Saturday, September 19, 2015

You Can't Escape Time

There's only one escape from Father Time and that's an early death. I thought this as I watched an ET edition that featured actors and recording acts in their earlier years and what they look like today. Time has a remarkable effect on the human body. I tried to remember being 18 years old and how old my parents seemed to me at the time. The truth is that I'm older today than my parents were in my teens. I now recognize that how we see ourselves is quite different than how we actually look to the world. I'm convinced that it takes a little while to have the mirror and our personal picture of ourselves synchronize. So let's enjoy today because the years are going by so fast and we don't have much control over how we age. 

Keep passing the open windows...

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Inevitable "Preconceived Notions"

We're programmed to quickly learn what instances, people and things can cause us harm and to react accordingly to avoid or defend ourselves from the same. Unfortunately, these intuitive alarms are sometimes shaped by outside images. In short, we learn some things by what's presented to us in the media.  
The image of a man of color is often associated with aggression, danger and sadly,  wrongdoing. This skewed perception is dangerous when your job requires that you make life and death decisions in a split-second. Law enforcement officers have high stress jobs and we recognize that their ability to assess and act on situations is crucial to their survival. It's equally important that they recognize that their preconceived ideas of what a bad guy looks like must change. A black guy is not, by default, a bad guy and the idea that brutal - and in some instances fatal- force is necessary to apprehend a man of color is front and center in the media. Whether we agree with the amount of force being used and the way that law enforcement is being portrayed in the media in the interactions with minorities, the facts and statistics remain the same. There is an issue. There is a problem. Either we come together as a society to redefine protocols law enforcement use when interacting with the public or we will see a shift in how communities see and react to those hired to protect and serve them. At the moment the evidence is clear - men of color are disrespected, disregarded and considered guilty and dangerous from the moment they are approached by law enforcement. That perception needs to change. The video of tennis star James Blake taken down in front of a midtown hotel in NYC is just one image of a man of color that was lucky enough to have a platform to resolve the injustice of brutality officers inflict as matter of "precaution" on their part. Let's stop justifying unacceptable abuse of power and make things right.

Keep passing the open windows. 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

What's Important Is Life

From your perch on Blogger, Facebook and the like, my life seems simple and at times as exciting as most. I believe in God and so I'm forever grateful for his blessings. I prefaced the previous sentence with I believe in God because for as much as I am certain that he is real, I don't impose my belief on anyone. All to say that he again showed himself merciful when on the night before we were to leave for Los Angeles the electrical panel box in our home suffered a freak power surge and burst into flames. Sparks flew everywhere and the house filled with black smoke. It was but a miracle that we would be up and packing - we're usually in bed much earlier. When I saw the lights flicker and go out, I ran downstairs to see smoke flooding up the basement steps and up the radiators on the first level. I yelled for my partner and our son to leave the house and call 911. I then ran down to the basement to see the flames and sparks before heading outside to join my family. The fire department extinguished the flames and the insurance company will replace the electrical panel and restore our, now smoky home, to its original state. We left for our vacation with no power and our hearts in our hands thinking how lucky we'd been. Had we gone to bed earlier or if this happened 24 hours later the outcome could have been much different. Our lives are so fragile and the potential for our end is so immenent. I spent the greater part of our vacation in California  soaking in the view and enjoying my family. Our aunt took care of keeping the ball rolling on having us return to some normalcy and we're so grateful to her. Of course the 30-40 pounds of raw meat sitting in our house without refrigeration smelled like a foemalgajide-free funeral parlor when we returned this morning, but we're none worse for the smell. Power should be restored by Tueaday (fingers crossed). The moral of the story is that what's important is life. We're here by the grace of God and the home, cars, clothes and all the other material things we've acquired are replaceable accessories. 

Keep passing the open windows. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Love and Commitment - Another Year

It's safe to say that love and commitment  take dedication, perseverance and, if you're lucky, a person who is worthy of the work required to sustain the two as the years go by. The years have raced by and today we celebrate another wonderful year together. Our dreams have taken shape and we're still taking each other to new heights. Love is easy and loving you is made all the easier by how special you are. I'm the lucky one; the prize winner; the guy living the dream each day I wake up to you. We don't know what tomorrow brings and I'm not big on counting my chickens before they hatch, but suffice to say that I will love you forever and if my luck holds, I'll have you by my side just as long. 

Keep passing the open windows with me.  Always...

Saturday, July 04, 2015

And Just Like That...

