Monday Memes 30

There are a number of changes happening currently at my workplace – most good, some not-so-great, but all accompanied by emails that – at some point or another – includes one of these statements:

“Your compliance will be greatly appreciated” or

“I/we trust that it is understood that compliance to (insert whatever change here) is a necessity” or

All employere will be required to comply with this new policy.”

I kinda’ hate that word – compliance – and, as a result, “rule-breaking” has been on my mind a lot lately. And so, given my recent frame of mind, here is today’s “Monday Memes” post for your contemplation and enjoyment. Please read and comply, LOL!

break the rules

BTW – Deliberately is “dileberately” spelled incorrectly in the meme above (think about it).

go left44


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

Get Me a Chair and a Whip

As part of my new work position, I “manage” people.

Manage. People.

Ugh… I haven’t been a manager in probably 20+ years.lion tamer Clyde Beatty

At one time, I managed almost 200 people at once – 80+ servers, 35+ bus boys/girls, a Baker’s dozen of hostesses and a small army of cocktail servers, bartenders, bouncers and bar backs. (I was a LOT younger then…) For the past almost seven years, however, I have managed no one but myself; now I manage the “efforts” of nine other people – NINE adults – five days a week. It is a lot like riding a bike – it DOES come back to you but you are (maybe) not as good as you once were AND you also remember why you stopped doing it to begin with…

The excuses (“Traffic was terrible so I was 45 minutes late”), the push back (“I think wearing a name tag is stupid so I lost mine on purpose”) and the joy of interpersonal communications (“I am tired of the way so-and-so talks to me; I refuse to work with her”). It is all rushing back to me now.

I had to laugh at myself today – I looked at one of my co-workers and joked, “God, where is my whip and chair?”


It will get easier, I’m sure, but at the moment, people management is a little taxing. I hope that – very soon! – my staff will ALL be up-to-snuff and there might be a little less managing and a bit more just having fun at work. Fingers crossed…

Oh, and in the meantime? I did my first set of employee profile “snapshots” today (name, position, duties, strengths and opportunity areas). Just like management skills, my corporate vocabulary needed a little “dusting off.”

My God – I am “The Man” now… YIKES!

Impressions – Gay Games 9

Saturday night, I had the very great privilege of attending the opening ceremonies of Gay Games 9, hosted by Cleveland + Akron, Ohio (thanks Scott!). My beloved Martin and I shared the evening with Joe (Scott’s “better” half), as well as our friends Todd, Suzanne and Gina. The opening ceremonies were AWESOME! Lasting about 3.5 hours, we witnessed the parade of nations (I teared up when the Russian delegation got a HUGE ovation – it was super loud and super long), were entertained by celebrities as diverse as Lance Bass, Alex Newell (“Unique” from GLEE!) and legendary Olympic medalist and LGBT activist Greg Louganis. The evening closed with the current version of The Pointer Sisters “tearing it up,” turning the arena into a HUGE dance club. It was a fantastic event. GG9 Immediately after, our group walked the streets of downtown Cleveland, heading over to Olympic Village, taking in all the excitement and energy that filled the air along the way. I can honestly say that I have never felt more proud of and for our city – I mean, our Mayor was at the ceremonies as well as several of Cleveland and Ohio’s most-loved legislators (including a Senator!). We even had a taped message from President Obama himself… cleThe whole evening was fantastic – standing on the streets, I felt like I was in San Francisco, Toronto or NYC. Great job, CLE! Let’s keep this positivity and momentum going for the city I love! I must confess – prior to attending the ceremonies, I couldn’t understand why we needed “gay” games – like, I never wanted to be the best “gay” interior designer, I just wanted to be the best interior designer. Period. That said, since experiencing the joy and fellowship of the ceremonies (and finding out that I have several straight allies participating in the “gay” games), I have really come to understand and embrace the game’s commitment to inclusion. Last night we sat among men and women of many sexual orientations; I saw kids and grandparents, spouses and siblings, friends and family ALL come together to celebrate and share. It was beautiful. I now know that maybe being the best and being gay are not mutually-exclusive, and that maybe one can be the best AND be gay. What a concept, huh? Please support Gay Games 9 Cleveland + Akron. Help spread the word that northeast Ohio is one of the best-kept secrets in America… Go All OUT!

