Thursday, April 30, 2009


Like most marriages, our union had absolutely nothing to do with legalities. Whether or not we could file joint taxes never entered our mind when we entered into matrimony.

Considering that we've already jumped through (and paid for) all the legal hoops to give our family as much protection as possible (those afforded automatically in straight marriages) it has really not been important to us to have a legal ceremony in one of the few states that provide them. To do so and then reside in Georgia would have been pointless in regards to legal status.

We do however feel strongly about our right to marry and have toyed many times with having a civil ceremony if for nothing else as a symbol that at least some of our countrymen don't feel we should be treated as second class citizens.

We attended the wedding of some dear friends last year in Massachusetts and I have to admit that out of the many tears I shed for joy of their union a few of them were for the joy of hearing the officiant say "by the power vested in me by the commonwealth of Massachusetts". Never had I been to a wedding that I seriously had to fight the urge to shout as if at a political rally. It was wonderful.

I'm not sure if we'll legalize our union until it is federally recognized or we live in a state that recognizes it. Considering 70% of my fellow Georgians voted to ban our union, I have no intention of becoming a corn farmer in middle America and it's way too cold for me to live in New England my hope lies in our nation as a whole to come to their senses. And yes, I am well aware of how distant that dream truly seems.

But, with every state that does move forward my hope of federal recognition is kept aflame. As long as their governor doesn't veto the bill New Hampshire will become the fifth state with legal same-sex marriage. Only 45 more to go...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


we leave tomorrow night for madrid. madrid was top on my list when planning our weekends while in greece. as most of you know i was completely addicted to the travel channel for about a year before we left. i watched every single show because, hey, we had no idea where our travels would be taking us. the shows on madrid and spain in general really sucked me in. there was something about it that screamed "you are going to love it there!".

tomorrow cannot get here soon enough.

Monday, April 27, 2009

don't just talk about change - be the change!!

just to put it in perspective...

if just 10 of our friends donated $15 it would provide a dinner for all the women and children living in-house at the Genesis Shelter.

providing a meal for an entire shelter of homeless women and children...think about it...

and then DONATE!

Crete = Break

When originally planning our trip to Crete we booked a hotel overlooking the harbor in the capital city of Heraklion. Crete is the largest of the Greek islands and we thought it would be nice to base ourselves there and use our days to explore the other towns.

Last week however, we decided to cancel that hotel and book one by the beach. We needed a break...well, in truth my foot needed a break. It seems that the "4 days elevating and 3 days tromping all over European cities" weekly plan wasn't exactly what my foot or doctor were looking for to get my inflammation under control. We both knew I needed at least a good 2 weeks really off my foot before I would be able to turn the corner.

Our hotel had just opened for the season on Friday so it was just us, Christian and about 30 or so other Germans at the fairly large resort. Apparently Crete is hugely popular with German tourists. I seriously heard more German than Greek spoken for the two days we were there. The grounds of the hotel were beautiful and set just steps from the sea.

With our trips to Rome and Paris I just wasn't willing to stay down. Although I am sure we missed so many nice things, Crete's sunshine and glorious blue waters made it an easy place for me to give in and just take it easy. Which is exactly what we did. We literally lounged by the pool and read the entire weekend.

We only left the hotel once on Friday night for drinks with the hotel's "Animator", a very nice German guy whose name was Tobias although pronounced "two beers", which was great fun for us two English speakers after a few cocktails. For those non-Germans reading this (aka everyone) an animator is what we finally decided translated to "entertainment director" in English although both he and Christian thought this sounded far too important.

In the spirit of giving things breaks I also gave my face and my pointer finger the weekend off. I took only 3 pictures the entire time and refused any photos of myself.

where we spent our days...

who knew the Unabomber vacations in Crete? the sun was wonderful but the in the "land of redheads"(aka the shade) it was pretty chilly :)

The swelling in my foot is down significantly and I'm hopeful with a few more days off I'll be ready for Madrid this weekend with our beloved Kugans! We're both so excited it will be a miracle if our heads don't explode when we lay eyes on them!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

in a time of great need

Over the weekend the Wife and I were talking about how incredibly blessed we are to have this life. In a time of crisis for the majority of the world we are globe-trotting and dealing with "stresses" like deciding on just what amazing place are we going to fly to for the weekend...which makes us both feel very guilty. We decided then and there to try to find a way to give back more than our normal donations to charities.

