Man, that was quick!...

Wow,is it me or did Christmas seem to come and go really fast this year? Patrick and I said last year (2008) that this year we wanted to be able to enjoy the Christmas Season, since last year we were in a car accident right before Christmas and that really seem to take the fun out of it for us. So this year,somehow, we got a head start on it and were pretty much ahead of ourselves by the first of December, so we actually did get to enjoy it this year, but it all seemed to have gone by so fast!

Last weekend we started our Christmas celebration with 2 annual events we have done for several years. On Saturday evening we attended the Los Angles Gay Men's Chorus Christmas show. If you have never had taken the opportunity to see one of their shows, you are missing out on so much. They usually havwe 3 shows each Season (this year they only have 2). Each is different and the Christmas show is always our faviorite. If you think the show is only about 200 Gay Men singing songs, you are SO wrong. Of course this is singing..and dancing ...and skits to go along with some to the music,but I can garantee you will have a great time when you go.

The following afternoon we went to our other annual event, our annual Christmas Party with our Chosen Family that is held each year at the home of our really dear friends, Farah and Dan Silver. It really isn't Christmas for us until this event happens. One year I was really sick with a cold and could not go, and the Holidays really sucked for me that year. The friends we get together with here are what we call our Chosen Family. You can't help the family you are born into, but you can choose who makes up the group of friends who are the dearest to you, and that is just who these guys are. We all bring food and a white elephant gift. We sit around and eat and laugh and talk with each other and just really enjoy being together.
Sometimes we have a new person who comes with one of the regulars. This year Farah invited one of their friends and I can tell you, she really had a good time with all of us, she was fun to be around. She seemed to fit right in with this crazy bunch!!
We always have so much fun with the white elephant gift exchange, and this year as no different. We usually eat at least twice,lol and then we sit back and just enjoy each other's company. Everyone should be apart of a get together like this at Christmas, it's really a special time......

more later.....


Very Lucky Man Indeed...........

Tonight I had one of those moments when you just stop you in your tracks and realize how great life is for you.....ever had a moment like that?, I bet you have. My moment happened tonight while we were decorating the tree at Patrick's parents home, which right next door to ours. We moved Patrick's family into their house in December 2000, that year they only had a really small tree that Patrick already had, but starting in 2001, we have always had large trees that sit right in front of the big window in their living room. Each year it has been my job to put the lights on the tree and most times Patrick would help me decorate it. When we first started with the big trees the niece and nephew were 2 and 5 years old and they could only sit and watch us decorate the tree, but this year,I taught the nephew how to put the lights on the tree, and I think I may have lost my yearly job of light hanging!! He loved doing it and really did a good job. The niece is more of an ornament hanger, and she really got into it this year.

It was during this time that I was standing back and watching the Nephew having a really good time putting the lights on the tree that I had my moment....all the sudden it hit me what a very lucky man I am to be apart of these kids lives and have them be such an important part of mine. As most of you know, in my 20s I was married and we had two children, Daniel and Kelly, both of which are now in their early 30s. It has been 25 years since my divorce and throughout all of those years I have always tried to be apart of my kids lives,but a couple of years ago they decided they no longer wanted me to be part of their lives and I have not heard from either of them since. The did not actually tell me that, but through a series of events it was pretty clear to me, so I have respected their wishes and have just gone on with my life. I am sure part of it is that I am Gay,even though it has never been mentioned or discussed. I will not sit here and tell you that it was not painful, it was very painful, but when things like that happen in life, all you can do is go on with your life and let yourself heal, which is exactly what I have tried to do.

But tonight, it was a great feeling to realize what a great family I am apart of now, and how loved I am by these kids. When Patrick and I met, the Nephew was 5 and the Niece was 2, now they are 14 (almost 15) and 12, and as far as they are concerned, I am just Uncle Jaymes. Looking back over the last 9,almost 10 years that Patrick and I have been together, the kids have always been an important part of our lives. If you would have seen us out together over the years, you would probably thought they were our kids, some people have asked us that. We have taken them so many places with us, we have been Santa Clause for them all these years, been to all their school functions and I have even sat down with the Nephew and have, "The Talk", even though he got really embarrassed and pretty much knew all about it anyway. We have worked on all their school projects together and tutored them with their homework assignments when they are having problems.The Nephew loves to go to the beach with me or hiking.
One thing the kids and I have done for many years now is have "Library Night". I made sure they both had their own library cards when they were very young and they both love to read now, I am proud. It is fun for me when I am out with them somewhere and I get to meet some of their friends I have not met yet, when they introduce me as their Uncle Jaymes,I always get really funny looks from their friends since the kids are Chinese and I am very White!! But the Niece and Nephew don't seem to notice that. Recently when the Niece turned 12, she had several of her school friends over for a little party. When I came home several of her little girl friends came runny up saying "Uncle Jaymes is here" and gave me big hugs. We are sure they know Patrick and I are together, but it has never come up, and they just seem to accept it as being a normal thing. When Prop 8 was on the ballot last year, the Nephew shocked me at dinner one night by discussing with me why he thought Prop 8 was wrong and why he thought it was wrong for anyone to have their marriage voted on. Yes I was pretty speechless during the conversation.

Yes, it is funny how life turns out sometimes. Even though I don't have the
opportunity of being apart of my kids lives, I am very important to two other kids who I could not love any more even if they were my kids. And that is a pretty awesome thing!!





