And so, my year long blog comes to an end.
In the very early days of my blog, Lisa and Nancy were displeased by a story I wrote, a story that included them. They told me that I needed to be very careful in what I wrote when it came to others unless I had their permission. They even warned me that I could be sued. This advice made me have to rethink my writing, thus, in most cases, I removed last names from my stories, and I felt myself treading very carefully when it came to what I wrote about whom. In other words, when it came to friends, I censored a lot of my memories. However, this caused me to focus even more on myself and my personal journey, my experiences and feelings, so on some level I think it was a good thing.
When I started this blog, I decided that I would tell the honest truth about myself, the good, the bad and the ugly, and I believe I have done that. In every story I have told, I tried my best to be totally open and honest about myself, even if what I wrote was less than flattering.
I’ve said this from the beginning, and I will say it again, I am not a very good writer. I am severely dyslexic and I have horrible grammar, but, just the same, I have forged on and I think to some degree I have become a better writer, at least a better story teller. Just like my work in music, this blog was created to be a personal work of art from me, maybe not the best work of art, but I did put my heart and soul into it.
For those of you who have faithfully followed my blog, I want to sincerely thank you for your support, and for those of you who have only occasionally read my blog, I also thank you for your support, although you have missed a lot of deeply personal stories that I will probably never share again, however, as I suspect this blog will remain online for some time, you can always go back and read what you missed.
In closing I want to thank all the people who have allowed me to share my life with you including Dee Dee, Terry and Rex, Marc and Cheri, Raymond and Ociel, Cindy, Clare, Marc O., Robert S., Lisa and Nancy, Billy Ingram, Jeff A., Seth, Chris and Margie, Miss K, Eva and Jeff, Betty J., Greg M., Louie, Bill and Cathie, Dave Wade Stein, my parents, my sister, my brother, Mom Taylor, Pop Taylor, Mike Russell, Jack Marquette, Doug Moody, Peter and Gary, Jessica, Craig, Paul and Sel, Jay L., Ed and Rick, Clint D., Marnie Weber, Paisley, Aunt Marjorie, Eliza, Sandi, Sally, Jay and Ryan, Andre, Mark and Liz, Danny Darko, Roy F., Joanna and Wes, Mary M., Todd, Ian, Mandy, Michelle B., Marr-lynn, Dev, Rico, Lynnie, Jimmy D., Egbert, Shirlie, Heathen John, Spike, Kirby Z., Summer, Steve S., Denny M., Beth N., Ricci S., and so many other friends and family who have been dear to me over the years of my life. Most of all, I want to thank Spider (James Allan Taylor), the man who makes my life worth living.
Special thanks to Monk Bucket (who came up with my blog title) and to those friends who wrote guest blogs for me.
Also a special pat on the head to Frappy, Monkey, Cheyenne, Pumquat and Ginkmo.
Okay, this has been my life on parade and now it comes to an end, though trust me, my life ain’t over until it’s over! I wish you all lots of love and peace and happiness in your own parades!
Today is warm and slightly windy. I have the back sliding glass door open to let in some fresh air. I can hear our wind chimes. Whenever the weather gets warm like this, I think of spring and my youth. They say the next two weeks are the best time to see desert wildflowers and we can see them popping up all along the sides of the roads here in Oro Valley.
Yesterday Spider and I along with Cindy and Robert (and Frappy) went for a picnic in the desert (something we had originally planned to do last weekend for my birthday but it was too cold). The day was sunny and bright with a few faint clouds, the sky was turquoise blue. We drove way out into the desert by way of dirt road to my favorite hidden spot, a picnic area with ramadas fashioned out of rock, mesquite tress and saguaro ribs built by Civilian Conservation Corps workers back in the 1930’s under the Roosevelt administration. We had a cement table which we covered with a tablecloth and a lunch spread consisting of fresh bread, various cheeses, pickles, olives, potato salad, macaroni salad, coleslaw and watermelon along with a couple of bottles of wine that Cindy brought. After a nice and leisure meal, we drove further down the dirt road to another picnic area with a trailhead. We walked the short trail up and around a rocky hill to the top which had magnificent views of the desert (hundreds of tall saguaro cactus trees as far as one could see) and a pile of boulders covered in ancient petroglyphs carved by prehistoric Hokokam people. All in all, it was a beautiful afternoon, just what I needed.
