Ethel or Gertrude?

Naming dogs ain’t easy.

What would you name this adorable girl?

Ethel?

Gertrude?

Darlene?

What name comes to your mind?

The first three photographs were from the San Diego Humane Society website. The fourth photo is from my iPhone when I met her in person this morning. The name given her upon her transfer into SDHS August 13 up until her adoption this afternoon at 5 pm was Riley. She doesn’t respond to Riley and we don’t think it fits her.

Oh, did I forget to mention that we adopted a dog today?

This summer has been one of loss for us after first losing Mitzi back in June and then losing her brother Virgil unexpectedly last week. The better half wasn’t so sure me going from shelter to shelter was the best way to deal with my grief. I mean after all we still had 5 dogs. However I saw our girl to soon be named on the SDHS website when grieving the day after Virgil passed and was immediately taken with her.

I went to SDHS to take a look at her that same day last week and she was asleep when I found her so I went out to talk to the receptionist and find out more. Her story goes like this:

She apparently was at a shelter out on El Centro CA (about a 2-3 hour drive east of San Diego out in the desert) where they have way more dogs than adopters. SDHS contracts to take 30-40 of this shelter’s dogs headed for euthanasia monthly in order to lessen the number of dogs needlessly killed in that community. She was a lucky one on August 13. She arrived here, was spayed and then went up for adoption.

She was adopted fairly soon thereafter, but was returned back to SDHS as she reportedly did not get along with the man of the household. She was shortly thereafter adopted again and then returned after she snapped at one of the children who had swatted her with a flip flop for peeing in the house. It was after that return I found her last week.

After hearing her story I had to think about it as dogs that have bounced in and out can develop behavior issues, or ones they have can be reinforced or exacerbated. Plus was it healthy for me to bring a dog home the day after Virgil had died in my arms? The next day I was extremely busy with work. The day after when I went to look for her and she had been adopted. I was glad to hear the news.

Last evening she popped up on the SDHS website as having been relinquished by her owner. This morning I couldn’t stay away, I had to know what had happened. Apparently the third adopter had her for five days and discovered she was allergic to our girl who has yet to be named and returned her yet again.

Saved from euthanasia only to become a boomerang.

This morning I met the most sweet little girl in person. She’s about 3 years old, is overweight at 14 lbs (at her size she should weight 9-10lbs), gentle, trusting, loving and very easy going. I left to think some more and get some work done. I went back before my personal training appointment and put a hold on her until I could return. I returned and had another one on one meeting with her and the bond was made. I cried tears of joy as I signed the paperwork and then sobbed tears of joy when the adoption counselor placed my newly purchased pink collar and leash on her for me to walk her out.

She strutted proudly out of SDHS, hopped right into my car and clung tightly to me all the way home.

She may have struck out three times after her life was spared, but on her way back to the dugout she somehow managed to cross home plate. She who has yet to be named has a new forever home. A new forever home with five other dogs that accepted her right into the pack.

Standing at the back Door of her new home.

San Diego Humane Society or SDHS has not euthanized an adoptable animal since the summer of 2014. They have committed to taking in all animals from other organizations in San Diego County to prevent the euthanasia of any adoptable animal in our county. This mission makes San Diego County one of only very few counties nationwide, or localities worldwide, with zero euthanasia. SDHS also takes in animals from our neighboring counties, thus saving the lives of pets beyond our county’s borders. Without SDHS expanding their mission, our new little girl would otherwise have met an early and unnecessary death.

If you would like to support such an organization as SDHS in their no kill mission, please click HERE.

Thank you!

1969-2019

It has now been just over 50 years since the raid of The Stonewall Inn.

We’ve come a long way.

Now isn’t the time to turn back.

Live, love, hope and vote like your life depends on it. Because? Because your life and freedoms actually do depend on your participation, on your vote.

Happy San Diego Pride Y’all!

Shapeshifting

Being the 50th anniversary of Stonewall I search daily for a new video that resonates. Some days the videos just pop into my YouTube suggestions, some days I run into them on another blog and still other days I take the time to search. Today I searched and I learned, I found growth…growth in my understanding.

I’ll never be able to fully understand the plight of those born into the wrong body, but I can try to empathize through understanding from pieces of my own personal experiences. Even though I was born into an exterior male body that matches my inner gay male persona, I can understand this new term I learned today, Shapeshifting. While I didn’t have to act as a different sex, I did have to lie and act as if I was attracted to the opposite sex in order to hide who I really was. I can still catch myself shapeshifting as it was something engrained deeply in me early in my life.

