The Shape of Souls

I think I have mentioned a few times before that I see a therapist twice a month, and have been “in therapy” for probably fifteen years or more. Yeah, I used to be a pretty big mess but now I like to think I have ALMOST got it all figured out, LOL! Anyway, to be honest, the therapist I see now is more like a life coach/spiritual guide/healer than a conventional therapist. I have been seeing her for a number of years and together we have vanquished quite a few of my personal demons.

I look forward to seeing her – she helps keep me focused and centered. Anyway…

Sometimes our sessions focus on a single issue/event happening in my life; other times, we have wide-ranging 90 minute discussions, as we did today. I am personally working on learning to rid myself of decades of “toxic shame” build-up (I know – it sounds so “therapy-y”) so we did “do some work” in that area today (more therapy-speak) but we also explored what I like to call the form of human essence, the shape of souls if you will.

Have you ever wondered what your “soul” – the essence of what is uniquely you – looks like? In my head, the perfect representation of my soul would look something like this:

diamond ballperfectly round, bright, beautiful and sparkling while, to be honest, in reality it probably looks a bit more like this:

deflated ballOf course, I am kidding – a bit. I think I am probably closer to the “sparkly” sphere but there are days when I feel a lot more like the deflated ball immediately above. Those are the days that toxic shame creeps out and “takes the shine” off my essence.

I am working hard to get that guy (toxic shame) under control and turn him from the enemy into my friend. And, while I may never be the perfectly round, sparkly orb shown here, I will always try, congratulate myself for my best effort and avoid becoming soiled and deflated as much as possible. It is a journey I think well worth the trouble.

One day, I WILL be “sparkle-y.” Have you ever considered the shape of your soul?

A Holiday Designed Especially for My Sweetie

My partner is from Europe and, as such, has become familiar and accustomed to our decidedly “American” holidays – days like The Fourth of July and Thanksgiving – big deal days here in America that are not celebrated in Europe. He likes the novelty of it all, the history and tradition associated with each day and – usually – the specific foods connected with each individual holiday celebration. Up until today, I think Halloween and Christmas had to tied with my Sweetie as his favorite holiday. That’s correct – up until today. See, today is National Cheesecake Day and NO ONE loves cheesecake like my Angel.

Cheesecake Factory CheesecakesIn the tradition of all holidays, I think my Beloved and I will start our own “tradition” to mark the day – and, it follows that today we will celebrate the day by “chowing down” on a big old slice of cheesecake. The beauties above are from The Cheesecake Factory, and I am pretty sure we will be making a stop there later today. My Sweetie LOVES their cheesecake – I do, too! He usually gets a White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cheesecake (right), while I typically get some over “choco-fied” choice like the Chocolate Tuxedo Cream Cheesecake (left).

I have found there are NO bad choices at The Cheesecake Factory.

white_choc_menuCCF--Chocolate-Tuxedo-Cream-CC-WithLove

No matter WHAT “slices get selected,” I know my Sweetie and I will enjoy not only the cheesecake but, more importantly, our time together. Is cheesecake – especially Cheesecake Factory cheesecake – very “diet-friendly?” Probably not, but sometimes making memories with the one you love is more important than a few calories…

Plus, I’ll burn some extra calories washing dishes later after we eat…

fork and crumbs

 

The Secret of Interior Design, Revealed

So by now, I suspect many of you already know that I am an interior designer by trade. I have a business partner and we have a small-but-successful interior design studio with a boutique retail store attached. Our firm focuses primarily on medium- and high-end residential projects but we occasionally do small commercial projects as well. It is a great job and I love it.

Most of the time.

I frequently get asked by clients for the “secret” to successful interior design, that one “tip” I can share that will allow them to somehow magically gain all the knowledge and experience I have acquired through formal education in the field and over twenty-five years of working within the A&D (architecture and design) community. Usually I just say this:

Given enough fabric

This response generally makes them laugh and gets them off my back. The truth is – just as there is no “secret” to being a successful dentist or dancer or anything else – there is no one trick that makes a designer successful. For those of us that enjoy even modest success, it only comes after years of education/dedication, a passion for the discipline and a lot – and I mean a LOT – of hard work. That all said, I really, truly cannot think of anything I would rather do than being an interior designer…

Well, maybe if a position as an independently wealthy, millionaire philanthropist becomes available, I might reconsider…

Enjoying Today

I have a friend leaving for vacation in a week. She cannot WAIT for the coming week to be over and her vacation to begin. She knows vacation will be awesome.

