Monday, February 28, 2022
Yesterday, I went to view the apartment I mentioned in my Friday afternoon post. I had tried to view an available apartment at this complex twice before, but never got a reply. I found out they do things on a first-come, first-served basis which in a way is good. I had gone to view another apartment recently only to find it had been rented minutes before to the person who had the appointment before me. This time it was different. I had seen the “for rent” notice less than an hour after it was posted.
I arrived at the location. The apartment manager took me to see the apartment. It was nicer than I expected. The kitchen is just the right size to cook in with stainless steel appliances including a dishwasher. It's been a long time since I've had a dishwasher in an apartment I was renting. The living room is large, and the two bedrooms are both a nice size, one a bit larger than the other. The apartment has lots of closet space, which I need since I have too many clothes. Since I've lost weight, I need to go through my clothes and get rid of what doesn't fit anymore.
Anyway, I viewed the apartment and saw the basement's storage and laundry room. The apartment manager answered all my questions. When I asked her what the next step was, she said if I wanted the apartment, I just needed to tell her. She said she needed to look over my application but since I worked at the university and seemed a lovely person, she didn't see any problems. I told her I did want the apartment. She told me to email her when I got home so she had it in writing. I will be signing the lease on Wednesday. The move-in date will be after April 1st which gives me the month of March to get packed and ready to move. Thankfully, unlike the last two times I've moved, I have plenty of time I can take off to pack, move, and unpack. I could basically take a whole month off if I wanted to, but I won't take it all at once.
Perseverance paid off. I have a new apartment to move into, it is no longer in the town where I work, and I'll have some space away from the office. I had gotten very tired of living the closest to work. Every time there was an issue with snow or ice, and my coworkers were having trouble coming in, I had to be the one to open the museum. It usually meant I was there by myself, because on days like that, no visitors come to the museum either. I will also be able to move to a place with more privacy. I always felt like I was being watched at my current location. The other plus is this apartment complex sits on 80 acres near another college with many walking trails winding throughout the surrounding countryside connecting them to this other college. There will also be a pond right outside my bedroom window which should be lovely.
Yesterday was a good day until the drive home. It was snowing by the time I left the apartment, but not too severely. I needed to go to Walmart. By the time I got there, the sun was out. I quickly ran in and got what I needed. As I was checking out, a snow squall warning went off in the store, but the sun was still shining as I walked outside although there were dark clouds behind me. Since I was traveling away from the dark clouds, I thought I'd be fine. When I got on the highway, I found out it was closed between where I was and my exit due to a wreck. I had to take an extended detour, and just as I turned on the correct road to go home (I had gone a long way out of my way), the snow squall hit. There was a semi-truck in front of me, which was the only thing I could see because we were in almost complete whiteout conditions, and there was nowhere to pull off on the side of the road. I crept along behind that truck at 10 miles an hour, hoping I'd make it home safely. I did, but it was not easy. I completely lost traction going down one hill, but luckily, I kept the car going straight, and I did not hit the car in front of me. We got about 2 inches of snow in about an hour. It was crazy, but I made it home.
When I got home, I sent the apartment manager the requested email. She replied she would email me the lease to look over tomorrow. I will see her Wednesday to officially sign the lease and pay the deposit.
It should be quite a week. I am off today because I worked on Saturday, and off on Tuesday to have a crown put on one of my back teeth. I'll sign the lease on Wednesday. The second season of Star Trek: Picard premieres on Thursday. Friday, I will be attending the postponed New Queers Eve in Burlington. A lot is going on. The following week, we have Monday and Tuesday off for spring break at the college. I'll only be working three days each week over the next two weeks.
Sunday, February 27, 2022
And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.—Galatians 6:9
Perseverance is vital to growing in our faith, and God wants us to persevere no matter what happens, so we have to learn how to overcome obstacles, difficulties, trials, and tribulation to triumph over adversity. We have two choices when faced with hardship - trust in God or quit and abandon hope. We all have our fair share of adversity, as gay men, we often not only question our own faith because we were told it was a sin to be gay, but we also face others questioning our faith because we are gay. We must persevere and be servants of God. It is through service that we can be stronger in our faith. We can’t grow weary of our doing good, because the reward is greater when you consistently do your best for others.