I cannot claim to understand the complete experience of transgender. I can love, accept, embrace and support to the best of my own empathy and understanding.

Vulnerability = Courage

If they ever do find a cure,

I just want to be there.

 

1989 was the year the film Longtime Companion was released. 1989 was the height of the  AIDS crisis. My friends, and lovers, were being diagnosed left and right. My friends, and lovers, were dying left and right.

Needless to say this movie was a timely written timeline of the short decade that proceeded it. The short decade that was my coming of age as a gay man. I came out while in high school in 1980. Almost, not all, of my early friends and lovers in the gay community at the least became infected, or died. At the time this movie was released I was but one of very few I knew who remained HIV negative.

It wasn’t if I would succumb, it was when. Somehow I remain, thankfully, uninfected.

When this final scene came up on the big screen in front of me and my friends with which I sat, we began to cry. Sobbing with ugly tears. Tears of grief, loss and yet hope. Hope that one day our nightmare would end. Hope that one day we might once again see, hold, love and kiss those we once knew. Hope that at the least we wouldn’t loose any more loved ones to this horrible disease.

Time passed, infection rates dropped. We learned and eventually treatments improved.

Today there isn’t yet a cure but there is prevention. With science and research, particularly STEM CELL RESEARCH, a cure may one day become reality. Remember that your vote counts, your future vote may be needed to not only ensure the necessary research we now have but to restore it.

It’s pride month. Be proud of who you are. Respect others for being who they are. Understand those who are different. Love your sister and your brother. Vote for progress. Strive to be better.

(This Post is dedicated to Jerry Smoot who was my first friend, and occasional lover, I lost to AIDS. At a young 38 years, he was just coming into his prime. Jerry, when the scene came on the screen I envisioned you running onto that beach to hug me, kiss me and hold me.)

I needed love today

Life.

Life comes at you.

Don’t get me wrong, life is good…good overall, but damn it can come at you.

I’ve had so many wonderful things happen to me in the past month, and I’ve had some confusing and bewildering things happen as well. I sure haven’t posted much and I have some great things to post about (such as an in person meeting with not one but three dear blogger friends…hint…it was in Philly). Overwhelm describes my loss of words, organization and time to actually sit and post. I need to post for me and my mental health so I start here.

I need  love today. I went in search of inspirational video to perhaps jar me into some sort of clarity. Below is the video that appeared when I clicked over to you tube. The message of love, of peace and of hope is exactly what I needed.

Radio Blessings

While driving to the gym today, a treasured song from my past found it’s way from the satellite airwaves through my car speakers onto my eardrums. As my tympanic membranes vibrated to the rhythms, and the vestibulochoclear nerve impulses transferred the information to my brain, my emotions became full of overwhelm. The flood of sadness, grief, warmth, joy, hope, gratitude and rage resulted in a stream of mixed emotional tears into the softness of Fearsome Beard.

Memories enveloped me.

I’m a survivor. I never contracted the HIV virus.

I graduated high school as a very sexually active young homosexual male. I had a ball. I even attended an all night orgy the night before my high school graduation. It was the early 1980s after all and I was a young adult. I was 18. I was one of 4 students who spoke on that graduation day before our class of 500 students. I give you, my dear reader, such a graphic example for a reason.

There was an unknown threat surrounding us males of the homosexual persuasion. A threat unknown to any of us. Even unknown to men 10, 20, 30 or more years my senior.

Apparently sometime during the sexual revolution of the 1970s a virus had turned up in our population. An undetected virus that was just about to reach a critical mass infection that would soon wreak havoc on our community.

We didn’t know. We had fun. We loved. We partied. We fucked.

Love is Love is Love is Love.

It was then. It is today. Yet then we had no idea what was about to happen, and then it did happen.

Those rare cases of an immune deficiency ticked up. They ticked up in the gay community of the U.S. and suddenly we had a syndrome. It was first named GRID. Gay Related Immune Deficiency they called it. GRID was rare. GRID was seen only in large cities. GRID didn’t affect us in smaller towns. Yet it was there, we just didn’t know it yet.

Keep in mind this was the early to mid 1980s. Safe sex wasn’t yet a known practice. Gay men didn’t use condoms. Two men can’t get pregnant. No one yet knew that the virus was spreading nor how it was spreading.

