Four Days In…

57403-New-Year-New-Beginning

It’s now four days into the new year. Four days have already passed in this new year “full of promise and potential.” 

I feel a little overwhelmed already… I am reminded of the old Weight Watcher’s mantra, “If you fail to plan, plan to fail.” Ugh.

There is a certain burden I feel whenever the year changes, a responsibility to “make this the BEST year ever.” It weighs heavily on me, this responsibility to be, oh, I don’t know – super human or significant or special. I am not sure what I am “supposed” to be in this big, bright virgin new year. Sigh. I am in my mid-fifties; you’d think I would have a handle on all this by now.

I remember from my expensive-but-now-largely-under-utilized Franklin-Covey training that most people are good at the “big rocks” but the little ones just get lost by the wayside. This year, I want to address both my big AND little rocks.

So, call them resolutions, call them goals, call them objectives – whatever! – I have a few things on my 2015 “list.” I have to admit, I was inspired to create this list in no small part by my beloved husband Martin, who went to the trouble to create a personal “pin board” of all his plans for 2015. (He inspires me in so many ways, that guy!) Anyhow, here is my short list – just five, in honor of five – a blog – for the remaining 361 days of 2015:

1. I want to be healthier; to that end, I WILL lose 50 pounds by the end of June. Health is the main goal, but weight loss also plays into my next objective.

2. I want to travel. I WILL go to Europe with my Sweetie this summer, spending one week in his native Poland, meeting his family (finally!) and experiencing where he comes from, then spend an additional week – just the two of us – exploring France or Germany or England – somewhere. Once I lose fifty pounds, I will look sexy as hell in a bathing suit on some European beach, am I right?

3.  I want to live in the moment. I WILL acknowledge the past but leave it there and not let it define me in the present. Listen, 2014 SUCKED for me, personally and professionally. Were it not for Martin, I would have probably off’d myself. (Just kidding, kinda’). But, point is, I will not dwell on my suck-y past year and, instead, embrace the coming year with hope and optimism.

4. I want to spend more time with people I love. I WILL engage with friends more, and let the people I love know how important they are to me. All too often I am happy just being with my Sweetie but have come to understand that this behavior is a bit of laziness on my part, coupled with a fear of “falling short” – maybe I can’t cook as well, or maybe I am not flush enough to go out to fancy restaurants or maybe our sofa is a bit faded. The truth I need to remember is that with true friends, one never falls short. Bringing in Chinese take-out with true friends is as wonderful as dinner out at a four-star joint.

5. I want to remember to always be grateful. I WILL cherish every great thing that happens to me, every day, whether that is just driving home and getting all “green lights” or finally (potentially?) winning the HGTV Two Million Dollar Dreamhouse (OMG, please!!!) I sometimes forget that my life – as imperfect as I think it might be – is probably envied by many. I have a reasonable job (granted, it could pay more), my Sweetie and I have a pretty great apartment, we have some kick-ass friends, I have my health and I have a man I adore that adores me back. I often need to remind myself of these realities…

So there you have it – my “short list” for the coming year. I feel confident I can make all these things happen. I will definitely keep you posted and you remind me, too, if you catch me falling short. In the mean time, have a GREAT new year and always remember this:

find time

Monday Memes 26

So many things are happening at this moment in my life – most good, some challenging, some yet to be “defined.” With all that said, I still believe my life is exactly as it is supposed to be at this moment, which leads me to this week’s “Monday Meme” offering  – a quote from one of my personal heroes, Oscar Wilde. I hope this resonates with you as much as it did with me. Enjoy, and today? Celebrate you, and your life…

Oscar Wilde

30 Days till CarnEVIL

Every year, our dear friends, Mike and Chris, host a RIDICULOUS Halloween Party – this year’s theme is “CarnEvil.” From their invitation: “Prepare for a scare this spooky season, as a show unlike any other comes to Northeast Ohio for one night only! An evening of terror under the big top awaits, as the Brookholts proudly present their annual Halloween Spooktacular: CARNEVIL! This year the Ringmaster is requesting that you come dressed as your favorite sideshow freak, circus performer, carny or create your own original oddity. We hope you can join us to discover the horrors that lie beneath the tent on Saturday, October 25th. Find all the frightening fun at… Will you make it out of CARNEVIL alive?”

CarnEVIL

Here is the super clever invite – address “blacked out” by me for security reasons, LOL!

So, we are ONE MONTH out and, of course, my Sweetie and I are considering costumes. This is what I have to work with: I am a “big man” (portly is often how I am described), I have a beard and I have a devastatingly handsome husband. So, we could go simply as “two circus friends with benefits”

two guys

or I could go as the ever-present and always-popular side show attraction, “The Fat Man”

fat man

If I utilized my beard, I could “let my feminine side show” (side show – get it?)

bearded lady

As a couple, we are usually joined at the hip – we could take THAT as inspiration

Siamese twins

Or , finally, we could REALLY go all out and go as these two lovelies

freakspinheads

We’d wear more glamorous “frocks” though, LOL! Whatever we do, and whoever we “become,” we will have an AWESOME time – why?

