Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Experience Is a Great Teacher

Miki Howard’s song Love Under New Management’s first line says, “Experience is a good teacher. It takes someone like me to know.” I’ve always felt that this song spoke directly to me…or better yet, about me. You see, in my 40-some-odd years I have had quite a bit of experiences to shape me in my adult life. Recently, I’ve been called to make some pretty tough decisions that required me to delve back into that experience pool and make the decisions that were right for me and my family. Many times in life we neglect to see the importance of making the right decisions for ourselves and we forgo our good judgment to make decisions we believe will benefit someone else. I’m here to tell you that no decision you make in your best interest should ever weigh on your conscience. A mother bird will push her fledgling out of the nest to encourage its flight and as human beings we have to be prepared to make the same difficult decisions. Oh sure, that fledgling may hit the ground, but then again, nature knows this and still provides the mother bird with the instinct to push. You will never see an adult bird crowded into the nest with its parents having the bird parents still bringing it a worm. Stop facilitating bad choices, ungrateful dependents and folks who go through life insisting that somehow life has to provide for them. Yesterday, I posted a blurb about entitlement and today’s post concentrates on our role in those who feel entitled. Life is tough…heck, it isn’t a hay ride, but it does get easier the harder we try and the harder we strive to be self sufficient. Now I won’t sit here and tell you that there won’t be times when we genuinely need each other and are forced to ask for help, but more often than not we need to be reminded that you can’t become stronger and gather experience by depending on those around you to always support you each time your poor decisions land you in hot water. Experience is a good teacher; it takes someone like me to know.



Listen to Love Under New Management

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Monday, December 13, 2010

Entitlement

The belief that somehow you’re owed anything – respect, financial or emotional support, etc. – is a misconception that may leave many feeling a bit frustrated when the realization that the lives we choose and create are ours to live and oftentimes, struggle through.

As an adult you have probably discovered that the only thing you MUST do is go to the bathroom and die. That’s right, everything else is a voluntary choice – heck, the bathroom thing is a choice until the body says, I’ll take it from here! All other occurrences in our adult lives are conscious choices we make for the better or worse of the course of our lives. Early on I made some really poor choices and my life suffered because of them. Today, I try to make better choices and have found that the outcome has been much more acceptable.

Admittedly, some have come to living entitled lives after having family and friends support their ideas, their ventures and their lives without question. It isn’t until folks step back and let folks truly live their lives that the entitled recognize the good fortune that they were actually living.

Now many of you will sit and read this thinking that any good friend and family member is charged with caring for their fellow man, but the truth is that the road to good citizenship goes both ways. Karma has a way of reciprocating all things. The child that is a smart-mouthed louse is usually the grown man that gets beaten by police for doing something untoward.

Hopefully we can all take a moment to be grateful – today and always – for the many folks that brought us to where we are today and can take the initiative to live our lives with the reality that we are entitled to NOTHING. Nothing is owed to us. We must make our way; struggle to make ourselves better and be grateful for the small mercies along the way.

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Friday, December 10, 2010

Seek & Ye Shall Find

A friend shared with me that she became irate when she came across some disturbing information while perusing through her boyfriend’s mobile phone. When I asked what she was doing intruding on her boyfriend’s privacy, she stated that if there’s nothing to hide, then it really isn’t intruding. Uh…no.

THE GOLDEN RULE: Anything done in the dark will come to light; also, seek and you will find.

We are all blessed with a sense of intuitiveness that allows us to sense when something is genuinely wrong. I always advise that you trust and follow your ability to feel when something is wrong or off. That said, it is disrespectful and unnecessary to intrude on anyone’s privacy by accessing their personal mobile device, their personal belongings, etc.

I’ve come to understand that adults flirt, speak privately with and even divulge information to individuals outside of their relationship. If we read into every tidbit of information NOT intended for us, we will be on a consistent state of alert and stress. This leads to – at times – unwarranted accusations that can only stand to weaken the healthy communication in a partnership or worse even, push your partner to do something they never intended to do, since they feel they are already being accused of it.

LONG STORY SHORT: If you don’t trust your partner you should consider dismantling the relationship, since no relationship is worth living your life feeling like peril is around the corner. Your mistrust can sometimes serve as the impetus to negative behavior. Communicate openly with your partner and share when you feel a sense of insecurity. Never resort to violating someone’s privacy, since the intended result rarely leads to a positive outcome. Know that once you discover something through deceptive or intrusive means, you can rarely share the information with your partner to rectify the matter.

Like most things, if you seek, you will find. Stop looking for reasons to be dissatisfied and enjoy your partner for all the positive virtues they have. No one feels a sense of love toward an insecure nag who violates their privacy.

IN CLOSING: Love your partner and establish “deal breakers” early on. Once both partners are clear what is acceptable and unacceptable for their relationship they can make intelligent decisions as to how they conduct themselves in their relationship. At this stage in the game I am less willing to compromise, but a lot more mature about weighing what’s important in the long run.

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Monday, December 06, 2010

Your Dreams vs. What Your Parents Dream For You




It just so happens that life isn’t always what we wish for and certainly not what others wish for us. Now that I’m a parent, I’m coming to terms that what we wish for our children isn’t always what they want for themselves. Accepting that our children will choose a life all their own – along with goals, dreams and beliefs – that we may not subscribe to or even agree with is truly a revelation. After spending close to two weeks with my parents in Puerto Rico, I believe they are coming to terms with the fact that I am a gay man and that their idea of what my family would look like is not so, but it doesn’t mean that they can’t make the intelligent decision to share in my life and MY dreams by simply accepting that their dream for my life WAS theirs and not mine AND that the most important things a parent could want for their children are health, happiness and fulfillment. As I look at our son I wish so many amazing things for his life, but having my interaction with my parents as a reference, I accept that he may choose a completely different life than what his dad and I have envisioned for him.

Pursuing your dreams is as important to your survival as the air you breathe and the water you drink. Sure, you can forgo your dreams, but the consequence of doing so may be the emotional, mental and spiritual equivalent of going without air or water. Your spirit would die.

Give some thought to your dreams and forget about what everyone else has dreamed for you. This life is too short and too precious to live for someone else. I’ve found that the remarkable thing about the human spirit is that it is resilient. Your parents, siblings and friends will eventually accept that who you are and who you wish to be is so much more precious when it is genuine and filled with vibrant life; the kind of life that someone lives when they are their authentic self.

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

He Promised He'd Remember

It was years ago during one of those conversations you have when the liquor makes you laugh and you're laying in the still of the night. We were just discussing something that happened at the club that night and I had the facts all wrong...he said he'd remember. Then there was the time when we were watching an old Oprah show we recorded on tape years earlier and I got the scenes confused...he said he'd remember. The names of the men I dated, the countless times I had been in a drunken stupor, yup...he said he'd remember. The thing is I never counted on him not being around to remind me. I miss you and my memories Bobby. Now I have to remember.


Keep passin' the open windows...

- Mobile post from my iPhone

Monday, October 18, 2010

Recognize What Your “Perfect” Really Looks Like

As all the pieces in my puzzle settle into their rightful place, I’ve accepted that “perfect” or what we consider close to perfect, isn’t what we envisioned it to be. I’ve accepted a new job – one that offers me so many new possibilities – and I’m really excited about it; I have an incredible partner that is supportive, loving, faithful and caring; we have a happy and healthy child; we have the home, the car, the dog. In the eyes of many of my friends I lead the perfect life. Blessings abound and for all of them I am truly grateful. I’ve become increasingly aware that “perfect” is subjective – or better yet, “perfect” is not the rose-colored-painting that some would have us believe. Oh sure, I experience the everyday life disappointments and frustrations, but I’m referring to the reality that “perfect” sometimes means that we’ve learned to stop trying to live like the poster child for any group and we accept that which is OUR reality. Perfect is being in the now and enjoying my life – with all the flawed things that are a part of it. It is my acceptance that my home isn’t perfect, my man isn’t Superman and my child isn’t Elroy Jetson. I accept that relationships are a rollercoaster and that it has those slow climbs, those exhilarating drops and those check-the-safety belt moments. It’s silly to think that I’m going to live my life like a character out of Noah’s Arc or Queer As Folk. I’m not Noah, Brian or Michael. I’m Hector and he’s quite the character in his own right. When I look at my “perfect” life I see all the compromises, the stresses and the warm-and-fuzzy moments that make me appreciate who I am today. I take the time to take inventory of what’s wonderful in my life during moments of change and am honest where I can also stand to make some improvements. It turns out “perfect” is all about making your life what you want it to be today. It is too disappointing to think that I would sit around and worry about “perfect” and even more dreadful to believe that I live my entire life waiting for “perfect” when I had it all along.

