Sunday, September 30, 2007

Wistful thinking!

This has been a very quiet weekend. It began by my sleeping in to catch up from my night out with the boys.

I've stayed inside....did some errands including having the car inspected, hair cut, groceries, etc.

But I have had many moments of reflection -- thinking about my life as it now it was. I've grown so much and I am so very thankful for having landed on my feet following the terrible divorce. It's just hard to figure out where my life is headed.

When I began my federal career almost 30 years ago, I attended a training course that said you should have goals in your life or you'll not get too far. Well, at this moment in my life, I don't have any goals. The only thing I want to do is to keep healthy and to be successful. But this is just kind of nebulous. It's not specific. I just feel now that I am bobbing and weaving throug life...and it is not a good feeling.

I'm learning just how difficult living life as a gay man can be. On Friday as I spent time with the boys, I noticed terrible examples of ageism. Sadly, if you're not young...or buff.....or tall, dark and handsome, it looks like that life will pass you by....and you'll be left alone.

I'm not young....I'm not buff. I am tall, but not dark (silver maybe?) and to be honest, I'm not sure if you would label me as handsome or not. But, let me put it this way, I wasn't turning heads of anyone. So, I think that one fact gives me a hint. And I need to get used to it.

But the question I really have yet to answer I want a partner?

Do I want to be accountable to someone?

Do I want to experience all the drama of having another person.....another family.....another set of issues introduced into my life?

Honestly, I don't have an answer to that. I'm still working on it.

So many times I reflect on my life....and how simple it seemed at one time. I find myself longing for those simpler times, but I fear that they are long gone...and never to return.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Early Saturday Morning

It is 4:15 Saturday Morning and I'm just getting home from a night out with the boys.

I have never caroused before. So, this is a new thing for ole Frank to do. But, I didn't have anything else to do tonight....I wasn't on anyone else's schedule but my own. I don't work on Saturday. Why shouldn't I have a little fun?

This hasn't been the best 48 hours I've ever lived. But I'm handling it okay.

Lovey phoned this afternoon on her way to a wedding with her mother, her aunt, and the dentist. She wanted me to know how very much she enjoyed last night and to thank me for my hospitality. I was cordial, but aloof. I also spoke with #2. She seems to be very concerned that Lovey and I will be getting back together.

I told her an emphatic NO to that one!

I'm just now beginning to heal from all that. I've moved on.

On another front, I'm rather disappointed in me. I may write more on that topic later.

Well, I need to get a little shut eye.

Until next time.....

Friday, September 28, 2007

It's The Weekend!

What a week I have had!

Can you believe it?

My children are actually afraid that I am going to "get back together" with their mother.

"Why?" you may ask.

All because Lovey and I spent a lot time together this week.

Last night she came to my house with her aunt. She brought dinner and wanted to watch the movie, "We Are Marshall."

We were cordial.

We were pleasant to each other.

At the end of the evening, she gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek.

Today she called as she was speeding down the road to a wedding in Williamsburg. She wanted me to know what a great time she had at my house!

I brush these things off pretty easily because I have no intentions of getting back together with Lovey. I'm enjoying my alone time.


And the peace and quiet that I have without having to walk on egg shells to keep someone happy...or peaceful.

While I was away this weekend, I got a lot of supportive telephone calls from my many gay pals. They wanted me to know that they were thinking about me. They said things to make me laugh. They also knew that Lovey was in the car. So they got super raunchy.

It was all I could do to keep focused on the steering wheel.

One of my friends made me tear up....when he said that he wanted me to know how much he and the gang loved me...and that they would be praying for me. It really meant a lot. And as I have said many, many times before, my tears are just barely under the it doesn't require much to get the tears flowing.

Lovey observed all of this.

Near the end of our trip, she made the comment that if we were still married, those phone calls from friends would have disturbed her. I asked her why.

She has this compelling need to be the first and foremost person in my life.

I said, that while she used to be my primary person, and if I had received the calls then, it shouldn't bother her. After all these calls were my friends calling to chat with me. It wasn't about sex....or a hookup. She still said that it would have bothered her.


