You are viewing jedipartner1967

07 August 2014 @ 10:45 am

If you managed to live through your teenage years into adulthood, you probably don't need an explanation of how teenage boys are and I can just skip ahead.

I'm skipping ahead. Call me selfish... or efficient.

My high school friend Trevor and I found various ways of amusing ourselves and it was usually at the expense of some hapless, anonymous individual. For example-- Trevor and I were out driving around downtown oh, probably somewhere in the neighbourhood of the late autumn or early winter of 1984. The song "Penny Lover" by Lionel Richie was in constant rotation on the radio. It peaked in December 1984 and that's how I remember the time of year.

For whatever reason, we decided to drive around and be a couple of weirdos, finding whatever mischief we could in order to amuse ourselves. This was back in the day when certain areas of Cleveland were quite notorious for being the stomping grounds for ladies of the night and, well, we just happened to be passing one of them. Trevor and I made some juvenile comments to each other and laughed like the little assholes that we were and moved on.

Fortunately for us (and unfortunately for them) the song "Penny Lover" came on the radio and that gave Trevor another one of his brilliant ideas; he made a u-turn on either Euclid or Prospect near the East 55th area and headed back into the warzone-- or the whorezone in this case, I guess.

He rolled down his window, blasted the radio and tossed loose change at those loose girls as we serenaded them from his slow-moving vehicle. Rude, yes. Funny, maybe... definitely yes on the day and time. Trevor wanted to go back around again, but had thankfully run out of change. I say "thankfully" because I'm sure some gun-toting pimp might've emerged from the shadows and taken out a couple of white nerds from the suburbs.

Ah, memories!
Current Mood: dorky

Cleveland has no real gay community and I'm part of the problem.

I have a friend who wanted to go dancing a few weeks ago and I was more than happy to oblige. I like dancing and he is more or less newly out and wanted to get a lay of the land. Okay, maybe "lay" wasn't the best choice of words, but you know what I'm saying.

I took him to a variety of different bars with different crowds through the evening, eventually landing at the place I was told that there would be dancing. There was no dancing!!!! No one was dancing. Why? There are no dance clubs in Cleveland. I cannot be blamed for that. I love dancing and I'm good at it, so I was disappointed and possibly a little embarrassed. When my friend and I arrived, we were greeted by a mostly empty bar, which led to a mostly empty club, which was occupied a bunch of bored-looking people who were waiting for the drag show to start. Who did this to my community? What's happened in the last ten years?

Oh, that's right. I happened in the last ten years-- twenty, really. I was a part of that last group of people who were bridging the old school with the new school. There were enough of us young people who were building on the activism and drive of the older guys and taking it to the next level. Our wish was for LGBT (and sometimes Q) peoples to not be separated or excluded from the rest of society. Why should we have to live in our own little neighbourhood? Why shouldn't we live in and amongst everyone else?

We strove for that. Despite of whatever our little in-community niche interests or fetishes might be, we were going to make ourselves a presence on every street and in every community in the Greater Cleveland area. And we did. What happened as a result of our mission is that we managed to "normalise" being gay to the point so that the next group of kids has an easier time coming out at an earlier age and that pretty much every nightspot or restaurant in Cleveland doesn't give a shit if your are LGBTQ. You are welcome-- come as you are and please, bring a friend.

Because of this acceptance (and probably the advent of internet hook-ups), kids don't really feel the need to go to a gay-specific bar or club unless they are seeking a particular type of entertainment-- like drag shows. I'm not saying that no one goes to the bars or that the bars are struggling, but things just aren't the way that they used to be. There used to be this sparkle-- this energy that hit you the moment you walked into one of "our places". Most of that seems to have gone. It's possible that it still exists in other cities, but it's really not here anymore and that makes me sad. We took the phrase "we're everywhere" and made it happen. We chanted "We're here, we're queer! Get used to it!" and they did.

