Sometimes, the timing just isn't right. I've realized that this blog isn't right for me, for now, for the times. Rather than keep you (both? three) waiting, I'm going to sign off and concentrate on what makes most sense to me now. Thanks for your support.



A GayWay appraisal

June, July: Awesome
August: Not so much


I'm like Hopper with an iPhone

Viggo gets a nail trim before the cabin weekend. Papa consoles. Daddy
wants coffee.


The jury is out . . .

on whether or not canning is a GayWay-approved activity.

Tangy tomato condiment

Why am I not calling the finished product ketchup? Mainly because it's much better: vinegary, sharp, intensely tomatoey, with a bit of a kick. It's not bright red, because no food dye is involved, and because I used a mix of red, orange, yellow, and white tomatoes. And it's not sweet because high fructose corn syrup is not present. This experiment totally makes me want to dig out my mother's homemade mustard recipe and make the world's best burger.

P.S. You want food photography? Go read A Crafty Lass (and keep in mind that she keeps Eric M chained to her desk, taking photographs ad nauseum until he cries like a baby).

Becoming ketchup

How ketchup begins


To begin the week

1. Please don't display candles where you wouldn't burn candles.
2. Avoid placing bowls of fruit in a room where you wouldn't eat fruit.
3. And no little piles of potpourri anywhere. It's not 1988, NO one likes the smell, whatever you have setting there is dusty, and Holly Hobby is dead. Seriously, go empty the bowl into the trash. Right now. I'll be here. . . . There doesn't that seem better? Your tabletop can breathe, and so can the inhabitants of your home.


GayWay, less fabulous edition

Sometimes the GayWay is simply putting one foot in front of the other,
hoping that the world will continue to orbit safely while you figure
out what's next.

But you should keep that kind of thing to a minimum.

Productive GayWay

From a study desk at Minneapolis Central Library.


GayWay Alert

A friend reports just driving by Tomorrow's Fruits Daycare. God bless
the good folks in the northern suburb of Coon Rapids for their
commitment to early indoctrination.

Things I forget to do

I am lying down under a tree, looking up. It is shady, breezy, and
perfect. You might do this, too.

So not the GayWay

1. Dancing with the Stars
2. Tom DeLay
3. Tom DeLay on Dancing with the Stars

Sometimes I don't understand the world.

The halcyon days of yore

A recent letter from a reader in -apolis reminded me of a story with absolutely no point and thus perfect for a blog. In the spring of 19--, on tour with Famous Lutheran College Choir, we sang at the cathedral in Indianapolis. I was in the midst of a deep depression, having just begun the process of coming out (sorry to be such a cliche) and had just been put on an early anti-depressant—Pamelor—that had me absolutely lethargic and gaining about four pounds a day. During the concert I felt faint and had to sit out the second half.

After the concert we were assigned to our host homes, and my group was taken to the home of a single gentleman who had decorated his stately domicile (complete with turret) in Early Edwardian Bordello. I had never seen anything like it. Beyond the velvet and the tassles and glass figurines, he had a player piano, or two, in every. single. room. This guy was livin' the good life. I remember feeling slightly repulsed at his taste, fascinated by his absolute comfort with his surroundings, and a little charmed by his eccentricity.

The next morning, emboldened by what I had experienced, I used some styling mousse from the gentleman's bathroom and parted my hair on the opposite side. My new 'do was the talk of the tour bus.


Dear GayWay #7

Dearest Professor of T-shirt Acceptability Standards,

Is it ever okay for a less-than-buxom lady to shop in the boys or mens departments? If so, which items are allowed, and which are verboten? (I must confess to having purchased a men's Spiderman tee, in anticipation of my novel going viral and my getting invited to Comic-Con 2011).

A Naïve Nymphet

Dear Not So Innocent If This Is Who I Think It Is,

Why on earth would you even refer, even vaguely, to the boobies on my blog? Because I did just a few posts ago? Not. a. good. reason.

