Fantastic Voyage

Lakeside Fantastic Voyage 1980

…to the land of funk…

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Capital Treasures

As we sit boarding our stopover flight in Denver, memories of the past week of travels fill Fearsome’s brain. He asked that I post a few pics to document a few of his favorites.

Easter at the National Cathedral

Spring gardens at Dumbarton Oaks

Cezanne 

Pollack

Nickson

Warhol

Hopper

A Leader

An Inspiration

A Cause

May we never forget the cause. May we pick up the baton and continue forward.

Changing Horizons

Yesterday after having an incredible time at breakfast breaking bread with a dear blogger friend (or Penguin in this case), we walked the banks of the tidal basin to take in the texture of full Cherry Blossom.

Monumental Blossom

Only to arise early today that we might jet down the coast for a tasty lunch by the southern sea.

Casa Blanca Cafe Ft. Lauderdale Beach

“Live Love Laugh” were the words that Fearsome left behind in the temple of Burning Man. Wherever I am may I always remember to pause, be grateful and to Live Love Laugh.

Hey Fearsome! Why you so quiet these days?

Flu

or something like it.

Damn this cold/flu thing. I started to feel something coming on right before the new year. Then I felt ok. Then I felt something coming on. Then I felt ok. Then I really felt something coming on. Then I thought I beat it because I again felt ok. Then last week it hit. Hit hard. Got a little better.

I had this trip to Florida and I felt as if I was on the mend so I made the trip. I had a good day flying and the next day I wasn’t feeling so good. Three days later and I’m just plain sick.

I don’t write when I don’t feel well. So hang in there and enjoy the daily beard postings.

I sit in a hotel room pretty much almost 24 hours a Day right now. I’m grateful the room and bed are comfortable. I head home Saturday. Hopefully I’ll be feeling better by then.

Family

We are blessed. We have two families. The one we were born into and the one we choose.

Our natal families folded into one larger family after we settled into our life together. I into The Better Half’s, he into mine and ours into each other. This made for one big family that blessed us even more.

Living away from our family for many years allowed us to choose a chosen family of good friends who care and love each other as if we had always been and will continue to be. This family is large and blesses our home with more than 30 holiday celebrants each and every Christmas Day. Our blessing overflows.

Our friends extend beyond or natal family and our chosen family into our work, interests, neighbors, bloggers, vacation acquaintances and just plain old good friends who live both near and far. Our bounty of blessings humble us.

Love, respect and sincerity are the basis of this blessing we call family.

This most recent trip filled our cup. I met with two blog buddies for a wonderful dinner. Unfortunately the third wasn’t able to join due to an illness but we sent our love to him in hopes that better days lie ahead. We, the better half & I, then set off via Amtrack to New York with part of my natal family for one of those experiences that money could never buy (but definitely helps with😉).

You see after the loss of my father I asked my mother, who had been caring for him, where had she always wanted to go. She said New York to see The Rockettes. That was her dream. Not Paris, not London, not even Hawaii. I promised her then that we would take her to New York. It took two years and she lost her oldest son before it happened, but it happened. We made a family trip out of it with Mom, me, The Better Half, my brother, sister-in-law, niece, her husband, two great grandchildren and a nephew.

Family

Nothing, no nothing will ever mean as much to me as my mother grabbing my hand after the curtain fell at the end of The Rockettes Christmas Spectacular as tears streamed down her face as she said “I have never seen anything so beautiful!” They exceeded her expectations and believe me she had high expectations.

For her to have her family with her on a trip she had only dreamed of all of her life, a dream she probably thought would never come to be, was truly a dream come true. I cannot express my gratitude for the blessing that that moment, my family and life truly is.

The moral of this post, at least for me, is that this is our one life, so live it, love it, share it, and give it. Give it to your natal family, or your chosen family, or both. Give it to someone you meet, you work with, you run into or even to someone you don’t know at all. Give a smile, share a laugh, respect, understand, forgive, serve and most of all love. Just love.

Entering Macy’s Herald Square entrance during the debut moment of holiday decorations.

The employees lined the side of the aisle and cheered us as we entered the store, Stunning

Lady Liberty

911 Memorial, -emotional-

Fearsome Photobombing in Time Square

Sightseeing under Lady Liberty

3rd row Center Stage at Radio City

Santa

The Rockettes

Up front and close enough to see their smiles!

From 5 to 85, New York is fabulous, family makes it even better!

Live from New York

Fearsome and his family take on The Big Apple!

Fearsome and the Family

Wind blown with Mom on Top of The Rock

At St. Patrick’s

In Time Square with The Better Half

Enjoying Renoir

Eating real Chinese (except with a fork)

Experiencing Egyptian ruins

Travel day!

