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Showing posts from 2015

Yes, Vincent, There is a Santa Claus

I am a Christmas-a-holic. Yes, I love the entire Christmas season. I love the decorations, the music, the food, the gift giving, and the time spent with loved ones. I’m always filled with a sense of wonder when the holiday season arrives. Every Christmas is built on memories and traditions that were part of my childhood.

Growing up, there was only one thing that didn’t jingle my bells about December 25th, and that was the man in red – Santa Claus. It wasn’t that I didn’t want the gifts or doubted his existence. I just didn’t want to sit on his lap or be anywhere in his vicinity. I had a “Santa safety zone” and it was at least a football field in size. Anything closer and my knees grew weak and visions of monster sugar plums danced before my eyes. Even being downwind of a peppermint scent made me queasy.

A Very Scary Merry!

Okay, it’s that time of year again. You know, the Holiday Season – when Halloween morphs into Christmas. We’ve barely had time to put away the cobwebs, ghosts and gravestones before out come the snowmen, holly and lights. In fact, retailers don’t even wait for Halloween to be over before Christmas starts blending into the mix

Musings on Depression

The following four posts were written over the course of four days.  They are a reflection of living with and inside depression.

Kisses from Heaven

Many times we don’t realize the significance of something until after the fact. We’ve needed a chance to reflect upon it, or we see it differently after time has passed.  There can be a lesson learned, and we see the greater scheme of moments in our lives.

The other day I was deleting email and trying to clean old voice messages off my iPhone. I got to a certain point with the messages when I reached a number of them left by my mom. It wasn’t a surprise. I knew they were there. I haven’t deleted them, because it’s still a connection to her. My mom died two years ago today.

A Tea Grows in Boulder

I’ve never been interested in “afternoon tea,” “high tea”, or any type of formal tea custom. To me, it was a group of older, dowager-like ladies with pinkies erect, pressed lace collars, and big royal-sized purses at their feet.  A snooty way to sip a spot of tea and nibble on tiny cucumber sandwiches.  The whole routine seemed stodgy and a bit grandmotherly.

Being Human Lies Beneath

Never just go by what's on the outside. You must dig beneath to find the real substance of what can be hidden by a pleasing exterior.

9/11 Memorial Museum - In Memoriam

This September marks the 14th anniversary of 9/11. The day when the world watched in shock as the terrorists attacked the US, destroying the World Trade Center’s twin towers, damaging the Pentagon, and crashing a passenger plane into a Pennsylvania field.
This act of terrorism killed almost three thousand individuals, decimated New York’s Financial District, and left the country in panic and fear. It was a tragedy that resulted in the largest loss of life from a foreign attack on American soil and the greatest single loss of rescue personnel in our history.
Time can help diminish the pain of a tragedy, but we “never forget.” The act of destruction, devastation and terror of that day is etched in our minds. It’s one of those horrible, defining days in our country’s history like the assassination of President Kennedy. We all remember where we were and what we were doing when we heard the tragic news that planes crashed into the twin towers.

My Big Fat Ticker Tape Fiasco

My partner had a business trip to New York City a few weeks ago. He was going to One World Trade Center for a meeting in the Conde’ Nast offices. An impromptu get-a-way is something we both enjoy, so I was invited to go.
It was a great opportunity to visit the 9/11 Memorial Museum, and the “One World Observatory.He made reservations at the Millenium Hilton across the street from the World Trade Center Complex. I pulled out my overnight bag and prepared to enjoy the city.
I received a call from my sister who watches the news much more than me. She is a great source of late-breaking information including weather updates. I now refer to her as SNN (The Sister News Network). So, SNN calls me and asks if I knew there was a ticker tape parade scheduled for the day of our trip?
Of course, I had not heard of the parade. I wasn’t aware of any recent major historical events - no war heroes making headlines or astronauts returning from the International Space Station. Aren’t ticker tape parades s…

