Saturday, August 23, 2014

Weather Report Says...Dark & Gloomy

Wow it's only 7:30 AM and I already have this huge cloud of sadness hanging over my head.  Im trying to think of something to comfort me but I just cant help but to think the day is going to get a little more bleak, the rest of the week isn't looking very sunny for me either.

My friend Nicole's cat died last week, my dear friend Doug died the following day.  Today is Doug's Celebration of Life at his church.   Tuesday will be the 2 year anniversary of my mothers death, then on Thursday another day of remembrance for Doug at one of his favorite eating/drinking establishments.  "A Toast to Doug" at Urban Mo's here in San Diego.

It's difficult to explain how I feel,  it' almost like butterflies, but not the good kind.  My stomach is kind of twisted in knots.  I'm stuck somewhere between not having a desire to eat at all, or going to Home Town Buffet to GRAZE.

Nicole MIGHT go to Doug's memorial with us... He really liked Doug and made it a point to always strike up a conversation with him.  and Nicole LOVES Hometown Buffet so we'll see what happens later.

Im just grateful I recognize these feelings, and that I feel comfortable enough to share them instead of keeping them bottled up inside.

I just want to get through this week with more happy feelings than sad.  That's my one goal for the week.

As always, thanks for letting me vent and share.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

My Friend Doug Died Yesterday

YEP Doug was exactly this cool.

This has become too common of a blog for me to write this year. It's gonna take me awhile to process this one. I never thought my time of yelling at people to get the fuck out of the way when we were going through a crowd was going to end.

 Doug was always on my side, even when others were against me. As much as hospitals bothered him, never once did he hesitate to come and visit me multiple times when I was there. He had the biggest heart.  He had such intelligence and a great wit.  He valued all of his friends equally, no matter what sexual orientation, religious faith, able bodied or disabled.  Doug was everyone’s friend.

Top of Form
Doug was loyal and dedicated to everything he did, he was a volunteer at the LGBT Center, working behind the front desk, volunteering for Guys, Games, and Grub.  He was involved with various disability groups, and the Little People of America. He was a writer and editor for a mobility magazine for a while.  Most recently he was an author.

 Oh and also Doug was disabled, confined to a wheelchair, but you would never know it because Doug saw no boundaries.  He lived independently, he never expected special treatment and would get himself to where he wanted to go.  He disliked when people would call him an inspiration or tell him how great he was just because he looked a little different and was in a wheelchair.  He felt as normal as everybody else.  On our various outings at times we would encounter a restaurant or place of business that was not ADA compliant.  I usually got more pissed off than Doug did.  He wasn’t one of those people that went around threatening or suing businesses because of their ignorance of ADA Laws.  Usually a well written letter with a sharp tone to it was his way to address the situation

Doug was a lover of music.  Live music, he would wheel himself into the smallest most crowded venues to hear a punk rock band play. Wheeling his chair back and forth, and side to side dancing to the music.  He would go to the neighborhood bars in Hillcrest and wheel right  into the bar, whether it was in the middle of a group of guys or the middle of the dance floor and do his thing, and sometimes his “thing” included a little touchy feely with the boys.  No one ever seemed to mind. That’s how much Doug was loved.  Doug was one of the best wingmen I have ever had, He would reel them in and I would get his leftovers. 

Doug was surrounded by a couple dozen friends for his 50th birthday the night he had a minor accident that resulted in needing a medical procedure that required anesthesia .  He held on for a few days, but then his body just gave out as a result of complications from the procedure.

He had just completed writing a novel that will be published with the help of his friends and family so his legacy can live on through his writing.

The tributes to Doug on Facebook were endless; many people were posting photos raising a glass toasting Doug on Friday night.

There will never be another like Doug. He was a once in a lifetime kind of friend, he taught me so much.  Acceptance, tolerance, sensitivity, and a new way to see things… Oh and by the way for those of you that think Doug was at the perfect level for crotch viewing.  Yeah, he wasn’t a fan of that, because there’s the flip side to the crotch, having everyone’s ass in your face.

So what else is there to say except CHEERS Doug, I cant even express how much I will miss you!