Actually, I think women wearing men's t-shirts looks terrific, especially V-necks (I have no idea why, I just like it). As long as we're on the subject, you know what I really hate? Women's t-shirts. I hate their scoopy necks with narrow collar bands, and those little cap sleeves, and the shaping in the center (I don't know what that's called in real life). Just wear a t-shirt. Women can also wear men's boxers, white oxford shirts, and slouchy cashmere sweaters. You may not, under any circumstances, even ironically, wear a men's necktie. I don't care how cute and fun you think that outfit will be (and spare me the but-I-have-a-cute-plaid-wool-schoolgirl-pleated-skirt argument), you may NOT do it.


Dear GayWay #6

Almighty GayWay:

We lowly peasants residing in another city ending in “apolis” seek your divine guidance about the prospects of trading ours for yours and relocating to the land of many lakes and bookstores.

When we visit your theatre enchants us, your mass transit and bike trails leave us jealous, and the apparent literacy and conversational ability of the everyday citizen impresses us. Real estate prices aren’t too frightening and options for good vegetarian fare seem more plentiful.

But what we really want to know is this: are we more likely to get laid?

Indy Jeffrey

Dear Sad and Lonely (I assume that's what "Indy" means in your land),

First, thank you for the deferential and entirely appropriate greeting. Your country must place a huge premium on respect for elders. And how exciting for the GayWay to hear from a faraway, developing land! How excited you must be at the prospect of emigrating from your sad existence to make a new life for yourself here in the land of gay enchantment. We are eager to welcome others to our lakes and parks and bookstores, and we have many social programs to aid your transition. The big city can be an exciting but scary place, but since you're from an "apolis" already, you're ready to make the leap.

Will you get laid? I wish I could answer that, but I would need much. more. information before making a judgment. You can send any pertinent supporting documentation to doingitthegayway@gmail.com. I can promise a thorough analysis of your attributes.

Dear GayWay #5

Dear GayWay,

Plaid. Yes or No?

The Tall One

Dear Tallness Isn't Your Problem; Blindness Is,

Did you not notice the blog masthead? Plaid is for all times, all occasions, all figures, all seasons, all orientations, all sentient beings. To disdain plaid is to be dead inside, or unnecessarily snobby. The GayWay deplores the snobbiness.

Dear GayWay #4

Dear GayWay,

Do these pants make my butt look fat?

Derriere Evaluation Biz

Dear Eclipse,

No, they're very, very slimming.

Glad tidings

There is nothing artful about this shot, because I simply leaned out from my desk and lazily snapped a photo with my phone. But a friend brought over the gladiolas yesterday, and they have completely buoyed my spirits. She even worried that they weren't GayWay enough. As if. The fact is that they are quintessentially GayWay: exuberant, simple, fresh, and orange.


In case, you're wondering

If I saw you wearing either of these two t-shirts (within fifty feet of each other; evidently the hospital lobby is a classy place) I did not approve:

1. Illustration of a worm and hook with the large caption (stretched across the beer gut): Are You A Master Baiter?

2. Big smiley face (again, distended by the beer gut) around which is written: Boobies Make Me Happy.

I have a backlog of GayWay mail to get to, but I will catch up very, very soon. Keep your questions coming, dears. My knowledge—and dedication to you—hasn't decreased during my short absence.


So not the GayWay

The University of Minnesota Medical Center may have a sterling reputation for patient care and innovation, but we have a serious problem with wallpaper, paint colors, and artwork. And this is one of the nicer hospitals I've been in. As appropriate, I will add surreptitious iPhone examples as I wander these mauvey-beige halls in the coming days. Because I Care.


