Words

Words are things.

Words get into you.

Words affect.

Words are powerful.

Be careful of the words you say. Be careful of the words you allow into you, your home and around those you love.

Write only good words, speak only good words, allow only good words and share only good words.

I am not perfect, may I strive toward good whenever I possibly can.

Good starts with me. Good starts right here, right where I am.

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Angels

I know that this isn’t all there is. Even if Sandra Bernhard sings her rendition of Is That All There Is? so incredibly one could almost believe her…

Yes Dear Fearsome fans I have posted that one before, to good reviews I must add.

I believe that there is another dimension beyond that which I experience at this moment. I understand that I am limited to the five senses that to which my current body experiences this life that I am blessed to live. I know that there are other experiences that I am not able to comprehend while living within the confines of my earthy body.

There are many writings of those who have passed and returned to their bodies only to continue living the life that they were. A name for this phenomenon is near death experience.

I worked for many years in intensive care units and emergency rooms. I’ve witnessed death many times and I’ve witnessed near death as well. I’ve worked in delivery rooms and witnessed not only 100s of live vaginal births but c-sections, stillborn and multiple births. I’ve even resuscitated conjoined twins, or Siamese twins if you choose to call them that. I’ve watched the breath of life reach the depths of lungs for the first moment out of the womb, watched that life leave the infant and then resuscitate life back into that infant just as I’ve resuscitated life back into an adult heart attack victim under my earthly body’s hands.

I didn’t actually give that life back, or give that life in the first place. A power much greater than me did that. My hands were but tools present at the moment. Tools hired by the hospital to do what hospitals do which is aid people in their own journey into life, through life and out of life. My experience was but a blessing to sculpt me into the man I am today.

I don’t know what the other side is. I haven’t been there. I believe there is another side there. I know because I’ve had several experiences where the other side reached to this side to give me a message I needed at that moment. These experiences were both inside and outside my hospital environment. Maybe the energy that reached out to me did so because of my experience and my open mind from those experiences.

I will not write about those in detail at this moment in time. Maybe one day I will, and again maybe I never will. Those experiences were as real as I am and as real as the words in this post. They are burned into my memory. One even happened in the very room in which I sit writing this post.

I do choose to commit to calling the energies that contacted me and energies that brought life into and out of being in front of my eyes, angels. I believe that angels do exist. My definition of them is that thy are a positive energy from the other dimension that I cannot yet experience, but one day will. Unlike Sandra’s lyrics, I do not think that experience will be yet another disappointment.

In many of the writings I’ve read about out of body or near death experiences is that each and every one of them has noted that their pets were there to greet them. Not just special human loved ones, but the very pets they loved and cared for during their life. It’s a consistent story line. I believe them.

Earlier today when I looked in the corner only to find it empty I cried. Then I smiled. I know Nina was looking down on me. She is but one of many angels waiting for and watching over me. I know one day she will be there to greet me as well as Cephas, Nikky, Tess, Matty and Diva. God willing that I have many more years here there will be many more than the few names I just mentioned.

I believe that my previously lost human loved ones are also with me.

Angels.

I Believe.

Grown men cry

We cry when we feel.

We cry because we are vulnerable.

We cry to heal.

We cry with gratitude, or sadness, or joy, or hope, or grief, or pain.

We cry to love.

Today has been a spectacular day around us. My feelings have flowed freely. From joy and gratitude to grief and sadness. I’ve experienced beauty and inspiration as well as bewilderment and confusion.

New art in the alley today beside my barber.

Inspirational sign on the sidewalk I passed this afternoon.

Crystal blue sky above me as I walked.

Our last selfie together just now.

I write as we wait. Nina has had a good day but her health has continued to slide. It’s time.

Grown men cry.

What of life?

Nina is still with us and peaceful in her bed.

Nina sleeping 12/28/17

It is a quintessential winter Southern California day. Crystal clear blue skies, bright winter sun and 72 degrees F. Nina has spent some time on her patio today, eaten well and napped in her beloved corner bed. Our housekeeper, whom Nina adores, is here cleaning. The other dogs are napping and occasionally barking at the construction workers doing the remodel next door. All in all a nothing unusual beautiful day. It is peaceful with just a little stimulation.

