September 10, 2015

Countdown to 60 - Part 8 (and probably the last)

Is this really what 60 candles looks like on top of a perfectly good cake?

One week from tomorrow is the 60th anniversary of my birth... In reality that means that I will be starting my 7th decade on this earth on the same day... Ok, I prefer turning 60 to the latter...

Just a number, right??? I keep saying that to myself to try to "ease my pain". It even works sometimes.

The best parts of this whole turning 60 thing and of 2015 in general can be summed up in this short statement:

In March I met a guy that I absolutely adore and could be happy with for a a very long time. In May I found out I am going to be a grandfather again, and finally, in August my #3 son and I started the mending process, healing wounds that were inflicted almost ten years ago... 

Life could not be better!

Over and "Out" from a good place, here in Richmond, VA...

August 3, 2015

Countdown to 60 - Part 7

What's not to LOVE about these two? My youngest child (Savannah) with my man (Jeff) hamming it up at a Sunday Drag Brunch at Godfrey's here in the RVA...

I have been a bit hesitant about posting anything about Jeff on Facebook or in here. We both agreed to take things slowly when we started dating back in March and the last thing I wanted to do was jinx things or say something that might ruin what we were building. I had overwhelmingly positive feelings about him by mid May and just felt it necessary to keep my feelings to myself as he had a really bad experience last year and just wanted to keep things simple...

During June I started expressing the way I felt towards him in an apologetic way (since the "lusty" part of our dating experience should have subsided by then). He finally told me to stop with the apologies, that he understood, yet just wasn't ready to share the same feelings. For a moment I thought I had really "screwed the pooch" (aka: messed things up)...

We have spent the past few weekends at his place (he has 2 dogs and a cat to care for so it only seemed the obvious choice). Usually we make dinner for each other and snuggle/cuddle with or without the dogs watching a DVD on Friday, sit on his awesome porch in the country with our coffee on Saturday morning, run errands and or do some chores around the house during the day, repeat with dinner and TV Saturday night, coffee on the porch Sunday morning and then church together before parting ways for the week... (intimate times are intentionally not included in this post)...

Fast forward to this past weekend...

Friday went as it usually does, as did Saturday morning and day. Saturday night we were watching TV curled up on the sofa when he told me he had to show me something... He grabbed his tablet and signed on to Facebook. He went to his Life Events and entered "In a relationship with Tom Rimington"... You could have knocked me over with a feather...

I'm not sure what happened during the past week (and really don't need or want an explanation) but it seems that we are both finally on the same page, and willing to voice our feelings about and to each other, in our relationship...

Remember my last post? Top of the bucket list? I am in love with this man and I am optimistic as to where things with us may go in the future. I am just not sure I am "worthy" of him. He is truly one of the most attractive (physically, intellectually, and morally) men I have ever met...

Over, "Out" and smitten in love, from Richmond, VA

July 24, 2015

Countdown to 60, Part 6

Thought I would repost an event that checked yet another thing off my Lifetime Bucket List. There are not many left but top on the list is to fall "In Love" again and maybe even get married again (now that I can), and number 2 is probably an Alaskan Cruise... (I may have to create a Kickstarter campaign for that one though, would you donate if you had a chance to join me?),,, What or how many things are on your Bucket List?

From February, 2006:

"For my 50th birthday this past year I decided to not only come-out, but also chose to jump-out of a perfectly good airplane. Thanks to the staff down at West Point Skydiving Adventures, , (about an hour from westend Richmond) it was one of the most awesome experiences of my life.

After arriving early Sunday morning, we sat down and, in triplicate, signed and initialed our lives away on the company release waiver (I have not signed that many documents since my last home closing). I perfectly understand why the releases are necessary however, to the faint at heart, they may have been somewhat intimidating.

Since my friends and I had chosen to do tandem jumps, where we would be strapped tightly to the front of our instructor (A few of us felt there was nothing wrong with that picture), the training was somewhat abbreviated. We were shown the proper way to walk while strapped together, the correct way to exit the aircraft and arch our backs once in free-fall (again this back arching thing came naturally and more easily to a few of us). The instructor then gave us an idea of what we would encounter during the free-fall, the deployment of the chute, the rest of the ride, and finally the landing. None of us chickened out through this process so it appeared we were good to go.

