Sunday, February 5, 2017

A Proud Curmudgeon!

     So… I’ve been in quite the quandary these past few weeks. Busy beyond all belief and then just… ugh… I feel like Madeline Kahn… I’m so tired….
     Yeah, I am… 
     Yep, I will admit it. I have no qualms about admitting it. I’ll carry a flag. I’ll show you an I.D., if I had one. I’m a proud recluse; a curmudgeon of the highest order. People will often scoff at my proclamation. They don’t believe me. Trust, me when I say, I’m really not kidding. Nope, I will readily hand you your ass if I feel that is what you need. Trust me. I ran a professional kitchen. I can make Gordon Ramsey look like an amateur when it comes to dressing down people. BTW, he really is a total ass. Can’t stand the man.

     I’m not quite sure who came up with this whole notion that I’m some sort of fuzzy teddy bear. First off, I’m not really fuzzy. I’d always wished I was, but alas, it was not meant to be. Oh, and I’m rather short. Too short for a real bear obviously. Did you know that I’m also Southern? Oh hell… do I have to explain that as well? Well I’m not gonna. Go read ‘Gone With the Wind’, if you feel the need to know.

     It’s not that I hate people. Alright, I don’t hate most people, that better? I just find them irritating. They tend to piss me off. This has been a growing within me for the better part of three decades. The more relaxed our society becomes, the more likely people are going to forget basic manners. Whatever the fuck happened to ‘please’ and ‘thank you’? That doesn’t even take into account simple common courtesy!
     Don’t even get me started on what people will say online, behind their blinking little screens, their anonymity protected, or so they think. I know I’ve said it before, but I’m gonna say it again, right here… right now. If you don’t have something nice to say, shut the fuck up. I don’t want to hear it and the chances are, no one else will either. You got something nasty to say, go tell it to your BFF or in a mirror. Chances are, you’ll get a much better response.
     If I want to bitch about something, I have a completely rational, highly intelligent conversation with myself. No sense in dragging someone else’s poor tired ass into it now is there? I don’t even need to look into a mirror to do that. I can sit and weed my little garden and just fuss up a storm all by myself and have a wonderful time doing it, thank you very much.
     Stay away…
     I’ve really stayed away from social media lately. I already have high blood pressure; I don’t need someone else trying to force a stroke on my ass. Just when I thought… hmmm… I’ll go check things out, BAM! I get hit in the face with something that just pisses me off to the highest point of pistivity! And it didn’t even have anything to do with politics.

     Okay, I get that people need to talk about things. Their feelings… their… whatever. Go get a therapist. Tell a clergy or someone who will listen, nod their head, give you a blessing, let you rant and then shut the hell up. There are just some things the rest of us really don’t need or want to know.
     Bragging will push me right over the edge. If you do something nice for someone, that’s wonderful. However, the best part of that is keeping it to yourself, knowing that you’ve done a really good thing. You don’t need to brag about it, patting yourself on the back for a job well done defeats the purpose if you ask me. You know you did it. Feel good about it and move along. Go do it again for someone else. There exceptions to this rule. Personally, if I’ve gotten help or involved someone else, I will talk about it. If it is just me, I will keep quiet about it.

