The Crotchety Old Man

Aug 11, 2011
By Michael Rupured

My Barefoot Walk on the Beach

Yesterday I drove down to Jekyll Island for business. Today we took a break from the business for “afternoon excursions.” Instead of hooking up with coworkers from other parts of the state for networking, I decided to take a barefoot walk on the beach. Although the hotel where I’m staying is oceanfront, there’s not a lot of beach. In fact, unless you count the volleyball court, there’s really no beach at all. Walking back and forth on the volleyball court wasn’t exactly the walk on the beach I’d envisioned. I shared my disappointment with a coworker who’s familiar with the area. She told me I’d find a walkable beach about three miles down the road. I changed into swim trunks …

Aug 10, 2011
By Michael Rupured

Following My Dream

Writing a book is easy. Writing a good book is more difficult. Unless you’re somebody famous (or infamous), getting even a good book published is a great deal more challenging. My dear friend, Terri, posted on my Facebook wall today that The Help was rejected sixty times before author Kathryn Stockett found a publisher. Two years ago, just the idea of writing a book overwhelmed me. Then, thanks to encouragement and support from a lot of people, I penned my memoir. I definitely hope to see Glass Houses in bookstores one day. But if it never gets published, the fact that I wrote it will always rank among the proudest accomplishments of my life. To learn more about how to …

Aug 08, 2011
By Michael Rupured

Six New Foods in My Kitchen

Since starting Weight Watchers eleven weeks ago, my eating habits have changed. They haven’t changed enough–this week I gained almost half a pound. Apparently I’m retaining fruit. We’re buying a lot more of some of the healthier choices we made before Weight Watchers–especially fruits and vegetables which don’t cost any points.  Yesterday I ate blackberries, blueberries, plums, grapes, an apple, and a banana. No wonder I’m retaining fruit. We even bought some tofu. My partner marinated it in mostly soy sauce and grilled it. I ate three pieces and was surprised to keep them down. We might have it again one day (though I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we won’t). These days our grocery cart is chocked full of …

Aug 07, 2011
By Michael Rupured

Where Angels Fear to Tread

According to Miss Manners, talking about politics or religion is impolite. Why? Because people passionately hold onto views in both areas, often with little or nothing to back them up.  Daring to talk about religion or politics is walking where angels fear to tread. Today I’m taking a walk on the wild side. Miss Manners can sue me, if she’s even still around. Far as I can tell, the notion of polite society vanished when states turned red or blue. Our nation has become increasingly polarized. The people we elect to public office are largely responsible for the great divide.  Cable “news” and talk radio make things worse. Talking to each other, debating differences of opinion, and seeking compromise are …

Aug 05, 2011
By Michael Rupured

Glitz Pageant Awards We’ll Never See

I almost hate to admit how much I enjoy watching Toddlers & Tiaras. In case you’ve missed it, T&T is a reality show that follows little girls (sometimes little boys) and their parents as they prepare for and compete in glitz pageants. It’s another one of those train wreck shows that is so bad, you just can’t look away. The children featured on the show are usually 3 to 7 years old. The parents insist that competing in pageants was the child’s idea, and that the child absolutely loves everything about competing. What an empowered bunch of preschoolers! Except, of course, they’re not. They compete because Momma (or rarely, Daddy) is living vicariously through them and attempting to make up …

Aug 03, 2011
By Michael Rupured

Hanging with the Seniors at the Retina Specialist’s Office

I was diagnosed with advanced macular degeneration in my left eye back in October. I have a milder case in my right eye. Macular degeneration is a swelling between the layers of the retina that eventually leads to blindness. There is no cure, but it’s treatable–with injections of one of several drugs to the eye.  Though still no picnic in the park, the eye injections sound worse than they are. My Augusta-based retina specialist travels to Athens once a week to see patients here. Normally someone unlocks his office before he arrives. The patients come in, sign-in on a clipboard, then take a seat in one of the waiting rooms. The doctor and his staff arrive en masse, dragging equipment …

Aug 01, 2011
By Michael Rupured

Better Luck Next Year

You may have wondered why “Today in My Garden,” a regular feature on The Crotchety Old Man, has not appeared here on My Glass House. The explanation is simple. I’ve given up. Here’s why. 1) The heat. Warm weather arrived earlier than usual this year. We had highs into the 90s starting in May that have continued more or less every day since. Lately the highs have been in the upper 90s and on a few days, over 100. 2) The drought. Like the heat wasn’t bad enough, we’ve had very little rain this summer. In fact, we’re down more than seven inches for this time of year. Hand-watering and sprinklers only help so much. 3) High water bills. Here …

Jul 30, 2011
By Michael Rupured

Writing Myself Out of a Corner

For the last month or so, I’ve made very little forward progress on Addicted, my first work of fiction. I know where the story is going and how it will end. Even so, for some reason I’ve been stuck at the 40,000 word mark. Addicted is a male/male romance novel about Josh Freeman, a middle-aged gay man who is devastated by the end of his seventeen year relationship with Ben Dixon. After the break-up, Josh moves to Washington, DC and discovers that he’s not quite as over-the-hill as he thought. He gets involved with all the wrong people for all the wrong reasons. Will he find true love? Thanks to feedback from the writer’s group, the first 15,000 words of …

