Friday, August 31, 2012

Better names for things

So my sense of humor can be juvenile at times...but I really appreciated this video that my friend Jacob sent me today. I often find a lot to laugh at surrounding semantics and my literal interpretation of peoples choice of words, so this was especially funny to me. The attention to detail on his new signs is fantastic as well. Good show!



“When you go,
if you go,
And I should want to die,
there's nothing I'd be saved by
more than the time
you fell asleep in my arms
in a trust so gentle
I let the darkening room
drink up the evening, till
rest, or the new rain
lightly roused you awake.
I asked if you heard the rain in your dream
and half dreaming still you only said, I love you.” 

~Edwin Morgan


Good morning, everyone. I just woke up and am excited to have Friday off, again! Stepped outside and the moon looks amazing this hour. I couldn't see it hanging up there, all bright and full, without a small thought of Neil Armstrong and his passing. How amazing and strange it must have been in his life to look up in the night sky knowing he had been there, walked around on the world's night light, seen the earth rise over the moons horizon and returned to earth. Random musing I know, but I still winked at it and said hello to him, wherever he may be. God speed, Neil. You are one of my heroes.

So lets rewind a bit to last Saturday and bring this week up to speed, shall we? Last weekend started out with a bang and that morning found me at work around 4 am starting the day cooking for the hotel. We were packed to maximum capacity from the two weddings the night before and the day was uber full of cooking for the three weddings yet to come that evening. The morning went off without a hitch and then the work began in earnest. We had an afternoon reception for roughly 300 guests that slowly swelled to around 450 as more and more arrived without an RSVP, some as much as 2 hours late for the meal. The serving staff was scrambling to set up more tables and all of us in the kitchen were cooking up a storm with an eye on the clock as well. This group needed to vacate the Grand Ballroom by no later than 3 pm in order for us to have time to break down the entire room and split it into two rooms for the evening weddings. It was a Samoan wedding which meant a lot of large families and incredibly large proportioned people. They could eat! The party kept going on and on until finally my General Manager explained to the father of the bride what our time constraints were and what their contract stipulated. They were still in full swing at 2:45 pm when her dad simply walked up to the microphone in front of the band, grabbed it and shouted, "That's it! Party is over. Go home!" It was awesome! The entire staff and group of well wishers cracked up laughing and obliged and then the mad scurrying began. I have never met a more joyous and happy group of people. It was a pleasure to serve them.

The house staff broke down the room and split it up into two ballrooms and started installing the dance floors, setting tables and helping the decorators with their work of remaking each space for the nights events. Things went into full tilt in the kitchen as we kicked the tires and lit the fires for the two evening dinners to come. That pace and amount of work as a team is something that I truly enjoy. It is great to work with and train under Chef Kyle (not THAT kind of under, you pervs, though he IS cute) each day and learn hands on the many things that are never covered in culinary school. We reached a short pausing point when the catering manager breezed through and casually mentioned that one of the evening weddings was also a Samoan wedding. Oh, crap! We started doubling the amount of food needed. That afternoon had schooled us hard and well at the volume of food needed for such a cultural event. Thank goodness the other wedding was just for simple, normally sized and eating white folk. :P

Needless to say, both evening events went off without too much of a hitch! I was working the beef carving station for the Samoan wedding and I have to say, never in my life have I seen a group of people work so hard at eating every single scrap of food we had in the house! The amount of bread and meat served was staggering! I had a great time that night interacting with the wedding guests and watching the party unfold. Many of the toasts and speeches were presented in their native language with most of the guests in traditional costume and accessories. Interesting to see men in suit and ties from the waist up and sarongs and sandals from the waist down. Their emphasis on family and community was amazing and it was neat to see them interact and celebrate in such different ways than what I have observed in my own circles of society. They truly love one another and are not afraid to show it. From the smallest (not so small really) of children to the oldest of their clans, the concern, care and respect shown to each and everyone was palpable and heart felt. This grace and charm also extended to each and everyone of us serving them. They are so appreciative, so thankful and overflowing with good to everyone they encountered and you could tell this was a way of life, a culture, and not some contrived act only reserved for celebrations or public occasions. I learned a lot from them that evening (one being the importance of mountains of fresh hot rolls needed to celebrate) and finally escaped to home and bed after 18 hours of work. It was a very good and successful day. I truly love my job.

