Who Doesn’t Love Baby Horses?

Happy Easter, everyone!

Is everyone enjoying their families and friends? Cool. S and I were able to make it down south this weekend to visit the parents and spend some time with other members of the family. Weekends go by entirely too fast, but even a day or two with family – whether that be blood or chosen – is a treat.

We’d all had pretty busy days prior to this weekend, so the bunch of us found ourselves going to bed at 10pm – struggling to get through the Villanova and Kanas final four game. Just before we put our phones down for the final time that night and the lights went out, mom informed us that a new baby horse had been born.

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I’ve always found it so fascinating how newborn animals are up and walking mere moments after they’ve entered the world. This calve is the mother’s first and all is going well. She wasn’t sure at first when it came to letting the baby nurse. She kept circling the newborn, not letting him get close enough to nurse. Dad was able to hold the mother still until she fell into the role of mother. Cool, right!?

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And look at this one. What a face!

I hate to get back to the regular work week, but alas… I hope you’ve all had a gorgeous weekend.

The Horses of Burr Oak Farm

We got the chance to help the family shoot some footage of the horses for prospective buyers this Thanksgiving weekend. The buyers are way out in Oregon, so they’re unable to check out the horses in person.

It was my pleasure to step out of my comfort zone and help them with this.

The more I work on creative projects that allow me to explore new realms, the more inspired I become. Now… those of you who know me may be REALLY shocked to see me anywhere near a horse – let alone in my forces, hello! – but I had a blast.

We plan on getting down more often to help mom and dad elevate their customer experience and show off the beautiful horses of Burr Oak Farm.

 

Zen Managed.

Every now and then I need to step away from a project to let the creativity breathe. A couple of things happened during my little WordPress hiatus: (1) Work became a bit busy for S and I – duh –  and (2) we decided not to let that bog us down.

In older GITL posts, I’ve discussed how work had a huge tendency to impact our spirits and motivation. Maybe it’s the effects of our vacation just now catching up to us, but we are completely unbothered these days and I think it feels pretty damned awesome.

We spent Memorial Day weekend with friends and family in Southern Indiana. The Flecks showed us around Evansville and introduced us to a couple breweries and a new restaurant. Carson’s Brewery had this amazing banana beer and The Dapper Pig’s crab cakes were SO good.

 

Beer is the one item I miss being a low-carber, but like I’ve said in past, “If I want some? I’ll have some.” The trick was ordering flights – each flight being four, 5 oz servings –  instead of multiple 16 oz glasses of IPAs. The 5 oz flight-size remained an option to consume more, so we stuck to this and didn’t feel like absolute trash the next day for dipping in the carb pool.

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The campsite on the family farm is where we spend most of our time together during a long weekend like Memorial Day. S’s parents have the area set up so two campers can park and be used comfortably, along with any tents or big toys for the kids. The edge of the camp is rounded out by wire fence, giving the horses access to the occasional snack from the family and to say hello.

Time spent with the family down south is always a good time and a great way for us to calm down. The strong sense of calm that lingers after coming home to Indy is undeniable and gives us a good boost for the days ahead. The forecast is showing clear skies and being unbothered for a good while. Now! Back to side hustles and creativity.

 

Cheers,

All Work. Hopefully Some Play.

I’m frustrated. Frustrated because most of my family lives outside of Indiana. Frustrated because my brother is coming to visit the first week of May, and I’m not sure if S will be able to get any time off. As a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) at a corporate establishment, it’s hard for S to get off during their month-end-close weeks – the last week of the month were all deadlines and balances are due. This visit was originally planned as a surprise and falls during the week of my brother’s birthday. Unfortunately, the first week of May happens to be one of these ridiculous weeks where S will probably be working late and won’t have much free time.

 

That’s the business I suppose. My corporate gig is much more lax and doesn’t run on any tight deadlines; making it much easier to say “Hey, I’m going to be out for a week. Cool? Thanks.” I know this isn’t anything S can control. He’s an extremely hard worker, and by the sounds of most post-work download moments at home, he’s always helping team members with their tasks and keeping productivity stay at a decent level.  