The parable of the soils illustrates the difference between those who seem, for a short time, to have faith and those who have received true saving faith which produces a changed life. Matthew 13:18–23 says, “Therefore hear the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” This parable does not imply that a true believer's faith will never falter or fail, but that a person who possesses true saving faith will never fully or finally fall away because God will sustain their faith.
Some days it’s difficult to rise and shine. It may not be in us to shine that day, but it won’t be every day. Good will come along, especially if we have faith. So, on those days when we can’t bring ourselves to shine, we just need to rise and grind our way through so that we can make it to another day no matter how difficult it may seem. In times of adversity, big or small, remember to have faith in God, and that faith will allow us to persevere.
Saturday, February 26, 2022
On Twitter and Instagram, I keep coming across a lot of Brazilian men. They are very sexy, and I have to admit, I think I now have a weakness for Brazilians. I don’t speak Portuguese, and I don’t think I’ve actually ever met a Brazilian man in real life, but I’d like the chance, and when men look like this, who cares if you speak the same language. I think we could figure it out. I’d at least like to try. 😂
Friday, February 25, 2022
In the video, the black and white clip, shows Sivan being embraced by a man whose face is not shown, although it was later proven that it was the singer's boyfriend, Jacob Bixenman, while being soaked in the rain and pays homage to the LGBTQ movements and accomplishments that have come before him. The clip shows assassinated gay rights leader Harvey Milk alongside footage of Pride parades and same-sex weddings. Sivan's message that accompanied the clip read; “We have always been here. we will always be here. this video is dedicated to all who’ve come before me and fought for our cause and those who now continue the fight. in dark and light times, let’s love forever.”
Thursday, February 24, 2022
Wednesday, February 23, 2022
Tuesday, February 22, 2022
By Richard Blanco - 1968-
A Poem for Barack Obama's Presidential Inauguration
January 21, 2013
One sun rose on us today, kindled over our shores,
peeking over the Smokies, greeting the faces
of the Great Lakes, spreading a simple truth
across the Great Plains, then charging across the Rockies.
One light, waking up rooftops, under each one, a story
told by our silent gestures moving behind windows.
My face, your face, millions of faces in morning’s mirrors,
each one yawning to life, crescendoing into our day:
pencil-yellow school buses, the rhythm of traffic lights,
fruit stands: apples, limes, and oranges arrayed like rainbows
begging our praise. Silver trucks heavy with oil or paper—
bricks or milk, teeming over highways alongside us,
on our way to clean tables, read ledgers, or save lives—
to teach geometry, or ring-up groceries as my mother did
for twenty years, so I could write this poem.
All of us as vital as the one light we move through,
the same light on blackboards with lessons for the day:
equations to solve, history to question, or atoms imagined,
the “I have a dream” we keep dreaming,
or the impossible vocabulary of sorrow that won’t explain
the empty desks of twenty children marked absent
today, and forever. Many prayers, but one light
breathing color into stained glass windows,
life into the faces of bronze statues, warmth
onto the steps of our museums and park benches
as mothers watch children slide into the day.
One ground. Our ground, rooting us to every stalk
of corn, every head of wheat sown by sweat
and hands, hands gleaning coal or planting windmills
in deserts and hilltops that keep us warm, hands
digging trenches, routing pipes and cables, hands
as worn as my father’s cutting sugarcane
so my brother and I could have books and shoes.
The dust of farms and deserts, cities and plains
mingled by one wind—our breath. Breathe. Hear it
through the day’s gorgeous din of honking cabs,
buses launching down avenues, the symphony
of footsteps, guitars, and screeching subways,
the unexpected song bird on your clothes line.
Hear: squeaky playground swings, trains whistling,
or whispers across café tables, Hear: the doors we open
for each other all day, saying: hello / shalom,
buon giorno / howdy / namaste / or buenos días
in the language my mother taught me—in every language
spoken into one wind carrying our lives
without prejudice, as these words break from my lips.
