I Have Been A Thinking......

A very close friend of mine and I were talking just last week about our mortality. He is several years younger than me,but he said as he gets older (fastly appoaching 40!!) he has notice he thinks more and more about the end of his life. I had to tell him that I was about his age when it first struck me that I was getting older and I wasn't going to live forever. I know for me, when I was in my 20s and early 30's, I never thought much about that fact that I would die one day. I was too busy starting out my life in my 20's and too busy having fun and enjoying life in my early 30's (not that I don't enjoy life and have fun now,I really do) to really think about it.
But as I approached 40, I too noticed it was on my mind more and more. During my 30's the AIDS epidemic was in full swing and I was busy taking care of friends who were sick and dying. At one point I stopped and realized I had lost 19 friends in a year and half to HIV/AIDS, and that did not count people I just knew, these were guys I was close to. Most of them I had physically taken care of while they were sick and many of them I was with when they passed on. But still, it did not hit me about ME until I was approaching 40.

Now I am almost 56 and the thought of me not being here one day has again crept into my thinking. I think we all know in the back of our minds that one day we are not going to be here anymore, it is just a fact of life. But I bet not a one of gets up in the morning with the thought "that today could be my last day'.

What really got me thinking about this I think was the car accident Patrick and I were in last month. Now I am not gonna get all Drama Queen on you here, but the swiftness of the accident really scared me. Patrick and I had just left the home of some of our very dear friends and were on our way to a Christmas Concert we both really enjoy each year and alway look forward to. We were both in great spirits and had been talking and laughing together when out of no where, the car coming up behind us way too fast on the freeway, hit us and sent us spinning around on the freeway. From the time of impact until we stopped spinning, it seemed everything was happening in slow motion. The freeway was super packed that night in all lanes in the direction we were traveling. Just a very short distance ahead, we would have exited the freeway. Just before the impact I had checked my rearview mirror and saw that the closet car behind us was 4 or 5 car lengths behind us. Neither of us in our wildest dreams ever thought we would be in a car accident that night.

When the car hit us from behind, the main point of impact was just behind the rear wheel on the driver's side. It was not a full rear end contact, But the passenger side of her front bumper made contact with the driver's side of my bumper. When she hit us, she actually pushed us for a few feet before her bumper fell off and sent us spinning..away from the main traffic and onto the exit ramp we had just passed.
Had she hit us full force in the center of the bumper, Patrick and I both would have probably sustained some serious injuries AND had she hit us more on the passenger side of our bumper, it would had sent us spinning to the left and directly into the main flow of traffic on the freeway, which just would not have been a good thing.
Thankfully, after it was all over, we were ok. Shaken up, o yes! But we were ok.
Thinking about what could have possibly happened, really had me shaken up for several days. Either one of us or both of us might not be here today if things had worked out differently.

Today here in LA was a very beautiful day. Clear skies, warm temptatures,just really a gorgeous day. Patrick and I went to have Dim Sum with some friends we have not seen in long time. After Dim Sum Patrick and I went over to Circiut City in Pasadena to see what kind of sale they were having since they are closing all their stores.
After we left there we decided to drive home by going through Pasaenda instead of taking the freeway back. We were driving down Colorado Blvd with the windows down, enjoying the day and listening to some music. As we drove down Colorado Blvd we passed a guy riding his bike on the side of the road, in our lane going the same direction we were. Ever since I have met and become good friends with my work buddy, Jill, I tend to notice bike riders more because Jill in an avid bike rider herself and we have discussed bike safety several times. I noticed the guy had on his helmet and had the correct reflectors on his bike and he was riding in the bike lane as we passed him. As we passed him I admired him for being out there riding his bike and getting his excerise.

Patrick and I went on our way and were several blocks ahead of the biker when I checked the traffic in my rear view mirror, just in time to see a car run
the light and slam into the biker we had just passed. I was speechless, I saw the bike go up in the air along with the rider. When the guy hit the pavement he rolled some, laid there and then tried to sit up. I told Patrick what I had just seen as we were sitting there waiting for out own light to change. I was not sure what we should do since we were several blocks away but as I watched several people jumped into action, one woman jumped out of her car and stopped all the traffic while several other people ran to help him. The police were just a block ahead of us and they headed back in the direction of the accident. The thought that kept racing though my mind was how sudden it had all happened. The biker surely had not thought someone would hit him today. He had taken all the safety precautions he was suppose to and was doing just what he was suppose to do.

