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

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Challenge Accepted

Given all the upheaval and turmoil/change in my life recently, I have vowed to attempt DO the following:

ugly day

I have to admit, many days since 28 August this goal has been all-but-impossible to achieve. That admission aside, things ARE gradually getting better and each day IS actually getting less ugly and more beautiful. Thanks, Universe!

Field Report – The Xander Project, Day One

Fr: Tim, a.k.a. SOKEBE

To: The blogosphere

Re: Field entry, Day One, The Xander Project

Today was the first full 24 of “The Xander Project,” the 7-8 day mission to “human companion” (with MY human companion!) the giant schnauzer of two of our best friends. See image below; typical giant schnauzer, black, but NOT the subject Xander.

Schnauzer-GiantAmong other differences between image and subject (Xander), subject has clipped ears and a docked tail. Here are my observations from the first day in the trenches-

1. All pet owners lie. Xander’s dog daddies swore he would not sleep in the bed. LIE. (he was adorable though, and really nice – he kinda’ cozied up at the foot of the bed.)

2. That tail stub feels like a weapon when a 75 pound dog “sits on you” then slides down your thigh before finally coming to rest.

3. The breed giant schnauzer lives up to their name. After two (2) brisk 45 minute walks today, I can confirm two things; one, giant schnauzers have four legs that are always in motion and two, their legs are about as long as mine, if we consider my embarrassingly-short inseam height.

inseamSummation: So far, subject (Xander) has offered no resistance and has, in fact, been an ideal “dog companion.” Subject adheres to schedules, respects authority, has an agreeable disposition and is, overall, pretty dang cute.

More information to follow. Wish me continued success…

Endless…

I must confess, lately my life has felt a lot like these images:

Vintage hamster wheel

Penrose Stairs

Perpetual Motion Machine - Wheel

It seems that every day I wake up with the best of intentions to get “it” done – whatever “it” is that day – and, by the end of the day, not only is my list still not completed, it seems that for every task I have crossed off the list, one or two more have been created to take their place. Ugh…

Listen, I have been around a while so I know that everything will get done in due time but lately I have been obsessing a bit about how long everything is taking, everything from getting duoHOME completely finished (we still have wallpaper that needs to be hung, door frames that need to be painted and a ceiling full of chandeliers that still don’t light) to repealing DOMA/passing UAFA (the Uniting American Families Act) and passing CIR – comprehensive (meaning gay and lesbian-inclusive) immigration reform. On top of those lofty ambitions, there is laundry and grocery shopping, mailing a gift to my new great nephew Emmitt, meditating, making sure my significant other knows how much he means to me, and more. Sometimes I wish every day were 36 hours long but, even then, it probably wouldn’t be enough…

I have a three-day weekend coming up. I mean, I have some work to do at home for work but, otherwise, I hope to simply “do nothing,” pamper and be pampered by my Angel and just recharge. Who knows? Maybe “The List” will make more sense when viewed after two or three days of not thinking about it. Wish me luck!

A GOOSE! Duck, duck – duck!!!

Recently I have been walking to work a few days a week. I like it. It is a gorgeous walk, through an historic neighborhood with wide streets and old growth trees, 2.03 miles (according to Mapquest) of stately Tudor mini-mansions, as well as a former private estate turned private girls school and, believe it or not, a cloister of Carmelite nuns. Along the way I also pass through a series of lakes and pass the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes, a protected wetland park.

shaker_nature

Normally, the walk is pretty peaceful – beautiful, even – and rather uneventful. Sure I see lots of wildlife, especially near the nature center: squirrels, cranes, koi (someone released them into the lakes and they are HUGE), turtles, frogs, a pair of swans and geese. Canadian geese. Lots of them. Canadian Geese, the evil and aggressive waterfowl the size of a sturdy preschooler. Normally, we peacefully co-exist. But today – actually tonight – things almost got rough…

Today I not only walked to work, I also walked home from work (bully for me, right?)  My Sweetie had a ridiculous schedule today and, well, he’s still not home even as I am writing this.  Anyway, I decided to walk home.  The weather was cool and there was a slight drizzle but, armed with my giant golf umbrella and my I’m-a-giant-first grader rain coat (not even kidding, I totally look like Paddington Bear in it!), I started walking home…

Pluszaki Rainbow Designs Paddington Bear 38 cm Paddington with Suitcase

(My raincoat is blue, and I don’t have the hat but I DO have a smart man purse!)

