June 26, 2015

Countdown to 60, Part 4

Ten years ago, when I came out to my family and friends, I would have never thought this would happen in the 10th year... I can say only one thing: "Thank you to all that came out before me and thank you to all that have supported equality"... That is all...

Over and proudly "Out" from Richmond, VA

June 21, 2015

Countdown to 60, Part 3

I don't plan on jinxing anything here by offering up any specifics, but I will confess that I have found someone that intrigues me, excites me, makes me question things, and helps me see things from a different perspective. I'm not sure if this person "feels" the same way about me, other than we have been dating for a little over three months now... I am staying optimistic and cautious at the same time while trying to keep my expectations in check...

I know what lust feels like, I know what "like" feels like, and I know what it feels like to have a soulmate, but after almost 60 years I'm not sure I know what true love feels like, if that makes sense.

Sure I have seen the movies and read the books about the subject but the lines seem muddled between like, lust, soulmate and true love.

In my early 20's I thought I fell in love. I got married and we had two wonderful sons. Something wasn't right and in less than 7 years we grew in different directions and parted ways. Over the years since then I realized that I did love this person but not in a "partnership" kind of way. She was an awesome person, daughter, and mother and I cherished the friendship we had until her passing...

In my early 30's I thought I fell in love again. This person could finish my sentences, as I could her's. We got married and had a son and a daughter. I could talk to her about anything. Unfortunately, talking about them and acting on some of those feelings are two different things. After we each had serious health scares, the communications faltered and after 19 years we (more accurately, I) decided it was wrong to continue to live a lie. She did not handle things that well and we did not speak much afterwards. There were many things I would have enjoyed sharing with her, but alas, she too was called from this earth a few years later.

In my 50's I found what I thought was love again, twice... They each had different definitions of loyalty and fidelity than I did. Both were good people but both relationships ended with someone's feelings getting hurt.

I guess the "jist" of this post is; What is "True Love"? I look back on my past and wonder if I really deserve to know what the meaning really is. This new acquaintance has kept me in check by insisting on taking things slowly. I am grateful for that in a way, as I do have a tendency to "leap before I look" when it comes to relationships.

On this fathers day I must say that I have been blessed with wonderful children (and grandchildren) and while I may not say it often, I am very proud of all of them and Love them all unconditionally.

We'll see how it goes for me on the Countdown to Sixty...

Over and "Out" from Richmond, VA

June 17, 2015

Living "Out" posts from Pride Months Past:

Sometimes I even impress myself at almost 60...

I experienced this event and wrote this 6 years ago. Funny thing is, I recently had a similar conversation with another fellow associate:

"We all wonder at times why we are, what we are, and who we are. I have always considered teaching to be one of the more honorable professions and even considered going back to school to pick up a teaching degree. That said, it never happened.

What I did realize not too long ago, is that I am teaching every day. Through my openness, compassion, and ability to articulate, I teach my fellow humans every day about being gay. I teach not tolerance, but acceptance. Recently an associate of mine came to me and said "Tom, I just don't get it" referring to being gay and what it is that we wanted. After considering the circumstances, I used the best analogy I could. This was a middle aged black man making the statement. My response centered around the equal rights movement of the 60's. I explained that all "we" wanted was what everyone else wants. The right to love whomever we choose, the right to make binding agreements that are recognized and honored by all, and acceptance by our fellow humans. I likened our plight to that of his own, and reminded him that it wasn't long ago that African Americans were treated with a similar stigma.

I looked at him and said "I don't expect you to understand why it is that I can fall in love with another man. Just like you should not expect me to understand what it is like to be a person of color. Regardless of our inability to feel each others' feelings, we need to accept each other and respect those differences to make life work in this world". I was so proud of myself, and still am. I have no idea where the words came from, but he "Got IT", shook my hand and told me what a pleasure it was to know me... What else could I possibly need or want?"

Over and "Out" from Richmond, VA

June 16, 2015

Countdown to 60, Part 2

Forrest Gump?

A new associate and I were chatting over "lunch" the other night at work. We were sharing life stories and after all was said and done, she likened my life to that of Tom Hanks character in the movie of the same name...

I wasn't offended as much as I was taken back a bit. My life has had no where near the number of encounters or event participation that Forrest had during his, or has it?

I was born in Pennsylvania when Dwight Eisenhower was President.
I moved to California when I was two.
I remember my older brother's 5th birthday (I was 3).
My Dad helped design the Minuteman Missile.
Traveled by car in the 60's to more than 20 of the lower 48.
Moved to the Virgin Islands before my 13th birthday.
Spent most of my teenage years living on a 66' Sailboat.
Cruised with family to most of the Bahamian Islands.
Met Buddy Ebsen (Beverly Hillbillies) when I was 16.
Had lunch with Carol Burnett when I was 20.
Made several trips up and down the east coast Intercoastal Waterway.
Had drinks with Walter Cronkite on his sailboat in Miami.
Ran a 48' private yacht for a Miami restaurant owner.
Ran a 70' private yacht for a Bermudian businessman.
Attended Miami-Dade College.
Got married, had two sons, bought first house.
Got divorced.
Remarried, had another son an a daughter.
Met and worked with most of the cast from 3 Star Trek TV Shows.
Worked for Burger King Corp and Burdines/Macy's in Miami.
Worked for Circuit City in Ft Lauderdale before moving to Richmond.
Jumped out of an airplane for my 50th birthday.
Came "Out of the closet" the same year.
Moved to Williamsburg and then to Portsmouth (VA).
Met my biological father (Pop).
Have 3 wonderful grandchildren (with another on the way).
Had two relationships since coming out (hopefully a 3rd on the way).

