When Did THAT Happen?

I constantly have to remind myself that time is always in motion – minutes turn into hours, hours turn into days, days to weeks and so on… It is easy to forget how time keeps turning – then I have weird “OMG” moments like I had today at work…

On Monday, 17 June 2013, I sent my SBF (Sweet Boyfriend) Martin the pic below. It was my way to share with him my “hard work” in getting the planter watered outside our store. We had planted it together a few days earlier and I wanted to let him know it was still green and alive and well. I was pleased.

Planter Pic early summerIt’s not like its any sort of exotic planting, or any crazy, lush “moment” but Martin helped me plant it and we had fun doing it together. I thought it looked great – and hoped that maybe it would grow over the summer and “fill in” a little bit.

Fast forward a little over twelve weeks – this is how that same planter looks today, Saturday, 21 September 2013 –

Planter pic early Fall 13I know, right? The planter is now like this insanely overgrown “forest” – and as I looked at it, I thought to myself, “When did THAT happen? I have to take a pic and send it to my Sweet Boyfriend. It will make him smile.”

Then I thought to myself again, “And when did THAT happen? Martin is no longer my SBF, he’s now my legally-married husband/spouse/partner.” And that thought made ME smile.

I think we all too often forget that every day is a singular, beautiful moment in our lives – moments that usually just get “lumped together” to make a week, or a month. We look forward to “special days” when we should realize that every day is special. And we – me! – sometimes forget to be thankful for every day we are/I am given, to celebrate even the smallest joys and to never, ever take any day for granted.

Seeing those flowers today – really seeing them, and how big they had gotten – made me realize that maybe I have just glossed over quite a few days these past few weeks.

I am gonna’ have to start paying closer attention – I’d hate to miss something awesome…

Now It’s All But Over…

I seem to spend my days in a fog sometimes… Distracted by work, my family, the weather and just my general lack of focus, major events sometimes escape my knowledge. Oh, sure, I knew about the “royal birth” yesterday, and all its many joyous details but today I COMPLETELY missed a major event. Apparently, today is National Hot Dog Day 2013. And I all but missed it.

Hot dog with mustardI’m not exactly sure WHY today is National Hot Dog Day 2013, nor would I have even known about it, were it not for Facebook (Facebook – America’s News Source). So here it is now, after 9PM on a “major holiday,” and I haven’t celebrated the day yet…

I’m not even sure HOW to – I guess you are supposed to eat hot dogs, right?

Instead, after work I ate a delicious Caesar Salad with tuna, prepared for me by my Beloved, and later tonight before bed I will have a generous slice of the kick-ass berry custard layer cake he also made. From scratch. It.Is.Delicious. (I snuck a taste!)

Sorry, “weiners.” Maybe next year will be my big “All-Beef Frank” Celebration.

And So It Begins…

For people that follow this blog, and friends that are close to my partner and me, I am sure you know that the recent SCOTUS DOMA decision reshaped our future in a very significant way. Now, finally, my beloved SBF (Sweet Boyfriend) and I have a clear path ahead, one that does NOT include us moving to a foreign country where I would be teaching conversational English. And – as romantic as a mid-life move to Portugal sounds – I am SO glad things have worked out they way they have…

Today our journey began in earnest – we submitted our background profiles to the prominent and well-established immigration-focused law firm, Masliah & Soloway, founders of Stop the Deportations: The DOMA Project. My beloved and I had our initial meeting with one of the firm’s principals, Lavi Soloway, today via Skype. Yes, THAT Lavi Soloway.

On a Sunday afternoon. While he was on vacation. Pretty amazing, right? I am still blown away by it all…

Light at the endFor a long, l-o-n-g time, I wasn’t totally sure how the future would look for my beloved and me. I mean, I always knew we would be together, I just wasn’t sure where. Or if we would ever be able to “…buy a house and settle down.” And get a dog/have a real yard. And just feel safe being at home – you know, all the things most people take for granted. Now it all seems possible…

I like the image above because it represents the start of our journey, One step at a time, moving along a straight, defined path and out into the light. As someone that has spent almost five years now cowering in the shadows, it sure does feel good to have “light on my face.” Thanks in advance to Lavi Soloway and his firm. Thanks to all our friends and family that have supported us and boosted our spirits when they were low, defeat after crushing defeat in the past. And most of all, thanks to my beloved partner for never, ever giving up on me/us, or on hope. He steadfastly refused to believe that anything but the best would happen for us. He always has been my rock and always will be.

I’ll be posting updates as we move along the path. Please, cross your fingers for us and hold good intentions for a quick, easy journey. I’m not a religious guy but hey, prayers never hurt, right? We’d appreciate it…

 

Pics of me “Getting High” in Chicago

Without a doubt, two of the high points (pun intended!) of our recent whirlwind weekend in Chicago would have to be our visits to the Hancock Building and the Willis Tower Skydeck/The Ledge. I pondered the question in yesterday’s post: Why DO we, as humans, LOVE to do things that make us want to wet our pants?

