Ready Beard

So now they wanna fuck with trans children?

Children.

As a society we are to force a child that is born into a body that doesn’t match the child’s gender, a child that already feels different, a child that is more often than not outcast from said child’s peers to have to fucking pee in the bathroom of the sex that doesn’t match the very person the child actually is?

Fearsome in his new Pussy Hat

Fearsome in his new Pussy Hat

A very dear friend, whom I simply adore, made Fearsome his very own Pussy Hat. It arrived yesterday and couldn’t have been more timely. Fearsome is protest ready.

As a child I used to pee before leaving home to go to school. I would not pee again until I got home after school. I often held it for more than 8 hours. I lived in fear of the bullying I received daily for being different. I was effeminate and perceived by the boys in my school as being weak. I was the safe one who they could pick on, taunt and beat up to prove their masculinity to one another. They didn’t fear the queer boy as being able to hurt them back. All this and my body matched my identity. I identified as male, albeit an effeminate one. I can’t imagine the torment of the body not matching my actual self and being subject to the cruelty of immature insecure school age peers.

It’s time to stand up for those who are being shut out. It’s time to stand up for children. It’s time to stand up for what is right. It’s time to stand up for ourselves. It’s time to stand up before it’s too late. We didn’t come this far to go backward.

Not enough?

Not any longer.

We came this far to love enough. We came this far to care enough.

Join us.

With a love that’s true…Always

A dear Blogger friend married his Someone of 20 years today in Palm Springs. We, Fearsome and I, were honored to have been able to attend. The wedding was kept secret, for the most part, to keep it a simple quiet occasion at the Riverside County administration offices. Fearsome was a last minute Best Man, Larry & Tim were the handy witnesses, Ron was the spur of the moment photographer and Pat was the official accidental visiting foreign dignitary.

The added bonus was that the dearest blogger friend was asked to witness a wedding for a couple that was there all alone just the two of them who were obviously very much in love.

I’m verklempt.

Michael & David AKA UrSpo & Harper's Keeper

Michael & David
AKA UrSpo & Harper’s Keeper

David & Fearsome photobombed by Michael

David & Fearsome photobombed by Michael

The rings

The rings

The wedding party

The wedding party

Mrs. Evans

A couple days ago I started organizing my paperwork for my tax accountant. I’m one of those who has a big file drawer who throws the entire year into it unorganized but in the drawer. Each February I empty the drawer in order to separate all receipts, bills, documents and the like into a proper order for accumulating the data necessary to file taxes for a self employed person. It’s quite the monumentous task.

I have rituals to make it a tolerable task.

First I go in knowing have planted some cards or notes that I have received in the past in that drawer the year before to stumble upon to break up the monotony. I started this years ago. I move the cards back into the drawer each year from the year before so I can find them Year after year as hidden treasures. Each year a new card or note makes its way into this collection, something that is special and evokes personal emotion. The cards get mixed up in there so I never know when I will happen upon one.

Then upon emptying the drawer I find the place on the internet where the Maya Angelou Master Class, which I posted a couple days back, is now located. It’s always bootleggely posted somewhere until the powers that own it find it and then it will show up in some other obscure place. I then proceed to play this 42 minute Master Class on a continueous loop as background listening. It motivates me while it reinforces my personal values as well as those I strive to obtain.

Once my drawer is dumped out on the sorting table (a desk in the guest room) and Maya is playing in the background, I commence opening each crumpled receipt, paper and card. I read each one and start making piles on the guest room bed. Piles of organization for filing, tabulating and organizing.

This year I was stopped in my tracks by this:

Halloween card from Betty L. Drummond ...AKA Mrs. Evans

Halloween card from Betty L. Drummond …AKA Mrs. Evans

The last card I ever received from her.

The last card I ever received from her.

Betty Evans was the lady across the street when I was growing up. My mother worked for the parks and recreation department of our city, Betty was a stay at home mom who’s kids were a little older. Mrs. Evans was my baby sitter and second mom. She wasn’t the most refined of ladies. She was not blessed with money or an easy life. She was just a woman full of love and a woman who loved life. She loved me as if I was one of hers and I loved her as if she were my mom.