One sky: since the Appalachians and Sierras claimed
their majesty, and the Mississippi and Colorado worked
their way to the sea. Thank the work of our hands:
weaving steel into bridges, finishing one more report
for the boss on time, stitching another wound
or uniform, the first brush stroke on a portrait,
or the last floor on the Freedom Tower
jutting into a sky that yields to our resilience.
One sky, toward which we sometimes lift our eyes
tired from work: some days guessing at the weather
of our lives, some days giving thanks for a love
that loves you back, sometimes praising a mother
who knew how to give, or forgiving a father
who couldn’t give what you wanted.
We head home: through the gloss of rain or weight
of snow, or the plum blush of dusk, but always—home,
always under one sky, our sky. And always one moon
like a silent drum tapping on every rooftop
and every window, of one country—all of us—
facing the stars
hope—a new constellation
waiting for us to map it,
waiting for us to name it—together
Watch Richard Blanco read “One Today” at President Obama's inauguration in 2013:
About Richard Blanco
Born on February 15, 1968, in Madrid, Spain, Blanco grew up in Miami, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering as well as an MFA in creative writing from Florida International University.
He is the author of the poetry collections How to Love a Country (Beacon Press, 2019); Directions to the Beach of the Dead (University of Arizona Press, 2005), winner of the 2006 PEN/American Center Beyond Margins Award; and City of a Hundred Fires (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1998), winner of the 1997 Agnes Lynch Starrett National Poetry Prize, among others.
Blanco’s first book of poetry, City of a Hundred Fires, was published in 1998 to critical acclaim, winning the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize from the University of Pittsburgh Press. The collection explored his cultural yearnings and contradictions as a Cuban American and captured the details of his transformational first trip to Cuba, his figurative homeland. After the success of his first book, Blanco took a hiatus from his engineering career and accepted a position at Central Connecticut State University as a professor of creative writing. While living in Connecticut, he met his current life-partner, Dr. Mark Neveu, a renowned research scientist.
Driven by a desire to examine the essence of place and belonging, Blanco traveled extensively through Spain, Italy, France, Guatemala, Brazil, Cuba, and New England. Eventually, in 2002, he and Mark moved to Washington, DC, where he taught at Georgetown and American universities, The Writers Center, and the Arlington County Detention Facility.
In 2004, Blanco returned to Miami and resumed his engineering career. Engineer by day, he designed several town revitalization projects; poet by night, he began working on another collection before moving once again, this time to Bethel, Maine, where he sought the peace and tranquility of nature. While in Maine, he completed his third book of poetry, Looking for The Gulf Motel (2012), which related Blanco’s complex navigation through his cultural, sexual, and artistic identities, and received the Paterson Poetry Prize, the 2012 Maine Literary Award for Poetry, and the Thom Gunn Award.
He is the recipient of two Florida Artist Fellowships, a Residency Fellowship from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the John Ciardi Fellowship from the Bread Loaf Writers Conference. Blanco has taught at various schools, including American University, Georgetown University, and Wesleyan University, and has been an artist in residence at Colby College’s Lunder Institute for American Art. He is currently a distinguished visiting professor at Florida International University.
Richard Blanco is first Latino, immigrant, and gay person to serve as an inaugural poet, Blanco read “One Today,” an original poem he wrote for the occasion, at Obama’s inauguration ceremony on January 21, 2013. I’m posting this poem today in honor of Presidents’ Day (officially Washington's Birthday), which was yesterday. Since the inauguration, Blanco has been named a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow and has received honorary doctorates from Macalester College, Colby College and the University of Rhode Island. His memoir, The Prince of Los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood (Ecco Press, 2014), is a poignant, hilarious, and inspiring exploration of his coming-of-age as the child of Cuban immigrants and his attempts to understand his place in America while grappling with his burgeoning artistic and sexual identities. It received the 2015 Maine Literary Award for Memoir and the 2015 Lambda Literary Award for Gay Memoir. He is also the author of For All of Us, One Today: An Inaugural Poet’s Journey (Beacon Press, 2013). His inaugural poem, One Today, was also published as a children’s book illustrated by Dav Pilkey (Little, Brown, 2015).