I look back at the huge changes I have seen since I came out as a "B" in 1987 (or 1981 if you count that one time I tried and got rocks thrown at me by my friends and then we stopped being friends for a while) and finally as a "G" in 1992. Same-sex couples are getting wed all over the globe and there is less and less hate hurled in our direction and we are part of the fabric of every community. Are these changes all good or is there a downside to them? Having seen what's become of our night spots, I'd have to say we lost that part in a big way. In spite of all these things, this is where we are today in 2014 and I still feel pride in who I am and what I helped accomplish in some small way. I'm proud of every person (LGBTQ or S) who has the courage to be who they are and live his or her life with a beautiful sense of freedom and belonging.


26 June 2014 @ 02:12 pm

The auto shop called this morning to tell me that my car was ready. It was? I had to mention to the girl who called me that I was shocked because of the update I got from Matt, the one handling the repair for my insurance claim. He called me yesterday and said that he didn't like the re-manufactured bumper they put on my car, was ordering a factory new one and it would be in that same afternoon. He said that they would paint it and get it on my car as soon as they could and that I could probably pick it up after work that day.

The girl said that she wasn't told of this change, thought that the car had been ready for pick up since yesterday morning and felt stupid. I told her that it sounded like any other job where there were other people and communications break down. I assured her that this was not a big deal and we would all just move on. I think I made her feel better 'cos she was super-duper nice to me as we finished the conversation, but I think that Matt's gonna get an earful!

Anyhow, as a part of the conversation I had with Matt yesterday, I asked him to note that the Chrysler 300 that I was given as a rental by my insurance company had some issues. Oh? Yes, Matt. The aircon works whenever it feels like it should, not when I ask it to, and it feels like working rarely. In addition to that, on the really damp mornings, this lack of function causes the windscreen to fog up and I have difficulty seeing the traffic ahead of me. Lastly, the entire car shudders when I gently apply the brakes when driving at a high rate of speed.

Matt agreed that these were all issues and he wished that I had told him sooner so they could get this handled. I told him that the windows opened and the car could stop and I was getting from point A to point B as required. He said he would report them to Hertz as these cars should not be on loan if they don’t function properly. Thank you, Matt.

I related this story to my mother (who was being overly dramatic about everything this morning) to which she exclaimed, “oh, my God… you shouldn’t be driving a suicide car!!!” A “suicide car”? What the hell is a “suicide car”? I took her to task for her over the top reaction, but laughed heartily because of that term. I think I shall have to use “suicide car” whenever possible!

“Watch out for that red car with the missing headlamp… it’s a suicide car!”

“Did you see how that suicide car just crossed 4 lanes of traffic as it came off the acceleration ramp?”

“I was walking to my car after leaving the supermarket and I noticed a vehicle with dents all over it; it was clearly a suicide car. I got to my car as quickly as possible and drove away, fearing for my safety and well being.”

My life is now complete.

Current Mood: amusedamused
23 June 2014 @ 02:31 pm

It's been a while since I posted anything here and I have some good reasons. I have been keeping a pretty full schedule and (most importantly) I got a new job, which I am really enjoying. Anyhow, that's not why I am here.

I started working at my new job at the beginning of May and it took me a few weeks before I felt comfortable making coffee for myself. I'm the only one in the office for the bulk of the time, so it really made no sense, but there it is. When I finally decided I was being stupid about all this, I decided to stock the little coffee area with all of my preferred particulars for the workday. I brought in a big bag of Dunkin Donuts coffee since I just cannot do with the Folgers that was here. I am keeping my expensive coffee for home and weekends. I also brought in Truvia baking blend to sweeten my coffee and cleared out our pantry by bringing in some powdered creamer that has been sitting in there for a while.

As I pulled that out of the pantry, I noticed a tall container of long-expired creamer at the back. I looked at the date and noticed that it pretty much expired about 10 years ago-- 24 March 2004, to be exact. I checked it to make sure it wasn't solid, full of bugs or smelled of whatever we had cooked or maybe kept in the pantry over the last ten years. Lo and behold, it was fine, so off to work it went.