I have to say that when she appeared at my house last night, I was so very proud of my house. It was clean from stem to stern. It looked great.

When she came into the house, the first thing she said...."My, it smells so clean in here!"

I wanted to say, "Well, that's because it is clean!" But I didn't....I was just the gracious host.

That's me these days....always trying to be the gracious host!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Hate Crimes Legislation Passed!!!

I was amazed to hear the news that the hate crimes bill passed the senate today with the required 60 votes.

It has been a long time coming. But I wonder if our President will veto it? God bless the Democrats for attaching it to the Iraq War spending authorization.

I hear from my sources, that the President has said openly that anyone who did not support the authorizations was not patriotic. He has also said he would veto the hate crimes bill.

A bit of a conundrum don't you think?

I wonder what he is going to do with this combination bill?

If he vetoes the is going to really say a lot about him. A whole lot more than I care to think about.


I hate misunderstandings.

Part of the problem I had with Lovey was that I felt wronged....and so misunderstood. It wasn't until this past weekend that I finally got a lot off my chest with her. I also addressed this fact of feeling so misunderstood.

From the comments I've received over the course of keeping this blog, I have had some commenters make statements to me, that point to the fact that I have been misunderstood in some of the things I say here.

Communicating one's feelings through writing I guess leads to misunderstandings.

Just like some people when interviewed by a journalist, wll invariably say, "I was quoted out of context!"

Senator Larry Craig feels misunderstood. After all, we all know he's not gay. He just has a "wide stance" when it comes to his using airport restrooms.

But I guess misunderstandings are just a part of the human condition. We judge ourselves by our motives and our thoughts.....but we judge others by their actions.

I've found that it helps to try and understand where the other person is coming from when something happens. I try to dig deep and to factor in their situations. Are they feeling okay? Are they stressed? Is something going wrong for them elsewhere that is making them behave in the manner they have.

This always lessens the chance for me to go into full attack mode.

Perhaps this is why that I was willing to spend so much time with Lovey this past weekend.

Willing to listen to her talk about what things have been bothering her.

Willing to hear what today's reasons are for the divorce.

It helped me to remain calm and to say what was on my heart. As painful as some of the things we discussed were, it helped me to remain relatively calm and speaking evenly and quietly.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

What Goes Around....Comes Around

My mother always told me to never make fun of anyone, or to gloat over someone's misfortune. She'd say, "the minute you do this, what goes around always comes around to YOU."

Lovey used to tell me that she thought I had the "gift of discernment" because of my ability to tell things about people, which usually turned out to be true.

This gift that I have seems to be pretty accurate...

The first time I noticed it was about 24 years ago when Lovey and I were staying in a minister's home for a series of meetings we were holding. The minister pastored a church that was very sizeable in the community.....he had a live TV show broadcasting from the sanctuary every Sunday morning. He was very well known within the denomination.

However, I got the feeling that all was not well. I told Lovey privately that something just wasn't right....and she basically told me that I was crazy. I told her that she should remember this conversation so that I could remind her about this in some future time. She laughed.

A few years later, the minister's career fell apart because he was stealing from the church....and he defrauded insurance companies. I looked at Lovey and said..."I told you."

I've felt these "vibes" as I call them, about a number of people since that time...and I have learned to listen.

Three years ago, my boss was hiring for a vacancy, and I was asked to be a part of the panel who did the interviewing. I was late to one of the meetings due to a family emergency...and when I walked into the office, the interviewee was just leaving.

The alarm bells went off.

I told my boss that I didn't get good vibes from that person.... They hired her anyway. Almost from day one, she was trouble...and caused my office a great deal of grief.

So, as I have progressed on my spiritual journey...I've learned to listen to the alarms. I don't share my feelings with anyone generally and keep them to myself. I do keep a journal so that when I get these feelings I can record them and validate them later.

It's scary at times.

It's the same when I see people with some type of misfortune. I do not gloat. I am not happy about it.

Partly because I am very sensitive to others.....and try to live by the golden rule. A lot of it though leads back to my mother's teaching of what goes around comes around. I don't want any type of misfortune to happen with me.

