Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Blotto

Memorial Day weekend flew by like a hook up on Craig’s List It was nice, necessary and entirely too fast. The big news -or rather not as big as it used to be news-is that I have lost enough weight to fit into 3 pairs of pants that  I didn’t fit in three weeks ago. When I Skyped with Orlando that Thursday night I demonstrated to him by putting  on a pair of Old Navy jeans that weren’t even CLOSE to closing one night when we were hurriedly rushing out for some reason or another. Seems we are continually playing Beat the Clock when he comes to spend the weekend with me in San Francisco and it is anything BUT that when I travel up North to see him. ----I guess Hiking trails don’t require punctuality the way that dinner dates and theater do.

So Yes! The South Beach 2 week intensive has worked and I am allowed to introduce certain whole grain carbohydrates back into my diet and YES!!! Alcohol! I read that it should all be consumed in moderation but something told me that I was going to embrace it back like a long lost lover come Happy Hour that Friday. One of the things Orlando and I like to do is drink. Yes - drinking as a verb. As in Let’s go drinking!! He and I particularly like to go to the Midnight Sun on Fridays for Bear Happy Hour in the Castro. After his 3 hour schlep through Friday rush hour traffic, he likes to unwind with a little Barcardi O and some Cranberry. I myself favor a Cape Cop with Skyy. Vodka aficionados everywhere look down their nose at my choice of vodkas but no way am I going to waste Belvedere by mixing it with Cranberry! Of course -some things were introduced back into my diet and unfortunately, Ocean Spray Cranberry Cocktail was not one of them. I had to drink my Vodka with Club Soda and a generous squeeze of Lemon on out. Sugar is still pretty much the enemy when it comes to your glycemic index. Oh sure - so is alcohol but it’s a matter of calories now too. The less sugar -the better. I stupidly thought Tonic Water was sugar free. WRONG! The reason it tastes so damn good is the SUGAR!!! So...Vodka Club Soda here I come!

 It amazes me that a mere year ago the Midnight Sun Happy Hour was largely populated by broken hearted desperate middle-aged sweater queens (like me) and then BAM! the joint is wall to wall with big lusty furry fellas all around. I personally think that this phenomenon was started by a guy named Bo Hoshaw. Yeah- You got it! The very same Bo Hoshaw that appeared in my Bearlesque show. I think he innocently said one day on his status on face book that he was headed to the Sun for Happy Hour and asked all to join him. Lo and Behold they did and Bear Happy Hour was born. The real draw of the Sun -for those of you not in the know of Castro drinking establishments, is that it offers 2 for 1 cocktails with a GENEROUS pour and videos. The videos are fun but really...for the boozer on a budget it’s a must. Everybody’s Favorite Auntie Drew joined us and I put an invite to another old friend Dene Larson. The place was indeed packed to the paws with gorgeous studly beefy bears. Orlando kind of blended in. We found a surprise opening near the bar and got our 4 drinks. It was my first time ordering the Club Soda Lemony thing and I had to halt the Bartender from making my Cape Cop. Yes....I am a regular. Orlando in a show of support ordered his Bacardi...the same way but with a Lime AND a Lemon Wedge. BTW He too, felt the need for a little personal maintenance  returned to his arduous exercise schedule. I was gripping the benefits of his hard labor with pride. My man has nice guns.

The line outside proved to be too much for Dene as I had suspected it might. Not to out my old friend’s age but we are contemporaries and well....standing in line to get into a bar when you are over 40 is....simply not done. So I texted him to meet us at the venerable Edge. Drew and I often finished an evening of Happy Hour at the Edge. You may recall that The Edge is the place where I had my successful fundraiser for The Mary Mason Memorial Lemonade Fund last January. The Edge inadvertently makes 2 for 1 the same glass. The drinks are tall and strong, but the men aren’t always. The Edge serves the clientele who are not ready to make The Twin Peaks, (another drinking place that serves men of a certain age)  their final resting -um...I mean watering hole. It amuses me that the place is really swinging on a weekday afternoon -as in JUST after noon. So I had my new Club soda and Vodka there as well.After chatting with Dene and making a few new friends we left the Edge and felt quite comfy.