I have two friends leaving Cleveland and moving to a large, southern city in two weeks. They keep reminiscing/thinking about their lives here, wondering if they have made the right decision about the move, remembering all the great times they have had here in the past.

My beloved and I keep watching the mailbox, waiting for a document to arrive that will set in motion an entire chain of events that will (finally) make our lives secure and stable – but it will take weeks, probably months, before everything is totally settled. Until that happens, well, we just keep thinking about the future.

Three very different stories/situations, yet all have one thing in common: each person mentioned is not “present,” not living in and enjoying THIS moment.

This pic pretty much sums up what I am (finally) coming to understand:

todayI am as guilty as anyone of “wishing my life away,” of thinking some point in the past was better or thinking that the future will be brighter. Maybe they were/will be, but the reality is this: I am here. Now. In this moment, and this day.

I am not suggesting that we all erase our memories or stop dreaming/hoping/working towards a better future – no, what I am suggesting, and what I am challenging myself to do, is to learn to savor and enjoy each day as it happens. I will – hopefully – no longer “discard” any day, simply because I was grocery shopping or running errands or filling out forms – whatever. I am coming to understand that each day is unique and special, just like snowflakes (cheesy analogy, I know, but apt). I have to stop discounting my normal “everyday’s” and begin enjoying them for what they are – beautiful, singular days of experiences that can never be enjoyed again.

snowflakesFor example, I am writing this post on a quiet, peaceful Sunday afternoon. My beloved is talking with his family via computer, and I can hear them laughing and chatting in the next room. Previously, I would have labeled today as a big zero day but not anymore. My Angel is enjoying family time, I am enjoying some private writing time (in addition to this post, I also completed three snail mail cards to be mailed tomorrow) and the day is cool and sunny. To be honest, the day is turning out to be completely different than originally planned; we were supposed to go to the beach, and/or to a concert with friends tonight. Those activities are not going to happen. In fact, nothing monumental is happening and that is OK. The day is turning out to really great anyway. I am enjoying a peaceful day with the guy I love and that is really much MORE than just OK.

I hope everyone can come to see the beauty in “nothing days,” just as I am coming to see it. I know you will be happy when you do… Promise!

Urgent From Miss Felicia Luna

I like the “Junk Mail” feature on the server we use at work – it’s pretty effective at culling out SPAM/junk before it hits my mail box (although I frequently do find West Elm’s never-ending sale eblasts in there) I like to look through the junk mail and see what winds up there – usually donation requests from the Republican Party (I tagged the RNC as “junk” long ago), weird random wrist watch offers, “male enhancement” supplement fliers and assorted other junk. I usually just click “empty folder” and flush it all away; however, today one piece of junk mail caught my attention. The subject line? URGENT FROM HOSPITAL 

You probably already know/recognize this as one of those scam emails that promise millions of dollars, or Euros, for just doing the sender one favor, one simple task that no one on earth can apparently do but you. I found this request for “help” particularly inventive and have reprinted it here for you to enjoy in its entirety. It is signed by a “woman” named Miss Felicia Luna – this is what I imagine she looks like:

African American woman in pink headdressThis picture was, of course, taken before Miss Felicia Luna took “gravely ill” and “entered hospital,” whereupon she began the search in earnest to find someone to help her disperse her money. (BTW, just to be clear, the image above is a stock image of an African Woman in a pink headdress – the caption on the pic – and not REALLY Miss Felicia Luna, because I am sure there IS no Felicia Luna).

Here’s my question – does ANYONE really fall for these scams? Anyway, here is “her” email to me. Again, this is a SCAM; I am just sharing it because it made me chuckle…

Dear Beloved One,

This is Miss Felicia Luna from Trinidad & Tobago.I am writing from the hospital
in  Ivory Coast , therefore this mail is very urgent, as you can see that I am
dying in the hospital. I was told by the doctor that i was poisoned and has got
my liver damaged and can only live for some months.

I inherited some money ($3.5 Million) from my late father and i cannot think of
anybody trying to kill me apart from my step mother in order to inherit the
money, she is an Ivorian by nationality.
 
I have a little orphan child called who has being with me, named Martins Henry,
my step mother and her children are after him and because of that he ran far
away where he is hiding now, so I want you to help him out of this country with
the money

I want you to contact Martins with this information below:
Orphan  Martins Henry.
Address: Rue De La Princess L/G 152 Cocody
Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire.
Email: martinshenry1997@yahoo.co.jp

He will give you the documents of the money and will direct you to a well known
lawyer that i have appointed, the lawyer will assist you to change the documents
of the money to your name to enable the bank transfer the money to you.
 
