Wrapping Up the Holidays

Well here we are, the last few hours of the last day of 2008. I for one am glad this year is ending. As years go, this was not one of the better ones.

When I last left you I was fighting a really bad head cold. It lasted for over a week, worse one I have had in a very long time. I even stayed home from work one day and stayed in the bed most of that day. That was my first sick day since I started my new job over a year ago!! I probably should have stayed home for 2 but I am not one for staying home if I can manage to get around.

We finally got our tree and the tree at Patrick's parents house up and decorated, but we decided not to do all the out side decorating we do every year. We did think about doing a last minute outside decorating effort when we would drive around and see how pretty some of the other houses were, but it just never happened. We vowed to get an earlier start next year, say around October!!

Then on December 20, as we were on our way to see the LA Gay Men's Chorus Christmas Concert, some one decided to rear end us on the freeway. It was an experience neither of us want to do again, but looking back it could have been much worse. We were in the right lane getting ready to exit when out of no where, someone slammed into the read of my car
They actually pushed us for a short distance but when their bumper fell off their car, it sent us
spinning around on the freeway. Fortunately we spun to the right and ended up on an exit ramp, had we spun the other way, it would have pushed us right into the on coming traffic. Whoever
hit us never stopped. We never saw them coming, so we have no idea who hit us. But they did leave behind their front bumper with the license plate attached, the Highway Patrol said they would make good use of that.

So for the past week or so I have driving a rental car, a nice car, but not my car. I have a close relationship with my car, I love it alot. I have alway wanted a Ford Focus since the very first one I say several years ago. You could say it is my dream car. Andy, yes that is his name, is a hatch back, they don't make the ones like him anymore.But he is my Baby. But when I got home this afternoon, there was a message on our phone that told me that they were going to total Andy and not repair him. It was like someone had left a message telling me some one I love a great deal had died. I don't get to talk to the insurance people until Monday, so all weekend I get to see Andy sitting out in front of our house and know that soon he will be going away. I am not sure
just what kind of car I will even look at, it was something I was expecting to do for a very long time. But I am sure I will find just the right one when we do start looking. It has always worked out that way for me when I have needed a car, just the right one comes along!

So tonight, Patrick and I and the kids and our close friend,Timmy, are waiting for the ball to drop and the new year to begin. We have been munching out of a while now and in just a couple of hours, 2008 will be done and a brand new 2009 will begin. I don't know about you, but
I can hardly wait. A brand new year will thousands of new adventures await each of us
I believe it is just the start of a big new beginning for us.

Happy New Year!!



Sickie Weekend

You all know the routine, you start out feeling a little achy and you try to ignore it thinking it will go away, then the area around your eyes and around your nasal cavity starts this tingling burning feeling and the next think you know, BAMM, you have a nasty head cold. Well I started the achy feeling mid afternoon on Friday and I really tried to ignore it, I had way too much to do this weekend to even think about getting sick. But by the time I fought my way though the Friday night traffic to get home ( have I mentioned here how bad the traffic has gotten again since gas prices have gone back down!!??), I just gave up and after dinner I went to bed hoping it was just an over night thing. WRONG! It did seem a little better Saturday and we ran around going some errands getting ready to start decorating both houses (ours and Patrick's parent's next door) for the Holidays.
Saturday night was my office Holiday Party at Il Moro ristorante. Every year the 3 doctors I work for take the staff and our significant others out to a really nice dinner at an upscale restraunt. We had a really nice time and I would recommend the place highly but be ready
to pay a little extra. This ain't Denny's!
So we got home around midnight and I went to bed thinking the head cold was on it way out, wrong again. Sometime during the night the Cold Fairy paid me a visit and put a double whammy on me. I woke up this morning feeling worse than I had all weekend. So much of the day I spent in bed and all the decorations are still in their boxes. We did manage to make it to Homo Depot and get our Christmas tree and one for his parents and the kids. They are both
really nice. At least we have something like 18 more days to Christmas, I am sure we can get them decorated before then.
So send me some positive energy and thoughts so I can beat this thing. I am very thankful that it has not gone into my chest but stayed in my head, but then, with as much empty space as I have up there, it could wander around a long time before it leaves!!



Ice Cream on Your Cobbler?

The day after I arrived in Texas, my sister and I drove over to Beaumont to pick up my brother and his family, and we head off to the great state of Louisiana. Now you just might be asking yourself, "If he just got to Texas, why would be heading off to Louisiana?", well I will tell you.

My Mom was born Texas but she grew up in Louisiana for the most part. For many years
she and my Grandparents lived in Oakdale, Louisiana, and that is where we were heading to that day. You see, there is only one relative left from my Mom's generation. Someone who grew up with my Mom and can still remember all the "old ones" that have died on gone on to Glory.
Someone who knew my Grandparents, and great Aunts and Uncles, the very ones we pay our respects to when we go by the old cemetary. That one lone survivor is our Cousin Rena May.
All my life we have gone back to Oakdale to visit Cousin Rena Mae and her family. She and her husband, Ivy, grew up with my Mom and her sisters. I did not know till very recently that before Cousins Rena Mae met her husband Ivy, he and my Mom were boyfriend/girlfriend.
But that is way more than you probably want to know. Needless to say, it didn't last between
Mom and Ivy. He and Rena Mae were married over 50 years before he died a few year ago.
So since I was home, we decided the three of us should make one more trip over to see her.

It is only a three hour trip over to see her, well it is probably shorter but we were all laughing and talking and it turned into a three hour trip. My sister had written to her a few weeks before and asked if it was ok if we come and she shot a letter right back telling my sister to please come and she would cook us chicken and dumplings. Now I do not know if you have ever had HOMEMADE chicken and dumplings, I mean made from scratch, nothing pre-bought except the ingredients. but let me tell you, I would drive more than three hours to get that!
We actually arrive a little later than we had planned. We pulled into Oakdale, which is a VERY small town and we found the road to go to Cousin Rena Mae's. We drove down this narrow road that was once a very busy road in its day. The old sawmill was located on this road and if you
look through the trees and over grown brush you can still the old sawmill building that are overgrown in the woods. As the road got narrower we knew we were close to her house, and as we made the bend in the road we could see her sitting on the poarch waiting for us. Now I should let you know, Cousin Rena Mae is around 90 or 91.
She got all excited as we get out of the car and all hug and kiss and she hurries us into the kitchen to eat, she don't want it getting cold!!
So there we were, all sitting around the table eating HOMEMADE chicken and dumplings (that were to die for!), macaronie and cheese and HOME MADE corn bread. Now I will even start to tell you about how much I LOVE homemade cornbread. It's a little piece of Heaven, let me tell you. We were all stuffed to the gills and then, she brought out the HOMEMADE peach cobbler.
It was amazing.
So she takes us up some cobbler and we are just starting to eat it when my brother's little boy wanted to go outside and play. She Nancy, my brother's wife, took him outside to play.
Well here were are eating our cobbler and as soon as Nancy leaves the room, Cousins Rena Mae turns to us and says " I am so glad she left I need to talk to you kids", well we all looked at her and the next words she said was " I need to tell you your Mother was adopted. She really belongs to your Grannie Yielding sister, Stella. Stella did not know who the father was ( we found out later Stella got around alot, and not in a good way. She had several children by different guys and gave them all away.) and after she had her she gave her to her sister (my grandmother) to raise as her own." Well I am not sure who was more shocked, but when I looked over to where my brother was he still had his fork halfway between his cobbler bowl and his mouth.
THEN, she turns to me like she had said nothing and said "Jaymes, would you like some ice
cream on your cobbler?" Somehow I got the word out "Sure". We all just kinda sat there for a minute and finally my sister started asking her a few questions about what he had just laid on us.
According to Cousin Rena Mae, my Mom did not know anything about this. Cousin Rena Mae's Mother was Bessie, who was also a sister to Nancy(my grandmother) and Stella. Cousin Rena Mae said everyone was sworn to secretcy about it when it happen. Her mother told her and she said she just had to let us know before she died. ( We all decided later that as far as we were concerned she could have just taken it to the grave with her).
Shortly after that more relatives started coming in and we did not get to talk about it anymore.
Later as we drove away, we were all quiet, my sister finally said "Well guys how do you fell about this little turn of events?" We really did not know what to say and then we all started
running back through all the stories we had been told all our lives about when Mom was born and about her life growing up. To be honest, we were pretty shell schocked. We did not know what to think. So, over the next few days, we all three contacted all the older cousins who were younger than Mom and asked them about it. They all said they had never heard anything like that and they all agreed with us that if it were true, knowing Mom's older sister, none of them would have ever been able to keep it a secret, Hell none of of them had ever been able to keep a secret about anything. (Just to let you know, my Mom came from a large family and her oldest sister was 20 years older then her)

So here is the conclusion we all three came to: If she was indeed the daughter of Stella and adopted by my Grandparents, it changes nothing, everyone involved is dead. In my Mom's world, my Grandparents were her real parents and all her sisters and brothers were her family, so that is all that truly matters. We do know that Stella died in a State Hospital when she was in her 60's but we do not know where she is buried. We are going to do our best to find where she is buried and make sure she has a nice headstone, and leave it at that.

