Monday, February 28, 2011

As February comes to a close, the psychology of winter starts to wane too.  This new month, merely by way of its name, demands what we've been too sad and lazy to do for the past many weeks.  Like our mothers forcing us upstairs to clean our rooms, it says "March!  Hop to it!"  A directive that shakes us loose, though not entirely: that won't happen until April when trees begin to don a bit of green.

So, for now, I'll fill the house with the earliest tulips and watch, wide-eyed, as daylight stretches beyond 5:30pm, the planet tilting its shoulders toward the sun.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

I've always been the guy with 4 friends, my nearest and dearest, no need for more.  Lots of peripheral people, certainly lots of nice pals and friendly coworkers, but only a few who I really, deeply cared about.   Well, something shifted about a year ago: I started bonding to people in a different way.

I'm not sure if it's just getting older (this new-found ability to cut down to the essence of people) but it seems that's what's happening.  As we age and get more comfortable with ourselves, we're simply better-equipped to find our tribe, those people we flock to, commonalities and perfect-differences that make us take another look at ourselves.  It's kind of spectacular, no?

And the friends we make at this stage are more like editors, sculpting, perhaps softening the negatives and drawing out the really good stuff. It's happened a few times lately, that shock of a new friend, and it's tough to describe.  It's as if you special-ordered them from a catalogue, with all the bells and whistles life requires at this moment.

And it can happen in the flesh or through the wonders of the internet, it seems.  I've "met" a slew of terrific humans through blogging.  A few of us have created a community that's really special, and something hard to explain if you don't get it.  Allow me to try.

Tara O'Brady over at Seven Spoons is many things to me.  (First of all, you should know she's Tar-ah, not Tair-ah, in case you ever see her in the street and F that up.  That'd be embarrassing.)

I'm not sure when we went from lurking on each other's blogs to direct-Tweet-mentions to lunch on a patio, but these things don't happen over night.  She's become a special friend who I text late at night about all kinds of things.  She's a source of inspiration and of vast support and snarky co-conspiracy.  She's gone from a talented enigma on the internet to a real-life person and I adore her, top to bottom.  

(Tara's incredible gratin.  Seven Spoons, February 2011)

Tim Robison (there's no N in there, folks, and he gets upset about it!) is just about the sweetest dude on the world wide web. His photos (That's Just It Photo) showcase his seemingly-serene life in North Carolina where I imagine him shopping for produce and calming the babies of frazzled women at the market.  I fancy him a modern-day hero, splinting the broken bones of a fawn or charmingly programming cell phones for the technologically-retarded.

His photos have made me see through my own camera a little differently.  They tell stories in ways I don't, but want to. Magical, meandering stories.  Pulled-back and vast landscapes or the rustic details right up close.  And when someone with his talent comments on a photo you've taken, you hold that compliment close and revel in it.  The words mean so very much through the eyes and brain of such a kind and thoughtful buddy.

(And he's a good sport when I want to sexually harass him publicly via Twitter.)

(One of Tim's trips to the mountains.  That's Just It Photo, February 2011)

Coming up in another installment:  Kathleen Shannon of Jeremy & Kathleen and Ryan Marshall at Pacing the Panic Room.

Monday, February 21, 2011

When I need inspiration, I head over to Myles Henry Tipley's blog.  For years he's been one of the greats in the deep well of sites I peruse daily.  He's got incredible taste and an even better eye.  He's assembled one of the best blogs of his genre (that "curatorial" type, an assemblage of brilliance and class and tastemaking genius) and has made a real name for himself.  

Mark my words: One day he'll edit a magazine or be the creative director of something big.  Big.  Remember his conveniently-memorable name.

Anyway . . . if I need to spend a few minutes (or hours) jump-starting my brain, I often click around his corner of the internet.  Particularly when I'm heading in an Americana, coastal, classic, masculine direction.

Many of the following images come from Myles' site, a few I've posted before.  Others are from various places on the world wide web.  None are my own.  Credits lie deep in the internet somewhere.  I apologize for not having them readily available; I too wish I did, so I could click it up and place a major order.

You see, we've been hot on the trail of a place here in Fort Lauderdale.  Our real estate agent has been schlepping us all over town, from coastal condos to golf course communities.  We've yet to hear back on an offer we placed at a very Melrose Place-style development, but we're hoping we do before we leave tomorrow.

You might be asking yourself: What the shit do these two need with a place in Florida?  And why there?  Well, if I told you it could cost less than a car, you might hop a plane yourself.  And it's really quite lovely here - Relaxed and tropical, gay-friendly and beach-adjacent.  If we sit on it and enjoy for 8 or 10 years (with the occasional rental to friends and family to recoup some costs) we hope it will double its value (returning to what it once was before The Mortgage Crisis) and earn us some serious profit/poolside enjoyment.  Time will tell.

So, this is a tear-sheet of how we want to decorate.  I'll keep you posted.

(This is a controversial sort of entry, as I haven't done the appropriate research to properly attribute each image to its owner.  If you know who they belong to, our where products may be purchased, please do leave a comment.  And accept my many apologies, but the intention is to celebrate the beauty and the old-school-tear-sheet inspiration.)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Florida is in a state of perpetual summer.  It's bizarre: In February, locals are wearing sweaters.  It's 25°C (77°F) and blisteringly hot, but, for them, it's kinda cool.

Temperature is relative, I suppose.

For us, coming from the deep freeze, there's something about wearing shorts this time of year: it feels like a gift. And we've taken full-advantage.  Shorts.  Short-shorts.  Shorty-short-shorts.  And flouncy button-downs.  Deck shoes.  Checks and stripes and blues and khakis.  Easy-breezy.

And, conversely, back at the house we're renting, you won't find us obsessing over clothes.  That's the beauty of a secluded yard in the tropics: our wardrobe consists of SPF30 and not much else.  There won't be photos of that.