Archive for health

Productive Day

// May 31st, 2011 // No Comments » // Animals, beach, Canon, Exercise, health, Health and Fitness, HIV and AIDS

Malibu Logoon State Beach 059Today was the first day that I put myself to the test of being certain to stay focused, stick to my schedule and get things completed and I did awesome. The only area where I slacked was getting up to get things moving along. I missed that window by almost three hours…..I’ll do better tomorrow. Even with missing the window by almost three hours I still got lots done for my organization and even got my exercise time in as well.

I was able to schedule a Dr. for my Unplugging HIV outreach on Skid Row next week, designed a flier and sent out three emails seeking support, advice and guidance from some people who have been in the field of HIV a long time and have told me on many occasions to “reach out” if I ever have questions or need some support with my work. Only time will tell if this was sincere or just more people talking.

I took a look at a website someone suggested to me about this idea I have and I spent some time uploading photos from the weekend. WOW, over 300 photos.  Thank God for the people at Flickr, because there would be no way for me to store over 30,000 pictures on my laptop. Thanks again to my good friend Eric for the Seagate Free Agent external drive. That too is such a huge help.

I had a case management appointment today to turn in my service logs to show where I have gone to the Dr. and doneMalibu Logoon State Beach 150 other things like my community work and other things I do to help me deal with being HIV positive. This meeting is always a breeze and never takes more then 10 minutes because she knows what she is doing and does not want to take up too much of our time. She really gets that she is there to support us, not police or make us. Something that is greatly lacking from other organizations who claim to be doing the same work she does.

Dodger and I went on three walks today which allowed me to get some much needed exercise and even clear my space so I could come back and finish the job at hand. The breaks during the day seem to give me the energy to get back and get things completed. My mind is sharp and my energy level was even all day long.

The big score for me today was getting a Dr. to speak at the very last minute to my Unplugging HIV outreach down on Skid Row. I called her to talk about dates for a workshop in July and as we spoke she offered to come speak next week and even provide the meal for the group.  AWESOME!!!!!

I’ve seen her present before and each time I am so blown away by how she is able to make things basic and clear. She also takes her time, being very careful not to leave anyone behind. She is also someone who is very sensitive to the needs of the people she presents information to. This is key for my outreach on Skid Row. My outreach is mainly minorities which are populations greatly affected by HIV and AIDS, so it if very important to have someone who can present information in a manner that is not judgmental or condescending. They have to feel like they can trust what the presenter is telling them and have been known to test each presenter just to make sure they know what they are talking about.

Malibu Logoon State Beach 160It is going to be such a huge blessing for me to have her present to my residents  through my Unplugging HIV outreach on Skid Row and I am very certain that they will be thankful and appreciative of her effort to supply them with the tools to live a long happy life.

So it’s now 8:59 in 51 seconds on Tuesday night. The goal is to be in bed by 9:30 no later then 10:00 and up at 6:00am for my bike ride and morning news, walk with Dodger, morning calls and then back to the grind to move my organization forward.

The pictures with this blog are from the photos I took on Monday (Memorial Day) You can view them all by clicking on myphotos to the right of this blog entry.

I hope you’ve had a great day

Growth and Change

// May 30th, 2011 // No Comments » // Animals, beach, Canon, diet, Exercise, friends, health, Health and Fitness, HIV and AIDS, Homeless Outreach, Me Time, Pictures

JAZZ & ART @LACMA 046This long holiday weekend  has been awesome. It started with jazz at LACMA and today it ended with an awesome day of picture taking with my friend Franklin, who was just one of my friends who helped me kick my weekend off. All I can say is that I’ve had an amazing, fun filled weekend.

Franklin and I have been spending lots of time together and I must say that it has been simply awesome getting to know him better and spend so time with him. I already blogged about how I met Franklin and already talked about some of the things he deals with in his daily life. It has been so cool to watch him open up and grow, so cool to watch him move from someone who barley spoke a word to someone who talks and smiles, so cool to watch him go from someone who stayed in his dark apartment, to someone who now calls me about going on picture safaris.

It is simply so amazing to watch how the gift of friendship can help to change things for someone. How simply showing up and refusing to allow someone to waste away can mean the world to the life path that someone is on. This is why the word “friendship” means so much to me and why I never just throw the word “friend’ around.

My friends are all straight and all couples,  newly weds with a baby, while another has been married a few years with aJAZZ & ART @LACMA 089baby on the way, another couple planning a wedding and the last couple has been together for a very long time. They are all great people and to be very honest they are great friends, not just supportive of me, but of my community work as well.  At times I feel like a third wheel, even though I know when they ask to hang out they truly want to see me and have some hang time with me.

