185 Minutes

As I write this post, my beloved MSW’s flight is scheduled to arrive here in Cleveland in exactly 185 minutes. My husband has been away on holiday to visit family in Europe since 18 June – 34 days. And while I am super-excited he got to be with his family – he hadn’t been home in almost three years – I  have missed him. Like, A lot… I know it will sound all cheesy and cornball but he really is my soul mate; I feel an emptiness when he is away from me that is unsettling, uncomfortable and unrelenting. It is as though my hands were gone, or my eyes or legs – I just feel incomplete without him near. To paraphrase a classic movie line, “He completes me.”  He makes me a better version of myself, and when he is not around – to challenge me, to support me, to just hold my hand when needed – I miss him. A lot…

teddy bearsI am a lucky guy – WE are lucky guys. After overcoming what at times seemed like insurmountable odds, seems like we have finally made it. In a little over two weeks, we will celebrate not only our one year wedding anniversary but also six years of love, trust and support together. I hate to sound smug or “look-at-me-ish.” but that is pretty kick ass. Thanks, Baby Boy, for always believing and being loving. I love you; you are my Angel…

Gotta’ run – only 172 minutes left to go!

Another Friday Night

I had a super fun day with my Beloved – we had a “lunch date” at a Japaneses sushi buffet (I know – SO bad the day before my Weight Watchers weigh in!), did a wee bit of shopping (I got a new pair of A&F undies – the ONLY thing I can “fit” from A&F – plus they were “off-price”) and we are going to close out the night continuing our journey to see all of LAST year’s Academy Award nominated pictures (I know – we got behind last year). Tonight?

Dallas Buyers ClubSo, I’m off to grab a Skinny Cow topped with Cool Whip Light, hit the couch with my Sweetie and watch two Academy Award winners give (I hope) the performances of their lives. Hope you all have a great Friday night! Ciao!

14 Feb 14 (Happy Valentine’s Day!)

Today is Valentine’s Day. I woke up today beside the guy I plan on loving forever. As he dozed, I looked at the beautiful card/miniature red rose bush in a personalized container he gave me last night (my Sweetie is so HORRIBLE about waiting to give gifts, LOL!) It was a heartfelt, thoughtful, beautiful and touching gift. It was so sweet, I teared-up a little…

loversI am “OFF” work for the next three days and I PROMISE to do my best to do as little work-related activities as possible. I hope to spend the next 72+ hours doing nothing but being with my Angel. I am lucky. He is a special guy, and I love him like C-R-A-Z-Y…

I hope each of you enjoys the day. Happy Valentine’s Day! 

Wind Chill Factor

“So, THIS is what minus 24 degrees feels like…”

beachToday I was off work. It has been a long (as in L-O-N-G) week, and I was looking forward to doing a whole lotta’ nothing with my beloved Martin today. After sleeping in and a bit of early morning “puttering,” our attention turned to our plans for the day. As usual, we were trying to decide on something fun to do that cost little/nothing. So we hit upon an insane idea:

Let’s go to the beach!

People that follow me here probably know that one of my Sweetie’s favorite things to do is go to the beach. Since we live in Ohio, there aren’t a lot of “real beaches” but we do have a pretty sweet one at a state park about 35-40 minutes away. We try and get there at least once a week during the warm, summer months and typically go there into early fall. The beach is beautiful, the setting amazing and for anyone that has never seen Lake Erie, well, there is a reason why it is one of the “Great Lakes.” Standing on the shore, it looks like an ocean (OK, there are no dolphins or sea turtles but we do have shore birds and jet skis, LOL!) So, we decided it might be fun to see our beloved beach in a new season all together.

