Friday, November 18, 2016

Sunday Snaps in San Antonio

St. Mark's Episcopal Church, downtown San Antonio

St. Mark's Episcopal Church, downtown San Antonio

Travis Park, downtown San Antonio

St. Anthony Hotel, downtown San Antonio

parking garage, downtown San Antonio

Thursday, November 17, 2016

ROAD TRIP


A few weeks ago, Mr. Beers and I loaded up the car and headed out for Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Missouri. A road trip! Our travels were scheduled around family birthdays:  Darren Beers was turning 50 and there was a great party happening in Tulsa. Liz Bobo was turning 80 and there was a small family celebration going on in Branson. So we planned a trip that would start with one party and end with the other. And in the middle, we still had time for some other stops along the way.

The view just outside Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
The weekend in Tulsa for Darren's birthday was really fun. It's always a treat to get to spend time with the Beers clan, but we had extra special bonuses this time! Jill Sjodin made the trip from the Great Northwest, while Jeanine and Denise and Rose ("Aunt Sister") all came from the New York / Long Island area. So we got to see and visit with some sweet people that we don't get to see very often. It was a special time, and I think we should thank Darren for having his 50th birthday, but the extra super happy fun time big time THANK YOU goes to Jen Maki Dolan, who can throw a party like nobody's business.

After our time in Tulsa, we headed for Little Rock and Conway, where we visited with both old and new friends. Though we were only in central Arkansas for two days, we managed to visit Hendrix College, eat at a couple of great restaurants in Little Rock, catch up with some near and dear folks, and even do a little shopping at Sweet Home / clement on South Main in Little Rock. If you find in yourself in Little Rock, check out the shops along South Main. When it's time to have dinner, go over to Kavanugh and hit Tacos & Tamales or Boulevard Bistro. Good stuff. Even better stuff: being able to see Ann & Pam & Jim & Eric & Chris & Nathan. Loved it.

Pinocchio at Crystal Bridges
From Little Rock we went to Bentonville. "Bentonville?" you say. Bentonville is not only the home of Walmart, it is also the home of an amazing museum of American art called Crystal Bridges. It has only been open since 2011 and holds an awe-inspiring collection of all kinds of art - including - a Frank Lloyd Wright house that was originally built in New Jersey. Crystal Bridges had the house dismantled and moved and reconstructed on the grounds at Crystal Bridges. It's a great place to visit, and that part of Arkansas is beautiful. The Bentonville bonus for us was that we had dinner at the home of one of Wayne's oldest and dearest friends from his high school days, Allyson Burns Brown and her husband, Tim.

The next day started with us loading up yet again and heading down the road toward Branson, Missouri. If you are driving from Bentonville to Branson, you get to see some of the most beautiful countryside there is. And you can stop along the way in Eureka Springs and soak up some of that funky groovy Eureka Springs vibe. We had a light, delicious lunch at Local Flavor Cafe before getting back on the road.

Liz, Mary, Linda, and Gail. Also known as Elizabeth Ann, Mary Alice, Linda, and Abigail. Also known as the Lauterbach girls. Also known as dancers, singers, card players, and all around good time gals.

Once we got to Branson, we were able to spend some quality time with the women pictured above. They are, without a doubt, the sweetest women on Earth. The one on the far left is my mom, and once she decided that she might like to spend her 80th birthday in Branson, my wonderful sister Sheila got busy figuring out how to make that happen and ended up with plans for us all to meet in Missouri for the celebration. Sheila made arrangements for the family to stay at a beautiful lakefront property and we gathered there. We talked and ate and laughed and ate and played games and ate and had a really good time. Aunt Mary made some really good soup. Jimmy grilled burgers and hot dogs. Charlotte and Sheila made sure breakfast was delicious. We went into town a couple of times for shows, but we had the most fun was hanging out with everybody at the house.

Mr. Beers and Mr. Bobo at Crystal Bridges.

After a couple of days in Branson, it was time to load up and look at the map (GPS navigation style) and think about heading home. It was a wonderful road trip. We were gone a total of ten days and spent roughly a total of 30 hours driving from destination to destination. We saw some beautiful sites, but more importantly, got to spend time with beautiful people.







Tuesday, July 26, 2016

San Diego Pride 2016



A couple of weeks ago, Mr. Beers and I traveled to San Diego to visit dear friends and to be a part of San Diego Pride 2016. Our friends, Mr. Davis and Mr. Campbell, have always been gracious hosts and have invited us to come for this event numerous times, and this trip was perhaps the best yet. There are many reasons that this was a great trip. The weather was perfect. The pride events were wonderful. But the best reason that it was a great trip was the amazing group of people. We got to visit with old friends and we got to make new friends. From Mo's to The Hole and everything in between, we had such a good time.