Until Franklin I had no single friend and with him I get a friend who is not only single, but we also share the common interest of photography, jazz, classical music and so much more. Like me, Franklin is HIV positive, so there is just one more thing we have in common and one more thing we can help to support each other through.

For the past two months, maybe three I’ve been thinking of how I am going to grow and change, not just my organization, but in my personal life too. Just last month I had a great HIV check up and in order for that to continue I need to make certain I am doing everything I can to keep my body healthy and stay off HIV medications.

Purpose 118To address this I have been back on my bike and taking longer walks with Dodger, I am also doing all that I can to address more healthy eating habits, however doing this is a huge challenge on government assistance, but I am doing all that I can. The main thing is that i am making certain in get rest and plenty of exercise.

In addition I am also removing people, places and things from my life that only serve as distractions and yes, even problems or drama. This is going to be key in my overall health and well being. It’s funny to me how once you make your mind to be a better person all the way around, people, places and things start to work against you. All of the sudden people you never hear from are now calling, people, places and things start to do more to show up and be distractions and this is where I need to make certain I am clear in where I am going and what I want to accomplish.

The cool thing is this, with getting rest and more exercise I have seen major changes in my mood, my energy and my Sickle Cell is not given me that much of a problem. My days seem to be more full of energy and my stress level is very low. I seem to be smiling more, if that is possible for someone who smiles all the time.

Now let’s talk about my outreaches because they too are changing and I am adding an addition to my HIV outreach.

Do Something Saturday~that empowers people

This is my oldest and most visible outreach and for the past four years I have run this outreach out of my own pocket orMalibu Logoon State Beach 122 efforts combined with the backing and support of my friends and supporters. It’s been awesome and the people I have been able to reach has been great, but it is time to step it up and take this outreach to the next level.

I dont mind sharing my ideas or even talking with friends about what I want to do or how I can help them. But I must say that my feeling get hurt when I my ideas at work in organizations that do not even respect people like me. My feelings get hurt when I see people collect awards for an idea that was mine, but simply because they have the backing of some non-profit or people with deep pockets.

These past three months I’ve had to really swallow my pride and set my feelings aside and know that my ideas are at work making things better for people battling HIV and AIDS as well as people who are homeless or transitioning from homelessness into having their own place.

I’ve always said I do not so this for someone to call my name or to get some award, however it does not feel good to see other people take credit for my idea or something I’ve worked damn hard at. I simply does not feel good.

So no more will I allow organizations who wont even allow me to volunteer for them, take my ideas and use them for their good only to line their pockets and flip me or even people like me the middle finger.

I will say this as I have said all along, you cant help people if you do not speak with them and seeing what I have seen and reading what I have read from 4 very different mega funded organizations really makes me angry, but not in a bad way, i that makes sense. It makes me angry enough to do more, push harder and raise my voice that much more, so that people who are seen but not heard have their concerns addressed.

Malibu Logoon State Beach 193I am adding a support group for people battling HIV or AIDS to my Skid Row outreach. I am just so sick and tired and hearing the same old tired line from the “community” and even people at “ASO’s” when it comes to addressing the needs of people who are greatly affected by HIV and AIDS.

No longer will I wait for people to return emails after I’v sent several and even had face to face conversations with such people. I will no longer accept “they are out of my SPA area” I will no longer wait while HIV and AIDS continues the path it has always been on unchanged since the start of the HIV and AIDS pandemic.

After reading this you will understand why I need to remove some people, places and things in my life that only take up space and offer up nothing. I can not allow my health to fail me because I am not doing all I can to remain in good health.

Tomorrow is day 1 in the journey of positive growth and change for both me and my organization.

Today I ended my awesome weekend at Malibu Lagoon State Beach. I am uploading the 344 pictures I took and the video of the day is already live on my youtube channel. I will share the other surprise later this week in either a blog or vlog.

I hope you all have had a great holiday weekend.

Changing

// May 27th, 2011 // No Comments » // Animals, diet, Exercise, friends, health, Health and Fitness, HIV and AIDS, Me Time, photos

Purpose 146There has been so much taking place in my life. Like some of my friends I am experiencing a shift in life which requires me to “be still” It is also requiring that I look at people, places and things in my life that no longer serve a purpose….to be honest some of these things never served a purpose, but I just wanted to hold on to them. That is no longer going to happen.