Chris and Mike throw amazing parties – last year, they planned a scavenger hunt with competitors so ruthless, some almost came to blows,

We will be with many of our friends, some that we see almost ONLY at this party and many that we simply do not see often enough (life gets in the way),

My beloved Martin LOVES Halloween, LOVES dressing up and LOVES parties. And most importantly of all,

I LOVE Martin and he LOVES me back. No matter what we do, we always have fun. So, get ready, Brookholts/CarnEVIL. We are coming…

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.

Why Not You?

Given all the celebrities, historical figures and learned men and women since the dawn of recorded time, I would have never guessed that one day I would be sharing a quote from Jillian Michaels, celebrated personal trainer made famous by the reality TV show, “The Biggest Loser.” And yet, here is her quote/question:

why not

I stumbled across this meme as I was searching for images for another topic I had planned on blogging about, and Jillian’s question really, really resonated with me. Why not me? 

Given recent events in my life, this seems the perfect opportunity to answer that question with another question: Yes, why NOT me? I’ll keep you all posted as I work out the answer… 😉

Frozen Treat

My family has a lot of weird games we play/invented – one of my favorites is “Death Row Dinner.” In Death Row Dinner, one of my siblings will call out – without warning –  “Death Row Dinner, Tim” and wherever I am, whatever I am doing – I have to stop and list aloud what my last meal would be if I were on Death Row right at that second (it is actually a lot more fun than it sounds, but I digress).

For me, entrees, drinks and salad dressings come and go but ONE item always remains the same: a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Chubby Hubby. You see, I love ice cream. No, seriously – I LOVE LOVE LOVE ice cream…

Ice creamI’m not sure why I love ice cream so much – sure, it tastes great but (in a scientific sense) I suppose I really love the “mouth feel” of ice cream – rich, smooth, creamy, delicious. I love the coldness of it in my mouth, the way the flavor/s come alive as the frozen treat melts and tempers, causing my taste buds to ramp up into overdrive. To slightly paraphrase an iconic literary character, “Ice cream? Gooooooooood.”

Ice cream, frozen yogurt, gelato – I love them all, which is probably one of the main reasons I am a life-long Weight Watcher’s “work in progress.” I would eat ice cream every day if I could (and I have, LOL!) I wish ice cream held the same place in the dieting tool box as, oh, say celery sticks. Yeah, instead of celery sticks and non-fat Ranch dressing, I wish I could substitute a bowl of Moose Tracks covered with chocolate syrup (which is, BTW, non-fat!) and whipped topping. If that were the case, I might have to leave behind my old affirmation (“Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels”) and replace it with something  like this: fat bad word

Mid-Week Scorecard

I know, I know – Wednesday is supposed to be “Hump Day” but my weeks have always run Monday thru Sunday, so Thursday has always been “mid-week” for me. Get over it…

Lots of “stuff” is going on in my life right now, so I wanted to take a brief moment and review/score the events taking place – please, enjoy…

Work:

Good – I recently was promoted to floor supervisor at work, which – while still an hourly position – entitles me to “full-time” (40 hours per week) and benefits (like vacation and health insurance).

Bad – The retail store I opened with a business partner is closing after 6.75 years on Saturday, 30 August 2014. I am more than a little sad…

StoreClosingSign2

Personal:

Not-so-good – It is confirmed my father has urethral cancer, along with the possibility that the cancer may have spread to other nearby tissue/organs. If the store closing makes me sad, well, this is BEYOND sad…

On-the-bright-side-of-bad – My father’s health team is working hard to manage his illness and they are incredible. Also, my father feels better and is in better spirits now than he has been for weeks. Finally, my immediate and extended family and circle of friends have all been amazing in their support and love. If gray clouds have silver linings, this cloud’s lining is STERLING silver.

clouds and sunFamily:

Good – While my Dad’s health is a less-than-ideal situation to bring me and my siblings together, it does ring true that families “circle the wagons” when a crisis presents itself. I have been amazed and inspired by my little brother and little sister, their devotion to and love they have for our father. Thanks, Bro, thanks Piglet! I love you two.

Bad – Other than wishing my Dad’s health was better, I have no other “bad” in this category.

fingersRelationships:

Good, no GREAT My hub-bub, Martin, continues to be my ROCK thru all the madness in my life. He is the most wonderful, loving, supportive and understanding mate a guy could ask for. I love him.

Bad – Not one thing.i-do-i-love-youNote: This image is a bit of an inside joke between me and my Sweetie; see, we “sneak off” and buy 49 cent ice cream cones at Mickey D’s all the time, well, not ALL the time. But sometimes, often…

So, I have to say, while it would be easy to think my life SUCKS, I guess when I look at all the “good stuff,” I am pretty blessed. Could I be thinner? You bet. Could I be hella’ more wealthy? God, yes, please… But all in all, I am a pretty lucky guy. I’m not sure exactly “how” to score my life but, at the moment, I would definitely give it at least an A- (I could be richer, LOL!) Thanks, Universe – keep up the good work!!! Signed, your biggest fan, Tim  😀