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

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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.

Fossils

So, my Beloved and I have been doing a bit of closet cleaning/re-organizing around our apartment of late, and one of the items we have decided to say goodbye to is a like-new VCR player. OK, stop laughing – yes, I said a like-new VCR player. In fact, I think I still have the original box somewhere AND the “Owner’s Manual” is in a zip-lock bag in my desk drawer…

Panasonic-VHS-player

This isn’t our exact model (ours is a SONY) but it is very much like this one. The thing is, Martin and I have been together for 6+ years and, in that time, we have NEVER watched one single VHS tape from my “archives” (over fifty titles, mostly gay art films from the 80’s and early 90’s – things like “Farewell My Concubine, The Lost Language of Cranes, Maurice, Edward II” – you know, all the art house stuff, not porn). Since we never watch them, we have decided to “give it all away.”

Sad thing is, no one wants it. Our VCR is SUCH a fossil, we might as well be giving away a flint and a steel – you know, like to build a fire with. A VCR player – while in reality maybe 25 years old is 150 years old in “tech years” (tech years are like dog years, only longer).

flint

And – know what is REALLY sad? At least the flint and steel are “cool” – I mean, they are a cool way to start a fire. But now the cool way to watch movies is to “stream them” off the internet. No one has started a movement to make watching movies or television shows on VHS tapes “cool.” I mean, who says this? “Wanna’ come over later and watch the premiere of American Horror Story after work? I TAPED it last night.” No one does. No.One. 

The last series I “taped” – religiously – was “Dynasty” with Joan Collins and Linda Evans. God, I LOVED that show…

So yeah, I guess we will just be throwing away our old VCR – I hate that (I am of German descent; we are a frugal people. LOL!) But maybe we won’t. Maybe we will start hosting “Retro Movie Night,” inviting friends over for dinner (some sort of casserole, no doubt!) then clustering around the VCR as we watch ambiguously gay/artsy films from 25-30 years ago.

Oh – to start, I have that “Limited Edition, Commemorative 25 Year Anniversary Release” VHS tape of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Maybe we could all do the time warp again in my TV room…

Or you could just stream the entire The Rocky Horror Picture Show by clinking the link above. Sigh…

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 17

With everything going on in my life right now, my anxiety and “weirdness” is a bit much for even my Beloved Martin to handle. I have come to rely on my close friends for additional support and “back-up” – emotional, physical and spiritual. For example, tonight I spent 90 minutes on the phone with one of our besties (Thanks, Joe!), just rambling on and on and on and on… And he listened. He was is awesome…

With that type of relationship and support in mind, I’d like to share these three memes about friendship today – these thoughts and observations regarding friendship have rung especially true with me in recent weeks. Enjoy.

friends

real friends

true-friends-quotes-13

 

The Good Stuff

I work with a lovely lady that brings her lunch to work every day; truth be told, she typically brings in enough food to feed EVERYONE at work almost every day. Today was no different; in fact, today she made sure to tell me to “…have a couple slices of that good Jewish rye bread.” That GOOD Jewish rye bread. Which makes me ask myself – does she offer BAD Jewish rye bread to people she doesn’t like?

moldy breadI don’t know – maybe it’s just me. But “good” as a descriptor for any edible food stuff makes me both laugh and cringe. It’s like last week, some friends were talking about that “…good ice cream they got at Mitchell’s.” I mean, is there BAD ice cream, really? If so, what is it – flavored with horse meat? YUK!

FA6Um, yeah – OK, gross… Another favorite is alcohol. I always love going to a party and the host pulls me aside to let me know to “…ask for the good stuff.” What – do the other, less in-the-know guests have to suffer with cocktails made with generic (BAD) booze?

boozeLike I said – maybe I am just weird about that word – good. But I guess, for me at least, when you offer me a drink/ice cream/bread – whatever – it WILL be the “good” whatever it is because you are my friend. My GOOD friend…   😉