Sixties

Sixties (27)

Friday, 04 September 2015 19:48

9/4/15- Liberals vs Conservatives

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I am proud of being a progressive liberal Democrat. I am proud of the accomplishments of progressive liberal Democrats. The list of accomplishments is long: the Womens Suffrage, Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act, forty hour workweek, the minimum wage, overtime, Social Security, Unemployment, rural electrification, FDIC, Federal Home Loan Program, Guaranteed Student Loans, School Lunch Programs, Medicare, Medicaid, Family and Medical Leave Act, NATO, the GI Bill, the Peace Corps, Moon Mission, The Affordable Care Act, Endangered Species Act, Environmental Laws, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Americans With Disabilities Act, Freedom of Information Act, Women’s right to control their own bodies, Food Stamps, Peace between Israel and Egypt. The Department of Education. The Department of Energy. The Department of Transportation. The Department of Housing and Urban Development. Food Safety Laws. Workplace Safety Laws and on and on and on. These were all accomplished because of progressive liberal Democrats. 

 

Economically, the country was at it’s best from F.D.R. until Reagan. Before F.D.R., the Republican president, Herbert Hoover, brought us the Great Depression. F.D.R. pulled us out of the Republican Great Depression and we were most prosperous and built the best infrastructure up until the 80's. Tax rates were high on the rich and everybody did well. It only took one income to support a family of four. Education was practically free. Health care was provided by real non-profits at very low cost. All of that started to change after Ronald Reagan. Trickle down economics never worked for the people- only the rich. It brought us the Savings and Loan debacle. It led to the Republican Great Recession. 

 

 

Left, liberal, progressive, Democrats

Right, conservative, Teaparty, Republicans

 

 

 

Choice

Believe in small government when it comes to a a woman's right to choose and that the best way to reduce abortions is to provide sex education and contraception.

Believes in “big government” when it comes to dictating what a woman does with her body. Anti-contraception and anti-sex education.

Affirmative Action

Attempt at leveling the playing field a little to mediate historic white privelege.

Nothing should be done to mediate historic white privelege.

Death Penalty

Pro-life. Impossible to apply equally so unfair- used more on poor and people of color. The government should not be in business of murder. Too many innocents are killed. Uncivilized.

Old Testament eye for an eye revenge mentality. Doesn't matter if it is unfair or if a few innocent people are killed.

Economy

Government has role in regulating banks, corporations and big business to protect regular people from being ripped off. Antitrust laws for benefit of consumers. Bottom-up economy says that consumer spending is what creates jobs. Government uses tax policies to redistribute wealth to the other 99% that created the wealth by work.

Minimally regulated banks, corporations and big business. Government uses tax policies to redistribute wealth from the working class that created the wealth, to the top 1%. Says rich people and corporations create jobs and some of the wealth will eventually trickle down from the top to the working and middle class.

Education

Universal public education. College should be affordable. Students should not be in debt the rest of their lives for an education. There should be some Federal guidelines to education in a mobile society and some universal standards so that religion is not taught as a substitute for science.

Anti-public education. Wants tax-payer money to support private schools. Want local government and parents to dictate what is taught. No global standards. Creationism is equal to evolution. The earth is 6,000 years old. Humans lived with dinasaurs.

Environment

Climate change is real and man contributes to it. Believe renewable energy is the future.

Climate change is not real. Pro-coal. Pro-nuclear. Believe renewable energy is a waste of time and money.

Gun Control

Believe in reasonable regulations to decrease gun violence while still allowing for hunting and sport. Believes in the actual wording of the Constitution but will go along with the Supreme Court's right wing decision on this. Acknowledge that those writing the Constitution could only conceive of muskets and would have never imagined the weaponry that has been created since. Compares our gun culture with other developed nations.

Goes along with the gun industries twisting, misreading and misinterpretation of the 2nd Amendment. Think everybody should have a gun. Believe that we have to protect ourselves from the government. Don't really care about gun violence in this country. Their only solution is “more guns.”

 

 

 

Healthcare

Believe in Canadian and European style single payer health care systems. Support the Affordable Care Act as a compromise since it was essentially written by Republicans but ultimate goal is single payer. Take profits out of healthcare. Healthcare is a right.

Believe in profit motivated healthcare that benefits insurance company C.E.O.'s. Believe that healthcare is a privelege for those that can afford it. Everybody else has the emergency room.

Homeland Security.

Oppose Patriot Act.

Supports big government intrusion into people's private lives if it results in a perceived increase in security.

Immigration

Believe in penalizing employers that employ undocumented workers. E-Verify. Understand that the economy could not function without some migrant farmworkers. Believe that anybody driving on American roads should be required to have a driver's license. Believe that providing healthcare to immigrants benefits all because viruses and bacteria do not discriminate.

No actual policies for dealing with immigration beyond building a wall. Much of the rhetoric is based in obvious racism rather than logic or reason.

Religion

Believe in Separation of Church and State.

Want the U.S. to be a “Christian” nation. Theocracy. Christians should be able to impose their beliefs on non-Christians.

Sam Sex Marriage

All individuals have an equal right to marriage and it's benefits.

Big government should dictate who can get married and Christians should dictate big government policies for all to follow.

Social Security

Want to secure Social Security for the future and possibly expand it. There are reasonable means to this end. Not necessary to raise age or decrease amounts.

Want to get rid of Social Security or at least make people wait longer for it or decrease the amounts they receive.

Taxes

Lower taxes for the working poor and middle class. Raise taxes on the rich. The economy was best between FDR and Ronald Reagan when tax rates higher on rich and corporations and countries infrastructure was built. Against welfare for rich corporations.

Lower taxes on the rich. Redistribute wealth from the working poor and middle class to the top 1%. Welfare for the rich in the form of tax subsidies.

U.N.

Believe it is possible to support the U.N. without subverting national interests because it does try to promote peace and human rights.

Xenophobic, isolationsist and nationalistic. Hates the U.N.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Iraq war

Bush's war for oil. We were lied into an unnecessary war. The Iraq war resulted in trillions of dollars lost and thousands dead. It is not up to the United States to fight on any side of a civil war in Iraq. The people of the middle East need to fight their own wars.

Believe Iraq was somehow connected with 9/11. Believe that the U.S. should be the world police. Believe we can just go into a country and take their oil or other resources. Primarily chicken-hawks, looking to send our young to any war they can find or create.

Defending against terrorist acts

Depends on covert operations and targeted air stikes and drone strikes, minimizing civilan casualties as much as possible.

Wants boots on the ground. Civilian casualties of minimal concern. Wants war with Iran.

Welfare

For feeding children, the working poor and those with disabilities. For raising the minimum wage that would eliminate need for assistance by those working full time at low paying, minimum wage jobs.

Corporate welfare is okay but feeding children is not. Corporations deserve our tax dollars in the form of subsidies.

 

 

Monday, 06 July 2015 18:25

2011-7. Alex 16-18 & Pics

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alex

In 1974, when I had just started working at Saint Francis Hospital in San Francisco, my younger brother, David, came to live with me. He was 16 at the time and I was 24. At the time he arrived, I was living in a ten dollar a week room over The Rainbow Cattle Company on the corner of Valencia and Duboce (That story can be found here: Rainbow Cattle Company). Dad had left David’s mother, Irene, and had remarried Deanna, who would eventually murder him. Dad had apparently thrown Donna, David and Hebert out of the house when he married Deanna. Their Mother, Irene, had moved to Sunnyside, Washington.