Plus, we are really just stupid twelve-year-old boys at heart and thought nothing of the minus 24 degree wind chill factor. So off we went, in our thick wool sweaters, big bulky coats, hats, scarves and gloves. We were excited…

Just for some perspective/a reality check, this is a shot of us at the beach last September:


The pale, jelly-like creature in the back is me. And here we are at the same beach today:

IMG_3658AYeah, I know – I look kick-ass in hats, LOL! All kidding aside, it was SO FLIPPIN’ COLD! I have never experienced anything like that. Yowzah, it was beyond chilly. That said, the beach was serenely beautiful in a new, different way. Gone were the hundreds of people usually present, and it was just me and my Sweetie. The moment actually felt very special…

IMG_3645ASo, while I cannot wholeheartedly suggest anyone willingly expose themselves to sub-zero temps, I do encourage everyone to experience familiar places in new ways when the opportunity arises. It is pretty amazing…

IMG_3647AA panoramic shot of Mentor Headlands Beach, 24 Jan 2014 about 2:30PM.





When Is It Enough?

I was OFF today (hooray!) and had little scheduled on my calendar other than one quick errand and organizing bills. My “BIG PROJECT” for today was to hang the two pieces of art my Sweetie and I gave to one another for Christmas. And before anyone accuses us of being pissy, elitist snobs, the art was very affordable. But they are also VERY big…

We gifted each other with two companion pieces, each 40″ square. The pieces are embellished canvas transfers from a collage artist we like. Here they are:

Art 1

Art 2So yeah, the pieces are pretty cool – Marilyn is hanging in our bedroom and Audrey Hepburn is in our TV room. They look awesome – and I actually enjoy the process/challenge of hanging art. The reality of it all is that we do have quite a few pieces of art, which brings me to the query/title of this post – When IS It Enough?

To hang those two pieces of art, I had to displace (move and re-hang) six OTHER pieces of art – my Sweetie and I just shook our heads. There is not a single, empty wall in our apartment; in fact, in many spaces the art is stacked two and three pieces deep vertically on the walls (I like that look, BTW!) But our humble home is certainly not lacking in the wall art department which made me ask myself, “Am I an art hoarder? When does it all stop? When is enough really enough?”

I blame part of the “problem” on my profession as an interior designer. I am barraged with beautiful things every day and, honestly? Sometimes (often!) it is hard to say “No!” But I do worry that maybe one day our apartment will look more like some sort of art store rather than a home – I mean, these racks are a little too hard core, am I right?

Wall Hung Art Rack

Kung Pao Life Advice

Tomorrow is my Dad’s 84th birthday. (It’s a big birthday weekend in my life). And last night, during his “goodnight call,” we were discussing our plans for tomorrow. See, every night since my Mom passed away almost five years ago, I call my Dad about 11:30PM to chat a minute or two, tell him “Goodnight” and tell him that I love him. (I never got that “call” with my Mom, so I want to be sure my Dad hears I love him almost every day). Anyway, as I said, tomorrow is his 84th birthday and my Sweetie and I are driving to my hometown to take our Pop-pop out to lunch at the all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet. He likes it there and thinks it is amazing that you can get “…all that food for only $8.95/person.” I always smile when he says that…

Shelby signSo, with plans made for tomorrow, our conversation – usually a re-cap of an Indians game (when in season) or the Browns (when they are winning) – turned to the meteor fly-by that happened last month. According to my Dad, a meteor nearly a quarter mile in diameter kinda’ “snuck up” on Earth and blew past our planet at a safe distance. But, it appears the reason my Dad was talking about this event – which I had no idea even happened – was that this same course of events is scheduled to repeat itself in nineteen years! And, apparently there is some reason to be concerned that, due to projected possible orbital changes over those years, the meteor could pass very close to Earth or even strike us. Yowzers! Gloom and doom! I just kind of humored my Dad and said something like, “Well, Pop-pop, then we better be ready and have a supply of water and dried rice on hand.” My Dad simply replied,

“You better be ready, son, cause I’m not gonna’ be around in nineteen years.”

