I am Gay Married

30 06 2013

rainbow

I try not to be too political or too personal on this blog space, but the events of this past week are too big and close to my heart to stay quiet about. Civil rights were front and center. One step backwards with the rollback of a decades old legislation that supported the right for everyone’s vote to count and one step forward with eliminating a roadblock to who can marry.  Add to that Texas politics and Paula Deen and well…it’s been a  helluva rollercoaster of a week.

I am a proud daughter of the South, even if my extended family members are sometimes crazy. Crazy is, after all, a proud Southern tradition. It’s why we say, “bless their heart” down here so often. I live in South Louisiana. I’ve always felt this little pocket of the South is it’s own special world. It’s epicenter, New Orleans, embraces it’s diversity and tolerance with a wild joie de vie. I’ve stood in line for brunch in the French Quarter in the shadow of St. Louis Cathedral with Bloody Mary in hand and watched as a six-foot drag queen sashayed by in miniskirt, fishnet stockings and cowboy hat and no one turned a head. Black, white, cajun, creole, hispanic, vietnamese, gay, straight, young and old, we all simmer together pretty well in this big ole gumbo pot.

I work for a healthcare organization that has a noble mission, to improve the health of women and infants. It’s a caring place to work and that care is not just extended to the patients but to the people who work there. This caring place also extends benefits to same-sex couples.

It dawned on me when my sweetie moved in—even though we’re not the same sex—that those benefits might apply to me. We’re not anti-marriage, but with grown kids and he’s been divorced and widowed and I’ve been divorced, we kinda have a been-there-done-that feeling about getting married again. It’s also not a good financial decision for us. If circumstances change, we may fly to Vegas some weekend and have Elvis marry us, but until then we’ll keep living in sin. Bless our hearts.

In order for my sweetie to receive benefits from my employer, we had to prove we’ve been living together for a year, fill out a form and get it notarized. And poof, we did and our domestic partnership was legally recognized. That’s how we became, what we call, Gay Married.

Civil rights and equality for women, blacks, gays should be the same as for men, whites and straights. Some days it’s a step forward and others a step back, and yet other days it’s that half step that moves it forward. This bumpy path toward equality is a slow journey, but it is moving forward. In the two years since my sweetie and I entered our notarized domestic partnership, real same-sex marriage has started to happen.

It’s Gay Pride week. I cheer with my gay friends the step forward this country has made this week. I walk with you on the path of love and equality. And I’m proud to say I’m Gay Married!

If you like My Creative Journey, I’d love for you to follow me. My posts will then arrive in your email and I promise no spam.

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Featured Blogger at GenFab

27 06 2013

Thanks to all who read and follow my blog. I am thrilled and honored to be a featured blogger today at Generation Fabulous. Along with the article, I was interviewed at Coffee with Chloe. The feature and interview can be found by clicking here.

Thanks for following My Creative Journey!

Connie





Boomers and Millenials

24 06 2013

Last night three Boomer couples visited over food and drink and shared our stories on a hot summer night, poolside under a bright shining moon. Even though we didn’t know each other in our younger days, our “drugs, sex, rock and roll” stories were similar. We all had the same cultural touch points, the JFK and MLK assassinations, civil rights, Viet Nam and Beatles vs. Stones.

Earlier that day, I attended a leadership retreat with my professional club, AAF-BR.  I am now the oldest member on that board. What my sweetie told me is true; I’ll be the last Boomer president that organization has. Driving that point home, the 26-year old who followed me was our youngest president ever. At a conference we attended, someone assumed he was my son. I told him from now on, I was going to refer to him as my boy toy. Even though this group of professions is younger than me, we respect each other and I believe they enjoy my company as much as I enjoy theirs.