The gay thing has been enough of a drama.

So, I just watch and pray for others.....and I hope they pray for me.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A Tough Weekend

Good morning everyone!

Meet Josh!

This is my son, the marine who, as I write this, is now walking through the sands of Al Assad, Iraq.

This weekend was a bad one for me. Not because of my drama or issues, but simply because I'm a dad, and my son is in the military, and he left for a war zone at midnight on Sunday.

His mom and I traveled to be with him for his last few hours before departure. It was certainly a time of bittersweet memories and reflection.

Josh and Lovey have had an "interesting" relationship through the years. The past few weeks have been a bit testy and I vowed to not insert myself into their issues. As a matter of fact, when they had their periodic blowups on this trip, I separated myself and let them work on their issues.


When he left, we were all in good spirits....tears flowed....and he left...happy and secure, knowing that both parents loved him beyond measure and that we supported him.

Going to Camp Lejeune and returning from it, I was with Lovey. We shared expenses (I drove), and she also shared the expenses of a hotel room for two nights. (No, she didn't jump my bones...nor I her's.)

I must say, that while we alone together, it gave me the opportunity to clear the least from my perspective.

For over two years now, I've had a lot building up inside of me. I was hurting....I had been hurt.....I let her know how I felt. Not in a hateful way....but just in a very quiet voice.

She told me all that she felt too.

We talked and talked and talked some more. Apparently she had made the decision to divorce based on flawed information or warped perceptions. She then proceeded with the divorce and in her mind demonized me.

Translated, I think it was the onset of menopause that drove her a bit nuts.....and I think that things have not worked out necessarily the way she thought it would.

I found out also on this trip, that I still have feelings for Lovey....and I was amazed at this. But I proceeded cautiously in all that we discussed.

She told me as we unloaded the car, and I helped her to pack her car for her trip back to the Shenandoah Valley, that she now loved and cared for me more deeply that she had at any time over the past 2 and 1/2 years. I paused.

I told her that no matter what she did in the future.....or how man times she dates.....or what man she finds herself marrying....that none of them will love her any more that what I do.

Plain and simple.

She began to sob.

Tears fell down my cheeks and I continued packing her car.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Feeling Frosty!

Hopefully by now you get the idea that I've been feeling a bit frosty about the Triple A fiasco with Lovey.

When I'm like this, I generally take a few steps backward and gather my wits about me and then figure out how I am going to respond.

This morning, Lovey gave me that opportunity.

She sent me an email complaining about her lack of time with our son, the Marine. She also sent me an email that one of her inebriated sisters sent to all concerned about our son....and his alleged deployment date.... The sister was so inebriated...she was shamefaced in not knowing who she sent the email to...However, the dentist was clued in. Of course, that sister is now working with him......and getting sloshed in the process.....her husband who works in Boston was also on the list....

Oh mind is going in MANY different directions. More topics for another day.

At any rate, I decided to respond to Lovey. Here it is:


Based on the way that I feel at the moment, email is the last thing I should probably be doing…but here goes anyway.

Thanks for the voice mail and the email about our son. The email seems to be just a calendar entry that just informs everyone of when he will be deployed…nothing more. I’m curious as to how your sister got the date because when I had the hour or so with our son, he was totally adamant that he had not been given any dates. Given your sister's apparent inebriated condition at the time she sent this entry, do you suppose she can remember where she got her information from? In a subsequent IM, our son could only give me a 3-day window…which at this point has not even been confirmed--to me at least.

Aw, look on the brighter side Lovey! At least you, your sisters, Amanda, Chip and Ted were all kept in the loop. Who am I? I’m just the dad! The last on everyone's list!

So, the bottom line for me is this: I am unable to change my schedule at the moment he decides to let me know about when he is leaving. Even though I would give anything to be there, it’s looking more and more grim that I won’t be able to go. So, I just have to relish the hour or so he was able to tear himself away from his friends last Wednesday for dinner. My feeling is that if he had really wanted me there…he would be more communicative with me now.

