Simply Said…

Hallmark has a collection of greeting cards within their lines called “Simply Said” (or maybe it’s “Simply Stated” – I can’t remember exactly). Anyway, the cards are short on text and long on meaning or sentiment. I was reminded of these cards – and their goal of being profound in as few words as possible – when I randomly came across this meme while image searching tonight. It spoke to me…

Your lifeI have always endeavored to lead a “good life, to make a difference in the world and leave it a better place for my having been a part of it. I strive to do good deeds and try to “…be the change I want to see in the world.” (Another fine quote, BTW). However, I don’t think I could possibly write anything more true, or share anything more profound, than this little graphic.

One dozen words that give direction to life. Now THAT is simply said…

Aw, C’mon Universe! Dammit!

Today I was off work and up until about 4:30 PM or so, had been having a kick-ass day off – I got up early and went to see my dentist (no cavities – great teeth cleaning), came home, grabbed my Sweetie, stopped by the bank to deposit a check, went to see not one but TWO movies (“Oblivion” with Tom Cruise – beautiful but nothing spectacular and “The Croods,” an animated 3-D film that was ABSOLUTELY AWESOME!!! You MUST go see it), ran thru the grocery to grab a few things then came home. That’s when I wished I had one of these (and really knew how to use it):

lock pick setYou see, as we were opening the back door to our apartment, my Sweetie’s key “fell out” of the lock – it’s probably more than 25 years old – and suddenly we were trapped outside not able to get in. The lock was completely “frozen” and would no longer operate. Fortunately, our building super, Elisha, was at home so he helped us pow-wow about what to do…

The back kitchen door lock was frozen. No good.

Our alarm system was armed. Not good.

Our front door was locked and closed with a deadbolt from the inside (meaning no key operation). I mean, c’mon!

Ugh…

It was Elisha’s idea to remove the door moldings, pry open the door and do as little damage as possible then replace the locks. However, my agile and athletic Sweetie remembered our TV room window was open, so we got a ladder, he scurried up the side of our building like a cat burglar and got us inside. Tragedy averted. However, as Elisha “worked” on our front door, showing us what had happened to our back door it, too, broke and froze. As a result, our entire apartment will need to be re-keyed tomorrow  as well as our storage unit.

I guess its not too bad; we could still be sitting in the car in the garage waiting, nibbling on frozen Cool Whip Light, mixed organic baby greens and pears, waiting for Elisha to come home (although he really didn’t do anything but supply the ladder).

Sigh… I wish I could remember all those “life skills” I learned as a somewhat rebellious teen. They might have served me well today…

Discouraged

The older I get, the more discouraged and disillusioned I become with America in general and the “American political system” in particular. To say that I am discouraged with recent events and announcements would be a slight understatement…

Discouraged

Discourage – To deprive of confidence, hope or spirit.

I mean, I often joke that if I did MY job as poorly as most of our elected officials, or if I blatantly disregarded the wishes and requests of my clients like politicians dismiss mine/ours, I’d be unemployed and living under a bridge. The just general paralysis happening in Washington, combined by the fact that too few politicians have any sort of compassion, or moral compass, is crushing to me. Our country has become one of many, manipulated by a few. And that sucks…

I won’t “soapbox” here about the one issue in particular that has me steaming at the moment – more on that in a future blog. But, I will say, America still does not treat EVERY citizen equally. The BS and buck-pushing that has happened, and continues to happen, is so repulsive to me that I often wonder if a solution is achievable. When polls and surveys show that more than 50% of American citizens are in favor of this or that, WHO THE HELL are politicians or Supreme Court Justices to decide otherwise? I am calling bullshit on that, right here, right now.

The only thing WORSE is to alternately offer some promise of a solution or remedy to the grievous and long-standing civil rights violations here in America, but to make those remedies so convoluted and complicated, so labyrinthine that it renders the mechanism almost useless. I do not know why some of the proposed legislative proposals are not collectively called the Catch-22 clauses.

I am finding it increasingly difficult to continue to hold out hope that America will live up to its promise and the ideal that we are ALL equal. Yet, as I was searching for the image above for this blog, I also came across this meme:

never-give-up

Winston Churchill – widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the 20th century.

Now I am no Winston Churchill fanatic, nor do I even really like history in general. That said, I did find these five simple words pretty inspiring and renewing, at least for today. It would seem that surrender would be fairly dismal – I just wish we had a few more victories along the way…

I also think it might be time to start takin’ names and kickin’ some ass outta’ DC.

 

Yes, Beyonce, I plan to “Put a ring on it!”

For no particular reason, I have jewelry on my mind today.

I guess maybe I am thinking about this because hopefully, in late June, when the planets magically align and SCOTUS (The Supreme Court of The United States) magically grows some balls and FINALLY repeals DOMA – with all due respect to all the female justices – I would like to “officially” marry my significant other.

And it occurs to me that such an event needs to be finalized and marked with a significant piece of jewelry.

