Monday Memes 34

In the past 48 hours, Cleveland has received more than a foot of snow. What does that mean? Normally, a little snow in Cleveland is nothing – heck, even a foot isn’t that big a deal. That said, today kinda’ sucked because of the snow. Why? Because I parked my car on the street and snow plows apparently had no option but to PLOW my car in, pushing snow up and beyond the bottom of the doors (I drive a mini van), leaving my poor car to languish and die a slow, frozen death out on the curb. The situation sucked.

Then The Universe stepped in and reminded me that people are good and kind…

Kindness-Quotes-8

My Beloved and I spent about five hours today shopping with a client, then helping install the items she had purchased. We saw the van, looking forlorn and snow-covered as we left for the appointment. In fact, we tried to “unstick it” from its frozen cage before we left, to no avail. (We took our “other car”). When we came back, I was certain the sun had warmed the snow enough to allow me to simply drive out of the 18″ snow bank smothering the van.

It had not.

And so, with me at the wheel, my Angel began pushing the van. We rocked back and forth, gaining and then losing, inches at a time. When I saw that he looked frozen, I suggested we trade places – he would take the wheel and I would push and rock. I’m not sure why but, after about two minutes of pushing, a security officer in a Bobcat stopped and began helping push. Then another. And finally, a LADY – with two bags of groceries, walking down the street – joined in and helped. In about four minutes, the van was free!!! We all smiled, high-fived one another, then the lady grabbed her groceries, the second man walked away and the first man returned to his mini snowplow and drove off.

It was inspiring, and the experience touched my heart. For a moment I questioned if maybe I had looked that pathetic, out there pushing on my own but – no matter the reason – I was truly grateful that The Universe sent those three angels to help Martin and me.

help people

I forget sometimes that the world is full of kind, generous people – people that care about others, even strangers stuck in a snow drift. Thank you, nice lady with groceries, man out walking and security officer in a little Bobcat. I like to think you helped me and were kind to me because I am helpful and kind to others. Whether that is true or not, I will take this afternoon’s kindness, remember it and pay it forward.

Giving Thanks, 2014 Edition

It’s Thanksgiving Eve. Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays, a day to consider how we are blessed (in a fortunate way/not simply a “Christian” way) and a day to consider – honestly – just how lucky we are.

It would be easy for me to say that 2014 has sucked so far, and ask The Universe just where the hell my “blessings” are.

In August 2014, I closed my business after almost seven years of (literally) blood, sweat and tears. Mostly tears. The closing of my business was a bit devastating emotionally and certainly was, and continues to be, somewhat crushing financially as well. With the closing of my business came my return to the employment market as a job SEEKER – I hadn’t “filled out an application” in more than probably twenty years; each of my jobs before opening my own business was the result of scouting by my then-future employer – I got ASKED to work with them. Reciting my high school GPA and “Other Interests” was something very alien and foreign to me.

The summer and fall of 2014, I stood by and watched as state after state achieved marriage equality, while my state CONTINUES to maintain an almost pre-Stonewall attitude around this issue. And earlier this month, somehow my state granted the madman that is our governor the power of four more years to destroy our state. And don’t even ask me about what happened in the Senate.

Probably saddest, in October of 2014, I lost my father, my beloved Pop-pop, to a long and valiant battle with cancer. I lost Grammy (my mom) six years ago and, during the time since, my Dad and I had become closer than ever; in fact, it was like getting to know him all over again. I called Pop-pop every day. I miss him, and I miss my Mom. A lot. A well-intentioned friend called me an “orphan” upon finding out my Pop-pop had passed away. I am NOT an orphan. I have two AMAZING parents – they are just away from me now, for the time being. They are now two amazing guardian angels.

Those are just the “highlights” of 2104 for me but – you know what? The year has been pretty great to me as well…

While I closed my business, I embarked on not one but TWO new endeavors, one at a cherished public institution in my adopted hometown and one in a new design venture with a new partner who is, in fact, my husband. Both careers look bright and, while I am “starting on the ground floor” at both, good things are already happening at each. Two days ago, I got promoted at “my day job” and assumed a new position within the organization, a position that suggests career growth and a stable, secure future. As far as my new design venture goes, working with my life partner/husband is a joy and our new firm is already developing a following. Hooray!

Even though Ohio (my state) is in The Dark Ages as far as marriage equality goes, I am legally-married to my husband and we will soon be celebrating the one year anniversary of his Green Card approval (that was a L-O-N-G journey/struggle, chronicled in many previous posts here on this blog). If it is possible, I think that guy loves me more every day – and I love him more, too. Eventually, Ohio will “see the light” and finally join the 21st Century with regard to LGBT rights and equality.

Finally, while I miss BOTH my parents every day, I am happy to know that they are reunited and happy. And contrary to what I feared, being “parent-less” has not left me feeling rudderless or adrift. Rather, I feel empowered and almost a bit reckless (but in a good way). The state of answering only to yourself for your actions (and your spouse, of course!) is actually a very liberating one. I like it. I miss Grammy and Pop-pop terribly but the freedom they have given me is a great, great gift.

So all in all, 2014? Maybe NOT so bad so far… Sure, heck – I hope 2015 will be even better but we still DO have almost a month of 2014 left. Who knows? It may still turn out to be the best year ever…

It’s funny. I was looking for a profound, “deep” quote about being thankful and ran across this sage advice from Oprah Winfrey herself. Who’da ever thought I’d be sharing inspiring Oprah quotes on my blog? Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Thanksgiving Oprah

Monday Memes 22

So, it has almost been a MONTH since my last Monday Memes post; sorry, I have had a “lot” going on lately. Anyway, as I was researching memes for today’s post, I came across this image:

dream

Given all that has happened for me this year – closing a business, burying a parent, all in addition to the other daily BS we all endure – I kinda’ lost myself, and my “dream” for a bit. Good news? I have taken SEVERAL deep breaths and am, as they say, BACK in the game. Thanks to my friends and family for all your love and support, not only recently but over the course of this whole year. Thanks to my beloved Martin, and his unconditional love and support. He IS my dream… And thanks to my parents for allowing me the opportunity TO dream while I was growing up.

