I was walking through a building on my way to the business school for a class, when I noticed a sign for a “National Coming Out Day” workshop. I was surprised when the thought “I should go to that” popped into my head. How could my brain betray me like that? I knew I wasn’t gay.
That was 2005. Here I am, ten years later. And yeah, turns out, I’m gay.
I have an amazing capacity for compartmentalization. When I first suspected I was maybe not like the other guys, I was in high school. I remember talking to my bishop and he asked me if I was struggling with same-sex attraction, and I cried and said that I was. We were supposed to meet again to talk about it, but I never set up another appointment. At the time, I thought it was controllable and changeable, and I could do it myself. So I put the episode in a box and set it on a shelf.
Another time, I was harassed in the halls by my classmates. I still don’t know what they knew that I didn’t, or if it was just plain old teenage cruelty. The episode shook me, so I wrote a letter to my seminary teacher, asking for help. I don’t really remember what I said, nor do I recall his response, but I was comforted by it. I knew I wasn’t gay. I knew I’d be ok. And my shelf got another box.
Yesterday, Labor Day 2011, was a pretty great day. I was surrounded by people and things that I love. Of the many many wonderful moments, one stood out that I wanted to share.
As I was shopping at Meijer for a BBQ later that day, I was wandering down the milk aisle and I noticed an old lady standing with a cart off to the side. We’re talking very old, oxygen tank old. In the cart was a baby in a car seat. For no real reason, I made eye contact and gave the woman a big grin, just because I was feeling so good. (I whistled a Guster song that was stuck in my head through the entire store, I was feeling that good.) And you know what, she gave me a genuine smile back.
Every year, I think about getting those silly Valentine’s Day cards at the store and sending them to my siblings and nieces and nephews and friends. Basically, I never get that taken care of. Sometimes, I’ll even manage to buy the cards (usually Harry Potter) and then promptly not get anything done with them.
I was thinking about it this year, since I have addresses this time, but typically, I didn’t get it taken care of. Fortunately, I saw a post on Lifehacker the other day, which gave me the perfect solution: Video Valentines.
On Saturday night, before I watched Star Wars: A New Hope, I recorded a set of videos on my phone (Droid Incredible, you are incredible!) and sent them to my family. And it was great! I actually got Valentines sent this year.
So, I decided to record one for you, Loyal Blog Readers. I even busted out a red shirt for the occasion and set up some fancy shmancy frame on my webcam. 😀 (I thought about going with a heart, but it was too not manly. So you get the postcard)
Dear Friends and Family-
Yeah, I know! Christmas cards from Brady! Who would have thought?
2010 and I had a good time. I spent most of it in Michigan, making brief escapes elsewhere from time to time.
As you probably know, I continue working for Ford Motor Company, as a Financial Analyst in the Product Development group. I can’t tell you exactly what I work on, but you’ll probably start seeing it in a few years, if things go as planned. Ford continues to do well, and I continue to remind you that if you are considering a new new car, be sure to let me know. I can get you a discount! (Unless you live in Puerto Rico, as it turns out…)
I made my first visits to Chicago (Finally!), Puerto Rico, and the Bruce Peninsula of “Southern” Ontario this year. They were all wonderful visits. I also took a summer road trip with my kid sister Nicole across Ohio to New York. We just barely missed being rained out of the Cedar Point amusement park and were nearly rained out of the Hill Cumorah Pageant.
I set my grill on fire during a Labor Day party at my apartment and hosted a fantastic group of friends for Thanksgiving. I watched the last episodes of LOST and Heroes with friends. I made it to three different cider mills. I was the piñata swinger at a Fiesta Mexicana.
All in all, I’d say it was a great year. Thank you for the part you played in it!
Here’s hoping you have a happy Christmas and a wonderful year in 2011.
You can keep up with me in any number of ways!
This post is mostly meant for my family. It’s a way for me to effectively communicate what I would like for Christmas. Generally, I am listing these in higher priority first order. These are ideas and don’t really construe a wish list as such. Nor is it comprehensive. Some of my favorite gifts have been the things that I least expect, that I didn’t know that I wanted… like my cast iron skillet or 30 pounds of potatoes.
(Intangible) Things I want and need:
– A deeper relationship with my siblings, particularly my brothers.
– An occasional phone call from one of the above
– Someone to pick me a dentist and schedule me an appointment
– Encouragement (and help) planning and shopping for meals in advance
– Decluttering help and encouragement
– Some time to think and encouragement to ask and answer the hard questions
– Insight into and practice to become a better friend
(Tangible) Things that I want and need:
– An Ultrasonic Humidifier
– Manly Thank You Notes (Too many are feminine or wedding TY notes. Not what I need!)
– A Knife Sharpener
– Good Steak knives, and maybe an extra paring knife or two
– A storage solution for my Dominion collection
– Oneida Community Twin Star Serving Pieces (Esp. the Pie Server and Pierced Serving Spoon)
– A Green Tie
– Pocket Squares with Yellow, Orange, Red, or Green accents
Things that I want but probably don’t need:
– Argyle Socks
– Argyle Sweaters
– German Style Games that I don’t already own (ask if you want to know) (I’ve had my eye on Small World and Incan Gold)
– David Allen’s books: Getting Things Done and Making It All Work
– Gretchen Rubin’s book: The Happiness Project
– A Cast Iron Dutch Oven (Kitchen Style, not Campfire style)
– An Immersion Blender
– A Rice Cooker Cookbook, like The Pot and How to Use It
– Dr. Who trinkets
I didn’t think that I was going to squeeze a pumpkin carving into my festivities this Halloween, but thanks to a timely FHE activity, I got one carved just in the nick of time. I tried lighting it up, but the pumpkin is really really thick. I need to work the walls down a little bit before the effect really works.