Still Alive And Kicking.....

Yes,believe it or not, I am still hanging out around here! I know it has been awhile since I have posted on regular basis and I am really sorry about that. As I have said before, sometimes life just gets in the way of what you had rather be doing.
But from here on out I should be posting on a pretty regular basis again, and I have alot to share with you about some of the different adventures that I have been having and haven't gotten to share with you yet. So please, just stay hang with me here!

There is one thing I do want to share with you, something that will make my posting on here alot easier. As you all know, last Friday was Black Friday and as usual was a shopping frenzied. I have only ventured out shopping on Black Friday one time, several years ago, and trust me, that was more than enough for this life time for me!!! Well,this past Friday, my dear husband got up at 4am to head out to Target,or at least that is where he told me he was going. He took the Nephew with him so he would not have to go alone. (The Nephew was actually REALLY excited about going with him, at least he was when the left, he sure had lost that excitement by the time they got back home later that day!!)

I called to check on them around 8am when I got up to see where and how they were doing. Well come to find out they had not even made it to Target yet, they went to Best Buy first and had been standing in line for almost 4 hours so he could get
a Net Book at a really low price, 4 hours!! Later in the day they got home, they both looked so tired, the Nephew headed off to bed and Patrick was getting his
second wind because the was heading back out to shop with his cousins. I won't say I thought he was crazy because I know how much he enjoys his shopping and it had been a while since he had been able to do it. But I will tell you something that
really knocked me for a loop. Just before he left to go meet up with his cousins,
he handed me the box with the new Net Book in it and said, "Here I got this for you, you have wanted one for a long time and I couldn't pass up the price".
I have to say I got a little emotional about right then, I was so over whelmed with the thought that he went out at 4 am to hopefully get a chance to get this thing, and then stood in line for 4 hours just to pay for it!!! I couldn't even say anything at that moment, and all of you who really know me know that I am NEVER speechless. He left to go for shopping round #2 and I just sat at my desk with
the unopened box trying to think of a way to say Thank You to someone who
loves me so very much. It has been 3 days now and I am still trying to think
of the right words....


ps..I did not open the box until he came home later that evening, it was a very special gift and I did not think I should open it alone. It's really great!!!!


Commuting To Work In Los Angeles......

Like most people who live in the LA area, I commute to work everyday. Each day I get up and drive to the other side of the City from where we live to work. Even though it is only 14 miles one day, it can take me any where from 45 mins to well over an hour. This was one of the culture shocks for me when I moved here. All my life, anywhere I had lived, you could drive 14 miles in 15-20 mins, but of course, not in LA.
I have been working in the same area of town since I moved here 7 years ago. I never take the freeway instead I take side streets and and some main avenues and totally stay off the freeways. I get to cut through some really pretty streets in Chinatown,Silverlake and Echo Park, and by doing this, I get to see things on my way to and from work that people on the freeways would never get to see.
Yesterday was like that. It was a beautiful clear morning and it was a little chilly. Just chilly enough to let you know Autumn is here but no where near full swing. I had made my way to Chinatown and had just turned on the side street that lead me up to Sunset Ave, one of the main roads I take across town. As I made the turn I notice there were several police cars parked to one side and there were a crowd of people gathered around some policeman. Since the traffic had slowed down we were inching our way down the street. Now when the weather permits I drive with my windows rolled down, which is what I was doing yesterday. As I go closer I could see two policeman had this older Hispanic guy up against the wall with his hands behind him and they were putting handcuffs on him. Standing a little further down was a very excited younger Hispanic lady talking in Spanish to two other policeman. As I got closer to them I suddenly saw a young Hispanic guy in his early to middle 20s, siting on the sidewalk holding a cloth to the left side of his face and he was covered in blood down the front of his white shirt. As I got closer to him my traffic stopped and I could hear one of the Policeman speaking to a couple of others explaining what happened. It seems the older gentleman (the one in handcuffs) was the gardener for the Apartment building there on the corner. The younger guy and the lady were walking by on the sidewalk when the older gentleman said something to or about the lady as they passed. When the younger man spoke up and told him to talk to her like that, the older gentleman stabbed the guy in the face with the clippers he had in his hand!!!! I thought wow, had I been come through there just a few minutes earlier I might have been a witness to the stabbing!!!
So the rest of my ride to work was much less eventful! BUT, it got interesting again on my way home!!! Of course now that we have changed the time back to normal time, it is dark when I get off work (which I totally HATE in case you were wondering). So that night I thought I would change up my route a little bit and take a different road over to Sunset. So I chose Santa Monica Ave, which I very seldom take because it had the heaviest traffic. So I made my way down Santa Monica with no problems (and much less traffic for some reason) and as I approached my last big intersection before I hit Sunset, I notice all these Policemen on HORSES! Now I am not talking one or two, I am talking 30 -40!! There on the darkened side streets as I made my way down Santa Monica were all these mounted policeman in every intersection, just sitting around talking to each other. I have NEVER seen a Policeman on a horse in the LA area except in parades, but there they were, all over the place! I could not figure just what was going on. But once I hit Sunset, there were no more to be seen. When I got home I checked on the computer and on the late night news but there was no mention of policeman on horses, for any reason.
Now most days as I travel to and from work, I see nothing at all except the parts of town I travel through and all the great homes and beautiful mountains. But just when I least expect it, the regular ride takes on a little excitement as unelected things take place around me, it really makes for an interesting time!
And to think, I would have missed it all had I taken the freeway instead of my back streets!! Perish the thought!!