I won’t lie. It was all I could do to not cry when he said that. I mean, I always joke that I will live to be at least 100 (I’m 55, BTW). So, when I came back at my Dad with, “But Daddy, you will only be 103 when the world might be ending – don’t you wanna’ stick around and watch that?” I thought he would chuckle and make some smart-alecky remark. Instead, in a clear, calm voice, he simply repeated,

“Son, I told you, I won’t be around in twenty years. I’ll be long gone before that…”

I tried to laugh it off, and I think I did OK with him on the phone. We chatted a few more minutes about leaf blowing (thrilling topic, in case you didn’t know), then I told him I loved him and wished him “Goodnight.” He did the same.

phoneThing is, after I hung up, I got really sad. I mean, to be honest, I suppose it is hard to imagine anyone living beyond 100 but the bigger part of that whole thing was, for me, when do you “know?” When do you acknowledge – not even accept, but just acknowledge – that your finite human existence might be winding down? Listen, I joke all the time I plan on living forever, but I know I won’t. Still, I have (in my head) at least 45 more years to do and see and laugh and all that “stuff.” What happens when you realize you probably really only DO have a decade or so left? How do you prioritize what is important? Is that when you make one of those stupid Bucket List thingies?

bucket listHow do you mark time, once you have accepted/acknowledged that it is windowed, limited, finite? I am pleased and proud that my Dad lives totally independently on his own, in the same house that he has lived in for around 45 years. He knows every nook and cranny – he feels safe there, and loved. I feel good that he feel safes there. He lived there with my Mom for 40 years and she is “still there,” and I think that gives him comfort and peace of mind. It does the same for me…

I guess the conversation last night in an unintentional-but-necessary way reminded me that life is not infinite, that we need to always be present and not take one moment for granted. I like to think I know/knew all that stuff already, but it is good to remind myself of those truths and goals frequently.

My Pop-pop is one smart guy. He maybe doesn’t know that; I might have to tell him tonight before we exchange our “Goodnight’s.” Better yet, maybe I will tell him tomorrow over a buffet plate piled high with Crab Rangoon and Peanut Chicken. It just makes sense to nourish my spirit/soul and my body, all at the same time…

chinese buffet

Happy Birthday – Let’s Celebrate!

Today is my beloved Martin’s birthday, the fifth of his birthdays we have enjoyed together. We originally met over five years ago as the result of his birthday – a trip to meet me was his birthday gift. And I like to think it was the best gift ever (it was for me at least!)

cupcakeI wish I could share that I have some super big evening planned for us, or a huge party for my Angel; instead, we are staying home, maybe/maybe not going for a walk and watching a movie or two we rented from the library. I know – I am a lame husband. I should have had some super duper event planned but, to be honest, my Sweetie and I enjoy spending time together, just us. No offense to our amazing friends but some celebrations are meant to be personal, intimate and just between two people that really love one another. I think today/tonight will be one of those celebrations…

I have the man I love, free movies from the library and a lunar eclipse all waiting for me tonight. I better get my hands off this keyboard and go enjoy – and appreciate – all three… I am a lucky guy. Happy Birthday, Sweetie!

Guilty Pleasures Saturday

Today has been a “Guilty Pleasures” day for me. HOORAY!

I woke up early and went for my weekly Weight Watchers weigh-in. I suppose it goes without saying that the scale was “less-than-pleased” with my efforts this week. Sigh… The holiday, a picnic, dinner not once but TWICE at our best friends’ house – including delicious red velvet cake last night at like 10:30P – well… I can hear Richard Simmons saying “…no one is holding that fork but you” but OMG, sometimes it is hard to make a wise decision when the food is just so damn good. Anyway, my weigh-in was like at 8:30A today. After a few errands – and some shame – I returned home and my “Guilty Pleasures Day” officially began.

I grabbed my Sweetie and we walked the farmers’ market on the square where we live. It is quite large and filled with lots of Amish baked goods, buffalo meat, cheeses, fresh fruits and produce, a truck that makes hot, fresh mini-donuts with powdered sugar (I resisted!) and lots of other good stuff. We bought a small loaf of moist-and-delicious-looking pumpkin bread from one of the Amish vendors, then walked 3-4 blocks down to the Larchmere Street Festival, which was happening today.

Larchmere Boulevard is a cute street lined with antique shops of various calibers, LOTS of barber shops (I know, right?) and assorted other retailers and small galleries. Martin reminded me that we had attended the festival last year but I don’t remember (old-timer’s disease setting in I guess!). So we walked the street twice, opted to grab a late breakfast at Big Al’s Diner – huge omelettes that took FOREVER to get but were so worth the wait – then decided to come home. On the way, we stopped in a small cafe called Flying Cranes and got Martin a piece of mango mousse cake for tonight…

mango mousse cake

This is NOT the actual cake but it looks almost exactly like this – no flowers but with a dollop of whipped cream – and it is delicious (Martin let me take a small taste). The consumption of this cake – along with the last remaining peanut butter banana cupcakes from our Fourth of July picnic – are on this evening’s schedule (Weight Watchers be damned – I’ll start “tracking” in earnest tomorrow!)