Now, as a gay man, there IS no other jeweler besides Tiffany’s. I mean, I remember ordering a $65.00 key chain from Tiffany’s in my late 20’s, just so I could have a “blue box.” Anyway, I was online today and narrowed my choices down to three:

The Etoile – platinum and diamonds. A classic!

Etoile Men's Ring

Or Paloma’s  – as in PicassoZellige Ring in infinitely more affordable sterling –

ZelligeOr finally, the classic (and obviously status-seeking) 1837 Ring

1837 RingAll these rings are fantastic – I love them all and wish I could shower my sweet boyfriend with one of each. We have looked at the 1837 Ring before, so…

Who knows? Come late June, we may take a trip to NYC or Chicago and buy these guys. It seems like an event that merits a trip, rather than ordering them online, would you not agree?

(all images courtesy Tiffany & Company)

A New Business Idea

Yesterday, my beloved partner and I attended an awards luncheon at the Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio – more on that at a later date. It was a frickin’ fantastic day, and I am really so very proud of my SBF for the award he received. That said, it was a luncheon – at the Statehouse – with politicians and presentations and speeches. So, for me, that invitation/event meant I had to wear a suit…

Let me be very clear – I am not now, nor have I ever been, a “suit.”  

Suit

In the forty years I have been working , I have worn more than a few uniforms, sometimes a blazer, many times “dress shirt, tie and slacks” but I have NEVER had to wear a suit every day. Like a lot of men (I suppose), I have but ONE suit, my all-purpose, dark charcoal gray, four-season wool suit. I bought this suit probably more than five years ago, expressly to wear to the commitment ceremony of my two best friends. I had a “speaking part” in the ceremony so I felt I had to look awesome (and I did!) That suit was the most money I had ever spent on clothes for any event – I mean, I even paid $95.00 for an extra-long silk tie!

THE suit has served me well – it saw me through the commitment ceremony, covered me as I emcee’d the regional ASID Awards program, comforted me as I buried my favorite aunt, my grandmother, my Mom and my older sister (it’s been a rough past few years!) and probably a few other occasions.  It would seem that I have the cost of that outfit averaged out to about $100.00 per wearing – I factor in dry cleaning. So, again, yesterday, I went to put on my “suit” and go to the luncheon and celebrate.

Here’s the thing – since I bought that suit, I have lost probably close to forty pounds. It kinda’ fits like this now:

Big suit

(Click image above for tips on fitting a suit from Esquire Magazine)

I mean, I didn’t look quite THAT lost in it, but it definitely is too big now in every dimension. HOORAY! for me and Weight Watchers, BOO! for spending hundreds more on clothes I rarely use and really don’t even like.

It made me think: “Why can’t there be a place that rents suits to men who never wear suits, just like we rent tuxedos for formal events?”

Do such places exist? I mean, I think there are websites where women can lease handbags and wedding dresses, so why aren’t there places where guys can rent suits? I’d pony up $80-$100 for a suit, shirt and tie for twenty-fours hours. Think about it – I’d never have to worry about lapel shapes, the number of buttons, single or double breasted, vest/no vest, vent/no-vent/double vent, skinny versus wide tie or any number of other style options that immediately date a suit six months after purchase. My credit card would get me a stylish, of-the-moment ensemble with little worry. I think such a concept could kick ass.

We’d start off slow – standard black, gray or navy suits in a range of sizes with just a few shirt and tie options. I mean, for guys leasing suits, how “discerning” can they be, fashion-wise? As the idea takes off, we’d franchise and add more styles, sizes and options.

Think about it, guys… I think I may be on to something. Any investors out there?

Finally…

… a day that made me happy!

After a week (or more!) of what feels like crappy days one after the other, I had an exceptionally happy day today – HOORAY!!! However, the day started at 6AM, it is now 10:15 PM and during that time my Sweetie and I have “done” three separate tasks and driven over 350 miles. Today has been awesome…

Happy Face… but you will have to wait until tomorrow to get all the details. Let me just say, though, that my Sweetie always makes me happy and today was no exception – plus, he made me very, VERY proud today. Details tomorrow…

Reverse Application

Lately I have been more than a bit discouraged by the “behavior” of America. I guess that, as a gay man, I am tired of being treated like a second-class citizen in so many areas – marriage equality, immigration law, employment protections – the list goes on and on. I mean, it is a fairly well-known fact that by being denied marriage equality in America, my partner and I are denied 1,138 rights and protections “the straights” get. Listen, I love my straight friends but you all have to kick it in and get me the same treatment that you all get. Please…

So, as a “Plan B,” I would like someone with some mad Adobe or Photo Shop skills to modify this generic application for me:

ApplicationWhat I would like is an application that countries submit to ME, “applying” for me to move there with my partner. I mean, here’s the package they are competing for – two committed, dedicated partners, both well-educated (one a Master’s Degree, one with almost four decades of business acumen, with several “lumps” of college thrown in for good measure), one a small business owner, both with strong entrepreneurial skills, no criminal records, above average health, above average IQ’s and a strong desire to “belong” to a culture and country that both recognizes us as a couple/appreciates us as individuals.

