Done to Earth Dave’s Post for Today

Salutations, Gentle Reader,

Well, today has offered me the opportunity to transform an annoying situation into looking on the bright side of things.  I had the late lunch today.  Actually, I brought my lunch with me and used the first part of my lunch hour to run a couple of errands.  Only when making the last of them did I actually have to park and get out of the car.  I hopped back in, put the key in the ignition and turned it.  The car wouldn’t start.  I had noticed that battery seemed sluggish the past few days and really had planned to have it checked on Friday, when I have a day off.  Those plans got moved up a few days.

Fortunately, a co-worker was able to bring our dealership’s jumpstart box, and I went to a local auto parts store and now am rolling along again.  Was it an annoyance?  Of course.  Nevertheless, I was able to get my car started without having to call a tow truck.  I had the means to replace the battery.  I work for someone who didn’t give me a hard time for being late returning from lunch–and who allowed a co-worker to come to my rescue.  Things could be worse.

In a totally different vein, I had a cool conversation with a friend the other day.  She told me that I was different from 99% of the others.  I laughed and said I had never thought of myself as a 1%er.  I hold her in the same regard.  We shared how we feel challenged in critical areas of life and questioned whether we really might be unlucky.  It’s tough for me to think of “unlucky”.  From a rational standpoint, I don’t really accept that notion.  I know that I’m prone to depression and suspect that depression may skew my outlook on occasion; yet, there’s no denying that life has thrown a lot of curveballs in my direction.  As I wrote the other day, I question whether I was a good husband.  Perhaps it’s my drawing near a milestone birthday that has me reflecting over these things, but I’m at a point where I’m really asking a lot of questions about life in general and my life in particular.

Remain calm, and speak well.

Be kind to yourself.  Be kind to the planet and the future.  Cause no harm.  Go Vegan!

Only as the Day Is Long

Dorianne Laux, 1952

Soon she will be no more than a passing thought,
a pang, a timpani of wind in the chimes, bent spoons
hung from the eaves on a first night in a new house
on a street where no dog sings, no cat visits
a neighbor cat in the middle of the street, winding
and rubbing fur against fur, throwing sparks.

Her atoms are out there, circling the earth, minus
her happiness, minus her grief, only her body’s
water atoms, her hair and bone and teeth atoms,
her fleshy atoms, her boozy atoms, her saltines
and cheese and tea, but not her piano concerto
atoms, her atoms of laughter and cruelty, her atoms
of lies and lilies along the driveway and her slippers,
Lord her slippers, where are they now?


Down to Earth Dave’s Post for Today

Salutations, Gentle Reader,

There’s no gentle way to put this:  Egad! It’s hot!  I choose not to complain about the heat.  All seasons share their respective essence and grandeur.  Nevertheless, I’d be less than genuine were I to suggest anything besides the fact that I’m very much looking forward to autumn’s arrival.

With that said, summer back in NC has meant two really wonderful things:  home-grown tomatoes and the beach.  Ah, the sheer enjoyment of picking a dew-covered tomato from the vine and taking a bite.  Those tangy juices fill the mouth and dribble down the chin.  Then there’s that other gastronomic delight:  tomato sandwiches.  I use wheat bread or wheat sandwich thins, Just Mayo vegan mayonnaise, sliced tomato, salt, and pepper.  Sometimes I add a leaf or two of fresh basil or a few leaves of fresh thyme.  Regardless, there’s nothing quite like a tomato sandwich crafted with tomatoes that have been picked just minutes before.   Mmmmm…

I’m also convinced that NC has some of the most beautiful beaches on the East Coast.  I still don’t make it to the beach as often as I would like, for there’s this little thing called “work” that insists on taking most of my time.  I haven’t achieved independent wealth, so to the dealership I come almost every day.  Still, to be able to feel the sun’s warmth, smell that distinct aroma of salt and sea, and hear the crescendo of waves and the call of shore birds…  That’s the stuff that’s good for the soul.  It’s the siren’s lyre that has called people to the sea for generations.  You may or may not know that for about three years, I lived up in Kill Devil Hills on NC’s Outer Banks.  I had a small “beach box” of apx 900 SF, situated about four blocks back from the beach.  I couldn’t see the ocean, but in the mornings as I walked my Pomeranian–a beautiful female named Lacey–and picked up the paper, I could hear the waves.  My wife at that time was not content at the beach, and we eventually moved.  My second wife later left a place I loved living:  NYC.  Eventually, I left too.  Being apart from my daughter affected my life more profoundly that I realized at that time.  Hindsight has shown me the value of my connection with her.

I don’t think I was a good husband.

I am a great dad, though, and I can grow tomatoes and make flat shells skip on the water in the ocean.


