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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Reflections on the Day

For those unaware, today is Good Friday (I bet most everyone knows that). For me – a person raised in the Catholic faith – today, and days like today, always feel “significant,” even though I have not observed the faith in many, many years. I left The Church because I could not reconcile its teachings with my own knowledge and concept of an all-powerful, all-loving force that guided the universe. I, in fact, often refer to this force as “The Universe.” Anyway, before I get too off topic here, let me just say that Good Friday has morphed into a day of personal examination and reflection for me. It is a day I like to reflect on my own life, how I live it, what is “good” in it and how I can make everything “more good,” not only for myself but for others, too (The Church teaches us as children to always be martyrs, LOL!)

good

I was off work today, and have enjoyed the entire day with my Beloved- and it’s not over yet! After I finish blogging, I will help him prepare food for our Easter celebration Sunday. We have a tradition of celebrating holidays together, just the two of us, creating our own traditions while honoring those we learned as children.

I must admit, having spent a lot of today thinking about my life and my year so far, it’s been pretty damn good. And I am thankful. My relationship (marriage!) is great, work is getting better every day, we have a lot of kick-ass friends and my family is as good as any other. So, yeah, this is a good “Good Friday” for me. I hope each of you is having a great day as well…

Sound Advice From Ginger

When my dearly departed bestie, Dan Rogan, and I were MUCH younger (like in our mid twenties), we used to be hell-raising bar-hoppers. We were out six nights a week; we only stayed home one night a week to do laundry, LOL! We had a LOT of great adventures, and met a lot – and I mean a LOT – of interesting folks…

One of our favorites was a stunning female impersonator/illusionist named Ginger Manchester. Ginger was, and still is, drop-dead gorgeous, and she has won probably like a gahzillion pageants over the years. Ginger was, and I assume still is, very poised, graceful and gracious. Ginger was the first person I ever heard utter this expression – “It’s nice to be important but it’s more important to be nice.” I think I heard her say it as she was sashaying her way across U4ia to console another performer she had just beaten in the Miss Gay Whatever Pageant. Ginger was, first and foremost, polite and gracious.

It's nice to be importantI have to admit – Dan and I used to say this phrase to one another all the time after that, sort of as an inside joke (we were food servers back then and sometimes the guests… ugh). But, all kidding aside, the message and sentiment of the phrase Ginger uttered so many years ago has always stuck with me. Today I was reminded how true that bit of wisdom is…

At work, we have a client that has entered an order for thirty-two light fixtures, which need to be installed by a specific deadline. For the past five days, I have exchanged around forty emails back and forth with both the manufacturer and our rep – I’m not even counting the emails to our client! Anyway, the company and rep have been champs and it looks like everything will arrive not only on time but maybe a bit ahead of schedule for our project. In reviewing some of the emails I sent, I was worried that I probably came across like a dick, so I called our rep and two of the manufacturer’s agents and left all three of them nice “thank you” messages…

Within like 30 minutes, my email EXPLODED!

I got thank-you-for-the-thank-you-message emails from all three ladies (one even sent me an entire line of giant XOXOXO’s!), as well as an email from the president of the company, thanking me for taking the time to be so thoughtful and expressing my appreciation for his employees’ efforts. He went on to say that for every 100 bitchy emails or calls they get, they probably get NOT ONE call thanking them for things that had gone right.

That is just plain wrong and sad… I am happy I was able to make a the day a little brighter for at least these four people.

So, thank you, Ginger Manchester, for always being somewhere in my head, reminding me of the importance of being nice. And polite, And thankful. And gracious. I have not seen you in a long time but I hope you are still sharing that message – the world needs it.

Thankful Thursday

Feelings of thanks and gratitude spring from many different situations, sometimes many different situations. Take my day today, for example…

Today, my business partner and I got to enjoy lunch with a friend we knew from “the old neighborhood.” She is a lovely woman and a lot of fun – it was great catching up and “shooting the breeze.” For the opportunity to enjoy lunch today with friends, I am thankful.

place_settingThis afternoon, we landed another contract to do a home office for one of our favorite, ongoing design clients. It’s definitely not a HUGE job, but we really like the couple, they are fun to work with, they have awesome taste (YEAH!) and they don’t live on the edge of The Universe. For the opportunity to continue working with great clients on a fun new project, I am thankful.

contemporary home officeTonight, I attended an educational open house at a local kitchen showroom with my business partner. We made some new contacts and learned a few new things – plus, they had a chef there serving THE most delicious food. Yum. For the opportunity to learn new things – and taste yummy food – I am thankful.

contemporary kitchenFinally, I am now home, with my beloved Husband (who is blogging in the next room!). He also had a very full but fun day and we are both exhausted. For the opportunity to live a full life, with the guy I love fully and with all my heart, I am thankful.