     ‘White Banners’, a book by Lloyd C. Douglas. No, don’t go rent the movie. It has a similar theme, but Hollywood totally botched that one. Good enough movie, but totally missed the mark in delivering the message of the book. Go. Read it. Feel good about yourself. It’s a great read and one book that I think should be required reading. You won’t regret it. Most every library has it.
     I told you…
     See… now do you believe me? I’m a crusty old fart who really doesn’t give a flying rat’s ass about other people’s opinion of me. Okay… there are a few who I look to… um… scratch that. They’re already dead, so they don’t count. Do they? I may need a Bloody Mary and garden time to think about that one. Do their opinions matter if they’re dead?
     Putting it simply…
     How I live my life, or try to:
     1. Treat others as I want to be treated.
     2. Don’t lie.
     3. Don’t steal.
     4. Respect; me first then you.
     5. Mind my own business.
     6. Be kind and try to be helpful.
     7. Offer a helping hand, not a hand out.
     8. Don’t judge.
     9. Manners matter.
     10. Keep my mouth shut and nod.
     If I keep to these rules, I usually do okay. Whenever I have strayed… that’s when I always get in trouble. I always seem to be getting in trouble, but mostly because people don’t want to hear me jump their shit. If you don’t want to know, then you best not ask me, but I’ll pretty much tell you. ‘My it’s weather we’re having!’
     I’m somewhere between 55 and death, so I don’t have a whole lot to lose, now do I. “Ask me no questions, I’ll tell you no lies.” Just be damn sure you want the truth. I’m a good listener, and I usually know when that is all that is required of me. I’ll listen to just about anything as long as we know the ground rules. It’s when you ask for my input or opinion that I’m gonna give it to you, no sugar coating. You’ll get the truth.
     Done…
     Now… stand up straight, square your shoulders and march. Go… do something productive. Make something. Be creative. Make someone else’s day. Mind your manners and things will turn out okay. Stay focused on what makes YOU a better person and don’t worry about those other folk. (For some unknown or rational reason ‘Onward Christian Soldier’ just popped into my head. I’m so ready for a cocktail now.)
     Have a grrreat week, y’all.
     Max
     p.s. Take most of this with a grain of salt, preferably from the rim of a cocktail glass. Most of it was tongue in check for those who just don’t get my sick sense of humour. But I really am a curmudgeon!
     Oh... and happy Super Bowl! 


Sunday, January 29, 2017

Feeding My Addiction(s)...

     So… I’m sitting here wishing I had a cocktail. It’s really too early to start drinking and I have a meeting in four hours and it would probably be a good thing if I weren’t drunk off my butt for it. Although, she probably wouldn’t mind. Yeah, she probably would come to think of it. Only because she’d be sober though.
     Ho Hum…
     Last time TAT (That Aussie Tart) and I went out to dinner with some friends after happy hour. We went to this little French style café, which isn’t too bad. Service was a bit on the wonky side, but that is pretty much everywhere here. I swear, I don’t know who some places stay in business to be honest, but that’s a whole ‘nother story for another time. Anyway, this friend asked me if I missed cooking.
     Yep, face plant in a big plate of depression. I miss not being in a kitchen so badly at times I seriously could just cry. I miss not working. I miss not having the adrenalin pumping when your ass is about one minute from going into the weeds. The noise, the heat and then… it’s over and everyone is cleaning and ready for a couple of well-deserved stiff drinks. Yeah, I miss it like nothing else. It’s my drug of choice and it was taken away from me when I was enjoying it the most. But… sometimes that’s the way things go. Who knows, if I could ever convince someone to cut my feet off and I get some of those bouncy prosthetics like that legless Olympian, I could be back in business, just bouncing off the walls of a kitchen once again.
     Speaking of which, the next time I’m in France, I swear I’m going to find a good patisserie and eat my weight in éclairs! I don’t know what it wrong with American bakeries. They can’t seem to get it right no matter what. Oh… and a good opera cake. Damn, I’m craving junk food.
     Hurry, change of subject…
     You know what really burns my ass? A flame about three foot high. That an old quote from a Dolly Parton movie. A good friend, Lisa Schrader, tagged me in a post about some Yankee woman who had never appreciated Ms. Parton for who she really is. Of course so many people think that she’s just some overly made up country singing bimbo. She is so far from that. She is probably one of the most generous people on earth. She gives back to her community like no one ever else has. With all the wildfires that devastated the East Tennessee region, she has promised one-thousand dollars to each and every family affected until they get up on their feet. She’s held a fundraiser.