Pride 2014

Monday, August 11, 2014

A True Friend

A true friend is someone that you can disagree with on some issues, completely agree on other issues and even find a neutral place where you can just say hey if that's what you think, that's OK..
For over 21 years I am not ashamed to say that person has always been Nicole Murray-Ramirez. I don't fight his battles, he doesn't fight mine. But we do support each other when we can. I love him dearly for being such a close friend for so many years. With that being said, that ol queen better hope I die before he does because the stories I could tell at his funeral would blow your socks off.

Thursday, August 7, 2014


For some of you it's no secret I tease my roommate about being a hoarder, I've often have tried to figure out why he buys, collects, and saves so much STUFF.  My mother used to have some hoarding tendencies herself.  I noticed it years before she died and I would encourage her to get rid of some of the crap she was holding onto.  After she died I found out what the main item she hoarded was...paperwork.  Every receipt, every note, every calendar.  Items of major importance, some of no importance at all, some of this "paperwork" as she always called it was up to 30 years old.  A to-do list from 1983 was nothing that needed to be held onto as far as I could tell.

Sentimental items, memories photos, etc. are all things I can understand holding onto.  Many of the sentimental items Mom was holding onto I have kept myself, even after her death.  My dad used to write her cute notes on napkins and just pieces of paper.  It was very sweet.

This morning I felt like I was beginning to understand the "hoarding" thing a little bit myself.  I was going through one of my email accounts deciding what email went in which folder, what to delete or keep.  I got to some emails regarding my friend Dave's memorial dinner that was held in the beginning of July. My first thought was I CANT DELETE THESE.  Then I realized, holding onto these emails was like holding onto Dave.  They were just financial quotes from the venue, and the florist.  That sort of thing, nothing worth keeping really.  So I deleted them.  You might also remember I created a photo book for Dave's Dad and his close friends.  I had a folder with dozens of photos that I had to choose from for that book, and now I can’t find it anywhere.  The completed photo books will be delivered soon, but all those other pictures are gone.  You know the pics that weren't good enough to make it into the book.  So why do I want to hold onto them so badly?   I wondered the same thing when I was going all the printed photos that Mom had that were out of focus or an accidental picture of the inside of her purse, or the sky.  Why did she keep those?

There are so many different levels of hoarding and so many different reasons why people save insignificant things.  So being the inquisitive person that I am, I decided to do some light research on the topic.

2% to 5% of Americans may meet the criteria for being hoarders. 

In most cases, hoarding may not have much impact on your life, while in other cases it seriously affects your functioning on a daily basis. Reasons for hoarding are countless, but some of the main reasons are.

  • Persistent inability to part with any possession, regardless of its value
  • Excessive attachment to possessions, including discomfort letting others touch or borrow them or distress at the idea of letting an item go
  • Cluttered living spaces, making areas of the home unusable for the intended purpose, such as not being able to cook in the kitchen or use the bathroom to bathe
  • Keeping stacks of newspapers, magazines or junk mail
  • Letting food or trash build up to unusually excessive, unsanitary levels
  • Acquiring unneeded or seemingly useless items, such as trash or napkins from a restaurant
  • Difficulty managing daily activities because of procrastination and trouble making decisions
  • Moving items from one pile to another, without discarding anything
  • Difficulty organizing items, sometimes losing important items in the clutter
  • Shame or embarrassment
  • Limited or no social interactions

People with hoarding disorder typically save items because:
  • They believe these items will be needed or have value in the future
  • The items have important emotional significance - serving as a reminder of happier times or representing beloved people or pets
  • They feel safer when surrounded by the things they save

When you put people in touch with their goals, then you have something to work with.  Then you can say [to the hoarder], ‘I thought we were working toward this goal,' when [the hoarder] objected to saying, 'Are you sure you need to hang onto that? It’s a comb without teeth.  Does keeping it help you toward your goal?’  The same goes with broken appliances, items you forgot you already have. You may have 2 or 3 of the same thing because you keep buying it, not remembering you already have that very thing at home.
It's not clear what causes hoarding disorder. Genetics, brain chemistry and stressful life events are being studied as possible causes. There is also the causes of pure laziness or lack of motivation, age, mobility, etc.