It’s always so funny to me that right as I am about to experience a breakthrough in my life, people, places and things will come around or reappear in my life to only serve as distractions to take my eyes and attention away from where they should be. Now these people, places and things come in many forms, but none the less they are distractions and I can not allow them to trick me off my center.

One thing I know for sure about God is that he does not need to announce himself to me. He does not need anyone to tell me that he has sent them. You see I am his child and I will know if God has sent something for me. It’s always funny to me how people invoke God into their mess and then act as if you are not supposed to know it.

This week I’ve spent more time being present and listening to things around me. I spent time making sure that where IPurpose 210spend my time and energy is something that is fruitful. There is no point in me toiling in a field that will never bear any good fruit. Now I know this will go far over the heads of many, but for those of you who fully walk in love and light you know full well what I am talking about.

I’ve also been making certain I take more time out for me and not spending my time worrying about things I have no control over. I’ve been making certain that I am getting proper rest, doing my best to eat better and get far my exercise in so that I am able to move forward with the work I am doing.

It has been awesome to simply go to bed and get some rest. I can’t even begin to tell you just how much this has changed my mood, my spirit and this I can carry with me throughout my day. I realize that not everyone is going to understand and even care about what I have to say or what it is I am doing and that is ok. As long as God understands then I have nothing else to concern myself with. See with God I can do all things and with God I am the majority. I do not need to seek any other permissions or ask anyone else but God.

I’ve been enjoying the rich friendships I have in my life, I am taking the time to smile a bit longer, hug a bit stronger and live my life a bit better.

I am making no time for confluma (confusion and drama), I am not entertaining people, places or things that do not set well with my soul and I am not apologizing for it. I am not making time for people, places or things that only seek to distract me and I know what distractions look like, how they sound and yes I even know they will come bearing gifts and even say they are from God.

Purpose 401I am staying on my center and my center is God and I will not be shaken off, rocked off, pushed off, shoved off or tricked off my center.

Each day I pray from a hedge of protection around me and I know that there are people who pray the very same prayer as well. I ask God to bless me when I am in the city and while I am in the field. I ask him to be a fence all around. I ask him to protect me and guide my foot steps.

As I move to embark on my new journey in the outreach work I do for people battling HIV and AIDS, I know I will need to be rested, I know I will need to be on top of my game, but I also know I must ask God to bless the work and me.

If you are watching my Flickr page then you see I am spending more time with my camera in hand. I also working on creating a photography book and hoping to put together a photography show of my work as well.

Blessings

Relaxing

// May 14th, 2011 // No Comments » // Canon, friends, health, Health and Fitness, HIV and AIDS, Me Time

Friday Photo Safari 004Since my last trip to the hospital I have followed the instructions of my doctors to the letter. I was told to rest, take it easy and try to reduce stress and also to find a way to relax. I have done just that.

I dont recall if I blogged out my last HIV check up or not, I’m pretty sure I did, the results were awesome and I was so pleased to hear this. Everything that was of some concern when my blood was taken for the labs was laid to rest with the results. So the past two weeks I have done my best to continue this trend of great health.

It’s funny how certain people who say they are close to me have not even picked up the phone to call or check on me, while others have gone far and above to visit, hang out and all else. However I did not allow myself to get worked up or even worry about it. It is what it is or as Ma use to tell me “sometimes people don’t want to be bothered with all that may be going on with you.”

I recall getting a message from someone who hinted at me needing depression meds, this person happens to be on them as well. Now this is not the first time someone has said something like this, but each time this has come from someone who takes such meds and after making such a statement they vanish into thin air never to be heard from again.

However this time I did have a heart to heart with a good very good friend of mine and after that conversation I didFriday Photo Safari 020speak with my doctor about the possibility of me being so depressed that I need meds for it. In defense of my dear friend, she did not hint or imply this at all, however the other person did because she felt I was crying far too much. Apparently crying is a sign that someone is depressed and in needs of drugs to control them.

Just as I told the people who have made this suggestion in the past, my doctor once again confirmed the fact that I do not need any signs of depression that requires me to seek out meds. However just as I have always said I do get depressed from situations, but this always passes once the situation works itself out. Anyone who has gone through anything and certainly anyone who has been through what I have is bound to have some situational depression. This is not cause to go sounding the trumpet or alarm that the person needs meds to help them deal with things in there life.

My great grandmother “Nana” as we called her use to say that misery not only loves company, it also demands it. I have to say that each time I have had someone already on meds to control them suggest that I need them as well, they also tell me which meds to ask for. As if this is some sort of recruitment or celebration that someone else is taking meds just like them. Which brings me to my final point on this topic. There are certainly people who have a chemical imbalance in their brain that would require them to take such meds, but there are also those who simply just need to learn some basic life skills instead of depending on a pill or several pills to correct something they can correct themselves.