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Friday, October 01, 2010

Christianity and the Catch 22

The Bishop Eddie Long sex scandal is on heavy rotation in the media and it has highlighted issues within the Christian community that we stand to make better through an open dialogue and a better understanding of why the Christian church – African American churches in particular – are a breeding ground for these types of scandals.

One of the issues that is at the forefront of many conversations regarding Bishop Long is the belief that he should have been honest about his predilection for homosexual encounters. Somehow, many Christians are confusing the issue of homosexuality with that of a pedophilic predator. They are not the same. A homosexual man is attracted to men (not boys) while a pedophilic predator has a desire to have sexual interaction with those who are not adults – whether a particular state considers them as such or not. They are not interchangeable or one in the same. The allegations against Bishop Long would classify him as a pedophile and not [just] a homosexual man. The gender of the victims of pedophile predators should not be the issue we focus on;. We should be outraged by the abuse of minors.

The second issue at hand in Christian churches is that we have set the stage for deception. We, in effect, have created an environment where homosexuals must operate like covert operatives to survive or avoid ridicule and shame. There is virtually no other sin – or perceived sin – in the Christian church that gets more attention, judgment and scorn, than homosexuality. A womanizer will come to the Lord, be saved and carry the cross (or temptation) and desire of sleeping with multiple women and we would see that individual as just another flawed Christian who is seeking salvation and the Lord, but when admitted homosexuals come to the Lord they are expected to be saved AND never feel the desire or temptation for what their alleged sin was. The Bible does not preach about being homosexual, the Bible speaks of man not sleeping with mankind as he does with women, which simply means that you can FEEL the urges and have that urge be your cross to bear and temptation to have until the second coming of Christ, but so long as you are victorious in your battle to refrain from sleeping with men and engaging in homosexual behavior, you are saved. Somehow, the Christian church believes that to PROVE you have been freed from the homosexual “demons’ you must now feel romantic attraction for the opposite sex and hopefully marry a woman, proving you are a changed man. A homosexual man who becomes saved appears to have the cloud of doubt surrounding his sexuality follow him until his dying day – not quite the environment a homosexual man can live down. Which brings us to the “why” so many men choose to keep the issue of their homosexuality a secret from the church, their family and unfortunately, the women they marry in the hopes of throwing off the dogs who persecute them; to be an honest, saved and struggling Christian homosexual is to wear a Scarlet letter of shame in the Christian church.

The third and most important issue is that sin is sin. God doesn’t having a hotter place in hell for homosexuals than he does for the liars of the world. No one sin is greater in the eyes of the Lord than another, so the belief that we should focus on homosexuality is ironic and sad. Certainly there are sins within the confines of our church walls – namely, predatory behavior toward our children – that merit our vigilance and prudent caution. Once we can understand that we are ALL sinners and fall short of God, we can stop the process of singling out any one sin or one sinner.

The Christian church is often faced with damaging disasters and scandals – sometimes perpetrated by those in a position of power and responsibility. We hear the voices of many in the congregation say that they wish(ed) that the alleged fallen man of God had been honest with himself and his flock to avoid the pending humiliation. The truth is that we as children of God need to be honest with ourselves first and accept that we sometimes CREATE an environment that punishes honesty and is vicious toward betrayal; A catch 22 of sorts. We want you to be honest with us and tell us what is wrong with you, but if you do we will tear you a new one.

Let’s be honest with ourselves and accept that if we want folks to tell us who they really are; what their weaknesses may be; and reveal their shortcomings, we cannot stand in judgment of them; we have to stand as Christ did and help guide them to a path of righteousness through prayer and the realization that no one walking on this earth is without sin and that no sin holds more weight than another in the eyes of our Lord.

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Monday, September 27, 2010

Truth; The Hardest Part is Telling It

The Bishop Eddie Long scandal – and make no mistake, it is a scandal – called forth our flawed trait of attempting to shift blame when faced with controversy, rather than confronting it head on and telling the truth. It seems that human nature – our pride specifically – will have us believe that our good works, our standing in the community and our perceived cover, will keep us safe from the truth. Working from the belief that ‘where there is smoke, there is fire’ Bishop Long’s future and his reputation as a man of God, hinges simply on telling the truth and how he handles the allegations in this scandal.

It doesn’t take a public relations expert or media guru to know that Bishop Long should…

1. Address the controversy head on and be clear on his stand on the issue:
When the young men came forward alleging that Bishop Long used his power as a world renowned religious leader to coerce them into having intimate sexual interaction with them, Bishop Long SHOULD HAVE come forward and emphatically (as he has done with regard to other issues that didn’t directly affect his life) deny the allegations and state clearly that he DID NOT engage in any sexual interaction with these young men and that he DID NOT in any way misrepresent his relationship as pastor with these young men. Instead, Bishop Long’s carefully crafted response to the allegations was delivered before his staunch supporters within the cocoon of his congregation and included, “I am not a perfect man, but this thing I will fight.” If that doesn’t stink to the high heavens as the precursor to, ‘Yes, I had a little homo fun, but they were adults by Georgia law and that doesn’t mean they’re entitled to any monetary damages.’ Bishop Long may be fighting the good fight with the belief that if the young men were of legal age in the state of Georgia, he is safe from prosecution and that his reputation will rebound from this, but his reputation is everything to keeping a multi million dollar religious entity like New Birth – and Long as its leader – afloat. With a flawed and hypocritical minister at the helm, New Birth’s much needed financial support would falter and die.

2. In today’s era of email messages, text messages, mobile movies and pictures, don’t play yourself thinking there is no proof:
Let’s keep it real here… today’s friends and colleagues have the potential to be tomorrow’s enemies and back stabbing climbers. In light of this, I always caution my family and friends to steer clear of communication (of any kind) that can be used later to drive a campaign to discredit or humiliate you. Most important, I caution folks to NEVER take photographs or videos that place them in compromising positions – literally or figuratively. I don’t care how much love you feel today, pictures and movies have the potential of being forwarded or found at the most inopportune times. That said, Bishop Long KNEW he forwarded pictures and email messages that were inappropriate to some of these young men. So it begs the question, why would a pastor of a 25,000 member congregation and connection to countless world leaders, act like it’s okay to email/text muscle shirt photos to the young men of his congregation? What spiritual mentoring did those pictures seek to achieve? The Bishop appears too pride-filled to recognize how damning the email, picture and text mail trail are to his reputation.

3. Illegal, immoral and unethical are three different things; as a spiritual leader, you have the responsibility to have your decisions be legally, morally and ethically righteous:
Bishop Long mentioned that he’s not a “perfect man.” The thing is, as human beings, NO ONE is. What we’re expecting from you as a pastor and leader is to be a man that makes decisions that are legally, morally and ethically righteous. Part of this means that as a leader, we expect you to have the ability to look at an issue objectively and make decisions as a leader that WE as laymen, may find difficult to come by.

Did Bishop Eddie Long indulge in homosexual behavior – the very behavior that he criticized and damned-to-hell for so many years? Was his delayed response to the accusations a means to collect himself and consult his legal experts for an ‘appropriate’ response? Would a heterosexual minister who has been tied to so many public anti-gay campaigns, wait until Sunday service to proclaim that he is, “not a perfect man…” instead of taking the bull by the horns and immediately (as he has done with hundreds of previous television appearances) state that he unequivocally, “did NOT have any kind of intimate or sexual relationship with ANYONE outside of his wife”?

