Reflections

Time to pause.

Gratitude is what I feel when I stop to reflect on the fact I’m a sober man. 

Gratitude for the fact that I’m no longer hiding from myself and others that I have a problem that I can no longer handle. I had driven myself to the edge of a cliff and had a choice. Thankfully I chose the choice to give up self destruction for self recovery.

Today I pause to remember, be grateful and to continue forward on my current path. It’s a path that is working for me. A path of growth, serenity and honesty.

9 years – November 7, 2011

A humble reprise

Today as I walked Ft. Lauderdale Beach Boulevard I listened to the breeze. The breeze through the palms and the cypress trees sounded as if the trees were whispering to me. Other than an occasional car or person along the way the only audible sound was that of the waves in the distance.

FT. Lauderdale Beach 10/27/2020

In my solitude I couldn’t help but to continue my reflections of yesterday. I couldn’t help but to feel a bit of shame for some of the superficialities easily associated with some of the dreams. From that feeling I must take it to the next level. For me that next level must be to find some humility. I find humility through gratitude and learning.

First I must forgive myself for being human. Being human I have ego. Having ego I can look for security, or assurance, through attention. Needing attention I can gravitate toward the shallow and superficial.

For the most part my dreams have been realized and are still being realized, but I have never gotten them on my own. I’ve had help, direction, inspiration, support, love and generosity along my path. My gratitude for these gifts is deep and genuine.

I’ve been blessed to learn that the truly meaningful and fulfilling realized dreams are most often the simplest of all. The kiss of a newly rescued dog, the smile from a newborn niece, a reassuring glance from my husband, a hug from a friend, a tear wiped away by a co-worker over a seemingly devastating mistake, a smile from a stranger let into traffic and the laughter of a group of friends enjoying the simple telling of a humorous story.

You, yes you dear reader, are a blessing to me. My hope is that one person is touched in some positive way by this post and my dream for today will have been fulfilled.

Boulevard of Realized Dreams

Back in 1984 there was a rather popular poster of Gottfried Helnwein’s interpretation of Edward Hoppers iconic Nighthawks. In it Helnwein replaced Hopper’s characters with Humphrey Bogart, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean and Elvis Presley. The poster was titled Boulevard of Broken Dreams.

Boulevard of Broken Dreams – Gottfried Helnwein – 1984

Nighthawks – Edward Hopper – 1942

Earlier today as I strolled along the A1A, aka Ft. Lauderdale Beach Boulevard, I was taken back to my first trip to this special place. I was but a young gay buck of 20ish years in that year of 1984. The world was my apple and I was taking my first bite of it.

Oh the dreams I dreamt as we cruised the crowded street along the beautiful beach. Expensive cars, beautiful bodies, palm trees, sea, sand, luxury condos, stylish clothes, designer glasses, garish jewelry, massive yachts, love, sex, endless nights of dancing & debauchery, exotic vacations and an openly gay lifestyle. Shallow I know, but youth and inexperience often allows young gay bucks like I was to be led astray into dreams of superficiality.

Yes those dreams all flooded back into my memory as I strolled this beautiful boulevard.

Ft. Lauderdale Beach Boulevard 10/26/2020

I can honestly say that I’ve never experienced this stretch of road and beach so empty of human activities in all the 100s of times I’ve strolled it. If there is any silver lining to Covid at all it’s the ability to experience such a moment at 11 am and 82 degrees F with a nice breeze. Such a quiet moment allows one to remember, contemplate and to dream.

Helnwein‘s interpretation of Hopper’s famous painting always gave me the empty lonely feeling of lives cut short and dreams not realized. Feelings of disappointment, loss, loneliness and sadness. As I strolled this empty stretch of typically busy avenues, I realized just how many of my 1984 dreams I’ve realized over the more than 30 years that have a passed. As I acknowledged my dreams, I started to sense how many of the dreams of those four souls in Helnwein’s interpretation had actually realized. Lives may have been cut short, tragedy may have struck, but dreams were realized and did come true for each and every one of them. My feelings about that poster which was so prevalent in 1984 shifted.