Watching the Pride Parade Saturday morning, we were very emotional. It had been just over a month since the tragedy at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and one of the first things we saw at the parade was a group of 49 people, each carrying a placard with the name and a picture of one of the Pulse victims. It was breathtaking to see those names and faces represented on University Avenue in the Hillcrest area of San Diego. Another emotional moment was when the San Diego police force marched in the parade. The crowd cheered and applauded them without ceasing, showing their appreciation for the work they do, as well as for the willingness of these members of the SDPD to participate in the Pride Parade. We felt at once vulnerable and protected. We teared up more than once.


Another moment was when we looked up and behind us at the parade and realized that we were all being watched over by camouflaged and armed military personnel ready to respond to whatever unexpected incident might occur. Again we felt at once vulnerable and protected. This is the state of things. Friends who knew we were in San Diego for Pride sent text messages and Facebook messages asking us to "Please be careful," adding, "I hate that even have to say that."

Thankfully, there were no "incidents." The entire weekend was full of love and fun and good times. We were all there to celebrate life and love. We were there with thousands of people who refuse to live in fear. We were cautious and we were aware of our surroundings at all times. We greeted each other with smiles and "Happy Pride." We celebrated life and we celebrated love.



Tuesday, May 31, 2016

WHEN WE WERE KINGS



If you're familiar with Fiesta (in general) in San Antonio and  (specifically) Cornyation, great. If you're not, I'll let you discover all the details for yourself. There's a lot of information online about both subjects, and I don't want to copy and paste a bunch of stuff here. You can Google either of those topics and get plenty of information if you're so inclined.

I would like to mention that Mr. Beers and I were selected to be Kings Anchovy for this past April's Cornyation. To say that it was a great and wonderful experience would be an understatement. From our first meeting with Jesse Mata and Ray Chavez we experienced nothing but fun and love. Lots of both. Yep, it's been all sunshine and lollipops, rainbows and unicorns for these kings. That first meeting went something like this:

Jesse & Ray: We're here today to ask you guys if you's like to be involved in Cornyation this year.
Beers & Bobo: Sure. We haven't been really involved in quite a few years, but that would be fun.
Jesse & Ray: Specifically, we'd like to know if you'd be interested in being Kings Anchovy this year.
Beers & Bobo: (Exuberantly, smiling) I believe we can do that. (And then) That would be great!



The weeks that followed were full of planning, and then parties (Thanks for letting us hang out with you guys, Tim Campion & Allison Little!), and then, eventually, Cornyation. Friends and family members stepped up and volunteered to do all kinds of things. Our friends Fred, Tom, and Craig put on a fantastic Cornyation fundraising party. The great people at European Artisan Upholstery got to work making a beautiful throne for for two kings. Greg Mannino began sketching and creating some of the most amazing costumes. Gloria Liu recruited and choreographed some beautiful tappers. Friends from near and far found it in their hearts to volunteer their time and talent (and sass) to be part of our court. Still others gave generously to the cause with money and checks and credit cards. It was overwhelming and humbling to experience so many acts of generosity and kindness.



When Cornyation ended lots and lots of people approached us and asked about the experience. "How was it? Did you survive? What was your favorite part?" The favorite part answer is easy. People. Old friends, deli customers, new friends, family members, strangers. People. A few weeks before Cornyation there was a great Kings Coming Out party (Thanks, Elaine!) held at El Mirador hosted by Chris Hill (King Anchovy 2015). There were at least half a dozen former Anchovies at the party, and they were (and are) some of the nicest and coolest folks ever. They all had little bits of advice to offer us. One told us that the trick to a successful Fiesta as King Anchovy was to "Try to stay drunk, not too drunk, but just drunk enough." Almost every one of them told us to get ready to have the best time and to savor every minute of it. Other sage wisdom included the necessity of "a bottle of really good tequila backstage."



We really did have the best time and we really did try to savor every minute of it. We will remember the experience fondly. It was an outstanding Fiesta for us, thank you. And next year, at the Kings Coming Out party, we'll be right there with a nugget or two of advice of our own.









Wednesday, May 25, 2016

RELATIONSHIPS

I haven't posted in a while. For the usual reason: I didn't really feel like I had anything to say. That's not to say that there hasn't been anything going on. There's been plenty going on, and maybe I'll gather my thoughts enough to write something about Cornyation sometime soon. Maybe I'll post a word or two about our fantastic vacation in Cancun. But lately I've been thinking about relationships.



The thought that keeps going around and around in my head is that each relationship is unique. Each relationship is defined by the people who are in that relationship. For that reason, I feel that it's not just unfair - it's impossible - for anybody outside of the situation to make any judgements about a relationship.



It's difficult sometimes when you observe a situation in which someone you care about seems to be on the receiving end of some sort of mental or emotional or physical abuse. But here's the thing: you or I have no way of knowing what's going on with those two (or three) people. We may hear someone's side of the story, and we may choose to believe that side of the story without giving consideration to the fact that there may be several versions, several points of view to consider.