Anyway, I was booking home about 7:30P, walking under my umbrella in the light mist, just plodding along and enjoying the smell of wet earth and fresh, clean air, looking at what seemed like a bahjillion earthworms squiggling along on the sidewalk (what IS it with worms and rain?) and then I saw them and froze in my tracks  – The Gauntlet of Evil Geese…

Canadian-Goose(click image above to learn more about these “dirty birds”)

Standing defiantly in pairs, there were eight of these loud, vicious “honkers” standing along both sides of the sidewalk, two pairs to a side. I think they might getting ready to nest as it seemed they were all more interested in making noise at each other than paying attention to me. But, it was a but unnerving nonetheless, navigating what I suspect was probably over 100 pounds of hormonally-charged feathered bullies, all just “lookin’ fer a fight.” 

I steadied myself, raised my umbrella high and walked straight down between the two rows of four birds. They got louder but no one moved. They let me pass unscathed.

As I was walking, I kinda’ laughed to myself, thinking about the children’s game “Duck Duck Goose” – you know the one. It’s the game where children all sit in a circle and whomever is “It” touches each child on the head, saying “duck, duck, duck” then “GOOSE.” The goose-d player jumps up and tries to catch and tag whomever is it before they reach the goose-d player’s empty spot and make them “it.” I must have played that game hundreds of times as a child but, now suddenly, I felt like I was playing the “adult” version.

For me, it was more like, “Duck (hide), duck (hide), duck (hide) – a GOOSE!!! RUN!!!”

On the Eve of 100…

Today is my 99th consecutive blog post.

One of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2013 was to blog every day for an entire year, mostly to get myself in the habit of writing as I try and motivate myself to write a novel but also as a way to “empty my head” every day and share my thoughts and opinions with anyone that wanted to read them. Thanks to everyone who has joined me on this journey… So far, so good.

So today is the eve of my 100th post – today’s post is my “99.” With that thought in mind, I began to think about my association with the number 99.

A song from my youth:

Nena – 99 Luftballons – 1984

The fine, comedic talents of Barbara Feldon as Agent 99 on “Get Smart”

Barbara Feldon autograph as Agent 99

click Barbara’s image to watch a cute “Get Smart” video clip

A favorite place to shop…

99 cent only store logo

It’s SO great for cleaning supplies and things like nails and stuff. And it is all 99 cents…

A silly meme about a silly drinking song –

99 bottles of beer on the wall

I do NOT drink anymore but sang this song at LEAST 99 times while I was..

I could probably think of 99 things I associate with 99, but let’s leave this post where it is… Anyway, thanks for hangin’ in there with me on this journey. I’ve had fun so far; I hope you have, too. More fun and insightful posts to come, I promise. Tomorrow will be day 100 – HOORAY!!!

PS – Special thanks to my loving and devoted partner for allowing me an hour or more every night to write all these crazy columns. I love you, MSW!

My Wish List for Today/Tonight –

Today was a good day but still, tonight, I’d like to start here:

massage

 

Then, enjoy a VERY tall one of these:smoothie

As I sat in this till my fingers and toes turned all “prune-y:”

Tub

After which, wearing nothing but some moisturizer, I would slip into this:

bed

And fall asleep under these…

moon

Of course, I would want my beloved to be with me this entire time. Sigh… Perhaps one day soon, perhaps one day soon…