I am really not sure if I will ever eat peach cobbler again.


The Deer Hunter

Well you can say you saw it here first! Yes I am holding several guns, no I did not shoot any of them and if you notice to my lower right, your lower left, yes that is a REAL dead deer laying across the 4 wheeler. No I did not shoot the deer, my brother-in-law did just a about 30 minutes or so before this picture was taken. One of the Doctors Iwork for asked me to send him a picture of me holding a weapon after he found out I can shoot a gun. This is the picture we sent him. Just so you know, I can shoot the rifle leaning up against the 4 wheeler, yea its scary I know!

Deep In The Heart of Texas

" The stars at night, are big and bright
deep in the heart of Texas
The praire sky is wide and high
deep in the heart of Texas"

Yep that is just where I was a couple of weeks ago, deep in the heart of (East)Texas. After almost a year and half, I decided it was high time I took a little trip back home to Texas, just so
everyone there would not forget just how good looking I am ! (Just kidding!!) Every since I moved out here to the Californias I have gone back to Texas to see the family about once a year.
But this past year I was not able to go since I had changed jobs in the middle of the year and did not have any vacation time. So on November 8 Patrick dropped me off at LAX and a couple hours later I was in the big silver tube hurling through space toward Texas. My sister and brother-in-law picked me up at the airport and we started back to their house were I stayed for the next week.
Now the very minute you step out of the airport you can notice a BIG difference between Los Angeles and Houston, Texas. For one, even though is it an international airport, it is way smaller than LAX. As we were making our descent into Houston, I looked out the window and saw downtown Houston, the first thing I said was "It looks so small!". Well comparted to downown LA, I guess it is. And downtown LA sure does not have as many trees surounding it as Houston does either. There is another shocking difference when you step out of the airport, EVERYTHING is so green!

We drove the 90 miles back to my sister's and dropped off my brother-in-law so he could
go deer hunting that afternoon. Yes, I said deer hunting. That in itself is a whole nother story I will not venture into, although I will try and include a pic of yours truly with guns and a deer to show you what I mean. Yes as scary as it may sound to you, I do own a gun, I do know how to shoot it, although not really well any more.

So after we dropped my brother-in-law off at home, my sister and I headed to Beaumont (which is about 30 miles away) to see my brother and his family. My brother, Steve, and his wife, Nancy, have a beautiful son named Morgan. Morgan and I do talk on the phone when I call my brother about every couple of weeks, but I have not seen him since he was 2, he just turned
I was not ready for a grown up little Morgan, but that is just what I got. He is adorable, and better yet, he really loves his Uncle Jaymes. We played and laughed alot (he and I got in trouble at the restruant when we went to eat because we were making too much noise!)
So after we went to dinner, my sister and I headed back to her house. Anyone living in the Los Angeles area would be very envious of the Texas freeways. They are beautiful, wide, smooth and not really that many cars on them. I called them Heaven!

So for the rest of the week my sister and I ran around the countryside, visited some old homes that are now museums, took long walks in the woods, watch my brother-in-law and his brother and a friend, gut and skin a deer one of them had killed,drove around on their 200+ acres of blue berries (they are blue berry farmers) in her gold cart and just relaxed and had a wonderful time.

One thing I do want to mention that many of you will find strange, one of the reason I like to go back home to Texas besides seeing my family,is I really enjoy how quiet it is there. And I do mean quiet. Not even on a good day anywhere in the LA can you experience the queitness that
is there. It is total forests and ponds and lakes and creeks, nothing for miles and miles that would make a loud noise. I can sit on her back porch and watch the squirrels run around the yard and up the trees. I can try and count how many different kinds of birds I see in her trees (Saw a Bluejay and a Red Headed Woodpecker this trip). That is the kind of world I grew up in all my younger life, and it that part I really miss sometimes. They laugh at me back home when I tell them I really miss hearing the wind blow through the pines trees, it is the most soothing sound I know. They laugh at me about that because they have no idea what is like NOT to be able to step outside and hear it.

This trip was really good for me and I am really glad I stayed so long this time.( I usually stay only 3 or 4 days but this time I was there for 9.) The countryside where I grew up has really changed. Two horrible hurricanes have torn through there in the last 3 years, the forrests that I grew up with and played in and lived around, have really been changed by the high winds of the hurricanes. My sister is getting ready to put my Mom's house on the market to sell, which we have to do according to her Will. That is the house I grew up in since I was 5. Through the years, where ever I have been and I think about going back home, it is that house I think about going back to. If things work out as we hope, this will be the last trip back home that I get to
sit on that porch and look out over the neighborhood I grew up in. But you know, this is not
a sad thing. Since my Mom passed away, it is just a house. I was really surprised the first time
I went there after she passed way. It did not feel special anymore, it was just a house like that of someone I did not know. And I realized that now it is just a house,what made it such a special place was gone. Over the past couple of years since she died, I have wrestled with this intense sadness from time to time that I could not explain. But a week or so before I went to Texas, I tried to explain what I was feeling to Patrick, and he looked at me and told me, "You miss your Mom", and I realized that he was so right. But this trip back home to Texas helped me to make
peace with that sadness, and I came back to California a much happier me.

We had a couple of adventures while I was there that I will share with you in a couple of other posting, so stay tuned!!


p.s. For those of you who are not Texans, and for those of you are wish you were, the above
verse comes from a very lively little tune every Texan knows by heart. It is fast and lively and
even has hand clappen in it. Just ask me and I just might teach it to you!!


Palm Springs Weekend

Most of you probably don't remember the 1963 movie "Palm Spring Weekend" staring Troy Donahue, Connie Stevens, Ty Hardin, Stephanie Powers and Robert Conrad. It was actually shot in Palm Springs and Cathedral City. The hotel where the movie took place is still there, it was built especially for the movie and later sold once the movie was finished. It has always been a Gay hotel even though it has seemed to change hangs many times during the years. I have many fond memories of laying by the pool and attending different parties there. It was alway a popular place.
Well today we are leaving for our own Palm Springs Weekend. It is Gay Pride Weekend and we always try to make it down there to celebrate with the Desert Folk, so many of them are my friends!! It has actually been a while since Patrick and I have had the chance to run away and have a weekend by ourselves, so off we go. Next week this time I will be in Texas to spend a week with my sister and brother and all the little rug rats in my family. So this weekend my
Pooh and I are off to have good time.
Enjoy your weekend whatever it is you are doing!! I will be reporting back to tell you about
our little adventure!!

later dudes!


Happy Halloween!!! 2008

Wow, where has this year gone????? Here we are celebrating the most festive Holiday of the Year....Gay Christmas!!....or as most of you know it....Halloween!