 

David and I got an apartment on Larkin street shortly after he arrived and he lived with me until he turned eighteen. I had just finished the Psychiatric Technician program and was familiar with behavioral contracts and wrote out a contract with David specifying that he was expected to work and go to school. 

 

In the eighties, for some reason that I will have to try to remember some time, Darlene’s son, Chris Tasker came to live with Milton and I. He was sixteen when he arrived and was 18 when he left. I also used a written behavioral contract with Chris. (The story about Waller Street can be found here: 465 Waller Street)

 

By 2011, Milton and I had been living in Vallejo for quite a while and my Nissan was on it’s last legs. Milton thought I should just donate it for a tax write off but I thought the car had some useful life in it still and so offered to give it to Misty’s son, Sean, if they would come down and pick it up. Milton was worried that it would not make it up to Washington but it did and lasted Sean another year or so after that and helped him get moved out of Yakima, over to Everett. 

 

Misty decided to bring Sean’s younger brother, Alex, down to pick up the Nissan. I really didn’t know any of Misty’s kids very well. Little kids are just not very interesting to me. Wynter was the oldest and I had seen her a couple times when she was an adolescent. She had come down to Vallejo with Darlene and her brother Sean and her cousin, C.J., and a girlfriend of hers. Sean was the youngest on that trip and I don’t remember much about him from that time. I had also visited with Wynter on one of the get together’s in Spokane. When Misty brought Alex down to pick up the Nissan, he was sixteen and would turn 17 in a few months. 

 

Darlene had spoke of her grandson, Alex, at various times as he was growing up. For the two years prior to his coming down with Misty, Darlene and Misty had called me multiple times about Alex. He had various somatic complaints and the doctors in Yakima seemed baffled. He had not been to school for two years because of various symptoms. Misty took him to Seattle and multiple tests were done and the doctors were unable to find a physiological basis for Alex's symptoms

 

Misty and Alex stayed for a couple of days in May with us when they came down to pick up my old Nissan which I was giving to Sean. I took them on a tour of San Francisco. The Story, pics and video of Misty and Alex’s visit in May of 2011 can be found here: 2011- May- Misty and Alex Visit

 

Within a couple months of Misty and Alex picking up the Nissan, I was talking to Darlene and asked about Alex and how he was doing. Darlene told me that he had asked her if she thought Milton and I would let him come and live with us. I was kind of surprised by this but did discuss it with Milton. As I mentioned previously, I had already parented David from 16 to 18, and then Milton and I had parented Chris from 16 to 18, and now here was another 16 year old that was having problems. When David had lived with me, he was less than 10 years younger than me so we had quite a bit in common and I had known him all his life. When Chris had come to live with Milton and I, I had also known Chris all of his life. Alex seemed so much younger than David and Chris had been. I had only spent a few hours with Alex in his entire life up until then. I really didn’t know him much at all. 

 

Milton and I discussed whether we were ready to deal with another teenager in our lives. We had both liked Alex and both felt he was in some deep trouble, although we were still not sure exactly what that trouble was. I had spent part of my life in Yakima Valley and knew how awful it had been for me. There were really no opportunities there for growth and development and people were very narrow minded. There was a lot of alcoholism and drug abuse as well. It was around this same time that there were news accounts of a rash of young kids in the United States committing suicide. I had just made my own, “It Get’s Better” video which was part of an anti-suicide campaign, telling kids that life does get better if they can get past childhood and their teen years.

 

As I said, Milton and I really didn't know Alex very well and he did not know us, so we decided that he could come down for a trial visit for a couple of weeks to decide if he wanted to live with Milton and I in Vallejo and to see if Milton and I could actually tolerate someone staying with us again. During that visit, we discussed what some of the rules would be if he were to want to live with us. Like David and Chris before him, I wrote up a "contract" that specified our expectations (a pdf of that original contract can be found here). We tried to make it as clear as possible to Alex that we had expectations for his stay with us and that he was not coming to make new friends, for a vacation or just to play and have fun. We recognized that his life was out of control and he needed limits, boundaries, rules, supervision and goals. Although Alex never did follow the contract to the letter, it was a good starting point to make expectations clear.  

 

Alex flew down in August of 2011. We got him enrolled in an online school for homeschooling and bought him some new clothes and shoes. I bought him a gray fedora that he seemed to love and everyone loved it on him.

 

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Alex1stday6flagsAs we approached his 18th birthday, we got him a drivers license and studied for the High School Equivalency test which he did pass. I helped him write a resume and he got his first job at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom and then a second job at a local bowling alley. Since Milton and I paid for everything and he had no expenses, Alex was able to save up a good chunk of money from these jobs and we began looking for a rental in San Francisco.

 

We found a place on 25th Avenue in The City for $750 that Alex liked. It had two rooms, a microwave and small refrigerator. He signed the lease five days before his 18th birthday. Within a week or so he had a job in San Francisco and shortly thereafter, he was enrolled at City College of San Francisco. He had come an incredible distance from when he had first arrived. 

 

These are some pics and video from the period that Alex lived with us in Vallejo. 

 

The story, pics and video of the vacation we took Alex on to L.A. and then the Mexican Riviera cruise on the Carnival Splendor can be found at this link: 2012- March- Carnival Splendor Mexican Riviera with Family

 

Always interested in images, whether they are oil paintings, silk screens, videos or photography, I created two sets of "Alex photos." The first, I called "Alex in Black and White."  The other, I called "Alex in Color." Then I also made a short video including both and called it "Alex in Black and White and Color." I used a song he liked for a soundtrack. 

 

 

 

Alex in Black and White:

 

BWAlex2bwalex3bwalex4BWalex5bwalex6bwalex7bwalex8bwalex9bwalex10bwAlexbw1

 

Alex in Color:

 

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Miscellaneous pics:

 

alexandjakeonridealexfeathers2alexjakedrenchedalexjakeleslielexiesylvanalex 

 

 

Wednesday, 17 June 2015 19:35

2011-4. Old Man Dancing

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Dancing has always been important to me. I know that is a pretty broad word, though. There are so many different types of dancing. One of my earliest memories is of my Grandmother laughing and appreciating my dancing as a pre-school kid. I also have fond memories of dancing with my cousin, Mary Griffin at the Candy Shop in Palouse when I was about 12 or 13. We did the twist and I could do a backbend, practically to the floor. In 1964, I remember going to dances in Escondido. The Gay Disco Seventies was a decade of disco dancing. In the eighties, I frequented Page Hodel's club called "The Box" which was located on Divisadero Street in San Francisco. Through the rest of my life, until the present, I still love to go dancing. This is one of the things I enjoy so much about gay cruises. There is a Tea Dance every afternoon and a dancing party every night. I still visit various gay clubs in San Francisco to dance. Badlands, on 18th Street, in the Castro is the most consistent for being a place with decent dj's that play decent music for dancing. 

When I say "decent music for dancing," I mean "disco" and it's descendent which is now just called "dance music." Of course, different people would have different definitions of what "decent dance music" consists of. For me, 9 out of 10 songs for dancing should have vocals. Instrumentals,  electronica, and techno are boring. Most techno is interchangeable and just drones on and on. A lot of D.J.'s seem to love techno. I haven't quite figured out why. Maybe D.J.'s like it because it is probably easier to "mix" as it is all very similar, with similar beats per minute. Nobody really notices where one song ends and another begins. Songs with vocals may require a little more creativity from D.J.'s to mix one song into the next. 