Mrs. Evans became quite ill later in her life and this card from 1998 was the last one I ever received from her. By the time she wrote this card she had sold her home across the street from my parents and moved in with her son. I had apparently tucked the card away in the back of our antique china cabinet. Last January we sold that Art Deco dining room set and I had found the card cleaning it out. In my receipt drawer it went.

Finding that card brought back a rush of childhood into the mundane yearly task of receipt sorting. It helped to bring me to a place of gratitude for the life I have been blessed with so far, the life I’m gifted with at this very moment and the bright future that lies ahead.

Betty (Evans) Drummond taught me that no matter what happens, no matter when life deals you a bad card, to always get up with a smile on your face and share love with those around you. She taught me that love always makes everything better.

May Mrs. Evans beautiful smile full of love touch your heart today.

“Be the best human being you can be.”

“Just do right.”

“Right may not be expedient, it may not be profitable, it will satisfy your soul.”

“It will give you the protection that bodyguards can’t give you. ”

“Do it because it right to do. ”

“This is your life, it’s your world. ”

“It can be better and it’s up to us. ”

These quotes are the words of Maya Angelou. At this moment video from whence they come is HERE. It is her 42 minute master class. This video disappears from the internet every time it gets posted and is hard to find in its full length. It’s a shame it isn’t public domain as the words she shares heal the human soul. Her words are a gift to human kind and should be shared freely. Watch it now before this copy goes the way of all the previous copies I have found and simply goes “poof” …because apparently the copywright holder doesn’t want it shared freely.

This video is needed now more than ever. It is worth every minute of yor time.

Enjoy!

 

 

Mom

Mom turns 85 this week. Mom is recovering well from the mild stroke she had back in early December. I’m flying out Tuesday to visit mom to celebrate her birthday this week. I got her a gift from my local Apple Store.

Apple Watch Sport and a Milanese loop magnetic band.

Apple Watch Sport and a Milanese loop magnetic band.

Mom lives alone. Mom occasionally falls. Mom wants to remain in the house she and dad purchased in 1957. Mom cherishes her independence. Mom needs some type of device to call for help just in case.

I’ve researched the Life Alert buttons, the call center monitors and the like. All of them scream you are old and you have to now wear this horrible looking button around your neck. Plus you must now have an ugly two way monitoring station connected to some call center in your home with a monthly fee. And, oh by the way, don’t venture out of range of this station unless someone is with you. Stay Put! Wear This House Arrest Button …FOR YOUR OWN SAFETY DAMMIT!

Enter Apple products. Mom already has an iPhone, an iPad and has WiFi in her house. If her phone is with her she is covered …such as when she leaves the house. However she doesn’t carry the iPhone with her in the house. Last summer Apple added an SOS feature to the Apple Watch OS. By giving her this new watch I will put a life alert system right on her wrist. One that she can even wear in the shower.

The Apple Watch features a new SOS alert that you can activate from the screen that will call 911 first and then start calling the contacts you have in your iPhone’s emergency contact list automatically. What if she falls and can’t activate the screen you ask? Apple’s SIRI has that covered as well. The Apple Watch responds to the “Hey Siri” command and will call 911, my brother, myself or whoever she chooses simply with her verbal command right from her wrist. Her phone doesn’t have to be with her as it will use the WiFi in her house. If she is out her phone is in her purse and she can still use the  Apple Watch as it will then call through the phone.

Was it inexpensive? No.

Was it reasonable for what it will do? Hell yes.

Was it a bargain in order to have mom wearing a stylish hip happening piece of technology on her wrist that doesn’t scream “I am old and my son makes me wear this help I’ve fallen and can’t get up button”? Big hell fucking yes!

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Knowing this information, what do I want for Christmas next year? An Apple Watch. You don’t have to be 85 to fall and not be able to get up.