We are not doing much tonight, decided to hang out here at home instead of joining the other 250,000 people at the West Hollywood Carnival. But before we settle in for the evening I thought I would share a little blast from the past with you. Think back...what were you wearing for Halloween, 1991? Well here is a glimpse of what I was wearing that evening.....what you can't see are the fabulous heels I was wearing, and yes I did do alot of dancing in them that night. Also in the picture are my sisters in crime, the two best girlfriends a girl could ever have. On the left (in white) is my sister Trixie and on the left (in black) is my sister Goya. We were a force to be reconded with in the day!! (and trust me, we still are!)

Happy Halloween!!



Happy National Coming Out Day!!!!!

Just in case you did not know it, today is National Coming Out Day! NCOD was started in 1988 by Dr.Richard Eichberg and Jean O'Leary in celebration of the Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, which was held in 1987. At the National March on Washington, 500,000 people marched on Washington, DC for Gay and Lesbian equality.
Now days, NCOD events are aimed at raising awareness among every day people about the Gay and Lesbian community and to provide resources for those coming out, their families and friends.

I have often been asked when I knew I was Gay, and while I have long known I was attracted to guys, say from around the age of 10 or 11, I really did not know their were other people in the world that were like me until I was in my middle teens. For many years I really thought there was something very bad wrong with me that I was not a like the other guys in my class at school. Of course they were always talking about their girlfriends and things and while I had many girls who were my friends, I just was not attracted to them in a boyfriend/girlfriend sort of way.
So I kept my "dark secret" to myself and played the game so no one would know I had this "major defect". Yes I even had a girlfriend for a while in High School. I really tried to fit in but inside it was not working. When I was around 14, my family started getting involved in the Baptist Church, and it was there that I found out there were many people like myself in the world and God hated them all. At least once a quarter, my Pastor felt like it was his duty to
warn us about the horrible creatures that God hated so much call homosexuals. It was
during this time in my life that I really started to hate myself. I would pray and pray and ask God to change me and not let me have thethoughts I was having about different guys at school and please make me like I was suppose to be. (Little did I know at the time She had already made me just like I was suppose to be!) It was a very depressing and self hating time in my life. Now if you had known me at the time, you would not have seen a depressed, self hating guy, O no you would have seen some who was always upbeat and fun to be around, you would have liked me and probably would have wanted to hang out with me. Everyone loved me, except me.
Now you must realize a couple of things, this was during the 60s and early 70s when being Gay was a very bad thing. Anywhere in the US of A you could lose your job if they knew you were Gay or Lesbian. We had no laws to protect us against anything. You could be arrested and taken to jail just because you were in a Gay bar. And also I lived in a very small country town in Southeast Texas. I had no one I could talk about this with at all. I honestly thought I was the only person like me in Silsbee. I was alone with my deep dark secret, and hating the awful person I was, everyday.

I kept my secret with me for many more years, doing whatever and acting however I needed to so people would never suspect who I really was. I have to tell you that when you carry self hatred inside of you for a long time, it eats away your soul. I was a great actor, most people in my life never suspected at thing. I even married and had 3 beautiful children, had a nice house and a good job. But after 10 years, the marriage ended in divorce and I was a wreck, a really big total wreck. I went into a really bad depression, my doctor told me if I did not get away from all of it I would end up having a nervous breakdown.

My sister and her family were living in Casper, Wyoming at the time of my divorce. My brother-in-law was working as a directional driller and his job was located there. My sister has always, ALWAYS, been my best friend. Now of course I was close with my Mom but my sister and I have always had a special close relationship. She knew of course what I was going through and
when they were home visiting during this time, she tried to talk me into moving up to Wyoming with them and getting myself together and making a new start. Of course I told her there was no way I could, I could not think about not getting to see my kids (which I got to see for a few hours one day a month) and my life was there an blah, blah,blah. So when their visit was over, they went back home to Casper, without me. Things continued to go downhill for me emotionally over the next few weeks, I was getting more depressed. My whole family was really worried about me. I did not find out till a few years later they were really afraid I was going to commit suicide, which actually never entered my mind. Then while I was at work one day, I realized I just could not take it anymore, I walked over to my desk, picked up the phone and called my sister and told her I couldn't handle it anymore and could I still come stay with her.
That is all it took. In about 2 weeks, I had quit my job, got rid of my apt,packed up everything I owned and was living with my sister and her family in Casper, Wyoming. There were conditions for me being able to come live with them, I could not work for 3 months, they took care of what few bills I had, I was to rest, hang out with my sister and get myself back together physically and emotionally, and after that 3 months, we would go from there. I was so fortunate to have people who loved me so much. They provide me with a truck (yes a truck) to drive an a credit card to put gas in it. Spending money would "appear" on my dresser from time to time. In short,
I truly believe and will always believe, they truly saved my life.

It was during these 3 months as I tried to put my life back together, that I was able for the first time in my life start dealing with something I had always known but kept buried deep down inside of me, I was Gay. I went to the Casper Library and found some wonderful books on being Gay and I ready everything I could find. (Now I need to stop and clarify something here, before
I got married, I had had sexual experiences with a few other guys so I was not totally stupid
about what guys did together). I came to realize more and more that I wasn't this sick horrible creature that I always hated. It was not an overnight transformation but it was a good start.
I "accidentally" met a guy in the mall (no not in the restroom!) who I suspected was Gay and the second time I went into the store where he worked to buy something, he actually invited me to have coffee with him and I did . As we were having coffee he flat out ask me if I was Gay and I was a little shook up and I told him I was pretty sure I was. He told me he was and if I needed to talk he would be happy to listen. Wow, I finally had a Gay friend! We did become friends and he introduced me to several of this friends. It was a real eye opener for me. Of course I was still very much in the closet to my sister and her family so I wanted to go out with some of them I would just tell her I was going out with some of my new friends, which was true. It was during this time my life really started to change. I was actually discovering more about myself and liking who I was. During one of the trips to the mall with one of my new friends, he told me this certain clerk who worked at B Dalton Book Store was Gay and his name was Calvin. We didn't even go into B Dalton's that day but I looked in and saw what Calvin looked like. A few days later
I went to the bookstore to actually buy a book and Calvin waited on me. Now it was a Gay themed book that they did not have in stock so he ordered it for me. Well I left the mall and drove home and when I walked in the phone was ringing. I did not think anything of it, but when I answered it , it was Calvin from the bookstore, and he asked me out to a dinner party he was going to that night. He had picked up the fact that I was Gay from the book I ordered. I have to tell you I was speechless. So that night I had my first date as a Gay man and then that lead to a second date which lead to Calvin and I being partners for over a year and a half.

Now when Calvin and I decided to move in together, I knew that I would finally have to come out to my sister. I can in no way express to you who terrified I was. I had heard stories from some of my new friends about how their families and friends had reacted to their coming out and it was not all positive. One of my friends family had disowned him and did not want to have anything to do with him anymore and this was so terrifing to me. I just did not know what I would do if my sister reacted like that. But I had to do it. So one night when my brother-in-law was away on business, I asked my sister out to dinner. It was during dinner that I kept trying to tell her I was Gay, I almost broke down and cried once I was so scared and finally she looked up at me and said" Honey, why don't you just go ahead and tell me you're Gay before your steak gets cold". My jaw must have hit the table. I could not believe she already knew and she said she had known for years and was just waiting for me to come to grips with it on my own. I asked her who else knew and she said her whole family knew. My two nephews loving called me "Auntie James" behind my back. They knew Calvin was much more than just my new best friend. I will always remember the weight that was lifted off of me as we sat there an talked about it. I was finally able to talk to her about everything.

That was the first time I had come out to someone I loved. Through the years I have come out to the rest of my family and have always had a positive experience. I have also come out to all my friends through the years and unfortunately I can not tell you they have all been positive experiences. Some walked away and I have not heard from them since.

Coming to terms with who you are is a very liberating experience. But every one's experience is different. Every time I go to a Gay Pride event anywhere, I always think as I look over the crowds, that for every Gay, Lesbian, Bi or Transgender person there, there is a story of when they realized they were different and their journey into being who they are today. So when you have the opportunity to have a LBGT person as a friend, just realize that the person they are today is the result of a very long road of self awareness and pride.