A friend has told me that you have to be on drugs like ecstasy to enjoy techno. Maybe that's true. My friend says that people on ecstasy like the predictability and lack of variation of techno. I personally hate techno. 

When I was young, I did try some modern jazz dance classes and tap dancing classes but didn't follow through with either but do love seeing modern jazz in musicals like "West Side Story," or tap dancing in so many classic musicals. 

Milton and I tried "country-western" dancing with gay groups but counting 1-2-3, 1-2-3 and trying to stay in time was a little more difficult for Milton so we quite going to the classes. Sometimes I think it would be fun to take ballroom dancing but have never got around to actually doing it. 

In 2011, I was determined to lose a few pounds and so I started yet another diet and started exercising yet again to burn off calories. My favorite form of exercise is dancing. I have found that if I go to a gay club and dance for a couple of hours, I could lose a couple pounds in one night. Probably most of it is water weight but some actual fat burns too. 

When I started my New Year's resolution diet January 7th, 2011, I thought it would be helpful to take a little video so, when all the fat started melting off, I could look back and see where I started. Sadly, the fat never quite all "melted" off but I still have this video as an example of what an old man looks like when he dances. Me in my sixties. 

 

Sunday, 31 May 2015 01:37

2014- September Road Trip to San Diego

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CIMG3553I was planning to retire in a few months and had been interested in getting a 5th Wheel and truck at some point to travel around in. Actually, I have had this fantasy of some sort of travel trailer, 5th Wheel or Motorhome for some time. When he had bought the Ford Ranger back in the 90's, we got the tow package because we had been looking at Hi-Lo trailers that are lightweight enough to be towed by a small truck. We got the truck but never did get the trailer. 

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CIMG3539CIMG3540CIMG3542CIMG3543Over the years, my trailer fantasy morphed into a 5th Wheel fantasy. I discovered how much head room you have in a Fifth Wheel. Milton and I are both 6'4," (although I think he has shrank an itch somehow over the year, lol!). Trailers usually have ceilings of about 7 feet. A Fifth Wheel can have a ceiling of 10 feet or more. 

Since I was getting so close to my retirement and the possibility of something like a Fifth Wheel, I thought it would be a good idea to actually spend a few nights in one. I searched the internet for somebody that would rent a 5th Wheel and set it up in a park. I found just such a place in San Diego. They had a 34' Forest River Sandpiper that would be available September 4th through the 8th. We found Mission Bay RV Park, where they would deliver the Sandpiper and set it up for us. 

We had planned to take the train across country but then we got preoccupied with putting in the new shower and kind of lost interest in the train trip and decided just to do a road trip. Milton is going to give one week of his vacation back so will just be off a couple of weeks. I will take the whole three weeks. At this point, we have a reservation for a night in Santa Cruz overlooking the beach and boardwalk there and then a night in Morro Bay. Then we would arrive in San Diego on the 4th.

We decided that we would essentially follow the same itinerary that we did about 20 years previously. On that trip, we were still living on Waller Street in San Francisco and got a great rental deal on a Ford Mustang Convertible. We drove down Highway 1 with it's spectacular views through Big Sur. It is probably one of the most incredibly drives on the planet. 

Twenty years previously we had stayed in a room in Santa Cruz overlooking the ocean and boardwalk. I had long forgotten the name but remembered the location well and was able to track it down. Now named "The Dream Inn" or maybe it was always named that. It is a great place to stay in Santa Cruz! We had room 927. The view of the beach and boardwalk was breathtaking. We overheard people from the next-door room to us out on the balcony talking about seeing a whale. We went out on the balcony and looked and, although I couldn't see it at the time, I could see it in the video I took. 

After settling into the room, we took a walk down to the famous Santa Cruz Boardwalk. Like the other time we had stayed here, the park was not operating rides. The roller coaster was silent. Sea gulls sang. The sun shined down. It was a beautiful afternoon.

After our walk, we were getting hungry, so we walked back to the hotel and got the Prius. We drove around looking for someplace to eat. I think we ultimately just got Subway sandwiches and came back to the hotel. 

The next day, after leaving Santa Cruz, we would drive through Monterey. As we were leaving Monterey, we kept seeing all these cars parked precariously along the highway and bunches of people looking out at the ocean. It finally dawned on us that they were looking at whales, too! We stopped the car and, again, Milton was able to see the whales but my vision just didn't go that far. 

That night, we had a reservation at a Best Western in Morro Bay. It turned out that Milton remembered our staying there on the trip we had taken in the Mustang twenty years ago. It looked like it hadn't been remodeled since. The carpet had terrible stains. It looked like it might have been blood stains but I'm not sure of that. It did get my imagination going though! Was someone murdered in this room? Did they bleed out right here where we are spending the night? Milton didn't think it looked that bad so we stayed. We walked down the waterfront looking for something to eat. We found nothing there and so we returned to the motel and got the car and went driving through Morro Bay looking for food. We found a super market where we got some chicken and some sides and went back to the motel. CIMG3557

We had a great time in San Diego. I remember living there as a teen and under-appreciating it at the time. Of course, I used to get harassed quite a bit when I lived there because I had long hair and the police in San Diego at that time were like gestapo. It is a totally different experience as a conservative looking white senior citizen with gray hair. I had been to San Diego a couple of times as an adult and love the beauty of it. It is so impressive to me that they don't have high rises along the beaches and that so much waterfront has been set aside for the public. 

I was especially glad for the opportunity to sleep in a 5th wheel for the first time. It was interesting. Neither of us realized that they jiggled so much! That took a little getting used to like being on a cruise and getting used to the motion of the ship. David said that you can minimize the jiggle with some accessories and we would probably want to do that if we owned one. 

The living space was in the 5th Wheel we rented adequate but decor a little dated. We brought all of our own blankets, pillows and linens so it did get to feeling homey right away. One of the things that was nice was that the ceiling in the bedroom was high enough that we could stand up. Of course it was still a tight space. I was glad I brought a face mask to sleep with as the window treatments still let a lot of light in even when the shades closted. One thing I have never been able to understand about traliers and 5th wheels is that almost all the companies use a window valance and most of them are pretty awful. Milton and I would need black out curtains as we take naps during the day and like it to be dark in the bedroom. I am not sure that any of the 5th wheels would come with that standard.
 
Besides horrendous window treatments, most trailers and 5th wheels we have seen down through the years have garish coordinated uphostery and wallpapers with flowery or filigree designs that are rarely to my own taste. If I do decide to get a 5th wheel, I would only buy a pre-owned one as I could never bear the enormous depreciation with a new one. I would be fine with doing some renovations- in fact I would probably enjoy the opportunity to make it my own and decorate to my own taste. The first thing to go would be the window treatments! Then I would probably want to paint over or recover the wallpaper. Almost all of the ones we have seen come with very dark wood and so I would probably want to reface with something lighter or paint a lighter color. Any carpet would have to go and be replaced with something easier to keep clean. In our house, I replaced most of the carpet with engineered maple wood and would probably consider doing the same in a 5th Wheel if the weight was not an issue… otherwise a laminate. So, besides being a way to do some traveling, a 5th wheel might also be a redecorating “project” to do in my retirment. 
 
