Saturday, March 31, 2007

We Are Busy Today

setting up a birthday party for our good friend Ann(and neighbor across the street).

50 is such a significant birthday, and we've pulled out all stops in making sure she will have an evening to remember. I thought that I would perhaps have some problems in finding musical entertainment (successive Spring Breaks at Henderson State and UALR made for an interesting hurdle), but I was able to find a group that will keep the party at an up tempo. Ted Ludwig Presents is a jazz trio based in Little Rock. Bassist Bill Huntington was a long-time member of Ellis Marsalis's band, drummer Brian Brown has just gotten back from LA, where he performed a few gigs with Herbie Hancock, and they will also be going down to New Orleans' Jazz Festival, where they will be a part of Harry Connick Jr.'s band.

I did good, didn't I?!? They weren't cheap, either.

The food was left to Joe, Bethanie and chef-friend James. And from what I will be extensive. As we speak, Joe is in the kitchen baking (by request of Ann) two fabulous carrot cakes. Joe's carrot cake is damn good. I do believe my toes curl with each bite.

I am sure most of the day will be low-key as we rest up for the evening ahead. And it's a perfect day to be lazy...fog and rain abound. Then, by 5:00, we'll be doing set-up for what I hope will be an evening to remember.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Arkansas Gay Foster/Adoption Ban Fails in Committee

Kudos to members of the House Judiciary Committee...and kudos to Gov. Beebe, who questioned the constitutionally challenged bill after it passed through the Senate. "I have constitutional concerns, not with one aspect of it, but all aspects of it", Beebe stated to reporters on Tuesday. Emphasis is mine.

How refreshing to now have a Governor in Arkansas who can make such a legally qualified statement. I can only imagine what the Huckster would have stated if the measure had arisen in his tenure. Of course, the proponents of the bill said that the committee "skirted the issue" by not opening discussion.

Touche. An attempt to open discussion of the bill died by a voice vote.

Proponents stated they doubted that they would press-on for a third attempt during this session, likely enabling the state's Supreme Court ruling to stand another two years, which struck down an internal agency's policy banning homosexuals from being eligible to become foster parents.

What really set me off on this bill, which was introduced by Sen. Shawn Womack (R-Mountain Home), was that it not only would have placed a ban on gays from becoming foster parents, but would have also made it illegal for them to adopt children...even if they were family.

Though an amendment had been proposed to allow adoption by gay relatives, the original intent of the bill was clear. I am sure that is why the committee members took it off the table, and placed it in the garbage where it belongs.

Wow...and this is Arkansas.

Monday, March 26, 2007

If I Do Say-So

I'm just so freakin' happy.

I look back to just a few short weeks ago, and my life is SO different than it once was.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Jones Gem has a new owner.

Stoneflower Cottage, a unique lake home in my hometown, designed by E. Fay Jones has finally sold. Though I realize the home was not built as a permanent family residence, I do hope some bachelor, or even a couple will live in this little gem year-round. She's had a rough life, as many family summer homes experience.

As property values have escalated on Eden Isle and many other lakefront areas, I am quite happy that Stoneflower is now protected by it's assignment to the National Register of Historic Places. It would only take one nuevo-riche asshole from Memphis to potentially come in and plow the old lady down, making way for his/her garish retirement compound.

Believe happens all the time.

(courtesy of McKenzie Realty Group)

FAY JONES' STONEFLOWER COTTAGE on Eden Isle. Situated on aboulder covered lot bordering the Red Apple Championship Golf Course and over looking Greers Ferry Lake, Stoneflower is a treat for the eye. This home is one bedroom, but can sleep many. Two living areas, waterfall shower, large deck, stone and wood floors. Stony Ridge entry and separate private entry on Rock Ledge Lane.Two adjacent large lots are currently available. This Fay Jones designis on the National Historical Register. Owner has a 360K appraisal thatwas done in 2005. SOLD! $ 349,900 SOLD!
MLS 10120611

Saturday, March 17, 2007

This is home.

It was too beautiful today, to not capture the Tulip tree and Bradford Pears in their glory. The sunlight today is amazing!

So, I believe that I am understood when I say "I never thought I would live in a house like this." Being the nostalgic nut that I am, I'll be researching the home's history and digging up old photographs.

