Monday, December 31, 2012

The Folks We Leave In 2012

Oh sure, those of you who live for the drama and crazy that is toxic people in your lives thought this post was about leaving the negative people in your life in 2012, but this post is all positive. It's about the painful and real loss of the loved ones who left the land of the living in 2012. They shared our lives and left us with such heartwarming memories that we thought we wouldn't survive their departure. As we move to 2013 it's important that we take everything about them with us because they continue to live within us. We will push through the upcoming challenges and we'll celebrate those incredible wins with them in our hearts. When you think life is getting rough, think of them and how you have one more day than they did to make it all better. There's no problem as permanent as a solution and those we lost in 2012 live on in our ability to make every tomorrow see the new opportunities as one more chance to do something wonderful because they are our push to be fearless. So lets pay the utmost respect to those we lost in 2012
by living life to the fullest and being authentic. Life really does go on...and the best way to show you love and remember the folks we lost is by absorbing everything wonderful about them and making an amazing you. Happy 2013.

- Keep passin' the open windows...

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Another Year Over

As we get older we realize how quickly each year slips by and how precious each moment really is. This year I was blessed with so much and I was also reminded that good or bad, all things work according to a higher plan. If it wasn't so pitiful it would be funny how we mope and complain around only to see or hear of a tragedy that reminds us how truly great our lives really are.

In 2013 I'd like to make a difference in my own live healthier, to care more and to live more fully. No one ever laid in their death bed wishing they had spent more time at work. That said, I give thanks for 2012...for all the wows and the awwws.

- Keep passin' the open windows...

Location:New York

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Do we really know the history behind the Thanksgiving holiday? More important, do we care? I guess what I'm trying to say is that today's thanksgiving celebration should at least include our remembrance of all that we should be grateful for and not just those material possessions and accessories that are really nice, but don't define who we are. Look around you to those folks who consistently support you, the truly irreplaceable things like your health, the love of your family and friends...those are the things to be thankful for. Who knows...maybe we can let a bit of that gratitude bleed over to the rest of the year.

- Keep passin' the open windows...

Location:New York

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Funny How Time Flies

Funny how time flies... It has been seven months since we moved into our new home. Believe it or not, we're still adjusting to our over-one-hour commute and taking care of more house and the property around it. All said, we couldn't be happier. The home and the life we're living are blessings that we're grateful for and conscious of. When we moved in folks mentioned that we should give the house some time before tackling big projects, since our priorities would change. The real priorities haven't changed, but our order of taking them on has. Since moving in we've changed our foyer area a bit, but are waiting before making a decision on curtains and blinds - both of which will have an enormous impact on making our first floor look a lot more updated. On a whole other 'time flies' note is the realization that Buster is now showing serious signs of aging. Deafness, blindness and a stiffer gate are now his regular afflictions, but he has earned his turn to be cared for and I'm here to do it. Love my Bus-Bus.

- Keep passin' the open windows.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Maturity, Apathy and the Realization That You Can Ignore Ignorance

Some of my close friends and family members get a bit rattled when I start a sentence with, “I’m an old man, so…,” but the reality is that I not only look older, I feel older. The svelte and trim body I moaned about as out-of-shape, is now REALLY the nightmare I once dreaded. I guess when I’m finally fed up with saying it, I’ll actually do something about it. In the meantime, I’ve matured enough emotionally and mentally to be a confident and comfortable man in spite of it. A comment that would have normally sent me off the deep end, today barely registers as a drop in my ocean of experiences. Case in point, while picking up lunch in our staff cafeteria moments ago, one of our servers – and may I say that our caf staff loves us and gives us the utmost respect – mentioned that Ricky Martin was a heathen and was going to burn in hell. When my coworker Nancy caught what the caf guy was eluding to, she interjected to say that everyone was a sinner and fell short of God…he continued to rattle on about Ricky’s disgusting and sinful ways. I could only smile. Finally, I turned to him and said, “Evangelist Miguel, would you give me more gravy please.” He smiled and seemed thrown off his rant, not mentioning another word of it. As I returned to my desk with Nancy, I said to her that an odd thing had begun happening in my life. I no longer felt the need to defend or fight certain people over certain things. In particular, I don’t feel the need to explain and defend the gay issue. I am a gay man; the Lord is aware of it; he continues to bless me; you’re an, alleged, devout Christian; you’re consistently angry and confrontational; your life is crumbling around you; Enough said. Sometimes, if you allow ignorance to speak freely, it will hear itself. This isn’t to say that I won’t tell you that I support marriage equality and equal rights for all – White, Black, Gay or Straight – but it does mean that I’m not dedicating any energy to explaining and justifying my blessed life to someone who isn’t worthy of my expending any energy on them and their ignorant musings. Life is too short folks. Dedicate your time to the people and things that truly matter. Let us remember that wise, old saying, “Opinions are like assholes; everyone has one.”