This a techno-savvy pastor with extensive public relations knowledge. He is a seasoned media person who knows how a story spins and what makes for good press. His mediocre statement, coupled with his SAFE venue to deliver it, is as telling as the young men who are coming forward with their stories.

Sadly, Christianity and many folks’ belief in God will suffer because ONE man could not live his truth OR quite simply, tell the truth when exposed.

Keep passin ‘the open windows…

Monday, September 20, 2010

Know Your Place; Act Accordingly

There is a line in the Meryl Streep cult classic movie, The Devil Wears Prada, where Anne Hathaway’s character is scolded by her boyfriend when she consistently chooses her career over her relationship. As Hathaway’s character, Andrea, struggles to make a point, her telephone rings and when she chooses to answer the call, her boyfriend ends their argument by saying, “…by the way, if there’s any confusion who you’re in a relationship with, it’s the person getting their calls answered.” This is a pivotal moment in the film because it is when Andrea is forced to face who she’s become – one of the shallow creatures she alleged to loathe at the start of the film.

Sometimes we have trouble accepting our place in each other’s lives and who we’ve become to each other. While we may have been the best of college buddies, we may now have a place of priority just under your loved one’s family pet. Relationships, family, new friends and careers can change the hierarchy of those in our lives and similarly affect our position in theirs. Yesterday’s best friend is today’s long lost pal.

Rather than being disappointed by my new position in the lives of my family and friends, I simply accept that our lives change and the people in our lives rotate in and out of our lives or their hierarchy simply changes. True friends and committed family members will always find a place in our lives and if folks mean something to you, you’ll have enough sense to always make time for them.

Anytime you’re making repeated calls to family or friends without a return call, is a good time to assess your position in the individual’s life and to make the adjustments on your end to minimize your frustration and maximize the quality of your relationship with them. Finding only a couple of minutes to speak to a loved ones doesn’t minimize who they are to you, it may only mean that the relationship doesn’t require as serious a time commitment as your other relationships.

Spending precious time fretting about where you stand with the folks in your circle simply means that you have not taken the time to know your place and to act accordingly.

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Friday, September 17, 2010

Cocoa Cure; September 17, 2010

  • Relationships are what you make them. Mutually create the parameters for your intimate relationships with your partner and don't attempt to conform to the mold set by other people's relationships.

  • An update on the August 2011 Cocoa Cruise

  • Happy birthday to Chris and Kas.

video

Monday, September 13, 2010

The VMAs; Are YOU Still Relevant?

Just when you thought you were still hip and current, the VMAs come along and remind you that you need a hip replacement. From the outrageous get-up of our minister of retro-futuristic, Lady Gaga, the self described leader of her little ‘monsters,’ wore outfits that she had to apologize for before accepting each award – and she won eight. She changed from one difficult attention bullhorn gown to another, combined with matching burdening headpiece and six inch yikes before needing the help of four or five audience members to get her up the stage to pick up her moon man. Twitter was on fire with folks either loving Gaga’s ability to shock and ability to say f*ck-you to functionality, but those of us that may be reaching the age of practicality couldn’t help but think that the gimmick was not only outrageous, but making La GaG-a, a bit of an invalid.

A few other folks who caught my eye… Nicki Manj who appeared to have kidnapped Serena Williams, J-Lo and Kim Kardashian for a bride of Frankenstein ass that can only be described as out of this world. I’m an ass man, but even I had to chuckle at the cameramen scrambling to back away far enough to include her and her GARGANTUAN ass in the same frame. Note to Manaj…the rule of thumb is that if you are elbow deep each time you wipe your ass, it’s too much.

Then there was Mavis Staples from the I’ll Take You There fame back in the day….oh no wait, that was Mary J Blige. Yes, I know Mary and I are about the same age, but it’s harder for me to accept how darn old I am until I took a good look at Mary and realized that yes, we are reaching that age…AARP here I come…the kids in the audience were looking at her the way we used to look at Aretha Franklin…a back-in-the-day artist who was still doing her thing. …but you go Mary with your hollerin’ ass. We love you.

Ciara who is an Aaliyah/Maya fusion, is looking hot and finding her way into an A-list spot. She wowed the audience and looked stunning.

Taylor Swift :::sigh:::: I realize that the name Kanye West makes her cringe with embarrassment, but the truth is that he gave her more recognition than any publicist working double-time would have done for her in five years time. You would think the man beat her ass ala-Tina Turner/Ike the way folks defend this overgrown 12-year old. Her songs are a bit of a snooze and her VMA performance – outside of the intro featuring the infamous Kanye fiasco – had the equivalent effect of an Ambien with an Abilify chaser. I didn’t know if I should take a bathroom break or take a razor to my wrist. My advice to camp Taylor is that they should recruit some other rap artist to bully Taylor on the regular…maybe snatch her mic every now and again….just to spice things up again…and Taylor, we know you’re like 6 foot 6, but with those canoes, we’re going to ask that you wear shoes at all times. You really looked like a remake of the movie the 50 Foot Woman when you walked off stage last night.

This brings us to my girl Rhianna. I love her…let me start there because it’s a fair statement that I like her swagger, her music and her look – most of the time. Last night, however, she looked like an acid dropping ballerina who had been playing in mommy’s make-up and escaped out the back door of their country shack and rode 3-days on the back of a pick-up to get to the VMA stage. The fact that she dwarfed Eminem wasn’t as disturbing as when you looked at their feet and realized they were wearing matching combat boots. Rhianna…we love you…no more hanging with 19-year old Midwestern drag queens in wardrobe prior to a performance. I know…I know…the list is getting long, so let’s close this out on a high note…or ummm…a bright note

Host extraordinaire, Chelsea Handler, of Chelsea Lately fame, did an incredible job at dry, yet sobering humor. She didn’t pull any punches – even when her intended targets were sitting right in front of her. She jumped right on in – even into a hot tub with the Jersey Shore cast – and made us feel that being silly and not caring what folks say is the best way to have a great time. It takes a REAL talent to say whatever without really offending anyone and she did just that.

The VMAs are still a way for many of us who may have fallen out of the NOW to catch up on what is really going on. For folks who were offended, disgusted or plain bored, maybe you’ve officially crossed the line to the next level of life…irrelevant.

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Friday, September 10, 2010

Yes to Peace; Not So Fast to the Mosque at the 9/11 Site

Posted in response to Royce’s Excitable Bore 9/10 Blogspost

I have said time and again that the primary reason for most wars is religion and differences in folk’s belief in their God. I also agree that the United States of America is built on our ability – and really, our desire – to be free of oppression and our wish to be all inclusive and diverse. That said, I disagree with talk that the United States wasn’t established with Christian beliefs at its core. Even our Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” That creator, referred in other documents (and our currency) as God, is established as a Christian God. That said, I do believe that as a Christian nation, our intent was to show compassion for all and an open minded environment that nurtured all religions, cultures, etc. Unfortunately, the U.S. has fallen victim to the same pitfalls that other nations have struggled with for years – intolerance for other religions, cultures and orientations.

That point aside, my personal belief is that the tragedy of 9/11 was one that will live in infamy in our nation’s history forever. It was a painful reminder of our vulnerability. Like many victims, the U.S. relates all things associated with their attackers as offensive – this includes their culture, their religion, etc. In an effort to appease the masses, while holding fast to our core desire for inclusion, we should be objective. For example, although our country believes in freedom of expression, it would be painful to many Americans - African Americans in particular - if a White supremacist group set-up shop in the center of Harlem, USA with the pretext that they are trying to promote racial unity. The truth is that the historical strife between those two groups would make that arrangement a breeding ground for disaster. We can also think of religious groups that believe that being gay is a sin and how gay America would feel if religious groups chose to worship in front of their homes simply because they have the right to congregate in public spaces. Not unlike these ficticious scenarios, the mosque being touted as a place of worship for our Muslim brothers within the confines of a site that suffered the greatest loss of life on American soil from a terrorist attack, is to some, a blatant attempt to rub salt in a wound that has not healed. To date, the towers have NOT been rebuilt, human remains have been found as recently as last year and the memory of that day, just 9 years ago, is still fresh in America’s mind – especially the minds of New Yorkers. There are countless other available sites to build this house of worship on, so it begs the question as to WHY must it be built at the site of the disaster.

