25 February 2008

The Cleanse - Finale

It's over! I made it! I won!

I learned how to eat lots of vegetables and enjoy them. I feel wonderful. I have more energy than I ever have. I lost 14 lbs and reduced my body fat percentage from 20% to 14%. I look great. ;D

I've been eating "normal" food again and it's been enjoyable, but has been a little difficult to adjust to. For example, I went to lunch with some coworkers today, and we ended up at this little hotdog shop in Hermosa Beach. Guess what was not on the menu? Vegetables. So, I got a hotdog and side of french fries. It tasted good, but I felt like absolute crap all afternoon. I could not wait to get home and eat a salad.

So am I going to go back to eating how I was before? Not on your life. Now I've joined a "Speedo Contest" with some friends. It's a competition to, by the time we go to Vegas during the first week of May, see who looks the best in a speedo. Yikes. I've got a lot more situps to do between now and then.

18 February 2008

A Little Comedic Diversion

I wanted to share this great experience with everyone else. I played in a band that went on a couple of mini-tours to the UK and Ireland a few years ago. This is a video of a little adventure we had while in Ireland.

Disclaimer: I will not accept responsibility if your IQ is lowered while watching this. Watch at your own risk.

17 February 2008

Comprehending Yourself

While I was sitting in church today, the Elder's Quorum lesson piqued my interest. There was a certain sentence that I read as I scanned through the lesson manual while the teacher was telling a story. It's a statement by the Prophet Joseph Smith:

If men do not comprehend the character of God, they do not comprehend themselves.

That really embedded itself in my mind when I read it. I've read and/or heard this quote dozens of times before, but it has never struck me the way it did today. I read the statement and the surrounding paragraphs several times, trying to figure out why this was so interesting to me. What was I supposed to learn from this statement? Why was the Spirit telling me to ponder this particular sentence?

Then I multiplied the statement by -1: If men do not do comprehend the character of God, they do not do comprehend themselves.

Some of the questions I ask myself about being gay are: Why this situation in my life? Why this trial? Why am I different? What am I supposed to learn? How am I supposed to act?

These questions all lead up to the final statment of exasperation, I don't understand.

Wait a minute.

I don't understand? If I don't know or understand the answers to any of those questions, doesn't that seem to lead to the concept that I don't comprehend myself?

I don't comprehend myself because I don't comprehend God. And if I come to comprehend God, I will comprehend myself. So, maybe the best way to understand my life and the way it is, is to stop focusing so much on understanding gay and focus more on understading God.

If men do comprehend the character of God, they do comprehend themselves.

14 February 2008

Singles Awareness Day

Well, a Happy Singles Awareness Day to most of you, and to the few of you in relationships, Happy Valentines Day.

Typically I would be inclined to make some whiney post about how this is the 35th VD of my life, and yet once again I am without someone to share it with. But not today! Today I am going to just say, screw the establishment.

I really want a thickly frosted cookie right now. Damn this cleanse. Actually, the cleanse is awesome. Today is day 19 of it all. I had the most tempting day yesterday, as we had a potluck at work. There were all sorts of unhealthy goodies on the table at lunch. It smelled really good, but there were only a few items that truly tempted me. Most of the food I looked at and thought, ew, that is so over-processed and gross looking. I have no desire to eat that. I think this diet really is doing it's job of reprogramming my tastebuds.

I also kicked it up a notch at the gym. I switched around my workout last week, and it has paid off. This morning I weighed in and I have lost 10 lbs so far, and 5% of my body fat. I'm down to 155 lbs and 14% body fat. It was really motivating to see that. It was so motivating, in fact, that I may be inclined to stay on the diet after the four weeks are over, just so I can for once in my life have that sixpack to show off on the beach this summer (and I'm not talking about beverages). I think that for that to happen I'm going to have to drop to 145 and get in the single-digit body fat percentage.

Go me!!!

12 February 2008

And That's Why I'm Her Favorite

My friend has a blog that he is keeping this year where every day he lists the random holidays of that day. Today happens to be Plum Pudding day.