A LIttle Halloween Treat....

Just a little Halloween Treat from Patrick,Timmy,the niece and nephew..of of course...ME!

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

ps....Thanks Timmy!


Conquering The Bridge...

For those of you living in the LA/Long Beach area, I am sure that at some time or another you have either seen the Vincent Thomas Bridge or have driven over it. For some odd reason, I really enjoy driving over it, with the windows rolled down and the breeze blowing though the car. I don't know, its just something I like to do.

Now for those of you who don't have a clue what the Vincent Thomas Bridge is, it is a 1500 ft suspension bridge that crosses over the LA Harbor and connects San Pedro to Terminal Island in the LA Harbor. Over the years I have driven over it many times.
But this past Labor Day a friend of mine was in a marathon than ran over the bridge, that is something I just couldn't imagine.

When I found out my friend Mike was going to be apart of a marathon this past Labor Day called, you guessed it..."Conquering the Bridge", I told him I would be there to root him on and experience the whole thing for myself. As I was driving over to San Pedro EARLY that morning, I got to thinking that I had never actually attended a marathon. I had been to and participated in many walks over the year, but never a marathon, so I was a little excited about this myself.

I met Mike a couple of years ago through his girl friend, Cynthia, who is a very close friend of mine and Patrick's. He is a really great guy and I knew that he had run marathons and such before. I guess the thing that really surprised me about this one was that he was going to run the marathon and then go home (the starting line was just a couple of blocks from his apartment), get cleaned up and then go on to work like it was no big deal!! Now let me tell you, there is NO WAY I would be able to get up, run a 5 mile marathon and then go to work like it was no big deal.
I am sure I would be spending the rest of the day just trying to catch my breath and work on getting the feeling to come back into my legs!

So that morning when I got to his apartment, Mike was already down at the event getting registered and such. Cynthia met me and we walked on down to meet up with Mike. When we got there there was already a pretty good crowd gathered and more people were coming in. You could actually feel the excitement as you walked though
the crowd. There were people of all ages taking part in this, guys who were probably no more than 12-13 years old to men and woman who were in their 60s. I noticed a couple of people were going to run barefoot. Now I had read about people running barefoot from my blog buddy Jonah (jonahskye.blogspot.com) and from another blog I keep up with(larunner.blogspot.com). The very concept is nothing new to me because when I was growing up back in East Texas,my brother and cousins and me were always ran around barefoot, that included running through the woods around our house. But seeing people actually going to run a marathon barefoot did come as a big surprise to me.

So the time came and they took off and Cynthia and I sat back an waited for their return. I was actually surprised that in about 35 mins some of the runners were
crossing back over the finish line!! Now I guess I had not given much thought to how
long it would take then to do the run, but here were in a little over 35 mins cheering for those already cross the line. It was really an awesome thing to experience. There was such a show of comradery, no one was out to "beat" anyone, everyone was there to finish the marathon. Cynthia and I started looking for Mike and in what seemed like no time, there he was crossing over the finish line.(you won't see a pic of his crossing the finish line because my camera jammed just as he was getting close to it!!)
The first thing that I noticed about Mike was that even though he had just ran a 5 mile marathon over the Vincent Thomas Bridge, he looked like he had never run at all!! Me, I know just about how haggered I would have looked!, it just would not have been pretty!

So after he was finished, we walked back to his apartment,he got ready and took off for work and Cynthia and I headed to lunch! I was a great morning and I was really glad I was able to be there to be apart of it!!


p.s. Running is something that has always fascinated me but it is something I just did not think I could do myself. Like I said, running was just a part of my life as I was growing up but as I got older and got a car, it just ceased being apart of my life anymore. But over the last few months it is something that has been on my mind a great deal. I know Jonah really loves his running and Billy over at LA Runner does too. They really inspire me that even at my advanced age, LOL, it is not too late to take it up again, it will just take some patience on my part to ease back into it.
You just never know, one day I could be telling you about a marathon I was in on here.

I can promise you I would never look that good after a 5 mile marathon!!


I Say A Little Prayer For You...

I Just Love My Extended Family.....

A little something from GLEE !


Remembering Matthew....

I am sure for all of us, there are certain days of the year that stand out because something happened on that particular day that touched our lives, and in some way, changed it forever. For me personally I have two such days this week. Two days that each year make stop and remember right were I was on that day when the event happened.

Can you remember where you were and what you were doing on this day 11 years ago?
I certainly can. I was sitting at my desk in the Desert Aids Project in Palm Springs, California getting ready for the Health Center to open and our first patients to arrive for the day. One of my co-workers came by desk to let me know that the news had just announced that Matthew Shepherd had died. At that moment I felt my heart break and my eyes tear up. For everyone at work that day, including the patients who came in, it was a quiet somber day It like one of our best friends had passed away, and not a one of us ever met him.

Matthew Shepard was by no means a Saint, although at the time of his death the media certainly tried to make it seem like he was. He was an ordinary 21 year old University student. He had always had his share of problems, just like we all do.
Matthew was only 5'2" and weighed somewhere around 110 lbs, and Matthew was Gay.