While I have you….you should know that this hasn’t been a good week for me.
I had to get #1’s car towed to the dealer because the master and slave cylinders of the clutch system failed. Now imagine my frustration to find out that although the last Triple A card you gave to me was good through February 1, 2008 and even though you and I had agreed to keep the membership intact until then, you dropped me and #1…..without any warning!! (At least I kept you in cell phone service and car insurance until the last possible moment….and provided you with adequate warning when those benefits would cease.) From my standpoint, Triple A should have not been an issue -- given the fact that the AAA membership fee is paid up front. We could have been dropped when your membership was up for renewal on February 1, 2008 all without any extra cost to you. But again, what do I know....? I'm just the X.

As it happened, I had to pay $100 for a new membership. Then, because I’m a “new” member, there’s a seven day waiting period for free towing services. So, then there was a towing charge I would have had to pay…if the car dealership had been further than 3 miles. Thankfully, it was EXACTLY three miles from my house.

So…as you can imagine….I am feeling a bit “frosty”

Yes, I'm frosted.

My cookies have been toasted.

I've been flamed.

All of these metaphors are pretty good at describing my feelings on the day of the fiasco.

So we'll see how Lovey will be a good reading no doubt!

Stay tuned.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Here's a posting that I prepared, but never published here. It was written during one of my many LOW periods from the time of my separation...very early on in my blog writing. I marvel at just how far I have come.

From 2006:

I am trying....

To get over this fog... I'm tired.....

of the anger....the guilt......the bitterness....

I personally know someone in the Christian World who was fairly well known a few years ago. She was quite successful in all that she did. She wrote, and her books sold. She was a sought after speaker. She has graced the stage with the likes of Billy Graham and Johnny Cash. She had a successful film series that went to all the churches. She recorded for a prestigious Christian Music label.

She knew all the heavy hitters in the Christian World at the time.

Then she had a divorce...not her idea.

No, this had nothing to do with the gay issue. She was about as straight as they come...

BUT...she suffered from some of the angst I am now facing... All her friends turned on her...her bookings dried up. Her record label ditched her. Her publisher dropped her. Why? Because she got a divorce and it wasn't her idea. Her husband moved out of their home during her recovery from cancer surgery!

At the time, she wrote something that appeared in one of her books. It spoke to me then....and continues to speek me...and pretty much sums up my feelings for the moment:

"The Un-Feeling"


I am wanted and loved by a few folks.... But the rest of that list pretty much sums up my feelings on about every other level.

Yes, I still consider myself to be a Christian. Just not a very victorious one right now.

I don't mean to sound like a drama queen here, but here I sit....getting ready for bed. I'm very disappointed in myself. My life is not anything like I had wanted...what I had planned.

Oh, there are some nice things....I am determined to land on my feet.

BUT....oh the feelings of FAILURE...I don't like to fail....

But here I am. Feeling as though I have gone through a treadmill of defeat....failure.....feelings as though God is a million miles away....and here I am...all battered and blue.....face down in the dust. Scarred....scorn.....dirty.....alone......battling all my demons.



Such drama there! I can remember my angst. My pain.

At this moment, I am almost at the 4 month mark after the final divorce decree. It hasn't always been easy. But I have landed on my feet....and I'm moving forward.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Early Wednesday Morning

It's been a while since I shared a picture with you all that I took. So, here is a shot from our riverboat as we neared Mt. Vernon (Home of George Washington...and he's also buried on the grounds.) on Friday morning. Enjoy!

I'm sitting here in the stillness of my house. My hands are itching from a bad breakout of eczema.

Due to all the stress of the day, I have a bad breakout of this skin thing. It's not fun. But I have to live with it.

The dealership called me this afternoon to say that it was the master cylinder and slave....that caused the problem with the clutch. So, it's going to run approximately $600. YEAH! It's only money! I'm feeling a bit stressed about this topic at the moment because of my heave debt servicing I have to do each month. Divorce is expensive. Maintaining a household is expensive. Replacing furniture is expensive. Eating is expensive. Taking care of 3 kids is expensive. Money, money, money.


I working fiendishly to get creative in the ways that I can handle all this debt and dig out. But the going is terribly slow. AND...just as I think I'm beginning to turn things around, I get stopped....dead in my tracks....stopped.