I guess what I would like for all of us to get out of this is, we really don't know when something could happen, and we will no longer be here to enjoy our lives. In the world we live in today, we all get bombared with all the negative stuff that is happening in our world everyday. We get so caught up in things going on in our lives and in the lives around us that we forget that the most important thing in our lives, is not all the "stuff" that is going on in our lives, but the most important thing in our lives are the people we love in our lives. We tend to forget how important they are to us and we are to them. We tend to forget to let them know how imporant they are to us and how much we care about them and love them. We get so caught up trying to make a living that we forget about making a life for ourselves and the ones we love.

If just for today, tell the people who are important to you in your life, that they are important to you. Maybe you just take it for granted that they know. It is always so awesome when someone tells me they care about me and I am special to them.
Every morning when I leave for work, I hug and kiss Patrick and tell him I love him. I do this not out of habit, but because I am afraid something could happen to me on my commute to and from work, and I may not get to tell him again. You just never know.


ps. they did find the person who hit us and left the scene. It is a woman who lives in Van Nuys. They have made several attempts to contact her by going to her house but when I last checked, they had not been able to speak to her. They have sent her a certified letter and there will be a warrant out on her, so sooner or later she will show up.


Times Thay Are A Changing...thank goodness!!!

Today was a day that I honestly never thought I would see in my lifetime, I could not miss it, so I took the day off so I could be sure and watch it on TV. That event of course was the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

You see, I grew up in the South during the later part of the 1950's and 60's and early 70's. I have VERY vivid memories of what life was like during those times.
I remember very well that that every place that had restrooms had 3, men's, woman's and blacks. I remember also everywhere there was a water fountain, there were 2, one for the white folks(not marked) and one for the colored folks (alway with a big sign over it).I remember going to the movies at the Pines Theater in Silsbee where I grew up and being able to walk through the front door of the the theater while the black kids could only enter in through a door in the ally and they sat up in the balcony and they better not make any noise, or they would stop the movie and clear everyone out of the balcony, and then resume the movie. I remember going to the Drug Store for my Mom and when you went to the counter to pick up the meds, there was this tiny window behind the counter on the far end, and that is where
the black folks would pick up their meds, once they entered the back door of the pharmacy, again through the ally.

I will always remember one Saturday morning when I was around 11 or 12 and I had ridden my bike to town for something, I had parked it in the bike rack by the library and was headed to the 5 and dime store. As I was walking down the side walk and elderly black man was walking toward me and as I got close to him, he stepped off the side walk into the street until I had passed and then he got back on the side walk and continue to where he was going. You see, if a black person was actually walking on the sidewalk down town (and not taking the ally), anytime
a white person approached them on the sidewalk, they would have to step off the sidewalk and let the white person pass.

They actually did live "on the other side of the tracks" in the town I grew up in and they had their "part" of town they lived in, and it was to their best interest not be be on "the wrong side of the tracks" after night fall.

I was in the 9th grade when they intergrated the schools in Silsbee. It was a VERY BIG deal. I honestly remember the first week or so of that school year, there was so much tension in the air. It actually took till the mid semester for things to finally calm down. There were a few fights here and there and of course the name calling from time to time. By the time I graduated it was a "no big deal" thing.

Obama said in his speech today that his own Father, 60 years ago would probably not be able to eat at the front counter of any restruant. I know that is a fact in the part of the country I grew up in.

I can remember seeing the crosses burning in fields and sometimes in people's yards.
The KKK was a big thing in area I grew up in, although except for the burning crosses, I never saw them.

When I share stories with people of what it was like back then, they either think I am making it up or I saw it in a movie. But it was real, very real. It was that way not just in the small town I lived, it was that way everywhere in the South.

And I really hate to tell you, but Racism is still very much alive in many areas of the South even today. It was only a few short years ago that a friend of mine from Texas called me and she was very upset. You see, she was upset because the Church she as a member of and had been attending for several years, was thinking of letting Black people start going to Church there. She was livid. She asked me if the Churches here in California allowed Black people to attend the While Churches. I was really taken back, I told her we did not have "White" Churches in California, every church I knew of allowed all races to attend them. I know the Church I was a member of at the time had Blacks, Whites, Asians and everything in between. I did not dare tell her we also had Gay and Lesbian members, I somehow did not think her blood pressure could handle it. Having lived in California for so many years I forget what it is like back there and how far behind the times they can be. ( Just a foot note here, when I took Patrick to Texas the first time to meet my family, my Mom got
excited when she realized we would be there on a Sunday, she told me we just had to go to Church with her while we were there since itwas the Church I grew up in and so many people would be excited to see me. I just looked at her and told her, "Mom we can't go, Patrick is Asian, remember?" You should have seen the look on her face when it hit her I was right, they only allow White people to attend the Church, and this was only 6 or 7 years ago)