Mom, Winter Solstice and More Tradition

A friend and reader text me earlier to check on mom. He nudged me since I hadn’t written. Mom is doing ok. I say ok because while her drive, outlook and spirit are very much all going for her, her body is becoming frail. As long as her blood pressure can be controlled she shouldn’t have any more small strokes. She will recover in a couple months from the small ones she had. Her health checks out good otherwise but she is dizzy, unsteady and tires easily right now.

Her 85th birthday is in late January and I have already booked the trip out to be there. We are installing a chair lift for her staircase, getting her an “I’ve fallen and can’t get up” button and changing a few things to make life alone in the house she purchased in 1957 a bit safer. She wants to work, she wants to live alone in her house, she wants to drive and she is determined.

I realize her days are limited, as does she. However she has enough means to bring in some help if she needs it. As her son it’s my job to keep an eye out, advise her strongly if necessary and help her achieve her goals for enjoying what time she does have. I’ve asked her if she would move here as I have a first floor bedroom suite she can move into, she says maybe one day.

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Happy Solstice to All Y’all! …(pleural for y’all)

On this the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, I am reminded that tomorrow really will be a new day. Tomorrow starts the new cycle. The sun will begin its return. The world will turn yet again. I am given hope. I realize that all of life is a cycle. It is simply the pattern to which we are born. The earth revolves, seasons revolve, our solar system revolves, all life including all plants and animals cycle and all have a time and a place. The universe is one big revolving circle and I am blessed to be a part of it.

The fulfillment of my life has to simply be to do my best to leave here having left something good behind. Nothing is too big or too small, it just has to be good. Just do good, give good, share good and leave good.

My grove of traditional trees from my childhood.

My grove of traditional trees from my childhood.

This years Xmas dinner of chosen family at our home is themed “Coming Home”. Last year we weren’t here for our chosen family’s traditional Christmas dinner gathering as we went to be with my mom due to my father’s passing. This year we are back to our home in San Diego. Therefore given the theme all gifts for the white elephant gift exchange are to be from small neighborhood businesses. I chose two natural open growth Nobel Fir trees from our neighborhood nursery to decorate in a style that we fifty somethings remember from the 1960s. They are complete with tinsel icicles and not a single LED light. Yup the 1960s weren’t exactly environmentally friendly. No worries though as I will recycle the trees after properly disposing of the tinsel and the incandescent lights are powered by my solar power system.

One other seasonal tradition of ours I will leave you with on this winter solstice day is Author Feidler and The Boston Pops rendition of Sleigh Ride.

It’s officially winter …Enjoy!

Chosen family

In the spring of 1994, I was but a young buck. Fearsome was in hiding as I was going through the early 90’s clean shaven pretty boy stage that was popular at the time. Yuck. Oh, and he wasn’t happy with my choice.

The Better Half and I were headed into year four of or life together and year 3 of our life in San Diego. Being transplants we were still exploring and establishing relationships in our new home town. Having bought a home and gotten settled into our careers it was time for our first “Big” vacation. Living in paradise we wanted something on the next level, a Southern Caribbean cruise.

At the time there was a young start up company that had gotten a good reputation in a sub-specialty that had never been marketed to for pleasure cruises, gay cruises. RSVP was the first and without realizing what he was doing, Kevin Mosier had changed niche travel and the criuse industry forever. But that’s a whole other story.

We booked a seven day cruise out of Aruba with ports in Curaçao, San Blas Islands, Cartagena Columbia and The Panama Canal. That particular RSVP cruise was aboard the SS OceanBreeze, a ship in The Dolphin Line.

SS Ocean Breeze of The Dolphin Line circa 1994. She was originally built in 1955 as a trans world immigrant ship and lots more about here can be found HERE.

SS OceanBreeze of The Dolphin Line circa 1994. She was originally built in 1955 as a history making trans-world immigrant liner and lots more about her can be found HERE.

We were able to get a couple friends from here in SoCal to join us and met a couple other friends at a pre-sail mixer to join us so we had a posse of six. Now we could complete a group costume for the costume party aboard ship for which RSVP had become famous.