Friday Photo Safari 035It’s been awesome hanging out with friends, going to lunch, dinner and even on picture safaris. This week alone I have already gone on three and tomorrow I am planning to go on one alone. I must say that several people have asked me to hang out tomorrow, but none of them have confirmed if in fact they truly want to do this. The old me would check in and make sure, but this new me is no longer begging people to come hang out or follow through on things they set into motion.

It is always so funny to me how people say things only to not mean a damn word of what they have said. They simply wanted to say something and they could care less if what they say will be taken to heart by the person they have said it to. For example; “please call me if you need anything” or “I will be there for you when you need me most” and then the one I really hate, “please let me help”

So today was yet another day filled with pictures and the company of a friend. I’ve truly embraced and enjoyed theDowntown Los Angeles 218peace in my life and the coolness of the real people in my life. From my awesome friends I’ve made through YOUTUBE, this blog to the crazy, sexy, cool friends in my daily life. My life is rich and truly blessed.

Praise God

HIV Update

// May 10th, 2011 // 2 Comments » // diet, Exercise, health, HIV and AIDS

METRO 011So today was the day I made the trek to the valley to get my HIV lab results. I was really looking forward to these results because there were a few things that were some concern to my Dr. The first being my blood sugar and the next being my liver and kidney functions. I was pretty sure that all would be ok, but one can never tell.

I call this a trek to the valley because it is a long distance from where I live in Hollywood. Normally it takes me about an hour and half to get the my medical appointments. That is as long as there is no problems with METRO buses or trains, but if you live here in Los Angeles and depend on METRO to get from point A to point B, then you know full well that there is never a day where METRO runs without no problems, delays or trouble.

Now I was born and raised here in Los Angeles County, but as a kid I grew up in Santa Monica and never had to ride RTD as it was called then because Santa Monica has its own bus line and it does a great job taking care of travel for people who live on the Westside. But METRO is the nations number one bus line according to METRO, but there have been times  where I have called to get directions and three different operators using the very same system come up with very different ways to get to where I need to go. All of which are dead wrong.

I never look forward to riding METRO to places where I need to depend on their agents for directions. Also I feel thatMETRO 012METRO is very unsafe when it comes to overall passenger safety. I have been in the Blue Line Train when fights have broken out and nothing is ever done. I have been on the Red Line Train where the same thing has taken place. Furthermore there are no station agents at any of the stops along the METRO train stops.

METRO is how I get around and no matter how bad things are with METRO or how high the prices get and no matter how many fare hikes METRO issues, I have no choice but to use this system. Walking to my medical appointments is simply not an option.

With all that said, lets move on with my HIV appointment. In a word “GREAT” Everything was awesome. My T-cells are still very high and my viral load remains low and in check. My liver and kidney functions are normal, my cholesterol is perfect…in fact my Dr said it is better then hers. I’ve lost 18lbs, my heart is fine and lungs are strong. Overall this was an awesome HIV appointment and I was very happy with it.

METRO 015However I have been having a hard time sleeping at night. Once I am able to get to sleep I wake up and am unable to get back to sleep for a few hours or more. This has made me very tired and restless during the day. So I have been given a prescription for a sleep aide that has a small anti-depressant to help me sleep and also deal with the very minor amount.

I can take this pill until my sleeping patterns return to normal and then stop taking it. There are no side effects and no chance of me becoming dependent on it. My Dr. knows how I feel about taking meds to address a problem that I should be able to address myself. Even though I know there are some people who truly need meds to help them be balanced I also know that I am not one of those people.

I walked out of my medical appointment with a huge smile on my face and a huge feeling of knowing that should anything come up, I have a great Dr. backed by an awesome medical staff that will help me get through any challenge that is before me.

Even though the bus ride home was long and filled with lots of people, I was relaxed and at peace.METRO 008

Stay Focussed

// March 9th, 2011 // No Comments » // Animals, Chef, Cooking, friends, health, Homeless Outreach, Me Time

Do Something Kits 016As I have said before here and even on my youtube channel, getting my final pay check from Tri Delta Sorority has been like pulling teeth. After several calls to the house director and several emails to the house president all of which went unreturned, I finally called an attorney who was more than happy to help me with this matter.