I am sure most of you remember the media blitz when Matthew was murdered, but I would like to refresh your memory just a little in case you don't remember and
for some of my younger readers who don't know about Matthew.

Matthew was a student at the University of Wyoming in Laramie. One night after he and the members of the Lesbian,Gay,Bisexual, Transgendered Alliance had finished up
a meeting to finalize plans for Gay Awareness Week on campus, Matthew decided to go over to the Fireside Lounge and have a beer before calling it a night. That was on October 6. It was at the Fireside that he met Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson. Matthew was known not to meet a stranger and talked with anyone who wanted to have a conversation. It was around 11:45 that Matthew was seen leaving the Lounge with McKinney and Henderson. It was later revealed the two had figured out that Matt was Gay and they had told him they too were Gay. They left the Lounge in Henderson's truck with Matt sitting in the middle. Once they got away from the bar they
told Matt they had lied to him and they were not Gay and he had been jacked. McKinney demanded Matt's wallet and became enraged when he only had $20.
He began beating Matt in the face,neck and chest with his fists and the butt of
a Smith and Wesson .357 pistol. While all this was happening, Henderson just kept on driving and drove them about 4 miles out into the prairie.
McKinney then pulled Matt out of the truck and continued to punch him and kick him and hit him with the butt of the pistol, while Henderson just stood there and laughed. They later told the authorities that Matthew had screamed for mercy and begged them stop even telling them he had more money they could have back at his apartment if they would just let him go. But instead of believing him, McKinney
ordered Henderson to tie Matt to a near by split rail fence. So Henderson got a piece of close line out of his truck and tied Matt's hands behind him, with the backs of his hand facing each other and then tied him to the fence. The media said that Matt was tied to the fence spread eagle like he was on a cross, but in reality he was sitting down and tied to the bottom of the fence. Matt was still very much aware of what was going on and when McKinney realized that Matt would be able to tell the authorities who had done this to them, he became so enraged that he hit Matt 3 times with the butt of the pistol , crushing Matt's skull, caving it in behind his right ear and rendering him unconscious. It was this act, the family later found out, that ended Matt's life and put him into a coma. It was later calculated that the whole ordeal, from the time they left the lounge until
McKinney dealt the fatal blows, only took about 45 mins.

Eighteen hours would pass before Matt was found. And it was totally by accident.
Aaron Kreifels, he himself a student at the University, came flying by on his mountain bike just about sunset. He hit a rock and took a tumble. As he was getting up he noticed what he thought was a scare crow tied to the fence and went over
to investigate and found Matthew. He ran to the nearest house which was about 250 yards away to get help. He was taken to the hospital in Laramie but it was determined the hospital was not equipped to handle Matt's head injuries, so he was flown to the hospital in Fort Collins, where he died 5 days later, never regaining consciousness. The only reason Matthew was the target that night was because he was Gay.

Judy Shepard, Matthew's Mom, is a truly remarkable woman. Since Matt's death she and her husband have created the Matthew Shepard Foundation, to try and educate people and stop the hate toward the LGBT community. She recently published a book
entitled "The Meaning of Matthew" and I can't urge you enough to read it. It is
an outstanding account of the person Matthew really was and the details
they have learned of what actually happened to him that night and in the days, weeks and months that followed. It gives an eye witness view of the two trials of McKinney and Henderson and how their lives and the life of their younger son Logan, have been changed forever.

So why should what happened to Matthew make such a difference to me. Well you see,
what happened to Matt, well that could certainly happen to me too, just because I am Gay.
There have been times in my life I have been harassed and their have been times in my life I have even feared for my life, just because I am Gay. It happens every day.
Matthew suddenly became every Gay person's friend because we all knew, no matter where we lived in this world, that it can happen to any of us. At the time I am writing this, for the past 10 years, we have been trying to get a Federal Hate crimes Bill passed that would include sexual orientation. Just like it is against the law to discriminate against someone who is Black or someone because she is woman. We do not have a Federal Law that protects those who are Gay, Lesbian or Transgendered.
BUT, right now there is a bill before Congress that looks like it could finally pass, and you know what it is called?, The Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Bill"

So that is why on this day, October 12, each year, I remember Matthew Shepard.
Matthew was just your ordinary run of the mill college student, who happened to be Gay. But because of what happened to Matt, hate crimes again the Gay community was brought to the fore front of the whole world, and this time, they was going to have to be dealt with.

And what happened to Matt....can surely happen to me, or any other GLBT person you know, so pleae never forget Matthew.


p.s. It was by accident that I read Judy Shephard's book this past week. I got it in the mail and since I have had to stay in bed with this cold I have been battling, I started reading it. I realized while I was reading the book that I lived in Casper, Wyoming and attended St Mark's Episcopal Church in Casper, the same time the Shepards were there also. Changes are I had seen Matt helping attend during the Church Services and could have very possible met his parents in passing. Sometimes in looking back, the world certainly is a small place.


National Coming Out Day 2009

Today is National Coming Out Day in my Community!! Actually it has grown into an International celebration in the LGBT Community. Last year I posted my own Coming Out story so if you missed it last year, or just want to read it again (like I just did!), just go to the blog archive on the right and click on "2008" and hit "October", and there it is!

And for any of you that just may be wondering....Yep, I'm still Gay!! and proud of it!!