Remain calm, and speak well.

Be kind to yourself.  Be kind to the planet and the future.  Cause no harm.  Go Vegan!

Down to Earth Dave’s Post for Today

Salutations, Gentle Reader,

Yes, much time has passed since I last offered you a glimpse into my day-to-day life.  My transition from New York City back to North Carolina continues.  While I still miss the hustle and bustle of The City, being reunited with my little girl is indescribably wonderful.  Our Daddy-Daughter dates take us to dinner, the cinema, or even to quiet places where we blow bubbles and tell stories.  She tells me I tell the best stories.  When she allows me to be truly creative, I sometimes surprise myself with the narratives that come to mind, but generally our stories are formulaic.  They include a central cast of characters:  Noelle and my Pomeranians.  They often include Noelle’s teacher, whom she loves, and Benedict Cumberbatch, whom she also loves.  At times, I grow tired of the formula for the stories, but then I realize that this lovely child had to cope with her parents’ separation and subsequent divorce.  Her mother had brought her to NC.  I was in NYC.  Perhaps she still needs something constant.

I’ve settled nicely into a church here.  Theologically, I’m UU at heart.  I believe that God has and continues to manifest itself throughout time and culture.  Unfortunately, my experience both in New York and back here in NC has been that UU Congregations, while comprised of wonderful people, seem to be moving away from a spiritual emphasis.  I believe in spirit.  In New York, I was an active member of St. Luke’s Lutheran Church (ELCA).  I visited the ELCA congregation here, but it just didn’t click.  So, I can now add yet another plank to my one-person ecumenical effort:  First Presbyterian Church (PCUSA).  The congregation reflects a range of theological positions, but they’re warm, caring people.  The pastor, Bill Neeley, is a truly gentle, compassionate man.  Noelle has made several friends there and looks forward to going to church.  What makes First Prez special to me?  It preaches, teaches, and reaches out in LOVE.

Yeah, it’s really that simple.  Love.

Gentle reader, I’m now back at a place of employment that will afford me more opportunity to write these blog posts.  I’ve missed you.  I’m looking forward to being with you much more frequently.



Be kind to yourself.  Be kind to the planet and the future.  Cause no suffering.  Go Vegan!

Down to Earth Dave’s Post for Today–December 11

Salutations, Gentle Reader!

This morning, I’m grateful for a bit of down time.  I sit at my dining room table, my breakfast having filled me, and two burning candles of the Advent Wreath standing like shining sentinels keeping watch nearby.  My day will become busy enough soon enough.  This morning is for me.  advent

I miss my old subway commute.  I used that time to compose many of these blog posts or text messages to friends that I could send when emerging back onto the streets of New York.  As crowded as NYC subways are, it’s very easy to be completely alone on them.  Allowing one’s mind to meditate, taking the time to read, writing, etc.–these are things that are possible on a subway that aren’t available to one who is driving a vehicle.  Then again, the vehicle does afford control over the temperature and the absence of the noise and odors that accompany the subway.  The wise one finds the goodness in whatever situation she/he is included.

So many of these blogs that I have written shared my loved of NYC–and I do love The City.  Time has given me the chance to more warmly embrace being back in North Carolina, and on those occasions that I get to indulge in writing, I will share some of the positive that is here as well.  Ayden and Greenville are not glitzy.  They’re not glamorous.  They are good places, though, with a lot of genuine people.  Granted, I’m not saying genuine what!

When I returned to NC, I thought I was going to work a hybrid involving both non-profit and real estate.  Sadly, that didn’t happen.  I have a heart for non-profit, and I do like real estate, but the opportunity just wasn’t there.  For almost a month, I have worked as a sales associate at Greenville Toyota-Scion.  It’s a tough business.  most marketing surveys reveal that car salesman still rate very poorly in being trusted.  We typically only surpass members of Congress, and many of the surveys put the trust rate in the single digits.  As a group, registered nurses are the most trusted.  Well, I bring my same philosophy to selling cars that I did to working in real estate:

  • Listen to clients
  • Hear the wants
  • Lead them to distinguish want from need
  • Ascertain the real budget
  • Connect them with all the needs and as many of the wants as possible
  • Be transparent
  • Treat them the way I’d like to be treated

If you look at my sales/successful rental applications in real estate, you’ll see that I wasn’t the “star agent” in real estate.  I was an asset, though.  I garnered client trust.  I earned glowing reviews.  I brought a professionalism to Sommerlyn Associates that added benefit.  I’m doing the same thing at Greenville Toyota-Scion.