Planning it out couldn’t have turned it better. Our dog sitter who was with me as we rescued Nina together is out of town. Nina adores her as well and she will be back in San Diego tomorrow. She is coming over to be here with us when the veterinarian arrives about 5 pm. Tomorrow is forecast to be as beautiful as today. The Better Half already had scheduled the whole week off, so between the two of us someone will always be home tomorrow.

Earlier Abner and Patsy tried out the comfort of four beds piled together when or housekeeper was busy cleaning…

Patsy (with toy) and Abner reinact the Princess and the Pea. 

The joys of life are abundant around here. It’s not gloom and doom. It’s sweet, with the bitterness of reality. The big questions loom. Why? Why are we here? What? What is this about?

Should we loose ourselves in contemplation of the unknown? Or should we just enjoy the moment even though we know the inevitable?

My answer? Enjoy the moment.

I believe there is one sole purpose for life. The purpose I believe in is love.

I am here to love. I am here to share. I am here to give. I am here to serve.

What are giving, serving and sharing? Love.

I am here to love. Period.

Freedom

Thought provoking:

True freedom carries with it respect of differences. In public accommodation I must respect the freedom of others to live a different life than my own.

I practiced as a Respiratory Therapist in public medical accommodation for 20 years. In that practice I not only was required to respect different cultures, customs, politics and  religions but wished to appreciate what made us human. What makes us human is differences, as well as commonalities. Humanity is empathy. Humanity is understanding. Humanity is having different experiences. Humanity is having different beliefs. Humanity is enriching each other.

I currently sell real estate. Selling real estate is a public accommodation. In this field I am required by law to respect all races, religions, beliefs, politics, sexes, sexualities, colors, practices, disabilities, abilities, politics and professions. I, by law, cannot discriminate. I also do not wish to discriminate nor exclude. I sell property to all and I relish all.

Understanding begins with me. Respect begins with me. Empathy begins with me.

I don’t have to live the life of the one I don’t agree with. I live the life I choose. I let others live their life and respect that they believe differently. I respect they have a different life experience than I do. In public accommodation I serve them.

Join me. Be human. Start right where you are.

In public accommodation enrich the canvas that is the art of humanity.

Six years

Six years ago today I woke up a broken man. A man that didn’t yet know that he was about to go 2192 days without a hangover. A man that had no idea what lied ahead only that I could no longer live as I had been living.

Today I woke up and received this six year token for living six full years of uninterrupted reality. I am humbled.

May tomorrow be day 2193.

On Death, Dying and Responsibility

I will die. Fearsome will die with me.

We do not know when but we will. It’s the cycle of life.

You know what? You will die too.

Morbid? No, not actually. Death is part of our life. Yes it’s as much part of yours as it is mine.

We cannot plan when we die or how we die. However we can plan for death.

We, the Better Half and I, wrote our original trust back in 2004. In 2004 gay men couldn’t get married in California, nor did the federal government recognize our relationship. We had an attorney draw up a trust mainly to protect us should one of us die. As it turns out a trust goes far beyond protecting two unmarried individuals that have built a life and many assets together.

We are way past due to update our trust and are in the middle of that update this week. Wow, have things changed in the past 13 years. Not only are we married in California but our marriage is recognized federally. In review it turns out our assets have more than doubled since creating the original trust. Not only has its value changed but our values and priorities have changed.

A trust gives direction to our survivors, maintains our assets, minimizes taxes, protects our pets, covers healthcare concerns, includes our charities, prevents post death disputes, contains our will and plans our funeral. Our trust will provide not only security but peace of mind.

With the updating of the trust comes contemplation of death. Contemplating death is movement toward acceptance. Planning for death helps bring peace of mind. Death is not something to fear, but something to embrace as part of life.

I am grateful for having the life I have. I choose to respect my life by planning for death.

