Closing Time

June 23, 2011

There was a time when I had so many thoughts to share with the world. I couldn’t wait to spin something of my life out into words. But over the past year I’ve gradually lost that passion. My blog has gone through a few reincarnations, has been destroyed and built anew, but this time I feel different. I think it is time to officially close down Two Inches of Formica.

It deserves an ending point. I’ve let it languish for months now, pecking a post here and there, but never feeling the pride with which writing could flood my soul. It’s become an empty space, an abandoned homestead. The occupant has moved on and doesn’t wish to visit anymore. I want to give it a sense of closure.

I don’t think many visit these pages anymore. But for those who do, I thank you for being a part of my blogging life. Blogging helped through some very tough times and my blogging friends were there to help. I want you to know this is a tough decision, one I’ve put off for months. My life is full and wonderful, this blog feels more like an anchor on me than lifting wind it had once been. So it is time to close the book.

To everyone out there,

Be well

The Art of Life

May 16, 2011

If I ever have another chance to yet again reinvent myself, I think I would like to go back into the field of psychology. My first degree from college was in the field; focusing on childhood development. The plan at the time was to use it as a base for a career in elementary education. I actually did receive my teaching certificate and was only a thesis away from finishing my masters.

Life had other plans for me at the time. After a stressful initial year as a fifth grade teacher, I felt insecure about my abilities to teach and uncomfortable with the burden of keeping my sexuality a secret.  I had a great need to live my life openly while also harboring a paralyzing fear that I could not handle the stress of doing so in a relatively conservative (at the time) career environment. So I compromised and worked in very blatantly gay environments, such as stripping, phone sex, and as a bathhouse attendant for over a decade.

continued tomorrow

Spring/Sprung

April 29, 2011

jumping flower
running wind
things are beginning
to begin again

leaping brook
sugar scent
spring has sprung
and winter went

humming morning
shining moon
life is singing
nature’s tune

sighing treetop
banjo frog
spring is summer’s
cold prologue

mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful

March 29, 2011

The new season is off to a cold start. The morning air is crisp. Our crocuses have withered and I am hoping the soon-to-open daffodils won’t suffer a similar fate. Regardless of the temperature Spring is here. Last night before bed I looked out our living room windows and saw the hunter and his faithful dog standing just above our neighbors’ homes.
I can easily measure the year’s length by the night sky. At the footsteps of April’s door the frigid constellations are being swept into the sunset and Arcturus, the diamond of the Spring sky is ascending in the north-east. Leo proudly straddles the zenith. There are fewer stars visible in the sky than at any other time of the year; we have turned away from our galaxy and are looking into the deep recesses of space.

The title of this piece are words from a favorite poem of mine, I see them as word pictures that capture the essence of the new season. Spring is an awakening, a messy, grimy affair, as most things are when they begin. But it will build upon itself until we reap the fall harvest. Until then we have a lot of life to experience; that is the true joy of this first season of the year.

Spring Thoughts

March 28, 2011

One of the consequences of my medication is that I have lost the desire to express myself in words. It used to be very easy for me to jot down a few paragraphs detailing some thought twirling through my mind. These days it is nearly impossible for me to string together an acceptable sentence. I do find this loss of voice an acceptable bargain for the contentment I feel down to the depths of my soul.

I’ve had years now to assess my situation and I’ve come to some very concrete conclusions. I realize that I need just a few people in my life. It helps that my significant other is also my best friend. I never tire of spending time with him. There are others in my life, but none touch me as deeply as he does. My soul is a very quiet place and I wish to keep it that way.

Another thing I know is that my adult life so far has been a good one. When I was much younger I had very lofty dreams and aspirations, but no plan of accomplishing them. I realize now that while my mind decided these things were important, my heart remembered all that I cherished as a child.  Those are the things I have now, the hardest things to achieve such as the security of a true and lasting love, confidence in myself to do what is honest and right, work that is rewarding and interesting and rarely stressful, and time to enjoy what life has presented me.