As this virus did spread it showed up in a few other populations, but not in the numbers it did amoung gay men. Researchers soon discovered that it was transmissible, probably from a virus, and thus it was acquired. The name changed to AIDS or Aquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. It was still rare, but starting to scare us. Then it started to happen. People around me started to get sick.

One of my favorite sexual partners, Jerry, came down with it. Jerry was 38, I was probably 20. Jerry was in his prime. Jerry was succesful, owned several homes and was stunningly handsome. Jerry became very ill. I was scared. I went to visit Jerry. He was thin, pale, had wierd dark cancerous spots on his skin and was short of breath. Jerry looked like hell. He offered me a drink. I said I wasn’t thirsty. I was actually afraid I would catch it from the glass. I couldn’t wait to leave. I never saw Jerry alive again.

Within about 5 years of the night of that orgy celebrating my high school graduation, with the exception of me, every single other person that was there had died. I can still see each of their faces and remember each of their names.

The 1980s for me was a war zone. It wasn’t “if” I would catch AIDS and die, it was when.

In 1990 I fell in love and moved away. Far away. Even though I moved far away, that virus was still here on the west coast. I never contracted that virus. I still haven’t today. I don’t know why I didn’t as I was never, nor did I ever become, no angel. Today the virus is called HIV. The deadly disease that is a result of HIV is AIDS.

My flood of emotion was gratitude that I am here. Gratitude that I ain’t never contracted HIV. Gratitude that I knew those wonderful men I lost, who were not only sexual partners, but mentors and friends. Grateful I loved. Grateful that I could hear Bruce Springsteen’s words. Grateful I could feel. That I could feel all the emotions pouring from me of grief, sadness, love, anger, joy, warmth, disappointment, hope, fear, gratitude and rage.

Fearsome Beard absorbed my tears. I made my way into the gym as a healthy, grateful, loving, kind and hopeful 50 something gay man. A man who was now far removed from the 1980s and far removed from the origin and experiences of the song and memories that had just overwhelmed me.

I will never forget those men whom I lost. I will never forget the times I went through. I’ll never forget the joy, laughter and tears. Those men and those experiences made me who I am today. I look forward to what is to come. I am forever grateful.

I love life. I love who I am. I have been blessed. I am blessed.

San Diego LGBTQ Pride 2018

It’s here. It’s already here.

San Diego celebrates in July. After the other two large cities in our Golden State take the last two weekends in June, San Diego gives everyone a couple week break and then  continues the celebrations.

I’ve been celebrating Pride since the first one I ever had the opportunity to attend. That particular pride was Seattle Pride 1990. I have been out of the closet since I was but a teenager however the place I lived had yet to have a pride celebration.

What Pride means to me is simply that we can be and are or authentic selves. In that we respect each other and support each other in living authentic lives. We celebrate and embrace diversity, acceptance, understanding, respect, affirmation, love and freedom.

Pride is, and should always be, a place of safety to simply just be. Just be. Be without judgment, discrimination, hatred and intolerance.

Be authentic. Be real.

Mystery of love

As far as the movie goes, I wasn’t very familiar. We rented the movie on iTunes and watched it during the Academy Awards Show since it was a nominee. Wasn’t a flick I really had an interest in seeing.

Then again the universe works as it should and I watched it. Beautiful film of innocence, love and understanding.

But then there is this:

Wow.

I haven’t been moved by a piece of music like this in a long while. The movie awakened many a distant memory and revived many a treasured emotion. It’s theme song, this song, reminds me to be forever grateful for all the love that has ever touched my life. Love that lasted, love that was lost, love that maybe never came to be and even Love that hurt.

Mystery of Love – Sufjan Stevens (Call Me By Your Name)

Update:

I’ve decided to add the Academy Award performance of this beautiful tune that I missed while watching the film.

What of life?

Nina is still with us and peaceful in her bed.

Nina sleeping 12/28/17

It is a quintessential winter Southern California day. Crystal clear blue skies, bright winter sun and 72 degrees F. Nina has spent some time on her patio today, eaten well and napped in her beloved corner bed. Our housekeeper, whom Nina adores, is here cleaning. The other dogs are napping and occasionally barking at the construction workers doing the remodel next door. All in all a nothing unusual beautiful day. It is peaceful with just a little stimulation.

