Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, Sydney style! This is a wonderful and quite long display from our friends down under. I especially love the music choices at the end.



ps, [the very overdue] London & [not so overdue] Christmas posts are coming.


Going to Canada or the Voyage to Denver*

So…I was planning on attending the Berkshire Choral Festival during its residency in Montreal at the beginning of July as a young artist apprentice. I was totes excited for this, as I haven’t done a YAP** since 2007, when I went to Italy [in the beautiful little city of Nova Feltria] & London for 6 weeks. Anyway…

After everything regarding my flights was all decided [about 5 days before departure], I told my parents, who are the holders of all important documents, that I needed my passport, and if they could get it, I would be greatly obliged. So, the next day, my dear mother went to the safe deposit box at the bank, where all of the passports live, and couldn’t find mine. Found everyone elses, but not mine. So, we turned the house upside down trying to find this little bit of important paper. We even went back to the bank and looked through everything. Sadly, it was, and continues to be, lost. What is so weird is that in my old travel belt deal, I still had my boarding passes for my flight back from London (and the remaining drink tickets), but no passport. Sigh.

So, with that plan’s awesome swiftly sucked out, I decided that I would go to my aunt & uncle’s in Denver with my parents for the 4th. Ever since I started college, the only time I usually get to go to Denver to see my mom’s family is at Christmas, as I am usually a) working or b) out of the country, thus putting a cramp in my ability to be in Denver [and since we have yet to perfect the ability to be in 2 places at once…]. So, we left on July 3, making the painful trek that is I-80 through Wyoming. Unless you have made this trip, you do not understand – it is worse than driving through Kansas or any of the mid-western states. The only drive that may be worse is driving to west Texas from, well, anywhere, but specifically the eastern part of the state. Anyway, we get to Denver in one piece, and everything is all hunky-dory…for now [cue suspense filled music]! (but only for now)*** Every summer, without fail, my uncle has a project that is very conveniently timed to the arrival of my parents. In years past, it has been laying sod, remodeling the kitchen, putting in a chain link fence, you know. all that fun stuff. Well, this year’s project was a doozy: hardwood floors for the downstairs hallway AND the living room upstairs. Being the type of gay that I am (read: opera singing/Martha Stewart cooking, decorating, etc), I knew that I should keep a low profile during this “delightful” activity. Not because I am lazy, but because when you say “hand me a screwdriver”, I immediately think to ask: “Absolut, Grey Goose or Belvedere?” So I stayed out-of-the-way during this process, only being called in to do work when they needed carpet to be rolled up and taken out, which is totally doable. It eventually got done, without anyone getting hurt (which is no small miracle), but the kicker was that the “wood” that they were getting for the living room was supposed to get there on the 7th, so my family extended our stay through the weekend, as to be helpful (read: father is helpful). Well, we call on Thursday morning, and, lo and behold, it wasn’t ordered on Monday like they said it would. whoops *facepalm* Even with that news, we still ended up staying, as we see them rather infrequently, even if on a regular basis. So, one of the added nights, it was determined that I would be cooking dinner (a favorite pastime of mine – cooking for a large family meal). The meal was delicious:
Oven roasted tomato balsamic vinaigrette on a salad with feta, oven roasted tomatoes, pine nuts & bacon
Six cheese filled tortellini with pesto & mozzarella cheese
Garlic & white wine seared asparagus
Grilled pork chops
corn, bacon & scallion saute [my favorite]
Desert (I sadly forgot to take a picture) was an orange [heavy] creme filled angel food cake with an orange cream sauce & ice cream.


a close up of the asparagus

One of my favorite aspects of going to Denver (beyond seeing my dear, dear family) is the wonderful food that I eat whilst there. Our friends that we stay with used to own a Mexican restaurant and still have most of the supplies from it, so, when we eat at the house, that food is full of the wonderful goodness. Example a: breakfast burrito smothered in green chili with real chunks of pork. It is delicious and wonderful.