 I now realize my mother was not a hoarder.  She kept all of her “stuff” hidden away.  Her home was very minimalist compared to what she had packed away in boxes hidden in closets.  My roommate could definitely be a hoarder if he was left on his own.  Having people outside of immediate family living with him kind of keeps him in check with having piles of stuff laying around in common areas of the house.  Ive tried sticking to the rule "if you haven't used it in a year or more get rid of it"  well that works in some situations but not all the time.  One thing that has been helpful for me to purge items is moving.  When you see all the crap you have to move sometimes things suddenly become less important.  Do I regret not holding onto my Superhero action figures from my childhood?  ABSOLUTELY!  But would they serve any purpose? 
My friend Dave had kept his electronic game "Merlin" along with the instruction manual and power cord. Although I think that may be put in the category of "collecting".  He probably thought it would be worth something someday.  He also held on to some crap the we were shaking our heads at, wondering WTF?

We all have crap we hold onto for no reason.  Something I would always tell my mom, is something I read in one of those inspirational quotes  I'm always sharing.  Live by this and you will always feel free of physical and emotional burden.

Let go of the old to make way for the new.

Statistics and some information borrowed from and

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Brotherly Love

I've been doing a lot of thinking about my brother Bob recently, more so our relationship..or lack of  a relationship.

After a somewhat failed attempt at getting some of the family together for brunch I decided (at my therapists urging) that writing him a letter would be the best way to communicate how I feel.  I've sat down many times to write that letter but I can never get it going.  But when I decided to blog about it all the thoughts came flowing out.  I’m going to mail this to him before I share it publicly; if I even share it publicly.

First, the back story.  Mom would tell me the stories about how excited Bob was that he was getting a little sister (so they thought)  I was going to be named Michelle and he was going to sing that Beatles song to me every night with his guitar.
Growing up he and his friends were always playing and messing with me.  They would do things like throw me against the carpeted wall in my brother’s room, (it was the early 70's), throw me in the pool, put me in the clothes hamper and hold the lid shut. They would tickle me until I'd cry, they totally tortured me and I LOVED every minute of it.  I remember Tommy Huff, Armando Mendoza and a guy named Troy. Armando and I would do weird things like trying to burn bugs with a magnifying glass and stick needles in bug’s eyes. He would always point to Farrah's nipple on my poster and laugh.  He was as big of a kid as I was.

My brother is 13 years older than me and I looked up to him like any little brother would.  My brother was so cool.  He would wear velvet suits to prom and Ziggy Stardust masks, and play the guitar, he played baseball and did other sports, he even would get injured during sports....all the cool stuff.  He is also my half brother, we share the same mother, but for years he was always just my brother and everything was normal.  I remember when I found out he was my half brother I was so upset.  I wanted him to be JUST my brother.

With such a large gap in our ages, we had very different upbringings.  I know that my dad was very close to Bob.  Dad was very involved with little league and I think a coach for some or all of Bob's teams.  Dad was also VERY strict with Bob.  I remember a story about my brother having to sweep the driveway with a whisk broom as some kind of punishment.  There was one time when Bob moved out of the house and when he wanted to move back in Dad wouldn't let him and made him build a small room in the garage where he slept.  

My dad was working for Mothers Cookie's as a truck driver back then so I'm guessing he had extra time to do these things and be very involved in Bob’s life, whether it was good or bad.  When I was growing up Dad opened his own business and didn’t have the time to spend doing those kinds of things with me, I also didn’t have an interest in sports.  As I have written about before in another blog post, my dad wasn’t able to take me to my first little league practice my Aunt Goldie took me.  Dad showed up about halfway through practice, after I had already gotten hit in the head with a ball and was sitting over to the side watching everyone else.  Dad yelled at the coach but that was the end of my little league career.

I was rarely if ever disciplined by my father. I didn’t have chores, except feeding the dog and helping mom when she needed something.  I never had to sweep the driveway with a whisk broom. The worst thing I had to do was clean the garage with the help of my dad. 

I don’t think Mom and Dad had a lot of extra money for things when my brother was young.  As I have said many times before in this blog I was completely spoiled and got everything I wanted plus some. I know my parents were generous towards Bob later in those days when money was flowing but he was an adult then, I was just a kid and wearing designer clothes to middle school.  Sometimes I think there was a tinge of jealousy from my brother for the lifestyle I had as a child vs. what he had.  But there is always a trade off.  He got to spend time and received love from my dad, and my dad and I hardly saw each other. My dad didn't know how to deal with me either, I wasn't his sports loving son that drove a semi truck and knew how to “build stuff”.  I was "a damn sissy" to my Dad.