I never owned a copy of Hoppers painting nor of Helnwein’s poster. I did, however, own a copy of Michael Bedard’s interpretation of Helnwein’s interpretation. Bedard’s is entitled Window Shopping.

Window Shopping – Michael Bedard – 1989

Reflection of the 20ish boy’s somewhat shallow dreams as I strolled this morning revealed that the sheltered boy from small town Virginia has traveled the world, danced the night away on the open decks of cruise ships, met and conversed with rich and powerful people, lived and owned luxury & investment properties – even right here on this very  Ft Lauderdale beach – in various cities, found love that has even celebrated a 30 year anniversary, sex-lots of sex, lives an openly gay life as a married gay man with a husband, has owned expensive cars, worn designer clothes, has had and experienced beautiful bodies, can see the Pacific Ocean from his very own house including from it’s newly constructed guest apartment in his back yard, has a beautiful and growing family of nieces and nephews, has made lifelong friendships that deepened beyond that ever imagined, has a fulfilling career, rescues dogs, is a philanthropist, has owned loved captained and since sold his very own yacht, has the blessing of bringing his mother to live out her golden years with him as he is blessed with the ability to care for her, owns expensive beautiful art, is blessed with the talents to actually paint beautiful art, has some expensive watches and wears a Platinum Tiffany wedding band on his left hand, grows beautiful flowers in his yard, has been a drunk and found sobriety, helps his neighbors, is currently sitting sans clothing by a swimming pool in Ft. Lauderdale on this 84 degree afternoon, so many dreams…many more… the dreams keep coming true.

Material and meaningful dreams really do come true.

Dare to dream.

What dreams have you realized?

Thank You Pete

Fearsome and I wish to personally say Thank You to Pete Buttigieg for turning his life upside down during his history making and ground breaking run for President. Pete, you are a role model. We also wish to thank Chasten for his loving support of his husband’s candidacy. Chasten, you are a role model.

We thank you both for living your truth and working to better not only our country but to better the lives for all of it’s citizens.

We know that this isn’t goodbye, but the turning of a page into a new chapter of your life changing inspirational leadership toward a better future. With you two in our world we know it’s gonna be bright!

Why?

Why do I get up in the morning?

Why do I go to work?

Why do I work hard?

Why do I strive to get better?

Why do I save?

Why do I?

I do because when I do, I get to help those who cannot speak for themselves. I get to support the San Diego Humane Society. That’s why!

Thank you SDHS for giving me my Why!

If you are so inclined you can donate by clicking   HERE  thank you!

Be true to yourself, be who you are

It was late June 1969, a few pissed off queens had finally had enough.

This is a transcript of the above article below:

Homo Nest Raided, Queen Bees Are Stinging Mad

The New York Daily News, July 6, 1969
By JERRY LISKER

She sat there with her legs crossed, the lashes of her mascara-coated eyes beating like the wings of a hummingbird. She was angry. She was so upset she hadn’t bothered to shave. A day old stubble was beginning to push through the pancake makeup. She was a he. A queen of Christopher Street.

Last weekend the queens had turned commandos and stood bra strap to bra strap against an invasion of the helmeted Tactical Patrol Force. The elite police squad had shut down one of their private gay clubs, the Stonewall Inn at 57 Christopher St., in the heart of a three-block homosexual community in Greenwich Village. Queen Power reared its bleached blonde head in revolt. New York City experienced its first homosexual riot. “We may have lost the battle, sweets, but the war is far from over,” lisped an unofficial lady-in-waiting from the court of the Queens.

“We’ve had all we can take from the Gestapo,” the spokesman, or spokeswoman, continued. “We’re putting our foot down once and for all.” The foot wore a spiked heel. According to reports, the Stonewall Inn, a two-story structure with a sand painted brick and opaque glass facade, was a mecca for the homosexual element in the village who wanted nothing but a private little place where they could congregate, drink, dance and do whatever little girls do when they get together.