Like I said before, coming out is a very liberating experience, but is it not a one time event.
It is something all of us in the LGBT community have to do over and over everyday. As we travel to new places and new friends come into our lives, there is always another time for us to come out. I know one day, maybe not in my lifetime, but one day, who we are as won't
matter and every one will justbe accepted for who they are.


ps. Just a few years after I graduated High School, I found out that there were 5 other Gay guys in my graduation class besides me. I had know all of them from the first grade all the way to graduation. We were all so in the closet we did not know about each other. One of them, Benny,
I had a crush on from our freshman year through graduation. And I found out that he too
had had a crush on me during the same time. What a help we could have been to each other
if only we had known.


We Had A Gay Ole Time........

Well this weekend was the 11 Annual Unofficial Gay Days at Disneyland, and of course Patrick and I were there!! Well we were there on Saturday. It is a three day event, starting Friday afternoon and ending on Sunday evening. Now is called the Unofficial Gays Days because it is not sponsored by Disneyland. The weekend includes cocktail parties, a mini Shorts Film Festival, and of course Dance Parties!! (One on Friday night called " Wonderland "and one on Saturday night called " Kingdom"). There's a Scavenger Hunt, and different special lunches, like one for Gay Families, one for Gay Youth, one for the Bears (not the ones who live in the wood well I take that back, some of them just might). On Saturday they try to get everyone together for a group photo, we did not do this one, we have in the past and when we got our pictures there were so many people jammed together you couldn't really see who we were.
Now you may be asking yourself just how we could tell (aside from out Gaydar) just who all
was a member of our Gay Tribe, well that is pretty easy, you see, members of the Tribe are asked to wear a RED shirt, usually a T shirt, but not necessarily. And with around 30,000 members of the Tribe in attendance this week, you pretty much saw RED everywhere.(a little word of explanation, Saturday is Gay Days at the Disneyland Park and Sunday is Gay Days at California Adventure)

Now the ones I really have a soft spot in my heart for on these weekends are the poor unsuspecting Straight guys who come to Disneyland the first weekend in October wear a red
shirt!!! It is not hard to spot them, they all seem to be holding their wive/girlfriends so tight
up against them the poor things can hardly breath! Example: Patrick and I were riding the Monorail over to Downtown Disney to meet some friends for dinner. We get on the Monorail and sit down and as I usually do anyway, I put my arm across the back of Patrick's seat. Soon after we sat down and man and wife got on and sat across from us. They were laughing and talking and soon after they sat down, very soon, he reaches over and grabs the poor woman's hand and starts holding it and kisses her not once, but twice before the monorail ever moved. She actually looked a little starteled. He looked at us a couple of times and did not let go of her and until we got off the monorail. I have never been able to figure out makes some straight guys so afraid of us!
We did have a really good time. We rode so many different rides and went to so many different shops and just hung out. It was fun to people watch and meet other members of the Our Tribe, share some stories and just have fun together. There were couples there who had been recently married and that was really awesome to see. Disneyland has these really cute buttons they give newlyweds if you go to City Hally and let them know. We saw a few of those around.

Toward the end of the day I got a text message from our friend Kenny and when he found out we were at Gay Days, he and his husband (legally!!) came over from Long Beach and joined us for Dinner and we watched the fireworks together. It made for a really great ending to a very funfilled day. (check out http://www.gaydays2.com/)

( We took pictures of course and I will try to get them uploaded soon. I an volunteering with the "No on Proposition 8" campaign and this week I am scheduled to volunteer 3 night after work so it may be toward the end of the before they are posted, but check back, they will be here!!)

Just to let you know the "Chop Suey Cafe" (Patrick's blog) is back open for business so
don't forget to go by and check it out! The link to his blog over at the "Blogs I Read" list.


It Was A Party Weekend.!!!....(part 2)

Since we got home a little late on Friday evening, I let myself sleep in some on Saturday. Actually I have never been one to sleep in late on the weekend but lately I have really gotten into it! So it was nice to be able to sleep in a little longer this Saturday. But I really did so because I knew I was going to need my energy because we had another party to go to Saturday afternoon!! ( I was just telling someone yesterday it is really rough being so popular!! lol)

So around 11am we head off to Brea to attend the 1st Birthday party for one of our "nieces", Jordan. Jordan is the daughter of our very good friends Cindy and Jeff . Jordan has on older sister named McKenna, who is almost 3. They are the cutest things you have ever seen.!

The party was held at the Cedar Creek Inn in Brea. The resturant has a really nice enclosed patio that was festively decorated by Cindy. Now let me say a word here about Cindy and her decorating. She is AWESOME! She did everything from designing and creating the invitations, to putting together the beautiful center pieces that adored each table. She is the most creative person I have every known. If any of you remember our Holy Union in 2004, Cindy designed and created our invitations, really beautiful.

Everyone had an assigned place to sit, and Patrick and I shared our table with the Jung family
We had met them last year when we attended the Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach
Cindy and Jeff had given us all tickets for Christmas and we sat right next to them. The food was really good and I have to say the service from the staff at Cedar Creek Inn was great.

After the party was over we decided that since we were already in Orange County we might as well go by the South Coast Plaza Mall. I mean you can't be that close to it and not go!!! For us Gay Men it is a real necessity!! Now for those of you who have never been to South Coast Plaza, it is bigger than most small cities. It cover two sides of a freeway, yes you can walk over the freeway from on side to the other but you will wish you hadn't . There is not a bus to take you back to the other side. So we scoped out the Mall for a little while and then headed back to the LA area. We were a combination of still way too full and a little tired. Something a little nap would have take care of.
Sunday was just a hang out day for me. Got a few things done around the house but Patrick had one more Birthday celebration to go to!!! His cousin Mandy"s birthday was a couple of weeks ago but she was in Hong Kong, so they celebrated Sunday. I got to sit that one out!! thank goodness.
So we ended up have a real part weekend!

Like I said, it is really rough sometimes being so popular!!


p.s. Next weekend: GAY DAYS at Disneyland!!!!!!!

It Was A Party Weekend!!!....(part 1)

Well it is Sunday evening and the weekend is coming got a close. Looks like before we know it we will be back at the coal mine starting out a new week. But this weekend was a real festive one here in the Lee-Neff household. Starting with Friday evening.

Friday evening Patrick and I attended the Wedding Banquet for a friend and co-worker of Patrick's, Danny and his beautiful bride, Silvia. Now I had met Danny a couple of times over the last couple of years when we attended different doggie parties with Tobee. He and Silva were also here at our house last December for Patrick's birthday party. They are both very lovely people and lots of fun too! When Patrick first told me they were getting married and he had been invited to the Wedding Banquet I really did not think anything about not getting invited.
I have rarely gone to things like this with Patrick over the years so I did not even give it a second thought when he told me about it. But a few weeks ago Danny came to Patrick to make sure we knew that I too was invited and they were expecting me to come with him. I have to admit I was a little excited. It is always a special thing when we get invited as a couple to things like this. But it also meant I would have to dress up!! Most of you know I am pretty much a jeans and Tee Shirt kinda guy, but I think I pulled it off ok. I was happy with how I turned out!!

If you have never been to a Chinese Wedding Banquet, you would be in for a real surprise. This one was held in the Ball Room of the Hilton Hotel in San Gabriel. I was really a beautiful place.
Of course I only knew about 6 or 7 people out of the two hundred so guests and from what I could tell I was one of three Caucasian people I saw, all guys. So some of the important things that were being said, Patrick had to translate for me. But we were at a table where I knew most of the people so I had plenty of people to talk to.

It was a real beautiful banquet. We were served a regular 10 course Chinese wedding meal, ten being the perfect number. There are certain foods served in a certain order and all of it was very good.
By the time they served the last course and then the wedding cake for desert, I was pretty much done in, along with every one else! It started at 7pm and when we left at 11pm, it was still going strong.

I have to say, being apart of the Chinese culture has really enriched my life, in so many ways.
It is a culture that isrich with tradition and customs that are not only beautiful but very meaningful. There is a reason for everything they do in their ceremonies and as I have been expose to the different aspects of the culture and have been able to learn more about it, my life has b eenchanged and enriched so much. I feel I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to experience it.