I am also thankful that today is almost over – great as it was/is, I am BEAT! Thankful Thursday? Time to hit the sheets!

cats

 

Countdown To Thanksgiving

As we are “one week out” from Thanksgiving – the holiday associated with reflection and giving thanks – I thought I might begin a week-long series of posts with a “Thankful Theme.”

ThankfulI begin the series with this common expression defining happiness. “It is thankful people who are happy.” THANKFUL people. Makes sense, right?

I know that I have MUCH to be thankful for in my own life – more details on that in an upcoming post – but unless I really force myself to remember all that things I am thankful for, I tend to fixate on something that makes me not happy – something that “didn’t happen,” or something I “don’t have but want” or something someone “didn’t do as promised.” This sort of thinking is toxic to the spirit and and promotes sadness rather than joy and happiness.

Going forward, I make this commitment to myself – to be thankful for the smallest of blessings and to celebrate each and every day. I know it will be a struggle to live this way – not because it is hard but because it is so not the way most of us are used to living – but I know it will be worth it.

My Mommo (Grandmother) used to always say: “Timmy? Chin out. Smile on. Eyes up. Look like like you are grateful to be here, because you should be…”

I always thought it was silly when she said that; if I had only listened sooner…  🙂

I want/don’t want this day to end…

Today is turning out to be one of those 27 hour days I always wish for – and while it has been very productive, it’s not as much fun as I thought it would be – I am exhausted and beat… That said,

Good news? As I shared earlier this week, my business just received a retainer from a client for a fabulous design project that, I suspect, will take 6-8 months. Hooray!

stacks of cash

Even better news? At the risk of jinxing it, I think we are also close to signing ANOTHER deal – this one an opportunity to create a model that would be used to attract tenants for a new adaptive reuse project – it’s a cool building in a cool location. We won’t get rich but we will definitely have fun and get to be really creative.

coinsSo, I hate to appear cocky or over confident; in fact, I am just the opposite. I am thankful for these two opportunities and thank The Universe for finally seeing its way clear to send them our way. We won’t disappoint you, promise…

pinky swearSo yeah – work is going kinda’ fantastic. Finally. And again? Thank you, Universe!

On the personal side, my Beloved and I have started the journey to ensure that we will be together, forever. And no, I am not talking about some weird, ritual thingie –

two mummiesRather, we have started the legal proceedings that will allow my husband to remain with me here in America, always. So far, a lot of paperwork to fill out and a lot of “research and gathering” but, in the end, it will all be MORE than worth it…

flag and a rainbowSo, in conclusion, I guess I just wanted to thank The Universe for “turning it around” for me recently. I know I have been a bit hard on you lately – like you haven’t been MORE than a bit hard on me! – but like the hokey old saying says (and Kelly Clarkson sings), “What doesn’t kill ya’ makes you stronger.”

Thanks, Universe, for not killing me. I really, really appreciate it!

body outline

Close Your Eyes…

Today was my first real day off after a V-E-R-Y long and busy week last week, and I anticipate having a similar week this week again (it’s all good though!) To be honest, I was also off yesterday but my beloved and I did a whole round of errands – grocery shopping and the like – so we could have today completely free to spend all day together at the beach…

Guess what? It was gloomy and rainy all day today. Bullocks!

Anyway, as our alternative plan, we saw a matinee movie (“The Conjuring” – FANTASTIC!), stopped at our favorite European market to pick up some delicious Polish mayonnaise (there is NOTHING like it) and did a bit of off-price shopping. We had a very full, very fun day together, doing nothing spectacular but having a great time anyway; I guess that’s what it feels like when you have finally found “The One.”

So, after parking the car in the garage, I closed my eyes for a minute before heading upstairs, just to catch up and relish/remember the day before going on up to our apartment. As I closed my eyes, I remembered this little quote:

Kiss Laugh and LoveIt made me smile to realize that there I was, sitting in our parking garage with my eyes closed, smiling. I have always loved the quote above and I am happy to share it with you all today.

I love my partner very much. We had an awesome day today together; I hope your day was awesome, too. And the next time you close your eyes, I hope it is for one of the reasons listed above…