I talked with Raymond by phone this afternoon and he and Ociel are hoping to go to Paris this fall about the same time we are going to New York.
I’ve been thinking more and more about our planned trip to New York City in early October with Marc and Cheri, and the more I think about it, the more excited I get. I find myself thinking about all the things I would love do and see (the Empire State building, the Chrysler building, the Statue of Liberty, the Met, the Top of the Rock, the Guggenheim, Central Park, Grand Central Station, Times Square, the Brooklyn Bridge). As Spider and I are always so broke, the plan is to do our trip on the cheap. We will be sharing a room, taking the subway, walking through different neighborhoods (just taking it all in), and eating at inexpensive places. Gee, I wonder if they have Taco Bell restaurants in New York!
Spider’s Motown band is progressing really nicely. He’s been making recordings of their rehearsals and listening to them at home and they sound awesome. Both Ian and Todd are kick-ass players and Mandy’s voice is very, very impressive. Dance Garden has been asked to play a party for some friends which would be a great way to start off (and give them a chance to iron out any kinks before they start playing in clubs), but unfortunately the date is the same evening that we have tickets for Rachel Maddow. However, there is a second party in the making as well. Bottom line is that I’m really happy for Spider. Putting together this band was a struggle and there were times that Spider wanted to throw in the towel, but he stuck with it and now it’s all coming together. Most important is that they have become like a family.
I was sort of freaking out about going to Spider’s mom’s funeral on Thursday. I hate funerals, too dark and sad for me to deal with, but Cindy reminded me that it’s not only to show respect for Mom Taylor, but also to support the family and show our appreciation to Bev and Lee (for the years they spent taking care of Mom). I guess she is right. Now I’m thinking that I would actually like to get up and say a little something about Mom, about how she was more than just a mom to her children, but also a mom to everyone who knew her, sort of the ultimate mom. Just don’t know if I have the nerve to speak in front of so many people (as I think there are going to be a lot of people there).
Tomorrow I’m going to end this year long blog. Several friends have asked me to continue writing this journal of my life (and I appreciate their support), but to be honest, I’m ready to move on to other creative endeavors. As I’ve learned (sometimes the hard way), everything comes to an end.
Mom Taylor’s funeral is going to be on Thursday. We will drive out to L.A. on Wednesday and drive back on Friday. We are so broke right now that money is a big concern. Luckily Dee Dee and Paul have offered to share a hotel room with us, so that will help with the cost. Spider and I are both doing okay, sad of course about the loss, but grateful that Mom is in a better place. For the past couple of years she had no quality of life. Spider is keeping busy with projects around the house, his way of keeping his mind off things.
I wrote to my mother and told her about Spider’s mom passing and my mother sent me the following poem (a poem that my grandmother had loved): A rose once grew where all could see, sheltered beside a garden wall. As the days passed swiftly by, it spread its branches straight and tall. One day a beam of light shone through a crevice that had spread wide. The rose bent gently toward its warmth, then passed to the other side. Now you who deeply feel your loss, be comforted, the rose blooms there. Its beauty ever greater now, nurtured by God’s own loving care.
Tomorrow we are going on a desert picnic and hike along with Cindy and Robert. We were supposed to go last weekend, but canceled do to bad weather. This weekend the weather is gorgeous.
Pumquat was our cat for 17 years. She was an orange tabby and her name came from combining the words pumpkin and cumquat (okay, okay, I was stoned when I named her). Pumquat wasn’t a very affectionate cat. In fact she hated to be held and we could only pet her on her terms when she was in the mood. However, whenever our friend Greg M. came for a visit, she had to get in his lap. He was the only one she did that with and poor Greg was terribly allergic to cats! Pumquat lived with us in five different apartments over the years and was basically an indoor cat most of her life, that is until the last year of her life when we bought our first house, then we would let her go out in the backyard where she would lay in the sunshine under the lemon tree. I wrote the Red Wedding song “Somewhere” in honor of Pumquat. Funny, during the last six months of her life, Pumquat suddenly became very affectionate with us. It was like she knew that she wasn’t long for the world, and only then did she show us her love. I still miss Pumquat, just as I miss Cheyenne and Monkey. They were all my babies.