So you see, I HAD to be able to witness the events of the inaguruation today. It is a day I have long dreamed of for our Nation, but honestly never thought I would see in my life time. I sat in our living room and watched him take the oath of office and I had tears rolling down my face. My heart was so full and I had goose bumps too.
I was a mess! But I was a very happy mess. It gives me great hope for our country and our people. I do not think he is a Superman and I know he doesn't have all the answers. BUT I think he can start the change we need in our Country. He has not made any big promises of what he can do, all along he has told us we were all going to have to work together to make this change possible.

He also gives me hope that one day I will be able to witness the inauguration of our first Gay or Lesbian President. I know it will happen, and I hope it is within my life time.



Summertime in January.....

For those of you who read my blog and do not live in Southern California, let me let you in on something..IT HOT HERE!! Yes,I know alot of the Country is experiencing zero tempts and below, but not here in good old Southern Californa, we are having a taste of Summer time in January.

Also for those of you who may not know, being at the beach on any day of the week, is my most favorite thing in the whole wide world, ok well second most favorite thing, not telling you what my favorite thing is, but I bet it high on your list too!! So after all the stress that has been going on around here the last few weeks with the car thing, I decided last Sunday to go down to the ocean for awhile. Now I am not lying at all when I say we have been having some REALLY beautiful weather the last week or so. Last Sunday was just wonderful, clear skies and warm tempts. So after breakfast, Taffie and I headed west on our first little road trip together.

One of the places I really enjoy going is White Point Bluffs on San Pedro. I am going to be doing a post with pictues very soon about the park there, but on Sunday
I went to the Bluffs. It was just tremendous. You could see Catalina Island, and some small fishing boats and sail boats. After hiking the short way from the road to the bluffs, I just sat down and took it all in. I watched some seals playing in the water and a whole bunch of dolphins swimming around playing and eating. Someone told me it was whale migrating season, but I did not see any whales. I have before, but not on Sunday.

After setting there for an hour or so, I decided I needed to get something to eat, so I drove into San Pedro and got a Subway sandwich and drove back to the beach area but this time I went to another favorite spot, the Korean Bell park.(again, another post!) I sat on the bluff over looking the ocean and ate my sandwich with a couple of new found buddies, 2 seagulls. I kept an eye on them and they were keeping an eye on my sandwich and chips!

It was really a wonderful, stress relieving morning. It was so relaxing, I drove home and too a nap!!


All The Pretty Colors!!

My friend Timmy posted this pic on my MY Space page the other day ! See all the pretty colors that Taffi comes in!!!!! I bet you would have had a hard time deciding to!!!

White Is The New Orange

I know in a previous post or two I told you I had my eye on a replacement for Andy, AND I told you the one I had my eye on was a metallic orange (which surprised no one!) well, I did find Andy's replacement, and it is the car I really wanted to get BUT, He's White!! Yes I know White is a LOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNGGGGGG way from Metallic Orange but once I say him, I knew. Well to be honest, not really, you can ask Patrick, I had a hard time making up my mind when I saw all these different colors sitting side my side on the sales lot. Some colors were easy to rule out like black, grey,red (as much as I love red,this particular red did nothing for me), the dark blue was pretty but not really me. THEN I saw this really nice light blue that was really nice but when we came to the white one, it was REALLY purtty. So after a little battle in my head (sorta like the one that happens when you are going out on a Saturday night and just can't chose which shirt to wear!!), I chose the white one.
And I an really glad I did.

So without further ado, I would like to introduce you to Taffi, my new 2009 Honda Fit Sports Coupe!!! He is really wonderful with more bells and whistles on him than I have had time to figure out. I have never had a Honda before but I would HIGHLY recommend them to everyone. After visiting a dealership or two and test driving one, we ended up in West Covina at Norm Reeves Honda. Our saleperson, Louis, was wonderful. No pressure, no sales pitch, he was seriously like someone we had know for awhile who was helping us buy a car. In a little less than two hours from the time we arrived, we were driving away with Taffi. I was really afraid with the way the economy is right it might be an nightmare to get him financed,but nope, a good price with an amazing low interest rate.

I will be posting some more pics of him later, but I really wanted to introduce him
to everyone!!


ps..I think you should all know...His real name is Billy...Taffi is his Drag name>


Seems Just Like Yesterday..California, Here I Come!!