Here’s the link of the woman who changed her opinion of this icon.  
An Open Apology To Dolly Parton
     She bought Silver Dollar City and named it Dollywood, which I’m sure some of you may have heard of. That place used to only be open about four months out of the year. Now that place runs year round and provides thousands upon thousands of jobs to local and traveling people.
     She also has a mobile library for the kids who are so remote; there is little or no chance for them to get to a library. She expanded on that and is now sending preschool kids’ books in the mail for free! You heard right, these kids have the opportunity to get a free book every month at no cost.
     No, our jezebel wanna be is so much more than a talented songwriter – performer. She is a superstar where I come from and it has nothing to do with her musical abilities at all. So, I’m gonna sing me a little Dolly tonight while whooping up something in the kitchen tonight. I’m thinking Jolene might be the ticket.
     Where’s that damn escalator…
     I so want to jump on my soapbox. I’m just too fucking lazy to walk up the stairs. You might want to be glad that I can’t find the escalator. Trump the chump just pisses me off. Him and his stupid wall. At what point has a wall ever really worked. Let’s ask the Chinese. Or how about the Brits with their stupid wall. Did it work? Or Berlin… how well did that wall fair? Hmm. Walls haven’t worked at any point in history and it won’t work now. Physically or virtually. The anti-Muslim wall he’s erecting won’t work either. It’s only going to piss more people off and play into the hands of the extreme right radicals, Christian AND Muslim. Okay… that’s as far as I can make it without the escalator. Ain’t you glad!?
     Moving right along…
     Did I mention I’m having the wackiest cravings? My doctor put me on a mega dose of steroids for four days and they are kicking my ass bad. It’s worse that smoking pot, as I remember. Makes me want to eat the entire house. I sat down and had a party size bag of Doritos last night with about half a gallon of milk. Damn, I’m going to look like I swallowed a beach ball the way I’m going. Either that or I’m carry triplets, which is impossible. Oh wait… there is that whole immaculate conception thing… who knows… think I could sell that story?
     I gotta goooo…
     I’m gonna close this bad boy up now so I can go and scarf up something good… or not so good, so let me just say… get out there and live life. Be happy. Do something for someone else. You won’t break a nail. It won’t break the bank. Your face won’t crack if you smile. Just do it. Put some of them good Karma Coins in that piggy bank.
     Have a grrreat week, y’all.
     Max



Sunday, January 22, 2017

I'll Shut Up Now...

     So… I’ve been sitting here trying to figure out something nice to say. I don’t know about y’all but my momma told me, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, keep your mouth shut.” Yeah, well that doesn’t always work for me.

     When is a spade not a spade…
     Never. Basically if you’re a liar and a cheat, you’re always going to be a liar and a cheat. Add thief to that and you’ve got a human being that isn’t worth his weight in salt. I never thought I would actually say this about a sitting President of the United States but… Donald J. Trump is a thief, a liar and a cheat. It is easily proven. It isn’t a big surprise.
    I’ve made it a point to not get into this political mess, but after Friday, I can’t hold back any longer. How this happened I don’t know. I just lied. Yes I do. I know exactly how this happened. People didn’t get out and vote. We have the lowest turnout for elections of any westernized country. That is pretty shameful.
     Tha, tha, that’s all folks…
     Since I really can’t think of anything nice to say, I’m going to stop right here. I had another thousand words, but after reading it, I just deleted it. Yep, that’s just… well that’s all. I’m going to head my mother’s advice and shut up now.
     Did you know?...
     Yep, I re-release P.O.W. If you’ve not seen the new cover yet, you haven’t seen one of the most beautiful book covers I’ve ever seen. A.J. Corza is a genius. I’m just blown away by her talent. If you’ve not read P.O.W., it is now available at your favorite book retailer. Please read the warnings though. It won’t be for everyone. It is hard and gritty and not always nice.
Buy links
Amazon
iBooks
Smashwords
Kobo
     But before I go…
     I’d like to thank everyone who donated books for the Zebra Coalition. I’m going to start categorizing everything this week and see about arranging a date for delivery. If I’m able to get it all done this week I hope to have a number to give y’all. Overall, I’m very pleased with how many responded to the request for books. I knew you would. You’ve never let me down yet when I ask for help. You guys rock.
     Remember, we all have more in common than not. Treat everyone with respect and the chances are they will reciprocate. Do something nice for someone else and you will reap those good Karma Coins.
     Have a great week, y’all,
     Max



Sunday, January 15, 2017

I'm So Confused...