Today we fly to Philly to stop on our way to join Mom, Brother, sister-in-law, a niece, her husband, their two kids and a nephew for a train trip into the Big Apple. Mom has always dreamed of seeing The Rockettes, so we are all taking her to Radio City Music Hall for The Rockettes Christmas Spectacular!

Fearsome & I are headed out a day early so we can have dinner with Todd , Anne Marie and Mistress Maddie!

WooHoo! We is gonna have a blast!

The Iconic Boeing 747

First released in 1968, Boeing’s 747 was, and still is, an engineering marvel.

United is retiring their 747 fleet for more fuel efficient 777 & 787 aircraft and fuel efficiency is a definately valid reason. Other airlines will continue to fly them so the iconic look will still be seen in larger international ports. However their numbers may continue to dwindle as technology changes.

I’ve only flown the 747 six times in all of my travels on these routes:  Miami to Aruba, San Diego to London, Los Angeles to Sydney. Thus far it is my favorite airliner. The adjectives roomy and majestic come to mind. I even know the layout well enough that I have a favorite seat. I’ll miss this mighty bird for she gave me many wonderful memories.

Somewhere in the southern Caribbean

Many a moon ago aboard Dolphin Cruise Line’s SS Sea Breeze we found ourselves anchored just off the coast of Aruba. Fearsome was in remission at the time as I had developed a bad habit called shaving, but he was there in spirit as he always is. It was an early morning under the searing southern Caribbean sun and not a good morning for the hangover from last evenings heavy drinking dance floor adventures.

We found ourselves amongst  many other bleary eyed hungover gay men searching for that perfect spot on deck of this RSVP cruise from which to observe that days total solar eclipse. We were anchored just off the coast of Aruba for a reason, we were in the path of totality in a spot calculated to have the longest time in actual totality, about 3 minutes 40 seconds to my recollection. That sun was hot and all I wanted was a place to sit down, drink my coffee and nurse this hangover. A friend handed me a Bloody Mary. Life was suddenly better.

A passenger affectionately known as The Chicken Lady passed by pouring creme in anyone’s coffee who needed it. She was carrying her trademark chicken purse and the creme flowed on demand into awaiting coffee cups out of an artificial breast that she wore under her bikini top. The Chicken Lady wasn’t known to be reserved nor inhibited in any way imaginable.

The ship’s crew worked feverishly to make sure all 800 passengers were well taken care of and comfortable. They made sure we all had our beverages of choice as well as our solar eclipse viewers. Morning cocktial music played, we laughed, the scent of sunscreen permeated the air and we waited.

The searing heat of the tropical sun started to diminish. A quick check with the solar eclipse glasses confirms that the moon has begun it’s journey between us and our sun. It seemed as if someone had found both the dimmer and the thermostat as not only was the light becoming more appropriate for a party, but the heat had been turned down a notch. We continued our wait laughing with our friends, checking the moon’s progress through the viewers and ordering more cocktails.

Suddenly it all changed.

I had experienced partial eclipses before. No. Big. Deal.

This was different.

In the distance it appears as if a very dark storm had formed. It was black out there. It was moving. It was moving fast and it was headed toward us. However there were no clouds but just darkness. Not just darker but black. This shadow was moving and there was no escaping it. That shadow of black was coming for us and fast. We adorned the viewers and looked up to find just a tiny pierce of the sun left and then it was gone. Nothing left but a faint corona and then a voice from the crowd, all on their feet at this moment, screamed “It’s safe now, take off your glasses!”

Our photos from Aruba’s total eclipse

Nighttime. Nighttime with all the stars out yet a faint light of dawn 360 degrees around us just at the lip of horizon. The birds, the songs of the birds as if it were daybreak. The lights, all the streetlights and lighted signs on the tiny island of Aruba had lit up. It was nighttime but it wasn’t. The horizon was beautiful. The colors of sunrise 360 degrees around us with all the stars out and this black circle above us. Tiny black, very black circle with a moving light shimmering around it.

Surreal.

Ouch! The light! Someone screams”Glasses on!”

The moon had moved on and the first pierce of intense light had broken through. The sun was back, although just a tiny corner. We looked down to realize that we were no longer in the dark shadow as a faint light of sun had encompassed us. The shadow was moving again. The darkness had left us and it was moving again, moving away from us. Moving away fast. We could see it’s circular edge moving across the sea as the light replaced the darkness in the water. The great storm of darkness moved on and so fast that we couldn’t follow it.

We watched as the wonderment of that total eclipse moved on for others to experience that day.

Then we danced.

Today I sit in awe and gratitude for all the gifts I have been blessed with thus far in my wonderful life. Thus far!

Happy Eclipse!

Travel Beard

Big Apple Beard

We flew into New York Last evening and started at Rockefeller Center.

