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...