I am happy. I desire very little outside the realm of my current being. I appreciate every day and know that our world is constantly in flux; any still pool in the river of time should never be unacknowledged. The leaf that is my life could be tugged on by the winds of fate at any time and be pulled along. Until then I will be centered and be aware of the beautiful universe that rotates around my being.

Harper’s Ferry

October 10, 2010

We’ve had two very busy weekends in a row. Last week we biked a portion of the Great Allegheny Passage from Rockwood to Cumberland Maryland (45 miles). It was sunny, but cold. Hooter dropped us off and then met us at all the major access points. We had a late start since we winterized the trailer that morning; it was dark by the time we pedaled into the Cumberland station. Poor Captain, he was behind and barely made it to the end before the light on his bike went dead. It was a fun time though: 20 miles up to the continental divide and then 25 miles down the other side.

Me at the Divide

Jim at the Divide

This weekend we all took a train trip to Harper’s Ferry. It’s a town built into a rocky hill just about an hour east of Washington DC. West Virginia, Virginia, and Maryland all touch there; it is where the Potomac meets the Shenandoah river. It’s also packed with history, having been overtaken eight times during the Civil War. It’s a beautiful spot with many old stone buildings dug out of the stone outcroppings.

Our train

We left Connelsville at five in the morning and played cards on the train while watching the mountains, rivers, and farmland fly by the windows. We arrived at eleven-thirty and spent until quarter after five exploring the town and the surrounding trails. First we had lunch at a restaurant halfway up the hill, dining in the rock garden out back. Then we visited the church further up and eventually made it up to Jefferson Rock. The town was packed, a special day was going on… Election days 1860… with many people dressing for the time period (stove pipe hats and big hoop skirts) There was a band and stump speeches for the candidates. All in all a very festive atmosphere.

Lunch in the rock garden

On the way home we sat in the lounge car watching the landscape as the sun gradually set behind us. We then had dinner in the dining car, an adventure to say the least as we and our plates kept swaying to the motion of the train.  It was a bit sad that this was the last big outing of the season, but soon it will be too cold outside to bike.  That’s OK, though.  We can spend the time playing games next to the fireplace when the snow begins to fly.

The rivers from Jefferson Rock

Thank you Hooter for suggesting the trip.  Everyone enjoyed it immensely.

Saint Paul's Church from below

Beautiful church windows

October

October 1, 2010

morning shivers
yellow moons
gilded rivers
insect tunes

pumpkin grins
growing night
evening winds
pale sunlight

ruddy leaf
pallid skies
drying sheaf
ghostly sighs

brittle grass
fiery dusk
frosted glass
empty husk

September

September 30, 2010

September is hours away from being over and I realized I haven’t written anything this month.  It’s been a very busy time, both at work and at home.

We traveled to Toronto over the labor day weekend with Hooter and The Captain. It was Hooter’s first trip to the city and our (too many to count)th time. We haven’t been back in nearly nine years though. At the turn of the century we were up there  nearly every month. It was nice to go back. We walked along Church street, visited Remmington’s one night to watch the boys strip, and saw the first emperor of China at the Royal Ontario Museum. The one thing we did not do was visit the island. The  cool and rainy weather prevented us.

The third weekend we took our last camping trip of the year. We visited Ohiopyle again and for the most part had a good time. On Saturday Jim and I went for a sixty mile bike ride from Ohiopyle to Rockwood. The Captain was also with us, but he turned back six miles before our destination. We made it back just before dark.  I can’t say the same for him. He didn’t arrive back until an hour and a half later, having fallen asleep on a rock by a stream, worrying us all to no end. Sunday and Monday we spent hiking. Hooter and The Captain had to leave Sunday afternoon, so Jim and I spent some time reminiscing by the fire Sunday evening.

