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February, 2011 | Scuff Productions

Born This Way Blog

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Wednesday February 23, 2011

I became motivated to submit an entry after reading others stories about growing up feeling they were “gay” as long as they can remember…… at THIS Inspiring BLOG page: BORN THIS WAY
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I just submitted, according to the forms, my own memory (Submissions are very restricted in length to avoid the obvious)……. and hope someday soon, I’ll write MORE detail just to have what I felt growing up recorded. Here’s what I wrote, we’ll see is it’s “acceptable”:

Name: Mark H
Photo: Year: 1962, 16 yrs old at the time
From: Portland, OR

It’s been a great time reading the inspired and heartfelt blog posts here.

It has allowed me at 64 to remember that as a kid, I always sort-of knew “something” was different….about me. But in the 50’s, in that little SE Oregon cow-town, in a religious home, I knew nothing about life until well into college.

I remember wanting a doll house at 5, the crush on Rock Hudson the first time I saw him on TV, KNOWING I needed to someday get out of that remote place. None of those feelings were connected to farming life in a town where football was king.

This pic is my favorite since being the piano guy at 16 kept me “in” enough at that age to be included, although I always felt I was alone somehow:

As others experienced, I was aware of being different but not why or what so I could not change anything. I sort of had to let myself be snickered at sometimes during PE. The most intense day I spent in high school was trying to “explain” to my “best” friend (unaware of the crush I had on him) that I was upset he was spending so much time with his girlfriend In the middle of that awkward conversation I said out loud (while just becoming aware of it), “This sounds like a girlfriend talk doesn’t it?” It bothered me so much I excused myself and went home spending that evening trying to understand what had happened. Yes. Our friendship was awkward from then on.

Lots of things happened that I “should” have been aware were gay-like, but there was SO little information then. I had NO reference for those experiences at all. I simply thought if I stayed “religious” I would grow out of those “mystery” feelings.

Luckily, my life bloomed at 21, and has from that time on. My partner and I are in our 23rd year together.
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I HAD toyed with using one of these other pictures when I was wondering what “short” little story I could submit, but decided to keep the “family” out of it….for now:

The three youngest boys about 1951??

Our family about 1949??

OUR family about 1954:

And here, the boys during one of the “Mormon” Family Night required singing bit, about 1956:

Ah, Seems like a life from an earlier existence.

WOK LUK 2011. It evolves to a new life

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Thursday February 10, 2011

Baird and Karen dreamed up the idea of hosting a WOK LUK Celebration Banquets honoring the Chinese New Year when they lived in New York nearly 20 years ago. They moved to Portland about 1990, and built the home 2 doors down from ours in 1992….We arrived in 1996…. and they became fabulous friends. They resurrected the WOK LUK Banquet event about 2003…….. (not positive if that was the first year)….

It was an instant hit and became one of the most looked forward to events every year since. Invites were limited to the size of their dining room table: read: 12. If one of the “regulars” missed a year, someone on a mysterious waiting list (the Smiths’ children) were invited in to replace the missing. IF you missed it two years in a row w/o a serious reason, short notice, etc., you were permanently replaced. In those 6-7 years, only one couple lost their place at the table.

**THIS years Banquet Setup at Baird & Karen’s new place, “Daybreak”……they worked early setting the tables…..

WHY was this so? It WAS a serious but fabulous new experience every year. HOW did it roll out every year?
1.) About 3 weeks ahead of the date, everyone submits a favorite Chinese Recipe from any part of a Chinese Menu. It becomes “the” dish they would be expected to serve at the meal. Baird collects this information, making corrections for duplications, etc. At some point, a menu is usually sent out, a date announced, and everyone begins the “planning” phase for how much time/materials their dish needed………..

***Another view of the room THIS year……in the afternoon, before any arrivals.

2.) a day or two ahead of time, everyone must shop for all the ingredients required in their own recipes……and gathers up those items for bringing all the raw ingredients to the banquet location.

3.) Dinner would be scheduled for a 7:00 PM start. However, here’s where the “fabulous” part only begins……. ALL invitees were expected to show up around 3:00 or 4:00 because EVERYONE begins a SHARED experience: Everyone preps ALL the ingredients as ONE team. All the cleaning, chopping, dicing, slicing, marinating, shredding, seasoning preps, sauces, etc., were prepared as a TEAM.

**A FEW of the guests working on their dishes….in THIS view: preps going on for Spring Rolls, Chicken Stir Fry, Red Bean Spread

**The “post-chop” view of only TWO of some ’14’ dishes served……

4.) As everything begins to come together, the pot of TEA is prepared, Bottles of Wine opened, everyone is seated and now the real reason all this must be planned ahead shows its value.

**Obviously, it’s now dark…. anticipation is alive.

5.) The courses are served in menu order….WHOEVER is in charge of serving dish #1 begins the banquet in the kitchen doing the final cook, plating, and serving……everyone dines……. HERE…….is THIS year’s MENU……….

WHILE the group eats that first dish, the NEXT team up on the list gets into the kitchen and prepares THEIR dish, plates, it and serves. And so on and so on and so on…..for about 3-4 hours.