Christmas in July – My Gift

Among all my other weirdnesses, I observe Christmas in July.”

Every 25 July, I like to celebrate the impending event known as Christmas (only in July!) Typically I send a few holiday cards to friends and family (the list changes every year; if you didn’t get a card this year, don’t despair – your turn is coming!)

I always enjoy the responses they (the July Christmas cards) bring about: “I can barely manage sending cards in December – how do you do it twice a year?” or “That card really brightened my day and made me smile – thanks!” or my personal favorite, received this year: “What in the Hell is wrong with you? Are you insane?”

Christmas BranchesChristmas really is my favorite holiday (Martin’s, too!) so it is pretty easy for me to “get in the holiday mood.” I like to think the cards we send make people smile big, forget about their troubles and concerns and maybe – just maybe – make their day brighter. So, whether you made the card list or not this year, “Merry Christmas – in July!!!” 

PS – I mentioned a gift in the title of this post. Seems today, my little online journal surpassed 25,000 views (25,011 as I write this!) Twenty- five thousand minds have connected with the daily “boredom” I share that is my life. Viewed by peeps from over 132 countries, territories and – honestly- places I have never even heard of, such statistics make ME smile big- now that new is MY Christmas in July gift! Ho ho ho! 

Stupid Is…

I am blessed with many loving, caring, intelligent friends. I am lucky that way. But sometimes, these “loving caring intelligent” friends act or speak in ways that betray all their good qualities and remind me of that timeless bon mot uttered by Forrest Gump, in the movie of the same name:


According to Urban Dictionary, the phrase stupid is as stupid does “… means that an intelligent person who does stupid things is still stupid. You are what you do.”

I always try and see the point of view seen by others but on one current issue in particular, I just hang my head and think “WTF?” I mean, I cannot even see options in this situation – the “correct” answer is so obvious to me… But maybe I should heed the saying posted here myself; I must make sure that I am not “stupid” in this instance. (I’m not; I just have to be sure).   😉

CLE PRIDE “Wrap Up” 2014

Today (actually yesterday, at this point) was the 26th Annual Gay PRIDE celebration in Cleveland, Ohio. As with a number of years past, I was unable to attend due to work obligations and just general “grown-upp’ed-ness.” It is Sunday morning, 12:52 AM as I write this, and I know “the clubs” are still teeming with post-PRIDE revelers, riding the high of a day spent just “being gay,” fueled by inspiring speeches, I’m sure an electrifying performance by CLE PRIDE headliner Debra Gibson (the former “Electric Youth” Debbie Gibson of my early/mid 20’s), an army of female impersonators, gender queers, gay families with kids, gay families with dogs/cats/iguanas, LGBT vets, Gay and Gray groups, etc.

And The “Beer Garden,” the most popular attraction at any gay PRIDE celebration.   😉

PrideParadeRainbowBannerI found this image on BING; if you know the source/photographer, please let me know so I can credit it properly.

As for me? I just woke up beside three piles of clean-but-yet-to-be-folded laundry on my bed. It appears I have slept thru another PRIDE…

I mean no disrespect, and have actually enjoyed the images/status updates that have peppered my Facebook page all day. Cleveland PRIDE is 26 years old, one of the oldest continual PRIDE celebrations in America. That fact alone is a source of PRIDE (get it?) According to (see link above), early estimates place PRIDE attendance this year at around 32,000 people. Not bad, CLE, not bad. Is it the 500,000 that Capitol PRIDE (Columbus, Ohio) boasted, or the over one MILLION said to attend World PRIDE in Toronto a week or so ago? Not even close – but I am PROUD of our PRIDE here in Cleveland, and thankful for its continued presence in our community.