And just like that, on Tuesday we received a package of mail from the States that included a letter from the Genesis Shelter in Atlanta. This is the organization we work with each year to sponsor families at Christmas (you know the big party where you bring a toy and eat lots of food and drink lots of booze?). Due to the decrease in corporate donations they are really struggling and they need help to continue to provide services.

I know I've blabbed on before about what an amazing organization this is but bear with me. They are the ONLY shelter to take in homeless families with newborns in Atlanta. They not only provide shelter, food and medical care for these families (many of them single women fleeing abusive homes) but they also give childcare for the children while providing job training and education to the mothers. They then help these women find adequate housing and help with job placement to ensure they get back on their feet.

I know everyone back home is struggling right now...worried about their jobs, their finances and their future. But, as our President has reminded us we need now more than ever to work together to help one another. So, if you could spare just a little for some people in even greater need I know these women and children would be forever grateful. And if you can't donate financially the shelter has all kinds of need for volunteers.

It is really easy to donate online.

"It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life that no person can sincerely try to help another without helping themselves." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

loves it

i saw this video a couple of weeks ago and thought it was so pitifully stupid that i didn't care to post it for others to see...but i think it is important to watch

so that you can see how hilarious this really is...


Paris...I think I'm going to have difficulty with this entry. We spent 3 nights in this city (thank you Greek Orthodox Easter) and saw so much...the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, La Madeleine, the Pantheon, the exterior of the Louvre, the Musee d'Orsay, etc...we saw as much as the Wife's lingering cold, the bad weather and my bum foot would allow. But, I think more than anything it was the beauty of the city as a whole and just the alluring charm of Paris that really made our weekend so wonderful.

There is a reason so many fall in love with this city and we definitely fell under her spell while there.

I can say that Notre Dame was by far my favorite sight...I honestly had a lump in my throat the entire time we were inside. It was truly much so I believe even a non-believer would have a difficult time denying the presence of God within its beauty.

It is a city overflowing with heartbreaking beauty, culture, and art. If you've been you undoubtedly understand and if you haven't had the chance yet you will not be disappointed.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

adventures in medical care

When you think "medical care" you're probably not looking for an adventure but that's what I got in Greece.

Since the first week in Athens my foot has been giving me grief again...swollen, painful, and aching pretty much 24/7. Since we've had such big weekend plans I spend the weekdays elevating and mainly staying put...and yes, it stinks. But, I'd rather enjoy my weekends with the Wife and pay for it while she's at work. Of course my foot doesn't appreciate the 8-10 hour sightseeing days and it has gotten so bad I finally broke down and called SOS to find a doctor.

SOS is a service Coke provides for the international peeps to help find proper health care wherever you may be. I've heard some complaints about it but I found the process easy, the personnel to be pleasant/helpful and I was just happy to have someone else scout out an English speaking doctor.

After dealing with this foot for a year I'm well aware I need to see an orthopedic surgeon not some general practitioner. Apparently in Greece it takes forever to get an appointment with a specialist so I was instructed to go to a private hospital and be seen in the emergency room. They said once they determined it needed to be seen by an orthopedic they would bring one in.

Being American I thought this was strange...first off this is not "emergency" and when I hear the words "private" and "emergency room" and I'm thinking mucho dinero. But, this was what they said to do so I headed off on Tuesday to the EuroClinic.

The hospital was fairly small and it only took me about 4 desks to reach the one I needed to go to check myself into the emergency room. English was limited and I may have had to have the administrator lead me directly into the emergency room after being kicked out of what I think was the cardio wing...but, whatevs, you trying reading Greek signs.