The rest of the week was smooth and simple. No massive parties, just simple corporate events, luncheons and breakfast each day at the hotel. I yanked the wheels off the Miata and took them to be restored, so it was on jack stands for my most of the week. Took some getting used to driving the Camaro again. I have missed the tuned port V-8 power, but man! That thing is a MUCH larger car than the go-kart I am used to. The first morning I kept honking and yelling at people who seemed to be pulling into and crowding my lane, until I realized I was in a normal sized car and had less room between vehicles. They prolly thought I was crazy, but it was 3 am in the morning, so we all were in some ways. :)

Life is good. The summer is winding down with Labor Day this weekend. I have been musing about a lot of different things this last week. Been thinking about how other people fill their life and years with children, marriage and all the other conventional, traditional life paths. The thought that keeps returning to me, or question really, is what am I going to fill my life with? I don't see myself getting married anytime soon. (having come close twice, I know I am still not ready)I can't say I have ever had more than a passing (quickly) desire to have kids and the years do seem to stretch out before me. I am in a great place, near family, working a job that I love, saving for retirement, living well, but certainly within my means. I finally feel like a stable adult who is successful by my own reckoning and standards and now what?

That is a good place to end this. That question of, "Now what?" I am not stressed out about it and know that the multiple answers I seek will not come overnight. I have my eyes, mind and heart open and am excited to see what each day and year brings me.

Have a happy Friday. I know that I will. I am going to scrub down, get dressed and head into the city. A full day of relaxing and friends await me. I want to hit  my coffee shop, see some new exhibits at the art museum, have lunch with Bruce, maybe catch that new film "Lawless" and pack in as much fun as I can on my day off. Ciao!


Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Truth be told, I have been both of these guys. Haven't we all at some point or the other?


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Head Start

I woke up an hour before my alarm went off this morning. Since I went to bed incredibly early last night, I am not sure why I find that so surprising. Yesterday was a really good day, but wore my out to my core. I got up and puttered around the house in the morning and then took off for a drive around the lake and then into the city. The day was cloudy and cool and made for a good drive with the top down and tunes cranked up. I am pretty sure the smile on my face from such simple pleasure could be spotted from at least a mile away.

Morning found me at my coffee shop, reading my new National Geographic magazine and studiously ignoring the incredibly attractive guy sitting next to be who kept feeling compelled to cough, sneeze, stretch out and generally call for some admiring attention, albeit unselfconsciously. I am pretty sure he was as lost in his book as I was in my music and reading. The city woke up slowly for a Friday and it was good to be back in familiar haunts, seeing new and familiar faces. The constants and predictable in life can be so comforting at times. There was an entire plethora of people on the patio and out front that I had never seen before, so the people watching was both amusing and enjoyable.

After a few iced coffees and giving my new magazine a fair shot at holding my attention, I grew up bit restless and drove over to a friends restaurant. Some of the guys I haven't seen this month were in so I grabbed a drink, talked over new and old news and relaxed for another hour. The more things change, the more they stay the same I suppose. Nick shot me a text and asked me to beat feet to his place a half hour early and I was happy to oblige.

It was moving day for him, of sorts, or at least the heavy lifting and packing. We drove over to pick up his U-Haul truck and had to wait a bit for it to be readied and for all the paperwork to be sorted. We sat out front and talked about random crap, dreams and such, and enjoyed watching the cute guys go about their work on a slower morning. Our tastes in guys are pretty divergent but we both agreed that the HR manager at that particular location had done a fine job in employee selection. It is hard to believe we met 12 years ago and that such an easy and comfortable friendship has been built between us after we stopped dating.

The truck was finally ready and we headed back to his place to play a reverse game of Tetris with his larger furniture and a 10 foot truck. Give or take 2-3 hours and the doors were closed and we were both pretty soaked with sweat and grime but happy that it all fit. It took some creative wrangling on both our parts and there we not really a cubic foot to be spared. That was a job well done! After a few bottles of water we headed up North to park the truck at his friends house for an early morning departure. Panera for lunch sounded good, so we grabbed sandwiches and simply talked and enjoyed each others company, reminiscing about old times, trips and adventures shared and his new hopes and plans for the move. He will be relocating to Denver, CO in November, both for his job as well as joining more of his immediate family and boyfriend. They have been dating now for almost two years and it is so good to see him happy, settled and growing into his position and person. After some wild and crazy years, he has truly found himself and I like the light in his eyes and smile on his face. Funny how time changes us all.