Whether speaking as the Cuban Blanco or the American Richard, the homebody or the world traveler, the shy boy or the openly gay man, the engineer or the presidential inaugural poet, Blanco’s writings possess a story-rich quality that illuminates the human spirit. His work asks those universal questions we all ask ourselves on our own journeys: Where am I from? Where do I belong? Who am I in this world?
Monday, February 21, 2022
Sunday, February 20, 2022
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.—1 John 4:11-12
John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” The New Testament of the Bible has several recurring themes: faith, hope, charity, and love. Chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians, known as “The Greatest Gift,” says:
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
I think these verses speak for themselves. In Matthew 22:37-40, Jesus gave us the Greatest Commandment: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
Saturday, February 19, 2022
Friday, February 18, 2022
Thursday, February 17, 2022
Wednesday, February 16, 2022
Tuesday, February 15, 2022
The White Rose
By John Boyle O'Reilly - 1844-1890
The red rose whispers of passion,
And the white rose breathes of love;
O, the red rose is a falcon,
And the white rose is a dove.
But I send you a cream-white rosebud
With a flush on its petal tips;
For the love that is purest and sweetest
Has a kiss of desire on the lips.
I was not going to post another poem today, since I posted several yesterday for Valentine’s Day, but, I came across the picture above and wanted to use it so I quickly searched poems about roses. (I didn’t want to use “Roses are red, Violets are blue, Sugar is sweet, And so are you.” It’s just too cliché.) as I was looking at poems, I came across the one above and liked it. Then, I read about the poet’s life, which I found fascinating. Hopefully, you will too.
I hope all of you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day, whether you were with a loved one, or like me, all by yourself. The only thing I think I really missed is I wish I had a box of chocolate caramels. I need to run to the grocery store this evening, maybe I can find a box half off in a post-Valentine’s Day sale.
About the Poet
John Boyle O’Reilly was born near Drogheda, Ireland, on June 24, 1844. His father, William David O’Reilly, directed the local school, and his mother, Eliza Boyle, managed an orphanage. After several years at his father’s school, he turned to journalism, taking apprenticeships first at the local paper Drogheda Argus and then at The Guardian in Preston, England, where he lived with his aunt and uncle.
In 1863, after four years in Preston, O’Reilly enlisted in the Tenth Hussars, a cavalry regiment stationed in Ireland. However, beginning in 1865 he was also an active member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, or the Fenians, a revolutionary group planning an armed uprising against British rule. He was dedicated to recruiting other Irish soldiers to the cause, but in 1866 some of his recruits within the Hussars exposed his dual allegiance. Within the year he was court-martialed, convicted of treason, and sentenced to twenty years of penal servitude. After spending time in several English prisons, he was placed on the last ship transporting convicts to Australia.
O’Reilly escaped from the Penal Colony of Western Australia in 1869, slipping away from his convict camp and securing passage on an American whaling ship. He then spent eight months at sea, on a series of different vessels, before disembarking in Philadelphia. Once in America, he moved to Boston and began working at the country’s foremost Catholic newspaper, The Pilot, where he became editor in 1874. He remained editor for over twenty years.
Between 1873 and 1886, O’Reilly also published four poetry collections: In Bohemia (The Pilot Publishing Co., 1886), The Statues in the Block and other poems (Roberts Brothers, 1881), Songs, Legends, and Ballads (The Pilot Publishing Co., 1878), and Songs from the Southern Seas and other poems (Roberts Brothers, 1873). Despite his involvement in Boston’s literary scene, only a few of his poems were reprinted in anthologies. Of those few, the most popular was “A White Rose” from In Bohemia. He also penned a novel, Moondyne: a story from the under-world (The Pilot Publishing Co., 1879).
O’Reilly married another journalist, Mary Murphy, in 1872, and together they had four children. He died on August 9, 1890, after an overdose of sleeping medicine. He has been honored with a bronze sculpture on the Fenway in Boston and with several buildings and associations bearing his name.
Monday, February 14, 2022
Why I Love Thee?