It’s really too bad that things ended this the way they did. As I have said before working for the girls was cool, but the house director was something completely different and to be honest I can see why she doesn’t stay at one job for more than 2 years. I was in the office when my attorney friend called her and she acted as if she didn’t even know who I was or what she was being asked, but she quickly changed her tune when she was asked for a number for her boss.

After spending far too much time dealing with this mess I came home and went for a very long walk with Dodger. Before leaving the my attorneys office, she reminded me that my health was something I needed to stay focussed on and not to allow this to discourage or upset me. I do have some money saved up, but I know it wont last long, so not getting my last check is really starting to bother me. However I did listen and hear what it was she was saying to me.

After walking Dodger I took some pain pills and reclined to take a short nap. I had not been sleep for an hour when someoneDo Something Kits 008knocked on my front door. Dodger barking and running to the door made it hard for me to ignore it and go back to sleep. I went to the door only to see the smiling face of my friend Bradly and his two kids, they even had their little dog in toe. I totally forgot they were coming over.

He is very much aware of the situation with Tri Delta and had called to spend some time time with me just to take my mind off things. He also wanted to drop by some items for Do Something Kits. Since I had the help I opened the door to the closet where I keep the bins with the items in it and asked if he would be willing to help me organize them. He said yes and two hours later we were done.

I cant tell you just how much it meant to me to have a friend stop by to help me stay focussed on something else. It was also nice to see his kids and spend some time catching up as well as laughing. Before they left the girls asked if they could talk about me and the work that I do in their class when they return to school. I smiled and say “yes” and this is when they began to tell me what they would say. Now his kids are 9 and 10 years old, they know about my Sickle Cell, battles with cancer, my 29 months of  homelessness and even my HIV.

Do Something Kits 010They talked for a bout 10 minutes and by the time they were done I could feel the tears about to fall from my eyes. I gave Bradly a hug and kissed them goodbye. When I closed the door the tears just came on like a flood gate had been opened. I could not even fight them or control them. The things they said were so kind and pure, to be very honest they were innocent and very raw at the same time. What made me cry was that here were two kids only 9 and 10 years old and they had such love, respect and compassion not just for me, but towards people in general. I was crying because I dont know many adults that have this. My tears fell even more when I thought of them growing up and the innocents about them is replaced by life and how it can change a person.

It wasn’t long before Bradly called to make sure I wasn’t crying for too long. I laughed when he mentioned it and he told me how much his kids as well as him and his wife think the world of me and what I do. He told me not to allow the actions of Tri-Delta and their director get the best of me. He reminded me that I am far better than that and what I do for people in need is far better then cooking for people. “God will always make a way for you Louis, he always has and always will. Trust this”

I reclined back and started to drift off when Dodger jumped into my lap and began to lick my face. Dodger always seems to find a way to make me smile, even when I don’t feel like it. He put his little head on my chest looking up at me, closed his eyes and began to snore. I laughed to myself thinking how protected and loved he must feel. I stroked his little body and said “I love you Dodger.”

Today was yet another day where I needed to kind my mind busy, so after my long walk with Dodger I made the rounds toDo Something Kits 009stores to get some items to help round things out for the Do Something Kits. Once I got back home I walked Dodger again and then began to put the Do Something Kits together

In all I was able to make 26 kits, 9 of them are for women. It was so relaxing to sit on the floor and prepare the kits. I had some jazz music in the background and I even made time to make a youtube video. The sun had already began to set by the time I was done. I even had time to clean the rest of the closet out and thanks to my friend Tina and Andy I will be doing a Sunday Dinner this weekend for homeless people here in Hollywood.

As I started to clean up I was reminded of something my friend KoKo said to me about a week ago and that was no longer having that job will allow me far more time to do what I love to do. She is so right. While not having a job is never a good thing as far as income is concerned, but as far as my overall health and well being is concerned I know I made the right choice and I know that things will all come together and I will be just fine.

I refuse to allow some job to hold me captive or cause my health to fail me. I refuse to allow some sick woman cause me stress and I refuse to allow some little girls with no real world experience treat me like I am so dirty dead animal laying in the road. It’s funny how they said they loved me and cared so much for me, but that love and care is taken away when I do what is right for me, taken away when it comes to paying me my final check.

Do Something Kits 014From here on out my focus is on my work and nothing else and just as my friend Bradly reminded me, God will always take good care of me, just like he has done my entire life.

Now let’s just hope and pray that my transsexual neighbor will not be fighting with her crack head boyfriend all night and I am able to get some much needed sleep and rest.

Greater Than AIDS

// March 3rd, 2011 // 1 Comment » // health, HIV and AIDS

As many of you know I was diagnosed HIV positive on April 3, 2008. This April will mark 3 years since that rainy cold night I walked to Harbor UCLA Medical Center in Torrance California.