So to our friends Danny and Silvia, we wish a long and a happy life together, filled with much love and many fun adventures in the years ahead!


California Adventure, here come....

On the Monday of our vacation, Patrick and I slipped away from everyone and headed to California Adventure. The original plan was for us to start at California Adventure and end up at Disneyland. For a long time we have wanted to go to the Parks during the week so there would not be so many people. So we decided we would go on Monday, August 25, and beat the crowds....WRONG!! It seems most schools had not started back yet and EVERYONE who had not been to the Parks during the Summer decided Monday must be a good day for them too.
It was so busy. We got there right after the Parks opened and we still had to stand in line to get into California Adventure, which is never that busy!

So once we were in we headed across the Park to ride the newest ride,the Toy Story ride.
As we were walking over there, I got a great idea, so I turned to Patrick and said, " Hey Honey, let's do something we have not done before, we at least I haven't done it. Let's ride the roller coaster!!!" Patrick kept on walking and just shot me that side ways look I get every once in a while and said " Are you sure?" Haven't you ridden it before?" So when I said I hadn't
he gave me that look again and said " Well ok, but if we are going to do it we are going to do it now before it gets too busy". Now I am not a big fan of roller coasters and when we were first dating I had a very bad experience with one at Six Flags Magic Mountain, but that was years ago and California Screaming had never seemed that bad of a coaster to me. So off we went. When we got here we only had to wait for the very next coaster. The only thing I had requested is that we not sit in the very first car. So we ended up on about the middle. We got in and away we went, to the lift off area. Now I don't know if you have ever seen the California Screaming coaster , but it goes out to the launch area and stops and then they count down the time for you till it gets to one, and then you take and are going 60mph in about 10 secs. Well let me tell you, it hit one, and we took off and I knew right then and there this was not the smartest decision I had made that day. I suddenly remember why I don't ride roller coasters, but hey, when you are strapped in and going that fast, only one thing you can do, hang on and pray it will be over fast.
Well honesty, once we really got started I was screaming right along with Patrick, but I think it was for a different reason. I did ok and we came to the part where we made the big loop in Mickey's ear and as we approached that, I just closed my ears and it did not seem so bad. After you make that loop the ride is pretty much over and you go back to where you started. Ok, well I survived what will truly be my last roller coaster ride in my lifetime and we headed back to let the next group of thrill seekers take their turn. So we stopped, were unbuckled and Patrick jumped up and hopped off and I stood up to follow him and for some reason my feet kinda got tangled up with each other and guess what? yep..down I went. Now fortunately for me I somewhat caught myself on the side of the ride so I did not go face first into the cement, but I did go down on my left knee, hard. The thing I do remember is that when I hit, the whole crowd of people waiting to get on the ride went "WHOA" in unison. Now Patrick was several steps in front of me so he did not see how graceful I went down, but he did run back and make sure I was ok. Honestly, I was a little shaken up, a little embarrassed and in pain. When I looked down I had taken the top layer of skin off just below my knee cap. One of the Crew members asked me if I was ok and I yea, I was old and I fell all the time. We went to the restroom to check out really how bad my knee was and while I was checking on my knee, Patrick found the nurse's station so we headed over there. Now. like everything else at any Disney Park, it was so blended in with the other buildings, it was much bigger than it looked. We went in and a very nice woman came out of the back and I told her what happened and she took us into one of the exam rooms and took care of it and I left with a nice band aid on my knee. But let me tell you a little something about the "Nurse's Station", it was huge. They are ready for any emergency that can come up there. I believe they could do open heart surgery if they had to . It was awesome.

Well I was not going to let a little thing like a nose dive off the roller coaster stop us from having a fun day and we did just that. We did have to stand it line for the new ride, but it was totally worth it. The line moved rather quickly and we had so much fun on the ride. Be sure and do the Toy Story ride if you are California Adventure. ( I am not going to tell you about it, don't want to spoil it for you, but it truly is allot of fun)

We did several other rides we enjoy and since it was hot (did I mention it was HOT), we headed over the the Raging Rapids ride. I really enjoy this ride but I can't get Patrick on it much since we usually get totally soaked, but since it was so warm (did I mention it was HOT) he was more than happy to ride. We lucked out and go to ride with some truly fun people who were veteran riders like ourselves who truly wanted to get soaked. And we were not disappointed!!

After a while we decided we would come back and do Disneyland another day (We are Disney aholics, we have the annual pass where can go everyday if we want). So the last ride we did before we headed out is really and truly my favorite ride of all time, Soaring Over California.
If you have never ridden this ride, you are so missing out on one of life's treasures. For me, the only thing wrong with it is that it does not last longer than it does.

So after that we headed back to the house. The first full day of vacation was so much fun, even if I had a bum knee.


To see pics of our day at California Adventure go to http://www.flickr.com/photos/texaninla/


A Rose by Any Other Name Is Just As Sweet !

Have I ever told you guys how much I enjoy where I work? Well, I do enjoy it, a great deal. I have what some of my friends have called a dream job, I work for three great Doctors and I have two wonderful working partners besides. (yes one of them does read my blog but she knows how I feel anyway). But seriously, I feel very fortunate to work where I do and with the people I spend my weekdays with.

One of the nice things the Doctors do is that when we have a new employee join our group, they take us all out to lunch to welcome the new person. That way we can be out of the office setting and be more of ourselves. The new person can really see how crazy we truly all are and wonder what they have gotten themselves into!!

Last week, we had one of these outings. We have a new Medical Assistant in the office (we killed the old one off..ok..not really she left to work in a different office). They treated us to lunch at.....The Stinking Rose!! If you have never heard of it, well all of their dishes are cooked with or in Garlic. We have been there as a group once before, when they welcomed me into the group. Now I have to tell you, when I first heard of it I was a little leary about it. I have been been a big fan of garlic, except to keep vampires away. But the food is delicious and they have a
very good variety of things to choose from. This time I had the Porterhouse Pork Chop, which is pan roasted with sweet garlic relish and carmelized apples (it says so right there on the menu
It was GOOD! Everyone got something different and everyone enjoyed what they got.
I will tell you a little secret we were told last time we ate there, the Italian Garlic Meatloaf, not so good, but you didn't hear it from me.

There are actually two Stinking Rose resturants, the origianal is in San Francisco and the one here in Beverly Hills. The decor at the one here is crazy fun, giant murals of all things Southern Califorian adorn the walls in bring colors. They are open 11am-11pm and is really great for lunch or dinner. Go check out their website at http://www.thestinkingrose.com/. If you visit them, let me know what you think.

p.s. they even have garlic flavored ice cream!!! O, and the candy they give you after you eat, does not even BEGIN to take the garlicy taste away


Tracking Hurricanes in California

It just might seem crazy that someone in earthquake country would worry about hurricanes, but for me is comes natural. You see I may live in earthquake country but my entire biological family lives, you guessed it, in hurricane territory. So this weekend was one of those where I was on edge as I watched Hurricane Ike make landfall about 50 miles west of where my family was all hunkered down.

With earthquakes, you just never know when it is going to hit, you live your life everyday knowning that today could be the day for the "Big One" but it is just a normal part of your daily life living in Southern California. But living in hurricane territory, for several months a year you keep an eye on what the weather is doing out beyond the Carribean where "they"are born.
You keep an eye on every tropical depression that appears and you learn to hate it when they attach a name to it, because once they name it, you know it is big enough to eventually become a nightmare for you.

With earthquakes, they strike and are gone just about as soon as they come. But hurricanes will come at you slowly and build in power as they make their way in your direction. You watch them everyday, slowly coming in your direction but still not knowing where they are truly going to go. It is always a guessing game, a game of suspense. Even when you think you know for sure just where it will strike, it can change directions in a matter of hours and head in a direction you never expected.