I do want to share one little thing with you here. Thankfully I am close to my nephews, I love all three of them with all my heart. My brother's oldest son, lets call him John (well that is his name), and I were talking on the phone last week, and he was telling me about a night out he had with his Dad that week. He told me they had talked a lot about me (well of course they would!!) and my brother had
told him that when he first found out that I was Gay, it was really hard on him.
But my nephew told me he just looked at his Dad and "You know Dad, I wouldn't have
Uncle Jaymes any other way". That that really choked me up.



Los Angeles Welcomes Gustavo Dudamel !!!

This past Thursday evening I got to do something I have wanted to do for several years now...attend a concert of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra!!!! But mind you, it was not just ANY concert, it was the Inaugural Concert of It's new Musical Director......Gustavo Dudamel!!!!!!!! Yep, and I got to go....FOR FREE!!! which just made the whole thing a little sweeter!

I have loved what my little brother always called "long haired music" ever since
I was in grade school. Actually I can not remember a time when I did not like listening to Mozart and all his buddies. My Mother thought this was wonderful and bought me several records (yes then we had records)and I would play them for hours.
If this was not a sign to them they had a little Queen in the making I don't know would have given them a clue. (Well maybe one Christmas when I had asked for a certain doll, and got a set of cap guys instead, and I looked up at my Mom after I had opened up the guns and said,"WHY?", that might have also been a clue for them)
Last week as I was listening to NPR as I was driving to work, they made the announcement that the LA Phil was having a special drawing for tickets to the
outside showing of the Inaugural Concert of Gustovo. All you needed to do was go the the LA Phil website and give them your email address and name,and on Tuesday their computer was going to select 2000 names at random and those people would win 2 ticket to the event on Thursday. So I made a note of myself ( as my brother says, "Note to self") and when I got to work I signed up, and forgot about it, sorta.

If you live anywhere close to Los Angeles you have known for several weeks now that Gustavo was coming.You may not have had a clue who he was, but you knew he was coming. He is on all the sides and rears of every bus in town. He face is smiling down from many, many, many bill boards all over town. Thankfully, he is a nice looking man and we don't have to look at a hideous face plastered all over the place!!

So on Tuesday I was at work and something made me remember that was the day they were selecting the names for the concert so I logged on and check and of course there was nothing in my mail box from the LA Phil. And the little voice in the back of my head said, "You really did not expect to win now did you??" So I just went back work and really did not think anything about it. The last hour of our day that day was really slow (you do not say dead in a Doctor's office) so I was killing time before we could leave and I checked my email again and there it was...."Congratulation, you have been selected to attend the LA Phil concert this Thursday evening!". I promise you I read it 3 times before it stuck in my mind.
I was so excited. I have always wanted to hear the LA Phil in concert but the tickets have always been a little pricey for me so I just did not sweat it. But now I have another task I had to do.....find someone who would go with me, because I knew Patrick would say, "That's great Baby, who are you going to take with you?" because I knew he wouldn't go. Not that he doesn't like "Long Haired Music", he's Gay, he has to, its a requirement for us. But I knew his work hours would interfer
with him being able to get there when we had to check in. So I texted our friend,Timmy, and in no time he texted back that he would LOVE to, and we were set.

So Thursday evening I met Timmy at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in downtown LA and we went through our security check, I had been sent a special email with a number on it that I had to bring with me and I had to have a picture ID. Once we went through security we were ushered into the outdoor Plaza were Timmy and I and 1500 of our closest friends were going to watch a simulcast of the Concert that was taking place inside beautiful Walt Disney Concert Hall, right across the street. We got to our place around 6, the concert started at 7. So we settled in and ate dinner (Timmy brought some things from a Chinese bakery and I bought what was probably one of the best hot dogs I have ever had from the vendor that was set up by us)and as more people started coming in and sitting around us, we started talking with them also.
EVERYONE was excited. You could honestly feel the excitement in the air.

The darkness started falling around us and the magical time was approaching. Then, right on time at 7pm, the large screen came alive and we were inside the Walt Disney Concert Hall right along with the 2000 people decked out in their tuxes and evening gowns ( and I was getting to wear a comfortable shirt and slacks and in my sock feet!). When Gustavo came on to the stage everyone went crazy. Shouting and clapping and whistling. The energy was amazing.

Now the concert was in two parts. The first half was a world premiere of a new work called "City Noir" by a man named Adams. Well to sum it up quickly for you....I did not like it. It was a modern piece and I am not a fan of most modern classical music.
For about 45 mins I listened to music that I could not get into or make head or tails of. And from what I heard around me at intermission I was not alone.

BUT, then came the second half and it was "Symphony No 1 in D major" by Mahler and it was
simply beautiful. As I looked around during the performance everyone looked as if they were in a trance. It was awesome. I really did not want it to end. After each movement, the crowd would go crazy with applause and in the end, Gustavo Dudamel received a standing ovation both in and outside of the Disney Hall. To sum it up,
it was a truly amazing evening. Wonderful music under a clear, starry night in downtown Los Angeles, truly amazing.


p.s. I would like to thank our friend Timmy for coming with me to exeperience this amazing evening. He and I and Patrick have had many adventures in the 9+ years we have been tegether, but it is a very rare thing that I get to spend some quality alone time with Timmy. The hour we got to share before the concert started just
added to the greatness of the evening for me. thanks my friend!

