Saturday, May 31, 2014


Moving on
While I don't adore Facebook,
it is an effective communication
tool. The other day I became
aware of a major layoff at one
of my former employers. Slowly
the names of the impacted came
to light. Frankly I was shocked
and distressed to find that many
once cherished were now deemed
no longer viable. Proof that there
are no guarantees and change is
a constant reality of corporate life.
You can't trust anyone.
It's all about them
Having been a leader, I've had to
make similar tough decisions. Once
a "goal" or "task" is handed down
from above, all one can do is make
the best choices possible. While it
impacts the individual, it rarely has
anything to do with them personally.
In reality a reduced expense number
must be hit and therefore there are
casualties. That said I've watched
those impacted end up in much
better places time and time again.
All I can say is good for them!
When a company is in trouble,
reason fades as it is replaced by
crisis management. As someone
drowning, leadership flails in
their morass of misery doing
whatever is necessary to save
themselves. Yet at some point
one has to accept reality. If the
ship is sinking, it's best to hop
into a lifeboat while you still can.
Oddly most cling to the railings
in their life vests doing everything
possible to hold on. WHY?
Timing is everything
It's hard to know when to jump ship.
In hindsight the best I can do is offer
some advice - to thine own self be true.
In the end even the most caring of
bosses has to make hard decisions.
And if said decision involves you,
they hold all the cards. Isn't it better
to take a leap when the timing is right
for you rather than gamble on being
rescued? Better to swim to a safer
shore alone rather than wallow in
the sea with one's fellow victims.
Why be dragged down?
All ashore
Never doubt my compassion for
those impacted. Whatever has
happened had little to do with
them. That's probably the most
bitter pill of all to swallow. The
good news is they are all highly
talented and committed pros.
Each ready in their own way to
enhance and improve any new
company they join. Once the
trauma of finality wears off, I'm
confident they'll end up in a much
better place. It's all about them!
Cash in
Their only mistake was trusting
others versus their own "gut".
Many are lulled into complacency
only to be rudely awakened. A
former colleague was let go a few
months ago. After decades of
loyalty she was given a ticket to
freedom. Upon receiving her
"package" she jumped with joy.
Now it's her turn to make all of
her dreams come true and she is
doing just that! Her only regret?
That it didn't happen sooner!

Friday, May 30, 2014


Blown away
We just celebrated the sixtieth
birthdays of two lovely ladies.
As one's contemporaries near
retirement, it can be somewhat
off-putting. However they're
highly attractive, active, fun,
vibrant, and... YOUNG. Our
boomer life expectancies are
projected into our late eighties.
To put that in context, Marilyn
Monroe would be 89 if alive
today. Hence I've decided that
sixty is the new thirty!
In the stars
The coolest people are in their sixties.
Denzel Washington and Cyndie Lauper
just hit 60. Pierce Brosnan and Oprah
are still sexy at 61. Robin Williams and
Sting are 62. Celebrating 63 are Jane
Seymour and Ed Harris. Billy Joel and
Bruce Springsteen wow at 64. Richard
Gere and Meryl Streep sizzle at 65.
Now 66, Elton John & Olivia Newton
John still make us sing. David Bowie
and Patty Smith are just as cool at 67.
Fab and 68 are Debbie Harry and Cher.
Steve Martin and Diane Keaton hit 69.
Talk about dated
With age comes wisdom. Suddenly
one figures it all out. The thrill of
that empowerment can be good and
bad. Many of our lady friends have
dumped their spouses after years of
mediocrity and discontent. Once free,
they quickly realize that being single
in their sixties is not always exciting.
The odds are definitely against you
and most of the available men were
recently dumped by some other lady
in her early sixties! Proof that what
goes around seems to come around!
Who me?
As our generation cares for our parents,
most formulate a game plan for their
final years. Assisted living shouldn't
mean that we can't be who we really
are. The last thing I want to do in my
eighties is conform to someone else's
rules. There has to be a better way but
as of yet, I haven't found one. If all
works out I've got about thirty years
to figure it out. Wish me luck!
Eyes of the beholder
Time changes us all for the better.
Whether it's cataracts or dementia
I find older men more attractive,
especially the silver foxes! Who
wants to sleep with somebody the
age of your grandkids? I prefer to
spend my time with some one who
has  been there, done that. After all,
practice makes perfect. Given our
body clocks are ticking, why waste
your time teaching some beginner?
I say go with a pro who knows what
they're doing and enjoy the ride!
La vie d'or
Frank's Dad once said one's golden
years are a bit tarnished. About to
celebrate his 96th, he's still going
strong. Mom and Dad continue to
live in the house Frank grew up in.
Recently they purchased a new car
and dishwasher. While not able to
do all that they once could, they're
still pretty amazing! In my opinion,
you're as old as you think you are.
As I enter my golden years phase,
I'm not about to give up anything.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Seems like only yesterday...

