Thursday, August 8, 2019

New words

Before the day gets started and life and schedule take away more time, I am sitting down to practice putting my words outside my head, even to just see them myself.

It has been a long while.

Where and how to start?

There is no easy way to walk back through time and bring this much loved space up to date in a single post, so my best course of action is to jump in, right where I find myself and start sharing.

Work: Over the course of the last two and a half years, I have built a solid career and position with the company that has offered and continues to offer so much promise and advancement. I have learned much from the professionals I work with and have come to know and care for deeply those I call my friends and colleagues. Currently, due to life events, I have placed my involvement there on hold. I will delve into that in subsequent paragraphs, but at this time I have some space to work through and sort out all the other areas of my life. I will be returning soon and certainly do miss the work as well as the people who make each day spent there engaging, exciting and worthwhile. My Exec. and other extended members of management have been more than helpful, understanding and supportive in this trying time of life that I find myself in. I will revisit this at another time, but am itching to get back to work, but know that the season I am walking through demands my entire attention and efforts and my productivity and quality of endeavor would suffer would I to return too soon. I love what we do there. It makes me smile. I have never regretted this career change for a moment.

Family: This one is a bit tougher to cover, but I will do my best. Over the last several years, while concurrently pursuing career and success, I have been helping my parents deal with the challenges of aging and failing health. All was going well, until Dad started having more severe complications neurologically as well as other contributing factors of the strokes and myocardial events that have been plaguing him since I was in high school.

This last January, during the middle of a city wide power outage, I made the decision to move them to the hotel I used to work at. That evening it became obvious that something was wrong and had occurred. In short, he suffered more strokes. We were able to get him to the emergency room in a timely and safe manner by ambulance and he has been in and out of the hospital and inpatient therapy ever since. To date, this year, he has spent over four months out of his house and in intensive treatment and recovery. This facilitated traveling often daily to see him, visit, encourage him and make sure his care and quality of life was as high and good as possible, given the conditions.

We have learned in the last few days, that he will never be able to return home and will require long term health care and therapy for the remainder of his life. It is not safe for him or for my Mom to ever live in the home that those two strong hands built and maintained.

This is a blow, not only to him, but to us all as a family.

We are in process of finding the best facility for him to reside at, that is not only prepared to deal with the challenges that he faces, but also is close to home, where my Mom and my siblings and I can remain a daily part of his life.

This has been exhausting, both physically, mentally and emotionally to all of us.

My Dad is my hero and in the last five years has been my best friend.

I miss him every day and each day, more and more of him fades.

That is all I can say about that at this time.

The pain is constant and ever present.

Myself: Due to a series of events, I found out that I am diabetic (Type II) and suffer from chronic hypertension. (Genetic) This has entailed a stay in the hospital for me, both for palliative medical care but also to assess and treat complications due to stress and mental/emotional health.

In the course of my varied and storied life, I have never had any serious medical complications or health problems. I also have never seen a psychiatrist or therapist or been medicated for any of the events that I have experienced.

All of that has changed.

So, I am dealing with talking to strangers about my past, my present and my future, as well as carefully examining several events and circumstances that I have faced with time and life.

None of this process is easy and I cannot say that I am finding it as easy as the years prior. I am not used to living in a space where I feel things strongly but the good news is that both my family and close friends are partnered in with me in this path and have done nothing but provide constant, unfailing, unconditional support and love to me as I discover the pain and brokeness in my own life and emotional health.

I don't like feeling ill, or having to take medicine or even talk about how I feel.

But I am learning to lean into the process and seek good things for myself and those around me.

I am sure I will elaborate on this entire situation as time and willingness permits.

Know this, I am in a good place and certainly not alone in walking this path.

Personal: There is not time and place to share how my last relationship with Michael ended. We had six fantastic years, but it did not end in the marriage, as I thought that it would. He is well and living in Palm Springs, CA now with all the dogs and we remain friends and in contact, in as much as it is healthy for the both of us. I will never, ever regret the time and life spent together with him.

Currently, I have a guy in my life that I have still yet to define. We met, oddly enough, at a farm supply store and have both found a way to share time and life in a manner that pleases us both. He is seventeen years my junior (yes, I know) but even with this space in our chronology, we mesh and fit into each others life in such a way that brings much peace, many smiles and a hope for a future together, whatever way or manner that it may take.

More on him later.

He is amazing and I think I might be falling in love after two years. (Yes, I move slowly.)

So let's see, I think that is all I have to share or can share at this time. Another day has begun and life and duty beckons, with all of its responsibilities and challenges.