By Sadakichi Hartmann
Why I love thee?
Ask why the seawind wanders,
Why the shore is aflush with the tide,
Why the moon through heaven meanders;
Like seafaring ships that ride
On a sullen, motionless deep;
Why the seabirds are fluttering the strand
Where the waves sing themselves to sleep
And starshine lives in the curves of the sand!
Carl Sadakichi Hartmann was born on November 8, 1867, in Nagasaki Japan. His poetry collections include Naked Ghosts: Four Poems (Fantasia, 1925), Tanka and Haiku: 14 Japanese Rhythms (G. Bruno, 1915), and My Rubaiyat (Mangan, 1913). A dramatist, fiction writer, and art critic, he died in St. Petersburg, Florida, on November 21, 1944.
About the Poem: A “pictorial suggestion” of love.
The More Loving One
By W. H. Auden
Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least
We have to dread from man or beast.
How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.
Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I cannot, now I see them, say
I missed one terribly all day.
Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total dark sublime,
Though this might take me a little time.
W. H. Auden was admired for his unsurpassed technical virtuosity and ability to write poems in nearly every imaginable verse form; his incorporation of popular culture, current events, and vernacular speech in his work; and also, for the vast range of his intellect, which drew easily from an extraordinary variety of literatures, art forms, social and political theories, and scientific and technical information.
About the Poem: At once a celebration of unrequited love and a metaphysical poem about the difficulty of finding ‘love’ and meaning in a secular age.
Love Song for Love Songs
By Rafael Campo
A golden age of love songs and we still
can't get it right. Does your kiss really taste
like butter cream? To me, the moon's bright face
was neither like a pizza pie nor full;
the Beguine began, but my eyelid twitched.
"No more I love you's," someone else assured
us, pouring out her heart, in love (of course)—
what bothers me the most is that high-pitched,
undone whine of "Why am I so alone?"
Such rueful misery is closer to
the truth, but once you turn the lamp down low,
you must admit that he is still the one,
and baby, baby he makes you so dumb
you sing in the shower at the top of your lungs.
Rafael Campo was born in Dover, New Jersey, on November 24, 1964. He attended both Amherst College and Harvard Medical School before publishing his first collection of poems, The Other Man Was Me: A Voyage to the New World, which won the National Poetry Series Open Competition in 1993. Campo is a practicing physician at Harvard Medical School and the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.
About the Poem: Love is within the two who feel the love, and no one else can change that.
I Needed Your Body Near Me
By Timothy Liu
An ocean is nothing, there is no separation
between two lovers. And I knew just what
it took: six hours, two meals with a movie
in between, blinders over eyes, plugs in ears
as I tried to get some sleep. When I awoke,
I knew I’d crossed more than a time zone
for my body was always nearer to yours
than anyone else’s still sleeping in your bed—
Timothy Liu’s most recent books of poems are Polytheogamy and Bending the Mind Around the Dream’s Blown Fuse. He lives in Manhattan.
About the Poem: Long distance relationship.
♥️HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY♥️
Thank you, Susan, for the beautiful Valentine’s Day Card pictured above.
Sunday, February 13, 2022
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.
—1 John 4:16
The Bible teaches that God created human beings in His image. This means that He enables us to have some understanding of Him and of His vast and complex design. Our human nature reflects some of God’s attributes, although in a limited way. We love because we are made in the image of the God who is love (1 John 4:16). Because we are created in His image, we can be compassionate, faithful, truthful, kind, patient, and just. In us, these attributes are distorted by sin, which also resides in our nature. First Corinthians 13: 6-7 says, “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
As LGBTQ+ Christians we have a further step, a further test, than most Christians. We can follow the steps of salvation, but we must also have faith that God created us in his image. Faith also teaches us that God created us to be attracted to and love those of the same sex. No matter what the flaws s man may have, or the sin that mankind tempts us with its doubts, we must be strong in our faith and believe that God made us who we are and know that He is love.
Love is God’s greatest gift to us. John 3:16 tells us, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” He has offered us eternal life if we follow his guidance. Always remember, God loves us, and He is Love!