The thick glass shut out the outside world of the street. Inside, the Stonewall bathed in wild, bright psychedelic lights, while the patrons writhed to the sounds of a juke box on a square dance floor surrounded by booths and tables. The bar did a good business and the waiters, or waitresses, were always kept busy, as they snaked their way around the dancing customers to the booths and tables. For nearly two years, peace and tranquility reigned supreme for the Alice in Wonderland clientele.

The Raid Last Friday

Last Friday the privacy of the Stonewall was invaded by police from the First Division. It was a raid. They had a warrant. After two years, police said they had been informed that liquor was being served on the premises. Since the Stonewall was without a license, the place was being closed. It was the law.

All hell broke loose when the police entered the Stonewall. The girls instinctively reached for each other. Others stood frozen, locked in an embrace of fear.

Only a handful of police were on hand for the initial landing in the homosexual beachhead. They ushered the patrons out onto Christopher Street, just off Sheridan Square. A crowd had formed in front of the Stonewall and the customers were greeted with cheers of encouragement from the gallery.

The whole proceeding took on the aura of a homosexual Academy Awards Night. The Queens pranced out to the street blowing kisses and waving to the crowd. A beauty of a specimen named Stella wailed uncontrollably while being led to the sidewalk in front of the Stonewall by a cop. She later confessed that she didn’t protest the manhandling by the officer, it was just that her hair was in curlers and she was afraid her new beau might be in the crowd and spot her. She didn’t want him to see her this way, she wept.

Queen Power

The crowd began to get out of hand, eye witnesses said. Then, without warning, Queen Power exploded with all the fury of a gay atomic bomb. Queens, princesses and ladies-in-waiting began hurling anything they could get their polished, manicured fingernails on. Bobby pins, compacts, curlers, lipstick tubes and other femme fatale missiles were flying in the direction of the cops. The war was on. The lilies of the valley had become carnivorous jungle plants.

Urged on by cries of “C’mon girls, lets go get’em,” the defenders of Stonewall launched an attack. The cops called for assistance. To the rescue came the Tactical Patrol Force.

Flushed with the excitement of battle, a fellow called Gloria pranced around like Wonder Woman, while several Florence Nightingales administered first aid to the fallen warriors. There were some assorted scratches and bruises, but nothing serious was suffered by the honeys turned Madwoman of Chaillot.

Official reports listed four injured policemen with 13 arrests. The War of the Roses lasted about 2 hours from about midnight to 2 a.m. There was a return bout Wednesday night.

Two veterans recently recalled the battle and issued a warning to the cops. “If they close up all the gay joints in this area, there is going to be all out war.”

Bruce and Nan

Both said they were refugees from Indiana and had come to New York where they could live together happily ever after. They were in their early 20’s. They preferred to be called by their married names, Bruce and Nan.

“I don’t like your paper,” Nan lisped matter-of-factly. “It’s anti-fag and pro-cop.”

“I’ll bet you didn’t see what they did to the Stonewall. Did the pigs tell you that they smashed everything in sight? Did you ask them why they stole money out of the cash register and then smashed it with a sledge hammer? Did you ask them why it took them two years to discover that the Stonewall didn’t have a liquor license.”

Bruce nodded in agreement and reached over for Nan’s trembling hands.

“Calm down, doll,” he said. “Your face is getting all flushed.”

Nan wiped her face with a tissue.

“This would have to happen right before the wedding. The reception was going to be held at the Stonewall, too,” Nan said, tossing her ashen-tinted hair over her shoulder.

“What wedding?,” the bystander asked.

Nan frowned with a how-could-anybody-be-so-stupid look. “Eric and Jack’s wedding, of course. They’re finally tieing the knot. I thought they’d never get together.”

Meet Shirley

“We’ll have to find another place, that’s all there is to it,” Bruce sighed. “But every time we start a place, the cops break it up sooner or later.”