The worst thing of the month was the passing of our kitty.  He was sixteen years old and has been doing very poorly over the past year.  We knew he would not last the winter, but didn’t expect him to go so soon. KitKat waited for us to come home from camping. We had one more night of holding him in our laps before I found him dead last Tuesday morning. It’s been a very hard time for us. He was more than just a cat to us; he was our best bud. I might feel strong enough to find some pictures of him and post a memorial later this week.

That’s the month in a nutshell… both good and bad times.

Roller Coasters

August 29, 2010

Our trip to ‘The Point’ was awesome.   It seemed to be the word of the day; the ride operators would say it after asking if everyone had an exciting trip.  Kids were saying it running down the exits.  Jim and I said it quite a few times after leaving a roller coaster.  We arrived early enough on Thursday to get in on the Starlight pass.  We took our motion sickness pills and entered right next to the Magnum.  The park was quite empty… it took us less than five minutes to get on the coaster. Then fifteen minutes later we were riding the Gemini.   Another fifteen and we were on the Mean Streak.   Three big coasters within an hour after taking the pills resulted in the opposite of awesome: we both felt sick.  The mean streak lives up to its name… it shook the crap out of us.

We found Mercury in a corner of the park

I rode the Sky Hawk, the Mantis, and the Iron Dragon before nausea overtook me as well.  We recuperated on some easy rides (Gondolas, Ferris Wheel) before feeling well and brave enough to tackle the Magnum again before the park closed at nine.  We actually rode it twice in a row which knocked both of us out again.  My favorite memory of the evening was being on the giant Ferris Wheel and watching the sun set over the lake from the top of the ride.   We had dinner at TGI Friday’s and then took a walk over to Camper’s Village to check out the facilities.   The moon was shining down on the water.  We thought about a game of mini golf, but both of us still felt shaky so we went to bed.

Mercury has nice buns

The next day we took our pills earlier and decided to tackle the Millennium Force first.  I felt so nervous getting on it; it goes up 310 feet.  Jim was afraid of becoming nauseous again.  But the ride was fast and smooth.  At the end of the day we declared it our favorite coaster.  We rode it again and would have went for a third time if time would have permitted; there was so much to do.  We rode the Top Thrill Dragster next.  It launches the car onto a 420 foot hill at 120 miles per hour.  The ride was fun, but it was brief.  We thought about riding it again later in the day, but it broke down not too long after we rode it.  For the rest of the day I rode a number of the other coasters, twelve of them in all, most more than once.  I wanted to make it to all fifteen, but the Maverick broke while I was waiting in line and I didn’t have enough time to make it on the Wicked Twister or Disaster Transport.  Well, there is always next year.

420 Feet of Thrills

We also took in a show,an  ice skating performance starring the peanuts characters.  It was better than I expected, with a number of good tricks by the professional skaters.   I did manage to get Jim on the Sky Hawk.  It’s a big swing where you are strapped into a chair with only a bar holding you back.  The swing goes back and forth until you are 120 feet into the sky.  He declared it the scariest ride; even more so than the coasters, and I had to agree.   We also ate a lot of park food and had a great meal of barbecue rib tips at Famous Dave’s.  We thought about staying in Cleveland overnight and going to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Saturday, but after some discussion sleeping in our own bed and going biking on the Butler-Freeport trail sounded better, which is what we did yesterday.  I even made stuffed peppers for dinner.

120 feet of Terror

It was a great weekend with each other, but we are looking forward to going to Toronto next weekend with our best friends.

Schroeder and Lucy

Us at Famous Dave's

Cedar Point

August 24, 2010

Only two more days to Cedar Point. I think I am as psyched for this trip as I was for the Florida vacation. I have recently re-discovered my love of roller coasters this year when we took a trip to Kennywood. We were going to take the camper, but decided to instead leave it at Hooters and stay in the Breakers Hotel. I am looking forward to spending time with just my man.

I love our friends, but sometimes it is nice to be just the two of us.

Plus it would be impossible to get them on any of the coasters.


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