Lucky day
Today Frank and I celebrate nineteen
fabulous years together. Honestly,
it's hard to believe it's been that long.
That's because our relationship is as
strong, exciting, and affirming as ever.
Whether it was luck, destiny, or divine
intervention, we both scored when we
wandered into that bar on a Memorial
Day afternoon in 1995. What amazes
me still is just how capricious love is.
Few on the hunt seem able to find it.
Yet suddenly, my dream man walked
up and offered to buy me a drink!

Love connection
While caprice may facilitate an initial
connection - compatibility, compassion,
and chemistry fuel lasting partnerships.
The older I get, the more I'm convinced
that most people have to fail at least a
few times in love before they're able to
finally make a lasting connection. Being
young is probably the reason many early
relationships fail. Most lack the maturity
to give when the getting gets tough. Yet
giving above and beyond is what I think
really fuels true love. There has to be an
element of sacrifice or else, why bother?

Lessons learned
Whoever said youth is wasted on the
young was correct. I often marvel that
anybody gave me a job. Almost just
as shocking is how much professional
responsibility was heaped upon me at
a tender age. My best friend "T" says
I've always been an old soul and given
we've been friends since the dawn of
time, she would know. Obviously I
wasn't very mature given my errors
in judgement during those early days.
That's because I tried to do everything
myself and therefore failed miserably!

All hung up
Arrogance and ignorance are a bad
combination. Not singularly traits
of youth, I've seen this deadly duo
cause more destruction or damage
in organizations than anything else.
Unfettered ego and ambition often
fuel corporate cancer. Sadly many
who are impacted feel powerless
to fight against it. I've rarely met
a real Norma Rae. Most employees
suffer through the consequences of
their leadership's mistakes simply
because they have bills to pay!

Basic instinct
One of my greatest regrets is that I did
not embrace who I was earlier in life.
It's hard to realize that fifty years ago,
"gay" was not a part of our collective
conscious. Religious dogma and good
intentions aside, it's impossible to make
anybody live a life that's not natural for
them. If I've learned anything it's to be
who you are... naturally.  Pretending
and posturing never works out and it
all unravels. Good intentions aside,
the wreckage left behind is devastating.
If only I had known what I know now.

Misspent youth
Sadly I failed miserably as a father.
Almost daily I try to process what
went wrong. In the end the schism
of divorce and geographic distance
was too great a gap to transcend.
As a young father I had no idea how
hard it would be to raise children.
Nor did I understand the residual
impact my mistakes would have on
others. My errors in judgement may
haunt me for the rest of my life. All
I can now do is do my best to mind
the gap and hope for forgiveness.

Life insurance
Maybe that's why God gave me Frank.
No matter what may happen he's at
my side. Together we're stronger and
while at times we drive the other nuts,
we're actually good for each other.
His love fills the void of loves lost.
Frank's encouragement enabled me to
thrive professionally. His commitment
and candor make me a better man.
After nineteen years, I'm a still a work
in progress. Happily, Frank's willing to
continue on as my partner and guide.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

C'mon baby light my fire...