I will return and soon. I am not going to bother to re-read or edit this. Just simply putting some word and ideas out here has put a smile on my face. I hope to make this a more routine practice as I moves towards my best life, integrated, authentic and whole.

Peace on you all, and I will talk to ya soon.


Thursday, May 31, 2018

Just because :)

Thinking on things

Listening to this song after work today. Came home and shucked my shorts and promptly cut the sleeves off another tshirt for the second day in a row. It has been in the high 90's for over a week now with no relief in sight. Seems like those two days of Spring is all we're going to get! Getting some great sun every weekend though, so I don't mind it much, with the top down and all.

Man! Where does the time go? Life has been a whirlwind lately and I have yet to even start catching up here in sharing what is going on. Seems like the story of my life. Ninety miles and hour and no time to look back and reflect. Stay in the moment and keep pressing onward and upward.

Things are well with me. Family, friends and career abound in any and all directions as I continue to grow into the space that I find myself. Every week seems to bring new faces, new friendships, assorted challenges and opportunities and I just keep taking it all in. Certainly a new season in my own path, to be sure. I have a hard enough time keeping track of it all, but that seems to be the ebb and flow of things when the wheel moves us.

After so much solitude, solitary time, reflection and travel alone, it is refreshing and exciting to be doing life with people again, friends both old and new. Made a new circle of guys at a camping trip a few weekends ago and things are taking off with them as our lives, schedules and activities mesh into each other. I am grateful to have new input in all the arenas that interesting new humans bring to us. Music, movies, activities, bonfires, service opportunities and doing meals and life together. Some weekends I don't even see my own house until late Sunday, if at all, before the next week of work starts!

I know this is disjointed and randomly written. I am trying to scarf down and Caesar Salad wrap and some iced tea before I get out of the house and head to the lake for a drive and to visit a bison hard with a friend. Random and beautiful, all at the same time.

Smiles find me everyday and the knowingness of being the right person, at the right place, at the right time is a space I find myself inhabiting more and more. I was made for this life.

More to follow, but I have a road to hit, water to see and huge animals to feed carrots to!


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

That time I was scared to be myself

So this evening, after good conversation with a new friend as we
plotted the future, I had an interesting adventure. I hesitated to share it, as it painted me in a rather inept and weak light, but after some reflection, thought it was note worthy, as some lessons learned stood out to me. (New friend is a guy I met on a camping trip with old friends a few weekends ago. Don't really know him that well, but we hit it off and he contacted me to hang out.)
My friend left to run his errands and grab dinner and I went back in the coffee shop for an ice tea refill, before I hit the road. While doing so, I took my car keys out of my pocket to have them ready for putting my rain coat in the trunk, as it was still dry out, though clouding up quickly.
Unbeknownst to me, when I removed my keys, a very sentimental and important ring fell out of my pocket and rolled across the sidewalk.
After getting my refill, a young guy approached me with a smile and held out the ring I had dropped, letting me know he had seen it fall and that it rolled right to his feet.
I thanked him profusely and went out to my car across the street to stow my rain coat and prepare to leave. As I walked across Broadway, the thought came to me that I had several fresh chocolate chip cookies in the trunk and that I could give them to this guy as a "thank you" for returning my ring that I had not known was lost.
I placed my coat in the trunk, set my ice tea in a holder and got the cookies out and then firmly closed the trunk to return across the street.
As the solid clunk sounded, I instantly knew that I had placed my keys to the right of my knapsack and they were now locked securely in the trunk. This normally would not be a big deal, but I had just put the hard top back on the car, due to the coming rain and had locked both doors when I arrived at the coffee shop. If the soft top had been up, I could have merely unzipped the back window and opened a door, but sadly, fate had conspired against me this time.
So, I went about with my plan, gave the guy the cookies and then made a call to get a set of keys delivered. In the mean time, I decided to walk over to the Bunker to kill some time and peruse the sales rack. While at the corner, I realized the sun was setting and a large storm was rolling in from the west.