Their emergency room consisted of 3 beds in a room not much larger than our hotel room and our hotel room is not large. The administrator pointed for me to sit on the middle bed and after a few minutes a nurse pulled a curtain around me. The thing that really struck me about the room was how freaking hot it was in there. I'm not sure if they are just unaware of the whole "germs can't live in cold" theory but I was seriously sweating.

I went through about 3 nurses that didn't speak English before the doctor came to see me. He spoke a little but had no idea what "fracture" or "tendinitis" meant. After explaining to him about the "fire in my foot" he decided I needed x-rays. I was asked about insurance at this point and I attempted to explain that yes I had insurance but that I would pay and file with them myself. I don't even know how many people I spoke to about this but the last girl seemed satisfied by my swearing to God that I would pay or maybe it was the tears welling up in my eyes that convinced her. Either way an orderly wheeled me to radiology where I sat in a darkish hallway for a half hour or so before the tech came to get me. After the x-rays he wheeled me back out into the hall and I sat for another 30 or so.

After examining my x-rays for about 20 minutes the ER doctor decided I needed an orthopedic to come look at me. I asked him if the toe bone had healed and he said "uh looks to be healing". To be honest, language issue or not, I don't think this was the brightest of doctors.

So I sat and watched the doctor and a nurse eat pasties in the corner while waiting on the ortho. When he showed up I was pleasantly surprised that his English was fairly decent and was thrilled that he actually knew what "fracture" meant.

He told me that my bone had healed displaced. Which is what my U.S. doctor had been concerned about. Although it sounds silly your big toe takes 30% of the weight and stress with every step you take so having this joint be screwed up is going to cause me issues forever. He prescribed me some mega anti-inflammatory to get the joint inflammation and tendinitis under control and instructed me to stay off my foot as much as possible. So, nothing really new except that on top of my chronic tendinitis I also have this stupid toe joint to deal with too.

After a lot of debating between the doctors and nurses they handed over my bill. It was in Greek so I had no idea how much it was going to be. They had been so concerned about me being able to pay I expected it to be at least over $500 Euros, especially with the x-rays. When I got up to the desk the lady politely requested $157 Euros in total. I couldn't believe they had made such a big can't even buy a pair of shoes in the Plaka for that.

It was raining when I left and 7 taxis refused to take me to my hotel. Seriously, I really hate the taxi drivers here...but walking block after block did allow me to find a pharmacy to get my prescriptions filled.

My foot seems a little less swollen today and maybe feels a slight bit less painful. We leave for Paris tonight and I refuse to miss out on our long weekend. I'm sure I'll be paying for it dearly next week but, oh well..I think Paris is well worth it.

Monday, April 13, 2009


When we booked our trip to Rome we had failed to remember that Orthodox Easter and Roman Catholic Easter are on different dates. We fretted for weeks about our trip and expected the city to be overrun with people there to see the Pope. We expected long lines, closed shops and attractions, terrible traffic and the weather channel was predicting chilly temps and rain. We thought we had made our first big travel mistake.

Fortunately we were wrong, wrong, wrong! Rome was amazing and we couldn't have asked for better weather. Yes, there were a lot of tourists but no more than any other big destination. We also avoided lines by booking tickets in advance for the Colosseum and the Vatican. The tour of the Vatican was a bit much and definitely an exercise in patience but still something I'm glad we did.

My illegally taken picture in the Sistine Chapel...

It was the only place photos were not allowed. I respected the art by not using the flash but after wading through the mind-boggling amount of artistic treasures the Pope literally owns (the Vatican Museum is the world's largest "private collection") I decided it was unfair of him to keep Michelangelo to himself.

We only had a day and a half really but we packed in as many sights as we could. Although in actuality we barely made a dent in all there was to see.

Rome is an incredibly enchanting city with a seemingly endless amount of beauty to behold. We loved the architecture, the language, the vibe, the people, the food, the wine...we loved it all!

Definitely a place we will visit again! Next weekend...PARIS!!!!

