Sometimes It Just Slaps You Up Beside The Head..

My age has never been something that bothered me. I turned 56 this year and I am very happy that I made it to that number!! So many of my generation of Gay men were not as fortunate as I am, my generation was the hardest hit when the AIDS epidemic started.

But yesterday as I was driving to work, it dawned on me....it was 50 years ago this year I started first grade!! And then last night an old school mate of mine emailed me that they had started planning our 40th High School reunion for 2011!!!

All of the sudden it hit me....I'm not a Twinky anymore!!!!



Starting A Whole New Week....

If you are like me, without really thinking, you just consider Monday as the start of your week. Guess we do that since Monday is our first day of work for the new work week.
But today I got to thinking about it and yes indeed, Sunday is the first day of the week! For me, just thinking about it like that kinda changed how I look at this new week. Like most of you, I tend to dread Mondays. Monday is really and truly my roughest day of the week, work wise that is. I am always saying if I can get through Monday, the rest of the week is a breeze. How Monday turns out usually sets how the rest of my week is gonna run, as far as work goes that is.

But in line with that kind of thinking, if the rest of my week goes how my day went today, then let me tell you, I am headed into a really great week. I started out my
day today by driving over to Long Beach and sitting on the bluff over looking the ocean and watching what was going on. You all know I LOVE the beach so getting to start out my day like that was awesome. I watched the people running on the beach, riding their bikes, walking their dogs. I got to see dolphins playing the water and I watch a guy (well I guess it was a guy) in a kayak paddle along the shore and getting an up close look at the dolphins playing. After a while I headed over to pick up my friend Phillip, who lives in Long Beach, and we headed out to breakfast. We over to a place I had not been to before called the Coffee Cup Cafe. It was such a fun place.

It is a very popular place to so as we waited for our table, Phillip and I caught up on what has been going on with us. The menu selection is huge and the food is really good.

Phillip and I decided to drive over to San Pedro and just hang out some so after we drove along the beach and visit the White Bluff Park, we found ourselves at the Ports O Call. The Ports O Call is built right on the water and is comprised of all kinds of shops and eateries. The last time I visited there several years ago, about half of the shops were closed, but it was really good to see all the different shops open and the place was so busy!!

So after that I dropped Phillip back at this place and headed home for a much needed Sunday afternoon siesta! So if today is any indication as to how this week is going to go for me...I am gonna have a really great week!!! Hope you do too!



San Diego, Here We Come!

Well for any of you that live in the Northern Hemisphere know that Summer is upon us! So what better way to spend a nice summer day than to do a ROAD TRIP!!
Since this weekend is Gay Pride Weekend in San Diego, Patrick and I decided a week or so ago that we would just tootle (that's Texan for "drive on down")to San Diego today and watch the Gay Pride Parade . Now we both really enjoy going to San Diego but for some reason it has been quiet a while since we have been, so we figure this would be the perfect day to go. Besides who doesn't like a good parade now and then!

So we were up and on the road by 8 am this morning (yes it is true,up, showered, dressed,the whole thing!). It was a really beautiful day but the temperature was already on the rise as we left. The drive down was really beautiful, the traffic was great and we were able to make good time. We got there around 9:45 and since the parade did not start until 11, we had plenty of time to find a parking space for the car and a parking space on the parade route of us! We again were lucky and found a great place to park the car with easy access to get out once the parade was over.

Now San Diego Pride is the 5th largest Pride in the USA. The parade today consisted of over 150 entries with an estimated crowd of 160 thousand people standing on the side lines watching the parade!!! The LGBT community in San Diego is very serious about celebrating their Pride. So we walked around some looking for just the right spot for us. We finally setting for a spot just a few blocks from the start of the parade and settled in, Patrick in his chair and me standing behind him with our umbrella. I should mention here, THERE IS NO SHADE ON THE PARADE ROUTE..NONE!!!!
I can not even begin to describe for you just how HOT it was in San Diego today, and add a little humidity to that and that spells misery for these two LA city Queens.
There parade was 2 1/2 hours long and guess what, we stayed for all of it.

After the parade was over we headed back to the car. We were suppose to meet up with some friends from Palm Springs who were also there for lunch but that did not work out so we headed off to find some food...and shade. We ended up having lunch at
the Hortan Plaza Mall. It is a cute outdoors mall we like to go to when we are down there. We walked around some after we ate and was trying to decide what we should do next.

Patrick knows how much I love the ocean so after we rode around alittle he suggested we head over the Maritime Museum. We had gone to dinner near there with a friend a few years ago when we went to Pride but I did not remember much about it. They have several old ships and sailing boats anchored there for you to tour. It is a fascinating place. So we walked around there some and then we decided to head home.
So off we went on our way back to LA. After a brief stop in Oceanside for Ice Cream (what is a road trip without ice cream) and Carlsbad to see the beautiful boyson the beach, we headed home.