I just stood on the corner of Westport and Broadway, as so many had before me, and watched the sky. Thunder, lightening and random rays of sunlight all competed for my attention. 
After I had made the call, I had set a timer for the arrival of my keys, so I know exactly how long I had stood there watching the sky and raw force of nature.
Seventeen minutes.
Seventeen minutes of stopping, of contemplation, of simply being caught up in the spectacle of life unfolding around me.
I even put my phone in my pocket and stopped texting my friend I was sharing this experience with as it unfolded.
It captured my attention.
I was present.
Simply in the moment.
Sometimes life conspires against and forces us to stop. It lets us repay kindness in kind and then halts our steps, slows our roll and demands our undivided attention, if we will watch, look and listen.
I need more of this. My world and evening is and was a better space because in haste, I made an error.
There are no mistakes.
That ring had been on my finger earlier. I had taken it off and put it on a few times as I debated with myself. It never would have been in my pocket if my own interior self-doubt hadn't clouded my personal perception and resolve. I removed it due to my own mistaken assumptions about another. For some odd reason, I really wasn't sure if I wanted my new friend to know that I am gay. We had shared time and life on the camping trip, but it had never come up and one never knows if old friends had filled in new friends on random information. I did not want him to see me as "less than" and it had been a long time in my own life since I had considered my orientation and sexuality as a detriment or something to be ashamed of. I am not sure where this came from but it certainly has given me something to consider and ponder about myself and where I am at with self acceptance and personal emotional health.

If it had not been in my pocket, due to my insecurity, it would not have fallen out. I wouldn't have met Sam. He wouldn't have returned my ring. He wouldn't have got chocolate chip cookies and I would have missed the stormy sunset.
There are no mistakes. Even the errors we make bring us closer to others and teach us about ourselves. Both today and tomorrow.
I won't be taking that ring off again, but I am sure glad that I did.

Sunday, March 25, 2018


Have to choke the words out. Somewhere in all of this thinking are feelings and they get so tangled. No panicked frenzy to be found but the desperate desire to emote what roils beneath the surface of an always composed and placid exterior. Mind racing, feelings tumbled, around and updown like a never ending spin cycle that keeps the rhythm of my life moving. Almost a perpetual motion machine that I siphon energy from while never revealing what lies within. Somewhen, wherehow to strain and fumble and force extrude all of this beautiful, terrible, painful, magnificent life?

Waking to music playing in my head that makes no sense but somehow orchestrates that driving desire to feel, to dance, to whirl and spin and laugh and scream, shouting desperately and ecstatically in the rain that this is me, is life, is feeling, is more, is us, is now. A dervish with no sand, careening out of control in silence with no concern or thought of what impending infinitesimal intersection of living might occur if I just give in and relinquish myself to the release of time and thought and space and others. To not be alone. With and near. Close and touched. Always ever following that wil-o-the-wisp that leads me on my way?

Drivel and scree. I care not. Get it out. Put it down. See it baldly. Throw light into those corners. Make way and space for examination. Let the dust coat my hands and motes tickle my nose till teasing, sneezing, hacking and squinting it is revealed. The past laid open. Breathe deep those adventures forgotten. Touch the mementos collected without thought or care. Remember. Remember. That was me. This is me. I was there. I did that. I knew you. We all rolled out. Served a cause. Took a path. Climbed that mountain. Dove that sea. Wore that uniform. Touched fingertips lightly. Shoulders rubbed and bounced as the sun set over another ocean. Breathed in deeply the salt and wondered where the years would take us. They took us here. They made us we. I am a part of it all and yet I forgot.

Forgot myself. Forgot that space. Walked boldly without a glance back. Striving, living, pushing, ignoring, intentionally always moving, never seeking, always finding. More and more and when and how and there and now and for what?

What did I gain. How did it all come together? How did I lay aside that which I would need never knowing where I would land and fall and settle for a moment? I planned, plotted, sought and bought, carefully curating crap that now falls to hand like well used tools unvisited and unworn and forgotten.

I need these things. I kept these things. They remind me of who and when I was. They traveled time and space with me and then waited.

They have been found. I have been found.

I am remembering.

And in there, is love.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Getting words down

Time can be an elusive and slippery animal. Already this month has flown by and life continues to accelerate in ways and manners that remind me of flowing water seeking its own level. It will not and cannot be contained, but certainly channeled and used. Sometimes, though, it is simply good to let it run where it desires.

Woke up early this morning after a great night's sleep on a new bed. That purchase has certainly done wonders for the rest I seek. I am somewhat amazed at how such a simple difference can make in my productivity and easing of encroaching and continually present soreness and discomfort.

Damn. It has been awhile since I threw some words at this page. The pace of life, work, play and contribution has been break neck and doesn't seem to be slowing. Time to strap in and enjoy the ride. Where to start?