Once we got back, I was a little sleepy so I managed to indulge in a three-hour nap. It was supposed to be a 45 minute quick snooze but I tricked my Sweetie into “…laying down with me for just a minute” when he tried to wake me up and viola! three hours later, there we were…

Rumpled sheets

I’m not sure why people don’t nap more – it is such a guilty pleasure for me. I always feel like I have done such a naughty thing, stealing away hours from a day just to sleep.

So now it is well into the early evening. We have decided to respectfully decline an invitation to a karaoke party from our friends (the awesome chefs – we figured they needed a break from our faces, plus me, karaoke? not pretty!) and are just staying home instead. We talked about renting a movie but all the pics we really wanna’ see are being released Tuesday (damn you, Redbox!) So instead, I suspect we will enjoy a bit of this tonight – no sporting events but reality TV instead…

watching TVAnd that is just fine with me. The thing is – much as I love our friends, and love being out and “doing stuff” – there is nowhere I would rather be than home with my beloved. We have had an eventful, busy couple of weeks and it feels great to just chill out at home and relax, doing nothing but just being together. I love that…

Hope you all are having a great weekend. Indulge in some guilty pleasures of your own!

Bitch Slap Weekend

My Beloved and I often whine to each other that we need more friends, or that we never “do” anything. Then, in an action I like to describe as a bitch slap from The Universe, we are reminded that we are blessed with MANY great friends and always seem to have something going, schedule-wise. Suddenly we will have a 24/7 schedule of events with two – or more! – things all happening at/around the same time. This is a “bitch slap” weekend…

I worked this past Friday evening till 5:30 PM. It was a kinda’ busy day for me at work and my Angel had been volunteering at a fundraising car wash for around four hours in the hot sun for an organization he belongs to/is an officer for so Friday night was a pretty laid-back evening.

Then the weekend started…

I was up yesterday at 7AM to go to my Saturday AM weekly weigh-in for WW (not good – “up” 0.8 pounds!). Boo!

scales1(Definitely not my feet and MOST definitely NOT my weight!)

After WW’s, I drove home, stopping on the way to grab some McBreakfast for me and my Beloved (and I wonder why I was “up” at weigh-in!), which we ate quickly and were then on the road to Columbus, to visit with my little sister, her family and my oldest niece and her family that were up from Tennessee. It was my first chance to meet my great nephew, Emmitt, and OMG – I am in love with him –

emmitt cheescake shot edit

(I mean, look at that face – he makes my heart melt…)

So anyway, my sister had planned a pool party and cook-out at her house and it was AWESOME! So awesome, that my SBF and I hated to leave. We left at almost 10PM, driving for over two and a half hours to arrive home Sunday morning at about 12:40AM.

Today, my Angel is at a picnic for another organization he belongs to, at one of the Metroparks about 45 minutes from our house. When he gets back, we will have an hour or so before we have to leave to attend the 50th birthday party/BBQ (good God, MORE cake and food – WW’s be damned!!!) for one of our best and dearest friends. It will (again) be another really chill, awesome evening with plentiful, delicious food, ample “adult beverages” and great, great friends. I suspect that, even though it is a school night, it will be another late one. And that is OK…

I am OFF again tomorrow but my Sweetie and I have a few projects scheduled already: hair cuts, some house cleaning and maybe (hopefully) this movie –

World-War-Z-NewPoster(Click to see the trailer – I DO so love a great zombie flick!)

So, yeah – I guess we have a LOT of great friends and a pretty busy social calendar. And I am OK with that. Friends are one of the best blessings in life, so we are lucky. Sometimes I do feel like this though:

Go To Bed(Click above to learn about the origins of Savoyard dialect.)

  Hope you all have/had a weekend as fun as mine! Have a GREAT week!