I read that and my mind instantly referred back to when I was a kid and we would go to the old public library every year before Christmas and check out the children's book Plum Pudding for Christmas. I loved that book. I loved that trip to the library every year. It's such a great memory for me.

Well, my mom's birthday is coming up in a month or so, and the thought occured to me that she needed a copy of that book to read to her grandchildren every Christmas. What a great gift idea! One of my best, I'd say. It gives her another way to be the awesome grandma that the grandkids love to come see, because she has that book that they will want to read every Christmas. On top of that, it will also be a great reminder of the wonderful times we had as a family with that book while growing up.

So I got on Amazon to find a copy of it for her. It is out of print (and looks like it has been for decades), but there were several used copies for sale. I bought her one and had it shipped to her for her birthday.

And that's an example of why I'm her favorite. :D

11 February 2008

Greatful For Your Gayness

An email discussion from the North Star Men's group started today with this message:

So, here's a question that I've been struggling with the past several

How do I accept and love myself when I don't accept and love the fact
that I am attracted to other men?

The best illustration I have of this concern is when I'm out in
public, I feel attracted to a guy, and then I tell myself, "You
shouldn't feel that way. It's wrong to feel attracted to men." While
that isn't the same thing as saying, "You're bad because you feel
attracted to guys," the effect on my self-esteem is the same. How can
I seperate what I do from who I am? How do I allow myself to dislike
the fact that I feel attracted to guys WITHOUT letting that affect how
I feel about myself as a whole person?

I think that this is an important thing to work on. I believe that
it's the Book of Mormon teaches us that "men are that they might have
joy." So, how do we experience joy, and learn to love and accept
ourselves, in spite of feeling things that we would rather not

I figure that this is a struggle that other men face. I was hoping
for your insights about what you've done that has and hasn't helped in
accepting who you are and loving yourselves while also experiencing
attractions to other men.

My response:

Personally, I think that saying "You shouldn't feel that way. It's wrong to feel attracted to men." is wrong and just as destructive as telling yourself you are a bad person.

According to what has been revealed to us by the leaders of the church, the only thing wrong about homosexual attractions is acting out on them by breaking the law of chastity. Other than that, it's just something you have to deal with in your life. Stop telling yourself you are bad for feeling the way you do. You aren't. Stop bludgeoning yourself over something you have no control over. You are attracted to men. Accept it. When you see a hot guy, acknowledge it but then move on. Just don't dwell on it to the point where you act out on it.

And you start to love youself more when you sit back and recognize all of the wonderful traits you have that straight guys usualy don't. For example, I love that I am a much more sympathetic person than 99.9% of the guys I know. My female friends love that too, because they know they can talk to me about their lives and I'm actually listening to them. Be greatful for your gayness. In spite of the challenges, there are some good perks. :)

It's important for everyone to realize that nobody is under any sort of condemnation just because they are attracted to members of the same sex. I think that the sort of self-belittling that the original poster seems to have problems with are just the kind of thing that lead people to desperate acts such as suicide. There is nothing sinful about having those feelings. I reference Elder Holland's Oct 2007 Ensign article as support for this.

Be greatful for your gayness. I honestly have come to see many great things that have happened to me, and many great personality traits and qualities that I have because of my sexual orientation. It has shaped my life in a way that would never have been possible any other way. I used to think that if there was a pill I could take to not be gay any more, I would do it in a heartbeat. But now I'm not so sure that I would want to give up portions of my personality and character to become a SSG (Stupid Straight Guy).

Or is it spelled Stoopid Straight Guy...?

10 February 2008

The Cleanse - Day 15

Well my friends, we are now on the downhill side of the cleanse. It's been a great experience. I'm still on the regular diet again this week, but next week I get to add in a bunch of stuff. I'm pretty freaking excited about that.

I had the nastiest craving for french fries when I walked into Target the other day and passed the McDonald's in there. It was rough, but I withstood the temptation.

One thing that we can't eat during the first three weeks is potatoes. I was sad about that. So, I asked the doctor about eating other rooty things, such as taro. He said go for it. And I did. I was in my big salty snacks craving after the french fry incident at Target, so I decided to invent a new salty snack. I call it Baked Tarot Chips. Yeah, I know, not very creative. They were delicious, though, and satisfied my craving.