Three years ago, Hurricane Rita decided to pay a visit to my family in Texas, a very unwelcomed visit indeed. My family dates back to the 1800's in East Texas (on the Neff side
In all those years, never had any of my family ever had to evacuate for a hurricane. Oh we
had hurricanes visit us throught the years, but unless you were really close to the coast,
you just boarded up your windows, made sure nothing was laying out in the yard that would blow away and you just stayed inside till it was over. The last big one I personally remember
was back in the late 1960's. It was a Friday night and my Mom and Dad and little brother and myself were sitting in the stands watching the Silsbee Tigers play football against some other High School team. The reason I even remember it is I remember my Mom making mention of it.
The wind started blowing some and it started to rain and she said "Well I guess the Hurricane is getting closer". We finished watching the game and went home and that night the wind really blew and man did it rain. The next day we saw pictures on TV that showed the beach close to Galveston where it had come ashore. It was a mess there but we just got some strong winds. But in 2005 when Rita came to visit, it was a total different story. My Mom was 87, and it was the first time she ever had to pack up and evacuate her home, not knowing what would be left of it, if anything, when she returned. My entire family evacuated to diffrent places in North Texas and waited out the storm. My sister took my Mom with her as they went up close to Dallas.

I told them then I had rather been right there with them than to have to be out here watching it on TV and not really knowing how they all were doing. My family was extremely lucky when Rita came . My Mom's house was ok, just an electrical box blew off her house. My sister had more damage,trees down, one of their big storage sheds was torn apart and they had many many trees down on their property. My brother's house was ok with just minor damage. It is truly a time that my family will never forget, when we were scattered in so many different places just waiting out the time to see what was left of their lives after the Storm.

Now this past week, Ike decided to pay a visit. At first we thought he was going to come in around Corpus Christi which is at the exteme southern tip of Texas. But as the week went by
we knew that Ike was going to be coming in very close to, if not directly into, where my family was. I can not even begin to tell you the sense of helplessness that I feel when things like this happen. Here I am 1600 miles from them and know what they are going through in preparing for a Storm of this magnitude, and not being about to do one thing to help. Everyone is really great in contacting me with what their plans are and where they will be during the storm.
Thay way I can relay it to the others when I talk to them. They all may in different places, but we all know just where everyone else is. So it was Friday evening before Ike made land fall. I
knew just where each on of them were and we all just waited. The last time I was able to talk with any of them was around 7pm our time here in LA. I was glued to CNN to watch the storm and different broadcasts from the area in Texas. So around midnight our time, Ike decide
to come in at Galveston, about 50 miles to the west of my family. I knew they were having very strong winds (between 85-110 miles per hours) but I knew they were not getting the flood water. I went to bed around 1am. At 8am , my sister was able to get through on her cell phone to let me know that everyone had made it through ok and with very little damage. I almost cried. That was the last time I was able to hear from any of them until late this afternoon when I was able to get through to my sister.

Once again my family had made it through and was safe.

I am so very thankful.


There Come a Time in Your LIfe...

When I first started this blog, I gave alot of thought as to the direction I wanted it to go. I decided that I would just share with everyone what was going on in my life and share bits and pieces about my past and some fun adventures I have had along the way. Sometimes it would be funny and sometimes it just might not be as funny and sometimes it just might be a little serious. I wanted my friends and love ones to really get to know the person I truly am.

Lately I have been giving A LOT of thought as to how to handle people who are still important to me, but for whatever reason, our friendship is not as important to them and we have just drifted apart. You see I believe in being forever friends, maybe not the best of friends, but when does there come a time when some one who was an important part of your life, cease to being apart of your life at all?

A few weeks ago, for the very first time in my entire life, I told someone I had known for many years that we could no longer be friends. The decision to do this was one that kept me up many nights and caused me a lot of internal strife. This person had been a close friend of mine for a long time, we had a lot of fun together through the years and several adventures together I could never share here! (just trust me, we had fun!). But over the last few years I realized what a cold, negative person he had become, but I stuck by him as his friend when others left, I just said I was trying to accept him as the person he was. But the time came when he turned his negativity on me, and I decided I just couldn't do it anymore. So after a few weeks of soul searching over it, I just quietly told him, we could not be friends anymore. It would be safe to say he did not take it well, but I just had to walk away. I can truly say it was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my life. For several days afterwards, it felt as if he had died and
I mourned the lost of my friend.

There are other friends I have that it seems it has come to the point where I am the only one who calls or emails. They are always super excited to see me if we bump into each other or if we do talk on the phone. You know, sometime in your life you have been there too . I never really know how to handle situations like this.

Well last week, a friend of mine in Palm Springs, MD, sent me something that just really put it all in perspective for me when I read it. It says:

There come a point in your life when you realize:

who matters, who never did, who won't anymore... and who always will.

So, don't worry about the people from your past, there's a reason why they

didn't make it to your future.

This really made a difference for me, so I wanted to share it with you. We are all together
in this journey called life, and just maybe, you have been going through something similar too


ps. thanks MD for sharing this with me and for the others who also sent it to me in different forms. love you guys


Let Me Introduce You..

On our first day of vacation, Patrick and I drove over to meet a new addition to our chosen family..I would like to introduce you to our new "nephew"..... Brandon Kristian Spadaro !!!! (YEA) Mr. Brandon is the son of our close friends Jennie and Kristian Sadaro. He made his entrance into the world on August 8! (8/8/08) at a whopping 9.10 lbs and he was 20 1/2 inches long. He is totally adorable (just like his Mom and Dad). Patrick and I are very excited about having a new nephew, trust me, kids just can't have too many Gay Uncles! Congrats to Jennie and Kristian on such and awesome addition to their family!!

We're Back!!!!!

Hey There,

Well we made it back from vacation, actually we made it back last Monday (Sept 1) at around 2 am! I had really intended on catching you all up during this past week but to be honest, I was tired!! After having 10 days off and getting back into the work grind, which by the way was just a little hectic this past week!!!, I just did not get it done, but I promise to get it all posted this week and we even took some great pictures I will be sharing with you, all in all we traveled about 1200 miles in about 5 days. Everyone had a great time and everyone made it back in one piece. Stay tuned, the update is a coming!



On Vacation!

Patrick and I are off on vacation this week, actually we are heading to Vegas and the Grand Canyon tomorrow. We are taking his family along with us so we are sure to have lots of fun.

Check back next week for a rundown on the fun we had and see pictures of our trip.

Until then, please enjoy this short video entitled. "The Closet"



Good Adivce

1. Take a 10-30 minute walk ever day. And while you walk, smile. It is the ultimate antidepressant.

2. Sit in slience for at least 10 minutes each day. Buy a lock if you have to.

3. When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement, ' My purose is to __________ today.'

4. Eat more foods that grow on tress and plants and eat less food that is manufacture in plants.

5. Drink green tea and plenty of water. Eat blueberries, wild Alaskan salmon, broccoli, almonds

and walnuts.

6. Try to make at least three people smile each day.

7. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.

8. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid on a maxed out credit card.

9. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

10. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

11. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

12. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

13. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.

14. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

15. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

16. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: "In five years, will this matter?'

17. Forgive everyone for everything.

18. What others think about you is none of your business.

19. GOD heals everything.

20. However good or bad the situation is, it will change.

21. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick, Your friends will. Stay in touch!!

22. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

23. Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements: I am thankful for _______. Today I accomplished _________________.

24 Remember you are too blessed to be stressed.


While Going For A Walk One Day......

Since I spend most of my working day sitting on my tush, everyday during my lunch time I try and go out and take awalk to stretch my legs and let some blood flow to my backside. One or sometimes both of my co-workers go with me so we can get some exercise and fresh air, well as fresh as you can get with all the cars rolling by on Wilshire. One day a week or so ago I was out by myself ( yes they do let me wander out alone) and I was walking by the construction site
on the next block.Like most construction sites around LA, it it pretty much surrounded by tall plywood walls so you can't see what they are doing and they in turn can't drop anything on you as you pass. Now I have been by this site many times over the last few months, matter of fact I had walked by this very site the day before, but as
I walked through the covered sidewalk, the sign above caught my eye. Actually I glanced at it as I walked past it and I suddenly stopped and went back to make sure what I saw.
I just burst out laughing. It just hit me as classic LA humor. I loved it. I was afraid someone would graffiti over it before I could come back the next morning with my camera. Just had to share it with ya!!