On board we quickly made new friends in another group of seven from San Diego. They too were pulling together a group costume. They were the cast of Giligan’s Island, we were The Village People. They won first place, we came in second. The completion was fierce but each group had somehow cast just the right people in the right characters to pull it off. Afterward we all hung together and it looked as if there was a lost episode where The Village People had landed on the island. I’m sure there are pictures, but that was the days of Kodak film and they are somewhere in a drawer unfortunately needing to be scanned.

Little did that posse of 13 know, but we had accidentally just met the core of our own chosen family.

Chosen families are throughout all populations. However chosen families were a necessary group in gay culture. Many a gay man or lesbian had been rejected by biological families. Many of those not rejected had moved away from biological families in order to live and work in larger cities where they were more accepted and in many cases it was just safer. Another factor in chosen family is we were at the absolute height of the AIDS crisis and we had to be our own family to care for our dying brothers. Chosen Families are friends who become family support networks by choice and many times necessity.

I cannot begin to thank the lesbians enough who opened their hearts, minds, homes and wallets to care for their brothers during that dark part of our history just some 22 years ago. I think I can go out on a limb here and Thank these brave women for all of us brothers who survived as well as for those who didn’t.

The headline entertainers on that particular RSVP cruise were scheduled to perform the last night of our journey before returning to Aruba to disembark. Who you ask? None other than the fabulous Sister Sledge. We were all simply twitterpated with excitement  and ran up after a fabulous farewell dinner to grab front row seats. They gave a spectacular performance closing with, of corse, ‘We Are Family’. Before we knew it they had pulled all 13 of us sitting right in front of them onto the stage to dance with them as they closed the show. And dance? We did!

Our family was born, it has grown to more than 30 of the best friends one could ever wish for. This chosen family is the most treasured part of my life. And dance? We still do!

Happy Birthday Mitzi!

Mitzi is 15 today!

Mitzi is 15 today!

Blowing out her candle...

Blowing out her candle…

Everyone wants in on her gift...more Itty Bitty Tennis Balls!

Everyone wants in on her gift…more Itty Bitty Tennis Balls! (And some stuffed pumpkin toys are hiding up on the counter for everyone, Yeah!)

15 years …Mitzi we love you, we wish you a very happy birthday and wish for many healthy loving years ahead!

Tipping point

I crossed a big line today. I’ve tipped the point.

Yesterday marked the anniversary of my moving from the east to the west coast. It was the anniversary of equality. I had lived for exactly the amount of time on the west coast as I had on the east coast the day I left. I have lived with The Better Half for each and every day on this here west coast.

As of today I have now lived away from my hometown longer than I lived there. Thus I have also lived with The Better Half longer than any common thread of any possible past current earthly existence.

I love you Better Half. Thank you for caring enough to show me the way to my real home.

Back to life, back to reality

The surgery took place July 6. After a couple days I was finally able to give a better description. Now that I’m somewheres about 16 weeks out and in the throws of physical therapy I figured it was about time I started back to the gym. The doctor has been pro PT but anti gym. It’s apparently way too easy to have an accident at the gym and screw up a post op shoulder.

With my history of having been somewhat of a fitness ferret, I was a startin’ to notice some things. Though the weight has stayed exactly what it was the last gym day apparently gravity has started making some changes. There’s a slight appearance of a small gut beginning to form as well as tighter pants. In the mirror I’m noticing the dreaded butt sag. The arms have deflated and the pectorals have lost any form of definition. My poor legs are starting to resemble tooth picks and the back ache is notifying me that the core is loosing its strength.

I decided screw what the doctor says, I gotta get my ass back over to the best gym in the whole wide world. Yes you are correct, that would be World Gym San Diego!

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Fearsome was ecstatic as I could barely contain him as we walked toward our favorite stompin’ grounds. We were greeted immediately with an enthusiastic “where have you been?” by one of the owners who was working the front desk.

It was good to have been missed.

The old school heavy metal rock was blaring. The place was busy as usual. We headed straight upstairs for a twenty minute treadmill walk (no running yet as one fall and all surgery will have been for naught), some stretching of the now tight and stiff muscles, three different abdominal excercises and then some lunges got us started. We headed down to the main gym floor to get in three different leg machines then to the benches for some of my physical therapy excercises for the upper body that involve zero up to no more than 5lb weights.