It didn't take me very long to realise that what I was holding was the powered creamer that Lou bought me in the early days of our dating. Lou isn't much of a coffee drinker and was getting tired of bringing little creamers and sugars back from the corner store when he would get me coffee. He was so dear! He would either get me coffee before I woke up or whilst I was in the shower. it was because of these lovely gestures that I knew I was going to end up falling for him rather quickly.

So-- he eventually moved in with me and along with all of his personal possessions, the creamer came too. Being one to prefer liquid creamers, that sat on the shelf, waiting for the day it would be used. That day came many years later.

I am a really sentimental sort and I am so ridiculously in love with Mr. LaMarca that I get a really goofy, warm and loved feeling when I go to use that particular creamer. There's a hoarder-like part of me that doesn't want to part with that canister. Just seeing it makes me feel loved or secure on the days when I am struggling in some way. I guess I don't have to part with it, do I? I can always clean it out and refill it with fresh creamer.

I love that I have this little piece of my past to remind me that I am loved and I can come home to a warm embrace and a handsome face. I love my life and a really substantial part of it began with that little container of creamer.

I love you, Lou!!!
28 January 2014 @ 01:34 pm

The Most Beautiful Smile…

It was the summer of 1980I’m not exactly sure what month, but it was a really good day in whatever month it was. The reason I remember that it was the summer of 1980 was because the S.O.S. Band song “Take Your Time (Do It Right)” was still playing on the radio… a lot. And I liked it… a lot. I have no idea how the ball got rolling on this outing and I guess it really doesn’t matter; the phone rang at our house on that sunny afternoon and my mother picked up the call and I could hear her talking to someone, but I had no idea to whom she was speaking. I could hear a lot of “yeses” and “OKs” and “yes, that would be just fine” before she hung up the phone. She came downstairs to tell me that a classmate’s older sister called up to see if it would be all right if she came to pick me up to go swimming at the Eastgate Colosseum. I was really puzzled as I’d never actually hung out with Debi (then “Debbie”) in an extracurricular social way even though I really enjoyed her at school.

I guess I need to go back a little farther into the past to give you some background... I’ve probably told the sad tale of being a transplant to Westwood Elementary at least a million times, so I won’t go there again, but for those who weren’t aware, there’s the news in a nutshell. Nevertheless, what I learnt pretty quickly after getting into Mrs. Thomas’s 2nd grade class was that, for some unknown reason, we weren’t supposed to like Debbie. She wasn’t in my class as I recall, but I never understood why children had issues being kind to each other. Oh, there were, of course, a variety of reasons that were given, but it was obvious that none of them were true. Quite honestly, I didn’t like the children who were cruel to others.

It wasn’t until the 6th grade that I started to get to know Debbie a little better. I really liked her and I thought she was sweet. I’d heard rumours that she’d lost a parent when she was younger and I felt sad for her. It was not long after I heard that story, that I heard she’d lost her other parent and that completely broke my heart. I never broached the subject because I just knew how I would feel if that had happened to me and I probably wouldn’t want to talk about it. Anyhow, I liked Debbie just fine no matter her situation in life.

I became even more familiar with Debbie in 7th grade. We were in a new school and all of the kids from the four elementary schools went; we were now the "big kids", going from room to room to attend classes instead of having one teacher all day. Debbie and I had an interest in art and I think we bonded a little more over that. She was good… really good and I enjoyed seeing all of the pieces she created. I suppose it must’ve been because of our slow-growing friendship that led her sister to call me up for that summer outing.

So, right! Debbie and her sisters came to pick me up and we went off to our afternoon at the pool. I remember there being lots of splashing and laughing and I recall the booming echo of our voices and the music in that enormous natatorium. I honestly can’t remember if there were many other or any other people besides us because I was deep in the moment with my friends. I was sad when the afternoon ended and I was dropped off at home. I am so thankful that Kim called up my house and invited me out for that wonderful day! Debbie and I had some art classes together in the following years and we bonded even further over our love of the television show Fame (do not judge!). Neither of us were popular, but it didn’t matter. We had our friendship and the feelings that we knewhappy, sad, angry or otherwise, were genuine and they were ours and we could share. Those feelings made us who we are and I was OK with that.