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Monday, April 09, 2012

Angela Corey and God

Angela Corey is the State Attorney in Florida’s Fourth Judicial Circuit Court and the person charged with handling the Trayvon Martin case. A Republican, Episcopalian woman born in Florida, Corey is no stranger to controversial court cases. Presently, she’s overseeing the case of 12-year old Cristian Fernandez who stands accused of killing his two-year old brother. Our diligent Ms. Corey managed to land a grand jury indictment of young Fernandez and is even pushing to have the 12-year old tried as an adult….sigh….I really do hope that her handling of Trayvon’s case shows a bit more prudent judgment than the Fernandez case. Today Corey announced she will not take Trayvon’s murder before a grand jury – in her defense, Florida law only requires that 1st degree murder cases be brought to a grand jury in Florida. Trayvon’s murder was scheduled to be reviewed by a grand jury tomorrow. Now the decision on whether to bring charges against George Zimmerman – the man who shot and killed the unarmed Martin – rests solely on Angela Corey. Angela Corey and God… the supreme power over guilt or innocence.

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Details Are Background Noise; Trayvon Was Murdered

The case of Trayvon Martin has shaken many of us to our core and for some, the case is slightly more personal because it highlighted a dark secret America has long held….a secret that seemed taboo to speak about and politically incorrect to address – America fears young men of color.

Many would say that myths and legends have a start in truth. A volcano erupts and the villagers begin a rumor-turned-myth that an angry God lives in the mountain. There are a million different stories that can substantiate some stereotypes-turned-myths-turned irrational fears. Sadly, some have turned these irrational fears into a terrifying reality that will have some folks justifying killing a man of color simply for being present; somehow our mere presence sends-up a red flag for some; for some, men of color trigger a fight or flight response.

As a man of color I’m perplexed by the reaction some folks may have to me. I’ve seen [first-hand] as some women move their purse to the opposite side of where I’m standing; I’ve been privy to the young white man who gets off the elevator before it leaves the lobby so we’re not sharing the ride.

America can now have the conversation that starts with, “…there is good and bad in all men.” Rather than elaborate further, I’d urge everyone to take a look at who you’re pre-judging and to make a conscious effort to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Now I’m not saying that you should turn-off your God-given fight/flight response to danger (if you feel it, do something about it) but that something should more than likely be run and avoid danger, rather than run to meet it head-on.

Ultimately, Trayvon Martin was murdered in cold blood on a street in Florida. Whether he was a clean-cut kid or a homicidal maniac doesn’t matter. The truth is that George Zimmerman was instructed by the 9-1-1 operator to remain in his vehicle and to NOT pursue Trayvon. He chose to ignore that order. Did Trayvon strike George first? The answer is irrelevant. I would hope that my son would fight for his life if a stranger confronted him on the street baring a weapon

Was Trayvon a good kid? Is George a racist? Was Trayvon looking for trouble that night? Did George see something really suspicious? Who struck out first? ALL of these questions and their respective answers are moot; You see, sometimes the details of a story are just background noise. Trayvon is dead. Murdered at the hands of a man instructed to stay in his vehicle; shot to death by a weapon totting neighborhood watch vigilante.

Keep passin' the open windows...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Me, My Partner, My Son & Trayvon Martin

After hundreds – maybe thousands – of investigative reports, studies and even personal experiences, America is finally coming to terms with our not-so-covert-racism issue and our irrational fear of men of color. Whether the fear is real or imagined is less relevant than why anyone would have a fear of a segment of the population based strictly on their gender and/or color of their skin.