Well after the LONG day I had the day before, I was in no great hurry to leave early that next morning. I am usually not one to sleep in very late but I did allow myself to sleep in a little. I was surprised how sore my legs were, guess it was from all the sitting I had done the day before.
It was a beautiful that day. A clear cloudless sky and a much warmer breeze than I had experienced the day before!! It was a perfect day to drive to Texas!! Before I left vegas I called my friend, Lola to let her know where I was and she told me about how long it would take me to get to where she lived in Desert Hot Springs. For those of you who do know know, Desert Hot Springs is across the Coachella Valley from Palm Springs, about 17 miles or so. So I took out.

I was a little antsy that day and I was really wanting to get this trip over with. I was getting close and the closer I got the more excited I got. I stopped for gas somewhere and was looking at my map and was thinking maybe I could come up with a short way if I got off the freeway and cut cross country instead. To be honest, to this day I have no idea where I went and I was very thankful I had a four wheel drive truck!! I remember cutting across the desert following these small roads, some of which were dirt! But they were the lines on my map! I left Hwy 15 and was cutting across the desert and then a few hours late, I came off this dirt road and was on the Highway in Joshua Tree, California, just about 40 miles from Palm Springs!!
It was a real miracle that I found my way over the desert from Hwy 15 to where I was.
Don't know how I did it, and I know I could never retrace my route!!!

So about 2pm on January 7, 1987 I drove into Desert Hot Springs, California and into the Coachella Valley which would be my home for the next 15 1/2 years!

Sitting here now remembering all this, it is so hard to believe so many years have passed since I made this adventurous trip. It was a trip of a life time for me.
One that surely changed my entire life forever. One that started me on the path of an adventure I could not even imagine back then. And it was this trip that eventually brought me to where I am today, sharing my life with my wonderful Patrick.
The guy who left Casper, Wyoming on that early Monday morning back in 1987, could never ever begin to imagine where that trip would lead him. Following your heart is something we all forget to do today. But at that point in my life, I am very thankful that I did.


ps. I have never shared the whole story of my trip to California before. Most of the details I have shared I have never told anyone, I have just always kept it in my heart. This trip is a very special thing to me, but I felt it was time I shared the details with my friends and family. Hope you enjoyed, it you have a question about something in the story, just ask me! All the details are true as best as I can remember them.


Seems Just Like Yesterday, Part 2....

So there I was, leaving out on that Monday morning headed for Salt Lake City, Utah and my room at the Motel 6!! I had never driven very far out of Casper before by myself much less a long road trip like this. The weather this time of year could change in a heartbeat and a beautiful sunny day could change into a hard snow storm in a matter of minutes. But the weather man said we were in for some nice weather so I headed out.

My sister told me when I was home this past November that she really did not think I would make it very far in my old truck. I had only paid $400 for it a few months earlier and we did not know just how reliable it really was. She told me she figured I would get aways out of town, my truck would break down and they would come and get me and that would be the end of it. Well the truck did ALOT better than she thought

I really do not remember any more just how long it took me to get to Salt Lake City but I do know it took me most of the day. I wish I could remember what all went through my head as I drove along that day. Here I was almost 34 years old and striking out on the biggest adventure of my life. The James that was leaving Wyoming that day was certainly different from the James that came to Wyoming almost two years before. I was more sure of who I really was and had come out not only to myself but my sister and her family (who were super supporting) and I was happy with the person I was at that time. I was excited about what lay ahead of me. Here I was moving to a place I had only visited once, I did not have a job or a permanent place to live, but I knew deep down inside me that this was exactly what I was suppose to be doing. Crazy? probably but, determinded.

I remember coming over this ridge and seeing the Great Salt Lake for the first time, breath taking. I made my way to the Motel 6 and checked in just as it started to snow. I called my sister and told her I made it and she reminded me I could turn around and come back the next day if I really wanted to. I was really tired and hungry. Once I took a shower I found this little cafe to get something to eat.
It was a busy night for them so I sat at the counter to eat. When I sat down there was this older man already sitting there reading the paper. As I sat there waiting for my food to arrive I got to thinking about what I was doing. I think it was right then that the magnitude of what I was doing really hit me. I started thinking how I was now going to be totally on my own with none of my family around me for me lean on. All my life I had lived around some of my family, now I would be totally alone.
As I ate I kept wondering if I was truly doing the right think and I remember I started to get scared. I got up to pay my bill and the older gentleman who had been sitting next to me eating and reading the paper was standing ahead of me in line, we had not looked at each much less spoken to each other. When he finished paying for his meal, he turned around and looked me right in the eye and said, "You are doing the right thing" and smiled and walked toward the door. To say I was stunned is an understatement. I hurried and paid my bill and ran out the door after him but he was no where in sight. I really could not believe what just happened. Now most of my life I have had a deep relationship with my God. I have heard of Angels before from other people, but I have never experienced one for myself. You will never convince me that this old guy was not my own personal Angel experience. All along my way when I get to doubting and wondering why I am here and not living closer to my family in Texas, I alway remember his words "You are doing the right thing".