So, in all, I managed to work in The Haunting, Chicken Shish Tawook, Count Chocula, a Cider Mill (and the resulting cider!), coloring, Catching Fire, Dominion: Seaside, refusing to dance, blue hairspray, “For All the Saints”, The Lord of all Catan, pork roast, butterfinger brownies, and pumpkin carving into my birthday weekend. That’s pretty good, right? What did you do?
The latest issue of the Ensign hit my mailbox a few weeks back and one of the cover stories was “Finding yourself in Lehi’s Dream.” I didn’t read the whole article, but the concept teased that we were all in there somewhere. Of course, we all want to be the type who are firmly grasping the iron rod and on our way toward that tree of life. We don’t want to be in that great and spacious shopping center. Easy, peasy. (Where am I? It’s hard to say… All I see is this fog!)
The concept stuck in my mind, even if I thought lightly of it at the time. (I mean, come on, what is the answer supposed to be?) I’d been stuck in my personal scripture study for a while, right up against Jacob 5. The allegory of the olive tree. It’s tough reading. I was reluctant to tackle it.
Finally, I took some fresh courage and tackled the beast. And wouldn’t you know it? I found myself in an olive tree.
And behold, saith the Lord of the vineyard, I take away many of these young and tender branches, and I will graft them whithersoever I will.
My vineyard is Ann Arbor, and many of the young and tender branches are being grafted elsewhere. That time of year comes, regularly as it turns out. But this time, I was really sad to see it come. Some of my closestfriends have taken themselves to nethermost parts of the vineyard.
And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard went his way, and hid the natural branches of the tame olive-tree in the nethermost parts of the vineyard, some in one and some in another, according to his will and pleasure.
Yeah, I knew it would happen. Yeah, it’s happened before. And yeah, it still sucks.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I still have plenty of friends in the area. Plenty of really good ones.
And I’m really happy for my friends who have left. They are off in other parts of the vineyard, doing all of the wonderful things they do.
I will graft in unto them the branches of their mother tree, that I may preserve the roots also unto mine own self, that when they shall be sufficiently strong perhaps they may bring forth good fruit unto me, and I may yet have glory in the fruit of my vineyard
And there’s always some hope of a LOST-esque reunion, where (Spoiler Alert) we all get to hang out in a church after we realize we are dead.
Seriously though, Amy and Brian and Melanie. I am very excited for you! Enjoy your new parts of the vineyard. I’ll miss you, but that’s part of living in an olive vineyard, right?
I’m a huge fan of reading. Ever since they taught me how to (and probably before), I’ve been practicing as frequently as I can. There was one teacher I had in grade school who claimed that she would either visit in our homes or call our parents, and if we were reading when that happened, we’d get something special. (I don’t remember anymore what the reward was.) Because of that (threat/promise/challenge), I read a lot. And kind of kept going.
The statistics on reading baffle me. A few years back, a survey showed that the average American who reads regularly read only 7 books per year. And one in four adults read no books. No Books?!?!? I’ve already read six since the beginning of the year, and most of a seventh (it’s mostly a running book filled with tedious training plan details. I don’t really need the part of the book that I haven’t read until later when I’m going to run a marathon). If I stopped now, I’d be there with the average reader, and I still have ten and a half months to go!
The problem with reading that much is that you start to run out of things to read. I have always been a strong genre reader. I come back again and again to specific genres because I know them and I know that I will generally like what I read. My genre is typically Epic Fantasy, although I will occasionally fiddle with some other aspects of Speculative Fiction. I’m open to other genres and types of books, but I generally don’t know where to start outside my genre.
Late last year, I decided two things.
#1- I was going to read at least three books out of genre before returning to Epic Fantasy.
#2- I was going to leave Young Adult Fantasy and Sci-Fi behind me for the time being.
To point the first, I was pleasantly surprised by the books which I did read. The World Without Us is one that I’ve brought up in conversations with many of my friends and family. And while I don’t think I could recommend Ragtime in good conscience to most people, it was a good read. I think that my “adventure” with James Joyce could best be described by not describing it.
To point the second, I recently decided that while most YA Fantasy is good reading, I needed to read less of it. The plots were becoming predictable for me, and I was tired of the sanitization that happens in YA. Several years ago, I drew a line that placed that vampire series (you know the one) on one side of a line, and Harry Potter on the other. Lately, I’ve pushed a whole lot more past the line. Once my detox is complete, I think that I might reevaluate where the line sits. (There will always be at least 4 books on the other side of the line. You know which ones.)
After returning from my out of genre stint, I’ve actually had some fun. I’ve been reading classic science fiction works from the ’60s and ’70s. These were some of the real pioneers of the sci-fi genre. I also read a heady Speculative Fiction novel and a Literary take on fantasy.
With all of this reading, my To-Read shelf has dwindled. I have one or two more novels there, one of which I am saving because it might take some re-reading of some previous novels. So I took my problem to Facebook, and asked my friends what the best book they’ve ever read is. I was blown away by the response. Some clearly didn’t understand the assignment. (I’m looking at you, Clint.) I got a huge list of books to read! Of those suggested, I had only read four. And while a few were YA, most looked like ones that I could come back to after my self imposed ban is over.
I was so happy with the list that I thought that I should share it. So, below the break, I’ve included a cleaned up list of The Best Books, at least according to my Facebook friends. I linked them all to Amazon, in case you’re interested in more information about any of them. I’ve already ordered one (Scar Gate), and I’m looking forward to reading many more of them this year. (If you were wondering, I marked the ones I’ve read with (R) and the Young Adult Fantasy and Sci-Fi with (YA).)
So what about you? Did this list miss the best book you’ve ever read? Let me know in the comments!