My Sweetie and I visited the Hancock Building last Sunday night. We managed to arrive just as day was transitioning into nightfall, and we stayed for probably an hour and a half, or more, until the entire Chicago skyline was full of twinkling lights. Here is a photo of yours truly, trying to look buff at the Hancock Building:

Tim at the Hancock Observatory June 2013

I know, right? So ruggedly handsome, LOL! It was a LOT of fun and the panoramic, 360 degree views of the city after dark were unbelievable. I have to confess, though – the highly-touted, “open air skywalk at 94 floors” is actually a little lame. It is really a super secure, caged-in walkway open to the air. No Biggie.

Now, the Willis Tower Skydeck/The Ledge? That is another story completely…

We visited Willis Tower on Monday, the day we were leaving (saving the best for last!) Willis Tower is still, to me, the Sears Tower, although it apparently was renamed in like 2003 or something. I had visited the Sears Tower years ago. It is high, for sure – 103 stories above the ground. Willis Tower is the eighth tallest building in the world and the third tallest building in the western hemisphere. Since my last visit, it has re-branded itself as Skydeck Chicago with an added feature called “The Ledge.” The Ledge consists of four super-reinforced glass cubes that project out over four feet OUTSIDE the building. It reminds me of the classic visual cliff experiments they do with babies. The boxes look pretty sturdy but, still – you stand in them and look down 102 floors to the ground below. It is kinda’ scary:

102 Floors Above the Ground at The Ledge

Those are my Sweetie’s feet, bottom left in black and red, and my stubby clubs, upper right in bone, as we look thru the floor of one of The Ledge’s “boxes” down 102 stories to the ground below. It was a slightly anxious moment for me…

Tim's steps out at The Ledge 2013Tim Gains Confidence at The Ledge 2013

Then we both got a little more comfortable and realized those “box thingies” were NOT gonna’ fall off the side of the building:

IMG_7142a

And well, then it was all over and somebody actually got a little cocky:

MSW chillin' at The ledge 2013

It was actually an AWESOME time, and a “tourist trap” I would recommend to anyone heading to Chicago. I hate to admit it, I kinda’ was hoping to see someone faint but mostly people just laughed nervously then crept out into the clear box. There was one younger, athletic woman that did a hand stand and looked down – with her eyes open – the whole time in one of the cubes. Not me. I did learn something about myself though – I will never bungee jump, sky dive or hang glide. Ever…

My Sweetie’s face was amazing to watch during the whole experience. It was so full of joy and wonder and silliness and excitement and trepidation – it was beautiful and magical. I am so glad we got to share the experience together. And I hate to admit it but I guess I do enjoy “gettin’ high” every now and then…

Five Chicago Moments

People that follow my blog (or my Facebook posts!) know that my Sweetie and I just took a ridiculous, 60-hour, round-trip weekend to Chicago and back. It was a whirlwind visit, a mix of some annoying business and a lot of fun. My Angel all but walked me to death (but I need to get in better shape anyway, LOL!) I have lots of stuff to share about the visit but, for now, I will be happy to share five (5 – get it?) of my favorite “photos” from our trip. All the images you see here were either taken by my partner Martin or me. Here we go…

1. The Hancock Building – I can’t quite understand why we, as humans, are compelled to visit high places and be scared to death by the height. Anyway, while I have been here a few times before, Martin was a “virgin” and LOVED the 360 degree views of the city. We visited the Hancock Building at dusk, and watch the city lights “come alive.” It was pretty awesome, as is this image of the building itself:

The Hancock Building

2. The Burberry Store on Michigan Avenue – Now, I am not a HUGE Burberry fan but, honestly? This vanity “facade” featuring the company’s signature plaid – I mean, what guy doesn’t recognize this pattern from his own Burberry tie? – is INSPIRED to say the least. We didn’t go in but WOW!, what a statement piece of architecture:

The Burberry Store on Michigan Avenue

3. “The Bean” at Millenium Park – OK, technically it is called “Cloud Gate” and is probably the most obvious choice to be included here but I love it. Roughly the size of my parents’ house, it is a ridiculously impressive thing for many reasons – sheer size, remarkable finish, crazy visual properties and the fact that, no matter who sees it, they SMILE. Like the Hancock Building, I had experienced “The Bean” before but it was amazing to watch my SBF see it for the first time:

Cloud Gate with Chicago Skyline

4. The Field Museum – Definitely traditional, even classical in design, the Field Museum combines the grace and beauty of a Greek or Roman temple – I mean, it has caryatids! – with some high-tech coolness inside. I personally found this museum to be a bit of a snore fest (sorry!) but the Lascaux exhibit was fascinating. Plus, to be honest, the entire time we roamed the dusty halls and exhibits there, I felt like my SBF and I were on the set of one of the “Night at the Museum” movies, so that was kinda’ cool:

The Field Museum5. The “L” – Chicago has an elevated transit system that moves completely above ground. I know you have seen it in countless movies – it’s usually featured in some high-speed car chase under some weird, elevated platform. That is the “L.” My beloved took this image, which is pretty representational of the entire L experience:

Steps to the L

I hope you enjoyed these pics. Watch for more posts about Chicago in the coming days. We LOVED our trip there and will definitely be going back – soon!

