Monday, August 01, 2011

as should be obvious, i have gone on blogging hiatus due to a series of health problems, and the availability of more convenient new forms of internet communication. should i begin to journal again, this will be the location for that journal. follow me on twitter at @bandanajack.


Sunday, December 14, 2008


it would appear that if my brain goes on strike, as it does in overwhelming times, i may not be able to generate or create, but it also is true that when a statement or idea has tweaked my brain, commenting, either in internal dialog or written word is inevitable. since i have a drought of ideas here, and wrote a small pamphlet in a response, i thought i might as well quote myself here at home. if my family and friends are reading here as i have encouraged them to do, well you know who you are and thank you too.
BIRDIE, wrote in part:
I think that most of the straight population has been complacent on the issue of gay rights primarily because they think they don't know someone who is gay, and they don't understand how the issue hurts a fellow human being. Catchphrases, shiny mass-produced signs and rhyming chants are not going to positively influence most of those who aren't already in agreement. Straight people need to know the stories behind those signs, songs, and slogans.

After and between the rallies, whether you attend or not, you have the critical moment of public awareness. How do you use it? By telling your story. Not necessarily to the world, although some will take that risk. But step up and tell your story to those who already know you. Tell them what it feels like to be left behind; how it feels to struggle for rights that straight people take for granted like breathing; and what it is to be made to feel less than fully human for being different. Put a face on this issue. Come out, come out, wherever you are. This war will be fought on many fronts, but it will be won in heart-to-heart encounters by people like you.

and one of her posters asked:

So, okay, you've outlined what looks to me like a viable strategy for spreading the news. How do I, as a straight ally, "come out" to the people who know me already?

this was my straight from the gut/heart response:
you know, birdie et friends, after years of protests, demonstrations, police confrontations, letters to the editor, sit ins and the like, some of which resulted in my being tear gassed or night sticked, and seeing so very little progress, i had all but given up trying ro bring about social change, especially employing reason, constitutionality or morality as hoped for common ground.

i went about repairing my tattered life, bit by bit, first by getting sober, later by helping others get sober, and/or being a good listener in times of emotional distress. always throughout this, upon entering a helping relationship, or even a close emotional friendship, there was the annoying but mandatory coming out explanation, ESPECIALLY with men. it was rarely an issue up front, although on occasion it became a putative reason for backing off, usually when truths i was telling became uncomfortable. most of those "breakups" found there way back over the years. the others found a more deceitful comfort in the bottle or drugs.

always, i was the gay man who didn't take advantage of a situation, even on those rare occasions when emotions became confused.

so, from what you are saying, i was never disengaged from this revolution at all, just fighting a quieter fight.

this has become more obvious in the years since i found a way to get on line. the computer gave me a voice that could be heard by any newspaper, any legislator, any advertiser, any network, any religious institution, any school hierarchy, any commentator, and indeed, even the office of the president of the USA. and at one time or another they all have.

and i have made sure those "protégés " of mine KNEW how these issues affected me and mine. at first i was lucky to perhaps have sensitized them to the issues, and then, sometimes, even in the marine corps, they would hear some crap that just got to be too much, and would speak up. and then they married, and i became parts of those families, and their wives and children, and even their families of origin in some cases became aware of the injustices as well.

it would seem that single handedly, just by being out and being me, i have moved the national conversation a few clicks in the right direction.

in reply to the question of how can a straight person help.
by doing the same thing
. and know this, for it is fact, your words and commitment mean more to the end result than mine. they have more weight, and they become part of conversations i would never be privy too. without you and the risks YOU take coming out, we are just too small and too segmented a group to ever achieve equality, as we have no characteristic or geography to unite us, and indeed, even are families of origin are often devoid of understanding or support. you are esential to the mix!

thank you,


Friday, December 12, 2008


well, i have discovered the down side of blogging... with real readers. a nagging sense of responsibility.

i have returned home, and am, presumably , on the mend, but i am overwhelmed by the backlog spawned by a well developed habit of procrastination and dropping out of one's daily life for over a week. i have a bit less energy than usual, and admittedly, that was in short supply to start with.

i am supposed to be on bed rest, with the bum leg elevated most of the time. if you have lived alone, now or in the past, you know how blooming impossible that is. while the infection seems about whipped, aided by copious continued oral antibiotics, the obscene edema has not abated. it took a few days of missed communications, but i secured an appointment with the internal specialist who was treating me in the hospital, as was recommended, for later on today. although, against recommendation, i have to rely on the scooter for transportation, and OF COURSE the office is clear across town. maybe something or someone will turn up to make that unnecessary, but i won't hold my breath.

my frustration here in blogland is that while i do have a couple hospital stories to relate, i have yet to learn the knack of typing on my belly or with my leg raised higher than my laptop.

and so, my friends, i must cut this short and get my foot back up for the next few hours... again.