Sister and her daughter are getting ready to leave for Peru. Got Dad through the medical concerns that provoked some stress and consternation. Spring is rapidly upon us. Brother is doing well and his business is booming. Mom is finding some relief from her physical ailments and completed her physical therapy brought on from the severe fall this last December. Work is in order. Had my annual review yesterday with my Executive Chef and we both left that meeting well pleased. My merit increase meets and exceeds my expectations but my plate certainly is filling up and my shoulders are going to have to become broader. After meeting the CEO of our company at an event I was catering at, he called and requested my resume and seems to have some designs on my own personal development and future with the company. That is both intriguing and a bit disconcerting but I will eagerly anticipate what develops. This next month is going to be CRAZY busy but it is time to buckle down further and up the ante on what I bring to the table.

No news on the relationship front. Still single as a Pringle, but that is nothing new lately. Friendships and community continue to grow as I get more involved in activities and in the lives and activities of others. A few are becoming even closer and I am learning to reach out, share and lean on those with vastly more experience, good practical wisdom and sometimes just a listening ear. Reaching out and growing is never a bad thing, but can be daunting at times, for a person such as myself, who tends to live independently in most arenas of my own life. I love those guys and am certainly finding my place in the family I make for myself. I am coming into my own and staring to own and inhabit the place space that I walk in. This bodes well for the coming and continuing year.

I don't have much on my mind this morning. Just planning my day and schedule to attempt to fit everything in to be well completed. I have taking some classes in the evenings now to further my own education and development, but the new schedule certainly makes for longer days. More data on that front at some later point, when I feel ready to share.

Been back on the bench practicing and learning new pieces on the piano. That has been both challenging and expanding. My chops had become quite rusty over the years and the discipline has been good for my heart and soul. Music from the past and from the present is starting to flow, though the metronome is still my task master. Timing, in all things, is paramount.

So what the fuck is going on with me?

I am hanging on. I am surviving. I am thriving. Despite it all and what this world throws at me, I am taking it in stride and becoming, slowly, the best version of myself. I am going to find my voice again here and relearn to share with the openness and transparency that I once had.

Bear with me.

The long silence is hard to break, but I am trying and doing.


Friday, February 16, 2018

Time for some rest.

I know that I haven't written here in a long while, but this week held a full weeks schedule plus 19 hours of overtime work with off site catering of special events. To top it off, my Dad had a medical scare on Wednesday night and I spent all evening and night in the ER of St. Lukes hospital waiting on CT amd MRI scans, blood work and other assorted tests. Thankfully he is okay cardiac and neurologically, just a serious chest infection, but no pneumonia.

Tomorrow morning, after Cars and Coffee, I hope to be back and catch up on where life has me at the moment. For now, I choose dinner and sleep. Hope you all are well. Love on another.


Wednesday, February 7, 2018

A much needed day off.

What a whirlwind life has been lately. There have been several times that I have been prompted to sit
down and jot down a few things here in the past week or so, but events and circumstances have always conspired to eat the time and un-shared those things became. Woke up early this morning, even though it is on my day off, so I decided to write as soon as the coffee began trickling into my system. While I did not have MLK day off at work, they did grant us an extra floating holiday, to be used at our leisure, during the month of February and I decided to take advantage of that today, in order to get many errands and appointments done in one fell swoop. So Happy Day Off to me!

I had stayed up late last night, thinking that I might sleep in a bit today, but my body had other plans. I guess several years of rising early is a hard habit to break, even when the need and willingness is present. Such is my Circadian rhythm, I suppose. I didn't bother setting my alarm, thinking I met glean a few hours of extra sleep, but it was not to be, but due to that, I have some time to write. So it's a lose, win in the books.

Got the car clean yesterday after work, to get all the road grime and salt off of it. I had just washed it on the weekend, but that didn't last long, as a sudden snow storm fell Sunday morning and blanketed our fair city in a fluffy blanket of white. To say it was unexpected would be an understatement. Of all things random, I decided to go to church on Sunday and revisit an old haunt after four years of absence. It was an unusual experience to say the least. The place had grown exponentially since I was there last and they had purchased their own building, right up the street from the movie theater on the Country Club Plaza where they used to meet. Another location had been opened at the University near by as well as a location North of the River. It was packed with fresh, new happy young faces that I had never seen before but at least those in service and speaking roles were still familiar and welcoming. It was too many people, too early in the morning, but I enjoyed myself to some extent, though it didn't feel like the home it once was. We stepped outside after the service to be greeted by a blanket of thick white snow and chaos on the streets as it continued to fall, obscuring visibility and turning normal drivers into madmen. All of this on Super Bowl Sunday, mind you. I ended up trekking my way safely and slowly to my parents house and spent the day in the company of my Dad, watching his beloved Patriots lose a maddening game. All in all, a full and good day.