(to see any of the pictures in a large format,simpley double click on the pic)


Just Another Reason I Don't Take Sleep Meds...

All of my life I have had to be careful when it comes to the medication I take. I have a "delicate" system so I have been told and when most meds says to take two of something I can only take one. When I first started taking blood pressure medications several years ago, the first day I took it I fainted at work because the dosage I was prescribe lowered my blood pressure too fast! (Now mind you I was at work when I fainted but I have been told I fainted in a very lady like manner!!) So the Doctor cut the dosage in half for me and it has always worked fine.

I have never been a fan of sleep medication and have actually only used them twice in my life. Once I was having an episode of insomnia that happens to me very once in awhile so a friend recommended I take a Tylenol PM, sounded good to me, so I did.
It made a Zombie out of me all the next day, I got 2 good nights sleep off of 1 pill!! And then a couple of years ago when I lost my job a dear friend of mind gave me 2 Ambien and told me to only use half whenever I could not sleep because of the stress of losing my job, that was over 2 years ago and I still have one pill left!!

But last week, I came across something that really floored me. Most of you know I work in an Doctor's office and one of the things I do is deal with the Drug Reps. Thankfully the ones who call on our office are all really nice and some I know from the last office I worked in. When they leave the medication samples they also leave he product info sheets that tells all about the medications. It was the end of the day and I was clearing stuff off my desk getting ready to go home when I found one of the product sheets a Rep left that day, it was for a sleep medication. I just glanced over it and could not believe what I was reading. You can actually take this medication (one of my Docs said it applies to any of them) and get up and do things and not remember you did it when you wake up. Now I want you to take a look at the list...some of the things listed I really don't mind not remembering but a couple I sure as hell want to remember if I get the chance to do them them !!!
So now I have another reason not to take sleep medications.....



Where Did Summer Go?

Well for those of you who may not know it, today is the official last day of Summer.
Tomorrow is the Autumnal Equinox and Autumn officially begins. In Paganism, it is called Mabon. It is the day when the Day and Night are divided equally. For me personally,it starts one of my most favorite times of year..Autumn.

As excited as I am about the changing seasons, I have one question for each of you who reads my blog...."Where did the Summer go?"

It was just a few days ago that we were in Spring time, the flowers were all starting to grow and bloom and we were just starting to slip into Summer time, and all the sudden, here we are at the last day of Summer !! I don't know about you but I had things planned out that I wanted to do this Summer,and not a one of them did I get around to!! I think one thing that faked us out is that we did not have a very warm Summer for the most part. I wasn't until August that it even started getting hot. July certainly wasn't a hot month as it usually is. So with only a few weeks of really hot weather for us here in Sunny Southern California, it just did not seem like we had much of a Summer!!

Even though Summer seemed much shorter this year, I did have several very cool adventures, some I have blogged about and some I will catch up on soon.
For instance, on July 4th, I attended my very first Anime Convention with the Nephew.
If you are not sure just what Anime is, Google it, it is a form of Japanese Art, cartoons to us here. I have to admit I really did not know much about it when I volunteered to go, but I really had an amazing time. It started out in May when the Nephew said a group of his friends were going to meet up on July 4th at the Anime Convention at Convention Center here in LA. Now I knew he would not be allowed to go by himself so I told him I would go with him. So the morning of July 4th, we caught the Metro train in South Pasadena and rode it downtown to the Convention Center.
It was much easier than me driving down and having to pay for parking. I am sure the Nephew had a good time with his friends and I had a fun time getting to know a whole new world I had no idea existed!

At the beginning of Summer, I went hiking in Eaton Canyon outside of Pasadena with Patrick and some of his friends. It is a really beautiful place and a great hike. I will be posting about that adventure very soon.

Also this summer I got to do something I have wanted to do ever since I moved here (almost 7 years ago!!), I toured the City Hall here in LA. It is quite an amazing building. I joined the Summer tour put on by the LA Conservancy and it was really enjoyable. For those of you who may not know, I LOVE history, especially the history of the area I live in. When I moved to Palms Springs back in 1987, I dove into the history of the area. By the time I moved in 2000, I could give a pretty good history tour of Palm Springs and the surrounding area!! And I am enjoying doing the same thing with Los Angeles, there is SO much history here, and not just the Hollywood history!!

Of course we made a few trips to Disneyland. Even though we have our Annual Pass, we usually don't go to Disneyland during the Summer much, way too many people!!
A couple of weeks ago we decided on the spur of the moment to go see the fireworks on a Friday night, we figured it would be safe....WRONG!!!!!. I can not even begin to tell you how crowded it was. So we went to Main Street and staked out our space, and once the fireworks were over, we pretty much waited in the stores for awhile and headed back home. There are far more better times for us to go, like next weekend for GAY DAYS!!!!!

We had several more fun adventures this summer. I went to Palm Springs and had lunch with my Gal Pal, LB. I ended up spending the night there with my sister Doris(many of you know him as Jake). Patrick and I went to see the Pagent of the Masters in Laguna Beach(thanks to our friends Cindy and Jeff). A couple of weeks ago we took the Neice and Nephew to the Pantages to see "Legally Blonde" (which was really fun!) and just this past weekend Patrick and I went to see "Stand Up Comics..the Drag Queens" over the Broad Theater in Santa Monica. (I have not laughed so much in a very long time.It was taped and will be on the LOGO channel in 2010, I will keep you posted).