Have you planned for yours?

“Let death be what takes us, not lack of imagination.” … BJ Miller

Mindset

Mindset is defined as the established set of attitudes held by someone. Mindset can also be defined as an attitude, disposition, mood, intention or inclination.

Mindset is a choice. I choose to choose a good one. It often takes work to not only make that good choice, but to stick to it. Often the choice of a better mindset runs counter to our culture thus the challenge. However the challenge of a good mindset is worth the effort and I believe with practice gets easier.

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!

I love

In order to live as a human among humans I must learn to accept.

I must learn to accept that we are different. I must learn that we are the same. I must learn we share. I must learn I will not like everything. I must learn that not everyone will like me. I must learn that many times it’s better to focus on similarities rather than differences. I must learn that not all human aspects are good. I must learn to forgive.

In order to live a life that I myself can feel good about, I must, and will, stand up for righteousness.

I will lead by example. I will do good. I will be kind. I will speak justly. I will convey honesty. I will practice equality. I will appreciate diversity. I will look for commonality. I will share. I will understand. I will give. I will grow. I will listen. I will strive for betterment. I will serve. I will teach. I will encourage. I will compliment. I will support. I will practice. I will be vulnerable. I will gain courage. I will laugh. I will cry. I will accept. I will stand. I will love.

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.

Is your god dead?

Fearsome Beard …a place for beards to contemplate and to grow their souls.

It’s been a while and it’s due time Fearsome did just that.

Contemplate.

Every human has their own personal right to have, or have not, a relationship with a power, an essence, a universe, an energy or a god of their own choosing. Common human decency, at least my common human decency, allows one to respect all others in their choices surrounding such personal matters.

I call the power of my choosing god. God is a simple word, or acronym if you will, that stands for good orderly direction, or group of drunks, or is simply dog spelled backward.  My god is love. Period. Love. (My dogs are love too, what a coincidence.)

How do I treat my brother? Do I show love? Do I respect? Do I even acknowledge?

Is my god dead?

How about you? Is your god, or something like it, dead?

The New York Times article under the highlighted word “HERE” below is worth the read whether you have, or have not, a source energy outside of yourself. The article is about being human. Being a good human.

Click HERE to go to said article and contemplate on a deeper level.

I’m not perfect. I will never be perfect. I can strive to be better. I can strive to remember to love, to remember to respect, to remember to share. I can try, and try to try daily. I can love.

It always happens…

Why it is that every time I have a trip to make I get crazy busy right before it is time to leave?

Is it Murphy’s law?

Since I’m busy getting ready do I attract more busy?

Busy attracts business?

Dont get me wrong, I like busy. Busy brings me income. Busy creates meaning. Busy gives purpose.

I think I’ll decide to sit in my seat 2B to Chicago this morning in gratitude for being busy.

Values

“A Nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but it’s lowest ones”― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

 

“We’re all human, aren’t we? Every human life is worth the same, and worth saving.”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

 

“Good works is giving to the poor and the helpless, but divine works is showing them their worth.” ― Criss Jami, Killosophy

 

“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.”
― Albert Einstein

 

“No one has ever become poor by giving.”
― Anne Frank, diary of Anne Frank

 

“Don’t tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.”
― Joe Biden

 

“Those who don’t value their words, will never value your wishes.”
― Amit Kalantri, Wealth of Words

 

-Some Fearsome thoughts-                                                                                                                                  …It is time I again contemplated values. My values, good values, value of others, value of the material and value of the spiritual. Contemplation helps me to re-enforce my core beliefs and personal morals. I post these quotes for inspiration from words that resonate with me.

I’ve found in my life that by living my values, I lead by example. In some way we all lead others and in some way we all follow others. I sincerely hope I follow good ones and that those I lead have found a good leader. Each day I must try to simply do my best. I must strive to do good and share goodness.

We can each make the world a better place. We simply have to start with ourselves and start right where we are.

Why not start right now?

When you find yourself stuck in traffic…

…get out and dance!