I saw Debbie a few times after high school, but she eventually moved away and we lost touch. Fortunately, I could never forget my friend and thank goodness for MySpace and then Facebook because we are still able to keep in touch and peek into each other’s lives—and it was a means of being able to find her across the miles and years!

Debi will always be “Debbie” to me and her smile is quite possibly one of the most beautiful smiles I know. I know the stories behind that smile and that is what makes it all the more beautiful to me. I recently saw a picture of Debi and that smile is still the same and the effect it has on me has also remained unchanged. I feel so blessed.

Love you dearly, Debi… even nearly 40 years later!


Current Location: Lakewood, Ohio
Current Mood: gratefulgrateful
Current Music: "I Know There's Soming Going On" - Frida
26 December 2013 @ 12:24 pm

It was at least 20 years ago, if not longer, that I received a special gift from my friend, Kathy. We’ll get to that in a minute, but here’s a brief history on how we got to that clock and beyond.

Kathy and I developed a very close friendship after high school and spent a lot of time together. Kathy’s brother, Mike, was in my class and she was a couple years ahead, so I didn’t really know her other than the occasions I might chat with her when I was over at their house.

I think that we got to know each other a little better after Kathy’s family moved from Ohio to Connecticut and I had gone there to visit for a week. That visit probably sowed the seeds of a friendship that would blossom in the late 1980s when Kathy had come back to Ohio to attend uni at Ohio State. She would make periodic visits back "home" to Novelty and would stay with me and my mum and I would take day trips down to Columbus to see her. I loved those visits to Columbus because they were silly fun and we’d always end up having chicken fajitas at Dalt’s in Worthington. Those fajitas, for what ever the reason may have been, were delicious!

Kathy became a dear friend and confidante over the years. I can't even begin to express the love and appreciation I have for her. We’ve both been through an awful lot and we’ve been there for each other through quite a bit of it. At the apex of our visits, Kathy and I would go dancing and would have silly dancefloor moments with songs like “Wiggle It” by 2 In A Room and “Poison” by Bell Biv DeVoe. We also shared some ridiculous radio moments like our shared fatigue of Kriss Kross’s “Jump”, our mutual hearing of “yo, be a pig!” instead of “yo, VIP!”at the beginning of “Ice Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice and laughing about Kathy only knowing the “uhn, uhn, uhn…” part of Maxi Priest’s “Close to You”. Seriously, girl-- there are more words to that song than that grunting!

It was around that time that Kathy presented me with a host gift; a black and white kitty cat alarm clock. The cat was holding a trumpet and would blast “Reveille” and yell “wake up, wake up! Rise and shine!!!” until you shut it off. Obnoxious, yes—hilarious, also yes!!! This clock has settings for “quiet” and “loud”, but I think they are actually “loud” and “ear splitting”. This clock has been sitting on my nightstand since (probably) 1991 and still wakes me up each morning. The wonderful thing about this clock (aside from the fact that it has managed to work for over 20 years) is that every time the alarm sounds or I even see it, I am reminded of my friendship with Kathy. Unfortunately, it also reminds me of how long it’s been since I last saw her and I miss her quite a bit, but I know that our feelings have remained unchanged in spite of the years and the miles.

I stole this video from YouTube.

Kathy is now married and is a mother-- she has three adorable, funny girls as well as two boys from her husband’s previous marriage. I can’t wait to meet the kids one day when our schedules work out. Until then, we have the internet, the phone and our memories.

Thanks for always being my champion and starting every day with me, Kathy. LOVE YOU!!!!
Current Location: Lakewood, Ohio
Current Mood: thankfulthankful
18 December 2013 @ 09:49 am

I’ve recently had the pleasure of spending a lot of time with a friend’s daughter. Not that I don’t have young nephews whom I see regularly, but spending time with a different child who has a different personality really causes me to pay attention, which is what they like and I’m willing to do.