     So… I’m sitting here pondering about the state of things. I’m so confused. On one hand I want to scream and on the other I want to hide. Oh, and then there’s the feeling I have that I have to put on my happy face and pretend that everything is perfectly okay.
     Why so…
     Angry? You bet’cha. When I order Chinese delivery, and I get an eggroll, I expect mustard damn it! What the hell? Who doesn’t want the hot mustard with their deep fried goodness? Come on now, admit it. Don’t you get a little pissed off when they forget that? I know I do.
     Oh and don’t even get me started on stupid people. I mean, there are those who can’t help it, but then there are those who are just too fucking lazy to get the facts straight. Yeah, those folk who are now pissed that our GOP laden government is going to do away with the Affordable Care Act. They are screaming their fool heads off because they had no clue that Obama Care and the Affordable Care Act are the same thing. Really? Are you really that fucking stupid? If you are, then you deserve exactly what you get… which in this case is nothing.
     And then there are those idiots that seem to have forgotten that there are indicator lights in cars. It’s an epidemic here in Florida. I bet there are probably less that 10% who actually use them. There are times that I want to tell them that they need to either return their new car or have it serviced because obviously, their turn signals don’t work. Grrr…

     Hiding… I got a new throw (blankie) for Xmas. It’s a big orange UT one that is so nice and fuzzy. (Thanks TAT. I love it!) There are days when I just want to stay in bed and cover my head and relish my blankie. Okay, I do like it that much, but there are some days that I don’t want to face the world.
     To be truthful, I really, really don’t want to go to the grocery store. It is bad on the best of days here but on Saturday? Why did I put it off till today? No matter what day you go, it seems to always be busy. Well, unless you go as soon as they open at 7 a.m. No, not one of my favorite things here.
     I want to hide from Facebook and other social media lately. There is so much hate and bad stuff erupting everywhere that I just want to crawl under my blankie. Why can’t we be civil to one another? Has etiquette and manners completely disappeared? Do you think these people would act this way if the other person/people were sitting across the table from them? I highly doubt it. I wish everyone would take a deep breath and imagine that person sitting in front of them before blasting their business for the entire world to see.
     Did I mention that I really like my new blankie? Maybe everything else is just an excuse to be all comfy cozy. I may have to think about that… under said blankie of course!
     My happy face…
     My mother told me once that no one wanted to hear my woes and for the most part, she was right. I think I’ve mentioned this before. When someone asks how you are, they don’t want to hear your crap. That is why I put on my happy face and move on. Compartmentalize is the key here: putting things in nice little boxes to deal with later. I’ve gotten pretty good at doing that. I think it’s a good thing to be able to do.

     There are times when I think it is easier to put on the happy face. It keeps things in balance. People won’t ask you what’s wrong, or what is going on with you. It’s easier, let’s be frank. I’m sure that there are times when we all have to do that, whether we like it or not. It’s just part of life I think. I also think that there are some people who need to practice this a bit more. Trust me when I say, it comes in handy.
     Where’s the fork…
     Done. And there you have it. All my emotions spelled out… or spilled out, all over the page. No wonder I’m a mess here lately. Of course, it could also mean that I’m going through dirt withdrawal. I’ve not been out digging in the dirt in a few weeks. Now that I think about it… I’m sure that’s what the issue is. I need me some dirt time!
     Oh… and did you know…
     I got the rights back to a book I wrote years ago. P.O.W. In my humble opinion, this book was never marketed by the publisher. Actually, at the time of release and until I got the rights back, it wasn’t even available on Amazon in e-book format. Why, I’ll never know. I also think that is was so overpriced that no one bought it.