We are not really interested in “camping” so much as having a “second home” that we could move if we got tired of one place. I imagine staying in any one place from a week to several weeks- possibly even months in the winter. I would be like a snowbird but just getting away from drizzle rather than snow. The main things I like about the idea of the 5th wheel is the ability to load it once at the beginning of a trip and then not having to lug a suitcase in and out of hotels. It is kind of like a cruise in that regard. I also like the economy of it- at the Mission RV Park in San Diego where we stayed, they had a monthly rate for their premier site overlooking the water for $1200 a month. It was a nice park and a very reasonable price to be in such a central location. I could certainly see staying in San Diego for a month at a time in the winter months at that rate. Of course, this was a pretty nice park right in the heart of everything and right on the water, so I a sure there are many that are less expensive if cost became an issue.
 
One pleasant surprise was the lack of out of control screaming, whining, crying children. That was one of the things that concerned me about staying in an RV park. I had read reviews and someone complained about Mission Bay RV Park being “too quiet” and there not being enough activities for kids. That sold me on it right there!!! I think we would usually travel when kids are in school anyway. I love the Bay Area in the summer so no need to really go anywhere in the summer. We mainly want to get away in the winter.
Sunday, 31 May 2015 00:06

2015- Second Gay Cruise

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This is about part 2 of our 2015 vacation. Milton was turning 60 in 2015 and wanted to visit Disney World in Orlando again. We had both had such a wonderful time on our first RSVP Vacations gay cruise so we decided to do another one of those too. We would fly to Orlando and spend a few days at Disney World and then drive down to Fort Lauderdale to get on the ship.

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This was our seventh cruise. We had previously been on several Carnival ships, a couple Royal Caribbean ships and one MSC ship. This was our first Princess ship and like the MSC ship, it was an RSVP Vacations charter. RSVP Vacations really do a spectacular job of entertaining their passengers and so it makes it a little difficult to sort out who gets accolades for the positive and blame for the negative but I do want to try and sort it out here. 

First of all, the positive: Last year was our first RSVP Vacations cruise and they had chartered an Italian line, MSC and that crew was a bit aloof, inattentive and unfriendly. The Regal Princess crew was just the opposite- they were warm, attentive and friendly and seemed to enjoy having us as passengers. They genuinely seemed to be having almost as much fun as we were. We appreciate that. I would give the crew a 10 out of 10. They were great. 

22 loveboattdanceThe ship was fairly new and beautiful as most of the ships we have been on. It was a bit smaller than some of the other ships Milton and I have sailed on. My preference is for larger ships- favorite being RC "Allure of the Seas." There is just more to do and see on those out at sea days on a larger cruise ship. With RSVP Vacations handling most of the entertainment on our cruise, things to do were certainly not a problem, but seeing a couple of the Regal Princess shows in their theater, I would put those on about the same level as Carnival or MSC- kind of a Las Vegas sort of vibe. Once we had gone on "Allure of the Seas" with their full production of "Chicago," their ice skating shows, their Cirque De Soleil type show, their promenade parade, rock climbing walls, etc, etc... it is hard to go back to just mediocre Vegas type review shows. 

There were a few negatives for me on Regal Princess. I thought they were a bit skimpy on the jetted pools. Out of the seven cruises we have been on, this ship had the least number of jetted pools and these were all very small.CIMG4960 

The cabins also left a bit to be desired. They were about the same size as MSC. I don't know the exact footage off hand but both RC and Carnival have two beds and a couch in their cabins. Their was no couch in the MSC or Regal Princess cabins. The balconies are very small in comparison as well. 

As a retired Registered Nurse that has taken microbiology, I am always aware of cleanliness on a cruise. Every cruise we have been on have been great in the public areas for the appearance of cleanliness but most get a fail when it comes to the buffet. Royal Caribbean probably did the best job of encouraging passengers to use hand sanitizer as the entered the buffet line. As you entered, a crew member would tactfully direct each passenger to the hand sanitizer. I think that is a good idea. Watching passengers enter the buffet line on the Regal Princess, I think only about one in ten passengers used the hand sanitizer. CIMG4424Tiny Regal Princess cabinCIMG4425Tiny Regal Princess cabin

IMG 3691The other thing about the buffet cleanliness on Regal Princess was that it was not always clear to the passengers where the serving utensils should go after the passenger served themselves. On most of the other cruises we have been on, there are plates in front of each dish on which one can lay the serving utensil after use. On the Regal Princess, this was not always the case. People would be seen coughing or sneezing into their hands, serving themselves and contaminating the handles of the serving utensils and then, not having anywhere else to place the utensils, they would just lay them across the food. You get a few hundred people doing this and those buffet dishes become petri dishes for noro-virus and other contaminates. The dirtiest thing in restaurants are the menus because they are handled by everyone and rarely wiped down. The dirtiest thing in a cruise buffet line is the handles of the serving utensils. It grosses me out. I won't eat anything from a buffet line where the handle of a serving utensil has been in contact with the food. 

This was the first cruise we have been on that I have gotten sick. The night before I got sick, we had eaten in one of the dining rooms which should be relatively safe compared to the buffet lines. I ordered what they called a Caribbean Shrimp Cocktail. The shrimp itself seemed okay but the cocktail sauce seemed a little off to me. I also had a dish that was made of chicken breast with a thin slice of ham over it. The first bite was disgusting. I should have spit it out but I didn't. I swallowed it and thinking that it was just the ham that tasted so bad, I peeled the ham back and discarded it to the side of my plate but then foolishly ate the chicken. I am pretty sure there was something wrong with the ham and it had probably contaminated the chicken and I do believe that was very likely what made me sick. One other option, though was the made to order omelet I had the next morning. I love the idea of a made to order omelet BUT it should be thoroughly cooked. Mine was cooked on the outside but the egg was runny on the inside. Regardless, whatever it was that made me sick, the shrimp, ham, chicken or omelette, it put me out of commission for most of one day. Thankfully, I just had one episode of vomiting and had some Ondansetron (Zofran), with me and took one of those and was feeling much better within about an hour. 

I was a little surprised at the dining room food on Princess. For some reason, I was thinking it might be a step up from Carnival or RC but definitely not!! Out of the seven cruises we have been on, MSC and Princess had the worst food. The only positive thing I can say about the food on The Regal Princess, was that most of the cruises we have been on only serve hamburgers, hot dogs or pizza after 10pm. I don't know if it was due to RSVP Vacations or if it is just standard, but the Regal Princess had a full buffet every night! Milton, who has a cast iron stomach, was eating at the buffet every night as late as midnight and 1am. 

 

As is usual on all cruises, we started out with a "muster" drill. Everyone has to bring their life jackets to a location where you would board the life boats. 

 

IMG 3670Muster Drill as we leave Fort LauderdaleIMG 3678Leaving Fort LauderdaleIMG 3680Leaving Fort LauderdaleIMG 3686Getting ready for "Hello, my name is..." party

We were late to the "Hello, my name is..." party because Princess Cruises had lost Milton's bag which had our "Hello, my name is..." t-shirts we had bought specifically for this occasion. We kept checking with our steward but finally, he told us to check at the purser's desk. After checking there a coupe of times through the evening, Milton's bag finally appeared. This was the first cruise that we have ever had problems with our bags arriving in our cabin. 

Later that evening, around 8pm, we went to see "Charo" in the ship's theater. She was only doing two performances and they were both on embarkation/sail away day. She did a wonderful show. I think everybody was impressed by how great she looked. Milton and I talked about seeing her on the old Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. We estimate that she must be close to 70 but then we did read somewhere that she got married at 16 so maybe she just got a very early start? Maybe she was only 18 or so when we say her originally back in the sixties? 