I simply went in to get some help with getting the bandage changed on my back. I had this staph infection or so I thought it was a simple staph infection. As it turns out, it was an MRSA and this would later lead to me being told I was HIV positive.

The 11 days at Harbor UCLA are days I try hard not to think about, not because of the diagnoses, but because of how I was treated. The lack of care the provided and how I had to threaten to hurt myself before any paid any attention to me.

One thing is certainly clear for me and that is what I expressed when I received final confirmation from Dr. Daar that I was in fact HIV positive. I said I wanted to do all I could to be a role model and raise awareness for HIV and AIDS. Since that day I have done just that.

However my first face to face encounter with AIDS was when I was 19 years old and my first outreach to someone living with HIV was when I was 21 year old. I have always tried to do my part to educate others as well as myself about HIV and AIDS. But even with the best intentions things can still go wrong and people can still become infected with HIV.

Condoms are not 100%, I am living proof of this, however they should never be simply discarded as a great way of preventing transmission of HIV or AIDS. They are key to preventing new infections and each time someone has sex they should make sure there is a wall of protection between them and the person they are having sex with.

It’s funny how the first things that comes into the mind of someone who finds out someone is HIV positive or has AIDS is thoughts of someone who sleeps around, drug user, whore, low life and so many other things. The next thing they think is that they will some how get it from the person by simply standing next to them or talking to them. I cant even begin to tell you how many people wont even drink from the same glass or eat from the same plate as me……IGNORANCE is disgusting.

Without fail, no matter when I speak in public, blog or vlog about being HIV positive or simply stand up to share some knowledge, there is always someone who stands up to make me wrong or ask me questions about how I became infected with HIV and if I was active about HIV prior to being diagnosed. It is sad no matter where this comes from, but especially sad for me when this type of sheer stupidity and ignorance comes from Blacks.

A few days ago I did a vlog called “If We Sent More Time” where I talked about people spending so much time on things that dont matter or making other people wrong, instead of spending time on things like matter, things like education on HIV and AIDS. I deleted and blocked any further comments from 18 Black people, who wanted to make HIV about not going to church, about debating about if HIV or AIDS is the leading cause of death for women of color. People wanted to talk about everything but the fact that HIV and AIDS are real and is wiping out Black people.

It’s as if Blacks simply don’t want to see this sad fact. As if we as so lost inside the segregated walls of “community” that we refuse to believe that this is taking place in our own backyard. We refuse to see the fact that even people inside the cold, racist, hatred and stigma filled walls of the places we call churches or better yet houses of prayer that people sit in pew right next to us who are in fact HIV positive or have full blown AIDS. They forget these people lead our choirs, are on the usher board, collect and count the money we so blindly give to the Bishop we molests young Black men right in plain sight possibly spreading HIV or even AIDS to young Black men and even to the first lady of the church.

Until Blacks wake up and stop acting like HIV and AIDS is not something that can happen to them or their families or even in their damn church and until we learn to love and respect each other as much as we demand that non-Blacks love and respect us, then and only then can we address the dirty secret that everyone else knows but us…….HIV and AIDS.

Maybe one day, I pray in my lifetime Blacks will return to the greatness, strong, brave and vibrant people we once were. For right now we must settle for talking shit about each other, putting on fake hair, degrading our Black women and attacking our Black men. If we only took a hard look we would see that only people out to get us is in fact us and no one else.

Ignorance is not a crown Black people and we need to get off the throne of IGNORANCE.

I will continue to do all I can to educate people, especially Black people about HIV and AIDS, because I am greater than AIDS……are you?

Escape with Me

// March 1st, 2011 // No Comments » // Animals, beach, Canon, Exercise, health, Health and Fitness, Me Time, photos, Pictures, video, work

Explore 060Today was a day for me to unwind and remove all stress. It was something that I have not done in a very long time and believe me when I say it was long overdue.

It’s amazing how much time we spend doing things that have nothing to do with our overall well being. Shocking how much stress we allow to build up in our lives and many time we don’t realize it until something like a stroke or heart attack happens, even worse death.

About a month ago someone said to me “your Sickle Cell has given you so much problems since you started working this job.” Last month I went to the funeral of a cousin who lost his battle with Sickle Cell and after talking with his wife, she too feels that if he only spent more time removing stressful people and things from his life, he would still be here. The last time I spoke with her, she asked me to take better care of my overall health and well being.