Yesterday was a first for me.  I sold two cars on the same day.  It feels good to know that there’s some commission on the way, but I’m equally glad to know that I’m making connections by being myself.  My first customer yesterday has owned Toyotas for decades.  He and his wife love the service department at Greenville Toyota.  They had never bought a car there before.  (I love writing that in the past tense!)  They left with a Camry.  Late yesterday, another customer came in to lease a car.  While leases tend to favor dealerships, after we discussed his situation and his needs, we came to realize that a purchase was in his best interest.  He left in his new Camry and a big smile! CarSale2 Dec10 On Monday, a customer hugged me and kissed my cheek because she was so grateful of being treated well.  Don’t misunderstand.  I’m being the man I strive to be, the man I want my daughter to be able to look at and proudly say, “That’s my Dad!”

Years ago, I was moved by Michael Jackson’s song, “Man in the Mirror”.  If memory serves correctly, if was released while the struggle to end apartheid gripped the people of South Africa.  Recent events here in Ferguson, Cleveland, NYC, and beyond painfully make us aware that change is still needed.  I suppose it always will be.  Maybe, just maybe, the light of these Advent candles are one way to keep that in mind.  Change is needed, but it’s still possible–and it occurs when we love our neighbor, that person whose path connects with yours on any given day, as ourself.

Christmas is on the way–but Advent is here right now. Christmas is coming

Be kind to yourself.  Be kind to the planet and the future.  Cause no suffering.  Go Vegan!


Down to Earth Dave’s Post for Today–October 10

Salutations, Gentle Reader,

Usually, I write my blogs in the morning; it’s just after 5 pm, I’m sipping cold green tea on the patio, and the Pomeranians are meandering about, pleased to enjoy some time outside on a pleasant fall afternoon.  Monday’s decision by the Supreme Court against hearing appeals of Circuit Court decisions declaring the anti-same sex marriage laws of various states to be unconstitutional has caused quite the buzz.  North Carolina is poised to join the ranks of the majority of states and honor the wishes of loving couples regardless of the gender of each who wish to be married.  And what is NC’s Speaker of the House (and Republican candidate for US Senate) doing?  Spending public funds in a desperate effort to prevent the inevitable.

wrongwaytillis  Sometimes, a picture really is worth a thousand words.

Tomorrow is the annual national Coming Out Day.  I have been fairly open about my sexuality since 2004, but I guess I blew the door off the hinges back in 2012.  I was enduring a lot of personal challenges and decided that I just wasn’t going to deal with anything else.  If people rejected me because of my orientation, then it was their loss.  I had downloaded a copy of the soundtrack from La Cage Aux Folles and kept playing “I Am What I Am” over and over while on the subway.  I can’t help it–I have it playing as I type this, and while I hope to be around for many years to come, when my time arrives to move on to the next existence, I hope a gay chorale will sing this at my memorial.

A delightful couple in Manhattan, Michael and Ethan, compose a blog called Vegan Mos.  I was particularly moved by their latest entry–Coming Out Gay, Coming Out Vegan.  I believe I shared with you earlier that one of my pleasant surprises about being back in Ayden, NC is that there is more acceptance of being gay than before.  It ain’t NYC, but it’s better.  What does draw blank or befuddled expressions is telling people I’m vegan.  Most folks here just don’t understand adopting a compassionate lifestyle that respects the rights of all sentient beings and thereby not eating other animals or their secretions.  I can’t wait until next Saturday when I encourage people to eat with compassion as they’re en route to the St. Timothy’s Lobster Fair.  Talk about your misnomers.  There’s not a damned thing fair about it to the lobsters.  I received excellent advice from fellow vegan Matthew Sikora, who suggests to all that if they distinguish the rights of some animals to live free from worry of pain and suffering for the sake of the human palate, then they’ve already begun the journey to being vegan.  Matthew is the one who suggested I read Eat Like You Care–excellent advice which I share with you as well.

Well, on to check to see if any rulings have been made for marriage equality in the Old North State and then to make a simple Tuscan white bean and kale soup.  Peace.  Namaste, Kumbaya!

Be kind to yourself.  Be kind to the planet and the future.  Cause no suffering.  Go Vegan!


Gentle Reader:  Literally, within minutes of publishing this blog, the news came in.  Marriage Equality has arrived in NC!  Huzzah!!!!