This is the favour i need when you have gotten the money :-

(1) Give 20% of the money to Martins as he has been there for me throughout my
illness and i have promised to support him in life. I want you to take him along
with you to your country and establish him as your son.
 
(2) Give 30% of the money to handicap people and charity organization.

Note; This should be a code between you and Martins in this transaction
“Hospital” any mail from him, the barrister he will direct you to, without this
code “Hospital” is not from the barrister, Martins, the bank or myself as I
don’t know what will happen to me in the next few hours.

(3) the lawyer’s name is Mc Lambert Adams. And Let Martins send you his
International Passport as he has no passport to be sure of who you are dealing
with. Martins is so little, therefore guide him.
 
And if I don’t hear from you, I will look for another person or an organization.

Please do not forget to contact Martins Henry with martinshenry1997@yahoo.co.jp
May Almighty God bless you and use you to accomplish my wish.
Pray for me always.
 
Miss Felicia Luna

Me again: So, I need to help Martins because he is young but has access to email and works with an attorney. Hmmm… He feared for his life and ran “far away” but Miss Luna has shared his complete address here. Hmmm… I guess she must really trust me, LOL!. Finally, “young” Martins coordinates attorneys and barristers and legal documents. Hmmm…

So, sure, it is a scam but I was impressed with her faux accent and modified African English – plus, in addition to giving me 1.75 million dollars just for helping her, she also wants to help handicapped people and gave me God’s Blessing. It kinda’ makes me wish Miss Felicia Luna  – and her millions – really existed…

Under A Canopy of Leaves…

Sometimes days ARE 25, 26, 27 hours long… Today (Friday, 26, 2013) is one of them. Technically, it is SATURDAY as I write this post but, since I have yet to go to bed (1:55AM), it is still Friday to me.

I had a super Friday. I had a client meeting with a new interior design client this morning, then in the afternoon, me and my Sweetie headed out to Mentor Headlands beach for an afternoon of sunning and swimming. It.Was.Awesome.

THK and MSW at Headlands 072613

When we came in off the beach, I found a message from our best friends, Scott and Joe, inviting us over for a late dinner. So, off we went to shower, change,and get ready.

We arrived at Scott and Joe’s about 7:15PM, and finally left about 1:00 AM. During our visit, we had fun not only with Scott and Joe but Xander the Wonder Dog as well. The food was great, the company even better and, their backyard? Ridiculous! After our al fresco dinner, our evening continued under this canopy of leaves, just talking and laughing. They are GREAT guys and, probably, our best friends. The conversation is always easy and we love them…

I spent a huge portion of the evening seated under this tree…

Morgan Lamm backyard

Sorry this blog isn’t “better” but I had a great, L-O-N-G day today, so I am going to bed. I promise I’ll post something more “worthy” tomorrow (oops, today!).

Inspiration Courtesy of BING Images

As I was scanning BING images tonight, looking for a picture I could use on a post about “being tired” today, this image quite honestly jumped off the page at me:

Speak the truthI’m never quite sure why certain images or quotes resonate with me, but this one really made me stop and think. I think the message is very powerful – I hope it inspires everyone that sees it to be honest with themselves and, as suggested, speak THEIR truth, even if their voice shakes…

Did I Just See a PINTO?

After work today, I walked home. It was a great walk – the current weather is much cooler and the sky was super clear. I like walking; it’s easy exercise and it lets me “clear my mind out” a bit. My walk home takes about 45 minutes for the 2.04 miles. To be clear, I just walk; I do not power walk or briskly walk or speed walk. There are no “adjectives’ involved. I walk – to be honest, I suppose I technically “amble.” Anyway…

On the way home, as I stood at a crosswalk waiting for the traffic light to change, what zooms past me but a pristine 1972 Pinto – yes, that’s right, a 1972 Ford Pinto. In orange! I swear it was this exact model –

1972 Ford PintoI know for sure it was a 1972 Ford Pinto because in 1972, I was a fourteen-year-old boy just WAITING to get my learner’s permit at 15 and start driving.

I dreamed of all the cars I’d own – mostly I dreamed about Corvettes, but there were others, too. That’s the craziness of it all. Unlike today, when this Kia is a version of that Lexus is a knock-off of this BMW that pretends it is that Jaguar – well, you get my drift. But 1972, oh 1972 – THAT was a year when “Cars were king.”