The opposite of GayWay

I'm not sure what that opposite term would be, because Uptown Art Fair is kind of clunky, but sweet Jesus I hate this event. However, thinking it was preferable to being a prisoner in my own home, I ducked out of the infirmary for a few minutes yesterday afternoon (during a break in the monsoon) and headed over. I approached the fair with a mind as open as a Georgia O'Keefe flower. After all, these are dedicated artists from all over the country; think of the talent converging one spot. Kyrie eleison was I wrong. Hideousness after grotesquerie. When did all these potters decide 1986 was their stylistic high water mark? And who wears all that flowy painted clothing? And Ansel Adams did it already: enough with the birch trees. To be fair, one jeweler used an impressive technique involving linen, an image, copper and pressing onto tin or something like that, but I'm not a girl (shut up) so 'twasn't much use to me.

I didn't make it through the entire fair. I tried, really. But one alleyway up and back was enough for me. Maybe again next century.

It seemed rude to snap a photo of every piece of High Art that I loathed—and there is a limit to the iPhone's memory—but a few pieces begged documentation, so that future generations Will Never Forget.

I'm not sure what to say about this lovely acrylic. It's not playful enough for a nursery, it's not anything else enough for a room that humans might use:

Even Bea Arthur would have put her foot down if the Golden Girls' stylist had brought her this:

Really? We're stilling doing Country Crafts?

I kid you not, I had to fight my way into this booth to snap a pic, so great was the scrum of elastic-waist jeans with pocketbooks outstretched:


Dear GayWay #3

Do you offer comments on other blogs? Well, of course you do.

What do you think of the repurposing (trendy, new word at my place of work) of the French tablecloths as described in the August 5 entry to the Mason-Dixon knitting blog.


Ruut de Bier

Dear It's Still Just Pop:

Again with the lack of salutation. Did you people fall out of the cradle of civilization and hit your heads?

Ms. Bier's letter illustrates a major problem for the GayWay: the need to, and complete lack of interest in, doing research for this blog. This Mason/Dixon civil war blog being a site in which I have little interest, I had to Google it, then find the relevant post, THEN judge it. I seriously could have made a gin and tonic in that time. The rest of you can avoid making a similar error by including a link in your emails to me. You can also send me pictures, attachments, and objets to doingitthegayway@gmail.com.

On to the heart of the matter. If I'm reading this right, lady buys tablecloth, lady has no need of tablecloth, lady cuts up tablecloth, lady remembers she can't sew. Good idea? I should confess that at one point I also had an obsession with table linens from days of yore. I would see them at tag sales, covet their clever graphic appeal, buy a few, and then realize that tables in France in the 1950s were evidently very different sizes and shapes than what we find now in modern America. So they would sit in a sachet-lined linen drawer, doing no one any good. At some point I got rid of them, because I didn't have the guts to cut them up and repurpose [I shudder at that word, bytheby.] them into quilts, gauchos, or manpurses.

So if you're asking permission, Ms. The Root of All Evil Is Beer, I say cut up every charming piece of fabric you have, and by all means, make me a quilt. I am grateful in advance.

A GayWay icon

The best thing to happen to my world this summer is Rudy, my Electra bicycle. There will be many posts ahead—fair warning—about how Rudy has changed my life and will ultimately change the world as we know it. [The GayWay is prone to hyperbole.]

The GayWay is always happy to see others who espouse its ways: though I am jealous I didn't write this myself, I am only too happy to make it my own, perhaps tattoing it across my massive bicep.


Dear GayWay #2

A GayWay Query:

Or maybe it's a queery? (ba dum CHA!)

My question for The Grand Wizard of Glittering Gayness is, if you insist on a big, sharp blade for chopping fresh, flat-leaf parsley (DUH!), then why was that paring knife you gave me to cut limes for our margaritas so goddamn dull? :) Wow, there were a lot of commas in that sentence. Which ones did I need and which were superfluous? That's a serious question, by the by.


Hunting for a Hone

Dear Ho Hunter,

First of all, your letter didn't include much of a greeting. It pains me to experience the death of the art of letter writing so viscerally, right here on my very own blog. The recipient of a request is more likely to be amenable to said request if greeted warmly and submissively.