Our civil liberties and freedoms cannot come at the expense of any other group. Christian or Muslim, religion is intended to worship a higher power; one that encourages love, peace and maybe even a more benevolent sense of self. My hope is that the mosque would be built off the site of our nation’s worst disaster and that maybe the next generation – one that didn’t experience the horror first-hand – can converge (Christian and Muslim) and agree that peace is the only way…maybe even build ONE unified temple where all denominations worship and seek to be better human beings for their differences.

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Welcoming the Fall; Now That Summer Is Over…

The unusual high temperatures in the northeast this year have many a summer lover wishing for fall. This year, temperatures frequently topped the mid 90s and included a humidity that rivaled a greenhouse in hell. That said, there have been some realizations I’ve come to accept…like my disdain for flip flops and casual sandals in the workplace, the way they make that thwat-thwat sound and the hosts of filthy healed New Yorkers scrambling around our filthy city make my point all the more evident. I found that even when it rained – torrentially – folks found a way to wear their flip flops everywhere they went. All said, summer tends to lose a bit of luster as you get older and the hygiene-to-the-wind mentality contributes to that.

Now that summer is unofficially over, let’s review what worked and didn’t work this summer and what you can do going forward:

** Flip-flops may be appropriate for the beach, the occasional BBQ or the pool, but flip flops are NEVER okay for ANY work environment (if you work at the beach, wear the rubber soled deck shoes) As an aside, contrary to popular belief, flip-flops are NOT more comfortable than other casual or commuter shoes – actually they can become irritating in wet weather or when worn for a prolonged period of time. I do realize that heavier folks (that may rock cankles) find them more comfortable, but the look isn’t for you either.

** Clear Deodorant may be a claim that the manufacturer has made on the bottle of anti-per spirant, but after you put it on you noticed it wasn’t clear after all…so stop using it. White arm pits and circles of white or yellow under arms on shirts/blouses is just plain nasty. Additionally, if you appear to be carrying a natural cheerleading pom-pom under your arm, feel free to trim the hair (for men) down to a very fine amount of arm pit hair OR shave (for women) the hair all together. Invest in a shaver you keep in your bathtub to help keep your pits tidy. If you suffer from hair bumps under your arms you should 1) keep the hair trimmed short, but not shaved as your hair may be curling back into the follicle AND see a dermatologist to prescribe Klaron – a magnificent topical antibiotic that prevents hair bumps (infection) on your face, pits and pubes.

** White After Labor Day is never cool…forget what you heard. I have an aversion to any white shoe that ISN’T a sneaker. I’ll fess up to it. I refuse to wear any white shoes regardless of the season. That said, the fashion rule of not wearing white shoes after Labor Day and BEFORE Memorial Day is in effect – for life! Please do not rock white, off-white, egg shell, cream shoes between the unofficial close of summer and the unofficial opening of summer in May. If you want to show even a bit more class, don’t rock any skirts or pants in white between the same time period.

** If you must wear white, learn the DOs and Don’ts of white-wearing. Contrary to popular belief you SHOULD wear black undergarments under white clothing since red, blue, purple, green, etc. will clearly show through your garment – even white undergarments will be clearly identifiable under white clothing. I know that some of you may have been made to think that it is sexy to see your red lace thong under your white pants, but it’s actually trashy. We’ll discuss the difference between trashy and sexy in another blogpost.

**Know your feet…They are yours and they don’t look any better to us than they do to you when you peek down. No one can tell you to take a pumice stone to those dogs and remove dead skin or to cut and file down the talons working your socks/stockings for dear life, but if you refuse to handle your Flintstone feet, please keep them under wraps – both in socks and closed-toe shoes. No ifs, ands or buts.

** So you want to show cleavage? I get it, I get it…someone complimented the girls and now you think they need to dangle out of everything you own. Since this is an all-year issue and not just a summer one, let’s keep it simple here. Invest in ONE good fitting to determine what your REAL bra size is and spend the bucks to wear what makes the girls look amazing. Regardless how big or small they are, if they are not properly supported and just lay or sit there dangling like a meat sack pendulum, it is never cute. I mean, sure you’ll get compliments from the neighborhood or office perv, but the rest of us think it’s a darn shame that you don’t take better care of the twins.

** Laser and waxing are your friends. Yes folks this isn’t the dark ages and some of us grow hair where the rest of us don’t even have skin. That said, I will commit with my girlfriends to get waxed at least once every two months and shell out for laser treatments come this January. My suggestion (to the ladies especially) is to find a top-notch laser specialist and invest the dinero in getting certain areas done so that you’ll NEVER have to worry about hair growth again. Let’s just say, I’ll be handling a few trouble spots myself. Consider working on areas you either have lots of trouble maintaining – ie. your armpits or bikini area. It’s worth the investment. Remember that Jurassic Park was made more scary by the thought of what would come out of the foliage.

Now that we’ve covered these items let’s put the clothes back on, think things over the next 10 months and be ready for summer 2011.

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Florida Vacation 2010

It has become a most pleasant ritual - thanks to our friend Alan - to visit Kissimmee, Florida each year to close out our summer. This year we not only visited Universal Studios and the cool Harry Potter attractions, but we also shared time with family - BD's and mine. My cousins Aidita and Rene, along with their spouses hosted us for dinner and a pool party of sorts for the kiddies and meeting BD's brother was the highlight of my trip. Granted, I was nervous about making a good first impression, but hoped they could see how much BD and the Minnie mean to me. Gratefully, both visits proved that when you love someone and introduce them to those that mean the world to you, folks will appreciate what's real. A huge thank you to Alan, to our family and friends who made this trip one filled with fond memories.


Keep passin' the open windows...

- Mobile post from my iPhone

Location:Orlando, FL

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Wonder of You



Every misstep, every mistake
Every hard knock, nightmare and first take
All a dress rehearsal for your love
God’s way of insuring I would look to him above

Physical, emotional, mental bliss
The trophy at my finish line
A life-long first kiss

Celebrating anniversaries is important indeed
But without the daily reassurance of love
The flowers are just a bouquet of seeds

I’m grateful for the wonder that is you
I’m grateful for the wonderful that you’ve made my life
I’m grateful for trusting me with your heart

No one can guarantee a life free of pain or strife
But like Lexus I share the relentless pursuit of perfection
To make you the happiest man, no exception

Happy Anniversary Baby!






Keep passin' the open windows...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Learn to Be Still

Sometimes we are so intent on clearing matters up that we jump the gun on situations. As a proactive and assertive person with no fear of confrontation, I had to learn the hard way that not all battles are yours to fight and more importantly, that the issues are not always what they appear to be. Whether you are feeling challenged at work, in your relationship or with your friends, it is best to step back and listen and observe BEFORE acting on any given situation. I learned this lesson while interacting with our son, the Minnie. Early on in our relationship I was questioning whether the Minnie would accept me and in turn if he could ever care for me as I began caring for him. Once, while on a family day out and about, we were to go back to my place. BD, the Minnie and I didn’t live together at the time, so BD and the Minnie had a choice of going home or coming home with me. As we headed to the car, I saw the Minnie pouting and then he asked me, “Are we going to your house?” Defensive and disheartened that he would want to go home when I believed we were having a good time, I defensively responded, “Not to worry, I’m driving you guys to your house.” The Minnie looked at me, a crushed look on his face, and said, “I thought we were going back to your place. I thought you and I would play video games.” I felt like a complete fool. It was in the honesty and innocence of a child that I realized that I needed to assess situations before I responded to them. Not everything is as it appears and sometimes we turn the tide and convert what could be potentially happy situations, into disasters. Today I wait for confirmation of my feelings OR for the realization that sometimes my mood, insecurities or past disappointments can adversely affect the blessings that await me. Today, BD, the Minnie and I are living our happily ever after and part of that is due to my new-found ability to be still.

