We started off the year by selling Daddy Barry’s handsome black and chrome Honda ACE Shadow 750 motorcycle. It is part of our shift of going to Harleys. But he’d had it for 19 years, through some difficult times, and he was sad to see it go. Thankfully a policeman’s son was the purchaser. Also, some storage items sold – the dryer, the bicycle -- so Daddy Barry and dog got our temporary 2nd unit closed out leaving our remaining storage, saving us about $200/month going forward.
The big fun thing was Deputy and Chris came to town. Finally the whole leather family was in San Diego at the same time. Daddy Barry hosted a frittata brunch so that frank and his husband and slave damian could finally meet Deputy and Chris. Meanwhile we hung out and went to restaurants and took in “Mary, Queen of Scots” which was visually rich.
We made more progress settling in. We bought a beautiful TV cart from Draftwood Designs. We had the front two door-size closets combined into one large closet for a pantry, with shelving from Container Store.
I began my memoirs by pulling together some thoughts:
Memoirs of a colorful life
My grandmother shoots my father when I am one year old after my mom’s divorce. My mother kidnaps me and a sister out of state so my father cannot see us. Through two years of sheer determination and action my father locates us. In school, I test in the top 1-3% of California kids and am placed in Mentally Gifted Minors, a program to stimulate high-scoring kids. I drive over a cliff -- a heroic four-hour rescue effort saves my life. I survive. My mother pulls a gun on a tormentor waiting to beat me up. I meet my first lover at 16, and start coming out in Texas. It’s bumpy. My mother recruits college football players to protect me. I am the youngest person to pass all four parts of the CPA exam in Texas in 1984. Through high school, in college, and after, I dance -- everywhere I can: Paris, Fire Island, Key West, London, New York, San Francisco, Fort Lauderdale, Dallas, Quebec City, Houston. I thrill in dance music. I collect it. Then I create it. Later I work at Enron and design a worldwide energy trading system for one of its three energy trading companies. I find an Indian shaman and spend a week in a cave in the desert. I am diagnosed with HIV at 24, then AIDS at 28. 200 friends die. I seek out and work with a lady doctor who specializes in HIV/AIDS and research. I get into clinical trials of drugs not yet approved, and compassionate early access for the first protease inhibitor; the game-changing class of drugs that made HIV manageable, of sorts. I survive. Yet I am regularly sick and start coming down with weird infections… My brain is imaged and it shows vast parts asleep. I am an activist in ACT-UP, Queer Nation, and more; marching in protests nationwide to agitate for equal treatment of gays under the law. Meanwhile, a fundamentalist aunt says my partner cannot come to a family reunion. We write back and forth and eventually I publish the drama on the newly-public Internet as “The Letter Wars.” It is picked up by USA Today and the Advocate. My partner’s source of life-saving HIV medications is jeopardized by a rule change at the state level, so we sell our home in Texas and buy in another state which better supports the health of its citizens. I meet a man at The Bears’ Meatloaf Dinner fundraiser at the Big Kitchen. My husband and my two leatherslaves love him. I ask him to be my leather Daddy.
I wish I could say I was motivated by altruism but it's closer to getting even: Just before I began I had dinner with Commander and dog. Over dinner, Commander shared about his life; dog shared about his life. In both instances I asked probing questions of each to enrich the conversation. When it came time for me, we were done with dinner. Then neither one seemed interested when I gave a story of my own in the car on the way home. I thought "Man, you're missing out. I've had an interesting life." So it began.
My longtime physician sent a letter that he was retiring, so I shifted over to Daddy Barry and dog’s sweet doctor.
The leather family went to the Leather Fetish Ball. We had a birthday party for me. Both Daddy Barry and I began “Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation” treatment for depression. Our friend Mrs. Faulkner went into a physical rehab facility, so we started visiting her regularly. We filed our taxes. New tires. San Diego Leather Pride, including bringing Roadkill a birthday cake at the Victory Brunch. Deputy came for a quick visit during Chris’ busy tax time. The leather family rented an RV and went to Agua Caliente County Park on a desert bloom trip. Daddy Barry went to Los Angeles Leather Pride with Skip. And he found a replacement Harley in Fort Worth.
Meanwhile, Opa has been largely blind, other than seeing light and some peripheral vision, since scratching her good eye a year or so ago. It seemed to get worse. She fell off our tall bed onto the wood floor. We were quite concerned. She has slept with us since she was a puppy, so we weren’t about to kick her out of her bed. Instead we went out and got a rug and pad to put under/around the bed, to soften the impact should she fall again. Opa also got an eye infection, which required aggressive, long treatment.