I’m pondering this, as it seems there’s been a rash of articles recently that makes it appear that Boomers and Millenials are at war with each other. I’m sure you’ve heard it. Boomers saying that Millenials are an entitled group of slackers who want everything handed to them without working for it. And Millenials saying the Boomers have screwed their environment, the economy and now they’re in debt and can’t get a job because Boomers won’t retire and can the Boomers just die off already.

Are we doing the same thing, just differently?

Are we doing the same thing, just differently?

No doubt there’s a generation gap. But wasn’t there an even larger generation gap between Boomers and their parents. And wasn’t it the Baby Boomer generation that said, “Don’t trust anyone over 30,”  that is until they aged out of that belief?

I went to see The Great Gatsby with my 23-year-old daughter and a few of her friends and was reminded of the differences of our ages. We all enjoyed the movie and went out for a drink together after. I had to tweet a picture of my wine because it was time for the Generation Fabulous winehop  and I wanted to be a part of it. I felt the need to apologize because I believe there’s rudeness to being more engaged with your phone than the company you’re with. ‘No Problem” they said, they really didn’t tweet but were into Vine  and Snapchat. I thought I was social media savvy, but I realized these young ‘ens absorb the latest thing and intuitively know how to do it and have moved on to something else before I’ve ever heard of it.

There was also the conversation that Kanye West is this generation’s Bob Dylan. I patted the young fella’s hand and laughingly said, “Bless your heart, we’ll just have to accept the fact that we’re from different generations.”

These are the differences that continues to keep life interesting. I’ve learned a big lesson from this age group. They are fearless and feel they can do anything. I really love how they embrace people  for who they are. They’re more color-blind and it doesn’t matter to them who their friends love.

My young friend, the AAF president recently went head-to-head with the State Governor about a proposed tax on creative services. I would have never had the chutzbah to face off with the Governor at a press conference.  He attributed it to his age which is more WTF than OMG and to the fact that he’s passionate about the advertising industry that we’re both a part of.  The Millenials have a “Yeah, I can do it and it doesn’t matter if I don’t know how, I’ll figure it out” attitude. It may come across to some as cocky, but I see it as fearless.

So this Boomer has tried to adopt that attitude. Instead of saying, “No, I don’t know how to do that, so I can’t.” I’ve learned to say, “Yeah I can do it, no problem.” And if I don’t know how, I can always get a young friend to show me the way.

If you like My Creative Journey, I’d love for you to follow me. My posts will then arrive in your email and I promise no spam.

I’m proud to be a GenFab blogger!





Liquor & Vinyl

15 06 2013

L&Q wine bottleMy vinyl-wrapped-wine-bottle-Honorable-Mention award reads, “This Vinyl Makes Me Want to Liquor.” That pretty much captures the spirit of AAF-BRs* Liquor & Vinyl fundraiser. AdFed, my club, my professional organization, my tribe held a wildly successful art auction. In keeping with the spirit of advertising, which is the industry this group supports, a call for artists was issued with the opportunity to use an old outdoor board vinyl in your creation. And that creation could be whatever you wanted it to be.

This club is made up of people who use their creativity in their jobs everyday; photographers, art directors, web designers, writers, graphic designers. It was amazing to see the work displayed by this group (the majority of the work submitted was by members though the call for artists was open to the public). The creativity was wonderful to behold. Not every one used the vinyl theme and there were some stunning fine art pieces. The vinyl did, however, add to the kinky fun of the night.  There was the shower curtain that was a slice from a colorful outdoor board. There were vinyl pillows, beanbags and vinyl-covered chairs. There was strips of woven vinyl on a frame, paintings on vinyl and vinyl covered frames.  A friend even made and wore a vinyl skirt! Click here and go the event page and you can scroll down and see most of the work.

The Martini Table

The Martini Table 

My sweetie and I took the liquor and vinyl theme to heart. Steve builds wonderful furniture and built a table with repurposed and recycled wood with a vinyl inset. He named it The Martini Table and it took First Place for most creative use of the theme. It came with a cash prize and after we paid our bar tab at the end of the evening, we even had money left over.  My honorable mention was for how I was able to incorporate vinyl onto a wine rack. My biggest expense in creating it was that I had to go buy several bottles of wine so I could take a picture of it before it was auctioned off.