Sunday, December 07, 2008


well, unbelievably, it is 6 days since i entered the hospital. it isn't that i have been horribly anguished or in pain, so much as this is apparently one bitch of an infection to kill off. i have been on IV antibiotics the entire time, as i still am. in the past day i have rapidly improved on that front, but the remaining and increased edema is a troubling anomaly. i haven't been chomping at the bit to get out, though what i will find on my voicemail is worrisome, because my plans and responsibilities coming up have been so thoroughly disrupted they couldn't get worse because of a day or two. i will still have some bedrest and oral antibiotics to deal with, and that is pretty hard to pull off in my circumstances.

the food and service are pretty good here as well...

television, now that i can actually look at it, still sucks.

tonight's nurse is CHAD... really.

next week i'll tell you about my various roommates.


Tuesday, December 02, 2008


well, that high didn't last long. the day after i posted all my good news i started feeling sickly, that evening i knew for sure i was sick so i actually went to bed all tucked in at a reasonable hour for me. the following day i could scarcely navigate on rubber legs with a worse headache and achier joints and muscles. i toughed it out through the day, thinking it would pass, and it appeared to be letting up somewhat... silly rabbit.

still sick the next morning, headache of the migraine caliber, and while i am not a sufferer, i DO know what they are like from intimate acquaintance, nauseous and aching all over, but blessedly able to walk, if unsteadily. AHA, now i have outlasted it, he thought. and the next day he woke up with a swollen reddened leg. that one i knew from past experience. cellulitis or phlebitis. neither to be messed with, and ugly and painful to boot. fortunately my erstwhile helpful neighbor was just as helpful again, and drove me up to the emergency room.

after 5 hours and a battery of scans, i was finally brought to the accelerated admission unit. accelerated being a relative term. just under an hour and a half later, they found a room for me. outside of the speed, the service has been nothing but excellent, and there were any number of good looking medical types to pass the time ogling.

i won't discuss the indignities of hauling an IV drip to the can. you either already know, or you will one day. at least i quit smoking a long time ago, so i don't have to schlep outside to catch a few drags.

then there is the wisdom, or lack thereof, of going to the hospital with nowt but the clothes on your back. in my defense i didn't KNOW they were going to admit me, although it had crossed my mind. i did remembered to bring my computer and my cell, so i am connected.

i'll update when i know more...


Friday, November 28, 2008


how nice to have a day of non-events.

a good neighbor who has gone out of his way to be helpful volunteered to take me on a wal-mart run, the better to stock up on bargain items i can only afford there, and a few that are only carried there. on average i drop $1oo there a visit if i only go once a month. thanks to his prodding, that was done before noon. left to my own devices i would be racing the sunset home.

once the groceries were properly assimilated, and email had been checked, i remembered another chore i had been wanting to get to for a while and so i saddled up my trusty (crosses fingers) steed and took my tax returns and "stimulus" check and opened a new checking account at a nearby bank. i was quite happy with my current soon to be former bank, but they don't have a downtown branch, and i am tired of schlepping. i can now bank roughly a mile in either direction, towards downtown, publix , and the bennet's fresh grind, or the opposite direction towards the bargain markets and thrift shop .

buzzing around at the end of november in a t-shirt and shorts (you gotta love south florida, politics notwithstanding), running everyday errands for myself, just like regular people, even accomplishing what i set out to do, it all just felt so good.

oh yeah, and the sunset, which i didn't get a picture of this time, was subtly, rather than spectacularly, gorgeous.

one last grace note and on to the news of the world, what there is being reported on a holiday weekend, and blogging same.

