Singing Out Las Cruces is looking for singers – Come Join Us!

SingingOut Las Cruces Poster

Singing Out is a non-auditioned community chorus  We perform a wide variety of music with the message of respect for all people.

Come check us out:
January 15th @ 6:45 PM
Peace Lutheran Church

For details and more information:

Email: singingoutlascruces@gmail.com

Web: singingoutlascruces.org

Phone: 575.373.9802

No Homophobes and their new video campaign

No Homophobes

Months ago I found out about a site nohomophobes.com and was shocked at the number of times anti-gay slurs are used on twitter per second. I guess I shouldn’t be shocked, but it’s really eye opening to see it captured in real-time and have the totals shown as well. And this is JUST on twitter. Imagine how many other social networks, text messages, youtube comments and more are not shown here.

Now they’ve released an ad campaign as well. I think it’s brilliant. Be sure to check out their site and watch the video below.

It’s no wonder that our LGBT youth (heck, even the entire community) live with such self-esteem issues

The Cougar Incident

The Cougar Incident

In December of 1988 I moved to San Angelo TX for a new job. I was married to Jana at the time (yes a woman – that’s for another story). We moved into a house in a very nice but old neighborhood. The house was built in 1924. It had a huge wrap around porch and was on a corner lot. The neighbors across the street (facing the side of our house), had a small house behind them. This house was probably no bigger than 1000 square feet, if even that much. It was very tiny. The front of their house looked into our carport and back yard.

The day Jana and I were moving in (it was just the two of us), we were in front of the house unloading the U-Haul. A guy came up onto the porch from around the side of the house with a full grown cougar on a leash. He lived in the tiny house across the street with his wife (girlfriend?). We were very shocked, but he seemed friendly enough and after some convincing, introduced us to the cougar. I remember him telling us that the animal had been de-clawed, but that it could still break our neck with just a swing of its paw. How endearing… This animal was absolutely amazing and terrifying all at once. It was very docile, but I knew it was still a wild animal, and I treated it as such. The cougar put its front paws on one of the columns and “stood up” and stretched. This thing was as tall as I was. Pretty scary, but we remained calm. I remembered somewhere from my past to not let animals smell fear, so I tried to act very relaxed, like it was no big deal. Plus, it was so amazing. You don’t get to see an animal like that up close, much less pet it, very often.

After the guy left, we talked about it, but as with everything, you tend to forget about such things. That is until a few weeks later. Once or twice, usually in the middle of a weekend day, the cougar would hit their screen door and charge out, escaping from the tiny house. We would see the guy come outside, catch the cougar, and then beat it furiously with a belt and his fists, which was shocking and unbelievable on so many levels.

In those days, I wasn’t even aware of The Humane Society or the ASPCA. So, we would complain to each other about it in our home, but other than that we really did nothing. I want to clarify that these people were not the cream of the crop. On many occasions, he would come home with friends after a day of trapping rattlesnakes and then they would let them go on the sidewalk in front of their house and screw around with them. Of course, there was always alcohol involved, and obviously not much in the smarts department. There were other antics, but it’s probably better left to your imagination.

A week or so later, Jana and I were leaving around 9pm to go dancing. We were a fantastic dance team… As we were getting in the car, I took notice that 3 young teens were walking down the street, and I would have to watch for them when backing out. Just as I put the car in gear, I looked in the rear-view mirror and saw them jump, yelp and run the other way. Weird… When I looked in my side view mirror I saw just the tip of a very large tail move thru it. Guess who? We got out of the car and saw the cougar trotting down the street (not after the kids, but the other direction).

I ran across the street to tell the owners. They weren’t home – BIG SURPRISE! After a few moments of, “Holy Crap, what do we do…”, Jana and I agreed that we couldn’t leave a cougar roaming the neighborhood. We had to act fast and I figured that since we had been around it, and knew that it was “tame”, we would go check it out. We drove down the street and found him 3 or 4 blocks away crouching behind a bush on the corner of the intersection. It was making this terrible mewling sound. Not a growl or roar, but more like you would imagine a baby animal would make. So, I get out of the car, walk right up to it, take it by the collar and put it in our back seat. It was completely cooperative and on very good behavior. (I know – Most people at this point ask me – WHAT?! Were you insane?)

We go back to our house and we put the dogs inside the house. In the back yard is a building that was a separate garage MANY years ago, but has now become a storage building. We put the cougar in there and left it some water. It was spring time, so weather wasn’t an issue. We left a note on the door of the cougar owner’s house, telling them where it was.