I mean that same year that brought you the Pinto above also offered up this classic muscle machine (and my dream car) – a 1972 Corvette Convertible – with t-tops, no less –

1972 CorvetteI mean, the color is the same as the Pinto but that is definitely where the similarities end. That same year, auto manufacturer AMC brought you not only the AMC Pacer – voted one of the “Five Lamest Cars of All Time”  –

1972 AMC pacerBut also produced the kick-ass AMC Javelin AMX – sleek, fast and uber-cool –

1972 Javelin AMXAnd finally, the same year that gave birth to the car that made us all want to own a hatchback and is also the nicknamed the “Cutest Car Ever” – the Gremlin –

1972 AMC GremlinAlso put out the VERY sexy, VERY fast and VERY collectible Ford Mustang –

1972 Ford MustangSeeing that Pinto blasting down Lee Road (its driver no doubt on her way to yoga class, LOL!) reminded me how really diverse and different cars use to be. Now there are really only four different classes/styles of cars available:

1. The Unattainable Imports – Leased almost exclusively by rappers, professional sports figures and “self-made” men with Napoleon Complexes (meaning small willies), these wallet-crushing brands include Bentley, Rolls Royce, Porsche, Lotus and Ferrari.

2. The “Look-at-Me” Status Brands – These cars are typically leased as well, and are usually over-chromed and under-equipped. These brands include BMW, Jaguar, high-end Cadillacs – Escalades in particular – and, oddly enough, “monster trucks.”

3. What Moms Drive – All SUV’s, all hatchbacks (are they even called that any more?), all four door sedans (are they even called that anymore?) and all weird brands endorsed by hamster rappers. Oh, and Smart Cars.

4. Used Cars – What all “normal” people drive. Sadly, once cars leave any of the categories above, they fall into the “auto oblivion” that is named used cars and they all look alike, no matter who/what they started out being.

Currently, my Sweetie and I have a 2006 Saturn SUV – you know, a car from category three, What Moms Drive. Thing is, it has been – and hopefully will continue to be – an awesome car. I hope it stays with us for another 100,000 miles.

Oh yeah, that’s right – 100K so far and counting. Plus, no car payments for over 24 months – and counting! Sure, would I someday like to still have my dream car or any of the Unattainable Imports? You bet, but for now – and probably a while yet to come – it’s just gonna’ be my Sweetie, the Saturn and me. And that is OK (but I’m STILL coming for you one day, ’72 ‘Vette with t-tops!!!)

Now It’s All But Over…

I seem to spend my days in a fog sometimes… Distracted by work, my family, the weather and just my general lack of focus, major events sometimes escape my knowledge. Oh, sure, I knew about the “royal birth” yesterday, and all its many joyous details but today I COMPLETELY missed a major event. Apparently, today is National Hot Dog Day 2013. And I all but missed it.

Hot dog with mustardI’m not exactly sure WHY today is National Hot Dog Day 2013, nor would I have even known about it, were it not for Facebook (Facebook – America’s News Source). So here it is now, after 9PM on a “major holiday,” and I haven’t celebrated the day yet…

I’m not even sure HOW to – I guess you are supposed to eat hot dogs, right?

Instead, after work I ate a delicious Caesar Salad with tuna, prepared for me by my Beloved, and later tonight before bed I will have a generous slice of the kick-ass berry custard layer cake he also made. From scratch. It.Is.Delicious. (I snuck a taste!)

Sorry, “weiners.” Maybe next year will be my big “All-Beef Frank” Celebration.

Close Your Eyes…

Today was my first real day off after a V-E-R-Y long and busy week last week, and I anticipate having a similar week this week again (it’s all good though!) To be honest, I was also off yesterday but my beloved and I did a whole round of errands – grocery shopping and the like – so we could have today completely free to spend all day together at the beach…

Guess what? It was gloomy and rainy all day today. Bullocks!

Anyway, as our alternative plan, we saw a matinee movie (“The Conjuring” – FANTASTIC!), stopped at our favorite European market to pick up some delicious Polish mayonnaise (there is NOTHING like it) and did a bit of off-price shopping. We had a very full, very fun day together, doing nothing spectacular but having a great time anyway; I guess that’s what it feels like when you have finally found “The One.”

So, after parking the car in the garage, I closed my eyes for a minute before heading upstairs, just to catch up and relish/remember the day before going on up to our apartment. As I closed my eyes, I remembered this little quote:

Kiss Laugh and LoveIt made me smile to realize that there I was, sitting in our parking garage with my eyes closed, smiling. I have always loved the quote above and I am happy to share it with you all today.

I love my partner very much. We had an awesome day today together; I hope your day was awesome, too. And the next time you close your eyes, I hope it is for one of the reasons listed above…