a friend i had been trying to contact for important personal reasons finally called, and that conversation had a positive conclusion as well. maybe the cloud of depression and anxiety i have been living under has evaporated for a while. i wish for you all, whoever you may be, that your day went as gently, and if not that this report gives you hope for YOUR better days.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008


an impossibly lovely rainbow photographed by a friend in the netherlands

i thought the rainbow was an appropriate beginning for this post, as there is so much renewed hope in my life right now, and because the rainbow speaks in so many ways to the quest for equal status for glbt folks here in the USA, and everywhere. H/T... CONNY

while the 2008 presidential election brought us the good news of the end to the power of an ever increasingly hostile political environment, and the hope of good and fair governance, desperately needed at this time, it brought one of the most sweeping defeats in decades. four referendum driven constitutional amendments viciously punitive to both gays and children. those rights guaranteed by the constitutions, both state and federal were disregarded with gleeful abandon. after the initial shock and disappointment, the calumny of the passing of prop 8 in california, redacting the state constitution to create a lesser class of people not worthy of the same rights as the rest of californians, people, both gay and straight, began to react... and to protest. at the end of a week of daily demonstrations, a national day of protest was hastily organized, and word spread via the internet. the challenge was more than met. perhaps a million citizens hit the streets, from coast to coast, and even beyond to other nations, demonstrating in solidarity.

it is at this point that life got really interesting.

not one to remain silent when my friends around the country were having their say, i decided to carry the protest to the place that i live, ft myers, florida. since i saw no signs of any activity in the area, i just made me a sign and went to city hall. i stayed for 2 hours and then went home. while i was there, the one other person interested and aware enough to see if anything was happening used my phone to snap a picture of me with my sign, to post for my friends to see that i was with them in spirit. this is that photo.

i also sent that photo to be included in andy towles' vast gallery of demonstration photos. apparently he was so moved by my demonstration of one, he made a featured mention of it, and the rest is history.
i received, both at my online community, and at the towleroad site, a great deal of positive feedback (blush). i thought nothing of the act, myself, but others felt differently.
frustrated at the lack of any gay community voice in this area, i decided to see if any of those who were also angry wanted to do something about it. as it turned out, 5 local guys were willing to take time out of their day to come and discuss the idea. the article and the response to it captured the imagination of the editor of the SOUTH FLORIDA BLADE, dan renzi, and he drove all the way over from miami to offer support and counsel.
we met at a local coffee house, which we later found out was very gay friendly, and had the best meeting most of us had ever had. what came of that meeting was the commitment to start a blog, an on line local voice speaking to gay issues large and small. that blog, GAY FORT MYERS, is now in existence, albeit in its infancy.
had this happened just weeks before, i would have still been buried in the mess i outlined before, not demonstrated, and none of us would know each other, and none of this would be happening.
sometimes serendipity looks a lot like a greater power.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


so, you would have thought we were close to the end of the story, eh? well, not really. i'm getting there, though, honestly.

all this time i had been and remained my mother's care giver and case manager. either job alone would have been more than i am equipped for, but both fell to me by default. adopted only child, so no sibs, no other close family alive still and no other family in the area, no agency with funding or manpower available, state and county social services worse than useless, and throughout my mother's independent living stay, a gradual but marked decline in daily living skills. somehow i was able to keep picking up the slack, but mental, physical and spiritual exhaustion were my constant companions.

without dwelling or going into great detail, early in this journey i had become my mother's power of attorney. prior to that we had agreed to pool expenses, which at least freed me to continue caring for her. once the POA came in force, that became something less than legal, the more so while under separate roofs. my finances rapidly became desperate, since a job was out of the question as i still had to look after my mother nearly full time, if you count the bureaucracy hours and the personal care hours, travel time and recuperative time.

still, i kept putting one foot in front of the other like an automaton. and then, my mother was stricken with a dysentery like illness that depleted her health and hygiene. in less than two weeks, in which controls did not work, she became sufficiently dehydrated to require hospitalization. this was to become, not unexpectedly, the end of her independent living days, and in fact she became and remains to damaged by health issues and dementia issues even to try for assisted living. she returned to her home's skilled nursing unit, and received the best care imaginable and amazingly patient efforts at rehabilitation. she was, however, at best uncooperative, and at worst combative... and at times nearly vegetative. she remained like this, and was removed finally from rehab therapy, after several valiant months, as i, and to some extent staff, prepared for her passing.

and then she got better...

we guess she just decided to adapt. she is now largely pleasant, she knows who i am and what my name is, and is grateful to both the facility and myself for the care she is getting and the comfortable surroundings she finds herself in. HUH?