As much fun as we did have this Summer, to me, it is over way too fast. Growing up, the Summer seemed to last for so long. But I have been warned many times along my Journey that as you get older, times passes more quickly. You think so? I am hoping not because I have a whole host of things I want to do that I have not got to do yet!!

Hope you had a fun Summer and now as we slow down and tranition into Autumn, I hope each day brings a smile to you face and may you have many adventures along the way to Winter!!



Dawn...Starting Out A New Day

Since today is Labor Day and I have the day off (Yeah!) I thought I would take advantage of it and do something I have wanted to do for a long time, stand on my favorite cliff over looking the ocean and watch the sun rise.

I had plans to be in San Pedro early this morning to watch my friend Mike run in the "Conquer the Bridge" 5 mile run, so I just got up a little earlier and headed for the cliffs at White Point Beach,on the western side of San Pedro. This place is one of my favorite places to be. It is a high cliff overlooking the ocean and you can literally see for miles in all directions.

This morning I was on the cliff just minutes before the Sun peaked over the horizon (and through the clouds) to start a brand new day. As I was walking along the path to the cliffs, I was welcomed by a light breeze that was cool and filled with the smell of the ocean below. As I reached the point where you could see the beach line below I was surprised at the several other people who were stationed about on the beach and perched on the rocks below, also waiting for the sunrise.

Since it was cloudy I was afraid we would not be able to see the sunrise, but just
as it was time, the clouds parted some and there the Sun was peaking over the horizon. It was so quiet with only the sound of the ocean hitting the rocks below.
It was so beautiful. I just stood there and took it all in.

So often I think we are so busy and hurried in the morning that we miss so many beautiful sunrises. Each day a new day dawns for us and we are too busy to see it, we just take it for granted, and we miss so much beauty.

Just like everyone else I seem to be so busy in my everyday life. Always have somewhere to go and somewhere to be. I have been so "busy" it seems doing "stuff" this year that here we are in September already and I can't even remember what I have doing all this months and how it got to be so late in the year already!!

Standing there this morning, watching the sun peak over the horizon once again, like it has done everyday for thousands of years, I remembered that I need to slow down and take in all the wonderful things each day holds for me, and to pay attention and enjoy it all, everyday.

Hope you will join me in doing that.



A Tale of an Electronie Toy Junkie.

I don't know about you but I am glad this Monday is over!! Mondays for me are the hardest day in my work week, and today was no exception. Some time I will share with you what a day in my work life is like, but for today, lets just say when the day was over, my butt was dragging about two feet behind me!! But now that Monday is over, bring on the rest of the week!!

Some of you know that over the last couple of weeks I have been having problems with my cell phone. Now at one time I swore I would never have a cell phone, I just did not see the need to have one, no one needed to get ahold of me that bad, if they did they could either call me at home or in the case of an emergency,call me at work. But then I met Patrick, and things changed. After we had been seeing each other for a few weeks, he totally surprised me with....a cell phone. I remember it was about as big as the phone here in the house and it was blue (I like blue!). It was connected to his phone on his calling plan and we could talk to each other and it did not cost us anything. It was good think he did that, with him living in LA and me in Palms Springs. I remember seeing his phone bill one month and we had talked over 3000 minutes that month, imagine how much our phone bills would have been. Ma Bell would have really loved us!!!

So a couple of weeks ago my phone started having problems charging. I found out it was the internal connection on the phone that was broken and I had to wiggle the end of the charging cord around to get it to charge and then one day it just wouldn't charge anymore, and I was without a phone. That was ok for a couple of days and then
I started going through a sort of cell phone withdrawal. I am sure they have to have a group like AA for former cell phone users!! So finally Patrick went with me to Verizon to have my phone check out and yes, it was dead and could not be repaired.
Of course they would be happy to sell me a new phone but it would be January 2010 before I could upgrade to a new phone and get a deal. So I decided I just could not spend the money right now so I had them switch my phone plan back to my old Razor phone I still had, that would work just fine until January. Have you ever had to go back to driving an old car with a standard transmission once you have driven a new
fully loaded Jaguar??? Trust me there is ALOT of difference!! But you know, you have to do what you have to do now a days and the Razor would just have to do till January.

On Thursday Patrick called me at work around noon and told he was going to surprise me with something but he found out he had to tell me....he had bought me a new phone and it was going to be activated that afternoon and he had to tell me because my
Razor would not work anymore. Can you say EXCITED!! Well to say I was excited is an understatement. But I would have go wait until he go home to see what it was.

Well, let me tell you what my Hunny got me, it is the Verizon EnVtouch. It is really beautiful and I can not even begin to tell you here all the features it has. It is like he bought me a new computer with alot of bells and whistles. It is amazing.
I even makes phone calls!!! It is going to take me awhile to learn this one but it is going to be fun learning it!