 

At 10:30pm that first night, we attended the RSVP Vacations 30th Anniversary Diamond Party. There were a lot of people wearing silver in their outfits and so it kept feeling more like a "Silver" party than a "Diamond" party but it was great fun regardless. We love to dance and never miss an opportunity to do so if the music is good and the music is great on RSVP Vacations cruises. It is more than good! 

diamondwelcomepartyDiamond RSVP Vacations 30th Anniversary T-Dance

The first day had been wonderful. There is such an abundance of activities on a RSVP Vacations Cruise. It is impossible to attend every activity and show. 

 

The next morning, we woke up in Princess Cays.

 

CIMG4392We spent the second day of the cruise at Princess Cays

 

CIMG4376Our Tender Boat to IslandCIMG4377Inside the Tender BoatCIMG4381Regal PrincessCIMG4387Laying on the Beach- February 9th, 2015

 

Princess Cays is a private island owned by Princess Cruises. I rented some snorkeling equipment and saw some lovely fish out among the rocks offshore. Milton doesn't swim and not interested in getting a tan but always sweet to let me have my "beach day." A hamburger and hotdog buffet was served on the beach. Although we had purchased "soda" cards which are supposed to cover all the soda you want to drink during the cruise, our soda cards were not good on this island. Princess seemed to want to nickel and dime us for sodas. They should have been included at this buffet!

 

Upon return to the ship, after we had rested and had dinner in one of the dining rooms, we attended the Princess Cruises show "Fiera!" In addition to all the incredible activities that RSVP Vacations provide, we still get the standard fare from the cruise line. Fiera! was the typical cruise line show for a midsize ship and had a few singers and a few dancers. There were some interesting visual effects. The Princess Theater was the smallest of any of the cruise line theaters we had seen.

Carnival and MSC offer similar shows. Royal Caribbean exceeds all the others in entertainment, though. Royal Caribbean has full Broadway productions on some of their ships. On the "Allure of the Seas," that we had taken a couple of years previously, RC had a production of "Chicago," an "ice" show as they also have ice rinks on their ships. They also had a Cirque du Soleil type water show as well. In all the "straight" cruises we have been on, Royal Caribbean far surpasses MSC, Princess or Carnival when it comes to entertainment. When it comes to gay cruises, RSVP Vacations does such an incredible job that it really doesn't matter much what the cruise line offers. 

 

CIMG4421In The Princess Theater waiting for Fiera! to start.

 

At 10:30pm, we went to the "Disco Inferno" party with DJ Robbie Leslie. He had been on the gay cruise we had taken in 2014. He does a great job of playing all the hits from the "disco" era. We heard all of favorites from the 70's, including Sylvester, Donna Summer, Gloria Gaynor, Chaka Khan, and many others.  

discoinferno

 

CIMG4451Disco QueenCIMG4456There were a lot of "afro's" at the Disco Inferno partyCIMG4464CIMG4466This is Jimmy, who we met at dinner the night beforeCIMG4467Disco BallCIMG4469CIMG4473CIMG4478Milton having a good timeCIMG4479Divine!CIMG4483

 

As we were leaving the dance floor, we saw a guy laid out on a couple of tables. He looked like he was unconscious. I asked the guy that was standing over him if he was okay. This guy replied that he was okay. But as we approached the doorway to where the elevators were, we saw a ship medic of some kind coming out and going toward where we had seen this guy. 

The next morning, upon awakening, it was announced over the loudspeakers that we were heading at top speed to Miami as there had been a medical emergency. We heard somewhere along the line that there were two people who had overdid it at the Disco Inferno party and were possibly in coma's. We assumed that it was probably due to some bad drugs. Upon arrival in Miami, we were meant by multiple police cars, ambulances and drug sniffing dogs. We were in port in Miami for a couple of hours before we were allowed to go back out to sea. The itinerary had to be changes slightly but really didn't have much effect on the cruise. 

IMG 3708Miami Dock

 

Once we left Miami, it was back to lounging around the pools and wandering around the ship. 

 

IMG 3694IMG 3696IMG 3700IMG 3701IMG 3705

 

On the third day of the cruise, February 10th, we spent a relaxing day out at sea. In the afternoon we attended "The Love Boat T-Dance." Princess Cruise line was the one used in the seventies television show. The actress that played the daughter of Captain Stubbing was on the ship and we kept running into her. She was no longer a chubby kid. Of course, Charo had also been a guest star on The Love Boat, too. A special message from the actor that played Captain Stubbing was played on the big screen.

CIMG4534Milton and I in our "Captain" hatsCIMG4538CIMG4547CIMG4552We met Lynn and Bunny at the Best Western hotel the day of embarkationCIMG4578CIMG4586CIMG4607CIMG4613

 

After resting for a while, having dinner in one of the dining rooms and wandering the ship and checking out various shows, including Bob the Drag Queen, we attended the "Code" party. This was a bit risqué with many of the men in leather or minimal clothing. 

 

CIMG4645CIMG4655CIMG4666CIMG4668Wicked Witch with Toto in the basket passing judgment on festivities

 

On Wednesday, the 11th, we had another day out to sea. We attended various shows and lounged around the ship. That night, we attended "The Pajama Party." 

pajama

 

CIMG4780CIMG4784CIMG4793Baby Jane giving Blanche her lunchCIMG4794CIMG4796CIMG4808CIMG4819CIMG4828CIMG4830Jimmy as a provocative bunnyCIMG4844CIMG4848CIMG4855


 On the 12th, we got off the ship for a few minutes in Cozumel. I wasn't feeling very well and when we got back to the ship, I had to rest in the cabin. My stomach was churning and turning and finally I ended up on the bathroom floor next to the toilet. Finally, I vomited. This was the first time I had been sick on a cruise. I am convinced that it was something I had eaten the night before- the awful shrimp cocktail, or the disgusting chicken breast with a slice of ham on it. The only other possibility was the "made to order omelette." I was too sick to attend the "Diva's" T-Dance.

 

divas

 

Later that evening, I was feeling better and we did go to the "Time Machine Party."

 

timemachine

 

On Friday, the 13th, we were anchored off Georgetown, Grand Cayman. Milton and I had been there a couple of times on other cruises but we did get off the ship and took a walk. When we returned to the ship. the "Ranch" T-Dance was underway. 

ranch

 

CIMG4963CIMG4972CIMG4975CIMG4994

 

That night, they had the "Anything Goes Costume Contest" party. First there was a fun costume party and then more dancing. 

anythinggoes

CIMG5110CIMG5118CIMG5119CIMG5133CIMG5139Winner of the costume contest

 

On Valentine's Day, February 14th, we attended the "Blush and Bashful" T-Dance.

blushandbashful

CIMG5168CIMG5183CIMG5202CIMG5215CIMG5228CIMG5244CIMG5246CIMG5269

 

It was a wonderful cruise. Disembarkation is always the worst day of any cruise. The ships always want you up and out of the cabin early in the morning. Some ships are better than others in getting everybody off the ship. Since our plane didn't leave Fort Lauderdale until the afternoon, we decided to take the Everglades- Flamingo Gardens excursion that would kill some time and get us to the airport in plenty of time for our flight. We boarded an airboat and zipped through this part of the Everglades. We did see an alligator. 

CIMG5291CIMG5294CIMG5301

 

From the Everglades tour, we went to the Flamingo Gardens before heading to the airport. It was a lovely gardens and we did see some flamingos.