Example b: As a result of owning a Mexican joint, you get to know other places that do, and, this is one of our friends’ favorite haunts: Tia Maria’s (in North Denver). Pictured below is a chicken chimichanga that was. so. yummy. And just for a second, look at the amount of guacamole given to you. boom baby. boom.

I don’t even have words to describe how good this was.

So, on Friday (July 9)[the day before we were planning on leaving], we are having a b-day party for one of our friends, and it was decided, that since they liked the corn saute, I would make it again. The party went well, and everyone was happy…or were they?! Later that night I wasn’t feeling so hot, so I went to the bathroom and promptly threw up. (Objection, your honor! Counselor? I promise I’m going somewhere with this, your honor. OK, proceed) [this happens again with the added bonus of “the runs” later in the evening/early morning] The next morning I come to find out that one of our friends (female) was up through the night getting sick too. When I go in to see my parents, I see that my father had a bucket by his side of the bed. oi vey The only people to not feel like crap that morning was my mom and our friends’ daughter & fiance. At this point (around noon), we decided that today was a loss, so we would leave on Sunday. Well, later in the day my mom ends up getting sick, so the entire family is down. Adding to this, my father doesn’t leave his bed until around 5 that evening. By about 1, I felt back to normal, but a little short on energy. Originally, I thought that it could have been my food, since that was the only common factor for us, and it may have contributed in a very small manner, as I didn’t cook it as long as I did the first time, as I was rushed, and therefore, there was more grease in it. But we realized that that wouldn’t make all of us sick or at least sick like that, and the culprit was finally determined to be a bug that granddaughter brought home from California. We ended up leaving just on time on Sunday, wrapping up a much lower-key 4th of July visit than last year (which involved fights over abortion, gay marriage, Prop 8, politics, anti-christ Obama and the like which ended up with people vowing to never talk again and craziness).

Thanks for bearing with me as I wrote this, it has been rather crazy since my return from London (and I meant to get all of this posted before that, but it got WAY crazy before I left. but that’s a different post)


*If you are familiar with Gilbert & Sullivan operettas, you will get what I am doing here. If not, don’t worry.

** Young Artist Program

*** You get extra bonus points for knowing that musical cue.      —>Avenue Q<—


Hey there – welcome back to the new and improved and prettified Tales of a Tenor! Come back tomorrow for a post about the trip to Montreal/Denver. And expect a post about London in the near future!


Promises, promises

So, I know I promised a more updated blog, but things have been a little hectic.  I am working on one from the 4th of July. It’s pretty epic (and complete with pictures), thus the tardiness. Fear not readers, I have not forgotten [the dozen of] you!

Failing to deliver

Hello all – today’s post is by my dear internet friend, Claire M. Jackson of Twitter fame. She is wonderful, kind-hearted, snarky and so freaking hilarious that she will make you fall out of your chair. If you don’t, she will stab you. In a kind-hearted Christian sort of way though, because she’s nice like that. Anyway…enjoy!

Hello, Mitchlings (this is my mental name for readers of Mitch’s blog – no, you can’t change it). Mitch has asked me to contribute a little something here, and after carefully reviewing the very important news of the day, I have decided to ignore all of it and write some of my usual nonsense. Enjoy!

Don’t Let Your Esprit Fall Down the Escalier:

Comebacks for Critical Life Moments


We’ve all been through it: there you are, minding your own business, when someone makes an extremely rude comment, delivers a “zinger” or, out of misguided goodwill or simple dumb-as-a-box-of-hair ignorance, makes a “suggestion” to “improve” your life/hairstyle/approach to multi-level-marketing. In all of these situations, many of us feel constrained by the boundaries of polite society and our own moral codes, and therefore instead of, say, setting the person ablaze and then gleefully capering around their burning, anguished form, we stammer or stutter out some banal response that will allow us to exit the situation and then, later, endlessly review what we should’ve done/said in the comfort of our homes. When moments like these arise, it’s of critical importance to have a ready response; otherwise, you’re riding coach on the Humiliation Express.

The French have a term for coming up with the perfect comeback after it’s too late (of course they do): l’esprit d’escalier, or “staircase wit” as it’s known to the Anglophone. Is there a feeling more exquisitely humiliating than this?