 

Sure, some notice before flights were purchased would have been nice, but it was a surprise. My brother had no idea until after the flights were scheduled. Blame is not what I’m looking to place. I’m more just hoping that S’s job can find a way to survive without him for a couple to a few days that week, or at least let him leave at a decent time since his brother-in-law is coming to visit from 3,800 miles away.

 

As soon as we found out my brother would be visiting, I thought “let your job know, if that’s your busy week, so they can plan for your absence, be flexible, or plan to step it up that week.” From what I understand about the accounting world, you can only plan so much and a lot of how smoothly the gig is executed depends on your team. Currently I’m a supervisor in corporate customer service, so sacrifice and hard work is something I know a thing or two about… Accounting versus Customer Service – they both have their pros and cons as they relate to each other. From a leadership point of view, I’m thinking “Why aren’t your other team members as good a S? Can no one dig as deep as he does, Monday through Friday, and get the job done?”

 

That’s the gift and curse of leadership – having to carry others, even when you don’t really want to at times, but then you’re reminded why you’re a leader – you know deep down why you’re a leader – with that amazing feeling of accomplishment.

 

In the end I’m more aggravated because S always deserves a break and rarely takes one for himself. If there was any way he could get at least two days off the week of the visit, I’d be happy, but we’ll have a great time no matter what ends up happening with his work schedule. I’m annoyed at the timing of things, BUT I’m beyond stoked to spend my brother’s twenty-eighth birthday with him. The last time my siblings and I were all together was Summer 2014. With sis now living just down the road in Bloomington, we’ll be sure to have a great week together.

 

Last night I received a text from one of our great family friends, asking/letting me know that he’d be joining my brother on this trip – he’s basically a brother to us. He’s coming up from Florida, so we’ll have visitors from opposite corners of the country! Schweeeeet.

 

End vent/ramble/whatever-this-post-was…

5 Reasons Pam De Beaufort and I Could be Family

Anyone else a fan of HBO’s True Blood? I’ve been rewatching the series and have come to the conclusion that Pam De Beaufort and I are long lost family members. Take a few minutes to get to know Pam before you continue:

 

Are some of you starting to see the similarities? If you’ve seen my uncensored side, you can’t deny that this would be me if I were a cold, golden, Pharrell-Williams-like Vampire. Let’s get into it…

*ONE* We’re not here for the bullshit. If you say something sideways to us or challenge us without enough ammo to survive the verbal lashing you’ll receive a swift few seconds after you’re finished speaking your last word? Just watch out and don’t expect us to feel any type of way about it.

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*TWO* We keep it classy but bring the slayage when necessary. Let’s face it… we always slay. It’s a requirement in both our lives and spirits and deep down I know she’s a Beyonce fan.

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*THREE* We really only cry when we’re pissed off or full of rage and frustration. Deep down inside we’re big softies, but we can’t let anyone know that – unless you’re in our inner circle, but still, tread lightly.

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*FOUR* We’re team players even when we don’t want to be.  Pam and I both share many experiences in stepping up for the betterment of whatever grand scheme or mission we’re executing. It’s nice to worry about me, myself, and I – when we get the chance – and will never turn down a good mani-pedi session.

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*FIVE* We’re natural born leaders. No matter how annoyed we may become in a moment, we get the job done and get it done right. And come on… If I had a throne on a stage? My fierce levels would be out of control; much like Pam’s.

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I love me some Pam and True Blood. If you are familiar with the show, let me know in the comments which character you’re most like or could possibly share blood with. I see Pam as a snippy older sister I never had, lol.

Vacay Decay

The first day back after a long week (and a day) off are so terribly slow and painful. On the struggle bus is but an understatement, let me tell you, because homeboy was dying at his desk on Tuesday of last week. Christmas fell on a Sunday, so around this time last year, I planned to have the week of Christmas 2016 to myself. I wasn’t worried about the time being gone because I’m generally smart with my time off at work and S always has extra time to spare.

The holidays are always a great time – largely in part to the amount of Crown Royal we consume. “Ho Ho Ho!” scream our livers. S’s dad definitely makes sure the bar is properly stocked when we’re down home. We’re never hurting in the wine and spirits department. The thing we were most looking forward to  was chilling at home with each other; to completely decompress.

