Author Archives: Joe

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces.

Fun Weekend

I had such a fun weekend. My friends and I went up to Church Street in Burlington Friday night, just as we planned. The only hiccup was that traffic was terrible on I-89, so it took twice as long to get up there, and that did not leave us with much time to check out the sales during Church Street’s annual sidewalk sale. We basically went to two stores. First, we went to Kiss the Cook, which, just as it sounds, is a kitchen store. All three of us enjoy cooking. Well, I enjoy cooking; they enjoy baking. They got a few things, but I didn’t buy anything there. Then we went to Ten Thousand Villages. There, I bought something. They had the cutest coffee mug with a black cat crawling up the sides. They also had some black cat bookends, but I did not buy them. The coffee mug, though, I coudl not resist.

After that, it was time for our dinner reservation. I have eaten at Sweetwaters many times, and it’s always busy. Friday night was no exception. However, it felt like because they know they are closing, they aren’t putting in as much of an effort. The food wasn’t as good as it was in the past. Our waiter was very nice, and I doubt it was his fault that service was extremely slow, which always seems to have more to do with being understaffed and whatever goes on in the kitchen.

Saturday, we went to CiderFest, which was a little bit of a letdown. Right away, we knew there wasn’t going to be much to it. The description had said they would have BBQ and cider slushies. It must have been a typo because they had a BBQ, and in the North, BBQ can mean hamburgers and hot dogs, which is what they had. We decided to go to Prohibition Pig, which is a very good BBQ place nearby, but the restaurant part was closed, and only the Brewery was open. The brewery menu is not BBQ but tacos. It’s really an odd thing. My brisket tacos were good, but there were only two really small tacos, just enough to get you hungry. My friend’s jerk chicken tacos were not as good. After eating, we went back to the CiderFest and got some apple cider donuts and a cider slush, but we did not stick around for the bluegrass music. 

Yesterday morning, Isabella had me up as usual, and I got up and fed her and had breakfast myself. Then, I went for a hike. It was the same place that has the little waterfall, but it was a really nice hike. I enjoyed being out all alone and in nature in the early morning. It was about 49 degrees and the crisp temperature was exhilarating. After I got back, I took a shower and then went to the grocery store to get a few things. The rest of the day was spent relaxing. It was a good weekend.

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God Will Provide

Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

—1 Peter 5:6-7

One of my favorite hymns begins with, “What a friend we have in Jesus/All our sins and griefs to bear/What a privilege to carry/Everything to God in prayer.” I can remember my mother playing this on the piano when I was growing up. It was her favorite to play, and it would reverberate through the house when she was playing it. I love the simple message in the song. The hymn was originally written by preacher Joseph M. Scriven as a poem in 1855 to comfort his mother, who was living in Ireland while he was in Canada. It has also provided me, and many others, with comfort over the years.

We worry too much. We are always afraid of what the future holds. Even the most level-headed of people have worries, whether they outwardly show it or not. The American actress and comedian, Gilda Radner, who died of cancer in 1989, is quoted as saying, “I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.”

Trusting in God plan for us is what makes the unknown, as Radner called it, “Delicious Ambiguity.” Numbers 6:24-26 God told Moses to tell the Israelites, “The Lord blesses you and keeps you; the Lord makes His face shines upon you and is gracious to you; the Lord looks upon you with favor and gives you peace.” When we have anxiety and doubt, remember Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”

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Moment of Zen: Beards and Coffee

I haven’t always liked facial hair, but living in Vermont, I guess has changed that, since so many men up here have beards. I still don’t like the long unkept beards, like you would see on Duck Dynasty, which is so unattractive to me, but a nice well trimmed beard can be very sexy on the right man.

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The Weekend

Whenever anyone visits me in Vermont there are two place everyone wants to see: Church Street Marketplace and the Ben and Jerry’s Factory. Church Street Marketplace has been the center of Burlington, Vermont, with its colorful cafes, thriving art scene, and good vibes. A couple of weeks ago, Sweetwaters American Bistro, a staple of Church Street for over 40 years, announced that it would close. Labor Day will be their last day. I’ve always liked Sweetwaters, and I often took visitors to eat there. Since they will only be open a few more weeks, two of my friends and I decided we wanted to have one last dinner there, so we are going tonight. It just so happens that Church Street Marketplace’s annual sidewalk sale is also this weekend. It should be fun to walk around looking at the shops and then having a nice relaxing dinner.

Tomorrow, we are going to get together again to go to Cider Fest In Waterbury. It’s taking place at Cold Hollow Cider Mill which makes delicious hard cider and they are famous for their cider donuts. Cider Fest will be celebrating 48 years of Cold Hollow Cider Mill. They bill it as one of the last restful weekends at the Cider Mill before the new crop of apples start coming in. The festivities will include BBQ, hard cider slushies, ten varieties of hard cider, and a large selection of Vermont beers. I am most excited to try the BBQ and the hard cider slushies. My hope is that Prohibition Pig, the best BBQ restaurant in Vermont, which happens to be in Waterbury, will be making the BBQ.

It should be a fun weekend. Sunday will be for doing laundry and getting some rest.

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I don’t play video games, but I’d love to watch him play. Although “dressed” like that, I might have to distract him from his game.

Spectrum 📺

I have Spectrum cable at my current apartment. For the most part I get good service with Spectrum, though it is more expensive than my previous cable, and I no longer have HBO. When I first got Spectrum, I realized there were several channels that I wanted that I did not get, such as TCM (I love old movies), so I went with the expanded package to get TCM and some other channels I didn’t have. One of those channels was Heroes & Icons, which I didn’t realize I had until last night. H&I shows Star Trek, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, and Star Trek: Enterprise every night. Though I won’t stay up until midnight to see all five shows, I would like to have the option. When I tuned to the channel, it says I need to upgrade, even though I already upgraded to this channel, also there isn’t a 🔑 icon after the channel title, which means I’m supposed to have the channel available. I can access the channel through the Specteum app on my iPhone, iPad, MacBook, and Roku, but I cannot access it through the cable box.

Because it would not let me tune into the channel, I decided to contact Specteum. I was first told to reset the cable,box, which I did, and it did not fix the problem. My next option was to use the chat feature on their website. It was not working correctly because they were supposed to try resetting the box remotely, but it never reset. So, they then said I needed to talk to a representative instead of their automated system. It said there was a 25-30 minute wait, so I waited. And I waited. And I waited. Finally, I got “near the front of the line” before they said it was taking longer than usual and to continue to wait. I spent most of my evening waiting on a Spectrum representative, but eventually it was my bedtime, so I had to disconnect. I never was able to speak to anyone. I’ll have to try again when I get home from work tomorrow.

I hate waiting on customer service representatives. Usually, once I get someone on the phone or through the chat in the “Contact Us” section, the representative is usually very nice and helpful. The problem is getting someone to talk to. Oh well, I know like most people in the service industry of any kind, they are overworked, overwhelmed, and trying to do the best that they can.

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