I took off, after dropping him at his place to say his goodbyes to his roomie of three years and headed back out on the highway. I decided to swing by my Dad's shop and found him outside, with a captive audience of a neighbor, Jesse,  who was getting an earful about whatever Dad was worked up about today. I swear as I pulled in he was wrapping up a "lecture" on recombinant DNA and interspecies cloning and breeding? You never know what is going to be on his mind on any given day! I could tell from the tools, engine hoist and stands that he had decided to swap the engine and transmission out of one of his hot rods to the other, so I set to on making myself useful. I am glad I showed up because, even with two of us, it was quite the task. Give or take a few hours, a lot of sweat and shared effort and we had the drive train swapped from one 1939 Chevy Coupe to the other 1939 Chevy Coupe. (Yes, he has two of the same cars and no, I don't know why!) It was good to be back in the shop wrenching with him. It has been a while since we got to work on cars together and catch up, father and son style. At the end of our efforts, the swap was done and the engine and tranny we pulled was on the stands ready for a rebuild and the one we switched out was mechanically assembled and bolted down to the mounts. We slapped on the heads and intake and called it good. Whew!

Needless to say, after that day of work, I was beat. After a quick bite to eat and talking to my Mom for a bit, I decided to call it a day and head out. A quick shower and I crashed into bed at the early hour of 8 pm! Kind of a far cry from the olden days, I suppose, but we all change and adapt to what life throws at us. I knew morning would come early, as it has, and today is going to be a whirlwind in the kitchen. My team and I will be cooking for three wedding receptions today and it is going to be quite the culinary job! I am sipping my coffee and going over my to do list as I write this and it is just about time for me to get my whites on and head to work. Looks like rain today, so  I will leave the top on the car. I do hope today goes smoothly, not only for my sake, but for the families that are gathering to celebrate the weddings and rites of passage of their kids. My head is in a good space, so hopefully I won't get over emotional or tripped out like I did at the last wedding. I have three awesome menus prepped and we are going to have a great time! :P

I think I am done here. You all enjoy your weekend and I will catch up with ya later. Ciao!


Note: I just realized today that this was my 700th post. I never thought I would stick with this for so long. I guess you CAN teach an old dog new tricks. :)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Gratitude, Politics and Religion: A Rambling

I slept in a bit this morning, which for me entailed not getting out of bed the moment I woke up, but rolling over to enjoy a bit more sleep. I did this a few times in a row and relished the luxury of not being pressed for time or burdened by a schedule this morning on my day off. Finally, at 6:30, I got out of bed, started my coffee maker, washed my face, brushed my teeth and took my first cup of Joe out onto the deck and sat in silence for a while, letting my mind and body wake up and just surfed lightly on the thoughts that came to my mind.

The first real imprint that came to me was  about thankfulness. I know that word gets thrown around a lot around a certain holiday each Fall, but when else is it something I am actually cognizant of personally? I am grateful for a good nights sleep, a safe and clean place to live, a kitchen full of nutritious food, a stable and good job that I actually enjoy, for my beautiful little sports car that I enjoy driving and maintaining. There are so many things in my life that make it rich each day that I accept and enjoy, most of the time without a second thought. I have parents who are still married and love each other and us very much I have siblings, though at times distant and busy as we all can be, who love me too, despite our differences. I am thankful for my family. I know that the foundation of acceptance and love that they have added to my life is an asset and blessing that is rare these days. If I were to doubt that, I merely have to look at my friends lives and the fragmented groups of people they come from and deal with on a daily basis.

I could attempt to list all the people, things, ideas and advantages that my life holds but I would rather hold onto the idea that all of us, regardless of our station or status in life, have something to be thankful for. It is not a contest or some comparison that will reap the winner an added measure of satisfaction, but rather a shifting of focus on being appreciative for the many great and good things in my life rather than a fixation on what I do not have, or what I want or believe I need to be truly happy. I want to attempt to carry this thought with me through this day, if not every day. My realization of what I do have is contrasted by the times in my life when I have been in want, in need and desired to be in the position and place that I am today. In many ways, I did get what I wished for, I just have not taken the time to realize that and be grateful as I should. I am truly blessed.