We did a whole lot of nothing and it was absolutely fabulous. S played a lifetime’s worth of video games while I just zenned out with a plethora of self care treatments. Another huge plus of our time off was familiarizing ourselves with our new home deep fryer. We can’t say enough good things about how the fryer has stepped up our kitchen game.

2017 brings in the new grind. I’ve been drifting away from new year resolutions because there’s always so much I want to accomplish. S and I both vowed a couple years ago that working on our health, fitness, and overall well-being would always be a big focus. Your health shouldn’t have to be a resolution – I get it, I do –  but instead, a commitment that is lasting and honest.

I foresee pretty big changes on the job front for me this year. My freelance public relations projects are picking back up and I’ve been working on ideas to pitch for writing opportunities. S is doing really well at his job and can now breathe with his Master of Accounting degree being complete. There are still some late nights, but Reynold and I don’t mind too much. We understand.  

Eat Slay Love. We survived an extremely (and unpredictably) busy 2016 and we’re both entering 2017 a little sluggish; if we’re being truthful. Never fear, though! I think this is just part of being an adult. We enjoyed the hell out of our time off and time with each other, so sure, we’re wishing we could go back to that week (lol). So with that being said…

Goodnight. And don’t let the trap queens bite,

30

A great work friend of mine asked me if I had any anxiety about turning thirty. The answer is no. I’ve always been okay with aging – look forward to it most of the time – but I’m sure there will be moments when I’m not. Today is my thirtieth birthday.

I see making it to thirty as a cue to begin the next phase of my evolution. My student loans are almost completely gone – my closest friends know how much of a nightmare that has been over the years – I have a solid life and marriage with S, my work life and creative projects are going extremely well, and my closet is growing into the GQ dream I’ve always wanted.

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I foresee a good amount of travel for S and I. We’ve earned some vacations beyond just a week off at home. Through my twenties I’ve learned a great deal about finances. Because we’ve been so smart and plan realistically, I know travel around the world is something we could easily do; sooner rather than later and before kids enter the picture.  

<ponder> We never did have a reception for our marriage and plan on having a big anniversary party at this point. I will have a french bulldog, named Biscuit Habanero. I will find a way to become my own boss and escape the corporate world, but in the meantime, I’ll gladly collect the experience. I will add a Burberry blanket to my list of favorite personal items and brew my own kombucha. </ponder>

All of those facts, wants, and wishes? I believe them to be possible because I’ve grown into someone who puts in the work and gets what they want. Earlier this week, I was journaling in my notes app when this life breakdown came to mind:

  • I always did really well in school – K through 12, taking advanced placement classes early in high school and performing with an award-winning band (shoutout to BARTLETT HIGH SCHOOL!)
  • In college I realized I didn’t know how to study and began to learn – the hard way – about hardship and the struggle to pay out-of-state tuition for college. I also made some of the best friends I could ever ask for and traveled with some of the best groups and people I share the honor of being called an Indiana University Alumni with.
  • Living a low-carb, ketogenic lifestyle has helped me feel what living a healthy life should be. I’m sharp, never sluggish, and want to be active most days – lifting or yoga. I was over 300 lbs at one point. Battling weight-loss has without a doubt conditioned my perseverance in life.
  • As I leave my twenties, I’ve discovered balance. All of my past experiences have pushed me and helped me flourish as a human being. So thank you all for helping me get here.

I’m excited to be thirty and ready to see what levels I can reach before forty. Now, back to listening to Beyonce, watching S play video games, and chilling with my friend Mary Jane. I have a birthday to get ready for!

Have fabulously zen day, everyone.

Swirl in the City

I’d really like for this to be my last time writing about Black Lives Matter. With that being said, however, I understand that right now my voice is one of the most important. A couple weeks ago, a friend of mine asked me how I was feeling in lieu of the tragedies affecting the Black Community. I answered honestly, stating that I was drained and was at a loss for words most of the time, and explained how important it was to share my perspective without forcing it onto others. Comments I hear in passing – at work, mind you – like “why isn’t there a White Entertainment Television channel?!” are microaggressions that fuel the smallest of fires that burn behind the bullets killing our melanin-kissed brothers and sisters.  