Like today.

Purchasing a AAA membership was not a part of the plan. I mean...not having to shell out the $97 at this critical moment. Also, paying $600 to have a car repaired was not on the agenda either.

I'm concerned about my mother.

I'm concerned aboutmy dad.

I'm upset with my son the marine....

Will it ever end?

I'm so frustrated.

This is NOT a Good Day

I am having a VERY BAD day.

Nothing totally colossal.

Just everything in general.

First I had to have my daughter's car towed to the dealership from my development. This is my daughter that lives in El Salvador (#1). When I was trying to move that car to another parking space, the clutch ceased to function. So, there that car sat.

I didn't need that expenditure now. But, I have it!

What caused this to be so critical was that when I got home on Sunday evening from church, I had a note in my door from the police department telling me that my car was about to be towed.

This morning I called my trust AAA customer service line. I've been a member since 2004. My card was set to expire in November 2007.

Imagine my shock when the telephone person told me that I had been dropped from AAA by Lovey! It wasn't costing her anything to keep me on until November. She dropped me and #1 without warning. So, I had to fork over an addition $100 for a membership....towing would cost because there is a seven day waiting period.

It's only additional money. Money I do not have.

It's scary!

I finally got into my office around 11:30.

At around 1:00 p.m., Lovey called to say that my son, who had told us that he had gone back to North Carolina on Friday, actually returned this morning. He spent the night en route last night with his first cousin in Richmond.

A lie!

I don't know why I should be so angry and so upset over this. He's lied many, many times before. It always surfaces when he lies. So, I'm very angry about all this.

VERY angry.

Just got off the telephone with Mom. She tells me that at her cardiac doctor's appointment today, the doctor has located what he thinks is an aneuuyrism on her aorta. A CTSCAN is scheduled for September 28. If it is as the doctor believes, then she has to have surgery to correct the problem.

I'm frightened.

Pray for me.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Something Profound

Well, the system here says that this is post #400 in my blog.

I wish I had something great or profound to leave you with ass you read this, but I'm weary....and ready for bed.

It was a busy day for me. I arose at an ungodly hour and got to the office by 6:30a.m. We all then headed for the dock in Southwest Washington to catch the boat that would take all of us to Mt. Vernon. My boss decided that we all needed a break and he treated us to an all day visit to Mt. Vernon and the boat rides to and from....along with breakfast and lunch.

It was great getting to enjoy the fresh air, the river, and just being able to ponder and to well as to spend some time with my friends at the office in a non professional setting.

Tonight I got to spend time with gay male friends from my church. We had dinner and played cards until close to midnight. I'm tired, but in a happy kind of way.

Brokeback has been in Munich this week on business....

He returns tomorrow afternoon and may join me for church on Sunday. This is my 3-day I hope to get lots accomplished.

Tonight in the mids of my card playing, my cell phone rang. Lovey was calling to grouse about the marine.....and the fact that he had not shown up at her house as planned.....and the he had not been in contact with her mother.

I told her that I had text messaged him to see where he was, and had not received a response. So, I didn't know where he was, or what he has been up to.

After hearing Lovey grumble and complain more, I told her that I would do some checking to see what was going on.

We hung up....I texted the marine and got a response back. He was summoned back to base early...after he had begun his trip to see his mom. He said he was upset by this.

So, I'm not sure what all of this is about...but it bothers me....

I don't want to be accused of alientating my kids from Lovey. (She's done a good enough job of that herself through the years.)

I don't have really good feelings about the marine headed off to Iraq.......I hae this terrible forboding that something is going to happen to him over there.

If this in fact happens, it will aboslutely kill me. I just don't know how I will be able to handle all this. Only God knows.

I pray that I am wrong. I've told him repeatedly how much I love him. I just hope that wherever he goes or whatever he does, he will remember this.....

I'm worried.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Blues

Ever since returning from vacation in West Virginia, I’ve been struggling with a big time case of the blues.

I usually feel a little down after having visited home for a few days.

But this time is different.

Everything sort of caught up with me this time.