     It now has a new cover, thank god, and has been re-edited. I’d forgotten what a good book it is, if I do say so myself. I feel that part of that was because I was so disgusted with how it was handled by the publisher that I almost hated the thing. Now that I have the rights back and I’ve read it again, I’m surprised at how powerful this book is. For sure, it is not for the light of heart. There are some difficult scenes in there.
     Anyway, it's available for pre-order. Here are some buy links.
Happy Dance…
     Wow… thanks to all the wonderful authors and readers who have sent books for the Zebra Coalition library. So many books have come in that I’m a bit overwhelmed. The kids are going to flip when they see how many.
     The postman handed me the mail the other day and thought that something was wrong when he didn’t have a parcel for me. I told him not to worry, that UPS had gotten there before him, so all was good. I had to smile at that. It won’t be long before they are all ready to be loaded up and taken to the center. I’ll try and get some photos for y’all.
     Again, thank you all so very much. As always, you guy come through for me each and every time. If you didn’t buy/send a book, there are still things you can do. Sign up for Amazon’s Smile program. You can pick them as a favored charity where part of your purchase price is donated to them. Or you can check out their wish list, which you have to actually click their name under ‘wish list’ to see what they need. A lot of things are under $20.00. I try and get one thing each month. I usually do it right after I’ve paid all the bills. It makes me feel a little better. Just think of the good Karma Coins you’ll be able to put in that piggy bank!
     Have a grrreat week, y’all.
     Max



Sunday, January 8, 2017

Another New Year...

     So… it’s a new year. Am I the only one who is finding it hard to write 2017? Not so much that I was in the habit of writing 2016, but just difficult to wrap my head around the date itself. I find it hard to believe I made it this far.

     Putting it away…
     Over the holidays, I’ve received numerous greeting cards. There were a few that really cracked me up. Some people know me too well. Many of you know that I hate snow. I’ve come to detest cold weather, mainly because I find it painful, so when I got a card that said “I Love Snow” with a cute snowman, I at first frowned. Then I saw who it was from and had to laugh. I got another one that was so funny and sooo me, I almost pissed myself. There are a few that I think I’m going to keep and pull back out next year. They’re too good to throw away.
     I did manage to send out a few cards myself this year, not many. That was the first time in several decades that I’d done so. I did avoid doing it the day after Thanksgiving, but I still found it a little difficult. And of course, putting it off meant that several of them didn’t make it before Christmas, but I figure they were ‘Holiday cards’ so it still counts.
     Speaking of…
     No. No. No! I do not do snow! I hate the stuff. Yeah, as a little kid I liked it well enough, especially when it got me out of school. I however, learned very quickly to dislike the white, wet, cold, disgusting crap at a very early age. You see, I had a paper route. I rode a bicycle to deliver papers. Those papers had to be delivered come rain, snow or heat wave. Have you ever tried to ride a bike in ten inches of snow? Yeah, it doesn’t work. When it snowed I ended up having to walk that damned route. Cold, wet feet is not my idea of a good time. So, yeah, I hate the stuff.

Nope! Not even for him!