Even though it was sort of a whirl wind trip, we really did have allot of fun today and saw some really beautiful sites (I am not talking about the surfers on the beach in Carlsbad although they certainly added to the enjoyment of our day!!) I am sure once in starts cooling off in the Fall, we will be heading back to San Diego for weekend, it is a really great place to go to get away from LA!!



And Her Name Was Jennifer

We all have certain days in our lives that are in themselves special. It is not a day we "celebrate" in any certain way, it is a day that somewhere in our past, a very important event took place in our lives. And on that day each year we pause to remember that event and how it changed our lives forever. Today is such a day for me.
By no means is it a sad day and I really do not want you to take this as a sad blog entry, but it is a very special day to me, and I have decided to it with you.

Most of you know that at one time in my twenties and early thirties, I was married.
My wife's name was Louise and everyone called her Lou. I just 21 and she was 18 when we married. At the time I was in Seminary (yes at that time I was Rev. James Neff) and she was just finishing up High School. To be honest, that seems like a whole life time ago.

I had dropped out of Seminary and we were living in West Texas in the town of Odessa when we first got the news that we were going to be parents, We had almost been married a year and a half at that time. She was a housewife and I was working as a Machinest (sounds really butch doesn't it!!). To say we were suprised would be an understatement but we were extremely happy and excited. Since both sets of parents
lived in East Texas, we let them know they were going to be grandparents by sending them a pair of baby booties in the mail. Lou's parents were estatic, it would be their first grandbaby, and my parents, well let's just say they were not as excited at the time.

I had never really been around a pregnant woman before, I mean on a day to day basis. I was there when my sister had her 3 kids but I did not live with her day to day. Let's just say it was a learning experience. At first Lou had really bad morning sickness and many our days started with her waking up and running to the bathroom to throw up. I tried to be supportive of her when it first started but after about the 3rd time I ended up on my knees next to her by the commode throwing up too, she said it was ok if I was not real supportive and just get her a wash cloth when she was finished, that seemed to work allot better.

So the months rolled along and things went really well. Lou was a really athletic person and was on a City volleyball team right up until she was 8 months along.
As the months went along, Lou got bigger and bigger. She walked everyday, played volleyball at least a couple of times a week and was just very active. One night
I went to watch her play, she was an agressive player to say the least. She could come out of no where and spike the ball over the net before the other team knew what happened. Well like I said, as her pregnancy went on, she got BIGGER. This particular night I was there watching her play, the opposing team served the ball to her team, Lou was on the front line. It was kinda like slow motion for a few seconds, she was running toward the net, the guy on the oppoing team was running for the net and suddenly it was not slow motion anymore, Lou jumped up to spike the ball, her stomach and the baby went under the net and slammed the poor guy from the opposing team who was also running toward the net. He literally went flying backwards and hit the floor. I was on my feet in a second. She had literally slammed into him with the baby and knocked him down!! He was on the ground and Lou was still standing there acting like nothing out of the ordnary had happened. The referee stopped the game and ran over to check on Lou as the other poor player's team mates ran over to check on him. When it was determined that everyone was ok, they gave Lou's team a foul for her hitting the other player with the baby!! Her team still won the game!!

That was one of the last games Lou played that year. The next week her Doctor decided no more streneous activity and stopped her bike riding, volley ball and tennis games. He did encourgae her to walk eveyday but for someone as active as Lou, that really was not enough.

A week or so later, Lou started not feeling well. A trip to the doctor showed she had developed toximia and he put her on total bed rest. It was then that he told us he had made a mistake and should have let her keep being as active as she had been for awhile longer.

Lou's mother had planned on coming out to help her when the baby was born, but she came out early instead. There were regular trips to the doctor to keep tabs on how the baby was doing and things went really well. One afte noon while we were out walking (at the furtherest point of our walk away from our house)her water broke!!
As I said I had not been around a pregnant woman before so I immediately though she would have the baby right there!! But we slowly made it back to the house and to the hopital where after having a 24 hour labor...Lou gave birth to our first child..
a beautiful little girl....whom we named Jennifer.

I honestly do not think I have every seen a more beautiful baby in my whole life.
When they brought her out of the delivery room and let me hold her, I cried. I think for the very first time it really hit me that I was a Dad and I was totally responsible for this little girl who was looking up at me. It is a really sweet over whelming feeling.

Jennifer was such a sweet baby. She did not cry much but she sure did smile allot.
When we was a couple months old we made the trip back to East Texas so my parents and all our relatives and friends could see the new baby. We had driven about all night to get to my parents, and when we got there, my Mom was sitting on the front porch waiting for us. She walked out to the car and without hugging us or anything, took Jennifer out of my arms and turned right back around and went in the house and left us standing in the yard. Lou and I just laughed. We spent a week at home that trip and we decided we really needed to move back to East Texas so Jennifer could be around her Grand parents. So about a month later, we did move back and it indeed was a very good thing. We moved in September.