Second, impugning the knife quality of the the GayWay household is hardly the road to everlasting friendship. I will overlook it this once because you make really good margaritas. You should also know that the elderly couple upstairs likes to sharpen our knives. We humor them because occupational therapy seems like a great way to ward off senility. You see, our neighbors' children are scattered all over the globe, which means we're stuck taking care of them if they lose their marbles. A dull paring knife seems like a reasonable trade-off.

Finally, you really only need one of the commas, especially if you completely reword the sentence as I did while reading your first draft. I'll accept your revisions until close of business tomorrow; I can't promise full credit after that.

Look at me, I'm a techie!

That is so not a GayWay thing to say. BUT. I made a form! And I did it all for you. Asking a question of the GayWay is now as easy as typing your question in the box provided (look, over there, on the right), and hitting Submit. No emails, no compromised confidentiality. I am a giver. You're welcome.

P.S. I'm not so much of a techie that I know how to make the form look anything like it matches my blog. I simply used a form generator in Google Docs, and it dumps the responses into a spreadsheet. If anyone knows a more elegant, gayer way, please volunteer your talents.


Dear GayWay #1

Dear Sir GayWay:

I've been reading this blog ever since the very beginning, but have been too shy to post until now.

(I'm even not sure how to address you. What is the proper honorific? Do you prefer Lord? Or Reverend? Or Your HighGayness? I don't want to offend.) (I already know to approach and retreat from your throne by never turning my back.)

I made a rice dish over the weekend, and it involved a lot of suffering because of the chopping of Italian parsley. A lot of suffering. And I can't say it added anything except green speckles. Much too much suffering for the payoff. (Though I was delighted that it wasn't cilantro.) (Of course, if it had been cilantro we wouldn't be having this conversation, due to the putridness.)

It seems like you would know about this, and you also seem to Know People who would know about this. (Like that Crafty Lass—she knows stuff.)

How do we chop Italian parsley? Do we use a scissors? Do we use a knife? Do we go one leaf at a time? Do we use or discard the stems? Do we pluck the leaves and roll them up like a little cigar against our thigh like we did that one summer in Cuba?

Can I just go to Penzey's?


Doubting Every Blink

Dear Doubting E. Blinker:

My heart is filled with pride that you are out in the world, snipping the fresh grasses and plants to enhance your simple peasant fare.

(And you may call me whatever you'd like, all of you, until you cross a line. You will know it, believe me.)

My own beautiful herb garden features a bouquet of beautifully growing Italian parsley. I disagree that there is no taste there: when people don't taste the parsley, they are not using enough, or they are using some dreadful dried variety (your request to go to Penzey's is denied; last time I checked, the joint had no greenhouse out back to supply you with plantlings). If you've had a good tabbouleh, you know how important the parsley can be.

You are correct, of course, to be using the Italian flat-leaf parsley. The curly-leafed parsley, of supper club fame, tastes as if cilantro and mint had a love child and forgot to wipe off the bitter afterbirth.

Chopping the parsley couldn't be easier. Simply trim off the particularly large and woody stems, bunch the leaves on a cutting board, and use your very best knife skills with a large, sharp blade. You should be able to get a nice uniform chop, from very fine to rather coarse, depending on the requirements of your recipe.

As for Crafty Lass's opinion, I don't give a rat's ass. She has her own blog, and a perfectly lovely one, but I'm sure she's busy trying to figure out how to make honeydew foam for her hoisin-spiced pineapple pancakes.

I hope that I've been a help to you. I would remind all my readers that their questions, regarding cooking or other essential elements of life, can be answered using the simple form found on this page. And, if you think perhaps you don't have it in you to compose so, ahem, comprehensive a missive as did Ms. Blink, Polonius reminds us all that
Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
I will be brief: your noble D.E.B. is mad.