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Say Word; Dr. Laura and the N Word

Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a polarizing figure. She has indicated that she believes gay people are biological errors and deviant and most recently found herself in quite the predicament when she used the word “Nigger” eleven times while trying to convince an African American caller on her radio talk show that she was overly sensitive. All said, the argument Dr. Laura tried to make is by her accounts a philosophical point and she believes African Americans use the word affectionately OR in wrap lyrics and comic skits, but her stand did not quell the anger of everyone who felt she was insensitive to the caller, ignorant to the reality that the word “Nigger” has NEVER been used affectionately or received affectionately between African Americans and non-African Americans. Just minutes before her radio talk show ended that day, Dr. Laura realized the reaction her sponsors would have to this type of rant – or wait, as she puts it, she policed herself and realized that she was wrong for what she had done that day – and she issued an apology. The media storm that followed is probably the REAL reason Dr. Laura has chosen to not renew her contract after more than 17 years as a syndicated talk show host and 30 years on the radio. She says that she can no longer be a part of an environment that infringes on her 1st amendment rights. That’s funny…. Dr. Laura can call gays deviants and African Americans Niggers, but the moment someone alluded to Dr. Laura being an ignorant, sexist, racist, they were accused of tampering with her rights. Dr. Laura should sail into the sunset with the realization that more than 30 years after her career began, she is being exposed for who she really is. For the record, words created to hurt, harm, degrade, devalue or oppress any group of people are never okay to be used by anyone. To say that because artists or any other group uses those types of words somehow makes it okay for everyone to use them is absurd. Let’s stop the hatred, the ignorance and the hurtful banter and live in the now…without the focus on race, sex, sexual orientation or religion. The real way to begin protecting our rights is by respecting the rights of others.

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Monday, August 16, 2010

Decisions; They Are All Yours

It should come as no surprise that the decisions we make are ours to live-down long after the dust settles and the army of folks who weighed-in on your decisions, are gone. As I look back on the many choices I’ve made, I can say without a doubt that each of them has had a lasting effect – sometimes a lifetime effect. As I look around I’m amazed at how easily folks make life-long decisions on a whim. Buying a home, having a baby or getting married are all decisions that can be made at the drop of a hat, but are likely to be with you a lifetime. Alas, it is best to consider…

1. Can you handle the financial, emotional and physical aspects of your decision without the help of anyone else? If you need others to realize your dream, you are probably setting yourself up for failure. Your dreams are yours to enjoy and execute. Do not buy a home, entertain a marriage or have a baby, with the thought that someone will help you. Never make a decision counting on the support of others. The likelihood is that some of our dreams involve the support of others, but you will find that your decisions are most important to YOU and no one else.

2. Accept that your decisions don’t require the buy-in of family or friends to be realized. Throughout my life I have made decisions that the majority of people in my circle did not agree with me on. It is at those times that I have been forced to carefully analyze my decisions to insure that even if everyone important to me were to turn their back on me, I would be happy with my decision. Recognize that your decisions may be frowned upon by others.

3. Your family and friends don’t love you any less just because they don’t wish to live YOUR dreams. My decision to live my life as an openly gay man in a committed relationship is not one that is celebrated by all. That said, I don’t believe my family and friends love me any less for it. Accepting that all of your decisions will NOT be accepted by your friends AND that they still love you, can sometimes appear to be a contradictory concept. Learn to take responsibility for your decisions and to NOT blame others for not co-signing everything you want to do with your life.

Your life, your decisions, your dreams are yours and yours alone. No one is putting a gun to your head and forcing you to make your decisions – and if they are, call the authorities. Make decisions that you can live with and respect yourself for. Be proud of the decisions you make and others will have an easier time respecting you for them. Most important, make decisions knowing that win or lose, pass or fail, dream or disaster, they are all YOURS to live with.

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mortality and Showtime’s The Big C

Since the death of one of my best friend’s last year, mortality has been at the forefront of my thoughts. I guess his passing was a signal that I will, in fact, die. Silly right? We go through our younger years without a care in the world and then something happens – hopefully to someone else (I hate to say) – that highlights how vulnerable and fragile our lives really are. Now, I’m conscious of my mortality. I live knowing that I can become one of those anecdotal stories of the “younger” guy who toppled-over at the office from a sudden heart attack. Crazy? Probably, but tragic things do happen. Which brings me to Showtime’s The Big C with Laura Linney and Gabourey Sidibe. The show follows Cathy Jamison, a conservative and stuffy Minneapolis school teacher who receives the tragic diagnosis that she is dying of cancer. The horrific shock inspires her to live in the NOW. Showtime is hocking the first episode for free on either iTunes or click here, so be sure to check it out. The storyline is funny, but like me, you may come away with a sense that we’re putting too much emphasis on the unimportant things in our lives – our home, our possessions and what others think of us. Hopefully you’ll realize that a plate of gravy may be initially flavorful, but the lack of any real substance or nutrition will kill you. It brought me back to how I felt last May when my friend passed away…life has so many possibilities, whether you’re 15 or 50…and when you stop caring about what you own or the peripheral chatter, you can actually feel genuinely fulfilled.

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Monday, August 09, 2010

Germans, Monsters and Twins

What appears to be a title detailing a quirky version of Clash of the Titans is actually a description of my birthday weekend. My baby surprised me with a well-planned, excellently executed dinner at Peter Luger – a famous German steakhouse rated number one by Zagat Survey for 24 years in a row. A reservation is required months before a visit and judging by our meal on Saturday evening, this is certainly a reservation worth making. We dined on two painfully plentiful ‘Steak for 3’ platters and several side dishes. A special thank-you to our dinner guests – Mari Payano, Roosevelt Davis, Herbie Lebron, Nancy Torres, Maria Bonas and Tony. Dinner was all the more special shared with you guys. Following dinner my boyz Herbie and Roosevelt (Slugger) took me out on a night on the town to one of our West Village haunts – the Monster. Six hours later we were all partied-out and ready for nap time. Sunday didn’t allow for much of a reprieve from the celebratory spirit of the weekend and we joined Mari and Ani Payano for their ‘Melrose Place’ neighborhood BBQ, The late afternoon gathering melded an eclectic group of beautiful people to eat, drink and be merry in the warmest way. The twins – Mari and Ani – served up the steak, burgers and charm. We laughed so hard my sides hurt. Thank you BD and all you incredible folks who made my birthday weekend one to remember.

Keep passin ‘the open windows…

Thursday, August 05, 2010

I’m Still Standing

Throughout my life my mortality has always been at the forefront of my thoughts. When I was younger, I really believed that I would not see the age of 30. Today, as I celebrate my 41st birthday, I am grateful for the many blessings that have brought me this far. It isn’t a coincidence, a fluke, a miracle even…it is divine intervention and purpose that have brought me this far. While many of the people I ran with push up daisies, I have been chosen to remain. Today, I celebrate my parents who did a great job at raising a happy, healthy boy, my siblings who are everything a brother could wish for and the friends who became my surrogate family over the years. I am not here by chance, but by the nurturing I received from each of you. We don’t know where life will lead us, but we know that we are here today…with another opportunity to be happy and make a difference. I received a note from someone who reads my blog the other day and she is undergoing a difficult time following a break-up. To her I say, please know that each day is a gift and that some people or possessions are removed from our lives to make room for greater blessings. Your email touched me because I know where you are…the pain seems unbearable. The truth is, you will get through this and you will emerge a woman who is stronger, wiser and ready to do the right thing when the blessing that awaits you arrives. There’s a hymn that says, “I could’ve been dead down in my grave, but HE told death to step back and behave…” You are here. You are healthy. You have all the opportunity to create your happiness. Thank you for reading and thank you to everyone who makes each day another of my blessed moments here. You have made all 365 of my days of the year a time for celebration.