The shoulder, especially the bicep tenodesis, will not allow the left arm to lift more than 5 pounds until at least January. Damn it felt good to work out. It was fun to see all the usual friendly faces, feel the energy, hear the music, smell the sweat and take in the pure eclectic diversity of the clientele that makes World Gym San Diego one of the best, if not the best gym in the world.

Recovery continues and many days the shoulder is sore, but sore in the good way telling me that I’ve correctly worked my PT exercises. The upper body looks and strength will come back over a slow period but will come. The legs, butt and core can start now on their return to normal. Yoga will come back again in a few more months for my flexibility, core strength enhancement and inner serenity.

I am so blessed with health, strength, recovery, health insurance, home, love, partnership, friends, community, support, puppies, work, country, knowledge, understanding, freedom, money, sobriety, insight and yes of corse Fearsome. I actually found tears of joy streaming down my cheeks and into Fearsome as I drove home.

I cherish them tears as each and every one is an expression of the blessing that is life.

I cherish this blog and my expression.

I cherish you for reading, sharing and loving me back.

Circle of life

Sunrise. Sunset.

One thing I have learned throughout my life journey is the power of letting go. The power of going with the flow allows me acceptance. Acceptance brings peace and serenity.

Yes I still have stress. I allow myself to feel the stress, walk through it and then let go of what is out of my control. Life is a series of ups and downs tumbling into one circle after another.

Sunrise. Sunset.

Fearsome mother and The Big Brother.

Fearsome mother and The Big Brother.

The Big Brother is still with us. His clock is ticking. When this circle of his life ends we do not yet know, yet we know it’s near.

Fearsome and his newest niece Sadie as she discover's his softness.

Fearsome and his newest niece Sadie as she discover’s his softness.

I leave in just 4 short hours setting out to return home. I’ve been away for two weeks. It’ll be good to get home. I’ll say my final farewell to The Big Brother and fly off into the sunset back to my circle of life.

Sadie and Fearsome just realized you are here.

Sadie and Fearsome realizing you are here …say hello!

Sadie is just starting her circle, her journey. What’s important is to reflect with joy on what was, cherish what is and look forward with enthusiasm to what has yet to come.

Mom support

This morning I woke up in my old bedroom. The one from my teenage years. It no longer looks like my room but it still is. I awoke bleary eyed and slightly confused. My shoulder and upper left arm hurt. I had slept hard.

My old friend Doug, or as I call him Trixie, picked me up at the airport about 2 pm yesterday. It was good to hug him and feel his support before facing reality.

Mom was waiting at the house. We visited with Doug for a minute then we were off to the hospital to see the Big Brother.

He looked like shit.

White as a ghost yet with a yellow cast. Deep dark set eyes hardly opened when we said hello. Skin barely clinging to the thin bones with all the veins exposed like a little web of roadmaps. Huge protruding belly making a stark contrast against the frail fragile body. That belly is the capsule holding the failing liver within.

This isn’t the virile strong athlete I wished to emulate when we were kids, but he is still my brother.

His wife hugged me and told mom he hadn’t eaten all day. He went back to sleep with a weak snore.

We have no idea when he will go. It could be in the next couple of days or he could rally into an extension of suffering.

Here I sit waking up with my coffee. I am deciding at this moment to be thankful that I have the health and means to be here for mom. Gratitude will give me the grace to walk through this.

We are family. Family is love. Family is understanding without judgment. Family is care.

Patsy’s turn

Today is Patsy’s day to have a birthday!

Our undocumented immigrant. We couldn't love her more.

Our undocumented immigrant. We couldn’t love her more.

More of her story is HERE.

We had a celebration for her last evening and by bedtime she was content and happy.

Warm and content.

Warm and content.

We find that our dogs have much to teach us about the true happiness of contentment, peace, companionship and unconditional love.

We love you Patsy and wish you a very happy 7th birthday!