After I came back inside, while kicking that idea around in my head, another tangled ball of thoughts surfaced. I am not going to be able to express it fluidly, as that is not how it exists in my mind, but it is the contrast, comparison and similarity that religion and politics hold to each other, at least the way they are expressed and communicated about in this country. A lesson I have been applying in my life the last few months comes from a sentiment that my grandmother said to me one year at a holiday gathering at the farm. She said that polite people do not discuss religion or politics. She was referencing the row going on in the great room between all the rest of the guys and at the time I thought she was making that observation based on the idea that we all just "need to get along". To be honest, I never really thought about it all that much and grew up like the rest of my family and friends, arguing and debating about both topics and then wondering at the strife and conflict it created in the family, friends and groups around me.

I am not saying that I do not believe in anything by not joining those conversations and discussions. I am not living in apathy to the very real problems presented by both institutions by my unusual and new marked silence when such topics arise. I am merely choosing to take a moment, recognize them for what they are and hold my peace. I choose not to speak. For the things I do believe in, be they spiritual or pertaining to the self governing of our nation, I choose to do something. That, for me, has been a picture of disengaging my mouth and putting into action my daily choices. Noise, rhetoric, argument, debate and conflict have become the expression of intent and are leaving people satisfied while never really accomplishing anything except idle and empty words. Most people, by and large, believe themselves to be right. That is something I can wrap my mind around, as I experience it myself to some extent every day. What I do not understand, though I participated in it by learned example for years, is the overwhelming need and  insatiable addiction people have for not only believing something themselves but  then having to convince every single last person who disagrees with them that they are wrong and must come to an agreement with them.

I see now my grandmother was right. Polite people do not talk about politics and religion. They are both deeply personal matters and should be left as such. It does not mean they cannot be discussed, but the questions we ask each other, are they to expose another persons position in order to launch a counter attack to change them to our views, or are they a caring conversation to truly get to know another person better? I like how Glenn Greenwald put it. "I don't have a 'side'—I'm responsible for what I say and nothing else."

People love to argue. They love to be right. There is some visceral satisfaction they gain by "proving" someone else wrong and emerging as the victor, if only in their own mind. I understand that. I used to relish it too. It no longer has an attraction to me. I do not think that is what politics and faith are about or should be serving. In the end, you are alone in a voting booth and in the end of life, whatever your hopes and beliefs may be about that, you die alone as well. Maybe that fear of being alone coupled with the insecurity of self doubt is what the arguing is really all about. We fear being alone.

Why can't we talk about that for a change?


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Life is good

Has it really been a week since I posted last? This month seems to be flying by. I am sitting here relaxing after a good day of work and I can faintly smell the Pound Cake in the oven that I am baking. I am going to keep one for me and take the other to my friend Nick tomorrow when I help him pack. He will be moving to Colorado in November but is headed up there this weekend with his largest pieces of furniture. I will run over and drive him to get the moving truck and then help him fill it up. I will certainly miss him once he is no longer just a drive away.

I don't have a lot on my mind. Life is pretty calm. I have been working and taking it easy as this month winds down. Got some swimming and reading in on my days off. I think pretty much all the people who were contributing to stress or drama have either settled down or been selectively eliminated from my life and the peace and quiet that leaves me, mentally and physically, has really been nice.

One of the ideas I have been kicking around in my head to write about is milestones. The events, dates and times that mark the passages of our lives. The thing that we look forward to and then remember once passed as something that marks who we are and where we have been. It really isn't put together well yet but once I get my thoughts in order, I want to at least revisit mine to date and share my thoughts.

It seems that the more simple I make my life, the more I enjoy it. I don't thrive on the energy and confusion that results from so much strife, arguing and drama that seems to have marked my life in times past. I don't want to argue with people. I have no comment or thoughts on politics to be shared. I really don't believe in that religion, or really any religion to be honest. I am content with me. I like my life as it is and I am enjoying it. I am taking it slowly, a day and week at a time, and am no longer spending my time and effort trying to convince anyone of anything. They really don't care about much except what they believe anyway and I will leave them to their noise and games.

Non-interference is the word of the day, I suppose? I will continue to work for the things I believe in, invest in the people and groups that bring me life and that at a higher quality and only choose to engage individuals who truly wish to get to know me and add value to our combined lives. I am no ones crusader and I don't need one either.