Well, the Catholic Church got a new pope a couple of days ago, Pope Francis from Argentina. It should be noted that Pope Francis (along with the Catholic Church) was instrumental in leading the opposition to gay marriage in Argentina, but he lost the battle and Argentina became the first country in South America to approve of gay marriage. The question is, why should any religious organization be able to use their personal beliefs to deny anyone their civil rights? Here in the states, next to the Mormon church, the Catholic Church has spent big money over the years to defeat any sort of gay rights. I say they can all go fuck themselves.
My depression has started to lift. Finally after nearly two weeks, I feel like I’m moving out from under a dark cloud and I can see blue skies once more, but now my depression has shifted into sadness….
Mom Taylor passed away yesterday. She was 97 years old, less than a couple of months away from her 98th birthday. Her first name was May. She slipped away around 10:30 am, although we were not told until the evening. Bev, not realizing it was Spider’s day off was waiting to break the news to him when he got home from work, but Betty beat her to it. Betty phoned me thinking I already had heard the sad news, and I told Spider just before Bev phoned.
Spider took the news as best as he could realizing that his mom had not been doing very well, and so he was somewhat prepared, but, of course, it’s still a shock. His mother suffered from dementia and so on some level we had already mentally said goodbye, the mom we knew had slipped away a couple of years ago.
Spider was the last of four children. Mom was in her late thirties when she gave birth to him and he was forever her baby, little baby James of the family. He and his mother were very close and he would have done anything for her.
I will always be grateful to Mom for being a mom to me. For many, many years I had no family in my life, and so Spider’s family became my own. She always referred to me as her third son. Living the life of struggling musicians was difficult, and Mom was always there to help us out in everyway she could, from care packages of groceries, a few dollars here and there, and even taking us under her roof when we had no other place to go. Both of Spider’s parents were very generous people, the kind of people who were always there for others (family, friends and neighbors). They themselves never had much, yet they would give you the shirt of their backs.
I will remember Mom for so many things. She had a great sense of humor, mainly humor about herself, and she was very understanding, someone I could talk to about almost anything. She was a great seamstress who once made beautiful and fashionable clothes for herself and others and she made the coolest bellbottoms for Spider and I during our hippie phase. She loved roses and had the most beautiful roses in the neighborhood (a yellow rose bush that stood outside her kitchen window had the biggest and most gorgeous roses I’ve ever seen and she started the bush from a slip). She also was a great cook when it came to down home cooking, most known for her pinto bean soup. Many people tried to duplicate her pot of pinto beans, but no one could make them taste like Mom’s beans. No matter what time of day or night, if you stopped by Mom’s house, you could count on her feeding you.
I’ve written in a previous blogs about Spider’s fucked-up brother who made the lives of everyone around him miserable, but Mom never gave up on him. Admittedly there were times when Spider and I were frustrated with Mom because in any given situation between us and Brother Bill, situations where Bill was abusing us, Mom would never take sides. She viewed Bill as a wounded bird who needed extra love and she always gave it to him, no matter what he did.
When Spider and I lived next door to Mom, we included her in all of our parties, and all of our friends loved her and called her “Mom.” Once for a Halloween party, Mom came dressed as the log lady from the TV show “Twin Peaks!” On another occasion, for Mom’s 70th birthday, we got her to dress up like a rock star (complete with purple wig) and made a video of her pretending to play Spider’s guitar. Mom was always up for a fun gag.
Spider and I will be forever grateful to Beverly and Lee for taking care of Mom in her declining years. She was completely bed-ridden and Bev and Lee had to do almost everything to care for her from managing her meds to bathing her to feeding her to turning her over when she was uncomfortable in the middle of the night.
