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BTSGC Newsletter - Issue #23 - Happy New Year 2023! Edition
Happy New Year! 2022 turned out to be another crazy year. I loved almost every minute of it; especially the travel.
Happy New Year! What a crazy year. I loved almost every minute of it. Read below. Also, I might be changing the name of this newsletter in January so stay tuned :).
When they lifted COVID restrictions on travel, I think the world went crazy. “GO GO GO GO EVERYWHERE!” all at once.
I am down with it, safely (health and otherwise).
One thing I like doing at the end of the year is remembering all the places I traveled to that year. While I am not Indiana Jones in areas I am willing to travel to (my idea of camping is a Hilton Garden Inn), I do like to travel. So this year, I got a lot along those lines.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in April - I won an award (top 1% of the company’s 100,000+ employees). It was mainly a pep rally for three days/two nights with fabulous gifts and free booze :). But I did go to a mixology class with a fire-breathing bartender (like shooting flames out of his mouth and stuff. I also got to walk down a catwalk after shaking the hand of the Great Great Great Grandboss to the cheers of hundreds of people. I owned that catwalk.
Road trip from Orlando, Florida, to Indiana and Chicago (end of July, early August).
Birmingham, Alabama (ran into the smallest gay bar with the most prominent personalities). Very kind and reminded me of all the old ‘80s gay bars hidden or tucked away. We also stayed with friends, and that was very nice. Oh, and that’s where I learned it is a bad idea to drive through Eastern Alabama while listening to true crime and serial killer stories at 2 in the morning.
Lynchburg, Shelbyville, Bell Buckle, and Nashville, Tennessee. Dan wanted to see where my kin came from, and we drove by all their old houses and neighborhoods. Also, I wanted to learn the magic of how they make the sweet nectar of my people, Jack Daniels, so we toured the distillery in Lynchburg.
Brentwood and Nashville, Tennessee. Brentwood and Nashville have grown exponentially. I had a terrible time when I lived there 40-odd years ago. And, it’s true, the passage of time can heal old wounds. But, this leg of the trip was probably the most poignant for me as I saw all these familial houses and areas look almost entirely different.
Our car was awash with a rain of Biblical proportions when we got to the northern Tennessee state border. Poured the entire way through Louisville, Kentucky. I was driving, so no fun! Plus, all the 18-wheelers! It was raining so badly, and I didn’t get to see any of the beautiful Kentucky landscape at night. It looked like I was driving through a car wash the entire time.
Got turned around in Indianapolis, Indiana. It’s simple, I took a wrong turn, and we drove through Downtown around midnight. It was pretty.
Kouts, Wheatfield, Valparaiso, Indiana. This is where I got to see where all of Dan’s kin live and from. It’s, umm…. rural. LOTS of corn. Miles and miles of corn, and then you know what else they have? More corn! So much corn... lol. We had a great time with Mom and Pop Scobey and others from Dan’s family. We also got in some good Karaoke and got hit on by a designer for Alexander McQueen (highly questionable) and her husband. Very flattered, both very hawt, but not this time around.
And we also had a long day trip to Chicago, where after coffee at Intelligentsia, we met my publishing team for lunch at LondonHouse Rooftop. SO delicious, and what a great way to meet the people helping me put my life together! (in this book) lol. We also walked to the mothership of all Starbucks stores, where I had my first alcoholic beverage from a Starbucks. It was a cortado of some sort. Yummy! We also had authentic Chicago-style pizza at Lou Malnati’s.
We went to Sawmill Camping Resort on Labor Day weekend in Dade City, Florida. Sawmill is a clothing-optional din of iniquity. Loved it. I had my bathing suit on the whole time except when I didn’t. LOL, my first-time skinny dipping in public! We will stop there with the publicly shared memories. :::big grin:::. It wasn’t all that licentious for us :), but how do you best describe the naked dance-off we watched in a few words? We had fun grilling out with our friends and meeting all the bears roaming around … lol. We did not “camp” there as there wasn’t a Hilton Garden Inn to be found, but we did stay all day and into the night.
Drove through Miami, Florida, in November to get to our cruise ship. Did you know that Florida has an underground tunnel? For cars?! I didn’t either until that trip. It goes from Downtown out to the ports. We also bought stuff at a “specialty” store that I won’t link to in South Beach. Hilarious.
We went on Virgin Voyages Valiant Lady in early November to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. This grand voyage was free (from all the delays and cancellations over the past couple of years) and was an eight-night nine-day cruise. We went to:
Puerta Plata, Dominica Republic (not the best off-ship experience, but that was our fault.) We got great cigars and rum, though. Make sure to book an excursion or tell the people screaming at you that you are part of the crew and they will leave you alone.
San Juan, Puerto Rico was SO amazing. We walked all over old San Juan. Took a break at a local dive bar with a Jack & Coke. Then we went to a bar called Marilyn’s Place that wasn’t overtly gay but … the theme was Marilyn Monroe, her face and posters plastered the place. We were definitely among like-minded locals. Had the best, most fresh mango mojitos. Delicious! OH, and I was a little buzzed at that point, so Anita’s ice cream was like the best on this side of heaven. It was cool seeing all the statues and art of the city.
Bimini Beach Club in Bimini, Bahamas, was a fabulous last full day on the cruise. Drinks, beautiful weather, people, great food and music, and all-around fun.
We met fascinating people from all over the world every time we turned around.
Traveling was so much fun this year, and we are going on another cruise (a gift from friends) in two days! So watch out, Cozumel, the Dandys are headed your way again! (we went there on our honeymoon cruise in October 2021).
We had a wonderful and very cold Christmas. Christmas Eve and day were calm and relaxing, and did I mention it was cold? So cold. Below freezing for three nights in a row is not how Florida is supposed to do winter. But hey, it was nice to have to bundle up for Christmas!
Tonight, the Dandy Daughter will do the teenage youth group New Year’s celebration stuff. The Dandy Daughter is in her individuation time of life which is exciting and nerve-wracking all at once.
OMG… I think I sounded like a Bonus Dad in that last sentence. LOL :::not deleting it either:::
We will miss her at midnight, but Dan and I will ring in the new year together at our house, which is perfect. We are keeping it low-key because of going on a cruise Monday. I will think of all our loved ones, including you, tonight in my New Year’s joy and meditations. I have a feeling. 2023 is going to be flipping amazing.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this newsletter, I am probably going to change the name of this newsletter for 2023. Same format, topics, and everything else, but the name (while very meaningful to me) has proven to be a bit cumbersome in online efforts. Stay tuned :)
Have a very Happy New Year! Welcome, 2023!
Let’s have the courage to be our beautiful selves together,
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