I think that is all I have to say right now. This weekend is going to be crazy busy with three weddings to cook for but once I get past Monday morning, it will be time to take it easy again. I will enjoy my time off pursuing and doing the things I love with the people that love me. Beyond that, I have no plans.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Only Boys Aloud

I am unsure what these guys are singing about, but I find them inspiring and full of hope. I am out the door to enjoy my day off! :)

Why my Homophobic Dad supports Gay Marriage

I did not intend to write this morning. No alarm went off to wake me up. I simply came to about fifteen minutes ago, shut off my white noise machine, started the coffee maker and stretched the soreness out of my muscles. As my brain began booting up an actual idea came to me. Shocking, to those who know me, but it is true! I guess it is the product of thinking on things and pondering them over the last several weeks. This morning, all those scraps and snippets came together into one piece and I hope to be able to share them with the clarity I can see them in my mind and feel them in my heart.

Arguments do not change peoples minds. Debate convinces no one that they are wrong. No article penned by an amazing wordsmith ever reached into someones mind and changed their paradigm. The core values that we as individuals hold to be true are built of thousands of tiny scraps of information, absorbed life experiences and personal or anecdotal observations. Our lived emotions, learned and sought beliefs and complicated interior personal lives are the mortar that hold our world view together and help us make sense of the swirling chaos all around us that is collectively called life.

The last few months have been awash with arguments. Debates seem to spring up daily between friends, families and complete strangers. We are inundated by social media and news sources that constantly are thrusting conflicting ideas into the forefront of our minds and lives. In the midst of this, we make our decisions of what to do, how to live, what words to speak, post, update or text and in the end, we remain who we are. The individual is who we awake as and who we fall asleep being. This cycle never stops. It feeds a constant need we have as humans for attention and meaning and all too often, we can get caught up in information consumerism, which feeds the beast that hunts us all.

We all, by and large, believe that we are right. Read that again, please. I know it is not an incredibly detailed statement, but I know that it rings true for the majority of people. We think, for a myriad of reasons, that what we believe and feel about the vast variety of issues in life is correct. If you doubt this, realize that what we truly believe and think shapes the actions that we choose and live out to everyone around us.

This presents a problem. We do not all agree.

You probably  are wondering when I am going to get to topic of this post. Not to fret. The wait is over. My Dad is a homophobe. I can say it. I love him and he loves me. These are both facts. Despite growing up with a gay brother and having a gay son himself, my Dad, for a long litany of reasons, is not comfortable with the whole concept and fact of homosexuality existing in the world he lives in. It is as foreign to him as heterosexuality is to myself. How do I know this? Because we talk about it. We have been talking about it and living about it ever since my first crush on a boy in grammar school. Don't be fooled. If you are a person on the LGBT spectrum, you too have been having this conversation with your family and friends from the day you first realized you were "other" or different from your peers. Another thing to not forget, you are having this conversation with yourself. It is not a conversation made with words.

People are arguing. Society in this country is debating marriage equality. The issue seems to get more heated and complicated with each passing day. It is not my intention to argue my position here or open the floor to debate, though I am sure some of my readers will feel compelled to do so. The idea that came to me this morning is what I wish to share, and thankfully, it is both simple and brief.

Arguments do not change peoples minds. Debate convinces no one that they are wrong. Lives change lives. Personal experience and relationships with individuals do change minds and shows them that they are wrong. My Dad supports marriage equality due to his personal relationship with me, his gay son. This is not a conclusion he reached over night and it certainly was not a simple one for him. He is a man of conservative values, deep personal spiritual conviction and has his own long list of personal experiences in life. All of these form together to make him a man who should be and was deeply opposed to gay marriage and any and all affirmation of LGBT individuals. What changed his mind? A relationship. Life. Love. Me.

We live and fight hard for what we believe in. We summon thousands of words and hundreds of emotions, participate in all types of activities, hoping that with all of that noise, spectacle, work and belief to achieve equality as humans among our peers in society. The pain we experience in our journeys is great and often it seems the rewards are few and slow coming.

I have a novel idea.