A friend recently approached me to ask what I thought about the prospect of marriage - theirs, not mine. I did not feel qualified to offer advice, per se, but I did offer my opinion that getting married is something you do because you want to do it - not because your friends or family continue to ask, "When are you guys going to tie the knot?" What's right for one relationship may not be right for another, I told my friend. You have to do what is right for you.



In another scenario, someone I know recently ended their marriage. There's no way that anybody but that couple can know everything that led to the decision for the two of them to part ways. There. Is. Just. No. Way. I don't care what you (or anybody else) heard. It's not fair for you or me to say it was one person's (or the other person's) fault. Too often we hear judgements being shared as to what went wrong and who was to blame.



My advice to you, gentle reader, and to myself, is to be careful and thoughtful about how we respond in situations where relationships are called into question. Similarly, we might want to be a little more careful and thoughtful about what we share on social media. Asking friends to support the rantings of a scorned spouse may backfire once you've cooled down (or sobered up) from a particularly torrid weekend.

To make a long story very, very short: BE NICE.


Thursday, March 10, 2016

DIRECTIONS



Maybe something like this has happened to you. You're going to your family's place at the lake for the first time. You've never been there. And you're driving several hours to get there. You ask them for the address so that you can enter the information in your navigation system (most likely your phone). But your family member doesn't know the actual address. Well, either they don't know the address or they just want to withhold the information so that they can say instead, "Let me tell you how to get there. It's really easy to find."

And then. And then there's a really long narrative that includes phrases like "the second big curve" and "the new McDonald's, not the old one on Hwy. 69," and other equally vague (and frustrating) verbiage that alludes to points to watch for along your way to the new lake house. But you make the most of it and try to find your way using these "directions." Several phone calls happen next. Phone calls that sound like this: "Where are you?" "I don't know where we are. We were following your directions, and now we're in another town." "Oh, you must have missed the turn by the old Conoco station. Stay where you are and we'll come get you." "Where are you?"



This all happened a few years ago. These same family members have changed their view regarding directions. They're singing a new song. They demand, "Just give me the address with the zip code and I can plug it into my iPhone." Really? Now you're interested in actual physical addresses? Not just "down the road a piece pass the second big hill take the third right at the second flashing light?"

But there are still holdouts. Another dear relative just a few weeks ago said something like this: "Let me tell you how to get there. You know how Shady Brook runs over here? Well, don't go that way, go the other way over here. It curves around and then you can catch Shady Brook on the other side. You know it dog-legs back in there." I asked for the address. I got dog legs. The look on my face must have read as confusion, because my relative quickly added, "Surely you've gotten better at taking directions, Mike." My thought was: Better at taking directions? Have you gotten better at giving directions? Dog-legs? Really? Are you sure it doesn't squirrel-tail back there? Maybe it turtle-necks. Seriously.

And then there's the other extreme. The guy who enters his desired destination on his phone and then takes not Route A, not Route B, but rather Route C or D, because he's convinced that there'll be less traffic or maybe he thinks it'll be a more scenic route. My take on that - just be aware that you may find yourself cruising through heavy crime areas of the inner city. Just saying'.



I love the technology we use now to find out how to get to where we need to be. I remember using maps. I remember looking businesses up in the phone book and then calling them and asking how to get there. I can't imagine doing that now. I don't like to think about how hard it would be to figure out navigation without Siri or the nice Google lady who tells me, "In one thousand feet, turn left." Just give me the address with the zip code. Siri (or somebody) will do the rest.


Monday, March 7, 2016

THESE GUYS.


These guys right here. If you ever have the opportunity to spend a little time with Fred & Tom & Craig, do NOT pass it up. They will probably buy you a drink. They will most likely feed you a delicious meal. They will have you laughing your ass off. And without a doubt, they will make you feel really special. What else could you want?

You may or may not have heard that Mr. Beers and I have been tapped to be Kings Anchovy this year. Yep, we have. It is an honor. It is a very cool thing. Of course, we're following in the footsteps of lots of cool Kings Anchovy (and one special Queen Anchovy - Hi, Jody!) of past years. Once the Cornyation folks notified us of the decision that we would be this year's kings, after we did our happy dance for a little while, we shared the news with our friends and family. If all of that sounds like Greek to you, you might want to look at www.fiestacornyation.org or check out the Fiesta Cornyation facebook page.

So, yeah, we shared the news with our friends, and Fred & Tom & Craig immediately said, "We want to help. We want to do something. We'll have a party."  What they ended up doing was hosting a very successful, very fun fundraising event in their beautiful home. And you know, when you're as wonderful as these guys are, other wonderful people want to help you, too. Their friends stepped up and helped with everything from food to door prizes, from set-up to clean up. It was really a beautiful thing.


THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU Fred, Tom, and Craig. You guys are the best.