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Monday, August 02, 2010

Expectations

Our expectations for our own life are sometimes changed by our circumstances. This was highlighted in a dinner conversation with friends last night. It appeared that after suffering some personal setbacks, one of my friends felt that his focus should change from ‘wanting a gratifying relationship with a partner’ to settling for a complacent relationship with friends and the occasional passing ‘good time’. To be clear, I have no judgments with regard to how folks meet and the nature of their relationships, but was somewhat disappointed to think that someone with so much to offer had relegated themselves to a life behind a figurative wall – protected from the pains and disappointments that can arise from relationships that fail to satisfy or fulfill us. When I tried to interject that there is NO age where love and its entanglements cease to be an option, they interjected that their life’s circumstances had made it clear that they would never receive the love they so willingly share with their partners. Admittedly, I once was where my friend is. It’s a place of despair and disillusion; when we have shared of ourselves only to have that love taken for granted and mishandled. The opening theme song to the sitcom Alice has a line that says, “I’m going through the world with blinders on, it’s hard to see…” My truth is that my expectations cannot be trumped or stifled by my circumstances. Had I closed myself off from the world and relegated my future interactions to mere friends and casual trysts, I may have missed out on the most amazing man I’ve met to date – BD. …but alas, this isn’t about me. It’s about my friend. You see, your expectations of life shouldn’t be side-tracked, but enhanced by your circumstances. I can now see that my previous relationships served as the sandpaper to smooth-out my rough edges and make me a more experienced and realistic partner to my soul mate. Life’s circumstances can be hard and suffering a broken heart at the hands of folk’s too irresponsible to treat our hearts and souls with respect can render us numb to the reality that we are NEVER too old to meet the partner of our dreams and that our expectations are realized when we are active participants in seeing possibility in all of our interactions. I’m not a subscriber to losing hope or permanently changing my expectations to fit a temporary setback. My expectation is that my friends will work through their pain to see that there is a lid for every pot and their expectations for a reciprocal and loving relationship is always on the foreseeable horizon.

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

He May Not Be There When You Want Him

There’s a church hymn that says, “He may not be there when you want him, but he’s always there on time,” referring to my God’s undying mercy and faithful presence in my life. You’ll notice that I never refer to him as THE GOD or make general statements to force him into your life? That’s right folks, I am at that stage in my relationship with God where I trust him to do what’s right in my life without feeling the need to impose him on yours. My belief in God doesn’t require you to buy into my faith. The remarkable thing about living with God in your life without feeling the need to jam him down people’s throat is that if he’s real to you and he is blessing you, the result (the outcome) will be testimony enough to all those around you. Recently there was an issue in my family that we put to God…’do something soon and we accept that what you do will be your will’, we said. Well, at what seemed the final hour and I’m sure at the right time, the Lord came through. Not only was his blessing good, it was better than we had asked. I have to admit that there was that very dark period before the blessing when I thought to myself, ‘what is really going on Lord?’ The truth is we don’t know what is in the works for our lives. We have a hard time accepting that some hardships come to reinforce our faith AND to help us grow. I think I’ve always believed that, but the Lord deemed it necessary to teach me and my loved ones that we can do all thing in HIS time. Not all prayers are answered the way we have begged to have them answered and there are things in our future that must happen a certain way to make room or way for something else. It’s hard having blind faith…the kind of faith that says, “Lord I want you here now…” only to hear silence. Just know that he may not be there when YOU want him, but he’s ALWAYS there on time.

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Rare Benefits of Homophobia

Some would argue that being denied the right to give life-saving blood donations to their local chapter of the Red Cross or marrying anywhere in the U.S. are infringing on their ability to live normal lives. To those gay men and women, I am very sorry that you feel this way. Personally, I have embraced some of the homophobia and can now recognize the benefits offered by it.

Blood Donation: Any man who has had sex with other men since 1977 cannot donate blood. This FDA regulation was set forth in response to the AIDS crisis. Gay men are in a high risk group for HIV and hepatitis. Now, when someone in my office asks me to donate blood – regardless how diligent the campaign – I simply refer to the homophobic regulation still in place, “The FDA doesn’t accept blood donation from gay men, so I’m exempt.”

Gays in the Military: The restriction that prohibits gay men and lesbians from serving in the U.S. military says that “it would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability.” I don’t really get it, but I get that I don’t have to serve in the U.S. military and that’s great with me. If our country can be one of the last Western civilizations to ignorantly ban homosexuals from military service, then I say gay men and women should appreciate our men and women who keep us safe everyday and just keep it moving. You can’t imagine how many would allege to be homosexual if we institute a draft.

Marriage Equality: I am a supporter of marriage equality and cannot understand how someone who is NOT gay would care if gay men and women were married. I believe, as comedian Wanda Sykes mentioned in her act, that the greatest threat to marriage is DIVORCE. That said, I don’t require the approval of mainstream America to validate my long-term relationship and don’t need Middle America to give my partner, my son and I permission to be a family. No piece of paper will bring us together, tear us apart or keep us together should we want to bounce. As ignorant an opposition as there was to marriages between individuals of different races in our nation’s past, we will look back and see how ignorant this issue is. If you’re NOT gay, why do you care if two consenting adults tie the knot?

Get Educated or Shut Up: Sherri Shepherd, a co-anchor on the popular daytime show The View highlighted the need for real education regarding the spread of HIV. She ignorantly declared that the rise of HIV infection in black women could be attributed to the large number of down low black men. Black women are NOT disproportionately affected and infected by the high number of down low gay and bisexual men of color. The Centers for Disease Control have dispelled that rumor, but it is ignorance like Sherri’s – who also believe (d) that the world is flat – that is remembered and shared. Let’s share the truth. First, you should treat EVERYONE you have sex with as though they are HIV positive. Second, get tested at least every other physical examination. Stop looking for a group to blame and educate on how to protect everyone.

Look, I don’t care for being discriminated against and I absolutely detest homophobia, but I accept that neither will go away in my lifetime, so while these issues are toggled back-and-forth I’ll look to turn lemons into lemonade. Hey, I don’t like either, but at least I can stomach the latter.

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Shutting the F*ck Up; The General McChrystal Story

We’ve all done it…spoken out of turn. Whether it was to our parents, our teachers or our bosses, at one time or another we’ve stepped out of line and said something – anything – at the wrong time or worse even, to the wrong person. General Stanley Allen McChrystal is the highest ranking soldier in Afghanistan (the Commander, International Security Assistance Force [ISAF] and Commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan, to be exact). In the Runaway General, an article to appear in the June 25th edition of Rolling Stone magazine, Gen McChrystal mouths off to the reporter about his feelings about his commander-in-chief, President Obama, calling a French dinner they attended to recruit support from our NATO allies, “fucking gay.” He doesn’t mince his words…talk about going rogue. What struck me as odd was that a man who prides himself as a loyal soldier type could disrespect the leader of the free world and his boss by speaking ill of him – to a reporter no less. I questioned whether McChrystal chanced it because Obama was new to the game or because he’s dealing with our first Black President; the reasoning is moot. The utter ignorance of his comments will likely cost him his job – and there was more to the article than just the French diplomat dinner comments; this fool berated the Vice President and other high ranking officials. Which brings us back to the real issue…learning when to shut the f*ck up. Why the expletive you ask? It’s necessary to use the expletive to highlight the sheer curt need to be silent in the midst of adversity, discord, disagreement or dissent. You don’t have to agree with your parents, your teachers or your bosses, but you need to respect the position. Know when it’s a good time to hold your tongue. It isn’t a sign of weakness…it isn’t a show of cowardice. As we mature we can ascertain a situation, draw our conclusions and hold the conclusions for the appropriate venue or stage. Whether you’re right or wrong is not important, but WHEN and to WHOM you choose to run your mouth can make the difference between having folks admire your stoic patience and wisdom and standing disgraced and defeated on the unemployment line.