My son is headed to Iraq at the end of September. He came to Northern Virginia for 10 days of leave before leaving. He’s not spent one night at home. I’ve only spent a couple of hours with him and that was over a quick meal.

He tells me that he will be doing military police duty while in Iraq. The whole thing makes me feel quite uneasy. He’s impulsive. He doesn’t think things through. He’ll have a gun.

He travels tomorrow to see his mother, Lovey. He is spending a night there, but the way he talks, he doesn’t really want to have to do this.

Trying to get him to speak with his surviving grandparents is like pulling teeth.

He’ll be gone for seven months and supposedly he will be coming home after that. He’s opting out of staying in the military. He doesn’t like being told what to do or getting in trouble for screwing up!

Lovey phoned me today.

We’ve now been divorced for almost four months and she’s trying to give me orders…and she’s no longer my wife.

Every order she gave, I responded by saying “no!”

It was an eye opening experience for her I think.

She’s complaining about how bad she feels. Her back is “killing her”. Even valium and Alleve aren’t helping it.

In my head, I couldn’t help but chuckle.

Lovey is actually a hypochondriac. She’s as healthy as a horse, but to hear her tell it, the death watch has begun.

Before she moved out of my house over a year ago, she announced that when she moved out, God would be healing her when she left me. You see, I was the reason for all her maladies. God knows how sick she was…..and when you couple all that with the rawness she said she had inside, I just don’t know how she suffered as long as she did with her queer husband.

But, she’s still just as sick as she’s ever been. – rushing from one doctor to another. Consuming this prescriptions….consuming that prescriptions.

Oh my!

So, really, as much as she would like to blame all of her aches and pains on me, I’m not really the reason for them.

Just like I wasn’t the reason for the messy house….or the piles of junk everywhere. I’m not the reason for her psychological and the spiritual maladies she has been plagued by for so long.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007


During the time I was married to Lovey, I noticed how her family kept secrets from one another. They especially had secrets that they kept from Dad O’Lovey because he was known to go ballistic over very stupid things. Ultimately he would calm down, but the grief he exerted was just not worth it.

I had my own secrets that I kept from my family which were all centered around the gay thing.

I hated it.

It really bothered me that I couldn’t be the person I was intended to be.

I had to keep a significant part of me hidden away from public disclosure.

So, here I am now, trying to live authentically without secrets. I’m pretty much “what you see is what you get.”

But I still see glimmers of the old secret ways reflected n Lovey’s family and being transmitted to my daughters. Oy….I hate it.

For example, the latest open secret in Lovey’s family is that one of her sisters is not having a very good time with her husband of eight or nine years. This is the daughter that Mom O’Lovey told my mother that she “just couldn’t say no” to certain physical pastimes with the opposite sex.

This is how the first grand child came to be.

This is why she got married the first time.

There are lots of skeletons in the closet there. Everyone talks about it. I believe it will be only a matter of time before this sister and her husband split thus signaling the beginning of round three.

You see, each of Lovey’s sisters have all been married one time before. Each of them are now on husband number 2. So, this particular sister would then be free to pursuen husband #3.

As far as Lovey is concerned, I heard through the grapevine that she has been grilling the girls about what they have said to me about her love life. I happened to ask #2 if her mom has herself a man yet, to which she responded, “that she wouldn’t tell me if she knew.”

Excuse me?

Is there a serious secret here?

Again, this all exposes an interesting trait about Lovey…she wants everything about her kept secret. She wanted to divorce kept secret. She wanted the identity of her attorney kept secret. Now she wants information about her dating habits kept secret.

Clearly I’m missing something here.

BUT, I don’t miss the associated drama.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

September 11 Memories

Today is the sixth anniversary of that awful day, September 11, 2001.

I will never forget that day because it affected me personally. I lived through it.

I work for a federal agency in downtown Washington, D.C. As a matter of fact, twenty-nine years ago today, I began my career in the federal government. Back then, the world was simpler and I had a rather simple view of my life. Gee, things were a lot easier then.

But on September 11, 2001, I was at work in my office. I have a big window that looks out onto the Capitol dome.