throughout this the struggle to address my financial woes, and her awkward position of making too much to qualify for many aid packages and too little on which to survive, kept me awake at nights (figuratively speaking, as i am almost always awake at night) wondering how it will all end.

this story is NOW almost over. her medicare ran out, medicaid has unmet legal requirements that i was unable to address, and then; a stroke of luck.

i figured out with luck and research that there is such a thing as a public guardian, tracked down the one for our county, and against all odds, he had a slot available for a new charge. as of two weeks ago, the court papers making him her guardian, and freeing me to begin bailing out my own sinking ship were signed by a judge. he will now take over her case at the point it is at, and take it from there. he probably won't like me for a while, as he untangles all the loose ends. so be it.

right around this time of rediscovered personal life, there was an election... and some constitutional amendments.

what the results were, what that meant to me, and what i did is my next post.

if you got this far, bless you for patience. i will try to bring this all up to date tomorrow, so we can talk about all the interesting todays.

peace, out.


Monday, November 24, 2008


yup... that's the view in my front yard, the caloosahatchee river, right around 8pm of a summer's eve.

looks pretty idyllic, doesn't it ?

let's see how quickly i can sum up the past year or so.


i can replay the decisions that took me down this road, and eventually to this point, and darned if i can see how i could have morally done anything different. and i am not a particularly noble person. i generally figure its my job to think of myself first, as there is no one else in my life who will do so, but this time i got trumped by a power greater than myself. less than a year after i relocated down here, and after some unfortunate experience with an apartment share that turned out to be less than legitimate, costing me the majority of my barely prudent cash reserve, i had just gotten comfortably settled into a pleasant, non-dramatic apartment share with a very sweet and hospitable lady who was the antithesis of my last experience, when my dear old mum perversely decided that NOW she was ready to return to florida for the weather and to be near me. i won't even go into the frustrating years of maybe i will/maybe i won't that preceded that decision, nor how much easier it would have been for us to relocate simultaneously (oy).

so, despite counsel to the contrary, i lept into the breech, found a very pleasant, affordable 2/2 elder housing unit to share with her until i was certain she could navigate on her own. combining expenses would be a thrifty bonus.

here's where the drama REALLY kicks in. my mother, a durable 82, it turns out isn't simply negative and obdurate, she has some form of dementia. this had not been as obvious in the tight little routine in which she had been living up north, but was greatly exacerbated by the upset of moving and the change of venue.

as difficult as an elderly parent with alzheimer's, as it turned out she had, is for anyone, it was far worse for me subsisting on social security and without a car. i haven't the time or stamina to rehash the next 6 months, but it was harrowing to say the least. and not easily comprehended by those nearest and dearest to me. friendships were strained to the breaking point, but all i could do is put one foot in front of the other and just try to hold on, forgiving myself for what i was unable to accomplish, and reminding myself of how much i was accomplishing.

by the end of last year, i had my mother in an independent living (very cocooned, thankfully) apartment, the old shared apartment closed up, and myself moved into one of the nicest locations of my life, and only a mile upriver from my mother's posh digs. there proved, as is always the case, to be some flies in the ointment, but the serenity of the dock and the river proved to be balm over the year that followed...


Monday, June 26, 2006


royal poinciana branch in flower, punta gorda, florida
well... its high time i updated this journal.

many things have changed, even since i last updated and repurposed this little experiment. i want this to be a place where my friends and family can find out what i have been up to lately, but i am finding out that it may be a whole lot better to stick to that which i have done rather than speak about intentions. the designer seems to have different plans than little old me.

although i had long lived in florida, and had considered it all used up for my purposes, a recent lengthy visit to southwest florida with my friend john V. who is in the process of relocating with his family to punta gorda for a new job opportunity has persuaded me otherwise. it was a lovely stay, and the climate and the pace, and even the work opportunities seemed custom made for me at this time in my life. as did the chance to live near a long time friend and his family in a setting we could all enjoy. it will also be a less stressful and more affordable move at this time.

the die is cast, the rubicon is crossed. to fort myers i go for as long as it seems i am supposed to be there.

my time of preoccupation with another web community is coming to a close, so i hope to be a good bit more faithful in reporting feelings, events, and even images in this journal. few will see it currently, but as it begins to take shape, i will be welcoming visitors from all over the globe.