I really love how everything is new and curious to a child who is just on the edge of becoming a true toddler and I also love how they love to show you something that moves them — whether it’s a window, a flower, a puppy, a rock or even a dark spot on the sidewalk. These moments are usually accompanied by adorable noises which, to the uninitiated, are usually just adorable noises. However, if you listen closely, you hear these wonderful “proto-words” that are so near and dear to them because they crave simple knowledge.

I remember babysitting a friend’s son about 5 years ago and hearing him say “Zeess?! Zeeeess???!” quite often. He would watch him roll his chubby hand into a fist with his index finger extended. Something he must’ve heard his mother say often was “what’s this?” His developing mind reinterpreted that as “zeess?”

My recent visit out to San Francisco had me experiencing something similar with our friend’s daughter. I’d be rolling her down the street in her buggy and she’d look at something, turn to me, smile and point. Her word of choice was “saaaaaa?”, which I believe to be her regurgitation of “what’s that?”

There are days when I absolutely feel jaded; that I know too much about the world around me and maybe even take too much of what I see and hear for granted. I have vague memories of everything being fresh and new and maybe even being a little freaked out by something that was so alien to me (like a toad) because I’d never seen one before and not because I later just found them to be gross. I wish that there were some way that we could experience the feelings of “zeess” and “saaaaaa” on a daily basis because I think that it would make our days a lot more interesting in a good way.
Current Location: Lakewood, OH
Current Mood: coldcold
Current Music: Capital Cities - "Kangaroo Court"
23 October 2013 @ 01:22 pm

(1998? – 2013)
                    I hate today. I hate today almost as much as I hated yesterday and as much as the day after we had to put our Sheltie, Heidi, to sleep. I was 16 at the time and we’d had Heidi since I was 3. I knew her pretty much as long as I knew anything. That was the first animal we had to put to sleep. Heidi's pup, Winkie, was hit by a car while I was at school one day and that event, while horrifying to 9-year old me, was somehow different than when we had to consciously make the decision to put Heidi down.

                Layla came into my life in May 2000. I didn’t want a cat and I certainly wasn’t looking for a cat, but the guy I was seeing at the time insisted we get one. I must have been jet-lagged or something after my trip to Japan because I resisted a bit, but then I found myself with a cat two days later. The guy didn’t offer to pay for any of the fees to the pet rescue or for any of the things that you need to go with your cat and, well, that pretty much summed up our relationship pretty well.

                Anyhow, she was spotted at the Petsmart at Great Northern Plaza one sunny afternoon. She seemed pretty friendly and was perfectly adorable, so she was chosen. I felt a little guilty about separating her from her “sister”, but there could only be one. Incidentally, they didn’t look much alike since Layla was grey and long-haired and her alleged sister was a black and white short-haired cat. All the paperwork was finalised; her age was estimated to be two-and-a-half years and her name was “Lala”. Lala? Well, that just wasn’t going to do, so I stuck a Y in the name as if it mattered to her—or to any of us. Over the years she was rarely called Layla, but more often than not called “Princess”, “Kitty Paws”, “Kitty Pants”, “Soft Kitty”, “Kit-Ten” or “Poopy-head”, among other fine names.

                I brought her home in the large dog carrier that I took her to the vet in last night. I only lived on one floor of the house at the time, so I closed the bedrooms and allowed her to explore the rooms that had wood or tile floors. She immediately skulked off to the bathroom and hid under the claw-foot bathtub. After a while, she came out and started to explore her new home. I showed her where her litter box was and she took to it like a pro. She was going to fit in just fine!

                Layla saw me through a change in jobs the following autumn and then through the break-up with the guy I was seeing; the one who wanted her in the first place. She, like me, was abandoned again.

                It wasn’t long after, just a few months—that I started to date Lou. Lou was not a cat person and later revealed that he thought that was a deal-breaker. It was only a deal-breaker until he bonded with her sort of sweet, but aloof personality. She won him over, as did I apparently. TEAMWORK!