Planning it out couldn’t have turned it better. Our dog sitter who was with me as we rescued Nina together is out of town. Nina adores her as well and she will be back in San Diego tomorrow. She is coming over to be here with us when the veterinarian arrives about 5 pm. Tomorrow is forecast to be as beautiful as today. The Better Half already had scheduled the whole week off, so between the two of us someone will always be home tomorrow.

Earlier Abner and Patsy tried out the comfort of four beds piled together when or housekeeper was busy cleaning…

Patsy (with toy) and Abner reinact the Princess and the Pea. 

The joys of life are abundant around here. It’s not gloom and doom. It’s sweet, with the bitterness of reality. The big questions loom. Why? Why are we here? What? What is this about?

Should we loose ourselves in contemplation of the unknown? Or should we just enjoy the moment even though we know the inevitable?

My answer? Enjoy the moment.

I believe there is one sole purpose for life. The purpose I believe in is love.

I am here to love. I am here to share. I am here to give. I am here to serve.

What are giving, serving and sharing? Love.

I am here to love. Period.

Family

We are blessed. We have two families. The one we were born into and the one we choose.

Our natal families folded into one larger family after we settled into our life together. I into The Better Half’s, he into mine and ours into each other. This made for one big family that blessed us even more.

Living away from our family for many years allowed us to choose a chosen family of good friends who care and love each other as if we had always been and will continue to be. This family is large and blesses our home with more than 30 holiday celebrants each and every Christmas Day. Our blessing overflows.

Our friends extend beyond or natal family and our chosen family into our work, interests, neighbors, bloggers, vacation acquaintances and just plain old good friends who live both near and far. Our bounty of blessings humble us.

Love, respect and sincerity are the basis of this blessing we call family.

This most recent trip filled our cup. I met with two blog buddies for a wonderful dinner. Unfortunately the third wasn’t able to join due to an illness but we sent our love to him in hopes that better days lie ahead. We, the better half & I, then set off via Amtrack to New York with part of my natal family for one of those experiences that money could never buy (but definitely helps with😉).

You see after the loss of my father I asked my mother, who had been caring for him, where had she always wanted to go. She said New York to see The Rockettes. That was her dream. Not Paris, not London, not even Hawaii. I promised her then that we would take her to New York. It took two years and she lost her oldest son before it happened, but it happened. We made a family trip out of it with Mom, me, The Better Half, my brother, sister-in-law, niece, her husband, two great grandchildren and a nephew.

Family

Nothing, no nothing will ever mean as much to me as my mother grabbing my hand after the curtain fell at the end of The Rockettes Christmas Spectacular as tears streamed down her face as she said “I have never seen anything so beautiful!” They exceeded her expectations and believe me she had high expectations.

For her to have her family with her on a trip she had only dreamed of all of her life, a dream she probably thought would never come to be, was truly a dream come true. I cannot express my gratitude for the blessing that that moment, my family and life truly is.

The moral of this post, at least for me, is that this is our one life, so live it, love it, share it, and give it. Give it to your natal family, or your chosen family, or both. Give it to someone you meet, you work with, you run into or even to someone you don’t know at all. Give a smile, share a laugh, respect, understand, forgive, serve and most of all love. Just love.

Entering Macy’s Herald Square entrance during the debut moment of holiday decorations.

The employees lined the side of the aisle and cheered us as we entered the store, Stunning

Lady Liberty

911 Memorial, -emotional-

Fearsome Photobombing in Time Square

Sightseeing under Lady Liberty

3rd row Center Stage at Radio City

Santa

The Rockettes

Up front and close enough to see their smiles!

From 5 to 85, New York is fabulous, family makes it even better!

Halloween prezzy!

Look what the better half surprised me with today…

Apple Watch Series 3

Stainless Steel 42mm with the Milanese loop band and full cellular capabilities.

Fearsome is ecstatic, he can’t wait to stream music, read texts and make calls with it.

It’s actually an early Christmas present but who could wait? I’ve already set up an appointment with my Verizon rep to go in and activate it at 10 am mañana.

Thank you Edith

Edith Windsor 6/20/1929-9/12/2017

Edith is a hero of mine. Edith will be missed but never forgotten. It was her Supreme Court Case that struck down the Defense of Marriage act in 2013 thus causing the federal government to recognize my legal marriage in California from 2008.

I read that a quote of hers was “Don’t Postpone Joy”. I haven’t been able to personally verify this quote as hers, but I think it fitting.

Thank you Edith for helping humanity get just a little better one step at a time.