Marriage Equality - A Reflection of Change

June 26th, 2015 is a historic day for marriage equality and gay rights. I contemplate the news that gay marriage is now legal in all fifty states, and think about the changes I have seen in my lifetime.
I remember being a child and hearing slurs and derogatory statements about queers and fairies. The harsh words instilled a belief in my impressionable mind, that being a homosexual meant you were mentally ill and perverted. The messages were clear; if you weren’t attracted to the opposite sex you were far from normal. People were persecuted for their sexuality.
Men and women went into loveless marriages and led secret lives hiding their true identities. No one spoke of gay rights in my small town. All I knew was being labeled a fag meant being ostracized by peers, and you wore a mark of shame.
At home, I felt secure and free to express myself. I had parents who were non-judgmental and loved me for me. I only felt different at school where I was harshly judged, and told by bullies I acte…

Mental Health - Destroy the Stigma

I believe that I am a fearless writer. I share my personal experiences, thoughts and beliefs. I’ve not been afraid to express my emotions. Self-expression is fundamental to writing. I am a man of my words
Recently, I became concerned that my blogs about depression and mental health might shape my reader’s opinions of me in a negative way.The more I thought about it, I realized that I had internalized the stigma that surrounds mental health.
Stigma is defined as “a mark of disgrace or infamy.” The word bears a negative connotation and it devalues the person to whom the stigma is applied. While the conversation about mental health is receiving a larger forum, damaging misconceptions are widespread.
According to surveys, there are between 42.5-46 million adults in the US that have some type of mental illness. Statistics show that one in four adults experience mental illness in a given year. These numbers of individuals are all impacted in some manner by the stigma that still surrounds ment…

The Art of Clouds

Unlike Joni Mitchell, I never use to look at clouds from both sides.Clouds were always just up there, floating above my head. I didn’t stop to notice anything upwards. I was too focused on what is in front of me.
There is beauty in nature. That’s not something I needed to learn. I’ve always had an eye for photocomposition and how the simplistic arrangement of objects becomes art. I took a photography class in college and my focus was trees, plants, landscapes, and people. While I was framing the pictures through a lens, I didn’t value the sky as an individual canvas.
It’s cliché to say “Stop and smell the roses,” but we really do need to stop and appreciate our physical world. View it with a creative eye and the sensibility of an artist. Look past the commonplace and see the environment as a composition of angles, textures, shading and contrast.

As a child, I was always fascinated by light and how the sun changes throughout the day - the dimness of morning, the bright afternoon light an…

Depression, Drugs & DNA

When diagnosed with Clinical Depression, my doctor recommended medication to help the illness. The art of medication management can challenge professionals who need to find the right drug and dosage that will be effective for treatment. It’s frustrating for patients combating the effects of depression when their medication doesn’t quite alleviate the symptoms. Part of this cocktail of drugs can also cause intolerable side effects
·Weight Gain

Candy Apple Nightmares Part 2 - The Talisman

(Part 2 of Blog - Published November 1, 2014)

Click here for Part 1 
Hildegard looked at me with a strangely knowing stare. She was acknowledging I was on to her. Tommy gagged, stopped and threw his apple to the ground, but Jennifer and Vicki just laughed.
“God, Dave, What’s wrong with you?” Tommy asked wiping the red taffy off his face. “I was enjoying my apple until you got so gross. Not a funny joke man.”
“I’m not joking Tommy,” I said. “You can’t see that they’re not apples. Its disgusting.”
I glanced at Vicki and Jennifer as they chewed into disgusting bits of dried skin. I broke out in a cold sweat. I needed to grab the tainted treats away from my friends, but I didn’t want to get any closer to them or Hildegard.
“Jen, Vicki, Please stop eating that garbage. It’s horrible.”
Jennifer licked her lips and grinned at me. I could see bits of what she thought was an apple stuck to her teeth. “You’ve watched too many episodes of Dark Shadows. It’s warping your brain, and it’s not very funny.”