It was still early so I decided to take a walk around where I was staying. I walked a few blocks and turned the corner and there was the Morman Temple, the original Morman Temple, totally covered in tiny white lights. Every branch on every tree that surrounded the Temple was covered in tiny white lights. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. All those thousands of lights and the snow falling made it seem like a magical place.

Since I am not a Morman I was not allowed to enter the Temple itself, but off to the side they built ths beautiful visitor's center. I was suprised that it was open at night. I walked in to take a look and was soon greeted by a very nice man who volunteered at the center. He greeted me and introduced himself and asked me my name and such. He was only suppose to tell me about the diffrent areas of the center but after we had talked a few minute, he actually took me on a tour of the whole facility. It was a very beautiful place. There were painted murals on the wall of one section that told the story of the Morman people and and Brigham Young and how they ended up in Salt Lake City. On another floor there were diagrams that explained how they built the Temple and then there were several sections that were exact replicas of some the rooms in the Temple. As we walked around the center we told each other pretty much our life stories. He was really taken by the fact I had picked up and was moving to California just because I felt like that was really were I needed to be. When he asked me how long I thought I would stay in California, I told him I really did not know, I had not given much thought to that question.
We ended up spending almost 2 1/2 hours together, him explaining things about the displays and us just talking about our lives in general. Not once did he try to convince me I should be a Morman,but when I started to leave, he did ask me if he could give me a copy of the Book of Morman. I took one and inside the front cover he signed his name for me, he shook my hand and told me he would be praying for my safe trip the rest of the way. I have to say it was a very enjoyable time. After that I walked back to the good Old Motel 6 and went to bed, and slept like a baby!
The next morning I woke up and looked outside and EVERYTHING was totally covered in several feet snow!! I turned on the TV to listen to the weather and there was suppose to be light snow on and off all day. I called the Highway Dept and was told
the road to Las Vegas was "snow bound but passable". Now what in the hell did that mean? Could I drive or could I not? I was fine with staying in Salt Lake a day or two if I need to but if I could drive the freeways I wanted to head out. So I asked the lady one more time, what did snow bound but passable mean? She said well sir,
it means it is snow bound but you can drive on it. Well that is all I needed to hear so I packed my stuff in my truck and found the freeway to Vegas and headed out.
Did you know it is 584 miles from Salt Lake City, Utah to Las Vegas, Neveda?
Do you know how long it takes on a GOOD day to drive that far? Well I didn't.
NOW I can tell you what snowbound but passable means. It means that the freeway is covered in snow, very deep on the sides so you better drive in the ruts that are already there and hope you have enough gas to make to the next town and hope the
exit ramp is cleared off enough so you can get off the freeway and get gas!!!!!
I drove over 14 hours that day. I have to admit I saw some of the most awesomely beautiful snow covered mountains I will ever see in my life. I would drive for miles and not see another car or truck on the freeway. During one long stretch of highway it was snowing so hard I followed the tail lights of the highway patrol in front of me so I would know where to drive. I was really hoping he would not lose control of his car and head off the side of he freeway because if he did I knew I would be following right behind him thinking it was the way we were suppose to go.
But then there was times I would drive on for an hour or two and it wouldn't snow, but not once, not even for a glimpse, did I see the Sun that day. I had a room reserved at the Motel 6 in Vegas and by the time I drove in there that night about 9pm, it looked like the most elaborate Hotel on the face of the earth.
I will alway remember how stiff and sore my legs were when I stepped out of my truck there at the Motel. I had to just stand there for a minute or two to let the blood flow. I had been proably 3 or 4 hours since I had gotten out the last time.
I went in and checked in and headed to my room. I called my sister and told her I had made it and I think it might have been then she realized I was really gonna make it to Palm Springs. I did not tell here the kind of day I had had or what the weather was like for me that day. I figue when she reads this now she will find out, and I still be a call from there and chewing out, even after all these years!!Lol.