Well, I mean, other than discovering you’re on the hook for killing the ocean?

But I digress.

Here, then, are some suggested comebacks for the little awkward moments in life (please note: the solutions are listed in order of efficacy, with commensurate risk of resultant hostility/arrest/Ragnarok).

THE SITUATION: You arrive at yet another family gathering alone.

THE PROBLEM: Grandma wants to know when you’re gonna settle down and add to the family brood.

SOLUTION A: “Well, Grandma, I’ve been really busy with my schooling/Alpaca Farm/systematically dating every creep in town.”

SOLUTION B: “I just haven’t met the right one yet, Grandma, but when I do you can be sure I’ll keep them far, far away from all of you.”

SOLUTION C: [THUNK!] [CRASH!]  (Brain Grandma with a soup ladle and dive through the nearest window.)

THE SITUATION: You’re gay, lesbian, transgendered, queer, et hoc genus omne.

THE PROBLEM: Your friend/coworker/family member/random stranger on a bus says something hateful to you regarding your being the above.

SOLUTION A: “You’re certainly entitled to your opinion, but that doesn’t give you the right to disrespect or insult me.”

SOLUTION B: Give them a long, assessing look and then say “Who hurt you? Do you want to hug it out?”

SOLUTION C: Whip out your sword, hold it aloft and cry “BY THE POWER OF GAYSKULL, I HAVE THE POWER…” Then transform into He-Man or She-Ra and whoop some ass.*

*Come on, you know they were both TOTALLY gay.


THE SITUATION: Something’s gone terribly wrong at work, and your boss is on the warpath.

THE PROBLEM: Your cowardly coworker, desperate to save their own skin, tries to throw you under the bus.

SOULUTION A: “Let’s all just calm down and look at the situation rationally. I’m sure there’s a solution that will address everyone’s concerns.”

SOLUTION B: “Well, it wasn’t me, and I can tell you for sure that it wasn’t (Jerky Coworker’s name) either, because (s)he was out on another “long lunch” when things went bad.” (follow this with a brief pantomime of “tossing a few back” and then stumbling around)

SOLUTION C: “I understand this situation is potentially cataclysmic, but I’m much more worried about THESE!” (whip out previously-created Photoshop images of Jerky Coworker engaged in illegal relations with 2 wombats and Ann Coulter).

THE SITUATION: The debate in which you are engaged appears to be going poorly.

THE PROBLEM: Your opponent either knows more about the topic currently under discussion, or has sandbagged you with specious arguments.

SOLUTION A: “If we can just take a moment and return to the main argument, I’d like to address that point in the proper context.”

SOLUTION B: Play it for laughs. “I believe Alexis De Tocqueville said it best when he said “Dude, you’re a wingnut.”

SOLUTION C: “That may very well be, but I’m afraid your Chittering Chipmunk style is no match for my Eagle Tigerclaw style! Taste my vengeance, knave!” (kick opponent’s ass with Kung Fu.*)

*Note: Requires that you know Kung Fu.

THE SITUATION: Your friend asks you to contribute something to their blog.

THE PROBLEM: You are always sort of unsure about writing for others, because their audience is not necessarily your own, and they may throw things at you.

SOLUTION A: “No problem, I’m sure I can whip something up if you narrowly define each and every criteria for the piece, good buddy, heh, heh, heh!”

SOLUTION B: “Oh, good, this will give me a chance to finally expose the great Triscuit-Wheat Thin wars that have torn Madison Avenue to shreds.”

SOLUTION C: Reach into the basement of your mind, and draw whatever squeaking, malformed thing your wandering fingers find into the light, hoping it will be a worthy sacrifice. Alternatively, brain your friend with a ladle and flee to Canada, adopting a new name, life and ethnicity so completely that only your journal will ever know the secret anguish that is your nightly torment.

And there you have it. No more must you be troubled by the shame and regret that is l’esprit d’escalier! Life is truly better when you are the undisputed master of the spoken realm!

Until next time, this is Claire Jackson, saying…


…no, just give me a minute…

Well, crap.