Communication - The Art of Words

I read a posting, a few weeks ago, that the song “Enjoy the Silence” by Depeche Mode was celebrating its 25th anniversary. The song, released in 1990, speaks of how you can be beyond words. It relays the message that there are times when words can’t describe feelings or emotions and seem inconsequential.
I do understand when people say that something is “indescribable.” We all have moments when we just want silence and time to appreciate the world beyond words.A feeling or an emotion can be hard to verbalize at times, but are we ever beyond words?
We have to realize that if we want a space of non-communication we have to communicate that. We can’t “Enjoy the Silence” unless we can tell everyone we want silence. For people to know we are at a loss for words, we have to tell them that. Everything we say and do lies in communication. We could not function as a community or a society without it.
We don’t stop to contemplate that our whole world is created from the words we use and how we r…

Hedwig and the Angry Oscar!

Neil Patrick Harris learned during the 87th Academy Awards show that he couldn’t host everything. The charming and usually witty host could not tackle Oscar theGiant. I am a great fan of Neil and was excited to learn he was hosting this year’s broadcast of the Academy Awards.He had so brilliantly hosted the Tony and Emmy Award shows, that this would be a no-brainer. Unfortunately, the brains behind Neil failed.

Taking on hosting the Academy Awards is no small feat; just ask Seth Macfarlane and James Franco. It is great media exposure and the accolades come if you can find your niche and gain acceptance among the elitist of Tinseltown.It worked with Ellen and her Twitter exploding “selfie”, but it didn’t happen with Neil’s “magic box.”
The show’s opening was entertaining and Neil did what he can do best - sing and dance. His first joke of the evening about honoring “Hollywood’s best and whitest” landed well with the star packed audience, but he soon lost his followers as the evening prog…

The Heart of Valentine's Day

I just looked at my calendar and realized that tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. I don’t really pay attention to the day when that little “f***ker” in the diaper shoots arrows into the hearts of those who can only show love on February 14th. We shouldn’t have to be reminded to express our love for someone.
What is the big deal with Valentine’s Day? Shouldn’t real love be a constant thing? Shouldn’t we be saying “I Love You” to all those in our lives as often as we can? If you feel the need to over express in February what you should have been saying the rest of the year, you need to examine your definition of love.
We should spread love around to all those people we hold in our hearts, and it should happen everyday. I don’t feel the need to wait for the “Holiday of Love.” Love doesn’t need to come in the form of perfume-scented cards, undies for two, the Snuggie of Love, or a giant Mylar heart. It should be in gestures we do everyday. It is much more meaningful to display your love in daily …

"Lights, Camera, Bloom" - The Silver Screen with a Green Thumb

In a world - where a groundhog sees his shadow, wind chill temperatures hit the single digits and the landscape is gray, there is an escape to beauty, color and lush landscapes. Immerse yourself in the 2015 PHSPhiladelphia Flower Show - “Celebrate the Movies.”

It’s “Lights, Camera, Bloom” as you step onto a red carpet, enter a movie palace and experience an award-winning event that will leave you awestruck.  The show’s entrance gardens feature such stars as Rose – the All-American beauty, Calla Lily – the tropical temptress and Hosta – a lush perennial favorite.

Brilliant colors and displays from multi-talented landscapers and floral artists will leave you breathless in wonder. Jaw dropping landscapes featuring Disney inspired themes will bring you the magic of the movies and memories to cherish.

Watch as “Maleficent” delivers all her villainous splendor and “Cars” sets the speedometer to high-octane enjoyment.  You won’t have to Let It Go as the world of “Frozen” melts your heart, and t…

The Power of the Present

I have found that I often get caught up in the past – wishing I could have changed something. There are always all the “what ifs.”If I had done something different, said something different, or chosen a different path. There is that constant query – would things be different today?
Of course, I have to go in the opposite direction as well and worry about the future -what is going to happen? I worry will my interview be successful, will my doctor’s physical show I’m in good health, will I get published, will I get the phone call I am expecting, will I enjoy the movie I want to see? The list is endless.
Whether it is the past or the future, it all causes stress, anxiety and pulls me away from a focus on the here and now.I’ve heard numerous quotes, and songs about there’s only now. “Live Like We’re Dying” It’s easy to get distracted when my inner voice wants to inform me of every angle and nuance.It reminds me of the past and attempts to inform me of the future.
That inner voice is a non-…