After I showered and ate something, I decided I would drive around alittle and see what Vegas looked like. I had seen it on TV but never in a million years did I ever think I would actually BE in Vegas. Now let me remind you of something, this was back on 1987, there was no Strip like there is today. There were bight lights and stuff but nothing like today. Now before I left Wyoming, I looked up the Gay bars in Vegas in a Damron guide a friend had. I decided I was going to try and find one
ad have a coke JUST so I could tell my friends I had been in a Gay bar in Vegas.
I got a map of the town and located the street of one of the bars close to the Motel and over there I went. Yes I was nervous because I had never actually been in a Gay bar by myself before but like I said before, I was determined. So I went in and sat at the bar and ordered a coke and before I got my Coke, this really nice looking guy sat down next to me and started talking to me. He lived in Vegas and was single and wanted to know where I was from and where I was headed. Now he was a real looker, blond hair, kinda muscular but not overly done and of course he had his shirt unbuttoned so I could see his nice smooth chest. Now as they say, I may have been born at night, but it wasn't last night, I knew after talking with him for a few minutes that if I wanted to spend sometime with him that night it would cost me, yep if you have not guess it, he was a hooker, a real live Vegas hooker!!
So after we had talked for a little while I excused myself and told him I was tired and had a long drive ahead of me the next day and as I startd to get up, he asked me why didn't I take him back to my Motel with me and he could smooth ot my tired muscles, if you know what I mean. It was then I looked him square in the eye and asked him how much that smoothing would cost me and he told me without blinking an eye,$500 dollars. Well I truly did not know what hookers made since he was my first real live one I had ever seen, I was a little shocked. I asked him,"Really, $500?" and he told me yep and he was worth every penny. I just kinda laugh a little and told him, I didn't think so, I had a truck parked outside that I did not pay that much for and I would get alot more miles out if it than I would him! And I just walked out to get in my truck. Now I was surprised because he just got up and followed me outside and the whole time he kept talking and lowering his price. By the time we got to my truck he was down to $50. When I got to my truck I turned to him and told him, I appreciated the discounted price and all, but the answer was still no. When I drove out the parking lot he was still standing right where I had parked watching me drive away. Guess it was just my animal magnitism at work again!!
I headed on back to the Motel 6, climbed into bed and passed out before my head hit the pillow. That was the end of my first exciting night in Vegas!!
Tomorrow I landed in California!!



Update On Andy...

Well when we last left Andy (my car remember?) I had been told by the insurance company that he was a total loss. Now if you look at him sitting there on the road in front of the house, you notice a little dimple in the side panel and the scratches on his bumper from the impact and truly that is about all. Well I found out today from Cheryl at the insurance company that Andy actually had $7,826 worth of damage to him, underneath the car!!!!! The frame is bent along with a LOT of other things. It made me sad.

BUTTTTT!!!!!!!! the good news is they are going to pay him off. I was SO afraid they wouldn't. So now, I get to go out and look for something else, and to be honest with you, I think I may have already found him, and he comes in metallic orange!!!!
I can hear your thought now, "why does that not surprise me?"

I'll keep you updated!


Seems Just Like Yesterday.....

Time sure flies when you are having fun, so I'v heard!! It must be true because 22 years ago today, I left Casper,Wyoming headed for Palm Springs,California and it truly does seem like it was just yesterday.

I had lived in Casper for just over a year and a half, I had moved there to put some kind of order back in my life. When I moved there I was really just a shell of the person I had always been up to that point. I was 32 when I moved to Casper. The year before had been one of the most devastating years of my life. My marrage of 10 years had come to an abrupt halt. Everything I had work for the previous 10 years suddenly dissolved into thin air in what seemed like over night. One day it was there, the next day it was all gone. When my exwife decided to leave me, she planned it well and when she was ready, she took our two kids, and everything in our home, and left. Seriously, it was pretty much that way. The next few months were not pretty and I slowly went deeper and deeper in a depression. When it was over, all I had were my personal belongings and my car, and lots of debt. The depression went deeper. At that time my maxium weight had been 155 lbs (o how I long for that weight now!!). The day I left to move to Wyoming, I weighted 118. Like I said, it wasn't pretty.