 

CIMG5327CIMG5331CIMG5341CIMG5355At the Fort Lauderdale Airport 

Saturday, 30 May 2015 23:43

2014- First Gay Cruise

Written by

When we had gone on our first cruise on the Carnival Destiny in 2007, it was only because we didn't think we could afford a gay cruise and because of my job's annual vacation bidding process was too far in advance to get gay cruise itineraries. We had to bid on our vacation time about a year and a half before our vacations and R.S.V.P. Vacations and Atlantis Vacations released their information about a year ahead. We ended up going on five straight cruises before we had finally had it with other people's screaming kids. Don't get me wrong, I had thoroughly enjoyed each of our straight cruises but I always missed having gay people around. When we were on the world's largest ship at the time, The Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Sea's with six thousand passengers and no gay people we could find, I felt like I was in some small town. I felt isolated.

The previous two cruises with family were great because we had people we knew to interact with. The Allure of the Seas was an incredible ship. We loved that cruise but 6,000 straight people are just not as fun as a couple thousand gay men! By this time, I was willing to go ahead and book a gay cruise and gamble that I would get the time off from work. It did turn out to be a bit of a scramble getting coverage for all the time off I needed but it all worked out. 

We had married in September, so this cruise was a bit of a honeymoon and it was also the week of my birthday so it was kind of birthday thing too. The ship was from a company called M.S.C. out of Italy. It was the crews first American cruise and their first gay cruise. They obviously had issues. RSVP Vacations were incredible. M.S.C., though was terrible!! I would never, ever go on an M.S.C. cruise again. The pillows were lumpy. The cabin was the smallest we have ever had on a cruise. The food was terrible.

 

My Cruise Critic review of the MSC Divina:

 

My spouse and I had been on 5 previous cruises. We had been on enjoyed cruises with both Carnival and Royal Caribbean. We found that Carnival was fine if we were traveling with other family members that had children but Royal Caribbean had much better activities since they had bigger ships with rock walls, ice skating rinks, huge promenades, and both a higher quantity and higher quality of entertainers. For us, the food was comparable on Carnival and RC and the cabins were also about the same size. Our favorite ship had been Royal Caribbean's "Allure of the Seas." The only reason that we chose the MSC Divina this time was because it had been chartered by RSVP Vacations for a gay cruise and we had never been on a gay cruise and wanted to try one. RSVP was incredible but MSC lacked in several ways. 

On our first Carnival cruise, we were really impressed with the bedding in our cabin. The pillows and comforters just felt luxurious. The bedding was so good that it was available to buy on the ship! On each of the ships we were on after that, we never had issues with the bedding. All the ships were comfortable. We were very surprised to find MSC pillows felt like pillow cases filled with rags. It wasn't just one pillow in the room that was defective. ALL the pillows were lumpy and uncomfortable. 

Divina also had the smallest cabin of any cruise we had ever been on. We have always got a balcony cabin and both Carnival and RC balcony cabins have two single beds that can be put together and then a couch that can be folded out into another bed if there are three in the cabin. We were impressed on our first cruise with Carnival that, besides providing shampoo and body wash, they also provided small samples of toothpaste and other toiletries which was a nice touch. Our cabin on MSC had no sitting area. The only place to sit inside the cabin was on the beds themselves. 

The steward for our room was as nice as any we have had although this was the first time we were on a cruise with no towel animals or chocolate on our pillows or some small extra touch. The room was kept clean and fresh towels provided but nothing that felt "extra." 

The food on MSC Divina definitely seemed more mediocre than either Carnival or RC. To be honest, I am not a big fan of buffets where hundreds of people are serving themselves anyway. I took Microbiology in college and I always feel a little hesitant about cruise buffets where passengers are handling the utensils after sneezing or coughing into their hands and then they lay the utensils across the food itself. This has been common on every cruise we have taken. Apparently it doesn't bother everybody. Over time, it does seem like there has been more of an emphasis on using hand sanitizer as one enters the buffet but not everyone uses it and even though YOUR hands may be clean initially, after you have handled the utensils that a hundred other people have handled before you, your hands end up contaminated with every cold and flu virus or norwalk virus that someone before you was carrying. Unless you wash your hands again AFTER handling the contaminated utensils, you are still putting yourself at risk. I think this is why cruise ships are notorious for spreading such things like Noro virus. At the minimum, there should be plates on which the utensils are laid and signs directing passengers not to lay the utensils on top of the food after handling. Handing out disposable gloves at beginning of buffet line might help. Ultimately, it is best that only one or two people handle the serving utensils and passengers be served by staff. Add children into the mix and buffets are a little gross as far as I'm concerned, but I am digressing. 

One of my favorite things on the Allure was all the alternatives to eating at the buffet. There were plenty of alternative restaurants where one could be served. The MSC did have some alternative restaurants but all for paying extra except for the Black Crab and Villa Rosa. If neither of those two were open, you were pretty much stuck with either paying extra or eating at the buffet. Thankfully, there were no children on the cruise and I could only hope that these adults were more careful about washing their hands and basic hygiene. I was still careful to always try to reach back to the back of steam table where utensils had not laid across the food. The real problem was the repetitive dishes they offered. At EVERY buffet other than breakfast, there were warmed over hamburgers and cheeseburgers under heating lamps and pizza under heating lamps. We were so sick of hamburgers and pizza by the third day!! Breakfast at the buffet was okay, although every other ship we had been on offered an omelet station where you could get a fresh, made to order omelet that no one else had touched. I missed that! 

The Black Crab and Villa Rosa were pretty repetitive too. We saw the same menu almost every night. I think that one night they did have an alternative menu but most nights, the same dishes were offered. One of the things I liked on RC was the ability to just pay a few extra dollars for a fillet mignon steak in the main dining room. The Divina offered no extra's in their dining rooms and seating was problematic. We prefer sitting at a table for two and that always seemed a bit of a problem with Carnival although RC always accommodated us with no questions asked and no problem. On the Divina, on this cruise, the first problem you had with the dining rooms is that you had to be sure you showed up at the right door at the right time. First, they would open the downstairs area of the Black Crab. If you showed up at the upstairs door or the Villa Rosa, you were redirected to the downstairs door of the Black Crab to accommodate the needs of the maitre de apparently rather than accommodate the needs of the passengers to be seated. If there were just six seats left on the first floor of the Black Crab, there was no way that the upstairs or Villa Rosa was going to be opened, even if a long line had formed. It was cause for a lot of grumbling among the passengers waiting to eat in one of the dining rooms. 

One of the worst things for us for eating choices was the lack of choices after the incredible parties at night that RSVP Vacations provided. When we were exhausted from dancing and partying with RSVP Vacations, we would head to the buffet for a snack before going back to out cabin. Every night, warmed over hamburgers and pizza and maybe some pasta. You could not get the fresh pizza right out of the oven, until the warmed over pizza had all been consumed. On Carnival and RC, there were sometimes midnight buffets or chocolate or dessert buffets. I think they all depend on pizza way to much for late night snacking and that gets boring real quick but MSC offered no alternatives in the entire seven days while Carnival and RC did have a few other options in this regard. 

Speaking of repetitive, I was surprised by the lackluster entertainment the MSC offered. We saw their show in the Pegasus theater two nights in a row and the acts were essentially the same but different costumes and theme. Thankfully, we were traveling with RSVP Vacations and the entertainment they brought on the ship was amazing! I can't say enough about the RSVP Vacations for troubleshooting a lot of the problems we had with MSC. 