Wow... There are so many other things I have done, places I have been, and great people I have met along the way... Maybe I am a little like Forrest after all... On the other hand there are so many things I still want to do, places i want to go, and people I want to get to know... Ahhhh, plenty of time still!

Stay tuned for more adventures (and probable misadventures) leading up to and beyond the countdown to Sixty!

Over and "Out", from Richmond, VA

March 15, 2015

Countdown to 60, Part 1

Yes, I'm back, alive and kicking...

Who'd of thought that I would ever be counting down the months, weeks and days to the 60th anniversary of my birth?

For those (few) of you that have followed me since 2006 and are not "friends" of mine on facebook, the tail end of 2014 was "interesting" to say the least... Christmas Eve, after working the night before, I was feeling a familiar tightness in my chest that wouldn't go away. Long story short, after my initial "cardiac event" almost 10 years earlier, and a follow-up visit from the widowmaker in 2013, I was once again having a minor heart attack.

After an angioplasty on Christmas Day my cardiologist informed me that the 5 previously installed stents were not doing the job they were intended to do and that I had additional blockage that needed tending to... Enter the need for a double bypass, Merry (frigging) Christmas to me!

Surgery could not be scheduled until the 29th and due to the potential risk, the hospital would not let me go home until after it was done.

Double bypass became a triple and after 5 additional recovery days I was released on the 2nd day of 2015 with a new scar from my neck to the base of my ribcage...

After a month at home recovering (and not driving) I finally got to return to work and the real world around the 10th anniversary of my first MI and the 9th "blogoversary" of "My New Life"...

Since then, 2015 is turning out to be pretty darn good... My limitations at work have been lifted, I don't have to fear the power of a car's airbag anymore, sneezing and coughing no longer feel like they will blow my chest out, and I have even gone out on a few "dates"...

Thank you to all my family and friends that have supported me through it all... I even got a visit in the hospital from Kelly (the first fellow blogger to comment on mine) over at "Rambling along in Life with a Stern point of view"...

Now that I am semi caught up, the countdown to 60 will continue periodically, so check back for new adventures and mis-adventures as "My New Life" continues in it's 10th year!

Over and "Out", from Richmond, VA

March 8, 2015

I am alive and well...

Looking forward to a great 2015! That is all for now...

September 5, 2014

Putting the SCOTUS Feet to the Fire...

Looks like a majority of the United States want this expedited:

Thirty-two states that either allow gay marriage or have banned it asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday to settle the issue once and for all.

Fifteen states that allow gay marriage, led by Massachusetts, filed a brief asking the justices to take up three cases from Virginia, Utah and Oklahoma and overturn bans. And 17 other states, led by Colorado, that have banned the practice asked the court to hear cases from Utah and Oklahoma to clear up a "morass" of lawsuits, but didn't urge the court to rule one way or another.

The filing came as a three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ruled that same-sex marriage bans in Wisconsin and Indiana are unconstitutional. The unanimous decision Thursday criticized the justifications both states gave, several times singling out the argument that marriage between a man and a woman is tradition. There are, the court noted, good and bad traditions.

The experience of Massachusetts - the first state to legalize gay marriage - shows that allowing same-sex couples to wed has only benefited families and strengthened the institution of marriage, said Attorney General Martha Coakley.

"Laws that bar same-sex couples from marrying are discriminatory and unconstitutional," she said. "The time has come for this critical issue to be resolved."

Massachusetts was joined by California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Washington.

Colorado's brief argued that the definition of marriage faces legal challenges only the Supreme Court can resolve, and that without a Supreme Court decision, states defending bans could be liable for huge legal bills from future lawsuits if they are overturned. It was written by Daniel D. Domenico, the state's solicitor general, and Michael Lee Francisco, assistant solicitor general.

Colorado was joined by Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

These are the cases addressed in the briefs:

In Virginia, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in July that the state's voter-approved ban is unconstitutional. The state has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which hasn't said whether it will accept the case. But the high court granted a request on Aug. 20 from a county clerk to delay implementation of the ruling, which would have allowed same-sex couples to marry beginning the next day.

In Oklahoma, an appeals court tossed the state's ban in July but put its ruling on hold pending an appeal, meaning same-sex couples can't marry in Oklahoma for now. Attorneys representing the Tulsa County court clerk - who refused to issue a marriage license for a lesbian couple there - asked the Supreme Court this month to hear the case.

In Utah, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled this summer that Utah must allow gay couples to marry, though it put the ruling on hold pending an appeal. The state has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the state's ban.
What do you think? Time to hear this?

Over and "Out" from Richmond, VA