It was a beautifully clear late summer day. I had arrived at work late that morning. Lovey had taken my car keys with her and I had to wait for her mother to arrive at my house to bring my extra set. I then got caught in a big traffic jam at the Pentagon, which is a normal occurrence.

I had just gotten settled into my normal routine, when one of my employees came to me and said, "Frank, I just got a call from my ex-wife. She told me the strangest thing. A small plane has crashed into the World Trade Center."

I was amazed. The office was abuzz. Just then, word filtered down that another plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. Something strange was happening.

Another of my employees had a portable TV and she was watching everything. A large group of us were gathered around trying to figure out what was happening. I telephoned Lovey, who had not heard anything about the drama. She turned on her radio and began telling everyone at her office about the crashes.

Not long afterwards, journalists began reporting about a mysterious explosion at the Pentagon. It would be a while before people knew it was an airplane. I went to the roof of my office building with my digital camera. From there I could see the black smoke rising from the Pentagon.

It was bad.

By then it was reported that a plane had hit the Pentagon and that there were other planes. We were under attack.

The federal government closed all agencies in Washington. A mass tried to leave my building, but due to gridlock, nothing was moving. I went to my desk and calmly called my children's schools to let them know that their parents were okay. Since I had to cross a major bridge to go back to my house, there was no way that I was going to get stuck in traffic...or worse....become a sitting duck on the 14th Street Bridge.

At that moment, security called my desk to let me know that Brokeback was downstairs. I went down and he looked as though he had seen a ghost. He was a wreck.

Security let him through and we went to my cafeteria, which by that time was giving food away. We went to my office and just waited for traffic to thin out.

Around 1:30, the streets looked empty. Brokeback said he would drive me home because he didn't want to be alone. So we headed down I-395 to my home....and we passed the Pentagon. Debris and dust were still flying, but the road was empty. We were the only car on the road.

I got home well before the kids got home from school and I remember watching ABC News coverage with the late Peter Jennings.

When my babies got home.....I wrapped them in my arms....and held them close.

It was a defining moment.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Reflections on the Picture

Back on March 22 of this year, I wrote the story of the picture that defines this blog. In that entry I said,

"You can't see it, but my head is racing and I'm experiencing a ton of new feelings that are on the verge of swamping me in depression. I did not know what was up ahead. Looking around at my new surroundings...alone. Frightened and hurt in the situation I found myself in. Remembering how my life used to be, versus how it was at the time. That picture becomes very poignant when one knows the point in time it captures. It shows a divorcing gay man, whose world is in total chaos trying to process it all...trying to hold it all together."

It has now been two years since the picture was taken that I use as the centerpiece of my blog. It's very symbolic of where I was at the time.

The picture was taken just about three months after Lovey had lowered the boom and announced her plans. I was frightened -- not sure of what lay around the bend. If you look closely at the picture, what lies ahead looks dark and even foreboding.

Having never personally experienced separation and divorce personally, I was full of fear and was afraid basically of what was around the bend. I was even frightened of my own shadow.

But I kept moving forward.

Here we are two years almost exactly to the day. I took an updated picture of the winding country road where the original shot was taken. Once again this latest version serves as an appropriate metaphor of where I am today. Can you see the subtle differences between it and the original?

For one thing, it is still very clear that the future is unknown. One just doesn't know what lies around that curve. However, in exploring this place first hand this past weekend, I noticed that things are quite a bit brighter than they had been originally.

In that original photograph, it looks as if I am gingerly selecting my steps and there are only very small patches of sunlight that appear on the road. I appear to be heading straight for one such small patch. In actuality, I felt almost desperate to grab onto anything that would keep me afloat emotionally.

The new picture is much brighter. The whole path is brightly illuminated. While there are still patches of sunlight striking the path ahead, they aren't nearly as prominent, because the whole path is illuminated and as you move forward to the curve things only become brighter -- not darker as it had appeared in the original.

Since I attended the church retreat back in August, I'm very sensitive to the light shining on my path. I'm also taken by the concepts of paths and following the correct one. When I saw how much this path had changed, I had to take a picture because it represents me and just how much I have changed.