Orlando and I have much Friday night TV viewing -particularly the Sci Fi Channel. We raced home thinking that my Tivo would catch a Season Finale or two -only to find it didn’t. We settled on some episodes of Legend of the Seeker that neither of us had seen and A few Chelsea Latelys. We dozed off after a healthy dinner of Chicken Breast stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes and topped with Basil Pesto. -no bread but a big salad. Usually the evening ends with a little slap and tickle...but did I mention we had red wine when we got home...? The Merlot (yes it’s allowed) with the  previous Vodka prevented any slap and tickle but it did induce a small coma. I was sure that I had just screwed up my lovely glycemic index and I would have to start all over again in the morning with the dreaded Phase One of the South Beach Diet Plan. I did awake the next morning after a looong slumber with a dull but incessant throbbing in my brain. I looked at my wallet and wondered where the money I had put in it went. I rushed to the closet and put on my blue camouflage pants -oh Thank God! They still fit!!!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

South Beach Cub

It was just a matter of maybe 7 or 8 pounds. It wasn’t supposed to be such a big deal,  but the fact of the matter was -I no longer fit into more than a few pairs of my favorite pants. I have a gym membership, but the motivation wasn’t there. The truth hit me like a rubber chicken to the face. In order to fit into my favorite pairs of pants I had to lose some of my cubbish figure. THEN I could wear all those pants that I spent MY good hard earned credit on.

So I reached in the closet and hauled out the South Beach Diet from a dusty book shelf. I had success the first time around and figured I could do it again. I mentioned on Facebook that I was dieting. I figured that would’ve generated a maelstrom of invective from the Bear Community. “    WHAT???” they’d roar, “ YOU ARE A TITLE HOLDER! IT’S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO KEEP YOUR WAIST ABOVE 36 INCHES!!!” Yeah Yeah - heard it before- and I am also supposed to be overtly masculine and dine on nothing but hotdogs, beer and pizza. Well -I do pretty well with the pizza eating part, but let’s face it- I am a square Cub jammed into a round Bear Den. I dont wear cargo shorts everyday. I don’t read comics or watch cartoons. I know NOTHING about Gaming. Why start when I haven’t been any of those things in the first place? I am unique. -to say the least. It doesn’t matter any how  because all the Bears that befriended me on Facebook didn’t say a damn thing about my dieting. The theater queens, on the other hand Allll  had words of helpful and not-so-helpful advice. Size DOES matter to these boys, especially since they are naked on stage so often. I needed a kick start and couldn’t just start eating sensibly and exercising and drop a pound a month. I needed results NOW! On the other hand,  I had to ease myself into this healthy living stuff. This was going to be difficult.  What made matters worse was that Orlando and I had clearly begun to “nest” His exercise regime before meeting me was pretty hardcore and after dating me for over a year -not so much. My way of eating was fairly self-monitored but then ....I began to not care. It wasn’t like I had to have washboard abs for crying out loud.It’s not a cub requirement. I had immersed myself with a culture of men that worshipped the belly in all it’s glory. I actually love Orlando for who he is and not his waistline. He and I were comfy dining Fried Chinese Food and Gelato twice a week. Yet something had to give and it turned out to be the seam in my pants.

The South Beach Diet was originally a diet for Heart Patients. Think of it as a healthy version of the famed Atkins Diet. More veggies and fruit and whole grains. It was designed by a cardiologist and a dietician. It is endorsed by the American Heart Association. I tell you all this to let you know it’s not a crazy eating plan. requires ALOT of attention and the first two weeks do challenge you. The meal  plan is broken up into four phases and I am now in the phase two of the plan. Phase one was a lot of NOs. As in no alcohol, no caffeine and no carbs. It’s about changing your glycemic index. What is the Glycemic Index you ask? Well Not all carbohydrate foods are created equal, in fact they behave quite differently in our bodies. The glycemic index or GI amongst the savvy- describes this difference by ranking carbohydrates according to their effect on our blood glucose levels. Choosing low GI carbs - the ones that produce only small fluctuations in our blood glucose and insulin levels - is the secret to long-term health reducing your risk of heart disease and diabetes and is the key to sustainable weight loss. Hey it has already shown a remarkable difference in my waist line and luckily each phase introduces more delicious food options. I love to cook so I am enjoying following this plan.

It’s the planning of the plan that is so goddammed daunting! I pack up my lunch box with my lunch and my two in between snacks every night. It takes time people. So if you don’t enjoy preparing food and you aren’t a fan of vegetables I do not recommend this meal plan for you. As I skip ahead looking at the recipes in the final phase I am gladdened to see that it is not so drastically different to what my idea of healthy eating is. It just takes a little more time. Orlando has been great about this. He’s not a fan of veggies but he will eat just about anything I am eating. I find he hurriedly goes through the salad and savors the sirloin a little longer but he is game for playing along with me. He also has stepped up his exercise schedule which also delights me because he has a nice set of guns I like to squeeze from time to time. I am trying to avoid the scale and also trying to get back into the swing of some hardcore exercise three times a week. A man in his 40s should sweat for 20 minutes a day I heard...I don’t suppose that includes hanging out in a sauna huh?