It goes without saying that my last job was very stressful and more the 95% of the stress was caused by a director who knew went out of her way to cause chaos and confusion among the staff. Constant changes to schedules, job requirements, emails, voicemails, pictures and even threats that she would fire us were just some of the ways she caused so much stress.

Today after my first round of housing inspections and my trip to the doctors, I did something for me. Something I have not done in a very long time, but as I said before, it was long overdue.

I came home grabbed my cameras and headed to the beach to escape for a day. I know to many this was not much of an escape, but for me it was all I needed. Since I grew up in Santa Monica and I love being near the water, this is where I headed and I am so glad that I did.

it was a cook day today so I needed to make sure I was dressed right. I didn’t want my day of relaxation to turn into a night of fighting off a cold. I dressed in layers and topped it all off with my USC hoodie.

I spent the day with no real plans other then just taking it slow and not spending a bunch of time online or in contact. What I mean by this is, I had my cell phone with me, but if was off for more the 90% of my day. I did not return calls unless they were something that could not wait until the next day or at least until I was heading home later in the evening.

Being near the water was so calming and cool. it was like all day therapy for me. I walked from the top of the Santa Monica Pier all the way down to Venice Beach, just south of the new skater park. Taking pictures every step of the way.

I finished my day with dinner at the Santa Monica Place Mall and a sunset at the Santa Monica Beach. I had spent my most of my day relaxing and clearing my space. I did such a good job at it, that the crowded bus ride home filled with people who were loud and some of them rude, didn’t even bother me.

I was welcomed home by my dog Dodger and I spent the night on the sofa talking of the phone with my friend Christina. I picked up a scented candle on my way home and that has been burning for sometime now. It smells awesome.

I took over 450 pictures today. They are currently uploading to my Flickr page. I had a great day and I am so glad I took most of it for me.

HIV

// February 28th, 2011 // 1 Comment » // health, HIV and AIDS

Many times I am asked what the hardest thing about being HIV positive is and each time the answer is the same. “The hardest thing for me has been all the ignorant comments and questions I must endure”

There isn’t a day that goes by that someone doesn’t leave a nasty or negative comment on my youtube channel and there are not many days that go by where I don’t have to read a comment from someone who is clearly just as ignorant as the most ignorant person on the planet.

Now most times these comments don’t really get to me, but there are those time when they do. Not because they are aimed at me, but because I know there is someone, some where battling HIV or AIDS that can not take such harsh, uneducated, ignorant and even vile comments. Not everyone is as strong as I am, so many times the concern and even the hurt and yes the shedding of tears is for those who can’t take the evil that gets thrown at us.

However most times the anger is for the sheer ignorance of the people who make such statements and comments. It is simply appalling that someone could be so silly, so childish, so unenlightened, so uneducated, so unkind….so unhuman to allow such things to fall from their lips.

I am not on any HIV meds yet, right now my body is doing a great job on its own. However I do go to the doctor as required and I follow her instructions. I have some awesome people in my life who have been HIV positive for many years, some of these people have been positive since the start of the pandemic, so for me to have them in my life as friends and living testaments is nothing short of a major blessing from God.

Most of the people I know that are HIV positive are on meds and the stories they share so freely with me will serve me well if I ever have to start taking meds. I am blessed to know that not only do I have a great doctor and an awesome support team at my clinic, but I also have a close circle of friends to help me get through it as well and in the end I know I will be just fine.

DISCLOSING

Who has the right to know about my HIV status? Well if you read this blog, watch my vlog  or see my speak on the subject then you would know that pretty much anyone who encounters me has access to knowing my HIV status. But if this wasn’t the case, who would have the right to know that I am HIV positive?

Other than my doctor and other medical professionals who care for me and people I am sexually active with, no one has the right to know my status. I am not obligated to tell anyone. Even if I go out on a date I do not have an obligation to tell the person I am on the date with that I am HIV positive.

I know this is a hard pill to swallow for some people because they feel everyone has the right to know, furthermore they feel that each time you go on a date you should be telling the person that you are HIV positive. But the fact of the matter is this. My person medical information is just that….personal and no one has the right to have access to it without my consent.

Clearly the word date has meaning different meaning to so many people, but for me the word means just what it implies…..NOTHING. A date is a meeting of two people. As my friend Travis so eloquently put it, “it is a conversation” no where in any date that I have been on has there ever been sex involved.

I don’t go into a date with this “agenda” of meeting my soul mate or Mr. Right Now. It is simply a date, so therefore I will not be disclosing my personal medical information to someone I may never see again. However if the subject came up, I would answer the question honestly.