Time Square

Under the ceiling of the Al Hirschfeld Theatre before seeing Kinky Boots

Back at Rockefeller Center

St. Patrick’s

Today at One World Trade Center

9/11 Memorial

Ceiling of Westfield World Trade Center

Battery Park view of Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

Stonewall Plaza

Stonewall Inn

The Highline view of Empire State Building

Our 33rd floor room view of Chrysler Building

Capital Treasures 4

After our enjoyable visit at the National Gallery it was time for our appointment at The African American History Museum.

National Museum of African-American History & Culture

Definately an amazing museum and wonderful addition to the Smithsonian, this museum is worth the visit. Still being the new kid on The Mall it was packed and tickets hard to come by. We enjoyed it immensely, but we will make a point to come back at a later date when it isn’t so crowded and can be enjoyed as a Museum of its caliber should be. I know they have a lot of people waiting to get in and that tickets are limited in number, but I think they could do better limiting the number of tickets issued to an even smaller number.

Contemplative Court Waterfall Fountain

The Contemplative Court Waterfall Fountain was worth the trip itself alone. Overwhelming. Fearsome had some tears to catch as I began to sob. Cleansing.

Jackie Robinson #42

Fearsome had more tears to catch as I choked up over Jackie’s jersey. One can see the faint reflection of Fearsome’s San Diego Padres hat in the glass just above the shoulder to the right of the Jackie’s face.

Jackie Robinson is truly an inspirational man of honor. Integrating baseball was not an easy task. Jackies strength was in his own personal restraint and self discipline. Fearsome highly recommends the movie about Jackie’s life. The movie is simply “42”. Jackie is one of Fearsome’s heroes.

Capital Treasures 3

After our time at the Hirshhorn we crossed The Mall to check out have some lunch over at The National Gallery of Art. After sharing a wonderful lunch in the Garden Cafe we discovered their current exhibit Frederic Bazille and the Birth of Impressionism. 

Fabulous!

A Pierre-Auguste Renoir on the left of Federic Bazzile painting his Still Life with Heron on right.

Federic Brazil was an early impressionist who came of age with Renoir, Monet, Manet, Cezzane and likes. They were a close group and there are many paintings where they painted the same subjects and each other.

Fearsome stands amount the Beards of the great impressionists.

This last painting above is a Bazille that includes many of his impressionist friends in his studio, Bazille is the tallest standing beside the easel. Bazille’s parents always kept him in a studio in Paris and his young impressionist friends, including Renoir & Monet, often stayed and even lived with him in his various Paris studios. Note the painting on the upper left above the man on the stairs as it is the painting of the male nude featured above.

Bazille joined the Army at 29 years of age and left his young impressionist friends behind to only be tragically killed on his first assignment. He never gained the refinement nor fame that his contemporaries did due to his unfortunate untimely death.

Rumors do swirl around why he left and joined a faction of the army to fight on the front lines. Was he in love with one of his contemporaries that couldn’t be fulfilled? Did he need to get away? Was it almost an act of suicide? Or was he just looking for male companionship in the trenches? Rumors that will never be confirmed.

Homosexuality was quite frowned upon at the time and the place where he and his friends lived and bromanced. His counterparts went on to marry, he ran away. He housed and supported them and maybe it was only friendship. We will never know. We do know that the loss of his life at such a young age deprived the impressionist movement of a budding young talent who had hardly began his journey.

Frederic Bazille

Capital Treasures

Fearsome, The Better Half and I are all three galavanting about on holiday. Our first stop was in our nation’s capital. We took the opportunity to focus on the beauty and inspiration that is available in D.C.

First up was the Hirshhorn and what a treat to find part of Ai WeiWei’s @Large which he designed for and exhibit at Alcatraz.

The Hirshhorn’s long curving spaces lend themselves to exhibiting these pieces designed for large Alcatraz common spaces.

Legos are the medium for the pixilated portraits of 176 exhiled or imprisoned activists.

The pixelated portraits lend themselves to viewing through the lense of ones smartphone. Some being almost completely unrecognizable/illegible to the naked eye without this technology we all hold in our pockets. A technology, that if used properly, can enlighten us.

Intricate wallpaper detail of security cameras, handcuffs and Twitter birds.

This part of his Alcatraz exhibit is entitled Trace. It extends for one full circle of the Hirshhorn’s second floor. Stunning.

Ai WeiWei himself is also an imprisoned freedom activist who isn’t allowed to leave his own country of China. The entire Alcatraz exhibit was created by him for the prison space with the help of many other artist who could aid in its design, creation, set up, delivery and installation. Ai WeiWei never was able to visit his own work in the space for which it was designed. The Twitter bird represents his own ability to speak freely beyond his confines while being detained and monitored continuously.