Down to Earth Dave’s Post of the Day–October 3

Salutations, Gentle Reader,

Some of you are aware that each Friday, I send out a joke to almost 300 people.  The jokes are often corny, sometimes a little bawdy, but never unsuitable for work.  I do occasionally send out some not suitable for work, but those go to the “Special Reserve List”.  Here’s today’s joke:

When everybody on earth was dead and waiting to enter Heaven, God appeared and said, “I want the men to make two lines. One line for the men who were true heads of their household, and the other line for the men who were dominated by their women. I want all the women to report to St. Peter.”
Soon, the women were gone to St. Peter, and there were two lines of men. The line of the men who were dominated by their wives was 100 miles long, but in the line for those who truly were heads of their household, there was only one man.
God said to the long line, “You men should be ashamed of yourselves; I created you to be the head of your household! You have been disobedient and have not fulfilled your purpose! Of all of you, only one obeyed. Learn from him.”
God turned to the one man, “How did you manage to be the only one in this line?”
The man replied, “My wife told me to stand here.”

The “Friday nyuk, nyuk” began in August 2004 and has run since then.  Oh, there have been a few missed weeks, and I had decided to stop it a few years ago, but after receiving several inquiries about why I had stopped, I resumed.  Why do I do it?  I don’t know.  Maybe it’s because I’m a ham.  Maybe it’s because I see a weekly joke as a means of letting a lot of people know that I think of them.  Perhaps it’s a way to fulfill one of my basic credos:  Live in such a way help at least one person smile and/or laugh each day.”

Recently I met someone at Cindirene’s of Ayden.  It’s really a cool place.  Chuck Dunn, the proprietor, has established a very nice wine and beer shop that has both on and off site licensing.  I told a joke to the person who laughed and replied, “I know it’s horrible, but I still love Helen Keller jokes.”  Naturally, we proceeded to tell some.  The winner:

Q: Why doesn’t Helen Keller drive?

A: Because she’s dead.

I know.  It’s horrible.  Admit it, though, you smiled.  And if you smiled, I’ve met my quota for today. HK Dog

Be kind to yourself.  Be kind to the planet and the future. Cause no suffering.  Go Vegan!


Down To Earth Dave’s Post of the Day–September 29

Salutations, Gentle Reader,

I suppose I should be fair to the gods of accuracy and find a new moniker for this blog.  I haven’t posted with a frequency anywhere close to “daily” in months.  I’d consider that, perhaps, time and circumstance have diminished my pomp and circumstance.  Consideration over.  Not for a New York minute is that the case–even a New York minute here in Ayden, NC.

The adjustment from life in The City to life in The Town continues–sometimes smoothly, sometimes not so much.  Part of that is that my employment situation hasn’t panned out the way I anticipated.  I’ve recently begun searching the various sources of employment opportunities to see what might be available.  It’s simultaneously thrilling, daunting, and frustrating.  One thing is certain:  a sense of tenacity is critical for success in most aspects of living.  I was asked by one potential employer what I could bring to his company.  My answer:  follow through, follow through, follow through.  I left the series of interviews feeling upbeat, and I followed through with the thank you note.  So far, I haven’t heard anything back, so the search continues.

To complicate the situation, I know that Black Dog of Depression keeps wanting to trot alongside Heidi and JonJon on our walks.  I’ve sent Black Dog away, but she keeps returning, begging for attention and a biscuit.  Service to others has been my best defense against Black Dog.  He hates it when I focus on others and not myself.  All I know is this: my life is shaped in service to others and has been for a long time.  Don’t mistake me: I have my flaws, plenty of them, and I’m aware of them.  I try to diminish them by turning them over to a power higher than myself and by helping others.  From the time I first read the Prayer of St. Francis, I sensed a power that can only be found in selflessness.

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.

“Be the person I want to see in the world beside me” is my motivation.  It is hardly surprising, that of the passages of the Bible, which I read figuratively, not literally, there’s one passage that I take as absolute:  “The first is this:  love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength.  The second is likewise:  love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two hang all the laws and the prophets.”

I read in an article this morning that the Southern Baptist Convention has expelled from its body New Heart Community Church of McKinleyville, CA.  Why?  Because the congregation has elected to welcome LGBT members into its midst and leave the theology of same sex relations to individuals.  In a blistering blog criticizing New Heart, noted Southern Baptist theologian Albert Mohler wrote: “Several years ago, I made that argument and was assailed by many on the left as being ‘reductionistically binary.’ But, the issue is binary. A church will recognize same-sex relationships, or it will not. A congregation will teach a biblical position on the sinfulness of same-sex acts, or it will affirm same-sex behaviors as morally acceptable. Ministers will perform same-sex ceremonies, or they will not.”  Actually, I agree with Mohler on this.  We just disagree on the “sanctity” of same-sex relationships.  In my opinion, it’s not a question of gender, it’s a question of respect and love.  That’s right–that second commandment about loving your neighbor…

Why can’t I just be a guru? guru


Be kind to yourself.  Be kind to the planet and the future.  Cause no suffering.  Go Vegan!