     Having lived through the blizzard in Washing D.C. back in the 80’s, and having to walk from the subway in two feet of snow in my work clogs only made me hate it that much more. When it snowed in Atlanta, and things shut down, I knew that as soon as I could, I’d be moving even further south, which I did. I swear, if Global Warming, or whatever the PC name for it is now-a-days, causes it to snow in Florida, I’m going even further south. I wonder if I could move to Cuba. I bet I could find me a cute cabaña boy there! I could perhaps even afford one there!
     Marching on…
     Last week I think I mentioned trying to do better. I’ve been thinking a bit this week about that. It’s not as easy as it was when I lived in Atlanta. Things were closer and there was more need. A LOT more need. Here? Not as much. Not that there isn’t need, you just don’t see it as readily. I’ve decided to continue my focus on LGBT kids.
     It still amazes me when people think that gay kids aren’t tossed out like yesterday’s trash, by their own parents, just because the kid is homosexual. That in itself proves that there is still work to be done and a thus, a need. I personally know what it is like to be bullied because of it. I personally know what it is like to be rejected by family. I personally know how hard it is and the fear that comes along with it. Kids have it hard enough without piling all that shit on them as well. Kids should have the chance to be just kids.
     Here… have a look if you dare. Yes, I do dare you. I double-dawg dare you. 
     When I lived in Atlanta I did what I could for ‘Lost-n-Found’, a great organization that helped displaced, homeless LGBT youth. I believe that everyone should help out, whenever possible in their own community. So when I moved to Florida, I found an organization not too far from where I live and have tried to concentrate on doing what I could for them.
     I did a book drive to help build their small library. If kids have books that they can relate to, perhaps they’ll read more. Reading is always a good thing if you ask me. I also push to help clear away their wish list, which is really easy to do. I did the same thing, the wish list that is, for ‘Lost-n-Found’. Many times there are things listed that cost less than $10.00, so it is affordable for me to do a little something each month.
     There are so many things that one can do that doesn’t really cost much at all. A friend in Georgia made hats and scarfs for kids on the streets for the winter. Another makes afghans so a kid can have something warm that they can call their own. There is so much talent out there, I’m sure everyone could think of something that they could do.
     Look into your own community. See what needs there are and see if you can’t do a little something to make a difference. If each of us does just a little bit, think of how that could add up. Oh and think of all those good Karma Coins you can put in the bank. Karma is a funny thing sometimes. Whatever goes around comes around and often it comes back with interest! Woo-Hoo! How cool is that?
     So go forth… do your best, be your best and remember, kindness doesn’t cost a thing and manners do matter.
     Have a grrreat week, y’all.
     Max.




Monday, January 2, 2017

I'm Coming Out...

     So… I sit here feeling… I’m not even sure how I’m feeling to be honest. My emotions are kinda all over the place. I think that maybe for the first time I’m going to open up a bit about some of the things that I believe in. Sorry, but I’m going to use this as a little self-therapy and hopefully it will help me sort out some things.

     To start…
     I’m somewhat terrified. I had hoped against hope that the election wouldn’t go the way it did… but it did. I think deep down I knew it would, but one must always have hope. What this means for me personally is that I’m going to have to take steps, pretty quickly, just to survive. That may sound a little overly dramatic, but it is the truth. I’m not going to get into the details, but its a horrible position to be put in. I don’t think people completely understand what is about to befall them, and a good deal of them are going to find out the hard way.
     Bhaaaaaa…
     I think so many of us have become sheep. We will automatically follow the one in front of us without question. Realizing I was gay in the early 70’s turned me away from the pack I think. It is the only time that I can pinpoint when I started to question… just about everything. You have to realize, that Stonewall had only happened a decade earlier, and living in the Bible Belt, it took a loooong while for the fallout of that event to trickle down to make any kind of difference in my life. The only thing positive about that event was that it did open people’s eyes that gay people existed openly.
     But (Yeah, I know you’re not really supposed to start a sentence with but… get over it.) when you are being bullied, not only from your social peers, but your family as well, it tends to make you separate yourself from the crowd and start to try and figure things out on your own. Basically, I only had myself and a one other person that I could rely on: my sister.
     When you are put in that kind of situation as a very young teenager, you really don’t have much of a choice. That is when I think I broke away from the herd. Okay, I also was in a school system that really did teach you how to think on your own. As a kid I never knew how fortunate I was to grow up where I did. It was basically an isolated think-tank with brilliant people all around me. I was extremely lucky. However, that didn’t shield me from the stigma that went along with being gay.
     Don’t do it…
     My mother told me from a very early age that one should never discuss politics, religion or money with anyone but your closest inner circle and even then, tread with caution. This advice has served me well for most of my life. I never really discussed politics but I basically didn’t give two shits about it. That changed.
     What made me jump, head first, into politics was the AIDS epidemic that surrounded me. It was so pervasive in my life it was suffocating. Men I knew started to disappear. One day the light clicked on and I saw how politics directly impacted my life. What an eye opener that was.
     When I started to pay attention and think for myself about politics, what I saw sickened me. That was when I began to scrutinize the actions of our elected leadership. I think I was too immature to connect all the dots at the time but I knew things weren’t quite right. Financially things were getting better, or so I thought, but other things were getting worse. I didn’t know how much worse there were going to get. I still don’t know where it is going to end because it is still happening.
     What I saw happening had a word; a name. I had never heard the word before. Never knew it existed, but as of today, I do now and it scares the ever-living shit out of me. I am going to provide you with a link. If you have any interest at all in the well-being of others, you might take the time to read it. I will warn you now, not only is it disturbing, but you really have to push through it all. There are some of you will simply dismiss it as rhetoric, but having lived this long and having witnessed the changes described, I see it quite plainly. Of course I don’t believe everything in this article, but for the most part… I think it is spot on.