“They let us operate just as long as the payoff is regular,” Nan said bitterly. “I believe they closed up the Stonewall because there was some trouble with the payoff to the cops. I think that’s the real reason. It’s a shame. It was such a lovely place. We never bothered anybody. Why couldn’t they leave us alone?”

Shirley Evans, a neighbor with two children, agrees that the Stonewall was not a rowdy place and the persons who frequented the club were never troublesome. She lives at 45 Christopher St.

“Up until the night of the police raid there was never any trouble there,” she said. “The homosexuals minded their own business and never bothered a soul. There were never any fights or hollering, or anything like that. They just wanted to be left alone. I don’t know what they did inside, but that’s their business. I was never in there myself. It was just awful when the police came. It was like a swarm of hornets attacking a bunch of butterflies.”

A reporter visited the now closed Stonewall and it indeed looked like a cyclone had struck the premisses.

Police said there were over 200 people in the Stonewall when they entered with a warrant. The crowd outside was estimated at 500 to 1,000. According to police, the Stonewall had been under observation for some time. Being a private club, plain clothesmen were refused entrance to the inside when they periodically tried to check the place. “They had the tightest security in the Village,” a First Division officer said, “We could never get near the place without a warrant.”

Police Talk

The men of the First Division were unable to find any humor in the situation, despite the comical overtones of the raid.

“They were throwing more than lace hankies,” one inspector said. “I was almost decapitated by a slab of thick glass. It was thrown like a discus and just missed my throat by inches. The beer can didn’t miss, though, “it hit me right above the temple.”

Police also believe the club was operated by Mafia connected owners. The police did confiscate the Stonewall’s cash register as proceeds from an illegal operation. The receipts were counted and are on file at the division headquarters. The warrant was served and the establishment closed on the grounds it was an illegal membership club with no license, and no license to serve liquor.

The police are sure of one thing. They haven’t heard the last from the Girls of Christopher Street.

“We May have lost the battle, but the war is far from over”.

Fifty years later, thanks to some courageous individuals, the world is a better place. I salute them with deep gratitude. Today, because of their lead, many battles have been won …but the war is far from over.

A few things I am grateful for

It’s that time.

What are just a few things I am grateful for?

Dogs

Husband

Home

Family

Beards

Gardens

San Diego Bay

The Beach

The sun shining through a window

Coconut Cake

Health

Neighbors

Sobriety

WordPress

Inspiration

Hope

Dog Kisses

Balboa Park

Quality Cotton Sheets

Love

Hot Showers

Comic Con

Ru Paul

Apple Products

Blogger Buddies

Friends

Lost Loves

Work

California

Art

I am grateful for so much more than I can say in this brief post. I’ll just keep being grateful.

2557 Days

Seven years ago today I got sober.

My seven year chip

Thats 2557 days of uninterrupted reality.

I stay sober 1 day at a time. May tomorrow be just another one of those days.

You see I don’t drink like regular people. If I take a drink I have no idea where I will end up. Once one drink is in me, I go to the bitter end of fucked up drunkeness.

Therefore I choose to not drink at all. Life is better for me that way. Not everyone is like me, but I am.

Open Doors

”Listing Opportunity” the e-mail is titled

Another marketing spam my mind reacts

A closer observation before deletion reveals sincerity

The e-mail is opened and legit

In my work the listing is key

The key  to my future income and financial security

A response is sent with hope awakened

Anticipation mounts as an appointment to meet is made

Comparble homes are noted and pricing is set

Presentation prepared I properly dress

Upon arrival I stand before a home I might sell

A face of an owner waves me to the side door

Introductions made then a tour ensues

A large flowing floor-plan, a modern kitchen, luxurious baths

Views over the valley and to the ocean in the west

Expansive entertaining patio featuring gardens of beauty, privacy and tranquil

One million seven hundred ninety five thousand the asking price will be

Oh wait there’s another agent or two to interview

Feeling confident I am with the bond we made

Put off another day with more questions asked

Reassurances received from compliments conveyed

Seems they are busy and haven’t finalized decision

Another question, another compliment, yet a few more days

Tomorrow they will confirm with me my listing to be

The Dear John e-mail comes and my hopes fade

Two weeks of hope that my next paycheck will be are lost in a moment

That door open, that door closed

Another door will open as they always do

Which door will let me in I never know

Learning to accept and remain at peace is my goal

Gratitude that doors do open, enriches my soul

First year

Just over a year ago we fostered then adopted Phoebe.