With exception of a bartender here and there on our cruises, staff have always been friendly and attentive. The staff on MSC, other than the stewards, seemed a bit aloof. For the first four days or so, it seemed like they didn't want to make eye contact. Below deck, the staff was typical of other cruises and friendly from various places in the world. Above deck, they were mostly Italian and maybe that had something to do with their attitude toward us? I overheard someone saying that this was the first American cruise for the Divina staff and they were not used to Americans and then there was the fact that the passengers consisted of about 3,000 gay men partying all week. Regardless, after about the fourth day, it did seem like the staff warmed up a little but still not as friendly as some of our previous cruises. 

We didn't use the spa services on MSC at all but I do want to mention that they did have a gym which was about the same as other ships we had been on. On the Carnival ships we have traveled on, anyone could use the steam rooms or sauna. We were surprised to find that the RC Allure did not allow passengers to use those facilities unless they booked expensive spa treatments. This was also the case on the MSC Divina. 

Overall, I would never choose to travel on an MSC cruise if I could avoid it. I would definitely travel with RSVP Vacations on another chartered ship of this size or larger, though. Since I like big ships with the most amenities, RC probably wins out for me overall and I would love to see RSVP charter one of their ships. I loved the fact that there were no children on this cruise because often on Carnival, you can't find a serene place on the ship that doesn't have screaming kids running by. I think it is great if you are parents traveling with kids but we are probably done with Carnival for that reason. The pools and hot tubs are often filled with kids on Carnival. The Allure of the Seas did have several jacuzzi and pool areas that seemed set aside for adults. That is another reason, RC gets extra points over Carnival. I am not sure how MSC Divina would be regarding this as there were no children on this cruise. There was a "European" nude sunbathing area, though. I'm not sure if that was a feature that MSC always offers or was something RSVP Vacations created just for this cruise. 

My ratings for this cruise do NOT include the RSVP parties or entertainment. 

Monday, 18 May 2015 23:27

2014- Christmas Poem

Written by

El

Oh

El

No

El

No

El

How can a faux news network find a story to tell,

that has no news value after their political fail?

What can they say that's not 'bout a mythical cliff,

a way to change the subject,

a propaganda shift?

Where can they find a story superficial and lame?

As always and as usual,

from the past, it came.

Like a pair of old pajamas so comfy when worn,

Fox looked for something comfortable to whine about & mourn.

Their outrage is perennial.

We have heard it all before.

Much ado about nothing,

no real story at its core.

It always baffles me as I've said several other times,

in several other Christmases

in several other rhymes.

Fox propagandists are masters of indignation & hype

Telling their viewers to fear "abominations"

of every sexual orientation type.

Even though they lost the election

they act as if they won-

but there WAS an election

and we know we're still not done!

The war on Christmas is so dusty,

it's tired and it's frayed,

like so many other stories on Fox,

it's hackneyed and cliched.

So worn and trite

the war on Christmas

has never stood the light.

But here it is again,

more shrill nonsense from the right.

They love to pretend their victims

persecuted by the rest of us

who don't live in their bubble

they love to make a fuss.

Gretchen might believe this stuff (she seems a little dim),

but I'm not sure about O'reilly

I think he knows it's all pretend.

He must do it for the ratings

more bombastic hyperbole

to agitate his viewers

and bemuse the left tike me.

But times they are a changing

as Dylan said long ago

and this made up war on Christmas

isn't going to help Bills show.

Christmas is everywhere

with exceptions far between & few.

We are inundated with Christmas

even Buddhist, Hindu, Jew.

There is no getting away from Christmas decorations.

They are everywhere that people meet.

We are saturated with Christmas

on every road and every street.

You can't avoid Christmas carols on radio and t.v.

You can't avoid the garland

on every Christmas tree.

But that's not enough for the Fox neanderthals,

it must be a war on Christmas,

if its not in the courthouse halls.

They don't understand The Constitution,

the separation of church & state.

They want to tell you what to believe

and fill you with their hate.

Which is odd to me and opposite of Christ's meaning

but that's how it is in Bizarro world

when nothings what it's seeming.

Right to work mean's no rights at work

Clear skies means more pollution.

When Republicans say “no child left behind”

it's Orwellian elocution.

Their numbers seem to be shrinking, though.

I think people are tired of the shrill

from Hannity, Fox and Friends,

and especially from Bill.

So seasons greetings to non-Christians and Merry Christmas to the rest.

May your days all be merry

and all of you be blessed.

Milton took me to The City for my 60th birthday. We stayed at the Hotel Intercontinental. On Saturday night we went to the Chinese New Years parade. On Sunday we went to see the musical "Avenue Q." For dinner on sunday, we went to Ruth Chris Steak House. It was a great birthday weekend.

 

Saturday, 16 May 2015 19:15

2011-5. May- Misty and Alex Visit

Written by

I had bought a new Prius in 2010. I had my old Nissan for over ten years. It had a lot of miles on it and had been a great car. I knew Sean was over 16 and needed a car and I hated to just junk the Nissan so I told Darlene that Sean could have the car if he or somebody came down to get it. Milton didn't think I should offer it to Sean because he was certain it wouldn't make it back to Washington and that it would probably break down on the way. I thought it probably would make it and Sean would get a couple of years use from it. As it turned out, I was right. 

Misty and Sean's younger brother, Alex, flew down to pick up the Nissan but while they were here, I took them on my "one day tour" of San Francisco. 

I had only met Alex a couple of times while he was growing up. I had heard from Darlene that he had been having some problems and had not been going to school for a while. I had seen him briefly and Donna's house on my last visit to Seattle but he seemed extremely shy and disappeared immediately after introductions. When he visited with Misty, Milton and I could both see that he was in some distress. After he and his mom's visit and return drive to Washington, he would ask my sister, Darlene, if she thought Milton and I would let him come and live with us. That eventually did lead to his coming down for another visit and then living with us from 16-18. 

 

Saturday, 16 May 2015 18:52

2011-6. August- Darlene and Sean's Visit

Written by

My sister, Darlene, and her grandson, Sean, visited the San Francisco Bay Area. They arrived from Yakima, WA on 8/9/11 and stayed a week with Milton and I in Vallejo. We went to The City on Wednesday and had lunch at the Cheesecake Factory over Macy's and got half off tickets in Union Square for Billy Elliot that night at the Orpheum theater. We came home and rested for an hour or so before the show. After the show we went to Mel's diner on Mission. The next day we did some site seeing-  a drive through Chinatown, Coit Tower, Lombard Street, The Painted Ladies, Haight Ashbury, Golden Gate Park, The Castro, The Mission, and Ocean Beach. We picked up some Thai from Cha Am for dinner. On Friday we took the ferry over to Fisherman's Wharf. When we got back we went and picked up an iPad for Darlene. On Saturday we went to the Apple Store in Walnut Creek and then out to Brentwood to visit with my nieces Kathi and Deanna and Kathi's family. On Sunday we went to an SF Mime Troupe show briefly, took a walk up Telegraph Avenue and then went to my brother David's house. On Monday, Sean went with David's wife, Leslie, to the 6 Flags amusement park. That night we got together with David and his family for dinner. On Tuesday, Darlene and Sean wanted to go back to Fisherman's Wharf to get some souvenirs before heading to the airport. It was a fun week!