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Years Don’t Matter; It’s How the Love Grows

Relationships are a funny thing; some folks will tell you that if you don’t have love at first sight, it’s not going to work, while others will tell you that love is a slow boil that starts slows, heats up then bubbles over. The truth is that no one really knows the dynamics of love and what works for one couple may not work for another. What’s definitely a sure-fire thing is that no two relationships are exactly alike. That said, I was a bit shaken by the announcement a few weeks ago that Al and Tipper Gore were separating after 40 years of marriage. I kept wondering what went so bad – 40 years later – that required a split. I asked the same question…was there infidelity? Had they grown apart? It’s at times like these that those of us in relationships examine our own foundation. The story of BD and I is one that can be traced back through my blog to the present day. I actually planned my diary like postings about BD on my blog that way, so that I could read back and never forget anything about my feelings for him…then or now. What I’ve understood as true and real in relationships is that the years together don’t matter, it’s really about how the love grows, how its nurtured and do we respect it enough to do the right thing at all times with regard to the one we love. So what does this really mean? It means that love requires compromise. It also requires a great deal of patience. Love also requires self-control. Love begs participants to look beyond themselves and not allow their pride to govern the situation. As someone who has always been in control, prideful and selfish, love allowed me to grow beyond those traits so that I could receive so much more. Love doesn’t mean you’re a punk – it means that you allow others to also shine in spite of you. One thing is for certain, NOTHING is forever. Whether it be death, uneven growth, different goals, etc. relationships will end. When you get that out of the way early on and accept that fact you can appreciate the person fully…today…for all of their assets and flaws and give your all thereby helping your relationship have a leg to stand on and a means to weather the storms. Now you can boast about how long you’ve been with your partner/spouse, but the truth remains that if you’re not aware of how your love is growing, changing and being nurtured, you risk the same fate Al and Tipper’s relationship met…a tragic end.


Keep passin' the open windows...

Monday, June 21, 2010

$50 Deposit for Cocoa Cruise Due Friday, 6/25

Call 866-773-4563 to book your cruise. Our group name is: COCOA CRUISE
It’s official folks…we are definitely making the Carnival Valor, August 7, 2011 cruise a reality. We are inviting all family and friends – this means your family and friends as well – to join us for a diverse and fun-filled 7-day cruise through the Western Caribbean. As mentioned below, you have over a year to pay off this dream vacation – and at the already-low cost – a monthly payment would fit your budget and make realizing this dream a snap.

Please take a look at the info below and feel free to look at the tour of the Carnival Valor (link attached).

I look forward to having you be a part of this friends and family trip of a lifetime!

* PLEASE FEEL FREE TO FORWARD THIS MESSAGE TO YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY *


Call 866-773-4563 to book your cruise. Our group name is: COCOA CRUISE

Our August 7, 2011, Cocoa Cruise, aboard the Carnival Valor is finally available to you. Departing from Miami, FL, the Carnival Valor’s seven day cruise will take us to Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; Roatan Island, Honduras; Belize City, Belize; and Cozumel, Mexico before returning to Miami.

I took this cruise a couple of years ago and was amazed by the breathtaking beauty offered by each of the stops. Having an entire day to spend at each destination, without the worry of hotel rooms or issues with local meals, makes this vacation a real deal. The food on the ship is top quality and continuous. You will be served breakfast, lunch and dinner. Only alcoholic beverages are billed at an additional charge. There are nightclubs, spas and shopping on the cruise ship and plenty of activities to keep you busy while on board. In addition, on the nights when you want to party, there is available childcare so your child will have fun with the kids, while you club-it-up with the grown folks.

This is intended to be a family/friends vacation. Please feel free to share this invite with your family and friends.

The Available Cabin Inventory & Pricing Structure is As Follows:

Number of Cabins Held Cabin Type Cabin Category Number of people in cabin Rate per person...


16 Interior 4B 2 $820.32
14 Interior 4C 2 $830.32
20 Ocean View 6B 2 $930.32
16 Balcony 8B 2 $1080.32

PAYMENT METHODS: Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover Only (No checks or Money Orders are accepted for payment.)

Call 866-773-4563 to book your cruise. Our group name is: COCOA CRUISE

Payment guidelines:
Initial Deposit $50.00 June 25, 2010
Second Deposit $200.00 February 4, 2011
Final Payment Balance due May 13, 2011

PAY SMART; PAY A SMALL AMOUNT EACH MONTH TO GET YOUR BALANCE PAID AT YOUR OWN PACE.
YOUR COMPLETE BALANCE MUST BE PAID BY MAY 13, 2011 – A YEAR FROM NOW!

*Cabins are held as double occupancy but can be converted to triples and quads based on availability. Once the present cabin inventory is exhausted, more cabins can be added to our group as needed.

Once 8 cabins are booked to our group, each cabin will receive a $75.00 on board credit.
Our itinerary is as follows:
**Please click on the destinations in our itinerary for detailed info on each location

Sunday: Miami, Florida; 4pm departure
Monday: A day at sea
Tuesday: Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; 7am-4pm
Wednesday: Roatan Island, Honduras; 11am-6pm
Thursday: Belize City, Belize; 8am-5pm
Friday: Cozumel, Mexico; 8am-5pm
Saturday: A day at sea
Sunday: Miami, Florida; 8am arrival

Call 866-773-4563 to book your cruise. Our group name is: COCOA CRUISE

PLEASE NOTE:

Room assignments, triple and quad occupancy rates and availability cannot be guaranteed until full deposit is applied to reservation.

Balance due date is date that full payment is due and also when penalties begin.
After initial deposit is paid; passengers are welcome to call in intermittent payments as often as they would like.

Please visit www.travel.state.gov for the most up to date information on passport requirements.

Rates are per person based on double occupancy; 3rd/4th passenger rates apply to passengers traveling in same cabin.

Carnival Cruise Line reserves the right to reinstate the fuel surcharge for all guests up to $9 per guest, per day, if the NYMEX oil price exceeds $70 per barrel.

Room assignments, 3rd and 4th occupancy rates and availability cannot be guaranteed until full deposit is applied to reservation.

Rates are not guaranteed until under full deposit, and are subject to change and availability.

Call 866-773-4563 to book your cruise. Our group name is: COCOA CRUISE
Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail

Thursday, June 17, 2010

REVIEW: Dancing With the Devil by Taylor Siluwé

Taylor Siluwe's Dancing With the Devil takes readers on a journey through a dark, raw, yet realistic account of passion and pain as he explores the collision between lust and common sense. The protagonists feel picked from a familiar urban corner in America and each story is woven with enough detail to paint the clearest picture. If you’re in the market for a sizzling summer read, Dancing won’t disappoint. While many books in this genre are poorly written or edited, Siluwe’s short stories are crafted with expert precision and amazing detail. Turning the last page will feel like breaking up with your first love…you won’t want it to be over.

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Monday, June 07, 2010

Some Things Need Not Be Discussed

Have you ever walked up to your mom and asked her if she remembers where and how she got pregnant with you? Have you ever cornered your dad and asked him if he remembers the first time he slept with your mom? Have you ever sat your parents down and asked them what their favorite sexual position is? All of these questions seem absurd to ask our parents (or they should seem absurd) and more important, they have no relevance to your relationship with your parents. It is in this same vein that I tell my fellow God fearing-God loving homosexual brethren to stop trying to explain why you’re homosexual or what homosexuals do in bed to folks who have NO need to know these things. As a group, homosexuals are sometimes asked questions that are inappropriate, but worse even, is when they volunteer information in an effort to have others understand where their mindset is. A recent article I read regarding exorcising the demons from homosexuals brought to the forefront the relationship I share with my parents. More than twenty five years ago I came out of the proverbial closet and declared that I was homosexual. Since then it has been a rocky road to foster and maintain a relationship with my Pentecostal parents, but one thing has rung true – I refuse to run back into that closet or to trivialize my life to make them feel better about their religious beliefs. This may seem like a difficult thing to say, but I am not seeking the approval of my parents, my siblings, my friends or any religious sect. I am a homosexual man and they may be heterosexuals men/women and for all intents and purposes we can enjoy each other as family and friends and enjoy what we offer each other OR we can simply withdraw from each other’s life. Sounds simplistic? Well, you will find that when someone really loves you they are willing to put their beliefs aside to share in your life. I don’t necessarily agree with everything my heterosexual loved ones do, but I love them in spite of it. Basically, that’s all I ask. Love me for ME – the real me – and leave matters that need not be discussed alone. I’m happy to say that once I practiced that relationship method with my loved ones all else fell in to place. Life is too short to be spent trying to change people’s mind about who we are or worse, trying to reconcile that with who they’d like us to be.