Shortly after Phoebe joined our pack, Betty came home with us as a foster. As either you know or guessed she was also permanently adopted.

The Better Half, Phoebe, Betty and Fearsome

Both Betty & Phoebe were rescued by the San Diego Humane Society from a horrid hoarding situation. Today more than a year later they are happy healthy little girls.

Abner(looking away), Phoebe, Betty & Patsy

Originally 92 Yorkies were found confined in a dark filthy room within a home here in a San Diego Suburb. They became known as The 92 Yorkies. Several weeks later another 30 or so were discovered hidden in a back room of a restaurant that the residents of the house owned. Then again several weeks after that one of the guilty owners was arrested in a motor home in Nevada escaping with yet another 40 or so Yorkies.

Betty and Phoebe were in that last rescue out of that escaping motor home.

We take a moment to honor the San Diego Humane Society for their heroic efforts and to also congratulate Betty & Phoebe for their first anniversary as part of our loving pack.

When all was said and done and the pregnant females all gave birth the total of rescued Yorkies came close to 200. We are honored and blessed that two of those came to our home and my father in law adapted a third one named Apple.

Apple

Apple and Fearsome’s Dad-in-Law

Changing Horizons

Yesterday after having an incredible time at breakfast breaking bread with a dear blogger friend (or Penguin in this case), we walked the banks of the tidal basin to take in the texture of full Cherry Blossom.

Monumental Blossom

Only to arise early today that we might jet down the coast for a tasty lunch by the southern sea.

Casa Blanca Cafe Ft. Lauderdale Beach

“Live Love Laugh” were the words that Fearsome left behind in the temple of Burning Man. Wherever I am may I always remember to pause, be grateful and to Live Love Laugh.

Blogging Benefits

A benefit of blogging that I enjoy is that of friendship.

Yesterday I received a surprise package in the mail from Meanwhile Over in Cali.

Thanks R.J. !

Next week I will have the pleasure of meeting Travel Penguin for a morning meal.

Our banter, comments, humor, insight, advice, empathy, respect and understanding make for a wonderful community. We come from all places and all walks of life. I love being part of this here blogging community and I wish to express my gratitude to all those in my blogging circle.

Hug!

Where have we been?

Absent.

Elsewhere.

Distracted.

Missing.

The time has come. Mom is ready to move out of my childhood home. She’s lived there since 1957 and raised 3 boys there. Dad passed more than 2 years ago. She finally retired in December. Her last dog passed at the new year. The house is too much work for a little 86 year old lady.

It’s her decision. She is ready. She has decided that she wants to live with us in San Diego rather than with my brother in our hometown. She hates winter and loves dogs.

I’ve spent the last two weeks back east helping her sort, clean, decide, pack, throw out and donate. Her ticket has been purchased. I fly back Mother’s day weekend. We spend the week finalizing. She flys back with me, first class, to her new home in San Diego on May 18, 2018. Her new home is the first floor bedroom of our house.

Fearsome has been a big part of it all. From getting stuck on packing tape to literally getting himself caught in the recycle bin when the lid fell shut. He’s there all the way.

So now you know. We’ve been beyond work distraction to major life changes. We need to reflect on this more. We will post more about aging, emotions, family, changes, life, blessings and gratitude.

Gratitude for the opportunity and ability to support the one who once supported me into her final phase.

I’ll call it what it is.

A blessing.

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.