Finally, I'm amazed at the color. The pictures were taken at nearly the same time of day and almost at the exact same spot with the very same camera. Yet, the colors are so much more vivid in the newest picture. This fact represents the fact that I'm now in control of my own life and able to stop and take in the world around me. I can pause and take a deep breath of fresh air if I want to. I can look around and think -- even meditate.

Life at my house is peaceful and tranquil. There are no arguments and no yelling. No slamming doors or stomping up the stairs.

Yes, I'm living my life quietly.

What a difference two years makes.

Friday, September 07, 2007

More Change

My hometown has one mall.

It has been in existence for about 20 or so years and is located in a former cow pasture along the interstate about 5 miles outside of town. The stores are pretty typical....there's a Penneys, a Sears, an Elder-Beerman's, a Macy's, and the usual other mall stores.

Mom and I drove up to Border's Books yesterday. It was a very hot, late summer day. She wanted some lipstick from one of the department stores.....and I went to Borders. Things certainly have changed.

The magazine racks contained OUT, THE ADVOCATE and host of other gay culture/lifestyle type publications. Just as I caught my breath from seeing that, I turned to walk over to the music section and there were two lesbians walking slowly through the store...hand in hand......browsing and taking their time. Folks in the bookstore didn't give them a second look.

I then went out into the mall to find mom....and there were a host of gay men....flitting around the various kiosks in the mall. I smiled and inside felt quite affirmed. When I got to the department store my mother was in, I couldn't help but notice the obvious gay young man, with frosted hair, jewelry everwhere on his hands and neck, fussing with some older women at the makeup counter....helping them apply foundation "properly".

I told mother, "Lots of family are around here."

But the darker side still exists....

A pastor in the area has been arrested for molesting young men in his congregation ten years ago. At last count, over 40 young men have come forward with more expected. WHEW.

And on the cover of today's local newspaper is the heartbreaking story of a man close to my age being beaten to death because he was gay. The beating took place in a small town about 12 miles away from the mall. Many people have been quoted as saying how senseless this was.

In its own little way...even the tragic death of this young man is a symbol of the way things are changing here in my hometown.

But it's sad that it must come with such a high price tag.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Times/Things Change

Many, many years ago, I used to watch a variety of country music programs on television with my parents. Every Saturday night were those old syndicated programs, from the Grand Ole Opry to the Porter Wagoner Show.

One song that used to be done repeatedly was a mournful song entitled "Rank Strangers"...and as I recall, it was about a person who went back home after many, many years and visited old familiar haunts only to find out just how much things had changed and how all his friends had become "rank strangers" to him.

I never could understand that song....and how that could be. It used to bother me and make me quite upset.

Now, I understand.

On this trip home, I've had the opportunity of visiting some of my old familiar haunts....places that I had not visited in years. Things had changed. REALLY CHANGED.

Over forty years ago, I would spend occasional weekends with my baby sitter at her elderly relative's home. Yesteday, I drove out there with my mother. The bridge that was at the end of their street had been replaced. The street itself was not as I had reembered it. I had a difficult time even identifying the house. But there it was! Much smaller than I had remembered. The house color had changed. And the house was for sale!

Gosh, I wonder how much it was being sold for.

I fantasized and wondered, what it would be like to move back here and to live in that house.

My high school has long closed. My elementary school was torn down years ago. The place where my dad's barbershop was is vacant and the building will be torn down in a few weeks.

I even drove out the road to where the Marshall University Airplane crash site was. Due to the movie, "We Are Marshall," they've erected a memorial overlook to the site with a plaque. This site once was located on a busy highway. Sadly after 37 years, the highway has been rerouted, and the memorial now stands on a dead end. The site of the crash is now covered in woods and trees and underbrush. It was once a clearing with some trailer homes dotting the landscape. No more!

It's odd visiting "home" now.

So much has changed, including me.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Vacation Begins

I'm writing this at the Panera Bread restaurant in Huntington, WV. I'm spending this week with my parents and I was fortunate enough to have my daughter, #2 to visit with. She drove up from Nashville, and we had a grand time. I now have to plan the rest of the week....and go from there. I will be writing more shortly.