I took one tarot root bulb, peeled it, and then cut it into 1/16" thick slices with my super-awesome food slicing tool. I took a cookie sheet, poured a little olive oil on it, and then smeared it around with a paper towel so that there was a very thin film of oil on the sheet - just enough to keep the tarot from sticking, not so much that it was drenched in oil. I lined the cookie sheet with the tarot slices, and salted them. I then broiled them on high for a couple of minutes (you have to watch very closely, because once they start to brown, then will burn very, very fast). And... voila! A healthy, chip-ish, salty snack. They were so delicious.

I wonder if they'll still be that good once I'm off the cleanse and eating normal food again....

Facing Your Fears

From time to time in our lives we face our fears. Some finally touch a snake. Some leap from a bridge with a bungee attached to their leg. Some open up the fruit cake package and taste it.

I have a fear of working on my house. I don't know why. I worked for two years as an auto mechanic while attending BYU. I can tear apart an engine and put it back together - and it will work. While in grad school I had to learn how to weld in order to assemble test hardware for my research. I have these tremendous mechanical abilities, yet when it comes to working on my own home I cower. I think it has something to do with artistic craftsmanship. It's easy to bolt pieces together when you buy furniture from Ikea, but ask me to build a table from raw materials and I freeze up like a corpse in a morgue. I just don't have that artistic ability in my hands. So, I'm afraid to do anything for fear of messing it up.

Well, I've lived in my condo for six years now, and since the day I moved in I've been talking about rennovations on it. Yeah, six years. I haven't done anything on it. Well, that is, until today.

Today I finally sucked it up and started on the rennovations. Phase 1 is to remove the old 70's popcorn texture from the ceiling. I started in the spare bedroom, you know, just in case I screwed it up. It came out okay. Only a couple of gouges in the ceiling drywall, but those can be easily patched. Then I spent the next several hours doing the big closet, the other bedroom and the hallway. It took a long time for a seemingly simple job. I didn't do my prep work as well as I should have, so I had to spend about 2 hours cleaing up after I was done. Blegh. Well, now I know what to do for the other half of the house so that it will go much faster.

So, I faced one of my fears today and started working on the condo. We'll see how fearful I get once I start attempting to install the recessed lighting in the living room.

Now where did I put that fruit cake....

05 February 2008

The Cleanse - Day 10

Whew! We're starting Day 10 right now and all is going extremely well. It's a third of the way over. I can't believe it. The time is flying by really fast.

The biggest differences I've noticed from the whole ordeal is that I no longer get the after-lunch doldrums at work anymore. I'm not sleepy and trying not to fall out of my chair at 1:00. It's great! I've also lost 5 pounds of flab. I've still got a ways to go on that before I have those washboard abs to show off, though.

This past weekend I was able to add a new aspect to the diet. Whenever I go to the gym and work out I get to add some lean meat (chicken/turkey breast or fish) to my dinner. Boy is that incentive to go to the gym!

Now I don't know if it's because last night was only the second time in 9 days that I had eaten meat, but the meal I made was one of the greatest meals I have ever eaten. And it was very, very simple. I got a package of turkey breast meat at Albertsons that was already cut up into 1/4" strips (about the size of fat french fries) so that it cooks really fast. With it I made the following:

4 oz turkey breast
3 large mushrooms, sliced
1/8 cup diced onions
1/4 of a jalapeno

Sautee meat in olive oil. When meat is nearing completion, add vegetables, sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Cook til it's done.

I ate this with a very large portion of steamed Swiss Chard with fresh lime juice squeezed on it.

I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

03 February 2008

Subtle Answers

This past week I've been thinking, pondering on my status in the church. It was a strange coincidence that a couple of days ago I was chatting with a fellow Moho, and he commented to me I still can't believe you're still Mormon. I asked him what he meant by that statement. His response was something along the lines of, "Well, you're old. And you're single and lonely."