At some point my brother and I started butting heads.. A lot.  I felt at times he was acting as a disciplinarian even though I (still) had a mother and a father.  I remember the one of the worst points in my childhood was when I had to move in with him and Linda when I was in 4th grade, we were moving to Huntington Beach but our house wasn't ready yet but mom and dad wanted me to start the school year with everyone else.  I had no friends, no one to talk to at lunch or play with and my brother was always acting like "the boss of me” Mom and I always disagreed on how long I lived with them.  To me it seemed like months, mom said it was only a couple of weeks.  As I got older I don't think Bob knew how to be a big brother anymore.  I wasn't that cute little kid he could tickle and play with.  I guess he thought picking on me and bossing me around was what he was supposed to do.  I was already getting picked on plenty at school, but he probably never knew that.

I remember one time we had an argument when he was visiting us at our house and I went upstairs and kicked a hole in the wall I was so mad at him.  I didn't even feel "safe" in my own home; he was a bully to me. A big, tall, 13 years older than me big ol bully.

There was also Linda, my brother’s girlfriend.  I think they met when I was 2 years old so basically I have known her my entire life.  Linda would do so many great and fun things for me, actually for my entire family. When I was in pre-school I told everyone I knew Mary Poppins.  Linda dressed up Like Mary Poppins and came to my school. She made me a cardboard Bat Mobile (except it was spray painted gold)  She was a photographer and was always taking pictures at every event and made wonderful and very creative gifts for people in the family. Linda would take me places with her and we would do lots of fun things together.  We became so very close.  I called her my sister, which would confuse people sometimes when I would say my brother and sister were married.  My brother finally married Linda and had 2 beautiful kids that I adored and spoiled when they were young.

When I moved to San Diego from Orange County I moved into their house until I could get a job and move into my own place.  At that point their marriage was already struggling and eventually they divorced.  It really sucked because I felt like when they got divorced I also lost Linda and her entire family.  After knowing them all for so many years I became pretty attached to them.  We all supported each other and enjoyed each other’s company on special occasions, holidays and sometimes dinner together for no special reason at all.  It’s extremely rare if I see Linda or her family members these days.  I only know a hint of what caused their relationship to fail, and I have always blamed my brother for that.  To me it was because of him that Linda's family who I grew to love was no longer in my life.
I saw that side of the family at my nieces wedding and that was very brief because I had another wedding to attend the same day. I even feel pretty distant from my niece, I feel like I’m usually the one that is reaching out or sharing something with her, and that’s only on Facebook.  There are times that I feel like I have no family at all. I guess we aren’t as tight of a family as we used to be.  Mom was the glue that held us all together, but now that she’s gone, the pieces of the family are shattered. I have the great family photo we took at Ali’s wedding and that makes me smile.  I'm glad Linda and her sister Pam came to see Mom before she died.  That meant a lot to me.

I could sit here and list all of his faults and I could tell all kinds of stories but it’s not worth the time or energy to bring up some of these old things.  There became a point in his life that he was very reckless and very selfish. Mom would complain to me about things he was or was not doing (and Im sure she was doing the same with him about me) and it made me like him even less. Also some of these things are very personal and if I do decide to share this I don’t want to put ALL of his business out on Front Street for everyone to see. 

I do have to give him some credit for trying though.  One night I invited a guy I was dating over for dinner, it was awkward.  Trying to make conversation my brother asked Dale what kind of work he did.  Dale replied “Im a hair dresser”   ……….CRICKETS…………...  I think Dale cut my nieces hair in the kitchen that night.  But Bob never seemed comfortable with the “gay thing” but in his defense he was from a different generation.  Hell my generation was still figuring our own stuff; I couldn’t exactly blame him for not being comfortable or knowledgeable with the fact that he had a gay brother.