I wish I could have supported PRIDE this year, but as so often happens, life and responsibilities got in the way again. For years I attended PRIDE and felt connected to a much larger community than was typically my day-to-day existence. For one day, for those few hours, we ARE all just one people – the barriers of sexuality, gender, race, class, age and ability all seem to fall away and for those few magical hours, we are all the same. I think THAT is the true magic and meaning/purpose of any PRIDE event. I never thought of it as a coming together of all these diverse groups within our own community, our community just being one diverse group within the much larger context of the general population; instead, I always likened gay PRIDE to a pride rally in high school – you know, the event before a big game where all the sub-groups of school (jocks, nerds, The Plastics, the every mans, all of them) just come together under one, singular umbrella to celebrate and build spirit. That is what PRIDE feels like to me – a gathering of many different people with one common goal – to celebrate all the facets of the LGBTQQIT/SA experience (we have WAY too many letters now, LOL!)

So, CONGRATS Cleveland, on another year of PRIDE! I hope the “party” goes beyond the next few hours, after the bars close, and continues for days, weeks, months and years to come. If “The Gays” know one thing, it is how to throw a party – let’s keep the spirit and purpose of this one going for as long as possible…

Shadow of Himself

Someone I know and love very much has been battling an ongoing medical issue for months now. Many, many months. My Beloved and I visited him today and while the visit was pleasant, it was very brief and very draining, emotionally.

The man I have known and loved seemed different today, and that made me sad. He seemed to be almost a shadow of the guy I know…

shadow manHis once lively and cantankerous demeanor seems stilled – he is quiet and withdrawn. The strong body that once seemed too small to hold all his big opinions – opinions on politics and Bigfoot and healthcare – now seems frail and weakened. The eyes that sparkled with a youthful orneriness that betrayed his many years of life seem a bit dimmed and pale. I am worried for him. And I am worried for me, if I have to be without him…

It is interesting, this experience called life. My Dad always said life was one big circle – “If you wait long enough, son, everything repeats itself.” I rarely contradict my father (he is one of the smartest guys I know), but he has it wrong. Time is one big circle; life is one small cycle. And I sense that cycle maybe rounding a corner and “heading into the home stretch.”

See, I never imagined being a caregiver – to anyone, really, but especially my parents. Call me naïve, but I guess at some insane, unconscious level, I always knew my parents would live forever. Or I would die first. My Mom proved that theory wrong. She left us almost six years ago. And now it seems that my Pop-pop is facing some serious health issues. I’m not sure what to do…

I guess it is that old paradox: Sometimes the answer is that there is no answer. Maybe the answer will come to me as the story unfolds. Hopefully my Mom and my other guardians will help me see the answer, if there is one. For now, I stand by, waiting and watching, hoping and asking for guidance. No one’s life in in jeopardy, and for that I am thankful. But as quality of life issues arise, I’m not sure where to find the answers. In fact, I’m not really even sure what the questions are.

Green Card Success!

Today, after five years and five months of praying, hoping, dreaming, wishing and planning, my Beloved was approved for his spousal-based green card. And while I will still be a little anxious until it physically arrives here in the mail (7-10 business days), I finally feel relieved – and renewed. We are, as couples in our situation sometime joke, no longer “waiting to exhale.” The last obstacle in our path to a long, bright, joyful future has FINALLY been removed. We have a destination ahead…

happyAs the final “test” in our journey, our personal interview was scheduled today for 12:45PM; less than one hour later, we were sitting in the car, Martin smiling from ear to ear and me sort of numb with happiness.

I had gone into the appointment “locked and loaded,” ready for anything. We had in tow our AWESOME attorney, Stacy Cozart of the Cleveland firm Sharon & Kalnoki; Martin and I were in our best business casual attire and I was carrying not one but TWO accordion files full of documentation, photos and other forms, paperwork and receipts. If I am being honest, I also walked in today with 5+ years of pent-up frustration and anger at our ridiculous immigration laws, the emotional baggage of nights/weeks/months spent crying missing Martin while we were apart, a logjam of emotions about the injustice of our situation and – no offense to Catholicism – pretty much an “expect-the-worse-but-hope-for-the-best” frame of mind and attitude.

stacks of papersAs it turns out, I didn’t need most of what I had brought – especially the attitude…

Our interviewer was gracious and respectful. He seemed unfazed by the whole same-sex couple thing and was very professional. He asked the pertinent questions, shared a few stories and asked us for some and, the whole time, seemed genuinely interested in us “succeeding” in our application. Stacy was definitely a comforting presence, and I won’t lie – Martin and I are a pretty squeaky-clean couple, so we weren’t too worried about our application. At least Stacy and Martin weren’t too worried. Me? It’s my JOB to worry.