Let us live our lives in such a way, craft and build our relationships with our boyfriends or girlfriends so solidly, share and participate in our community and family with such intention, that by our own personal example to the people that know us, we show and live the reasons why we should be afforded the same respect, dignity and recognizance that they may take for granted every day of their lives. Relationships change people. My life and the relationships and loves that I have had, with all of its faults and missteps, failures and successes changed my Dads view of LGBT people and his mind about gay marriage.

I cannot change the whole world. None of us can. But we can change the world we touch, the people around us at school, work and wherever and whoever we call home. When we live our best lives, illustrated by love and punctuated by grace, we show by our example, exactly what we are hoping for. It is the same thing all humans hope for. For love. For acceptance and for personal and collective affirmation of what we believe to be true.

This does not mean that I will cease being an advocate and activist for the cause of LGBT rights. We all deserve the respect, dignity, freedom and civil liberty that is extended to all citizens of this country, but denied to a minor few, due to some peoples deeply held religious and social beliefs. We cannot change their collective minds with arguments, words and debates. We can change those whose lives we touch with our choices, our relationships and our examples. We have to be the bigger people here. Change and equality is inevitable. Let us live our lives in such a manner that we provide pictures to those who do not yet understand the larger one. No, it is not fair. This is not something that the majority has had to do in order to achieve the validation of the rest of society. Welcome to being a minority. Until we show them who we are and what amazing love, relationships and families we hope and strive for, no one will ever extend the grace and respect that they were effortlessly awarded by default.

You may be the only gay person someone knows. You ARE the LGBT community to them. What life picture are you painting for them?


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Need a BIG smile?

A friend of mine shared this with me today and I loved it! The way peoples eyes light up, then crack a smile and then either join in or bust into spontaneous laughter is so engaging. There are a few outright horrified looks that certainly take the cake as well. So...if you need a grin, click play!

CAUTION: There IS a bearded man dancing in a bikini in this film. That is all. :)



My mind is all over the place this morning. I woke up two hours before my alarm for work was set to go off and once I click awake, I am good to go for the day. It must be a leftover habit from the Navy as once my eyes open, my feet hit the floor soon after. I brewed my coffee, got around my first cup and sat outside for a while just thinking about whatever crossed my mind. The crickets sang softly.

Many of my friends this weekend are at Pilgrimage. Friends from church at Jacobs Well, that is. I had last Sunday off and went to the morning service. I had not been there for several months, in fact, not since I was dating Brian in January. Kind of strange how time flies. Each year the entire church heads out to camp for a weekend of relaxing, playing and engaging with each other, en mass. It is not really incredibly structured and you can set your own level of participation and it is generally a good retreat and recharge for everyone one present. I have been out there five times over the years but life, work and schedule did not make space for it this year. I will miss the early mornings in the lake, the huge gatherings at meals, staying up to the wee hours playing games and talking as well as all the bonding experiences over campfires in the night up in the hills. It does my heart good to know they are there, celebrating and bonding. The simple fact that the pattern continues without my presence is reassuring, as odd as that may sound.

Off and on, my thoughts have turned to love lately. Not about family or friends, but about romance and dating. I have been single for six months now and I miss being "with". Not in some aching, melodramatic, angsty way, but more in a simple yearning for companionship and relationship deeper than friends and family can provide. The difference I feel this time is an odd shifting of roles in my head and heart. I want to be pursued. I want him, whoever he may be, to fall in love with me. Each relationship I have had in life, as long or as brief as they have been, have been at my initiation, at least at the first. I have always been the active pursuer and was satisfied with reciprocity, but for some shifting reason, I find myself willing to relinquish the role of aggressor. I do not think that this is a shift in how I present and interact with those I find attractive but rather, I want to know that some one likes me for me, for who I am and not what I represent or what I have. I want him to want me, even before I know that I want him. Does that make sense?

I do not dwell on it all that much, it comes and goes, usually around the time my thoughts turn to Michael. The last time he called me, a few weeks ago, I botched and cocked it up rather badly, but was completely honest about how I felt at the time. I cannot apologize for reality and his inclusion in my life as a friend has always left me sorely confused and hurting for what was and what could have been. I am going to set that topic down for now and not let it color my day.

Tomorrow morning is the Perseids Meteor shower and I am looking forward to getting up extra early to watch the meteors shoot across the sky. They are something that always thrills me and reminds me of the showers I used to stay up late and watch with my Dad or brothers growing up. One year, my Mom stayed up with me and we camped out in the bed of the pickup truck, under some sleeping bags and watched them, talking together and sketching the shooting stars we saw. There is just something so amazing about gazing deep into the sky expectantly and then watching the spectacular show that the Universe gives us.