Vinyl Wrapped Wine Rack

Vinyl Wrapped Wine Rack

 

 

Here’s a glimpse into my creative process:

creative sequence2

1. This is the old wine rack I had. It was in a high traffic area in my house. We kept bumping it and breaking our wine glasses. This led Steve to build the Hurricane Bar, which I then had to blog about. 

2. I picked an outdoor vinyl that had the most color on it. You don’t realize how huge an outdoor board is until you open it. This is about ¼ of the board. We’re using the remainder as a tarp.

3. I only needed two small pieces, so I was strategic in the areas I wanted. (Steve used the backside, which is black for his table). The vinyl had a grain to it, so when I selected the sections I wanted, they needed to be in the same direction of the grain.

4. After selecting the vinyl I decided to paint the wine rack copper.

5. I needed a something to tie the rack and the vinyl together. The furniture tack idea comes from watching way too much HGTV.

The auction quickly turned into a good party, after all liquor is in the title. It was held in a new cool downtown restaurant snuggled in the back of a shiny contemporary multi-storied office building, that has an urban vibe. The work was displayed in the building lobby and bought in piece by piece into the restaurant for the auction itself. The place was packed and the auctioneer found a home for every item.

An early morning journaling question was, what is your passion? I realized everything about this event fell into my passion, which can be summed up with the word creativity. The creation of this event with my professional friends. The creation of something tangible for the event. Seeing the amazing work that others created and gave away to be auctioned for a good cause. The fun auction and party that the actual event was. Creative friends supporting each other’s creations. It was a perfect creative storm. It’s left me inspired; I wonder where this creative energy will take me. I’ll keep you posted.

*AAF-BR stands for the American Advertising Federation -Baton Rouge; also know as AdFed or Ad Club

 

If you like My Creative Journey, I’d love for you to follow me. My posts will then arrive in your email and I promise no spam.

I’m proud to be a GenFab blogger!





The View from Greenview

9 06 2013

“I’m Greenviewing it,” I responded when asked what my lunch plans were. That’s because this week I hit another mile marker in My Creative Journey. Greenview Designs has been a concept, then a logo and then a business card for much of this year. But it’s suddenly become very real this week with the launch of a very real website.

GreenviewLike everything in my life, this has evolved into being. Last summer I started this blog as a way to have a creative voice while working in corporate world. I wasn’t too concerned about whether anyone would read it. What I discovered was once the words I wrote become solid and published, the ideas I was writing about started to happen. I’m now comfortable presenting my point of view in front of others and I’m comfortable saying I’m a writer because of this blog I’ve been writing for almost a year.  That creative voice of mine is being heard because I’m saying it out loud. Maybe it’s just to coin a current phrase; I’m finally leaning in.

My sweetie, who’s my partner and I had a vague idea for business since he kinda-sorta-but-not-really retired. With his strong cinematography/video/producing background and my art direction/graphic design experience, we knew we had complimentary skills. We’re also interested in growing our lives in new directions.  He has a real passion for building furniture and I’m loving the workshops I’m giving on creativity. We also wanted a business that could grow and evolve as we do.

So we’ve taken all these seeds and planted them. And they have sprouted! Why Greenview? It’s the literal avenue where our creative journey starts every day. It’s our creative oasis. Greenview Designs now seems the natural choice because this is where we grow ideas.

Putting the website together, however, meant we had to be concrete and not just a vague concept. We’ve pulled from our creative pasts and present and will be constantly adding things as we create them. Not only did we launch the website, but we’re on FacebookTwitter @GreenviewDzine, PinterestYouTube, and Vimeo.