It’s no secret that La La Land was our Fearsome pick for best picture of 2017. We’ve written about it HERE and THERE.

To me the opening scene was one of Hollywood histories best ever openings and one of  the best ever musical numbers. Why yes I think it is right there with both Gene Kelly’s Singin’ in the Rain and American in Paris Ballet. It is simple, diverse and mesmerizing.

Today I found this:

Turns out it is no accident that I appreciate this scene.

I’ll  start with my childhood dreams…

This is something that I have never shared publicly and actually only to a couple very close friends. I always wanted to be a dancer. Not just any dancer. A chorus line dancer.

As a child I fantasizes about being in the line up, as you will, behind the star. I wanted to be part of a great team of dancers that functioned as a fine tuned, well choreographed group. We would be great and famous the world over as a troupe. I didn’t want to be a lone star out there by myself hogging the spotlight but sharing it with an incredible team.

I can still remember the day when I overheard my parents arguing and my dream was crushed. I had asked my mother for dance lessons. She and dad were having a horrible argument and the part that stands t was my father yelling back at my mother that he wasn’t having it. He wasn’t having it because dance lessons would make his son turn into a goddamned faggot. The words burned into my brain as my dream died. I secretly had news for him, I already was a faggot. I never had a dance lesson.

Life took me elsewhere. Although I never had the dance lessons and my dream of being  in a chorus line never materialized, my life has been and still is absolutely amazing.

To say that I lean toward Pollyanna isn’t an understatement. Don’t mistake me for perfect though, I have my down moments. Wow do I. The key is moving beyond the valleys in life and looking for the joy no matter where one is.  Be thankful, share, love, appreciate, laugh and dance. No …maybe we won’t all get out in the middle of a packed freeway and dance, but we can find a good song and sing it behind the wheel. We can smile at the person in the car beside us. We can let someone in front of us who maybe needs to get to their child’s school as they have a little one waiting.

I still have another 40 and maybe even fifty years ahead of me. I can take a dance lesson. I can encourage a child to follow their dreams. I can donate time or money to help someone realize a dream that would otherwise be lost. I can create beauty and share joy.

There is way to much adventure to be had and beauty in this world that I have yet to experience. Thus when I find myself stuck, be it stuck literally or figuratively, I can get out and dance. Life is just another day of sun!

Now for that complete dance scene one more time…

Tears of joy still flow each and every time I see it.

 

Happy Earth Day

Let’s all make Mother Earth proud and get out and March!

Fearsome is ready.

Fearsome in his Pussy Hat

Or given the march…

Fearsome in his DNA Top Hat….

Decisions, decisions….

Whatever Fearsome decides to wear doesn’t matter because Science is real. Even according to a certain book with parables from some 2000 years ago, humans are directed to be a Shepard, good Shepards, of the home given us. We must take care our blessings and not exploit those blessings. We all live here. We all must share. Let us be good stewards of the gifts we have received that we may share them with each other and most of all …those yet to come.

Stand up, speak out, do good and do right.

Hummingbird Heaven

Spring is in full sprung right in my very own back yard!

Erythrina Coralloides Blossoms

AKA Naked Coral Tree

A Hummingbird’s delight

This tree is native to Mexico and is very drought tolerant making it an excellent landscape tree for Southern California. It has a contorted sculptural growth habit giving it  visual interest in the dormant season then bursts into blossom while still  leafless giving it the common name of Naked Coral Tree. All other Coral Trees bloom in full foliage.

The hummingbirds are quite territorial and often have spats on and around this particular tree at this time of year. There were several creating chaos with me as I tried to snap a photo. They apparently love it’s nectar as they can often be seen inserting their beaks into the long tubular flowers. This tree blooms from late February into early May, at which time foliage will rapidly replace the flowers almost overnight.

Spring is renewal. Spring is life. Spring is resurrection. Spring is growth. Spring is a new beginning. Spring is fresh. Spring is exciting. Spring is gratifying. Spring is a blessing. Spring is hope.

What spring do you see outside your window at this very moment?