Fount of Knowledge, Geyser of Wisdom

I recently received a plaintive, almost pathetic letter from a reader trying her level best to commit to the way of the gay. While we admire her courage, we nod knowingly at her insufficiency. The Help Desk here at the 'Way has decided to go public, offering its sharp, unparalleled service to all our readers. FREE OF CHARGE. You may have a question about which gingham would make the prettiest kitchen window valance (Answer: neither); or maybe your teenage son needs help choosing a corsage for his prom date (Answer: he likely wants the corsage for himself); or perhaps you need investment advice (Answer: always choose a stock based on its Dow Jones abbreviation. It should spell something dirty.).

Whatever the problem, the GayWay is here to help. It feels wrong to have all this vast store of knowledge, all pent up, only to be released sporadically on the waiting crowd. Hmm, maybe that came out wrong. Anyhoo, if there's something you need to know, we'll make up an answer. Email doingitthegayway@gmail.com with your query. The expected volume of mail means that only the most entertaining questions can be answered, so try not to bore me, people.


Not as easy as it looks

To do something the proper gay way (I'm calmer now and can concentrate on grammar), one must fling oneself into the project with obsessive, particular, singleminded focus. To do any less is just to order your wedding cake from Cub Foods and call it a day. The GayWay can however, be taken a bit too far. The pinnacle (or nadir, depending on your perspective) of my domestic precision came many years ago, when I decided that if Martha could make a perfect cranberry wreath, I could, too.

What I didn't realize at the time was that Martha had many servants to poke each cranberry with a toothpick and jab them into the wreath form. I know now that as each serf bled out, she simply stacked him in a shallow grave and called for the next one to be untied and set to work. Faced with a shortage of slave labor, I was forced to do this little holiday project all on my own. Countless hours later (I'd guess about 40-50), bleeding and cranberry-stained fingers stiff with pain, and I had a wreath every bit as beautiful as Martha's. This was pre-digital camera days, so I don't have a photo to prove it, but I think you can trust me on this. I also spent an entire day driving all over town to review every possible option for the perfect ribbon before deciding the first one I saw was best.

I have calmed down a LOT since then. Really. For instance, yesterday was picnic day with friends, and I am in charge of the pressed sandwich (more about that later). As you can see from the photo below, I really press the hell out of the sandwich. But, if you look closely—though not so closely to notice all the folded laundry on the dining room table—you'll see that I made an almost fatal error with the pressing of the sandwich. It didn't, in the end, affect the deliciousness, but I was very, very lucky. A special GayWay cheer to the reader who first identifies the problem. And yes, those are cookies cooling in the background as well. It was a very busy afternoon.


The more things change . . .

We at the GayWay (and that is the preferred shorthand) love Liberty Frozen Custard (but I'm not including a link until they get their website under control; it's a mess) just as much as we did when we were young and dumb and Going40. However.

We do not love it on a Friday night as a toddler birthday party is coming to an overstimulated, tantrum-inducing end. I'm afraid this brings us to GayWay Gentle Admonition Eins. To all Permissive Mothers of the Modern Era (this excludes all mothers I know personally, as they are perfect in every way): Use some common sense. What did you expect to have happen at 8:00pm as you handed yet more candy to three-year-olds? Your children are not the only ones in the restaurant/theater/park/public place. And no, you don't get a free pass for bad behavior just because you chose to procreate. And as long as we're on the subject, you know that haircut that 93 percent of you have? The one that's kind of short, kind of flippy, kind of shaggy, kind of asymmetrical, and was cute for about ten minutes in 2005? We're done with that now, and can move on. If you need a new idea, I will find out who cuts the hair of MK and SM of Longfellow 'hood, because they are currently the two most stylish mothers I know.

Huh. And here I was worried that if I started a new blog I wouldn't have anything to say.