It wasn't so long ago when I was hitting the clubs and bars to party it up especially on holiday weekends. Those meant, we got the extra day to really do it up. How fast times change and how fast we change. I thought I wouldn't see the day when I was the "old guy" but that day is here. Yeah, I know, there are many who would say that I don't know what old is, but there's a certain decline that comes in your forties that reminds you that your hey day was yesterday. Now don't get me wrong, I dream of the big healthy comeback - my last "youthful" hoorah. I can almost hear folks calling it a mid life crisis, but rest assured that the smirk you will see captured in any photo at that time will be pure satisfaction and conscious enjoyment of the fleeting youthful fun that once was. 

Keep passing the open windows...

Sunday, June 28, 2015

In Our Lifetime

There's a priceless feeling that comes from being on both sides of history. The knowledge and appreciation that comes from experiencing when injustice is stricken down and equality is allowed to reign supreme. Marriage equality is a historic occasion that may seem small to some, but for those of us who have lived in the dark shadows of a society who marginalized the gay population, we recognize the importance of this legislation as life changing. Just as some of us can't fathom an America without a woman's right to vote or marriage between folks of different races, our children and grandchildren will never know an America where love between two consenting adults of the same sex is categorized as different from that of opposite sex couples. I am so honored to have lived long enough to see this amazing change in our country and look forward to the day when my grandchildren ask me, "why couldn't two men get married back then?"  There are so many other issues and injustices I'd love to see resolved with the same happy outcome. Until then I will smile with my heart that this one happened in my lifetime. 

Keep passing the open windows. 

Sunday, February 01, 2015

A Bit of Happy

There are those that live very fabulous lives - even if it's only on Facebbok. The reality is that the day-to-day lives we live can be complicated and exhausting. Through it all I try to put it all in perspective. We have to break out of the daily routine and treat ourselves to small escapes that make the hard work worthwhile. Koby - our family's 11-week old German Shorthaired Pointer - is part of the hard work but his high jinks and goofy demeanor are little rays of sunshine  in my otherwise weary routine and the exercise he and I will soon get together are a welcome activity to the part of me that's become a restless couch potato. 

In the end, we need to find the little things that make us happy and do more of them because although hard work is necessary, it isn't going to keep us alive and vibrant. Hey,
I'm working on some balance too. 

Keep passing the open windows...

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Precious Moments - Welcome Our New Family Member

There are precious moments in our lives that serve as timeline markers - the birth of a baby, a marriage, the death of a loved one.  This weekend our family decided to add a little-one to our brood. His name is not yet set in stone - we're officially bringing him home next weekend - but we're so excited to welcome him into our lives. 

Please help me welcome "Dwight". 

Keep passing the open windows...

Saturday, January 03, 2015

When Parents Drink the Kool Aid

On November 18,1978, Jim Jones convinced the members of his sect to commit suicide and for some, that included killing their children first. Just about 300 children died that day. Today we look at that incident and ask, HOW did those parents allow anyone to convince them to kill their children? Unfortunately, it's still happening today in churches and other social circles all across America. Parents are allowing pastors, deacons and religious advisors to turn them against their children for being gay or transgender. Leelah Alcorn, a 17-year old transgender young lady, committed suicide recently. She felt she could not count on the support of her parents to love her unconditionally. Her suicide note detailed her struggle and her feelings of helplessness. 

I realize that some parents need time to accept and understand their children for who they really are, but at what point does a parent let anyone or anything come between them and their child?  

To the millions of gay and transgender teens out there - you are not alone, you are not a freak and you are a beautiful human being created in God's image. Your struggle is not forever and the ignorant folks who say and do things to hurt you are not the majority - even if they are the people you have loved and trusted your whole life. 

God is love. Love your children as is. No church service, worship or bible thumping will save you if you can't love your very own children unconditionally.

Rest in peace Leelah Alcorn and to everyone else, keep passing the open windows...

Thursday, January 01, 2015

1st Day Of the Year

There are so many promises and resolutions we make to ourselves and others every first of the year. So many hopes and dreams we share with the world as if somehow proclaiming them at the start of the year will somehow make them so. Some of us believe the ritual while the rest of us know that change only comes when we're really ready - whether that's January or June.  So, are we really ready?  Weight loss, finance changes and even the promise to treat ourselves better, all hinge on that first step that is a genuine need to do better. 

Here's to pressure, no worries...just working hard, playing hard and a commitment to accepting the present because it's all stress and heartache trying to live up to the resolutions and the litany of pipe dreams folks randomly toss out every January 1st. 

Keep passing the open windows...