Minimum qualifications for countries “applying” for our immigration: We want no special rights or privileges but demand each and every one be applied to us the same as all other citizens. Politicians actually working FOR the populace would be ideal. Oh, and a nice, temperate climate is preferred but negotiable.

America? I have always done my best to fulfill my end of the bargain; I have been a contributing, compassionate and loyal member of society all my life. Now I need you to fulfill YOUR end, and give me – and tens of thousands of other CITIZENS just like me – the fair and equal treatment you promise…

Otherwise, I will forced to begin accepting applications. CYlater

 

Design Inspiration from Nature

As an interior designer, I am inspired by the work of many celebrated designers and architects. These men and women craft ideas into being, make whimsy take physical shape, take ideas and dreams and make them real. Often they produce products, rooms and buildings that take my breath away – I ask myself, “Where did that come from?” or “How did they think of that?” Certainly one of my personal heroes is world-renowned architect Frank Gehry. Mr. Gehry has been credited for transforming the discipline of architect into the creation of public art. His talent is seen around the world, and his use of computers to bend and manipulate space and buildings has made him a design god for me.

I first noticed his work when he produced a series of “fish lamps.” I have always loved the shape and movement of fish and his fish lamps captivated me…

frank-gehry-fishI looked at these lamps and wondered, “How can that man translate such simple materials into such things of beauty? How did he imagine that texture?”

I will never own a fish lamp – they are rare and pretty-much the stuff of museums now. But the “scales” he fabricated have always haunted me. I mean, where had I seen that before? Why did it “feel” so familiar to me? This is one of those questions that has been clunking around in my head for a number of years. Then I remembered; I remembered how/where I saw that texture.

Growing up at my house, every Sunday night was Mutual of Omaha’s “Wild Kingdom” night. My father LOVED that show and we watched it faithfully every week. It was the show where I saw my first “stampede.” It was the hour I first saw the sky “dark” from bird migrations. And it was the show that introduced me to all of nature’s “oddities:” the duck-billed platypus, the narwhal and the pangolin. The pangolin – surely THAT is what inspired Frank Gehry, not some koi or regular fish. I mean, look at the pangolin’s armor…

PangolinThis rare and exotic creature has to be the inspiration, right? Anyway, I think it is…

Clients ask me all the time what inspires me, and how I decided to become an interior designer; maybe I should thank nature, my Dad and Marlin Perkins.

 

Question – “Why?”

Periodically, events happen that simply make me ask The Universe, “Why?” 

question marksOne of those events happened today and touched my life. It is a bit personal and private so I won’t go into details (my Sweetie and I are OK, BTW) but it is one of those WTF moments that happen in life that make me question, “Why?”

I have always struggled a bit with faith and happenings like this never do anything to bolster my belief. That said, in order to maintain sanity and overcome sadness, I have learned to accept that sometimes things happen that I cannot understand, or maybe do not have the capacity to understand. That doesn’t mean I don’t try to “make sense” of everything – that is in our human nature – but still, some things make my heart heavy and sad. Things like pets crushed on the road, children being diagnosed with cancer, random acts of violence and seemingly senseless loss of life. These all make me sad, and angry and frustrated by “faith.”

Still, the alternative – giving into darkness and having no faith – is even more soul crushing to me. So, I try and accept events as they happen, understand what I can, recognize and honor my feelings of sadness of hurt and then move along. It sounds a bit callous but it isn’t meant to be. I think each of us must make the choice to see joy where there is sadness, beauty where there is ugliness and hope when it seems there is no hope left…

My heart goes out today for people I have never met and one person very close to me. I hope the light will return for each of them soon.

light

Empty Plate and Flower Petals

For the first time today in WEEKS/MONTHS, I honestly had nothing that had to be done… No deadline to meet, no project due, nothing. It was an “empty plate” day…

empty plate

That said, the day definitely had some high points:

1). Slept in till almost 9AM (a BIG luxury for me).

2). Woke up with the love of my life. Always a dream come true.

3). Went grocery shopping with my SBF – four stores in four hours. I like shopping. It doesn’t matter what I am shopping for, LOL, I just like shopping.

4). Indulged/enjoyed a delicious McWrap with my Sweetie for lunch. Yum.

5). Back home by 3PM; in my PJ’s since 3:05PM. Probably going to bed at 11PM (or sooner).

All in all, it has been a fantastic day of nothingness, one long-overdue, long-needed and one much-appreciated. Sometime I just need a day to re-center, catch my spiritual and emotional “breath” and re-group/re-charge a bit. Today was one of those days…

The day was one of many special small moments, none significant but all great. Probably the nicest part of today was scoring three huge yellow Gerbera daisies at the grocery for like two-fifty. They are sunny and big and beautiful.

Gerbera DaisyI think Gerbera daisies are probably one of my most favorite flowers – they always make me smile. And they make Martin smile, which always makes me smile, too…