That was Thursday. So Friday morning I get up and started my daily routine. A part of my daily routine is to plug my iPod into my computer so it can update my daily podcasts I listen to. Well the screen came up to update and then something happened, it said "there are songs you bought on the iPod that is not in the iTunes
on your computer, do you want to add them to iTunes?" Now I thought this was strange but I had seen this once before when I had bought some music from iTunes and did not like it and deleted it from my iPod, so I click yes.....and then the unthinkable happened. it cleared ALL the music off my iPod and when it was finished (I had walked away once it started and did no notice it then) all that was on it was about 480 songs... I had over 5000 on it to begin with. I wish I could fine the words to express to you ALL the emotions I felt right then, but I just can't. When I went back to check it before I left for work, I just sat there, with eyes as big as plates and my mouth totally wide open, and I remember I was breathing pretty heavy.
I wanted to scream but it just wouldn't happen.I looked over at Patrick and said,
"It cleared my iPod"....it was a sad, sad scene.

There was nothing I could do right then as I was leaving for work. I kept thinking about it all day. I had been collecting music for the last several years from different places and I knew alot of it I would probably never come across again.
But what can you do? So when I got home I started looking over to Apple.com and tried to find some answers as to what to do but found nothing. So I went to my Music folder on my Computer and started looking around, for what I am not sure but I had to be doing something till Patrick got home. And then, right there in my Music folder, was a fold that had ALL the music that had previously been on my iPod. But for some reaond it was not in the folder that currently held the music that was on my iPod now. This really confused me (which is not a hard thing to do when it comes to computer stuff). So when Patrick got home,instead of finding me in a stupor like he and left me that morning, I was sitting there with my confused face on. So when he came into our office, I calmly told him what I had found,and he looked at it and said," you just have to make it read the list from that folder", and walked over and sat down at his desk. Why sure!! I know how to do that, NOT!!! So he came back over, and clicked a couple of buttons and BAMM, it started downloading all my old music from the folder I found,back on to my iPod!! It was just that simple, for him.
Well it actually took about 2 hours for ever thing to reload to my iPod. After it was finished I had lost all my play lists and the counters at the end of each song was blank, so I lost all my numbers of how many times I had listen to each song and when.
But at least I had all my music back!! I was very thankful

It was later the next day that I was thinking about all the gadgets are on my new phone and how thankful I was that I got my music back on my iPod and it was then that I realized without a doubt......I am an electronic toy junkie!! How did I ever
live a fulfilling life before I got a cell phone and an iPod???? Some answers to life's questions you will just never know!!



Hiking in the Lower Arroyo Seco Nature Park

This past Sunday was such a beautiful day I just could not stay inside!! Right now I have 3 hikes I would really like to do, one involves the bridges over the LA River, one involves the Historic District in downtown LA and the third one is hiking in the Arroyo Seco outside of Pasadena. Since it was a perfect day to be outside, and the fact that I have been wanting to be out in the "woods", hiking in the Arroyo Seco won out!

Now for those of you who have not idea what the Arroyo Seco is, it is a water way that flows from the San Gabriel Mountains down through the commnunites of Altadena, Pasadena, South Pasadena, Montecito Heights and Lincoln Heights and joins the LA River close to downtown LA. The Tongva people (native people of this region) called this tributary Hahamongna, which translates "place of flowing waters and fruitful valley". But the early Spanish expeditions looked at the area in a totally different light and named it the Arroyo Seco which means "dry creek". If you have ever driven over the Colorado Street bridge in Pasadena, you have passed over the Arroyo Seco.

Now I have driven over the Colorado Street bridge many times since I have lived here and I have always wanted to be down there in the Seco hiking but I really did not
know how to get down there. One of my blog buddies, Jonah, (Pacific Blue Sky Diamonds Blog) talks about running in the Seco and how beautiful it is and I have always wanted to experience it for myself. So recently I came across a great book of hikes along the L A River, "Down by the Los Angeles River" by Joe Linton, and in it it has hikes ......in the Arroyo Seco!!!! I was excited. So this past Sunday
I took my camera, my bottle of water, and my red cap and headed down to the Arroyo Seco!!

Now the part I decided to hike is known as the Lower Arroyo Seco and my hike started at the Lower Arroyo Seco Nature Park. I like this area because it had a parking lot to leave my car and....it has restrooms!!

The area is really beautiful, even in the dryness of summer. The trail is well marked and there are all kinds of wild life from birds to butterflies and squirrels to hot guys running shirtless along the trail(my personal favorite wild life!),
After walking a short distance, you come to a stream that has flowing water and tall grass. Even though you are slap dab in the middle of a metropolitan area, you would think you are miles from no where. It is so quiet and peaceful that you can hear the water running along the stream. I have so many different kinds of butterflies it was amazing. I can't wait until Spring when all the wild flowers bloom!

The trail itself is on level ground, there is not elevation so it is an easy hike.
As you go further East, you come closer to the Colorado Street bridge, except this time you are under it!! I could see it in the distance and all though you can hear the cars on the bridge, you can not see them. The closer you get to the bridges the more amazing they are. As you drive over them you really do not pay attention to how huge they are, but as you stand and look up to the under belly of the bridges, it is simply breath taking how huge they are. As you stand there and look up you can't help but be amazed at how they could build something so huge and yet so beautiful.

The trail goes well beyond the bridges and I walked to the end where the trail ends at Arroyo Blvd, so I turned around and hiked back along the trail until I got back to the parking lot. It was a beautiful hike in such a peaceful place. I encountered several other people out waking,many with their dogs. I had a really fun time.

This next weekend I hope to be back in the Arroyo for a different hike. With the weather here in LA being so wonderful right how, how could anyone stay indoors!!