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Bear goes on

I have been remiss in writing here and I apologize to the 5 or 6 of you who actually read this when I was able to generate some weekly musings.

I have been lolling deliciously in the world of Boyfriendom. I was totally immersed in Bearlesque 24/7 and now I need to change some priorities. My partner, Orlando has been giving up a lot of his time for me and now it is definitely time that I return the favor. He gave up 4 of his vacation days to come down and help me put the show together. We live 3 hours apart from each other and see each other every weekend.  I hesitate to gush about my relationship because that seems to be the death knell to every romance I have watched or read about.I am a New Englander and we continually see the glass as half empty. I am trying to keep my cool, but Orlando has far too many times come up with just the right time to hug me and right time to kiss me and-most of all the best time to say, “ I love you”. As Jack Nicholson said to Helen Hunt -, “You make me want to be a better man”. That is not to say sometimes it’s too warm for a hug, and other times the burger and onions he just ate won’t leave his mouth, but he seems to have a real good grip on the I Love yous.

  So we are transitioning. We are advancing to the next step and are trying to manifest the act of living together. For years he has lived in a town just outside of Redding Ca called Anderson. (No there isn’t a pea soup factory there) I have posted many pictures of the fabulous countryside there in previous blogs. There are brilliant snowcapped mountains and wonderful lakes and hiking trails. It’s excellent for the outdoorsman in him. He escaped to this area from New York, (which is coincidentally his favorite pizza as well -Escape From New York Pizza). He grew up in Jersey. He now longs to return to an urban environment and after much discussion we decided together that he would come to SF to live with me. Although of course this all hinges on whether he can find work down here. There is also the fact that my little inlaw is just too damned small for two people-so that means we would need to find a two bedroom somewhere. I doubt we would find something we could afford in the city since the going rate these days is $2100 for a two bedroom. So there are a lot of “ifs” going on. One of them may be moving out of the city-which doesn’t thrill him all that much but I am fine with becoming an East Bay Gay. The whole thing is a combination of wonderful and nerve wracking. I wonder how well this little queen (me darlings)  is going to do living with a ball scratching, basketball watching, burger and pizza eating GUY. He is all man and... well we all know I am a good deal girl. Although there is the fact that I have a lot of Guy things I do. For Instance, I am ego-centric, I am more Oscar than Felix, and when I don’t get my way sometime’s I yell...a little. I think we will be okay because we pretty much talk about everything and communication seems to be key.

Bearlesque was fun but tiring. I had to adjust my thinking to work with people who had widely varying degrees of stage experience. Even in semi-pro theater I have always worked in a structured professional rehearsal and performance arena and I had to let go of certain expectations with Bearlesque. Many of the performers couldn’t give me the time needed due to their many many scheduling conflicts. The other end if it is that my performers were volunteers. I don’t know if you have ever had to work with managing a team of volunteers but it is akin to herding cats. A true performer will put working on stage above his/her own basic needs. These guys weren’t wired that way, so I found myself compromising a lot and focusing on the guys just having a good time. Hell they weren’t making any money so they had better have a good time!  I don’t think it was until the 2nd night of our 4 night run that the show started to coalesce into something like what I had envisioned. I overheard the boys backstage running lines and songs and generally bonding. Nice to hear since they all had very different personas. Friday and Saturday we kinda found our groove. They kicked out some star-power and strutted their stuff!

When all was said and done we ended up raising $8100 for the New Conservatory Theater Center on four nights when the Decker would’ve just been a dark empty theater. Ten percent of the funds went to The Lemonade Fund -the same charity that we raised money for in our Talent Searches. Being the perfectionist I am, I keep looking back on things that I wished I had done differently but the number one rule I learned about fund raising was that you need to GO WITH THE FLOW. I was proud and grateful of the boys and their contributions. By most every one’s account it was a successful fundraiser-but did it meet the standards of a successful show? Hmmm...I got some ideas percolating in the back of my head.

I am also entering the homestretch of my run as Bay Area Cub 2010. July 4th is when the contest is typically held and I will officially step down as Bay Area Cub. I think I’d like to do one more little plain old beer bust before I say Sayonara to the Bear Pageant world. I’ll round up a few Cubs and auction them off to Bear Daddies. If I bring in $500.00 then it will even it out for a nice $10,000 total funds raised during my reign. Wanna help?

Monday, May 10, 2010

To Be Continued -An Actor Prepares for Life

Dear Friends of my Blog,
There's much more to say and write and I promise I will get to it as soon as the dust of my life settles-exciting topics that you can look forward to are


but for now I will just post a fun picture or two