’i.  As stated in my last blog, Dan and celebrated 10 years together, and chose to go to the islands for our anniversary.  OMG!  We had such an amazing time.  I swear, if I had a dollar for every time I said “this is so beautiful”, we could retire to Hawai’i.  I saw, did, and learned so much.  It’s almost overwhelming to think about that trip.  I took well over 500 photographs, so I could remember it all…capture the feeling of the breeze on the beach.  The smell of the sea water.  The exact nuance of the colors in a sunset.  It was absolute sensory overload…and I couldn’t be more grateful for such a wonderful opportunity.  Of course, spending all that time, and sharing all those experiences with Dan made it that much sweeter.  I have now visited most of the major islands.  I still need to get to Moloka’i and Lana’i, but I’ve hit the big ones…and while one should never have to CHOOSE an island, if I was forced to do so, it would be Maui.  I loved the whole “feel” of that island.  It has some cool urban centers (think Lahaina, or Kihei), but also some of the most remote places on the planet (think Hana).  It was jaw-droppingly beautiful, fun, diverse, and did I mention beautiful?  The picture here is of “Big Beach” and it’s ahhhhmazing.  As much as I enjoyed Maui, I have to give props to Kaua’i as well.  Stunning vistas, and primitive in a very cool way.  And the roosters..oy vey…anyone who has visited the island knows exactly what I am talking about.  Dan and I caught up with my friend Scotty and his mom, Roni, as well as Steph and Chris on Kaua’i, and had a spectacular time.  From the river boat trip to the luau, and of course the cruise along the Na Pali coast was memorable for sure.  The whole trip was sheer, 100% bliss for me.  Now I feel recharged, and ready for the summer.  And we’re already making plans for our return to paradise…

Today I am grateful for 10 years with Dan!  Domestic Partnership – Boyfriends – Marriage – Shacking Up….whatever the hell society chooses to call it…Dan and I have been together for 10 years to the day.  As with many things, it seems only yesterday that we were dating, and yet I have a hard time imagining my life withOUT Dan in it.  Quite simply, he is my rock.  All of the things I do would be impossible without his absolute unwavering support and love.  I clearly remember the first time I met Dan, and how giddy I was.  I couldn’t believe someone THIS sexy, THIS sweet, THIS smart…was interested in me?  Amazing.  I still feel that way many times.  Let’s be clear…Dan has had to put up with a LOT of crap from me.  For starters, there is my frenetic energy.  There are few people who could keep up with that on a daily basis, and he does it with ease…mostly he just give me free rein, knowing that I am going to do whatever I want anyway!  That deference takes a very special person…and I am grateful for it every day.  Whether it’s my painting (and making a disaster of the entire house for days on end), or my cupcakes (making a disaster of the kitchen for several hours), or his constant support and dedication, I know that he will always be there to help…and many times to clean up after me (you can not IMAGINE how many cupcake tins Dan has washed up, while I am busy swearing because my frosting is cracking!).  It’s amazing really.  And yet, through it all, Dan remains the sweet, caring, compassionate, sexy man I fell in love with 10 years ago.  How lucky am I?  Very.  And believe me, I know it.

As I was going through the pictures of us over the years, I chose this one because it was taken the first year we were together…and it demonstrates things that have NOT changed (my love for ice cream, and Dan’s shiny shaved head!), and things that HAVE changed (in particular, my teeth before braces!).  It’s a perfect representation of the last 10 years, and how much I love Daniel P. Johansson.

To celebrate this epic achievement (I mean come on…10 years is like a silver anniversary in GAY years!), we are going to Hawai’i for 10 days.  I can’t wait.  Being in paradise, with the person I love more than anything in the world is pretty much bliss defined.  So, here is to another 10 years…and 10 more after that.