                Layla was a gentle cat. She had all of her claws, but she never used them on anyone or any object. She never jumped on the counters. Well, there was one time she got on the dining room table and we shouted a stern “off!” and pointed down. That never happened again. She never knocked anything off the Christmas tree or any shelves and Lord knows we have plenty of things on shelves! She would wander into Warehouse 1138 from time to time to just sit and look at the toys that were at kitty level and never touched a single one. After each visit, she would curl into a ball and fall asleep between the toy box my parents made me when I was baby and the display in the centre of the room. She constantly amazed me. If I wanted her to go up the stairs, I could just say “go upstairs”, sweep my finger in that direction a couple times and she would go.

                So, I took her to the vet last night and explained everything to the physician. Lou was just getting out of work and, should he not be able to make it, I wanted to have someone there with me. I called our friend, Penny, because she’s solid and I knew she would provide the support I needed to get through the visit. The vet said that we brought her in at the right time and didn’t make the mistake of waiting too long and then began the procedure after Lou showed up. She administered the sedative and we stroked Layla, gave her kisses on her tiny head and whispered to her as she fell asleep and her tail stopped moving. We left before the administered the second dose because we knew we couldn’t deal with the finality of that.

                I’ll probably never have another kitty cat quite like her. She set the bar really high. I was lucky and I hope she had a happy life with me. I miss her so much.

                “It’s OK, baby… daddy will see you soon.”  
Tags: , ,
Current Mood: depresseddepressed
08 August 2013 @ 10:32 am
And so I sit here, thinking about the passing of my cousin, Kim Stevens (neé Hopkins), and remembering her life. I’m saddened by the thought that she, her sister, Laurie Kay and my dear Aunt Elva, all from the same family, are now no longer with us. I’ll get to Aunt Elva in a separate entry, but I want to focus on my cousins right now.

Both Laurie Kay and Kim were quite a bit older than I was when I was a child and I was never particularly excited to visit their house because they were usually off with their friends and there were no kids my age to play with. On the occasions that they were around, however, they were always wonderful to me. They would take me on long walks through the woods and teach me about the plants. It was they who taught me what skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) was. I actually have a very clear memory of that moment and can see the whole setting; how far we were from the road, the amount of sunlight and where they were both standing at the time. It’s really weird.

On other occasions, Laurie Kay would sit at the piano and Kim would pull out her guitar and they would sing together. They were wonderful. I also recall them letting me listen to their records if they had to run out to meet their friends. I remember playing their Atlanta Rhythm Section album, A Rock and Roll Alternative, the one with the single “So Into You” on it, over and over. I loved that album. Whenever I heard that song on the oldies radio stations, I thought of them and will continue to do so.

So they are gone now.

Laurie Kay suddenly died one morning several years ago; just expired in the middle of her driveway on her way out to get the paper on a snowy morning. Kim passed yesterday after a very difficult struggle to heal after a massive car accident. She’d suffered so much damage and it’s probably for the best as it didn’t seem as though, should she recover, things would ever be right for her again.

I’m glad that I knew them. I often think about them when my friends bring their little children around. I remember how boring it could be for them if they don’t have anyone to play with and make the time to sit and talk with them, to bring out toys or interesting books and engage with them in any way that might interest them. I shall continue to miss them both, but they will live in me because of the wonderful memories and lessons they left behind. I hope that I can impart those memories and lessons in my friends’ kids and they will somehow continue to live on in them.

Thank you, ladies.

Current Location: Lakewood, Ohio
Current Mood: sadsad
01 July 2013 @ 04:44 pm
Sometimes things strike me as SO funny that I need to share them with other people. This is one of those times...

My friend wrote:
I remember seeing a commercial for some made-for-TV movie when I was little, and some character was telling another, "You should be ashamed to show your face after what you did."

I automatically assumed she'd mooned the camera during a live TV broadcast, because I could think of nothing worse any human being could do.

Thanks for posting that today, Richard. You are the best!!!!!
Current Location: Lakewood, Ohio
Current Mood: amusedamused