I posted a photo of Mom on Facebook, letting people know that we lost Spider’s Mom. We received lots of very kind comments from friends. One of the nicest came from Cheri when she wrote - “Marc and I have been sharing stories about Mom all day <3 She truly was the definition of “Mom” who not only had unconditional love for her own children, but for all the rest of us who ever had the privilege of being in the Taylor home. We fondly remember the meals around the dining room table because Mom always made sure we were fed! We love you both and feel your loss of a truly remarkable woman.”
Her funeral will be on Thursday. Of course, we’ll be there. She was the ultimate “mom.” She will always remain in my heart. May she rest in peace.
I’m still depressed. I just can’t shake the feeling. Normally my bi-polar depressions only last a handful of days, but this is a bad one. I keep trying to be okay. I tell myself that I’m being a big baby and I need to get over it, but my depression persists. My body feels weak and my head feels cloudy. I feel like there is a heavy weight on me. I have the crying feeling and I feel almost angry at life. Don’t think I’ve been this depressed since I ended up in a psyche ward nearly six years ago.
On Friday, I went to see my PA for my three month blood work results. The good news (to my surprise) is that my A1C number is still low and so I don’t have to go on diabetes meds. The bad news is that my bad cholesterol and triglycerides are high.
On Friday evening, we were invited over to Eva and Jeff’s house for a birthday dinner honoring me and Jeff and Lindsey. To be truthful, because of my depression, I didn’t want to go, but I decided to be a big boy and try to get over my big bad self and attend. Turns out it was a pleasant evening. Other guests included Cindy, Sally and Jay and Ryan. Sally was happy that she found a new job as a hospice social worker and Jay and Ryan were excited about the fact that they are going to become foster parents (something they’ve been wanting to do). For dinner we had a bake potato fest (baked potatoes with all the toppings). We gave Jeff an assortment of winter beers and a skull bracelet to Lindsey. I received cards from everyone, a two-hour fused-plate-making workshop for two certificate from Jay and Ryan, and a purple orchid plant from Eva and Jeff.
Saturday was my 60th birthday and I received over 75 birthday greetings from friends and acquaintances on Facebook, a birthday text from my sister and phone calls from my mother, Cheri, Betty J. and Dee Dee, but I still felt sad and depressed. I also received mail containing movie gift cards from Paul and Sel and Raymond and Ociel. Originally Raymond and Ociel were supposed to come visit for my birthday, but they had to cancel. Then we were supposed to go on a desert picnic with Cindy and Robert, but it was too rainy and cold. And so I sat home with my depression. I was too depressed to do anything and depressed because I wasn’t doing anything, in a horrible rut. Poor Spider did everything he could to cheer me up, but to no avail. I just sat all day and into the evening crying. I wanted to be better for Spider’s sake if not my own, but I just couldn’t pull myself together.
The phone call from my mother meant a lot to me as she is at my brother’s house (visiting along with my dad and Aunt Robin) and my brother and I are not speaking, so it took a lot of balls for my mother to phone me from his house. I’m sure it was uncomfortable for her. At the end of our brief conversation, I said to give my love to everyone including Greg. I don’t know why that came out of my mouth. After everything my brother put me through and said about me, I don’t think I can forgive him.
I had one strange and unpleasant birthday exchange on Facebook. There is a guy named Jay Ortiz who friended me a while back (I don’t know him so I don’t know why he sent me a friend invite), and recently I got into it with him over my desire that all guns be banned. He is a straight middle–aged man and a gun freak and he got really creepy with me, so I threatened to un-friend him, but then he backed down and apologized and I let it go. So, on my birthday he sent me a greeting along with a link to the song “Happy Happy Birthday Baby” which I thought was nice but a bit weird cause of the lyrics. Anyway, I thanked him and thought I’d be nice back and offered to send him one of our CDs. Then he wrote back and said – “Now you’re rubbing me nicely. No I don’t want one of your CDs because you bore me.” I then told him that he was making me feel uneasy and I was going to un-friend him (which I did). His last message to me was – “If that’s what you need to do, move forward.”