From the hearth
The Passion Pit restoration is almost
complete. Our last challenge is the
Living Room fireplace. In 1917 the
original owners installed a costly
Rookwood Faience Tile mantel (left)
that was truly a statement. Over the
years somebody ripped this beauty
out along with other jewels such as
the staircase landing Tiffany window.
Gone but not forgotten, nobody
seems to know where they went.
All we know is that we're left with
a gaping hole in the wall.
Hot box
Stripped of it's splendor, the
masonry is roughshod at best.
Never intended for the public,
it must be covered. Almost
as awful was the gas fireplace
insert crammed into our black
hole. Even worse, someone
damaged the chimney making
it now only usable for a gas
fire or logs. Our only blessing
is that Frank's brother "B" is
a stone mason. Only he can
bring our hot box back to life!
Substitute feature
Initial research showed that replacing
the Rookwood mantel is not an option.
The same model number as indicated
on the original blue prints recently
sold at auction for forty five thousand
dollars. To be honest I was relieved!
Although a preservationist, the classic
craftsman aesthetic is not something
I want to live with on a daily basis.
We have the original architectural
renderings for the existing mill work.
Our quandary was framing the context
for our new replacement mantel.
Assuming the mantel
While on the exterior our home
is a melange of Arts & Crafts,
Frank Lloyd Wright, Mission,
and Craftsman, the interior is
predominantly classic Colonial
Revival. Given the plethora of
period documentation available,
I quickly amassed a formidable
file of mantel inspiration. And
yet, something was missing.
I wanted a connection between
our new mantel and old house.
Pseudo solutions would not do.
Another man's trash
Then one day Frank's father made a
suggestion that changed everything.
A stone mason, his company was
hired to "modernize" a local bank in
the mid sixties. Built in 1916 (a year
before the Pit), the majestic marble
manse (left) was deemed dated. So,
Frank Sr. and his team ripped out the
Carerra, dropped the ceiling, and
replaced it with mid century pecan
panelling. A stone lover, Dad could
not fill a dumpster with such beauty.
So with permission... he kept it.
Past perfect
Hence Dad's suggestion. Out
in the warehouse was sitting
the bank's original front door
marble frame. Could we use
that for our new fireplace?
I found this picture of a 1917
mantel (right) that is a close
match. Shortly thereafter
brother "B"and contractor
Bill designed a surround that
incorporates said salvaged
marble lintel with a brand
new wooden mantel. Perfect!
The eternal flame
I can't wait to install this
unique collaboration. What
was once deemed trash will
soon be treasure. While not
original to the house, part
of our new mantel is part
of Lewistown's history.
Add it's connection to
Frank's father and it only
becomes even more special.
What a fitting tribute to our
community and family that
we will love and cherish!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The best way to start your day

Rise and shine!
My friend "M" once waxed
eloquently about breakfast.
During a lengthy retail career
she'd dedicated the majority
of her life to the office. Now
"retired", it was suddenly all
about her. After decades of
rushing out of the house she
was now able to experience
the ultimate of luxuries...
breakfast at home. That daily
ritual signified her transition
to becoming a human being.
Innie or outie?
Never a breakfast person, I do
adore my pot of morning java
plus an occasional slice of toast.
Until recently that's been it but
now I'm on an eternal vacation.
A carefree time when I can do
anything I want. But... frying
an egg is not on my bucket list.
Hence we've been dining out
most mornings since my return.
I guess my appetite is stimulated
by the idea of somebody else
doing the dishes. Over easy!
Oh my cod...
I'm working harder than ever.
The transition into our new
(old) home is all consuming.
My best friend "T" was with
us for two weeks transforming
our dining room. While house
guests are like fish... you know
the rest... thankfully "T" didn't
stink. Our menage a trois was
surprisingly ordinary. It was as
if she'd always lived with us.
After we enjoyed some coffee
it was time to go out to eat!

Take it out
Rather than the office, we head to the
Pit each morning. On the way we stop
at any of the many breakfast eateries
we have here in our tiny metropolis.
One might think they're the same yet
each differs in ambiance, camaraderie,
and cuisine. My favorite is the Empire.
A rather tired joint, it's closest to home.
Somehow they make a great poached
egg, a skill that I've yet to master.
Home alone
At some point our eating excursions
are going to have to end. While I've
lost some weight since not working,
it's not the healthiest of indulgences.
Once fully ensconced in the Passion
Pit, I'll putter around and make my
own toast with peanut butter. I'm a
creature of habit so once I'm in the
groove, all will be good. Besides,
I can still hear the lilt in "M's" voice
as she talked of making breakfast.
Hopefully from here on, I'll finally
have what she's having!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Deep purple haze...

Today is Memorial Day.

A time to remember those who have left us
One of Frank's family traditions is to place
fresh Lilacs on the graves of those we've loved.
Due to our late spring this year
our lilacs just started blooming yesterday.
Lilacs won't be our only tribute.
Memories also serve as reminders of love lost.