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

5 More?!

My parents returned to Puerto Rico and I gave myself yet another week off from the gym and my new Take-human-bites program. I returned to the gym yesterday. Like most people, I know my own body and can feel the extra layer of cushion presently enveloping me…from both ends! After a strenuous workout (and feeling everything jiggle like a bowl of Jello sitting atop a blender) I lumbered my ass over to the gym scale to see where my starting point now is….the drum roll was more like a deafening civil war cannon….186 lbs! How in God’s precious mercy, did I pile all of this on to my 5’7” frame?! Okay…the truth, they say, will set me free. I’ve uttered the truth. I’ve accepted my responsibility for where I am physically and I now will do something about it. Stand clear…there’s nothing to see here.

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Walking Out On Your Life

Consider that approximately one million people commit suicide every year worldwide – 30,000 of those right here in the good ‘ole U.S. of A. So the concept of walking out on your life may actually be the healthier alternative – well, at the very least, one that offers fixes along the way. When I was younger I always considered walking out on my life and I often did escape some dire situation I felt I couldn’t conquer. At 40 the prospect of walking out on my life is slim, but the reasons why I would are there…and a reality that I can do something about.

** Recognize What You Are Really Seeking
I sometimes think that I want to pack a week’s worth of clothes and just hit the road. Keep driving, hitting different towns and meeting different people. When these thoughts flood me I can now interpret what my unconscious is trying to tell me….namely, that I feel trapped and seek newness and/or adventure. The problem is we’ve allowed movies and books to create a fantasy that we will not encounter if we work on impulse and hit the road. I now recognize that I need to visit the gym more often, take on a new hobby or make time to hang with friends. Sometimes, reconnecting with old friends can calm the feeling overwhelmed OR that you have lost yourself. The truth is your life is happy overall and making erratic changes will simply serve to undermine the hard work that got you this far.

** It’s Hard to See Perfect When It’s Always There
Defining perfect can be tricky and some of us associate money, property and the like as glimpses into perfection. The truth is there isn’t a rich person in the world that can attribute their happiness to their wealth – actually, the majority of them would tell you the opposite. Recognize what is perfect about your life today and roll with it. Your health is nothing to sneeze about; your family and friend network isn’t a give-in either. Appreciate what is working and stop highlighting the negative

** Take a Trip; Preferably Alone
If thoughts of running away from your life overwhelm you, take a nice trip - preferably by yourself and settle into the short-term notion of how you feel when separated from everyone you love. Are you having a blast in some remote state with no network of friends? It’s easy to see if the grass is greener by just taking off your shoes, climbing the fence and walking on it.

** A Problem Is Never As Permanent As a Solution
It’s a classic line in the movie Torch Song Trilogy (a movie I recommend everyone watches). The main character’s mother advises, “A problem is never as permanent as a solution,” and the obvious is clear that while problems seem hard to overcome at the time, they are there to teach you about life, toughen you up and take you to your next stage of development. A problem has a beginning and an end. Oh sure, it doesn’t seem like it at the time, but like mankind, problems are finite; they have a beginning and an end. A solution, however, can be permanent. Look at your life and recognize that what you deem as solutions can very well haunt you forever.

It’s not rocket science…it’s life. Sometimes, we feel like we’re on cloud 9 and sometimes we think the universe is conspiring against us. Ultimately, we have to realize that each phase of our life is temporary…you aren’t a teen forever and your twenties will soon be met by the responsibilities of your 30s. Once you feel like the dust is settling, you see that 40 is upon you and as you’re telling folks that you are now comfortable with who you are 50 comes along to remind you that time marches on. You tell everyone that 50 is a vibrant awakening and as you wait for folks to buy-into the notion, you hit 60. The beauty of it all is that you’re here….you can tell about it. Navigating every stage in your life.

Walking out on your life may never have crossed your mind OR maybe it crosses your mind every day. Whether you are physically contemplating it or figuratively do it by not caring for yourself or the things that grace your life every day, you’re still missing out on all that is there for you to be a part of.

Keep passin ‘the open windows…

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Survival 101

I was astounded to see the same cashier at my corporate cafeteria attempt to tap my credit card on the “blink” reader when I’ve told her each morning for the past three months that my card’s “blink” feature is inactive. Like clockwork, I hand her my credit card (instead of tapping it on the reader like every other tap customer) and she attempts to tap my card on the reader herself before finally swiping the card on her register. Oh sure, I can make a big scene and yell, “The reason I’m handing you my card and not tapping it myself is because the “blink” feature does NOT work,” but that would be jarring for her and probably make me feel like a bully. This morning, however, I thought about what this scene would play like back a few 100 years ago when memorization was key to our survival. All to say, this would be the young lady that doesn’t grasp the concept to take off running when other folks are running in a panic evading a predator. This young lady would be the one to continue picking berries from the forest ground before being mauled by a predator.

The skills of our ancestors weren’t so outlandish. They were established and learned to help them survive – feed, evade predators and live. Today, we should teach our children, our siblings or our friends the basic survival skills that will keep them alive. Not everyone is destined to be a lawyer or a doctor, but most healthy human beings should have a sense of self preservation. Everyone should learn that pride cannot overpower preservation. Work to eat…whether you need to flip burgers or flip insurance cases; the choice of how much education you get and whether you want to work harder at the front end or the back end is yours. Choose a partner that compliments your lifestyle and genuinely cares about your well being. Do not become attached to things that can be made, earned or replaced. Know that your very existence is the only proof that you are suppose to be here and that you have another chance at surviving.

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Originality Is Priceless

I guess it's a way to encourage yourself or maybe you think you look profound to others, but can you ease up with the 'status updates' on Facebook and Twitter that are merely plagaristic cliches. Let me clarify it for you, if you didn't think of your profound ascertion yourself and you didn't initially write said 'deep' observation down first, you are merely quoting OR worse plagarising when you don't attribute this morsel of wisdom to its original source. Be yourself...give us your heartfelt thoughts and let folks like Maya Angelou stand on their own iconic pedestal. I know you have the best intentions, but remember that it is always the original that is priceless; copies and replicas are usually rolled up to be sold a dime-a-dozen at amusement parks.

Keep passin' the open windows...

- Mobile post from my iPhone

Location:New York, NY

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Evil Will See Itself and It Will Die

It was in 1988’s 4th installment of the cult classic Nightmare on Elm Street movie that Freddy is forced to face himself in a mirror before exploding and freeing the bevy of souls he amassed during his killing spree. “Evil will see itself and it will die,” the young woman screamed. For some reason that line was burned into my memory (no pun intended). I associate that line to my ability to release some negative traits that are unbecoming, unattractive or plain bad for my being. I’ve had the opportunity to share TWO WEEKS with my parents and as they prepare to head home to Puerto Rico tomorrow, I recognize that I have picked up character traits from them – whether by nature or nurture – some of which I’ve used the Nightmare on Elm Street proverbial mirror to extinguish in my own life.

The short list:

** Own Your Dysfunction: stop trying to pin your rules on your partner, your family and your friends. Announce that YOU don’t care for something and stick to it. Folks should know that YOU like or don’t like something; they shouldn’t be forced to think that you are relaying a message for others.

**Respect People’s Boundaries: Whether my boundaries consist of my house rules or the way you communicate with me, respect what I tell you. Remember the Maya Angelou quote, “When people tell you who they are, believe them…” Trust and believe me, I mean it.

**Lo Que Es Obvio No Se Pregunta: This is one of my favorites of all…directly translated, it says that ‘You shouldn’t ask about that which is obvious’. If your friend looks gay, he very will could be…don’t ask. Stop being a darn nosey kid and accept that sometimes the obvious is the obvious and reserve your important questions for when they are appropriate…like, “Doctor, how much time do I really have left?”

All said, I can’t control my parents…shoot, I can barely control myself, but I do know that when I see negative traits in others that are a reflections of my own, I have an opportunity to release mine. Evil will see itself and it will die. Let your evil die folks!

Keep passin’ the open windows…