You're Moving Where??????

For those of you who do not already know this it might come as a big surprise to you but, Living in Los Angeles was something I had NEVER planned to do. It was just not on the list of things I wanted to do in my life time. But since many years ago I learned you never say never about anything, I would always answer people who asked me if I would ever move out of the Desert by saying "The only way I would every move out of the Coachella Valley is if I met a guy I could not live without and he could not handle living in the Desert, then I would move." Well that held true for many years, but then when I was least expecting it, Patrick walked into my life, and guess what?, he could not handle the heat in the Valley. I figured it would be much easier for me to learn to live in LA than it would for me to learn to live without Patrick in my life, so I moved. Much to the total shock of many of my friends in the Desert, many who still can not believe I have last this long!

Now let me tell you, adjusting to living in LA was not at all easy for me. Actually it was really hard. For one thing, I had never lived in a big city. Of course I had been to LA many times to party and shop and attend the theater, but that usually meant some else driving us in and out of the city. I can totally remember the first time I drove myself into LA. I was 1988, my bestest buddy,Robbie and his partner lived in Fullerton and he talked me into driving into the City for the weekend.
It as a Friday afternoon, I left Palm Springs around 4 o'clock and you know what that means?, yea you do, I hit LA right at RUSH HOUR!! I had never seen so many cars on the freeway in my life, and it seems the all wanted to hit ME! Now you have to remember back then we did not have Mapquest or a GPS system, no, I had a piece of paper in my had with notes from Robbie of what exits I was suppose to take, and everyone of them was on the opposite side of the freeway I was on when I realized they were coming up. Robbie will be the first to tell you I was a total mess when I got to the restruant we were suppose to met up at. Honey I was wrecked!! So much so that his partner had to drive my truck (yes I said truck, 1972 International Scout, which I named Ernie) to their house after we ate. When I got to their house Robbe had me laying on the sofa with a cold wrag on my forehead. They say time changes everything and I guess they are right. Now that I have lived here for almost 6 years I can cut you off and flip you off like the best of them!!

Over the few years I have lived here, my view about living in LA has changed, alot.
When I first moved here everything in my life had changed, new city, new job, starting a new live in relationship, new family to adjust to, leaving everything and everyone I had know for the past 16 years of my life behind. I will not lie and say it was easy, it really wasn't. But there has not been one time I have ever regreted making the move to LA, not even once. Over the last year or so I have started venturing out into the city more and more. One thing about me is I LOVE history and I always like to learn as much about the history of where I live as I can.(Just ask Kristen,the first time they came to Palm Springs I could tell them the history of just about everywhere we went,and I did not even realize it) So I started taking what I like to call "little adventures" on the weekend and exploring LA on a more personal level. Well just not LA but LA and our surrounding area. I have come upon some really cool things in my adventures and I will be sharing those discoveries with you here.

Patrick has been a very big encouragement to me in my adjustments to living here. When I first moved here he rarely left me alone anytime we were not working.
He and his cousin Mandy enjoy running off shopping and hanging out on the weekend but he stopped doing that for awhile after I moved because he did not want me to be alone. I finally told him to go and hang with her like he usually did. He encouraged me to get out and explore the city and find where things are. And he has graciously gotten me back home when I have had to call him and tell him I had no idea where I was or how I had gotten there!

I have had some really BIG adventures in my lifetime. Moving to LA is just one of them.
But like I said before, I have never regreted making the move to be with the
man I love. After all, I waited a hell of long time for him to come along, and I
couldn't miss having him in my life.


question for those who live in or around LA: Do you know where "Ata-Boy" was located?
answer coming up!

Happy Birthday Dad

I really wish you could have met my Dad. His name was Jacob Franklin Neff, but everyone knew him as Frank. Had you met him, you would have like him, everyone did.
He was one of the most honest and hard working men I have ever know in my life.
In many ways he was a quiet man,but he sure did have his mischevous side, and if you had ever heard him laugh, you would know for certain where I get my laugh from.!
Yesterday would have been his 85th birthday, that is so hard for me to beleve.
Even though he has been gone from us since 1994, there is not a day goes by I don't miss him.
I will be posting more about my Dad in a future post on here, but for today, I just wanted to wish him Happy Birthday.
I love you Dad and miss you very much.


Topsy Turvey World!!

Well I bet you thought I had fallen off the face of the earth huh? Well, here I am!!
It has been busy and hectic here around the gravel pit. As many of you know Patrick's Dad was in the hospital for a little over a week, ruptured appendix. That sure kept us busy and totally changed our normal rountine around here. But thankfully he is home and pretty much over it all. After that little adventure it has just been a little difficult getting back into the swing of things, but I am almost there. When I decided to start this here blog I figured I would post about once or twice a week and I think over the next few days it will be back to that. Thanks to you who emailed me complaining I wasn't adding anything to the blog, it brought a tear to my eye, someone was actually reading it!! LOL.
Buckle up and stay tuned, it's a coming!!

(the pic truly shows how i have been feeling lately, and in real life it is little james at 2 years old. Not much has changed has it?)


And A Goodtime Was Had By All !!

Well here it is, Sunday evening, THE Sunday evening which ends our long weekend for July 4th. I really hate to see this weekend end, it has truly been so much fun.

Starting with what we did on Friday to celelbrate the 4th, Saturday we met Patrick's family for Dim Sum when they arrived back in town from Vegas. From there we took the niece and nephew to the Santa Monica Pier in well of course, Santa Monica!! It was a BEAUTIFUL day and there were tons of people out everywhere. Now
one thing I usually look forward to on beautiful crowded days at the beach on a day like this is...yep you guessed it...getting to see all the great looking guys that go to the beach on days like that. So when you have a 13 year old nephew and a 10 year old niece hanging with you, you have to be a little careful, but trust me, it can be done...and it was!! And trust me....they were everywhere!!!!! very nice

For those of you who have never been to the Santa Monica Pier, it is really just one great big amusement park. We walked around taking in all the sites and ended up with the nephew and Patrick riding the roller coaster and the niece and I riding the ferris wheel. It has been ages since I was on a ferris wheel but it was so much fun.
We always have a great time where we take those twowith us and Saturday was no exception.
We have been taking them with us places these past 8 years and I have to say now that they are older, it is more fun. Finally they can go the bathroom by themselves!!
When they were little, I was always the one that got to take the neice to the bathroom. Thankfully, those days are OVER!!! lol
After the Pier we ended up in West LA at Islands to have some yummy burgers before we headed home. I think we all slept well last night, we had laughed so much all day.
Really, a good time was had by all!!

This morning (Sunday for those of you who lost track) we really did not know what we were going to do for the day when our best bud, Timmy, call and asked if we wanted to go over to Long Beach and have lunch at Hamburger Mary's. It was their big opening day and of course we said YES. Shortly there after Timmmy showed up at our place and we were off to Long Beach. We were a little too eager to get to Mary's it seems because we showed up before they were opened(oops!) so we drove around Long Beach a little and then headed back to Mary's. Now again, for those of you who have never been to Hamburger Mary's or for those of you who have never heard of Hamburger Mary's,it is basically your Gay Hamburger Joint...same as a straight hamburger joint, just much moe FABULOUS!! and a whole lot more fun!! Now at the Mary's in LB,
there is a Drag group on Sundays called "The Lunchenettes", way too much fun.
They entertain from time to time while everyone eats and when they are not entertaining they are walking around the table socializing. We loved them.
One big event that did happend today is.....yours truly had just a tad bit too
much champagne in his Mimosa and before you know it, I had a REAL good buzz going on. (My friend LB would have been so proud of me, you will hear more about LB in
another post one day, let just say she and I have been know to put away some
great amounts of alcohol together in our day!! ) I have not drank in a mighty long time but today I was buzzing around Mary's!! and loved it. Patrick and Timmy were doing a little buzzing of their own. We had a nice lunch and more Mimosas but
sadly to day by the time we left my buzz was pretty much history, and a good thing to, I was the driver today!!