In June Daddy Barry had a motorcycle accident in which the other person was at fault. His resulting tumble broke two spots in his back and gave him a huge (over a foot by a foot) bruise.
Meanwhile, work continued on the new legal trust for Daddy Barry / dog / and me. We finalized it, which enables us to move forward with trust joint checking and such.
Also in June, I did an electrical presentation for FMSD, and in July an electrical presentation at the Leather Realm for Pride.
We bought a new dryer and brought over dog’s similar modern washing machine from storage. Then began the process of getting the dryer vented. Daddy Barry worked diligently on it. It also required us to move out the bifold doors a couple of inches.
July 10 there was excited pounding on our door. It was our friendly downstairs neighbor, quite alarmed. “What are you doing?!” We were clueless. “There’s water coming through my ceiling in the second bathroom.” We told him we didn’t have any water running. We went and looked: A tiny puddle was developing near the bathtub. Ultimately it turned out to be a leak in the pipe behind the shower wall that services just our unit – our responsibility.
Also in July, Opa had her regular quarterly bloodwork which she gets to monitor impacts of one of her medications. Her liver values were off. We did an ultrasound to look at the liver. The results showed a tumor on her right lobe, which the radiographer thinks is a low-grade hepatocellular carcinoma – a slow-growing cancer. Being on the right, that is near the vena cava, the largest vein in the body – making it a riskier area to do an aspiration or biopsy or removal. Since she is otherwise healthy and in good spirits, Commander, dog and I agreed we would not pursue those three options.
Meanwhile, Commander went on his summertime long motorcycle ride. This time to San Francisco to take in the leather street festival, Dore Alley / Up Your Alley. He had a good time. A damaged road did majorly throw the bike, however, and he broke his right toe (in steel-toed boots) keeping the motorcycle under control.
In August we celebrated Commander’s 70th birthday for a week+
The weekend before included a gathering of close friends at Chuck & frank’s.
Next the family gathered at a “gear invasion” for his birthday. That’s friend Chris behind frank & Chuck. Then on his birthday proper he opened presents from Officer Wes and dog.
September opened with the passing of our dear friend and former neighbor, Mrs. Faulkner. She lived to be 98. Officer Wes will miss their regular visits. Later in the month Daddy Barry and I thoroughly enjoyed The Sound of Music sing-along at the Hollywood Bowl. We -- Daddy Barry, Dion, Dion's longtime LA friend Bob, and I -- had stellar floor box seats compliments of friends David & Robert, who wound up being unable to go. Check out this beautiful video by Dion of white lights (takes a few seconds) as Edelweis plays. Daddy Barry next rode to Tucson to help friend Mary after foot surgery.
October was vacation month: We went to Universal Studios:Orlando for seven days with sister Elaine and brother-in-law Ian. It was a hard transition for dog, who had flown back to San Diego from a work trip Friday night, and then we flew to Orlando early the next morning. he was conked for two days. Meanwhile, the rest of us explored the park. We particularly enjoyed the Harry Potter themed areas – but our all-out favorite was the Simpsons ride in Krustyland. After seven days there, sister and Ian flew home and Daddy Barry, dog and I drove on to Cocoa to visit dog’s mom and brother; very sweet people. dog had a couple of sudden-onset sullen periods which really impacted those times for the rest of us. One was rather extended on the return home, which --when asked about it -- led to dog’s first big meltdown. Short version seems to be this: When dog gets excessively tired, he can get unmoored. We’ll work through it.
In November we refinanced our home at a lower interest rate and took out some cash, in part to fund Opa’s extensive and expensive 2019 eye work. Daddy Barry rode to Palm Springs for Desert Leather Pride. I worked on Ubiquitous, my 2019 music piece. We helped with FetishMen SanDiego gatherings like mummification, Daddy/boy relationships, leather care & boot blacking by Pup Rowdy, and floggers and single tails by Travis. Also in November I got admitted to the hospital for a bowel blockage. I took on a new sponsee, Robert S, also. John Hall & Lloyd MacDonald married in a joyful gathering. Daddy Barry peed blood. After 10 vexing sinus infections, my ENT suggested I go to a sinus specialist ENT. So, he sent me to Dr. Deconde at UCSD. Delightful. He gave me options/suggestions, including that Xhance and Dupixent might benefit me. I’d never heard of either. Afterward, I lined up the allergist appointment necessary for the Dupixent prescription.
December saw us at Mr. Dickerson’s elaborate catered holiday gathering. Delightful. Then it was Christmas here, Christmas in Cocoa for dog, and Christmas in DFW for Daddy Barry and me. The family came down with the flu and we returned to San Diego with it.
As always, may this find you happy & well.