For me, now? The dream continues… 

Monday Memes 21 (Black)

Years ago, when I moved to Cleveland, for a short time I managed an indie coffee shop – LONG before the meteoric rise of Peet’s and Starbucks and Caribou and the like. The coffee shop  was called Arabica and it was in a trendy-cool little mall called Coventryard (yes, it IS spelled that way). The year was probably like 1984 or 1985 – I was in my mid-twenties, a fresh-faced farm boy from Shelby, Ohio, now living in Cleveland – a HUGE city compared to where I had come from. Anyway, for about six months, I managed this coffee house and it was here that I met my first openly gay man (Wade) and my first self-proclaimed bisexual man (Douglas). I adored them instantly and we became fast friends…

Wade and Douglas were a colorful pair – at one time they had been lovers (briefly) but – in a moment of sincere love for one another and logical thinking – decided they would be better best friends than boyfriends (plus Douglas had that whole “bi” thing happening). Anyway, they were great to me, nurturing and patient, loving and paternal, and helped me really get comfortable with my own sexuality.

They had a zillion ridiculous stories but this is one of my favorites:

One day, without any preface, Douglas looks at me and says, “Wade and I wore all black for six months. I mean, black EVERYTHING – shirts, shoes, pants, socks, underwear, everything. I even bought some black condoms.” (Remarkably, there was a condom store in our trendy little neighborhood called, appropriately enough, “Condom-nation”).

I was intrigued.

wearing black

“Why?” I asked, seeking to gain some enlightenment or understanding that the experience had imparted to Wade and Douglas. “Why? Why all black for six months?”

Without missing a beat, Wade – who was standing behind the counter with us, making an iced coffee, sashayed past me and announced, “Just to see if we could do it.”

Design-Quote-until-something-darker-comes-out-copy

That was it – a 180 day trial of endurance, just to see if they could “do it.” I asked what happened on the the 181st day.

“Nothing,” said Douglas. “I just started wearing other colors of clothes again.”

At the time it made me smile, and it still does. I guess this story popped into my head recently because I ran across these memes. all relating to black, wearing black or seeking out black. As a designer, my life is full of color and yet I still find myself oddly and irresistibly drawn to black. Maybe Douglas and Wade had some insight they never shared with me…

black

I think about those days from time to time, and wonder what ever became of those two. I had heard that Wade passed away in the early 90’s, a casualty of HIV; I saw Douglas once, a few years after our work experience together, walking hand in hand with a knock-out woman at our local “high-end” mall. I didn’t speak, and I kinda’ regret that.

I hope those two somehow know/knew what a positive and important impact they had on my life and personal development. And how – in addition to everything else – they instilled in me a love and respect for black. Not brown, not orange, not navy blue – black will ALWAYS be black.

Huh?

So today was a challenging day, overall – my father’s health seems to now be deteriorating rapidly, work was a wee bit, um, discombobulated and even just getting to work sucked (45 minutes this morning for what is normally a nine minute commute). I mean, today of all days, I was suffering from a SEVERE case of ~

WTFBut, I managed to make it thru the day and get home to my beloved spouse, Martin (he makes every day better). So, after chowing down on a delicious meal Martin prepared, we were just relaxing and having coffee when the phone rang. It was a call from my former business partner – it was good to hear his voice and catch up a bit. It was also great to hear the news he had called to share; I won’t tell you all the details other than it is SUPER good news that came at a SUPER good time regarding the ongoing shutdown of the business we formerly shared. It was GREAT news; no, I mean REALLY great news, and I was like (again but in a different way) ~

seriously-wtfSeems that I received another “bitch slap” from The Universe tonight. I always think that, when I get my head in an odd/bad place, or when I stop “hoping and believing,” The Universe reaches down and gives me a bitch slap to set me straight again. I never see them coming (the bitch slaps) but, honestly, I always deserve them. THANK YOU, Universe, for caring enough about me to not only take care of me and my beloved but also taking a hot second to remind me of that fact. I’ll “try and do better,” promise…

 

Fallen Angel

Martin and I have a small but awesome group of friends – friends that celebrate holidays with zest and gusto. Two of our friends host a Halloween SPOOK!tacular every year (it’s pretty frickin’ fabulous!) We “made the guest list” for the past two years; we have made the invite list again this year. HOORAY!

I have already started obsessing about a costume. I think I want to go as a Fallen Angel but – if I do – Ill need these:

black angel wings

Wings. Glorious wings – big, full, AMAZING black wings. Thoughts, anyone?

Monday Memes 20 (I’m Back, Bitches)

For the past few weeks/months, I have felt kinda’ lost. My spirit has been beaten down and I was all but ready to give up on a career that I really love. Mercifully, that mood or darkness or whatever you want to call it has passed and/or lifted. I feel renewed and excited about working again. A big THANK YOU to ALL my friends, peers and colleagues for your unwavering support and massive  “rah-rah-ing” of late, and an especially HUGE thanks to my beloved MSW, without whom I’m not sure I would have “resurfaced.” (He rocks!) Anyway…

In the tradition of “Monday Memes” – I am nothing if not a traditionalist – I offer up these three graphic gems that helped inspire me to keep going and reminded me that I always need to follow my heart. Enjoy!

show your dreams

do what you love

madness