My sister and her husband (Jim) lived in Wyoming because of his job. He was a Directional Driller and worked for a major oil field company located in Casper.
They had come home for a visit just about the time my divorce was final and my sister tried her best to get me to come back with them and start my life over there.
I told her I just couldn't go and leave my kids, I got to see them once or twice a month and I could not lose the chance to see them. She really did her best to convince me to come back with them but I wouldn't. As the next few weeks passed on my depression continued to get worse. My Doctor finally told me that if I did not do something soon I would have a complete nervous breakdown. I so remember the day I decided I had to do something about my situation. I was at work and I could barely function outside of my daily routine. I remember thinking, I just can't do this anymore and I walked over the phone at work and called my Mom. I told her to please get Jean to call me, I just couldn't handle anything anymore. This is a tough place to be when you are only 32. I stood there by the phone and in just a few minutes my sister called and I told her I would come, I just had to do do something or I did not think I could handle it anymore. Looking back at myself at that time, it really scares me that I was ever in that place. Within two weeks, I had given up my apartment, boxed up what little I owned and was on my way to live in Casper, Wyoming. My brother in law flew down, picked up a company car in Houston, and drove us back up to Wyoming. I took us 3 days.

I will always believe that my sister and her husband letting me come and live with them there truly saved my life. I was not allowed to work for 3 months. They paid what bills I had and provided me with a truck and a gas card for those 3 months.
Slowly I started getting better. Like I have said before, my sister and I are crazy fun when we get together. She and I traveled all over the State. She took me up close to Yellowstone where we roamed around the mountains and saw some of the most beautiful scenery you can imagine. Over those 3 months I returned to being more of the person I had been before. But also during those months, I started coming to grips with my being Gay. I was really surprised to find the Public library there had numerous books on being Gay (now remember this was 1985). By accident I met some really nice Gay men who in turn introduced me to other Gay people and before long, even though I was deep in the closet still, I had several Gay friends who helped me realize who I truly was. Several of these people and I are still good friends and keep in contact to this day. It was through some of these freinds I met, Calvin, who would become my first partner, but that is story for a future time.

In November 1986, I flew to Palm Springs to spend a week with my very good friend, Lola Milburn. Lola and I had met one night when I had gone to pick Calvin up from work at the Mall and she was working in a store next to where he worked. I went into her store one night and we struck up a conversation and we have been close friends ever since. She had live in Palm Springs once before and decided to move back to work in a resort. After she had moved she invited me to come out and visit and I did!
I spent a wonderful week with her and her daughter and while I was there I just knew deep down inside myself that this is where I needed to be. I kinda brushed it off thinking it was just because it was such a beautiful place is why I was thinking that. So when my week was up, I flew back home to Casper. Well, I couldn't get it off my mind. It was all I thought about. So one day I mentioned it to my sister she told me she figured I would want to move there!! She really did not want me to go but she would not tell me not to go. So after a few more days of really mulling it over, I decided I would move to Palm Springs and follow whatever it was that was telling me I needed to be there. My friend Lola told me I could stay with her until I could get a job and a place of my own.

So on January 5,1987, I took out in my old 1972 International Scout loaded with everything I owned and headed for Palm Springs California, with my first stop being, Salt Lake City, Utah!!

to be continued.....



Breakfast at the Whole Foods!

So after sleeping in a little this morning, Patrick and I decided to head out and take care of some errands we have been needing to do. I don't know about most of you but after about mid morning I need to eat something if I have not had breafast yet.
So we decided to try and find somewhere to have a bit to eat that we have not been to before, you know try a little something different for the New Year. So as we were driving around trying to figue out just where that might be, we passed the Whole Foods Market on South Arroyo Parkway in Pasadena. We have been there shopping once to check it out and they have a very large section where you can eat there so we decided to give it a try. I mad a big U turn and headed back. Now if you have not been in the Market, it is beyond HUGE and super nice. We made our way to the second floor to the Cafe they have there. They have a pretty good Sunday Breakfast menu so after looking it over a bit we ordered and found ourselves a table. It is all open air so it feels like you are eating in the middle of a grocery store because, well you are eating in the middle of a grocery store. ("Coffee refill on Aisle 12")
Now I was going to be adventuresome and order the Tofu Scramble but I settle instead for the Ranchero Bowl (breafast potatoes, sauteed peppers, scrambled eggs(my choice), ranchero sauce and cheese). Patrick ordered Eggs Florenine(english muffin,spinach, tomato, porched eggs, hollandaise sauce) and we both had a big mug of Orange Juice. I have to say we both enjoyed it and it didn't break us either.
We will do it again I am sure.
They also have an Asian Express Menu and Mediteranean Wraps. So if you are in the mood for something different than you usually have, give them a try. I think you will like it!


One Of The Best Times of My Life.....

I know we all have them, an event that has happened in our past that we think back on and say "Man that was one of the best times of my life." Hopefully, we all have several of those kinds of moments that were so special that when we think about them we are right there again, enjoying the time once again.