Those of you who are familiar with architecture will notice that this house has two prevalent styles. Queen Anne & Craftsman. A part of the home's history involved the fire that destroyed much of downtown Hot Springs at the turn of the 20th Century. That fire burned up to the block just across from this house, and scorched much of the gingerbread trim that once adorned the now enclosed porches. It was then that the home changed it's roof-line (and lost the cone atop the turret) and the limestone front was put into place, so as to make it more fire-resistant.

So, here is a Queen Anne, built in 1892 - then modified around 1910, with Craftsman influences.

New Directions

I am filled with positive energy today. My cup runneth over... I only need to look around me and see what influences my thoughts and actions have done to bring me to this point. It further solidifies my belief: 'that which we think...becomes our truth'.

For many years, I imagined myself in a relationship which would enable me the freedom-plain and simple-'to be'. I am here now. It came through many life lessons to arrive here, but I AM here.

I also imagined myself living in a home where I felt the same freedom and where I knew I had safe shelter. Here I sit. This is home. I never imagined it would be as significant and full of wonder, but here I AM. I've always loved art, history, nostalgia... and now it surrounds me and keeps my creative energies flowing at high-speed, yet calms me from within.

Now that these two relevant and substantial truths have become evident in my life-they have become 'my truth', I seek even more personal growth. Indeed, much of my former personal self 'died'. But only I can take much of the blame for that. I was tired. Weak. Unsure. Complicated life lessons and people with negative energy erroded much of who I once was. I now give myself the opportunities of unlimited personal growth. I know now that I can close the doors within and keep any bad energy from manifesting itself.

I have a new saying for my life: "I once was nearly as happy as I am today. That was yesterday."

Thursday, March 15, 2007

On A Clear Day

Several months ago I had the pleasure of forging a new friendship with a guy named Dan. Although we had both entertained the idea of it becoming something more than friendship, we soon realized that a certain chemistry wasn't there. We had gotten to know each other quite well, and we both enjoyed each other's company by just being pals.

It would be typical for either of us to call and chat every couple of weeks. We had even, on occasion, met for dinner or an evening out at Sidetracks. Rather than the usual beer or Cape Cod, I would refrain from drinking around Dan out of courtesy. Dan did not drink. Not because he was in recovery, nor had he ever been an abuser of alcohol. Dan had a genetic liver condition, and was awaiting transplantation.

I recall that last day that he and I talked at length about the recent changes in my life. He was so happy that Joe and I had met and had decided to make a 'go of it'. I not only heard his words, but also I could hear the sincerity in his voice. He was truly happy for me. Also during that conversation, he was telling me that he was going a bit stir-crazy. Apparently, his doctors had placed him higher on the transplant list, and his normal weekend activities had to be limited to near his home, in case he recieved "the call".

Dan was an avid hunter and baseball player. His involvement with adult-league softball amazed me, as he would often be flying all over the country to play in tournaments with his team, the Memphis Hobos. I knew that his limited activities would eventually get to him, but fortunately that same day that we spoke, Daniel got that phone call. A new liver awaited his arrival at UAMS Medical Center in Little Rock.

Dan's younger brother Ed had called me to tell me the news. I had been finalizing my move that weekend, and with it being Sunday evening, I was quite exhausted. Ed proceeded to tell me that Dan's transplant had gone very well, and that Dan was feeling great. He also noted that Dan's color was the best that it had been in years. But on his fourth day in the hospital, a blood clot had apparently detached itself from somewhere in his body. Dan was dead.

It's ironic really, that throughout several years of awaiting a liver, taking numerous medications, living with the consequences of their side-effects, and the one thing that puts him down is a tiny blood clot. Damn!

I spent the following day remembering Dan. Many funny moments helped to carry me through. One memory in particular reminded me of how on occasion, Daniel could be spontaneous. He had called and asked if I wanted to fly to Vegas for the weekend. The occasion... to see Barbra in concert. I could have easily afforded the flight and the room, but considering my other financial obligations by being a divorced father of three, I felt that taking the $500 out of savings for concert tickets would have been foolish Certainly, I would have something out of the ordinary happen, and then not have enough funds to cover the expenses, if I had chosen to go. But, I deeply regret not saying yes. Especially now. He returned to his room after the concert and left me a voice mail. He was beside himself with excitement.