Like all journeys there’s been bumps in the road. Like just discovering the site been hijacked by a hacker and would link to a random website in China. Fortunately, I’m surrounded by web guys who know how to fix those things (big shout-out to my friends at Gatorworks).

Greenview Designs is growing strong and fast. My lunches, evenings and weekends are now spent Greenviewing it. My partner, Steve Davison, is putting his full-time energy into this creation of ours. Our business like our lives is a work in progress. Check us out, if you go to the website all our social media links are there. I’d love any likes, follows or comments. I’m savoring this moment and will keep you posted on the growth spurts and the bumps on the road in this creative journey.





Large and Purple

1 06 2013

letter

When I was very young my Dad worked the night shift, midnight to eight, and started his TV fix-it business in the garage he built during the day. I’d bring my Barbies and play on the floor as he worked. When asked what my dad’s hobby was, I would say, “sleep”.

Connie&Dad B&W65

My Dad, Lloyd McLeod, would became a local character because of that business he started. I spent a lot of time at the shop. My mom would pick me up from school and we’d “go to work.” He became a bit of a local celebrity from the commercials he created and starred in. They were those classic “bad” commercials that every town has. A big guy, he did one that said, “I stand behind everything I sell…because if I stood in front of it, you couldn’t see it.” But people identified with this large man who talked to them from their tv’s in their living rooms. Strangers really did come up to us when we were out for dinner and ask for his autograph.

My Dad, Lloyd McLeod, shooting a tv commercial

My Dad, Lloyd McLeod, shooting a tv commercial

Purple Truck

The building that housed his business was known as “the large purple building.” The color came into being because when he had only one delivery truck, he let an ex-con paint it. He was very affordable and needed a job. It came back painted a wild purple color. But people soon started asking Dad if he had a fleet. A marketing accident that turned into a successful brand was born.

We were a tight family unit. My Dad was a ham and we thought the attention funny.  I may have spent a lot of time “at work”, but my dad was at every school event, birthday party and if I had to get a shot at the doctor, he was there to hold my hand. He loved for our home to be filled with my friends. I remember him playing dead at slumber parties as little girls squealed and jumped on him and tried to wake him up. And then the screams when we woke him up. We’d all laugh and giggle until we were out of breath.

My Dad was large, literally and symbolically. He loved to eat and drink and smoke his cigarettes. He had a big laugh and when he snored, it rattled the windowpanes. He loved people and nothing made him happier than when someone dropped by our house unexpectedly. I never had that teenage need to sneak out. My house was the place my friends came to at all hours. Because of his long years on the night shift, he was a catnapper. Odds were if you came by at midnight, he’d be up. The only rule was not to wake my mom. If she showed up in the doorway in her robe, it meant party over.

I can now see that he was groundbreaking as a brand in his time. As a teenager, however, when your parents are supposed to be invisible, having a Dad on TV was mortifying. When I was in high school, I would have him drop me off at the corner rather than be driven to the front door in one of his purple delivery vans.

My Dad left me a great legacy. I went into advertising because of those early lessons in branding. But more importantly is that I know what unconditional love is because of both my parents. Like Dad I believe in living life large. Dad and I both loved the movie Mame and her quote, “Life’s a banquet and most poor suckers are staving to death!” For me a perfect evening is a dinner party at my house; food, friends, freely flowing wine, the telling of our stories and lots of laughter.

I realize that I’ve unconsciously filled my house with purple. I was painting an accent wall in my home a very deep purple. I went to the paint store that was now housed in Dad’s old purple building. They kept trying to get the color right, but it took two hours of mixing and remixing to get the exact color I wanted. I felt his spirit was there beside me as I was getting purple paint in his old shop and he just wanted me to stay there in his old purple building for as long as possible.

Some people see butterflies when they feel a loved ones presence. I see purple. I am my Father’s daughter.

If you like My Creative Journey, I’d love for you to follow me. My posts will then arrive in your email and I promise no spam.