 

Black Lives Matter does not mean anti-white. I would know this because my husband is white. Not only is he white, but he’s from Southern Indiana, grew up raising horses, and hops around randomly and calls it dancing; especially to a fierce Lady Gaga track. All jokes aside, I have an interesting perspective and more to consider when it comes to my life in relation to everything that’s going on currently. S and I live in a pretty quiet area on the west side of Indianapolis. There’s not much traffic in our neighborhood, and the presence of other people of color is sparse. Lately I’ve been haunted by thoughts of me getting taken out by some uneducated, neighborhood watch tool or a policeman, while I’m peacefully walking our dog. I know this seems extreme, but I find it sad that I’m unsure of my safety anymore. Not only for myself, but for our tiny family we’ve created.

 

I’m always on high alert now when I see a police car behind me. I try not to run errands at night at the risk of being profiled and pulled over – although we’ve seen that time of day really isn’t a factor. The fact that all police officers aren’t evil, racist assholes isn’t a lost realization floating around in the darkest parts of my brain, BUT at the same time, it’s something I’m forced to consider. Take S and I visiting his parents for example. He’s from a very small town where I’m convinced – whenever I’m visiting – that I’m the only black person present, and that everyone there will throw a tantrum if you bring up gun control. I’m going to separate the next few lines because they’re important…

 

Even with those thoughts in my head and the fact that I am, most likely, the only black person around those parts, I would never jump the gun and be hyper-protective and reactive. I remain open and try to look at more than just the book’s cover. Inside of me there’s still a voice that says “go with the flow and be your best self…” If any of these murderous officers – not all, but the ones with blood on their hands – had any ounce of humanity, they’d be able to consider the fact that a person’s skin color doesn’t make them a threat. They’d be open. How I’m able to think like this in times like these is beyond me, but I’ll take it as a sign of hope; A sign that hope still exists.

 

I’ve never played the race card in all of my twenty-nine years and don’t plan on doing so for any reason. What I will do is stand up for what’s right. Preaching on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media platform has never been my style. If ever there are comments made that I disagree with, I simply bring up facts, significant points, and anything that will get the opposition to think past themselves. Consider my Indiana family for example. I know they love me and that they’d do anything for S, myself, and my family. I’m wondering how having a gay, black man in the family has caused their thinking to shift. “Racism isn’t going anywhere. It’s just changing its face.” I have a feeling things will get way worse before they improve. Educating and providing views into life as a minority is key if the receiving subjects are willing to listen. Stay woke, everyone! And if you don’t know what “woke” means (as it relates to Black Lives Matter)? Chances are you aren’t.
Let love breathe,

We’re More Than Friends from School. We’re Married.

The four of us sat in a group at the front of the funeral hall. It was visitation for my husband’s late grandmother, Mae, who’d passed peacefully at her nursing home a few days earlier. The mood was somber, tense, and was haunted by all the happy memories Grandma Mae had left behind. I’d only met her a couple of times, but those moments were enough. “…and this is my husband, Jamal.” There was a power in that introduction, and because of it, I’ll never forget those first few minutes of meeting Grandma Mae. My husband and I had been together almost four years, and I’d never heard anyone from his side of the family refer to me as “husband.”

Time and small talk took a moment, as my husband’s mother and father approached.  “Come meet the kids! You remember David, and his wife Alice…” His mother continued with a smile. “…and our youngest, Stanley, and his friend from school, Jamal.” I smiled, gave a polite nod to the cheerful strangers, and felt phantom burning around my wedding band. I’d come to expect this introduction in any situation that involved meeting friends of my parent-in-laws. In the past I’d let it slide – chalking it up to their old school ways, and not really knowing how to introduce their son’s husband to familiar faces – but this time, the word “friend” really got me thinking.


I wondered why being referred to as “friend” was bothering me now. To villainize my in-laws is not my intention. The number of favors and help they’ve provided my husband and I, is beyond anything I could ever imagine for us in any time of need. Was I being introduced this way as some subtle form of protection? Is the term “husband” one that is uncomfortable for them in uncharted social territory? I still don’t have the answer to those questions, and they’ve haunted my curiosity ever since.