As practical as can be

When I was much younger (seriously, I once was), I almost bought a cabin. This was in those halcyon days of the mid-1990s, when I was making almost nothing. As opposed to today, when I am making almost nothing. There were a few good years in between. Anyhoo, this cabin was up by Willmar, a rundown A-frame on seven wooded acres, with a wildlife-filled marsh and many bugs. I was absolutely smitten. And it was $24,000; my mortgage would be $220 per month. After signing the purchase agreement, I set about doing what any self-respecting cabin owner would do: I began to acquire those elements essential to making this rustic building livable. A sump pump? I don't even know what that is. Traps? God no; I would be one with the earth and all its creatures.

I bought fabric. My friend Kevin and I went to Mill End Textiles and I bought armloads of wildly-patterned fabric. I would have pillows and curtains and cushions and tablecloths and duvet covers. Friends would drive up from the city and I would serve them lemonade from canning jars whilst cavorting under a canvas umbrella I had stitched myself. Country Living would feature my little haven in its Guess Where's the Midwest issue.

The sellers pulled out before a few weeks before closing. I was devastated, then relieved, because at the time $220 was some good money. It still is, though I seriously wanted sunglasses last week that were $285 (hey, they were pretty, and I thought they would add interest to my face).

I—this time not by myself but with my long-suffering love—will have a country home someday. And whenever I see a pile of quirky vintage fabric, I wonder how it will look as pillows, brought down to the dock on a lazy summer afternoon.


Shall we dance?

Why, hello little flock! How you must have missed me. I feel the same way: the Internets have glowed a little dimmer without our witty banter. Facebook is fine for letting us know Which Fairy Godmother Are We, and whether Shelby Lynn is totes citers for the Wham! reunion concert at Mystic Lake, but for in-depth, citation-laden discourse, we need us a blog.

Not convinced? For you naysayers, let me anticipate your grousing: I mean, really, didn't we read on and on and on about me for ages? Yes you did, and God love you for it. And I too really hate blogs that begin with some version of "These are just my random musings about life and love. But—

There is nothing. random. about. me.

What I have learned about writing—blogging, specifically—the last couple years, is that it provides me with a focus for thoughts that otherwise take up too much space in a brain that needs to remain oiled and ready for more important things. And, it turns out, several people (possibly 1 in 5 of those who claim to know me) enjoy, if not what I have to say, then at least how I say it. So here I am.

The gay way, in this case, simply means my way. I am quite a particular being, and have particular thoughts about most everything. I don't say that to elicit a knowing nod or chuckle; I am dead serious. I don't walk down the street without noticing every house, each yard, every person, each tree. As I take note, I do a quick mental makeover of that which I find distressing. Not to make the house or tree something it's not, but to make it, in my estimation, the best it can be given its special little place in the world. I don't really even think about this exercise anymore; I've been like this since I was a kid, plaid pants and all (and there was a LOT of plaid—when I succeed at being thin as a rail sometime this winter I'm getting new plaid pants). My thoughts aren't better or more profound than your thoughts, my judgments aren't somehow more correct . . . oh, who are we kidding. Of course they are! That's why you're reading.

But I am more than just another altruist, a run-of-the-mill do-gooder. As much as I give, I have needs too, and I need order out of chaos, people. When I was in school, oh-so-many-months ago, I could bring clarity to the conflicting elements of my life by sharing them with you. This summer, though, I'm a bit unmoored: college years are behind me, I have some job leads but nothing solid, grad school plans are s-l-o-w-l-y coming into focus. I have several writing projects that are in nascent stages, and they need this blog, too. Because when I blog, I meet up with all of you, and our relationship inspires me a great deal.

I intend for us to be a bit topical here, to take a position, explain an experience, search for an answer, shine a light on some small cultural lunacy. And it will be the gay way—the way that is honed by all the talented, peculiar, smart, funny, quirky people with whom I relate—along which we'll tread. Or skip. Or, if we're feeling particularly flexible, dance en pointe.

Shall we?

All About Meve

My photo
Minneapolis, MN, United States