Christmas that year was a big event because it was Jennifer's first Christmas. We always spent Christmas Eve with my family and then drove over to Lou's parents where we spent the night and had Santa Clause on Christmas morning.

The week after I celebrated my 24th birthday, Jennifer came down with a cold. Lou took her to her pediatrician to make sure she was ok and he told Lou she had an upper respitory infection and gave her some anti-biotics. I was at work and after seeing the Doctor they stopped by my work so Jennifer could see her Daddy.
By the time I got home that afternoon, you could tell she did not feel well. She cried so much that night that we had to take turns holding her and trying to comfort her. I was around 4 am that Lou's Mom showed up at our house because she could not sleep for worrying about the baby. Right after she arrived, Jennifer stopped crying.
I was holding her and when I went to move her she was very limp, we immediately jumped into Lou's Mom's car to get her to the Emergency Room 25 miles away. Lou's Mom was driving, Lou was holding Jennifer and I was in the back seat. When we arrive at the hospital, she was not breathing. They told us that she had passed away somewhere along the way to the hospital. Her upper respitory infection had progress into viral pneumonia. She was 8 months and 10 days old.

I learned many things about life and myself during the next few months. I learned you can actually live through more pain than you could ever imagine you could. I learned that even though there are days you wish you could lay down and die because the pain in your heart is so great...you won't. I learned it is ok to let other's be there for you when you don't know what else to do. And as time goes by, the pain lessens and it becomes bearable and after a while longer, you can learn to live with it and go on with your life.

Today would have been Jennifer's 33rd birthday. It is hard for me to really grasp that fact. Many times through the years I have wondered what she would have looked like as she grew up and what kind of person she would have been. So many people told me she looked like me, our other two children took after their Mom. But wondering is all you can do when someone is taken from you at such a young age.

So today I celebrate a special day in my life. It is on this day every year
I stop and think about what it was like the day she was born and all the joy and happiness we experienced that day. I personally believe in a life after death, and
I know in my heart that one day I will get to celebrate this special day with her and it will be glorius!



Mikey Pod

Hey There, yes I am still alive and doing well, life has a way of getting in your way sometimes of the things you would really like to be doing, I have allot to catch you up on and some adventures to share with you and I promise to that very soon on here. I have been out having some fun times and I want to let you know what I have been up to!

But right now I want to introduce you to someone I think you will enjoy, his name is Mikey Pod!!! No, no not really...his name is Michael Harren and he as a great podcast that is called Mikey Pod. Now I first started listening to Mikey Pod about 3 years ago. I had just found out that there were several Gay podcasts on iTunes and it was through one of the podcasts I started listening to that I came across Michael.
To be really honest, Mikepod soon became my favorite podcast and has stayed in that spot ever since.

Mikey Pod is different from many Gay Podcast in that it is made up mainly of music
that Michael comes across from many different musicians and he shares that music with us through Mikey Pod. In his early podcasts Michael would do sound tours of different places in the area where he lived. But over time Mikepod has evolved
into mainly music and trust me, that is not a bad thing.

Michael and I became friends after I emailed him once and let him know how much I enjoyed the music he shared. I really enjoyed it because I was getting introduced to music I would not normally listen to and also learn of different musicians I have never hear of, and most likely would not have. From time to time we would start talking online and soon a nice friendship developed. A very close friend of his, Eve Beglarian, wrote and debuted a piece she had written for the LA Chorale and Symphony at the Walt Disney Concert Hall a few years ago. One day on his podcast Michael was telling us about this when all of the sudden he said on the air, "Wow, Jaymes in LA, you have to go see this!! I was actually driving to work when I heard him, so I got online when I got home and he was online and he gave me the info and I was able to get one of the last available tickets to the performance.
I was super excited because I was going to get to attend something at the Disney Concert Hall, I had not been there before, and I was going to be able to witness the debut of a major new work. I was in awe of the Concert Hall but I was totally
captivated by Eve's work. I would never have had this experience if it had not been for Mikeypod.

After my Mom passed away, I went through a period of time where I just sorta pulled inside myself, and I stopped listening to most of the podcasts I had listened to on a daily basis. I lost contact with many of my online friends because I just did not have it in my to keep up conversations when I was online. After a while things started easing up for me and my everyday life gradually got back to normal. But it had been many months since I had spoken with my online friends, to be honest I was really embarrassed that I had not done a better job of keeping up with them.
But once I got online again, Michael was "Hey long time not see", no questions or anything, he was just glad to see me again.

I really wish you would take time and listen to my buddy Mikeypod. Michael has a very interesting life story, he is a fellow Texan too, and trust me, he is very easy on the eyes!!!!!!

You don't have to have an iPod to listen to him, you can listen to him on his website also. Go over to http://mikeypod.com and give a listen, I know you probably won't like every song he shares with you, but I know there will be one or two that you will love!! Go on, give a listen, do yourself a favor and visit Mikeypod..
you might even end up having a new friend in New York City too!!


p.s. you can click on the link in the side bar and get to his site, go on...I dare you!!