Friday, April 10, 2009


this sunday we'll be leaving rome on our way back to athens…obviously, nothing to complain about.

i will, however, really miss our friends/family (i mean that as one in the same) this easter. it would have been our 6th annual "resurrection potluck" this year. this was one of my favorites of our parties...laid back, no decorating, minimal cooking...just a lovely sunday afternoon enjoying fellowship with good friends and good food.

i hope at least a few of you are gathering together to celebrate the holiday. i also hope you think of us while you're eating all that wonderful food because as incredible as the food will be in italy and how great it is in greece there won't be a squash casserole or a deviled egg to be had.

love and miss you all so much!

happy easter!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Cue Lee Greenwood...

We all know that Americans don’t exactly have the best reputation abroad. I think any American, no matter how proud they are to be one, has to admit that many of the stereotypes are right on the money. We can be too loud, too materialistic, too overweight, too greedy…we can just be “too much”. Our values are always under debate...the Middle East views us as the one true threat to a moral world and Europeans think we are ridiculously too conservative and always kowtowing to the religious right. Either way we are still seen as the leader of the Free World and with such comes great responsibility.

During the dark ages, by which I mean the 8 painful years Bush and Cheney were in office, I felt so ashamed to be American…so distant from what my country stood for, what they fought for and how they treated both its own citizens and other people around the world.

If we would have left a year ago I would have outfitted both of us with shirts, jackets, scarves, hats and anything else I could have found that had a Canadian maple leaf branded on it. But with our new leader comes new hope and a new pride…or an old pride that I just hadn’t felt in a very long time.

There is nothing like living abroad to make you miss American liberties and sewer systems that can handle toilet paper, the FDA (hey, don’t knock them until you live in a country where everything you eat has the potential to send you to a hospital), policemen you trust instead of fear, water that won't give you parasites, fabric softener, drivers who at least pretend to follow traffic rules, our great diversity but most of all our rights and our freedoms.

As an American, I have been guilty of taking a lot of our freedoms and rights for granted. But, as a gay American I know what is like to be denied rights and what it is like to fight for them as well.

I know there is a long road ahead to true equality in our country but we’ve shortened the distance quite a bit in the past week with marriage rights both in Vermont and Iowa and hopefully recognition of those rights in DC.

I can’t begin to describe how proud I am of my country when I see it making such strides in returning to our goal of “liberty and justice for all”.

So, if you start seeing pictures of me in "I love the USA" shirts, hats, jackets and scarves don’t be surprised.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Luck of the Rhodish

We headed to the southernmost Greek island of Rhodes this weekend. Or Rodos in Greek...don't ask me why they change the name in English. I'm so confused by the need to change names...I understand in languages that are difficult for foreigners to pronounce but "Athina" to "Athens"...what's the point?

It's a quick 40 minute flight to Rhodes and we arrived a little after 7pm. The airport was small and we quickly jumped in a taxi to head to our hotel. On the way our hotel driver kept asking "Are you sure the hotel is open?" We of course thought this was a ridiculous question and assured him we had reservations and of course it would be open.

As we pulled up to a completely dark building we realized maybe, just maybe, this guy knew what he was talking about. He was very nice and tried to call the hotel for us but it was painfully obvious that unless they were still observing Earth Hour, it was most definitely closed.

So, here we were sitting in a taxi in a very dark driveway with our worthless and pre-paid hotel reservations on an island we knew next to nothing about. Had this happened to us on a vacation prior to January I have no doubt we would have been quickly heading into panic mode. As a couple, we don't exactly have the best track record with stressful situations in foreign countries. As an individual, I don't exactly have the best with stressful situations period.

Luckily, it seems that traveling every weekend since our departure has mellowed us both out considerably. The driver asked us what we wanted to do and we both quickly said "just take us to the Ixian Grand". It was a hotel we had debated on staying at anyway and where Julie's colleague (our current 3rd wife) was staying after arriving on a later flight. If it came down to them not having any availability we'd just go somewhere else. As for the fact that we'd already paid for the other hotel...well, we'd just deal with it next big deal.