When we got home at 2am-ish we found a note on our door saying that they had taken the cougar and that they owed us one. I would just as soon not collect on that one…

The next day is Saturday, and we’re both home. I remember being in the kitchen which is near the carport and hearing a mewling sound. I don’t remember where Jana was. After about 10 minutes, I realized that it was the cougar. I stepped outside and found him with his nose in the crack of the gate to the back fence. He was VERY interested in our dogs and they were NOT happy. So, this time I brought the cougar into the back bedroom and shut the door. Then I went over to the neighbors and I honestly don’t remember if they were home, or if there was another note. But, it’s not that important. At some point, they came and got the big cat. He told me that the cat was very smart and had figured out how to flip the latches on their windows and how to push up on the window sash to escape. (I was thinking; I bet he couldn’t figure out how to get a nail of that sash; But as we know by now, the cat was the smartest one in the house…).

Sometime later (days or a couple of weeks – I don’t remember), it was the middle of a weekend afternoon and I was in the back bathroom. The back wall and window of that bathroom face into the carport. I was busy in there. Okay, truth is I was sitting on the john. I heard what sounded like a gunshot. I finished as quickly as I could and ran outside to see what had happened. The strange thing was that everything seemed perfectly normal. Not a soul on the street, regular sounds of birds and city noise. I walked around the house for about 10 minutes and chalked it up to a car or something else. If it was a gunshot, I would expect sirens.

Well the next morning I was standing on the porch on the front of our house waiting for my carpool to pick me up. Our neighbor directly next door was outside also. He said, “Did you hear about what happened with the cougar?” I told him no, and he said that the cougar had escaped once again and had gone down the alley. It climbed some man’s fence and mauled his dog. The man saw the cougar. He got a gun, then shot and killed it.

So, I did hear a gunshot. I’m still not sure why I never heard any sirens or other commotion.

It’s so sad, but a completely true story. The good thing is that animal control people were at his house for the next several weeks. Then he left to join the army. I don’t know if he was required to or if it was some type of bargain. Either way, I think he did get some type of reprimand, but I’m sure it wasn’t enough…

How They See Us by Alvin McEwen

I just read an excellent paper called, “How They See Us: Unmasking The Religious Right War on Gay America” by Alvin McEwen. It documents the tactics of so-called anti-gay “christian” organizations. It’s an excellent read and contains great information. I highly recommend reading it and sharing it with all of your social networks.

How They See Us: Unmasking The Religious Right War on Gay America

First curry? And now red wine? Come On

I really thought about titling this: The Day I Hated Mickey Mouse. However, it was not his fault any of the following happened. He just had millions of people in his parks on Saturday.

On Friday, Mikey and I flew to Orlando, Florida to meet our friends (Robert, Scott, and Tommy) from Pensacola. This is our second year to take this trip. The mission of the trip is to go to Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights.

We arrived in town around 6:00 and at the condo around 7:30. We headed out to dinner. It was at dinner that I made my mistake. I had a (I will stress ONE) glass of red wine. We had a great dinner and headed back to the condo. We hung out for a while and by midnight I was in the bed. Around 3:00 in the morning I woke up. And I had a migraine.

My first migraine, I can remember, I was a sophomore in high school. My parents were concerned so they took me to a neurologist. It was at this appointment I had my first diagnosis of a migraine. And further more, I would more than likely have them the rest of my life. Most of my symptoms have remained consistent: first, it is hard for me to focus and register what I am seeing (it is as if I am not even present in my own life), then I get severe tunnel vision, third the feelings in my fingers go numb. Finally, the pain. The actual migraine can last for 24 hours or longer. I have had some migraines last for weeks. They turn me into another person; someone I really do not like. If I could walk away from this persona I would. Not sure why my friends do not just walk away.

Mostly my migraines have been a result of stress or bad sleeping habits. A few years ago, I discovered I had a food allergy to curry. Once I eat a dish with curry, within twenty minutes (there will be no symptoms) I will have a severe migraine. The migraine itself will last for about 4-5 days. It feels as if the intensity of the migraine stays with me until the curry has fully left my body.

There are times I would love to have curry. Mikey reminds me to stay away. So he eats his curry chicken and I enjoy the smell.

Over the last three weeks I have awakened with the feeling that all the blood in my head is pooling on the right side of my brain. This pooling affect creates pressure on my brain and thus a migraine is triggered. The cause has been unknown. It is hard to know when the migraine hits at night. There is no warning. I wake up and I have it.

I thought one night was caused by a specific wine which had red chili in it. (Side note: I have a new love for red and green chili, thank you New Mexico). Simple solution, no more wine with red chili. However, after Friday nights glass of wine and the sequential events, I believe I must add red wine to my list of things not to ingest. What, no more red wine? I am not sure if it is just limited to red but I am not a fan of white so it may be a while until I know for sure.

I hate when a migraine hits. As I stated earlier, I become a different person. Because of this, I know I am not the only one who suffers. I am very hard (harder than usual) to be around. I become a wicked, mean person. No matter how much I try to stay with life, I just can not do it. When I have a migraine, my head hurts so bad. It feels like pressure is being applied to one or multiple parts of my brain. As time passes it feels as if every nerve in my body is on the surface of my skin. To be touched is intensified. It creates a unique pain for me. As further time goes by, I become very nervous. With any abrupt sounds or movement comes the sensation that more blood is rushing to my brain. Thus more pressure. And there is no stopping this train once it leave the station. All I can do is behave and feed the monster.