 

Page 2 of 2

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Me in my 20's in 1970's- Click for story.
1964- Luv Please- Click for story.
Cockettes & Angels of Light- Click for story
1957-1958 1st Grade- Click to read story.
Summer of Love- Click to read story.
Gay Disco 70's- Click for story
Black Men in Oils- Click to read story
5th Grade in Abilene Tx- Click for story
Click to read "Introduction."
Palouse- Click for story
Beatle haircut- Click for story.
1967- Summer of Love- Click to read story.
Darlene Marries Chuck- Click for story.
2015- 2nd Gay Cruise- Click for story.
Me in 3rd grade- Click for story.
1974- First Trip to Europe- Click to read story.
2014- Road trip to San Diego- Click for story.
Forbidden Dreams of Love- Click for story.
1974- On Larkin Street- Click for story.
4th Grade- Click for story.
Grandview- Click for story
Amber- Click to read story.
Where I was born- Click for story.
Earthquake! Click to read story.
Second Gay Cruise- Click for story.
Escondido 1960's- Click for story
My Dad's Family- Click for story.
Me in first grade- Click for story.
Photos of Dad & His Family- Click for story.
1982-1993 Waller Street- Click to read story.
My Mother- Click for more photos.
2001 Trip to Cancun- Click to read story.
The Psychedelic Experience- Click to read story.
1973- Psych Tech Program- Click for story.
Women in Oils- Click for story
2005- Darlene Visits for Gay Pride- Click to read story.
1958-1959- 3rd Grade- Click to read story.
2015- 2nd Gay Cruise- Click to read story.
1970's Promiscuity- Click for story.
2005 Darlene Visit for Gay Pride- Click for story.
1973 "You have to be hurt..." Click to read the story.
2001 Trip to Cancun- Click to read story.

Article

01. Introduction

03- Dads Family

03- Photos of my Father and his family

04- My Mother's Family

04- Photos of my Mom

04- Video of my Mom

04- Walling Family Reunions

04-Audio Files of My Mom

04. Billie

04. Ole

04.1. Forbidden Dreams of Love

04.2. Flames of Forbidden Love

04.3 Mom Writing Her Life Story

05- Jim Tarbert

05. Roger

1950's Grandview to Toppenish

1957-1958 1st Grade

1958-1959- Third Grade

1959- Palouse

1961- 4th Grade- Last time I wore a dress

1962- Abilene

1963- Escondido- Early 60's

1964- Darlene Marries Chuck

1964- My Beatle Haircut

1964-The Luv Please

1965 or 1966- Steve Castle

1965- In Foster Care

1966 Living with Darlene & Chuck in Seattle

1967- Juvenile Hall

1976- I Praise Thee (poem to Stanley)

1976- My Second Lover, Stanley Dunne

1976- Paul McCartney and Wings

1976-1330 Bush Street #9J

1977- 1667 Haight Street

1977- Trip to San Diego with Mary Jo

1977-1980- Tumultuous Relationship with John Perry

1978- 525 Haight Street

1979- September- Dad is Murdered

1980's- AIDS- Death and Dying

1980- Winter- First Trip to New York

1980- Word, Sound and Power

1981- Milton- Falling in Love

1982-1993 465 Waller Street

1982-1994 Computers to MacNursing

1984- 33rd Birthday

1985- Graduation from Nursing School

1985- Trip to Hawaii (Oahu)

1988- MIdnight Caller

1989- Earthquake!

1991- Aug 10th- Mom Passes Away

1991- Black Males in Oils

1991- Crack of My Life

1993- Move to Vallejo & Our First Home

1995-1. Road Trip to Washington

1995-2. Surprise Trip to Vegas

1995-3. Grandmother Rogers & Aunts Visit Darlene's

1995-4. Amber

1998- Camping at Russian River

2000 -Thoughts about Progressive Christians

2000- Resignation from John George

2001- April- Trip to Cancun

2001- Peace and Justice

2001- September 11th

2002- April-Puerto Vallarta & Blue Bay Getaway

2002- Nov 12th- My Stepfather, George McHenry Passes Away

2003- Trip to D.C. and N.Y.

2004- Feb- Road Trip to Baha Mexico

2004- Walling Family Reunion in Spokane

2005- Christmas Poem

2005- Darlene Visit for Pride Celebration

2005- Trip to Orlando

2005-1. Europe- London

2005-2. Europe- Paris

2005-3. Europe- Venice

2005-4. Europe- Florence

2005-5. Europe- Rome

2005-6. Europe- Athens

2005-7. Knee Surgery & Tongue Biopsy

2006 Christmas Poem

2006- February 23- Times Herald

2006- Palm Springs White Party

2006- Trip to Seattle

2006-July 8th Solano Peace and Justice Coalition BBQ

2007- Feb- Carnival Destiny- Our First Cruise

2007- Tre and Casey Visit

2008- Aug 15-18 Spokane Visit

2008- Psycho Song

2009- Honored by Vallejo Gay Network

2009- Women in Oils

2010 Christmas Poem

2010- Feb. R.C. Mariner of the Seas Mexican Riviera Cruise

2010- June 24- Badlands

2010- Trip to Seattle

2010-1. Europe- Amsterdam

2010-2. Europe- Paris

2010-3. Europe- Barcelona & Sitges

2010-4. Europe- Madrid

2011-1. Feb. My Fabulous 60th Birthday Weekend

2011-2. April- L.A., Palm Springs & "The White Party"

2011-3. Poem- Girl From Medical Lake

2011-4. Old Man Dancing

2011-5. May- Misty and Alex Visit

2011-6. August- Darlene and Sean's Visit

2011-7. Alex 16-18 & Pics

2012- March- Carnival Splendor Mexican Riviera with Family

2013- Wedding

2014- Christmas Poem

2014- First Gay Cruise

2014- September Road Trip to San Diego

2015- Seasonal Affective Blues

2015- Second Gay Cruise

2015- War on Christmas poem

2015-"Badlands" and Gay Bar Etiquette

2015-September 8. Political History

2016 Do Not Speak for Gay Males

2016- April- Palm Springs RV Adventure

4/4/2016- Not Going Along to Get Along

9/4/15- Liberals vs Conservatives

5th Grade in Abilene Tx- Click for story
Black Men in Oils- Click to read story
Forbidden Dreams of Love- Click for story.
Women in Oils- Click for story
Me in my 20's in 1970's- Click for story.
1973 "You have to be hurt..." Click to read the story.
2014- Road trip to San Diego- Click for story.
Photos of Dad & His Family- Click for story.
1974- First Trip to Europe- Click to read story.
Where I was born- Click for story.
My Mother- Click for more photos.
Escondido 1960's- Click for story
2015- 2nd Gay Cruise- Click to read story.
Darlene Marries Chuck- Click for story.
1970's Promiscuity- Click for story.
Summer of Love- Click to read story.
Earthquake! Click to read story.
Second Gay Cruise- Click for story.
2001 Trip to Cancun- Click to read story.
2005 Darlene Visit for Gay Pride- Click for story.
2001 Trip to Cancun- Click to read story.
Palouse- Click for story
1957-1958 1st Grade- Click to read story.
1973- Psych Tech Program- Click for story.
Me in first grade- Click for story.
Me in 3rd grade- Click for story.
1967- Summer of Love- Click to read story.
Click to read "Introduction."
1964- Luv Please- Click for story.
Grandview- Click for story
2015- 2nd Gay Cruise- Click for story.
Amber- Click to read story.
Cockettes & Angels of Light- Click for story
4th Grade- Click for story.
1958-1959- 3rd Grade- Click to read story.
2005- Darlene Visits for Gay Pride- Click to read story.
Beatle haircut- Click for story.
Gay Disco 70's- Click for story
1982-1993 Waller Street- Click to read story.
My Dad's Family- Click for story.
1974- On Larkin Street- Click for story.
The Psychedelic Experience- Click to read story.