Today, Trayvon Martin, 17, lies dead. His killer, George Zimmerman called 9-1-1 to report that he was witnessing a suspicious man walking through the neighborhood. The man he was referring to was Trayvon. In Trayvon’s possession at the time of death, were a bag of skittles and an iced tea – hardly weapons of mass destruction or a hold-up even. Before killing Trayvon, police asked Zimmerman to remain in his vehicle and not to pursue the young man, but he disregarded their orders, trailed the young man, confronted him and then shot him – in what Zimmerman alleges was self defense.

When I first heard the story of Trayvon I thought that more information would surface that would show why Zimmerman was forced to shoot and kill him. That information never came. Instead, I was treated to a horrific barrage of audio and eyewitness accounts of an innocent teenager who returning from a trip to the store was followed, cornered and murdered by a strange man – one he clearly feared based on his cries for help heard by eyewitnesses before the fatal shots were fired.

Sure, Trayvon isn’t related to us directly, but as a man of color, I am Trayvon. My son is Trayvon. My partner is Trayvon. Why would my wearing a hoodie be suspicious to anyone, if the same hoodie would not be seen as suspicious on a Caucasian man?

Trayvon’s senseless murder is getting the attention it deserves. I am disgusted with the police department and justice department handling the case in Florida. Most of all, I grieve with the parents of Trayvon who have to watch their son’s killer walk free; still in possession of the weapon that killed their child.

I don’t subscribe to vigilante justice, but I do believe in karma as life’s equalizer. You may think it a whimsical wish to think that George Zimmerman will have to pay – in his lifetime – for the cowardly murder of Trayvon, but I know it to be true. Whether he burns in hell is between George and his creator, but before he ever gets there, he will settle the score for Trayvon right here.

Sign the petitions asking for justice for Trayvon that are circulating around the web and contact your legislators. It’s fine to complain, mope and groan to your family and friends, but let your voice be heard by those who have the power to affect change. Do it for all the Trayvons – including myself – who walk the streets innocently, but because of the color of our skin, we are somehow a threat…suspicious…requiring lethal force to stop us from getting home with our bag of Skittles.

RIP Trayvon…your short life will not be in vain.

Keep passin' the open windows...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

You've Given Me a Lifetime of Valentine's Days

While many struggle to search for words that will convey how they feel for their spouse or partner today, I’m comforted knowing that I say those words to you every single day. Heck, for ‘GP’ I will often just look at you and ask, “Did I tell you I love you today?!” It isn’t a coincidence. It isn’t contrived. Although I’ve made light of it, the truth is that there is nothing as serious and sobering as you in my life. You’re my security blanket that I reach out in the middle of the night for and fall fast asleep the moment I feel the warmth of you beside me. It’s as simple as watching you as you prepare our dinner and as complicated as our concerted effort to buy our home less than a month ago.

Nothing is forever….not even us. Life is fleeting…time betrays even its best friend. It’s for this very reason that I tell you how much you mean to me every day. Everything we accomplish, every goal we meet, every barrier we break through is a testament to the strength of our love.

Valentine’s Day may be a ploy by the card and flower industries to generate income, but for me, it’s just another opportunity to proudly shout from the hilltops “I love you!”

…and the other stuff is separate. ;)

Keep passin' the open windows...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Our New Home

The excitement, pride and gratitude that we felt when we closed on our house last night can only be described as raw elation! The event was a culmination of prayer and faith in motion - we actually turned the final decision over to the Lord for his final stamp of approval and he sincerely treated us as the princes of his palace.

Today, we're having a slew of contractors visit the house to bid on painting, refinishing and minor touches we're having done before moving in. We're so committed to taking on these fun new challenges.

A new chapter has started for us and we're smiling ear-to-ear with anticipation!

- Keep passin' the open windows...

Friday, January 13, 2012

Suburban Heart

They say, "Home is where your heart is," and this will mean that our hearts will be about an hour upstate of NYC. After much thought and an incredible find - it truly is a buyer's market - we elected to buy our very own suburban love nest.

BD, the Minnie and I continue to bask in God's undying and plentiful blessings. This is nothing short of HIS shining down on our lives again.

In the coming weeks we'll take you along on our journey from move to home makeover and hope that you share in our sunshine and feel the warmth reflected in our humble gratitude.

Home is truly where the heart is and from city town home to suburban colonial we are steadfast that wherever the Lord takes us is exactly where our happy home will be.

- Keep passin' the open windows...