By feeding the monster I mean this. It is best if I can seclude myself from the rest of the world. I must enter my cave. I need to shut myself from noise, actions, and change in light. I need to lay down. The best thing, really the only thing I can do, is sleep. Picture this if you will, me alone in a dark room, curled up in bed, my eyes shut and my brain closed off from society. During the time of a migraine, this is heaven to me. To simply sleep until the migraine breaks and the residual/hangover stage begins.

I sincerely apologize to my friends for yesterday. If I could have changed it I would have. I wanted to have such a good time with friends and spend time in Disney World. Instead, you all got a person who was not fun to be around.

Until next time…

Go West

I know it has been a long time since my last post. And I am sorry that my three readers have had to wait so long to see what was taking place. The truth is, a great deal has happened since the last post.

It started last March when we realized it was time to aggressively look for a new job. With Stephen L. pushing I looked at job opening and applied at various institutions. In May I had a phone interview for the Dean of Students position at New Mexico State University. In June I flew to Las Cruces, NM for a full days worth of interviews. Each interview let me know this is where I wanted to be. It felt right for me. Then I waited. It seemed like for months when in reality it was a few weeks. Then the phone call came with the offer. After some discussion with Mikey I accepted the offer. The one catch was I would need to start August 16. Let’s do this!

In late July I flew back out to Las Cruces for a leadership retreat with the division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Services. I did not know what to expect. I would be in a room full of people who I did not know and who did not know me. I was 1,400 miles from Mikey. How would I make it? WHY DID I WORRY? The retreat was amazing. I was made to feel like I had been part of the group for years. We gathered at the end of the day and I met many of the individual’s spouses. Everyone was friendly and welcoming. We talked and we laughed. I called Mikey excited about the experience. His stated, “I can hear how happy your are in your voice. I have not heard that in a long time when it comes to your job.” And he was right. I did not want to leave Las Cruces and return to the current job. But we had three weeks to go.

In three weeks we got the house ready to put on the market, packed up our belongings into  PODS, attended our moving away party hosted by our friends, and began the drive out west. On

Wednesday night, August 8 Tilly got sick. I mean real sick! She vomited several time, could barely stand up and walk, and you could tell she was having a hard time focusing with her eyes. Thursday morning Mikey took her to the Vet. She was kept for observations. The diagnosis was: Tilly had a small stroke. The Vet gave us some medicine and we were to keep he resting. The big concern was how she would handle the stress of the car trip.

On August 10 the PODS were loaded and gone. On August 11 we loaded the Mini on a trailer and pulled it with the Jeep. Thank you Gentry for your help on this one! Early Mariana and Mike surprised us with a visit to send us off. After a few set back and little bumps in the road, we left Pensacola. Yes, it was raining when we drove out of town. We figured a 20 hour car trip. However, due to the trailer and stops for the girls it ended up being closer to 30.

The first half of the trip was from Pensacola to San Antonio. We left Pensacola by 9:00 am and arrived in San Antonio at 1:00 am. When we arrived at the hotel, a La Quinta in the heart of downtown San Antonio the valets said they may not have parking for the car and trailer. Mikey, being wise, looked at me and said, “I’ll go talk to them.” When he returned there was a solution. We checked in and were in bed by 1:45.

The next morning we got up at 7:00. Chris and Cindy drove down from Austin to meet us for breakfast. We had a great time. We were able to catch up, have a good breakfast, and enjoy a nice visit. Then it was back in the car. Okay, as you leave the west side of San  Antonio you begin to come out of an area of Texas known as the Hill Country. If we were just in the Jeep or the Mini this would have been a beautiful drive. However, driving the Jeep and towing the Mini presented some challenges. When going up hill the Jeep could barely go above 30 mph. But going down hill, and with the trailer pushing on the Jeep, created quite a stress. After about three hours we were out of the hills and into the FLAT plains of Texas. There was nothing. Once the Jeep hit half a tank we pulled over at the next gas station and refilled. The reason for this, you never knew just how long it was until the next gas station. One the second day we were on the road by 8:30 am and leaving San Antonio. We pulled into the driveway of the new house at about 11:00 pm central time. We unloaded the cars and got the girls in the house. We took the trailer to the drop off point (a location that had no signage). By 1:00 am we were laying on our air mattress in the rental home. We fell asleep and when we woke up, a new chapter in our lives had begun. We had moved west. To a place I had never thought of before.

Side note, Tilly and Corri are doing fine. Tilly is laying in the bed beside me as I type this out. I will work to catch you up on what has taken place over the next week. It feels good to be back.Until next time.

mdj