I'm not sure who these laid back and unconcerned people were but I'm hoping they are here to stay!

Strangely enough when we got to the other hotel and told them our situation they said "oh, I bet we have a reservation for you". And even stranger, they did. It seems without any notice whatsoever Expedia had made arrangements for us at another hotel. By far I found the strangest thing to be that we had chosen that hotel out of all the hotels on the island to try to get a room. I am still kicking myself for not getting someone back home to get me a lottery ticket that night.

After taking up our things we went to a taverna and enjoyed a long Greek dinner. Getting back fairly late and a little tipsy we then attempted to prank call our 3rd wife to tell her we'd be driving around the island all night trying to find a room and would need to bunk with her. But, it turned out the luck of Rhodes was also smiling down on her because the phone in our room didn't work.

We woke to a gloriously sunny day on Saturday. After surprising 3rd wife at breakfast we unanimously decided the day would be much better spent lying in the sun than even attempting to do anything else. So that's what we did until early evening.

After that we headed in to Old Rhodes Town for coffee, then drinks and then later to another long dinner at a taverna.

Sunday proved to be rainy but it let up enough for us to check out the Grand Master Castle and wander around Old Rhodes Town for a few hours before our flight.

With all the medieval castles and architecture Rhodes was not what one would expect when you think "Greek Island". But, it's lovely in its own respect and proved to be a nice and relaxing getaway.

Which is exactly what we needed because the rest of our weekends this round are up, Rome!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

one bird, two fixes satisfied...

Last night we decided to finally get the Wife some Mexican food. If you know her at all you know she needs to eat it at least bi-weekly but would seriously eat it every single day if I let her. If you don't count the Doritos with tomato sauce and peanuts we had in India then it has been over 10 weeks since she's had any. Needless to say she's been really jonesin' for a taco.

We had heard there were some out in the burbs and we weren't looking forward to trekking all the way out there. Fortunately, Katrina, the sad pony-tailed, blue eye-lined girl at reception, was able to give us two choices that were only a short taxi ride away. She had never been to either but said one was supposed to be very nice although she made a point of stating she's never been to "that neighborhood" (this comes in later).

The restaurant was located in what I would call an "up and coming" area. It was a mix of buildings needing some tlc and high-end shops and trendy restaurants. Ours was located on the top floor of a quaint little building with an awesome view of the Acropolis. It had a very small dining room with only a half-dozen or so tables and a tiny little bar.

The food was good, not exactly on the mark with "Mexican" but close enough. They served real flour tortillas and that in itself was enough to bring a tear to the Wife's eye. Had the margaritas been made with limes instead of lemons they would have been perfect.

As we were eating I noticed a table of 6 women arriving. After about 2.3 seconds I deduced they were lesbians and for the rest of our evening I was completely obsessed with them. Why? I tried to explain it to the girl from Madrid by saying "wouldn't you be excited if there were Spanish speakers at the restaurant?"...she said "not really".

I saw one suspected lesbian at a restaurant in India...I was just as excited and again tried to explain it to the American girl that was with us..."wouldn't you be excited to see an American"...her answer was also "not really".

In both instances I wanted to go deeper into an asking them how they'd feel if they saw another woman after three months of living with only men. But I let it go, I think it's just difficult to understand when you can't relate.

It's human nature to want to be around your own kind. It's innate. It isn't that I feel separate from my straight friends/'s more about me needing to relate to other gay people on a different level.

Kind of like if you love a sport, you want to play or watch it with other isn't that you can't be friends with non-fans but it's nice to share a common bond with like-minded people.

I'd like to know what my gay and straight friends think about this (comments are open) and if you think I'm weird for feeling truly deprived because I never see other gay people.

Anyway, after the table of gay boys walked in we started putting two and two together...trendy stores and restaurants, the girl at reception making a point to know nothing of the area, 3 out of 4 tables were homos...we had unknowingly stumbled into the GAYBORHOOD!

Margaritas and lesbians and gay boys...oh my!