6.) By the time the LAST dish is served, it’s HARD to feel the same excitement you had when it began at 7:00. Whew! It’s a wonderful feeling.
7.) Everyone sort of helps clean up, and it goes quickly.
8.) EVERYONE says, as they leave, “I can’t WAIT for next year”……………

IT IS a memorable time. And, a few more pics:
**Our host, Mr. Baird adds more broth to Joy’s Hot n Sour Soup, which was, by the way, fantastic:

Here, Baird was just beginning to steam his Red Bean Bread …..some provinces they’re called Steamed Buns:

And, cooking was nearly done for all main courses at this point:

**The fortune cookies were quite fitting….made local, and apparently, by some Lucky Boy, huh?

Something I WISH we had a picture of were Seth’s Fried Won Tons….sounds unimaginative and drab, right? Not these! Seth had a mixture of Cream Cheese & Spinach blended together, laid onto a won ton wrapper and folded…..when they come out of the fryer, they’re the lovely golden brown at the edge, but a bright lovely green in the center… eye-catching luscious snack.

And, lastly, for anyone who thinks there isn’t a decent chinese dessert recipe, try the “Heong Jiao Bang”, or Bananas in Coconut Cream. Yummmmmm.

Diary Update feb 2 ’11

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Wednesday February 2, 2011

I don’t understand how a tiny little ‘nap’ now and then means I’m never getting anything done. After a 2+ mile walk each morning up and down hills, on muddy trails, I DO get back a little ready to relax a minute…….but that’s no excuse. Nothing’s happening here exciting, but I did want to make a note or two on the little items I compare from year to year:

1. Birds. I saw a golden-crowned Kinglet at the suet feeder yesterday, yeah. Haven’t seen one since fall, and have NO idea why one would show up at our elevation during a week it’s below freezing at night. We’re seeing beginning of little “groups” of the Varied Thrushes…….who, in the next 3 weeks will begin to “flock” more and more, and be GONE by the end of February, once again headed to the arctic for nesting. A beautiful fascinating nature case….. this gray wet place is their winters “Florida” . . . .. they’re really beautiful birds.

**THE HUMMINGBIRD migration is only 4-5 weeks away from beginning to see arrivals of Rufus kids through the portland area. Can’t wait. LAST year, we went through 45 gallons of sugar/water……the year before? 28. Most cool. I have NO explanation of WHY the big difference.

2. YARD:
**The PRUNING of the apple trees is DONE, finito! I did LESS extreme cutting this year, leaving more 1=2 year old wood…..hopefully that’ll translate to MORE apples beginning in August !
**The “pruning” of everything else was pretty much done today…..Butterfly bush, elderberries, weeping willows, flowering plum…… then pulled out dead brush from several perennial shrubs….. Lookin’ better here! I have renewed hope!
**Fertilizing / feeding lawn. The annual drop of ferrous sulphate (IRON), dolomite lime has been done! ALL that moss in the lawn ought to begin browning within a couple weeks. . . . Put down a slow-release fertilizer……so that by MARCH…..this lawn ought to look like a deep green carpet.
** 3 mole traps are SET! Yep, they’re inching closer again, as they do EVERY year from Ed’s side of the property…a vacant field (so far) FULL of moles. . .
**The apple trees were given their winter “dormant” spray today, a nice solid coating of sulphur, kopper, volk oil….there “should” be 3 sprayings before they are fully leafed out……maybe I’ll at least get ONE more done.
Ah, YES . . . . .this means the “dead of winter” work is, for the most part, once again “accomplished” for the winter season. I can BEGIN to look forward to SPRING………….which, despite the cold wave we’re having, is due to short in just a few short weeks.

THIS weekend! Baird and Karen have revived their annual Chinese New Year Grand Celebration: WOK LUK !!!! They SO carefully controlled how “many” could come to their home every year despite requests from their own children who WANTED to participate in this fully involved dinner…..partly because their dining table only seated 12……but also because the kitchen could only absorb SO many people at once. NOW, they’ve moved into this Co-Housing adventure, and it has a community kitchen……..SO how many accepted their invitation? 24. WHAT? 24. NO, NO ONE is going to cook separate dishes for 24 people….. BUT it will be a wild 2-3 hour chop/dice/prep session ahead of the meal. MARK & RODGER are taking 2 things only this year… MARK loves to make partly because it seems to go over BIG every year: YANG CHOW FRIED RICE…….. and because Daybreak has several “vegetarians” in it, Rodger’s dish is going to be BUDDHA’s DELIGHT………….. a BIG shopping day tomorrow for those exotic vegetables……..and even preparation for a proper Fried rice dish always begins the day AHEAD of time….. Here’s a couple Pics from the WOK LUK celebrationin 2005:
BAIRD considers his wok-luk-duck:

The dining goes on about 3 hours after 3 hours prep, it is a LONG LOVELY celebration with friends:

And with thought, I MUST go prepare the shopping list…….the Smiths and I go TOMORROW NOON to the Chinese Markets…..on my own are: Dried Mung Bean, Lily flower, mushrooms, black moss, tofu, foo jook (Dried bean curd sticks), red beancurd, ginkgo nuts, chinese cabbage, snow peas, shrimp…..the other things I should have at home.

I just ran into an old picture this week……the scan isn’t good, but it’s clearly a puppy/dog we loved very much. We had Tucker almost 14 years, and he was a gorgeous engaging puppy wasn’t he? Well, the picture’s TOO dark and fuzzy…..I guess you had to KNOW this dog to know why he was so loved:

Must go start woodstove fire…..gonna be 25 tonight…….. COLD for THIS house….it wasn’t built for those temps as it SHOULD have been……….

I am SO sorry about the troubles in the mideast………

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