Then came an outsider… Looking back I realize what a tough spot my brother was in being in a relationship with someone no one in the family could stand to be around.  So I avoided them like the plague unless I was “forced” to be around her.  Finally he broke up with her, but that chick was a psycho. At times we tried to help her because it could possibly help Bob.  Mom would give her work with 2 different businesses she had, yet she stole from my mom and took advantage of certain situations.  I helped her out with a job so she could be in a work release program for some past legal issues she had.  After they broke up she became a monster, stalking, destroying my brother’s property. Mom had to get a restraining order.  I think the bitch knew better than to come to me with her bullshit, when she “worked” for me she saw firsthand the influential people I knew in the community.  I’d have her ass back in jail in a minute!
I cant put the blame on a third party for making Bob a bad person, just like I can’t give Manuela all the credit for making Bob such a better person now.  We are simply influenced by the people closest to us, the people we love.

We didn't really have much contact with each other except for holidays when Mom pretty much forced us all to get together for, but to me those were sad occasions.  We no longer had the huge family celebrations we used to have; at times it was just 5 of us. After that psychopath was finally out of our lives Bob became a completely different person.  He was caring, attentive to our mom and not so on edge all the time.  One day mom told me Bob would regularly stop over to her house early in the mornings and have coffee with her.  I was so happy to hear that, I know she enjoyed it very much too.

When Mom got sick we both stepped up to the plate and separately handled things the best we could.  Unfortunately the stress was getting to both of us and we had a huge blow up one day… Gay Pride weekend… It was my regular time off and time to have for myself, but of course I always had mom on my mind.  We had a scream filled telephone call where we both said some pretty awful things to each other.  I had been drinking…remember it was Pride and I could tell he had been drinking too.  That was one of mom’s complaints about the days he would come stay with her..  He drank too much.  Of course that pissed me off because I was with her 24/5 out of the week working my ass off to meet her every need and desire..  But that was also my choice and privilege because I didn't have a job so I had the time to be with her.  Bob had a full time job so he did what he could to help out.  But like many things in life…or in life according to Kurt, it wasn’t perfect.

At one point we thought it would be a good idea to have my nephew come stay with his “Grams” to help out.  He was very close to and loved his grandmother.  He was a good person to come fill in for a few hours when I needed to go to my own doctor’s appointments or do errands, etc.  But unfortunately that ended horribly too.  Sadly my nephew followed in my brothers earlier footsteps; they were like carbon copies of each other. Of course I blamed my brother for much of that.  Austin is stubborn and has made some very poor choices in his life that affected the entire family.  Maybe I was feeling self righteous but nobody else was getting through to Austin and I had pretty much lost respect for him so I “banned” him from coming back to his grandmother’s house.  He did get to come and say goodbye to her shortly before she died, seeing how he reacted to that situation, how emotional it was for him made me feel like the biggest shithead.  Im glad he got to see her one last time.
Yes he did something horrible, but his addiction made him do what he did.  It had nothing to do with his love for his grandmother.

As Bob and I have gotten older we have both mellowed out.  I also want to point out that I was NO angel.  I had my bad habits and made plenty of poor decisions in my life too.  Maybe I thought my poor choices weren't as bad as my brothers because they didn’t affect anyone else....or so I thought.  I don’t know how much about my own drug addiction my brother knows about, but he’s no dummy.  I’m sure he could see it during the really bad years.

Mom died on August 26th 2012.  I have seen my brother 4 times since then.  Once was the morning after she died.  He was very generous to me that morning.  The next time was when I went to his house to drop off some stuff from his childhood that mom had stored away, it was very awkward.  The 3rd time was when I met him in a parking lot to give him dad’s ashes to be spread out at sea together with moms. The fourth time was in the hospital after trying to end my life, I barely remember that.  All of those times occurred in 2012.  So it’s been awhile.

Over the years I have stopped blaming my brother for all our problems. Now I blame the circumstances of our lives.   We just don’t have a lot in common, he’s much older, and we had different upbringings, different lifestyles, after he graduated high school when I was only about 6 years old or so he was gone, he began his life.  Sure he was still around at times but all the tickle torture and throwing me in the pool days were gone, no more loving attention.  I felt like he was always pushing me away, emotionally or physically when I got a little older.

So right now its 4:30 AM on Wednesday, August 06, 2014.   I’m trying to figure out how to end this letter/blog post.  I’m not expecting any major changes to our relationship, when we talk on the phone there isn't anything to talk about really.
I guess sending each other birthday cards, Christmas cards would be nice.  Just a reminder that I still have some family out there. Hmmm see I guess that’s one thing that gets to me.  One of my best friends has my “will” and last wishes.  I've never done the forms for a medical directive because I don’t know who to put that burden on.