The plane used that day was the size and shape of a Henrico County school bus. Not as air-worthy appearing a I thought it should be, but then, I had made the choice to leave it in mid flight, regardless of it's flying abilities. Picture that school bus with benches running it's length on each side, then picture the entire senior class at Hermitage High School climbing aboard all with their 40lb book bags strapped to their backs. As tandem jumpers, we got to board first and sat on a bench in what we later referred to as first class. The rest of the plane filled up very quickly. By the time we were ready to take off there were bodies everywhere. Oh and just an FYI, since we all had parachutes, I assumed the seat belt laws did not apply, so I didn't expect myself to be not only strapped onto my instructor but strapped into my seat too.

We reached our jumping altitude of 14,000 feet after about 15 minutes. The climb up was very noisy as the ramp on the back of the plane was partially opened. The experienced skydivers used this time to practice their mid-air version of pilates and periodically glance over and make frightening gestures our way (I guess it's always fun to tease the new kids). Once we got to the right altitude the pilot lowered the ramp so that we could start our deplaning. The experienced jumpers wasted no time as they exited in groups, I imagine to execute some difficult formations using their arms, legs and heads while falling at 120 miles per hour. The tandem jumpers go last, I suppose so as not to get in the way of those wanting to go 125-130 mph. Before deplaning, our instructors cinched up all the straps holding us together, we then spend an awkward 5 minutes trying to stand from a very uncomfortable sitting position. Once on our feet, we aim for the rear of the plane and the ramp leading to nowhere.

That last step was interesting. As we fell, legs first, into the baby blue Central Virginia sky, the air flowing under the plane caught our legs and flipped us end over end. The instructor levels us out and taps me on the side to signal me that it was time to arch, which I promptly did. Now let me try to describe what you hear while all this is going on. When you have a chance, go over to your TV, tune it to channel 3, turn off your cable box and VCR/DVD, and turn up the volume on your 500watt surround sound system, with your head between the front two speakers. There is absolutely no vocal communication while free-falling, everything is done with pre-determined hand gestures. After what seemed like about 10 minutes, our 30 second free fall came to an end as the instructor tapped the altimeter on my wrist and I pulled the cord on our chute. You can feel the fabric start unfurling from the case on the instructors back, but until it opens and catches the sky, you have no idea what it feels like to be stopped in mid-air. You also re thank your instructor for checking and tightening those straps one last time before exiting the plane. What started out as a blur accompanied by a mind deafening noise, suddenly became the most tranquil, heavenly experience. The instructor tells me (yes you can hear at this point) that he is going to loosen the straps now, and that it may feel like he's letting me go (he actually said that to me) but it would be more comfortable for the remainder of the jump if the straps were loosened. The balance of our ride was like nothing I can describe. It had all the thrills of an "E" ticket ride at Disneyland (which by the way also turned 50 last year) and all the serenity of sailing in Biscayne Bay on a clear cool Miami autumn day. The flight after deployment of the chute probably didn't take more than 5-10 minutes but it seemed (in a very good way) to last 3-4 times that. As we got closer to the ground the instructor reminded me to lift and hold up my legs as we land (once again some men do this easier than others) so as not to get in his way as he tries to soften the landing. I held them up as we came down and in for our landing, which started out as a 2 point, on his feet, landing and ended up with both of us on our bums.

I could not have asked for a more enjoyable 50th/coming out experience. Thank you Lee, Philip, Tim, Andre, and the wonderful staff at West Point Skydiving Adventures, you guys all ROCK!

If you ever thought you'd like to try skydiving, JUST DO IT, you won't be sorry!"

Over and "Out", almost ten years later, from Richmond, VA

July 4, 2015

Countdown to 60, Part 5

I like this guy! 

My favorite guy and I had a great conversation this morning... It wasn't about anything in particular but he reminded me through it that Sarcasm is truly a language and an art form, and that after almost 60 years, I have become quite proficient at it.

It tickles my boat when I get to chat with him early in the morning, before his pessimistic guard goes up. I see a few more good reasons to tow the line, and stay the course... He definitely has potential.

He and I see things through different glasses. He shared a joke with me when I suggested that he usually sees the "glass half empty" and here it is:

Joke: I went to the psychiatrist and he set a glass of water in the desk.

He asked me if I saw myself as a glass half empty person or a glass half full person?

I picked up the glass, drank the water, and said I see myself as a problem solver!!

He later suggested, after I said I would have found a smaller glass and filled it to the top, that he would have "watered the Doctor's begonia, in the window, with it"...

What are you? Sarcastic - Half Empty

or                  Sarcastic - Half Full

Over and "out" on the 239th Birthday of our great nation, from Richmond, VA

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