 

 

Today I Am 55

Today is my birthday! Happy Birthday to me! Today I turned 55 years old. Five five. Five and a half decades of trudging along thru life, trying to be the best me I can be…

All in all, I have had an outstanding day. Today at work, this happened:

photo (2)That’s right, my business partner Scott and I celebrated my birthday with an old skool, grocery store bakery sheet cake – it was chocolate and delicious! You know, this style of cake isn’t perfect unless you can feel the sugar from the icing “grit-ing” between your teeth as you bite it. This cake definitely did not disappoint. In addition, there was also some Neapolitan Ice Cream. Yummy.

As if that weren’t great enough, today at work a design client bought a sofa, a chair and ottoman and a light fixture. HOORAY! This was hot on the heels of yesterday’s awesomeness when a different design client purchased a rug, two “poufs” (I love that word) and a leather lounge chair. Work has been pretty rockin’ this week and that has been a super birthday gift as well…

After work, I came home at the exact same time as my beloved – his meeting tonight was very brief so he got home the same time I did. HOORAY again! My Angel already made me a delicious berry crumble cake yesterday as my “birthday cake” – it’s one of my favorite things he makes – but I was also greeted with a gift bag and a note when I came in the apartment. Here’s the “haul” –

Tim's Birthday Gifts

Yup – my SBF (Sweet Boyfriend) got me this ridiculous mini garden gnome (I love it!), a red velvet cupcake (I got one more wish!) and a very touching card… I have to share, at the risk of “jinxing” my wish, that I asked the we never, ever spend even one more birthday apart.

I am crazy in love with my SBF; he makes every day feel like it’s my birthday.

So, all in all, I have had a pretty spectacular day/week. I received a number of calls and texts, have like over 150+ birthday wishes on Facebook and have just had an amazing day. Is my life exactly what I imagined it would be like at 55? Not exactly, but in most ways, it is even better and in one way in particular, it is beyond my wildest dreams…

I used to joke that my birthday was like every other day, but today was not. Today has been a blessing and I thank The Universe for giving it to me. I have a great family, a super circle of friends – both those I talk with regularly and those I have never even met in person (that makes sense if you are one of those friends!) and a partner and companion that I could have never imagined in my wildest dreams. I am a very lucky guy… Happy Birthday to me…

Letting Go…

Close friends know that I have been in therapy for years. YEARS. I’ve never really been ashamed about it; in fact, in an odd way, I feel kinda’ proud that I have spent the better part of a decade and a half confronting my “demons,” some of them given to me by others and some of them created on my own. Most of my demons have been banished now – I like to think I am a pretty dang good person, pretty whole. Sometimes, though, it is easy to fall back into old ways of thinking and/or old patterns of behavior, which is why I am writing this post…

For more than a week, I have been personally fermenting and fretting over some recent political actions in DC. I have walked around with a level of rage inside, mixed with feelings of disappointment, anger, betrayal (a LOT of betrayal) and hopelessness. It is NOT a place I like to be. Which brings me back to one of my therapy experiences…

Some time back in my journey, I had feelings I just could not “let go” of no matter how hard I tried. My awesome therapist asked me to “name them” and then asked if I would be willing to try a new way to get rid of them. She suggested I get a helium balloon for each negative memory, person or emotion I could not seem to shake. I was to transfer all that negative emotional energy into each one of those balloons, pick a calm, peaceful spot that I could revisit when necessary and then, with purpose, joy, a deep breath and conviction, let the balloons go…

Balloon release

I was lucky enough to have my beloved M with me and, as he held my hand and I squeezed his, we watched those balloons float away for as long as we could see them. It was such a release for me; I remember silently crying, tears streaming down my cheeks as all that darkness left me. I was so happy.

I feel I might need to take a swing by that place again very soon. (It is a very old, beautiful park not too far from where we live). The “ugly” I released that day has not come back – instead, in its place, I feel a sense of sadness and “doom and gloom” creeping in after last week’s events. I want to send those feelings away ASAP, too…

I won’t need the balloons this time – I think I have honed my focus and technique enough that I do not need the “props.” What I do need is that serene, green space and a few moments to reconnect with the all the good in The Universe and send away some of the bad.

I’m not sure where all my “balloons” are winding up, but I’d definitely like to thank that place for taking them off my hands. I hope you have room for a few more…