Time is passing and it will soon be time for me to head into work, so I will end this here. I hope wherever you are, you are well. Do not get so caught up in the mundane patterns of life that you forget to look up and look out. Life is all around you, happening every day. Engage with it and with others. You may be surprised at the results.

Oh...and I need to learn how to take my own damn advice. :)


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Words I typed

Just got home from work and thought a life update was in order. It was an incredibly fun but busy weekend. Through some stroke of luck, I actually had Friday through Sunday off of work (rare in the culinary and food service world) and was able to spend time with family and friends, cramming entertainment, life and rest into the same mixed bag of three days.

What all did I do? Here we go, in no particular order...

Friday: Me day, all day.

Saturday Morning: I went with my family (Dad, Mom, brother) and huge group of friends to welcome my sister back to the United States from Peru, where she has been that last 14 weeks. She was volunteering at an orphanage that she visits each year and it was a great homecoming for her. I really do not see her all that much during the year and we have never been particularly close as adults, but I love her and was really glad to see her back safe and sound. She travels all over the world each year into some pretty rough areas in South America, Africa and Asia  so she is never too far from my mind. We had banners, balloons, flowers, cheering and everyone kids running around excited, so I can say it was a definite success. It didn't take too long for her to start smiling and crying but I know it made her day to know that many people from so many different parts of her life took the time to welcome her back and express our love and admiration for the selfless work and sacrifice she gives to those children around the world who so need it most.

Saturday Night: Nickolas called me out of the blue and invited me to grab dinner and to see the new Batman movie. I said, "hell yes", and we had a blast that night! He is an ex-boyfriend of mine, circa 2000, but we have remained fast friends over the years. He had just returned from Colorado and California, where he has been traveling with his boyfriend Stu and it was great to catch up on our lives, hear about his vacation and growing relationship and a little sad to find out he would be moving to Colorado this Fall to join his immediate family (Mom and brothers) there and to be with Stu who is from the Denver area. Completely understandable, of course, but I will miss him a lot. I don't have the space, time or words to explain who Nick is and was to me, but suffice it to say, we will always have a special place in each others hearts and lives.

Oh...and the Dark Knight Rises was AWESOME! We finished dinner and whole lot of talking and I drove like crazy cause we lost track of time. We grabbed our tickets, raced into the theater just as the previews ended and scored amazing seats front and center. The movie blew me away, to say the least. (I am easily impressed as I don't get to the theater that much, but still, I loved it!) Afterwards we headed back to his house and sat out on the deck, under an amazing moon and talked about the past, our present lives and all the hopes and dreams we both have for our respective futures. We still really 'click' a lot, and yes, he still is sexy as hell, but while we may flirt and joke around, I have too much respect for relationships, Stu, him and myself to ever consider doing any more than that. We have both grown up into men, from the boys we were and that bond of friendship we share now is great. I think I will just shut up about him now, cause I am wandering down memory lane and rambling.

Sunday: Hmm...Sunday was a morning watching the city wake up at my coffee shop. Went for a long, top down drive around the lake and some of my favorite country roads. Actually went to church at Jacobs Well and caught up with friends I had not seen all summer. Had lunch with Bruce, Mark and Jeff and then wiled away the evening over a few cocktails on the patio at the club and some really good conversations with my buds. Watched a little Olympics. Correction, watched a lot of guys and talked about them while they competed. :D Hmmm. It was a great day and night and a solid way to end a fun weekend.

That's about it for my update. The work week is flying by. There are some new interesting changes and personal opportunities soon to come there that I am excited about. We are still hiding indoors from the heat here in the MidWest and I am soooo ready for Fall to get here. I didn't realize I had this many words in my head about stuff, so I will just stop right here.