After a fun time at Mary's, we headed on over to the Aquarium of the Pacific. Since none of us had been then, we thought it was ok. It is a nice Aquarium, but if you have ever been the Montery Bay Aquarium in Northern California, you are gonna think this one is really small. But we enjoyed it, we decided it would be better if we went back on a day when there were not so many kids and not so many parents pushing strollers who did not know how to do that in a crowd.

Now sadly, the weekend is winding down and work is looming on the horizon, but that is ok, we can always look forward to the next long weekend ahead of us.

Have a good week!!

p.s. In the above picture, I am the one on the left.


A Birthday Kinda Day!!

I have mentioned here before that I have a younger brother. He has seemed to have been around for just about as far back as I can remember. There is a brief period of time I can actually remember it was just my Sister and I, but then he starts coming into the picture all of the sudden and has been around ever since.

Now after I was born, or so I have been told, the Doctors told my Mom it was pretty near impossible for her to have any more children since I was a pretty big baby (NO jokes in the comment section ok!?) I had done some damage to her baby carriage department. So in 1955 when things did just not seem right to her, the Doctors thought it might be possible that she had a tumor. Well folks, today that tumor turns 52, and I am proud to call him my little brother.

Now with all the love we have for each other now, I hate to tell you it was not always so. Yea we grew up together in a very loving family and when we were little we played with each other and when you look at all the pictures of us when we were little, you see two smiling perfect little boys who look like little angels...wrong!! You see my brother Steve and I were really different in alot of ways. While I was pretty quiet and easy going, Steve had a temper. Yes! Can you believe
behind that sweet smile of that child he had a very bad temper. Now I am not trying to tell you here I was a perfect child, no, I did have my faults (if you can believer it), but I can say I did not have a temper. When we were playing cowboys and Steve jumped out from behind the tree in the front yard and shot you, you better just say you were dead. If you argued with him that
he had not shot you, you better be prepared for the consequences, such as him walking up to you and slamming you in the face with the butt of his toy metal pistol and tell you,"OK, now you are dead". Don't believe me, let me show you the scar I still have in my chin to this day. When Steve said you were shot, just be shot, ok?

There were several little incidents that I remember growing up with my little brother. As we grew older I grew taller but Steve was always shorter than I was. He was a slow grower my Mom always said. The summer I graduated High School, I went away for the summer to a Business School. When I came home, at the airport, I really did not recongnize him right at first because he had really grown during the summer and he was almost as tall as I was! The thing I did recognize though was he was wearing my shirt!!

Since he started High School the year I graduate, I was off working and going to School and stuff and for a time we were not as close as we had been. As we grew older it was very easy to see
we were totally different in more ways than one. But we still loved each other the same.

I ended up moving away and he has continued to live in the very same area we were born and grew up in. We would call each other from time to time but we mainly kept up with each other through Mom. When I would come back to visit we would always get together and hang out and stuff. But it was when we were both in our 40's that we started once again getting that bond back that we had as kids. But I could not call him my little brother any more, he is as big as I am! For the past several years, we talk to each other at least once or twice a week and trust me they are not short phone calls. Each time we talk it is just like a visit from home, as he says.
He has a wicked sense of humor, worse than me, and can remember a funny joke forever.
We usually spend most of our calls laughing. I have honestly had to pull my car over on the side of the road a few times when we have been talking and he is telling me a joke. It is hard to drive
when you are laughing so hard you are crying.

I have really proud of my brother. He has a great wife, Nancy, and great little boy named Morgan who is 3 if my memory is right. He also has 3 grown children, Sarah, John and Kathryn and several grandchildren, who I honestly can not remember their names but I know who they are when I am around them!!.

So today, Happy Birthday, Stevie. It has been a great journey together these past 52 years,
and I am looking forward to being your big brother for many, many more years. And as you tell me everytime we talk, "Take good care of you, you are the only one of you I've got!"

I Love You.....Happy Birthday.

p.s. And as for that temper of his, well its still there, it has just mellowed with age!!!



Well here we are, the end of a really beautiful day here in Sunny Southern California. Patrick and I just finished up having a little Bar-B-Que/Cookout here at the house, just the two of us. His family is away for the weekend so we have the whole place to ourselves, which is a rarity. It has been nice. We are getting ready to watch a movie in just a little while, "Eating Out", no is it not porn!! All around us we can hear all the illegal firework going off all over our neighbor, you see, it is TOTALLY against the law to shoot fireworks in LA, BUT, you can buy them, you just can't fire them off, I have always found that to be a little interesting. Also there are many many sirens of police cars and fire trucks in the distance, I an already tell ya, this is going to be a long night!!

For those of you who do not live in Southern Cali, it really was a beautiful day. Earlier today I drove over to San Pedro to attend the ringing of the Korean Friendship Bell. I am not going to go into much about the Bell in the post, it will have one all its own very shortly, but I do want to
tell you it was a very moving experience for me. The Bell itself was a gift from the people of Korea to the US in 1976 to honor our Bicentennial. It sits on a hill over looking the Pacific Ocean
and the setting itself is breathtaking. The Bell is only ran 4 times a year, July 4th being one of them. Several years ago around Thanksgiving, Patrick took me for a drive around San Pedro and we stopped at the Bell. Ever since then I have always wanted to go to one of the times when they rang it, I really wanted to hear what it sounded like.

So we all met around 10:30 this morning, all 300 of us and the Bell. It was a foggy morning when the
program started but by the end the Sun was shining in all its glory. There were speeches and songs and flag waving. Now to be honest with you, it has been a very long time since I have
been anywhere where we said the Pledge of Allegiance and sang the Star Spangle Banner, but sing we did. As the program was in progress I looked around and was watching the reaction of different people in the crowd, some of us were sitting and some were standing around the hillside. Many of the crowd were older men and woman who had served in the Armed Forces during WWII and the Koran War. Many of them were Korean Americans who had served and they came to the event proudly in their uniforms. When the time came for the presenting of the colors (the Flags), the Korean Ameicans were the first on their feet. As we said the Pledge of Alliance, there was a young man sitting close to me with his parents, and he was wearing a cap.
An older lady sitting close turned to him and asked him to please remove his hat as we said the Pledge. Another lady sitting directy in front of me kept wiping the tears from her eyes as we said the Pledge and sang the Star Spangle Banner. I was so moved. Here I was sitting in the midst of a group of people who really sacrificed parts of their lives so I could freely sit where I was this morning and celebrate the birth of America. I was sitting with a group of people who really understood what the Pledge of Allegence was all about.

Mostly these days all we hear about our Country is in what bad shape She is in. Lately all you see in the news and on TV is how people all over the world seem to hate us these days. We really hear very little about how GREAT our America is anymore. But She is STILL the greatest nation on the face of the earth. If it wasn't for the USof A, most of the countries who say they hate us, would not be as well off as they are.

So I hope you will join me, in remembering all the Great and Wonderful things there are about
our America. And when you hear all the crap that is being said about her, I hope you will just remember what an honor it is to still live "in the land of the free, and the home of the brave",

And O Yeah, the sound of the Friendship Bell ...is outstanding!!

Happy July 4th, Happy 232nd Birthday America!!



Today would have been my Mom and Dad's 56 Wedding Anniversary. My sister and brother and I were talking about it yesterday and we don't know exactly when they met and started dating. My sister was around 9 when they met ( my Mom had been married once before) and she remembers the first time they saw my Dad, but she can not remember when they actually started dating. She was a waitress at the Blue Bonnet Cafe and he worked in the oil field. They were married on June 25, 1952 in Silsbee, Texas at the home of her sister, Oma Capps.

In later years this day would also become the wedding day for my sister and my brother. But when it came time for my own wedding day, I was the rebel, we got marriedn in July!

My Dad passed away in 1994 and my Mom just passed away in 2006. But every year my family always celebrates their Anniversary in our own special ways.

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad.