Tuesday, April 22, 2014

On The Road Again

For the past three days I've been on the road making my way back to the Pacific Northwest. I spent my first night on the road in Hamburg, NY just outside of Buffalo. The second was spent in Rockford, IL and last night I stopped in Rapid City, SD. So far I've driven 1,922 of the 3,125 miles of this journey. Thank goodness for cruise control, lots of flat roads, beautiful scenery and lots of music on my iPhone.

This morning I'm heading up to see Mt. Rushmore then will hit the road to get more miles under my tires. I'm hoping to make it to Missoula, MT tonight.

Friday, April 18, 2014

This Day Was A Very Good Day

On the eve of the beginning of my great big road trip across the country, I sit here in awe of what this day has brought to my life.

This last Wednesday I had a phone interview with a company that is hiring for a shipping/receiving/material handling position. A couple of my friends work at this company and one of them gave me the heads up about it so I sent my resume' in right away. It's a position I've held in other companies and one that I really enjoyed so I went for it.

The phone interview went well and things sounded pretty positive. This morning I woke up and thought, "Oh shoot! I didn't send a thank-you email!" So I quickly remedied that. This afternoon I received a reply from the woman in HR offering me the job at the salary I asked for in the interview! It's a full-time with benefits, Monday through Friday day job!

Before I even leave the East Coast, I have a job on the West Coast. How fricking awesome is that?!

To top it all off, I had a fantastic dinner, great conversation and watched a movie with my ex-wife tonight and it was fabulous! I so enjoy our times together. She introduced me to the cult classic Lolita tonight.

This day.  This day was a very good day.

Thank you, Universe. I'm excited to see what tomorrow will bring!

Friday, April 11, 2014


Tomorrow begins my last week living here in Ipswich, Massachusetts. This weekend I have a few things to do to prepare for my journey back to Portland, Oregon. As I move through doing those things my mind is on all of the things that I will miss about being here on the East Coast.

Life in a small town where people you know honk and wave as you walk the dog down the street. I came here knowing one person and I leave here knowing many (and their dogs!).

Being so close to New York City where I got to spend a weekend with my mentor and friend then spent a second weekend there with my sister and her partner seeing my very first Broadway production has been so much more incredible than I ever could describe. “Surreal” is the word that comes to mind at the moment.

Reconnecting with my sister and getting to know her partner after over 16 years of being so far away has been such a gift and a blessing in so many ways.

Evenings spent watching silly television and laughing over dinner with my ex-wife who has become such a dear friend to me.

Mornings spent with a pack of dogs that have brought me so much joy and who have reminded me of what is really important in this life. Love, happiness and the importance of play time.

Nights spent sleeping with my own personal heater and snuggler, the amazing French Bulldog, Scarlett.

The sound of the ocean and sand under my feet after a quick 10 minute drive.

Walks on the beach with Scarlett.

Being neighbors with and hanging out with an awesome dude in a rock band, his wonderful RN wife and cute as a button toddler daughter. We didn't do it much but I certainly enjoyed the times that we did.

The beauty of this place.

My mind is watching a replay of all that has happened in my life in the last 6 ½ months and I have to say, I'm amazed. I don't feel much like the person who left Portland at the end of last September. During my stay here on the East Coast I've peeled away so many layers of things about myself that I no longer need and have gained such clarity about what my soul needs to do next in this life. Mostly to experience this life and gain more clarity around my wants and desires.

Before I left Portland I remember feeling so limited in what I felt I could do. Now here I am poised to return to Portland as someone who feels limitless. My future is a blank canvas and each day is a brush stroke that will eventually create my masterpiece.

I will admit that I am harboring a bit of fear around this next transition. Every transition comes with it, I believe. It's all about whether or not we choose to see and acknowledge it. I see it and am acknowledging it. I don't like it but that doesn't seem to matter much. Why, exactly, it's there I'm not sure, really. I just know it's there. I feel it in my chest. Perhaps it has more to do with change than anything else. To some extent I'm a creature of habit and tend to cling to consistency no matter how small. Whether it's what I eat every morning or, now days, working out in the evening. Having that one constant to hold on to in life makes things a bit more solid for me.

Even trying to explain all of this stuff that I'm feeling is a bit of a challenge. I thought I had it all put together in words during my work out today. It was where my mind went as I tried not to think about the burn in my lungs and leg muscles. But those words seemed to have continued on the run without me. Maybe it's for the best and I'm just supposed to sit here in the feelings this transition is bringing up for me.

Don't get me wrong, I am wicked excited about being back in the Pacific Northwest and being with my son and Goddaughter and family and friends and trees and Mt. Hood and Oregon Coast and, and, and, and....so many things. I'm just moving through the transition of being away and coming back to it all. I once read somewhere that there are certain things we do in life that are considered major life changes. Moving is one of them. It's filled with so many emotions. The kind we like and the kind we don't like so much. All in a neat little wrapping called “transition”.

While it's certainly not a life or death situation and there are a million others who are experiencing much more than I at the moment, if you're so inclined, I would humbly accept any and all love, light, prayers, juju, energy, or good thoughts you could send my way. A little help along the way would do wonders. Thank you so much.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Two Servings of The Big Apple

My past two weekends in New York City were amazing, to say the least. The weekend before this was my first visit to the Big Apple and all I can say is, wow. The energy in the city is incredible. Even on a rainy Saturday.

I spent the weekend with my friends, Syd, who is also my mentor in the world of photography, and her partner Jay, who is what I would call an LGBTQI community elder. Jay was at Stonewall when riots started. The weekend was filled with lots of stories about our community history in and around NYC and, of course, lots of talk about photography and the business of it.

I arrived Friday afternoon very excited yet tired from the 5 hour drive from North Shore Massachusetts. Syd and I spent the evening talking about photography, making (well, I mostly happily consumed) good food and playing with their cats. Since I was pretty tired from the drive and it was pretty cold outside, we decided to change our plans and go out to the Brooklyn Bridge on Saturday night. I was very sure that I really just wanted to enjoy the time with Syd and Jay and not fill the weekend too full to the point of overwhelm so we made tentative plans and just played it by ear. There were two things I really wanted to do that weekend and that was to go to Stonewall and to feel my camera in my hand again.

It felt so good to have the camera in my hand again. As good as taking a really deep, cleansing breath. It reminded me how much I need to do this every day.

On Saturday we roamed around downtown in the rain doing our best to protect our cameras with plastic bags and rubber bands, which made it hard to shoot but I was still happy to be shooting. After walking the High Line we ventured into the Steven Kasher Gallery where Jerome Leibling's collection “Matter ofLife and Death” was exhibiting. If you ever have a change to see a photographic exhibit, I highly recommend that you go. Seeing the images in print has such a huge impact. Much more so than seeing them digitally online. 

In front of The Stonewall Inn. Photo by Syd London.

After the gallery we made our way to The Stonewall Inn. Seeing it for the first time, there right in front of me, was surreal. I had read so much about what happened and saw photographs of the place both then and now, but I think that in my mind it was always this mystical place that only existed in our history. I was in awe, to be perfectly honest. So much history, so much courage, so much strength all happened right there in that place. I stood there thanking those who fought before me so that I could walk freely in this world and be my authentic self. It was truly an amazing experience.

Working in the studio
Since Syd and I had been walking around in the rain most of the day, we both decided it would be much better to head back to her apartment in Brooklyn to dry out and warm up so I still have the Brooklyn Bridge on my list of things to see. It gives me yet another reason to return for a visit. After warming up and getting some food in our bellies, I spent the evening getting some much needed alone time with my camera in Syd's studio working on a personal project. 

On Sunday I asked Syd to come with me on a project shoot I had arranged with a participant that lives in the Upper East Side of NYC. The participant had made arrangements for us to go up on her building's roof top for the shoot and I was crazy excited about it. When we arrived the landlord had locked the roof top door so we did what any normal group of photographers would do. We snuck up to the roof top through the building next door! It was awesome and so fun. We were all giggling and whispering as we climbed the flights of stairs and were so happy when we reached the top to find the doors unlocked. We had a great time up there shooting and the weather was kind enough to hold out for us! 

Here is one of the shots from that roof top shoot:

Beautiful power.
By the way, the woman who I photographed on the roof top is also working on a photo project titled Leather Women. It's a beautiful project. You should check it out.

She also photographed me while we were up there.  I love the way the photograph turned out. It makes me feel strong and powerful. Almost as if I'm about to take on the Big Apple. 

Photo by Carmelle La Sirena.
After the shoot, Syd took me to see Grand Central Station, which was....wow. Incredibly grand. There is so much beauty in the architecture. I fell in love with all of the old buildings in NYC. 

Yesterday I was lucky enough to return to the Big Apple. This time with my sister and her partner. They took me to see my first Broadway play and they couldn't have picked a better play for my first experience. It was Cyndi Lauper's KinkyBoots. If you get the opportunity to see this production, GO SEE THIS PRODUCTION! It is awesome! We had such a blast!

Afterwards we walked through Times Square then stopped in a Celtic pub for a Guinness and some food before heading back to Grand Central Station to catch the train back to Connecticut. It was such a great day full of laughter and great conversations.

I am so grateful to have had these experiences. At one point during my visit with Syd and Jay I remember stepping out of the shower and standing there in their bathroom for a moment thinking, “Who would have ever thought that I would be standing in a bathroom in a Brooklyn apartment where my friends live. In Brooklyn. New York.” Then yesterday, as I sat down in the theater, I thought the same sort of thing. It was so surreal. I've read about and seen so many photographs of people visiting this city and doing the things that I was doing but never in my life did I think that person would ever be me.

When I stop to take an assessment of my life and what I've done in the last year, it's almost like I'm seeing someone else's life. It's so hard for me to believe all that has happened in the past year. I am humbled by it all. Humbled and so very grateful.