Jul 29, 2011
By Michael Rupured

Diet and Exercise Lessons Learned

The end of my ninth week on Weight Watchers is rapidly approaching. Including the eight pounds lost in the two weeks before I started, I’ve now lost almost twenty pounds. Slap my ass and call me skinny! Well, not quite skinny. According to that silly Body Mass Index thingy, I’m still obese. I blame the vegetarians and dietitians of the world. Slap my ass and call me obese. When I lose a few more pounds, you can call me just overweight. I’m proud of my progress. Still, I keep thinking I would have lost more if it wasn’t so darn hot. The temperature here in Athens has exceeded ninety degrees for something like two solid months. Getting my bike ride …

Jul 26, 2011
By Michael Rupured

My Gay Wedding

I “came out of the closet” nearly thirty-two years ago at the tender age of twenty-one. Thanks to the pervasive homophobia that existed then, coming out really did a number on me. Much of the struggle to come to terms with my identity is chronicled in my memoir, Glass Houses. Back then, you didn’t hear much about the gay agenda. In fact, you didn’t hear much about gay people at all. Except for a few brave souls on the fringes of society, being gay was a dirty little secret. Being out as a gay person meant ridicule, bullying, or worse. Thirty years ago I never dreamed that gay people would one day be permitted to legally marry. Today gay marriage …

Jul 24, 2011
By Michael Rupured

Tomatoes: A Great Investment?

The older I get, the more I appreciate the taste of a good, home-grown tomato. Back in Kentucky the plants went in the ground toward the middle of May with hopes the first fruit would ripen by the Fourth of July. Without buying big plants or cherry tomatoes, the first ripe tomato didn’t usually appear until the end of July. Within a week or two everyone I knew had baskets of tomatoes, squash, and cucumbers they couldn’t eat. My first summer in Georgia I had a Kentucky-style tomato harvest. The surplus was quickly snatched up by coworkers and neighbors. That was thirteen years ago. Since then, thanks to deer, drought and/or excessive heat,  I’ve had precious little luck growing them. …

Jul 21, 2011
By Michael Rupured

My Last Remaining Vice

I gave up cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol a long time ago. Yeah, I’ll still have the occasional frozen margarita or something similar, but rarely more than one.  Thanks to Weight Watchers, I’m eating healthy, too.  Other than cussing now and then, I am almost completely free of vices. I’m not into porn. I don’t fool around on my partner of nearly ten years. Nor do I lie, steal, or cheat. Well, I do get a little help with Words With Friends, but only because I’ve got too many games going and I hate falling behind. I barely consider it cheating and if I was still in the church, definitely wouldn’t confess it to my priest. I do, however, have something …

Jul 20, 2011
By Michael Rupured

Encouragement from Above?

Here is the full text of the rejection e-mail I received nearly two weeks ago from my first-choice publisher: Dear Mr Rupured: Thank you so much for submitting your manuscript, Glass Houses. Upon review, we find that the work does not match our current list needs, and we are unable to accept this manuscript for publication. Another publisher may be looking for just this kind of work to fit their upcoming schedule and we wish you success with it. We appreciate the opportunity to have reviewed this work. Sincerely, <name removed> I know rejection is part of the process. But receiving such an impersonal rejection for what everyone agrees is a very personal manuscript was disheartening. I don’t blame the publisher. Providing guidance about how …

Jul 18, 2011
By Michael Rupured

My Ice Cream Diet

I don’t know about you, but every winter my weight goes up another five or ten pounds. Once summer arrives, I’m usually able to drop about half those extra pounds.  Consequently, my weight trends upward some three to five pounds a year. Once upon a time, those extra pounds arrived between Thanksgiving and Christmas. While I am a bit of a slow learner, I do eventually figure these things out. In recent years, I’ve taken steps to make sure I don’t pile on extra weight over the holidays. Now they show up after the holidays are safely behind me. They seem to have multiplied, too. Instead of five or ten pounds, I’ll pick up an extra twenty. Either way the …

Jul 15, 2011
By Michael Rupured

Back in the Saddle

After a month-long hiatus from blogging at The Crotchety Old Man, I’m back in the saddle with a new blog.  The hardest part of starting this blog was coming up with a good title. Glass Houses is a memoir about the first roughly fifty years of my life. My Glass House picks up more or less where the memoir left off. Prior to writing Glass Houses, the idea of writing a book intimidated me. Aided by my memory, personal journals dating back to 1982, and the encouragement of several supportive friends (especially Terri Clark and Larry Oberc), I started writing. With no awareness of the literary market or the craft of commercial writing, I knocked out the 110,000 word manuscript …

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