I'm glad he siezed the moment. I'm glad he offered the same to me.

I kept replaying that moment in my head throughout the day. After work, I made one last trip to the condominium to give it a final cleaning. All the rooms were void of any furniture, but as with any move, they were in severe need of a quick cleanup. As I made those long-armed stretches across every room with the Oreck, I could not shake the regrets of not accepting his invitation that weekend.

The carpets now clean. The kitchen and baths scrubbed. I left my keys atop the refrigerator, and bid a farewell to what was once my home. I sat in the car for a moment prior to engaging the engine, admiring the beautiful sunset straight ahead of me. Then, with the click of the seatbelt a twist of the ignition, I prepared to make my exit. Nearly simultaneously, as if the song had been programmed for play as soon as the engine was started, the voice of Barbra came beaming through the car stereo. It was my easy listening station, KLEZ.

I was stunned. Somehow spooked and intrigued and delighted... all at once.

"On a clear day... stop and look around you..."

I continued to sit without driving away for the majority of the song. Tears were streaming down my face. My throat ached as it held back the emotion trying to come up from within my being. I felt Dan right there with me.

As Barbra belted out one of her longest single notes, I placed the Lincoln into drive, and drove away.

"...On a clear day, on a clear day, you can see forever, and ever, and ever more."

Life is too short for many of us. I always hope that I will make the choice to truly LIVE each day... with the fewest number of regrets.

Thank you Dan. I was lucky to know you & have you as a friend.

Shirley Bassey sings "On A Clear Day" It's not Barbra, but it's still pretty darned good!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Too. Many. Martinis.

Last Friday was a first for both Joe and me. It was our first Gallery Walk as a unit. Bethanie, and then Charles, joined us at home for a cocktail primer before we set out on the five block journey to Blue Moon Gallery, where our good friend (and neighbor across the street) Ann stood in reception-along with her artwork. Chef James was to join-in on the fun as soon as he was able, and did so a short time after our own arrival.

One reason for this group to convene was the planning of our good friend (and neighbor across the street), Ann's 50th Birthday bash. Thank You, Miss Pat, for allowing Blue Moon to be our venue!! Chef James agreed to help with food, and had several smashing ideas that I will love to see come to fruition. I hope $500 will provide enough food for 40...??? Now, only beverage and entertainment are left to finalize.

With planning halfway complete, we decided to cap off the evening with a visit to The Porterhouse Club...not to be confused with The Porterhouse Restaurant. The Porterhouse Club is up a blindingly steep and extra long set of stairs above the restaurant. We made our way to a table in a corner, not too far away from the piano...and the evening began it's slow, gradual descent.

One round, two rounds, three rounds, four... That is about the time, I believe that Bethanie and James began a slow dance and somehow ended up making out. Nothing too out of the ordinary to my readers, I suppose, but let me explain that Bethanie-buxom, beautiful Cajun...and James-6'6", over the top, loud, verbal, queen...should NOT have been in as conjunctual a position as they allowed themselves. Funny, yes...and I did notice all eyes in the room were fixed upon them. I doubt anyone (but me) noticed that the piano player had announced and was now playing a song dedicated to me from Joe, My Funny Valentine. I even had to tell everyone to shut-up so that I could hear my song....

"Do all gay men kiss as good as you?", was Bethanie's remark as they made their way back to the table. Eyes rolled. James then turned his attention to Charles, the only straight man at the table. At least Charles can flip any remark right back at James. It was a pleasure to hear his sharp-witted tounge, because James can be quite the sarcastic queen...and loud.

We did all agree that if we could clone Charles and make him gay, we'd all be bizillionaires. Charles-bald, 37, 5'8", with chiseled German features, has that fierce look about him. Perhaps it was all those years as a cop...? Anyway, Charles has a versatility to him that makes him look smashing, whether dressed in crisp linen (as he was that evening) or even if he decided to tatoo himself all over and wear biker leather. Fierce.

Six rounds, seven rounds...eight??? We began loosing track of each other by this point. I think James had gone to the restroom when Joe, Ann, Bethanie and I had decided to call it quits and go home. Sorrows to James if that is indeed what happened...and I wonder if he even noticed? Charles had shown his wisdom, and had gone back home to his wife some time earlier.

Thank God we live downtown.