Work has been a mad house, as more employees have been added to the Two Towers, ground has
been broken on the next building and people keep wanting to eat every single day. I think they may have an addiction, but that is good for business. Lots of new recipes as my menu changes each week and some new faces have been added to our team in the Kitchen. Performance reviews are due this month, so I have been busy with paperwork as well, trying to determine what exactly has happened with whom this past exciting year. Has it been a year already? The calendar says it has. The great news is we have more vacation and paid time off to distribute to those who have been here a bit as well as a sizable raise for most who have put the time and effort in. Everyone gets some extra money so everyone will go home with something new and we begin this new year afresh with a world of possibilities. These self and peer examinations are never easy, per se, but they are rewarding and fulfilling for those who have gone above and beyond and that list is a long one thankfully. I work with an amazing team of dedicated, creative professionals and those Chefs who lead us continue to inspire, motivate and value all of our contributions, great and small. It truly is a place I look forward to going each day.

Family life, let's see. Dad is doing pretty well, though the winter months weigh heavy on him as he doesn't have the warm weather to work on his cars and putter in the garden. I keep telling him Spring will be here soon, but I need to stop that, because each time I encourage him, another snow storm hits so he will just have to be patient and wait it out. I have got him out to the shop several times to work on simple things on the Mustang that I gave him, so that has helped his cabin fever a bit and not a week goes by that I don't stop by and find him out working in the yard, all bundled up like a kid, determined to something, anything outside, when the sun is shining. My sister is going to Peru again for her yearly international jaunt and this time will be taking her little daughter with her. She will be traveling with friends, so that is encouraging as a brother, and will be taking some time to visit all her friends there she has made over the years. The last several have been Peru, but I know that Africa will be back in the mix soon enough. That was her destination of choice for over ten years with assorted other Latin and European countries thrown in for good measure. Having a one year old to provide and care for hasn't slowed her roll down at all. (Note: as a single mother, she adopted a newborn little girl a little over eighteen months ago and I have never seen her shine brighter and smile larger than with this amazing bundle of joy that is the newest addition to our growing family.) Mom has been combating some health problems, as she took a tumble right before the holidays. Her scrapes, bumps and bruises have healed well, but she still struggles with soreness and pain and is attending physical therapy four times a week,which has certainly helped in her mobility, frame of mind and pain management. She has been down, off and on, so I have been pitching in more with the grocery shopping, meal preparation and house cleaning to take a load off her shoulders and ease her mind. Love her to death. Brother is just busy, busy, busy with his business. Just bought a massive concrete recycling/grinding machine and is now running ten semi dump trucks full time, as well as four normal dump trucks and over ten pieces of heavy equipment. He keeps socking his earnings back into equipment, staff and expansion and business is booming. New contracts with the City came through, so I rarely get to see or hear from him, barring major holidays and the odd phone/text check in. I am so proud of him and the man that he has become. His wife and daughter are well and caught up in the crazy life of private school and the myriad of activities that catch her interest. Ballet, French, violin, Mandarin, soccer and baking is the last count I had, and I think she wanted to add piano to that list, though I let her know that I currently have no time to teach and give her lessons. I recommended a great from the Conservatory for that and hope that she might check it out and at least give it a shot. The decades I spent studying music, composition, theory and performance add so much to my life that goes so far beyond simply making music. It trains the mind and gives one another language and voice to express, so we shall see where her heart takes her. She certainly doesn't have a natural gift for the violin, I will tell you that much!

As for my, my free time lately has been spent with the various car clubs. We have had several shows,
Cars and Coffee at the Automotive Museum, as well as meeting for rally's and drives when the weather permits. We got three of the clubs together two weeks ago and hit a new burger spot that was amazing. Spent that weekend with Michael, enjoying the dogs, our cars and the company of friends and the open road. Was interesting to wake up there on a Sunday morning and spend another weekend together. So familiar, but also so different than years past. The dogs have grown and two more have been added so the couch was full as we had coffee and got ready for our day. Many good conversations and a lot of catching up to do, but the years will do that as they slip by. He is healthy and happy and for that I am grateful. Still love that guy and glad he is a part of my life again. The time apart did our friendship and lives good. We still never run out of words, smiles and laughs and the wisdom and knowledge we have both grown in with events and time serve us well to share. Good stuff.

Wow! I didn't know I had that many words in me today and I never even got around to half the stuff on my mind and what is going on with me internally, but I will save that for a bit later. Today will be full with car maintenance, doctor appointment, getting some property surveys set up and hoping to squeeze some friend time in there and coffee shop and shopping before dinner tonight with the whole family to celebrate my birthday of last month that got postponed due to life and crazy winter weather. Hope today finds you all well and rested. Wish me luck!