Spider gave me a sweet birthday card and inside he wrote – “Happy Birthday, Boobaloo. I know this year has been a really rough one and I don’t know how I could have made it through without you. You truly are the sweetest, most kind and generous person I could ever hope to call my partner in this life of ups and downs. I am so looking forward to sharing the good times coming this year. You deserve them. I loved you when we first met, love you now, and will love you till my last breath (and beyond). You’re still my boy fox.” This is probably the most beautiful birthday card that Spider has ever given to me….on what was probably my most depressing birthday.
Yesterday, Cindy came over to cheer me up and she brought me a pink bag of wonderful birthday presents including a brass 50 year calendar paperweight, a pair of wind-up walking robot salt and pepper shakers, two vintage kitchen towels, a pair of pink dishwashing gloves, and best of all, a Hello Kitty Caganer from Spain (Hello Kitty pooping pink poop). We had lunch and watched Streisand’s 1966 TV special “Color Me Barbra” (as Spider once pointed out, he can always tell when I’m depressed because that’s when I pull out Streisand). Cindy was so sweet to me, and she did cheer me up for the afternoon, but by evening, once again, my depression returned.
Well, I had planned on ending my blog at this point, but I’ve decided not to do that. I don’t want to end on a sad and depressing note. So, I’m going to continue to write until next weekend in the hopes that I’ll be over this damn depression and back to my old (manic and happy) self.
Spider’s mother has always been like a second mother to me, treating me like I was her third son. When Spider and I first came out to her as a gay couple, she was supportive, and over the years she was always there for us. Whenever we were struggling to make ends meet, we could always depend on Mom Taylor to give us a hot meal along with a care package (box of groceries) and some cash, and when we were really broke, she would let us stay at her house (in a backroom located off the garage). Mom Taylor was always kind and loving and she had a sense of humor.
Mom Taylor was sometimes called “The Dispatcher” because she was always deciding things for other family members, like if the family were driving somewhere in more than one car, she would dispatch who rode with who. She also gave advice whether it was wanted or not, but it was usually good advice, a mother’s advice.
When I first met Mom Taylor, I was 18 years old and she was 56 years old. Now here I’m going to turn 60 this week! That’s a bit of a mind fuck for me. Where have all the years of my life gone?
Mom Taylor is now 97 years old, bedridden and being cared for by Spider’s oldest sister and brother-in-law (Bev and Lee). Sadly, Mom suffers from dementia and rarely has moments of clarity. In many ways, she has reverted back to a child. The last time we saw her was a couple of years ago and she knew who we were for brief periods, but then she seemed to get confused and she would start singing songs, but during those brief periods of clarity, she told Spider that he would always be her baby and how happy she was that Spider and I had found each other and shared our lives. In a way, we said goodbye to Mom during that visit as we knew her mind was slipping away.
Spider’s father passed away from cancer at the age of 62, just after he retired from his job as a construction worker. He was an ornery old cuss, but underneath he was a softie, someone who would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. I really liked Pop Taylor. He and I got along great, sitting for hours over a glass of whiskey and discussing the world. Spider was a little worried about telling him that we were a gay couple, but Pop was very cool about it. He said – “If you and Michael are happy together, than I’m happy for you and that’s all there is to it. I love Michael like a son.”
Although Spider and I are not married, Spider’s youngest sister and brother-in-law (Diane and Paul) are for all intent and purpose my sister-in-law and brother-in-law. We have been very close ever since Spider and I first got together. The first time that Dee Dee and I met, we scared the hell out of each other. Spider and I were house-sitting for his parents, and I was standing alone in the kitchen and Dee Dee came bolting through the back door. Both of us freaked out because we didn’t know who each other was. Afterwards, once we established who we were, we laughed and laughed.
Back in those early days, Paul was in the navy and away for months at a time, so Spider and I would hang out with Dee Dee. We spent many a night drinking margaritas, eating berry pie and watching scary movies and stupid late night religious broadcasts.
In the late 80’s, when Dee Dee and Paul decided to buy land in order to eventually move to Arizona, they inspired Spider and I to also move to Arizona, and by the mid-90’s, we were all living here, Dee Dee and Paul in Chino Valley (near Prescott) and Spider and I in Tucson.