After almost 2 weeks in the hospital this past January (a non mental health issue) and a surgery in February that may have been Cancer, these are things I really started to think about.  How would my brother even know if something would happen to me?  Would my niece see it on Facebook then tell my brother?   How awful.  So I guess that was one of the main reasons I wanted to open up the lines of communication. As I have said time and time again is that my biggest fear is dying alone.. It’s sad, but I don’t see any great things happening in our future to celebrate.  I’m not getting married and having kids.  I would like it very much if Bob were to get married again to Manuela, but Im sure that would be pretty low key.  Its sad to think that our best years are behind us.

Oh well, I don’t know what else to say and I don’t want to turn this into a 6 page letter.

So there it is.

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Funny & Hypocritical Things We Do When We Lose Tolerance by Shannon L. Adler

10 Funny Things People “SHOULD NOT DO” When Dealing With People They Don’t Like:

1. You passive aggressively ignore them, in order to feel like you have a sense of control over the situation. While you feel gleeful for your false sense of intelligence, you don’t realize that person never left your mind, and they actually have control over you because you’re still angry. In the end, you end up being the one that is being controlled and looks silly.

2. You point out all their flaws to your friends and want to expose their character to the world. Yet, you believe that anyone of good character will overlook your own flaws because Christ, Buddha or any other head of your theology was the type of person that taught revenge---NOT!

3. You use the power of religion to do your hating for you. You enjoy the fact that bad Karma is coming their way and rejoice in it. Alternatively, you let your ego rejoice in the thought that God loves humbling people for you, by punishing them with a great tragedy. In the process, you sin or bring bad Karma on yourself (regardless of theology), for being a hateful beotch and wanting their demise.

4. You have to prove to them that you are better, by spending your time in accomplishing a project that will say, “Hey, look at me. Nanny Nanny boo boo. I am cooler than you.” Of course, when you don’t get the reaction you want, after spending so much time in your vengeance, you fall into a deep depression that wastes more time.

5.You resort to categorizing people, in order to feel a false sense of self worth. You enjoy labeling people as bad, worse, fake or evil. Yet, while you are doing this, you are teaching this to your children (the cycle continues) and of course, someone is going to do it to them. In addition, when you’re 90 years old and are paranoid and bitter from always trying to “one up” everyone, the nursing staff will label you also. You will be the mean patient that is left on the bedpan forever because no one wants to be around a judgmental old goat.

6. You pick on all the pretty people in the world to make you feel better for the looks you don’t feel like you possess. All pretty people have to be stupid or shallow, right? You ignore their degrees, education, accomplishments, charity work, contributions, and the work it took to get there. It must have been handed to them because they were pretty—ya right.

7. You believe that telling all your church friends how evil and fake someone is will make you look like a spiritual giant in their eyes. Then you don’t communicate with the person or offer them any compassion. Instead, you harass, stalk, demean and gossip about them to make you feel better.  You believe seeking to understand or have empathy is optional in this world because---"Why would I ever want to learn the lesson of forgiveness, compassion or communication to resolve conflicts? This is how I always do things and it really has been working for me—NOT!"

8. You develop a twisted theology that believes other people’s bad karma validates your worth, or that Christ wins because he is eager to punish people that hurt you because you believe your righteousness can be validated or vindicated by other people’s failures. In essence, you have incorporated your hatred into a twisted theological view on justice, that doesn’t make sense.

9. You believe that you don’t owe anyone an apology when he or she apologizes to you because you are the victim, and anything you do in retaliation is justified, by God. You actually believe that God will forgive you, when you don’t reach out to others that ask for compassion. Nor, do you believe you are required by God to offer them an apology for your hatred. In the end, you become the fake person you tried to destroy.

10. You don't allow people of spiritual influence to say or do anything less than the words they preach because they have to maintain freedom from sin 24/7. You actually believe that wisdom comes from healed pain and stupidity can’t be repeated by the wise. Thus, not realizing that wisdom comes whenever it wants—before, after or during trials. Therefore, you conveniently choose not to remember that God works through your enemies, even when they are not perfect, because he doesn’t see them as your enemy--you do. He has a plan for them, but it doesn’t involve you pushing them to the brink of suicide or defaming their life, in order to give you a false sense of worth, value, happiness or control.