     Ouch…
     This morning I’m feeling very old. I am fast approaching fifty-six, which many of you will not say is not old. In fact, in gay years, I might as well just ship myself off to the glue factory. Ageism in the gay community is quite prevalent, let me assure you. Once you turn fifty, you’ve become obsolete. If you are honest about your age, you are politely shunned, at first. Get to fifty-five and you’ll soon start to feel as if you’ve got leprosy and it is all over your face. That is the simple fact of being a gay man in this day and age.
     Within the heterosexual community, I’m told how young I am and how I am not old and that I have so much going for me. That works well for them and I’m glad. It is a comfort to some degree I guess. I blame the lack of education within the gay community for a lot of this.
     I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Gay History should be taught in schools just like Black History. It will do two things right away: One, it will cut down on bullying. Once it is talked about, the stigma lessens. It won’t do away with it, especially with all the right-wing bible thumping, gun-toting, ‘do-gooders’ abounding, but it will help. Two: It will teach gay youth to respect the gay people that came before them and fought for the rights they take advantage of today. I don’t think they get that. They don’t understand what it took for them to be openly gay in school, hold hands on the street or have the right to say “I do” in front of friends and family. This is lost to them because there is no one telling our story. Yeah, so I’m feeling a bit melancholy with all this running through my head.
     However…
     I still have hope. Why? Because that is just the way I’m wired I guess. In my mind, if I keep pushing, helping others, doing what I think is best, in the end it will all turn out all right. That might be walking around with rose-colored glasses on, but hey… it is better than drowning myself in Bailey’s laced coffee, pulling a black blanket over my head and crying about how unfair life is. That is just not me.
     Nope, I’m going to happily put on my special glasses and keep on doing what I’m doing. By focusing on others I know that I’m at least making a difference, one little baby step at a time. Without a doubt I am delusional, but my days of outright activism are long past. This is about as much activism I can muster at this point in my life. I can point out things, and hopefully educate as I do what I can to make someone else’s life a bit better. Gotta get them Karma Coins somehow ya know.
     The one thing that I want for this New Year is that people find kindness. There are many more things that we have in common than not. A friendly word, a kindness shown will make everyone’s day a little better. Remember that manners do matter. Go forth and shine brightly.
     Have a grrreat week, y’all.
     Max




Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas...Looking Back

     So… Another week has passed. Is it just me or has this year rushed by. Where does the time go? It seems as if only yesterday it was… well not Christmas, that’s for sure. I always fall into reflection around this time of year.
     A Christmas Memory… (see how I worked that in? LOL)
    It was my fourth Christmas, yeah four years old. My mother, sister and I had moved in with my Grandmother a few months previously. Yes, my mother and father were on the road to divorce, which was rather scandalous back then. Anyway, things were a little tumultuous to say the least. Emotions were running high and I really didn’t care: I was with my grandmother, who I loved more than anything in the world.
     I remember being asked what I wanted for Christmas. What I really wanted was an easy bake oven, a set of dishes and who knows what else. I can’t really remember everything. Of course my father went ballistic. Those weren’t things to give a boy! My grandmother didn’t listen or care.
     Now you have to understand a little bit about my grandmother. She was one of those women who raised nine children during the great depression. My grandfather was injured in a railroad accident and wasn’t much help. She was a teetotaler and disapproved of anyone who drank. (Didn’t stop most of my family though. There’s a cute story here that I’ll try and get to another time.) She was also one of the most giving people I ever knew.
     Guess what? I got that easy bake oven and the dishes. I’m pretty sure it was my grandmother who got them, even though they said they were from Santa. The only problem, in my mind, was the damn oven was pink. I really don’t like pink, but those were the days that dictated that girls did the cooking. Boy did I prove them wrong.
     Of course that silly oven didn’t last very long. I was a pretty rough and tough little boy after all. The dishes… I was finally convinced to give them up when I was around eleven or twelve. My grandmother had died when I was eight years old.
     It was my grandmother who instilled in me the love of cooking. There were many early morning weekends when she would keep me occupied in the kitchen so my mother could sleep in, having worked late the night before. She taught me how to make pancakes, which I thought was the best thing ever. To this day, when I make pancakes, I think of her and smile.
     Her philosophy: “Food feeds the body. Food made with love feeds the soul.” I’ve always remembered that.
     Christmas Memories 2… (Ha! I did it again. I’m so clever. He he he)
     Back in 1984, I spent Christmas alone. In August of that year, the mom and pop restaurant I was working in closed. Okay, that’s a bit of an understatement. It was chained shut by the IRS. I was suddenly unemployed with a month’s worth of salary unpaid left me and completely broke. It didn’t help that it was also the first of the month and rent was due.
     That was a scary time for me. I almost became homeless for the first time in my life, and thankfully, the last time. I ended up working three jobs as I tried to work myself out of the huge financial hole I suddenly found myself in. It was definitely a low point in my life. I wouldn’t recommend it.
     Anyway, it was suddenly Christmas. My poor car was in serious need of repair so there was no way it was going to make the drive from Washington, D.C. to Tennessee. Most of my friends were with family or left to go to wherever they were going for the holidays. That left me in the city… alone. The first time I’d spent Christmas away from home. If I’m correct, that was also the last Christmas I didn’t work for close to twenty years.
     Being the stupid youngster I was, I didn’t plan ahead of course. Okay, hell, I was exhausted if I’m to be honest. That was the first day I’d had off since September of that year. What I’m saying is that there was no food in the apartment. Why would I buy food when I was never there and I always ate at work… at one job or another or all of them.
     I ended up going out into the city, which was mostly deserted, in search of food. Of course, almost nothing was open. Back then… everyone closed up for Christmas. I did find a crappy dinner that was open close to the Washington Post. I guess they stayed open because of the close proximity to the newspaper. News never stops ya know, especially in Washington.
     It was surprising how packed the place was. I guess I wasn’t the only one with no place to go on Christmas. I had a huge breakfast and hung out drinking coffee and talking to one of the cooks for a while. Later on… I left, found a gay bar that was of course open, albeit almost empty, and got as drunk as Cooter Brown.
     That was a rather expensive Christmas. Not only from the bar but from the taxi that I took home. Never trust cab drivers in D.C.!
     A Christmas Memory 3: (Yep, I did it again. LMAO)
     Now, I’m sitting here with this humongous tree taking up most of the living room and presents underneath. I sit staring at it wearing shorts, a T-shirt and flip-flops with the doors and windows open. The dogs keep running outside chasing who knows what. I have this great urge to go make pancakes. I’m very fortunate and thankful for all the blessings I have.
     A New Year…
     As 2017 approaches it makes me wonder what the future has in store for me. What adventures will I see? The one thing I do know for sure is that there will always be those who are less fortunate. There will always been a need. There will always be kids who find themselves on the streets or in homes that are less that functional. That makes me sad. But it also gives me opportunity to do something good. Maybe I can share some of the things I’ve learned along the way. Maybe… just maybe, I can pass along the love of cooking that was bestowed upon me by my grandmother. Of course, it never hurts to put some of those good Karma Coins in the piggy bank. Who knows what lies ahead? I do know that I will embrace the challenges ahead, good or bad.

     I hope everyone has a joyous holiday season,

     Max