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Saturday Morning

I slept in this morning. The time that I woke up happened to be 6:30 am, but with my new schedule of rising for work at 3:30 am, it certainly felt luxurious. I checked my phone to ensure no last minute calls or texts had been sent by Chef Kyle to summon me to the kitchens and went about my morning routine. Washed my face, looked at my eyes, decided I liked what I saw there and set to making coffee. I made the bed while listening to the comforting and familiar chuff and wheeze of the brewer dripping hot water over the basket of fresh grounds and then padded to the kitchen to get my mug. I added a dollop of cream and came back to my bedroom to pour myself the first cup of the day. It may be strange to some that my coffee maker is in my bedroom but I often employ the timing feature on it as an alarm clock, setting it to brew on working days to start its work a good six minutes before I expect to awake. Coming back from dreamland to consciousness with those familiar sounds and the smell of coffee tickling my nose always seems to put me in a good mood, regardless of what life and my schedule holds.

Outside on the porch, I sipped my coffee and waited patiently for my brain to boot up. I sat down my coffee cup and stretched as hard and high as I could to the sky. It made the fibers in my body thrum and legs tremble in a delicious way. A locust, lying on its back seemed to be dead, but when nudged gently with my foot, immediately popped back to life and began flying in place on the ground, intermittently letting out little  happy seeming chirps. He was working so hard, wings beating furiously, but getting no where to my accounting. I mused a bit at how often life can seem like his futile efforts but then realized, he may just be exercising and waking up himself, his own version of stretching to the sky, while tethered to the ground. I bet he wished he had some coffee, or whatever it may be that locusts like in the morning.

A pair of tawny mourning doves fluttered down to land on the craggy rock wall that surrounds the oak tree in the front of my house and spent some time, crooning to each other and looking about wide eyed. I like the small, pleas and murmurs they make to one another while preening. They gave me the once over with cocked heads and big eyes and then continued about their morning, first one, then the other following. When they took to the air, little sounds escaped from them with each wing beat that seemed to tell each other and me, "It's alright. Life is good. Good morning, world." I am glad they dropped by to say hello.

Scampering and rustling from the north caught my ear and attention then and I watched three squirrels chase each other around and round the trunk of my maple tree. Way up into the lofty branches they would run, seeming to defy gravity and everyone else who couldn't climb and run around branches with the ease they found. Up and down, back and forth, every once in a while stopping to chitter at each other and then resume the  frantic, joyful chase. One came down to the ground and began some strange hopping, fluttering dance that made me think he just might be a future Olympic gymnastics team hopeful, until I realized he had found another locust that was just waking up and felt compelled to play with it. It amused me, so I watched for a while, trying to ignore the fact that at the end of the floor routine, someone was more than likely going to get eaten. The other two squirrels seemed content to just run, jump and cavort with each other. All was right in their little slice of life.

Sometimes I fall out of the habit of writing, not only here but also in my own journals. Time has a habit of moving onward and in the midst of it all, we get caught up in details, struggles and schedules and the next thing we know, another season has slipped past us. I certainly feel that way this morning. It is hard to believe that Autumn will soon be making her appearance. I often feel I lack anything of substance to write or share, when the truth is, my mind is always full of things I am pondering and mulling over. Sometimes I just need a little prompting or a spark to divulge the streams that keep moving below my surface. It is so easy to get caught up in the details and business of it all. At times, I tend to concentrate on what is wrong with this world, or what may be upsetting me. Those thoughts give way to some emotional wresting of words, and while those can be cathartic and healing for me, they are not what life is all about. There are so many other fantastic things to share and build community about.

Today I am going to take a lesson from the locust, a page out of the book from the mourning doves that visited and even from the three happy little squirrels that shared my morning. Once something wakes me up, I am going to beat my wings and vocalize, even if it doesn't seem to take me anywhere, to the casual observer. The exercise and sound will do me good. I will keep my eyes and heart open for one to take wing with. When I find him, I will make time to settle down and sing to him. There might even be some preening or cuddling involved, and then when one of us moves on, maybe this time, the other will follow.

And from those rambunctious and fun loving squirrels, I will take the lesson to keep playing. Wherever this game may take me, from the high thin branches that seem to scrape the sky, around all the limbs and places in life, I want to revel in the sheer inanity of it all. I am sure there will be laughter and more than likely  a few tears. That is part of the balance of it all.  I might just find someone on the ground different than me to play with, or I might just keep running in front of or following one of my own kind. I do know, if I don't get out with friends, with the intention of living, there will certainly be spaces, games and fun to miss. The loss is not only for myself and our pack, but for the others who may just be waking up themselves and enjoying the spectacle and beautiful thing that this amazing life really is.