The picture you see today was taken of me back in 1987,January 4th to be exact. I know the date is correct because it was the day before I was leaving Wyoming to move to California. The picture was taken by my sister, Jean, on the backside of Casper Mountain. That is Muddy Mountain in the background. If you ever wonder where that one got its name, go over there after a rain storm or when the snow starts to melt, you'll know! Those of you who may not know or for those of you who knew but forgot, this is in Wyoming.

The town of Casper, Wyoming where we both lived sits at the base of Casper Mountain.Going up on the Mountain was a favorite thing for my sister and I do whenever we both had some free time to hang together. So we decided since it was my last day in Wyoming and our last time to hang out together there, we would head up to our favorite part of the Mountain to take picturs and spend some "us"time before I left the next day.

If you can not tell from the picture, there was ALOT of snow on the ground.This was January for pete's sake, EVERYTHING was covered in snow!! And you can tell from the way I am dress that it was VERY cold. Our favorite place to hang out was on the backside of the Mountain. The forest were beautiful and you could see over to Muddy Mountain and beyond. It was my favorite place to go and listen to it snow.
(Now for those of you who have never seen snow or been anywhere while it is snowing, snow really does not make any noise when it falls) You stand there at the edge of the woods and you look out over the unending landscape and all around in every direction, these large beautiful snowflakes are falling by the millions and all you can hear is the quietness all around you. It is truly a beautiful experience.

Now to get back to the day we were there. It was both a somewhat sad and happy day for us. Both of were a little sad that I would be moving away and at the same time happy that I was going on an adventure like I had never been on before. But regardless we were both in a super good mood and we are really crazy when we are together anyway. So we had taken several pictures all around the area and we decided to walk over across this little clearing to take a few more pictures, so my sister, being the brave soul that she is, takes out across the clearing and I was following a little ways behind her, walking in her footsteps. She was just talking away to me as she walked when all the sudden the ground beneath me gave way and I fell into the snow drift up to my arm pits. Now picture this, my body from my armpits down are in the snow and all that is sticking out are my arms, shoulders and my head. My arms are stretched out on both sides of me,I look like the letter "T" My sister
continues to walk away from me and when I got my senses back (ok, what little I have) I started yelling at her and she keeps talking and walking away. Then she turns around to tell me somthing and she is looking to where my head should be and
she stops and slowly looks down to where my heard actually is. We just looked at each other, neither of us saying a word and then we both start to giggle, and the giggles turn to laughter and then the laughter goes into crying while you are laughing and that gets so bad we both lose our breaths.
Thankfully, the drift was no deep and I was able to climb out (not sure I could do that now!) and she came over and helped me dust the snow off. We were both talking at the same time (something we still do to this day!) and everytime our eyes met we would start laughing again. This went on the rest of the day. We started making up funny things about what could have happened. We truly laughed about it the rest of the day. It was one of those special moments for both of us. To this day when one of us brings it up, we both start laughing all over again.


ps. Here's a little trivia for you, Casper Mountain is the only mountain in the US to run east to west, all the other mountains in the US run north to South. Thought you might want to know in case you are ever on Jeporady.


Momma Knows Best...

Hang On!! Here We Go................

Well here we are, first of day of 2009! I don't know about you but I am very excited about this year. As I said in my previous post, 2008 was not one of my favorite years. And even though I am starting the new year on kinda of a down not with my car being totaled, I think this year has the promise for many good changes to come.

Well Christmas is OVER at the Lee-Neff household. The trees are down and all the decoration are packed back in their boxes and put away in what we loving call, the Christmas Shed. Yes we have so many Christmas decorations they have their very own storage shed where they live all year long until it is time to drag them out and make everything look beautiful once again. We would usually wait another week to do this after we got up and go going this morning, we thought today was the perfect day.
We had a pretty queit day around here. We slept in some, went to dim sum with Patrick's family and them came home and started on de-Christmasizing the house. With both of us working at it, it didn't seem to take long. But one of us had to have a nap, won't say which one it was except that it wasn't me, so that did slow things down just a tad. Now Patrick is over watching "The Dark Knight" with the kids and I am going to go upstairs in a little while and watch "Second Hand Lions". A great way to start off the New Year, mostly vegging.

Hope you will stay tuned this year and I have some ideas for some different kinds of post on here. When I first started this blog it was a way for me to share with you all about my adventures as I check out different places and LA and around Southern California. I will be doing more of that as I venture out and I will be sharing some places I discovered this past year but did not get to share with you, so please hang in there with me and PLEASE, leave a comment so I will know someone is actually reading this!!

Have a fun weekend and I hope this year will bring each of you fun and excitement as we experience this new year together!!