I couldn't deny that. I had been thinking about that for a few days. The thing that had brought him to say that was that in our conversation I had just been stressing to him the importance of including God in the big decisions in your life. That was some good advice that I needed to give myself.

In thinking about the mid-30's and single ordeal, and not wanting to live the lonely life forever, and how I felt about church, et cetera, et cetera, I began to think about entering into a same-sex relationship. And not just a casual friendship, but an actual long-term, committed relationship. I thought about it a lot. And then I took my own advice and I prayed about it. I prayed that I would be able to see the right answer as I was working through this issue in my head. I prayed for His inspiration and guidance as I was seeking out this answer.

And then I went about my life.

Today I woke up early so that I could attend my friend's ward for their baby blessing. I had been invited to stand in the circle. The Lord was definitely on my side. I sailed through green traffic lights the whole way to church. I arrived just in time to sit down, remove my jacket, and then have them call for the blessing to happen. I stood up and walked to the front of the chapel and greeted my friend, the proud papa. I looked at the other people in the circle. I knew most of them. They are all great people.

We all placed our hands under the baby, and my friend proceeded with the blessing. It was the most beautifully inspired baby blessing I have ever heard uttered. I stood there soaking in the spirit of it all. I felt so strongly that I wanted to do that someday. I wanted to be the one to exercise the Priesthood that I have been ordained with to bless my child as he/she comes into the world. I can't think of a greater experience that could happen.

Then it slowly came to me. You see, after I had prayed about entering into a same-sex relationship, I never heard a "No" answer. And for me, I have noticed in my life that the Lord typically lets me go with my own decisions when I pray about them. I don't necessarily get a "Yes", I just feel good about moving forward with the decision I made. I have on many occasions received a definite "No" answer when I'm about to do something I shouldn't. I've learned to pray and listen for the "No" answer, and if there is nothing telling me that I've made a decision that He doesn't approve of, I go for it.

The thing was, I never received that "No" answer after praying about entering a same-sex relationship. It has been a few days and still no "No" answer.

The answer came to me today. It wasn't a "No" answer. The answer that came to me was to realize what I would miss out on if I proceeded with a same-sex relationship. I would miss out on that humble, simple and beautiful opportunity that my friend had just experienced. If I entered into a same-sex relationship, I would forfeit my Priesthood ordination and all rights and privileges associated with it. I would never have the opportunity to bless my child in the way that my friend just had.

If I entered a same-sex relationship, God would still love me, bless me, and answer my prayers, but I would give up the Priesthood in exchange for that relationship. I could have children through adoption or surrogate parenthood, but I would not be able to raise them in a home that was blessed by the power of the Priesthood.

I got my answer. And maybe it wasn't so subtle after all.

02 February 2008

Snowman Sandcastle Day 2008

There's nothing better than fulfilling a desire that you've had for some time but haven't done anything about. Today that was Snowman Sandcastle Day.

Three of us drove up to Lake Arrowhead to find some snow. There was quite a bit, but unfortunately it had been through several warming/freezing cycles and it was hard. Basically, it was the world's largest sno-cone, but without the syrupy goodness.

That meant no snow angels. Bummer.

Fortunately we had tossed a shovel in the Xterra before we took off. I pulled it out and began to cut large discs of snow-ice. We piled the snow-ice discs on top of each other until they were the proper height, then we decorated the snowman with all-natural garnishings. Kiwi fruit slices for eyes. Orange jalapeno pepper for a nose. Blueberries for a mouth. It was delightful and edible.

We ate lunch (I ate my salad while they ate subway sandwiches. I think I got the better end of that deal) and headed off back home to the beach. In a couple of hours we were down on the sand in 65 degree weather building a sandcastle. With three of us working on it, it didn't take very long. In no time we were the proud parents of a sandy structure for hermit crabs to live in. Although, I can't say that I've ever seen a hermit crab at our beach.

It was great fun. Since I'm now not opposed to people finding out about my gayness, I would post a link to my Picasa web album with the pictures of today. Unfortunately, I have other shared picture albums in there with other Mohos who I'm not sure want to come out to the world. So, I will refrain and just post this single picture of Steve and I. I'm the one with dark hair.