I was worried that we might not find out the decision in our case till a day or so from today but when I saw the examiner whip out that big old APPROVED stamp, I could not have been happier. He stamped a LOT of pages, congratulated and welcomed Martin, told him to expect his green card in 7-10 business days, shook our hands and wished us well. I did my best not to cry in his office – I made it to the outer hall before five+ years of pent-up emotions all just sort of rushed out. Martin squeezed my hand; Stacy told me not to cry but to celebrate and go have a drink for her (she had to get back to the office to go to a funeral).

Men Shaking HandsAnd so there we were, my beloved Martin and I, sitting in the car. It was over. It was an odd moment for me – I was happy beyond measure but, I guess, at the same time, I never expected it would happen so softly and quietly. I suppose I was waiting for glitter cannons and a ticker tape parade but, at the end, it was just the man I loved and me, as it often has been and always will be.

Don’t get me wrong – we could have NEVER gotten here without the love and support of our friends. I would like to mention everyone by name, but you know who you are. Martin and I have so many friends and supporters locally, as well as online friends we have never even met. We have made so many amazing friends, some of whom are still apart, some of whom are “in process” and some of whom are still waiting to exhale. I am personally committed to remain involved with LGBT immigration reform till ALL our friends are where they want to be…

I also want to mention a few great organizations that helped us. I would like to begin with Out4Immigration, an all-volunteer organization with whom I volunteered for a number of years. Martin and I have made a LOT of great friends thru that group, and Out4Immigration provided invaluable assistance and guidance along every step of our journey. I would also like to thank Lavi Soloway, partner in Masliah & Soloway, the founders of The DOMA Project. His/their groundbreaking work not only inspired us in our own journey but continues to help binational same-sex couples like us come together. And finally, mad love and respect to our own hometown law firm of Sharon & Kalnoki. The amazing Stacy Cozart, in partnership with her uber-assistant Magda Vlcek, brought us home safely and “sealed the deal” (and held MY hand thru the whole process – those ladies are incredible!)


And so, now a new chapter begins for Martin and me. If our lives are like a novel, we have committed several chapters to “setting it all up” – now we are ready for the story to get good and we are definitely ready for the “happily ever after” part to begin. We are well on our way…

The Night Before

I had a great day today but tonight, I feel more than a little bit like this young man…

nervousSee, tomorrow is our USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) “personal interview” – the final step, The Universe willing, in the long journey to secure a green card for my beloved husband. The journey has been a long and draining one, both emotionally and financially, but we are now very close to “The Prize” – a green card for my Sweetie that will allow us both to finally “exhale” and imagine a future together that WE plan, without worry of separation or forced relocation or a hundred other variables. Oh sure, our new future will also be riddled with unknowns but at least we will know that we will always be together…

I have no reason – other than being raised Catholic – to assume the outcome tomorrow will be anything less than this,

approvedbut, you know, until that final seal-the-deal handshake, I will be anxious. We have done everything asked of us – we have documents and paperwork and shared this and that, all of it. Yet I am still overwhelmed with butterflies.

We have all our “documents” gathered. I have asked all our friends and family to hold good intentions and asked The Universe to watch over and protect us. I even reached out to my personal guardian angels above – my Mom, my Mommo, my older sister Peg and my favorite Aunt AJ – to “pull the circle tight” and “shower us with their love and protection.”

I think we are good. But – until I see this,

green cardarrive in our mail box with my Angel’s name on it, I will be a little worried…

I look forward to posting my “HAPPY HELL YEAH!” post here tomorrow. Until that time, think good thoughts and thank you – thank you all for all your love, support, encouragement and assistance. While the journey has sucked many times, it has been made so much easier by all the friends we have made along the way, and all the friends that have been in our lives the whole time. For each of you, I am thankful. Now, off to watch some mindless TV and – hopefully – take my mind off tomorrow’s appointment. Happy thoughts, everyone!