Too many people feel it is their duty to instruct you on who you should tell and when you should tell them, but the bottom line is this, they dont have a say, they get get a vote and it is none of their damn business who you tell or when you tell. Sometimes it is best to just simply say to people “mind your own fucking business and stay the hell out of mine”

I will have enough decisions that I will have to make when it comes to being HIV positive and each of these decisions will be made with the advice of my doctors and close friends, but the final choice and decisions will be made by me and only me.

Awesome Week

// February 12th, 2011 // 2 Comments » // Chef, Cooking, friends, health, HIV and AIDS, Homeless Outreach, Me Time, work

Although this week went by very fast, it was a very busy week for me, with changes taken place at work and outreaches, placing final things in order for the rest of the month as well as getting ready for what could be a battle for my job. By Friday I was feeling a cold trying its best to get stronger from the day before, but Friday night I took measures to head it off at the past.

WORK

This was the last week of having two chefs of the kitchen. The other chef who cooks dinner give her notice and Friday was her last day. If you have been reading this blog then you know how hard ti was to work with her, but I did all I could to make the situation work. However in the end she made the choice that she had mentioned several times before which was to quit and find a job that worked best for her.

The last week working with her was very pleasant, for some reason she was very relaxed and in many ways very helpful and considerate, but she stuck to her guns about helping to keep the pantry and refrigerator clean and stated true to form with ordering far more then what was needed and three times used items that were supposed to be for breakfast or lunch. However this is now in the past as Friday was her last day.

She seems to be very happy with the new job she will be working and I am happy that she found a place that she feels will work best for her. She will be working at a very high placed eatery in the Arts District of Downtown Los Angeles. A place I am very fond of and a place that has a really cool vibe.

The other thing that took place this week was the fact that I would be training the new chef on Monday and Tuesday of next week. I also was asked by the director to plan a dinner menu for the week as well, but by Wednesday after ordering food for the following week I was told that this would not be the case because there would be no evening chef, but instead a catering company that would not require any training or assistance from me.

For me this raised some red flags mainly because I use to cater and I know the ultimate goal was to have the entire operation and not just part of it. Moreover, according to the house director they have requested that I be out of the kitchen by 1:30pm, which is 30 minutes before my schedule time ends. I raised this point with the director and she did her best to simply dodge the issue with the answer of “well I will have to talk to Brian and see what he has to say about this.”

Now according to the director, the kitchen is about six thousand dollars over budget. For me this is hard to swallow because we have never been given a budget for the kitchen. In any case just while going over all the invoices and making certain that all bills have been paid and that we are current with each vendor, I find that we have nearly a eight thousand credit with the very vendor the director made the choice to stop using.

I made my finding known to the house president as well as to the house treasurer expressing that it would be better to no longer order from other vendors until will use this credit that we have with the other vendor. Doing so would bring the kitchen back on budget with room left to move. They thought this was best, but we will see what takes places in the coming weeks.

As I stated before, the order for next weeks food had already been placed, instead of simply refusing all the items that were order for dinner, the director made the choice to keep the entire order saying “We will just use the extra dinner items for lunch” However in our meeting just last week, the house president expressed that sometimes lunches are a bit heavy, these would be menus that I have not planned, but menus submitted by the house director or the former evening chef. When I mentioned this to the director she simply said “It would not be fair to Oscar if we cancel half this order. They will just have to deal with it.”

Other the this my time at work has been awesome, as I have stated many time on this blog and on my youtube channel the girls I would for are awesome and I love working for them. I made some baked tofu this week and even introduced Soy Lettuce Wraps which were a hit with the entire house. Something the director said would not be well received by the meat eaters. Again she was dead wrong, but then again she always is.

So my goal next week to to continue to do the very best job I can and do all that I can to make sure the kitchen runs on budget, meals continue to be awesome and that the members remain happy with the service I provide them. Judging from the applause I got after a Friday brunch where at one point I had next to 15 brunch tickets stacked up on the counter and from the all the smilies and love the girls continue to shower on me, I am certain my job is till secure. However I am leaving nothing to chance.

OUTREACHES

By Friday I wasn’t feeling all that great so I was happy that I had made some arrangements with my friend KoKo who had some donations from  cousin Mona to give to me because she could not use them. So the items that I planned to do the Skid Row outreach for were passed to my friend and she would drop them off next week.

When I am not feeling well it is always so nice to have a friend like KoKo help me do with I do and even better to know that people like Mona are out there doing what they can, when they can to help people in need. I was also able to get some information from my friend that will help someone who is homeless and looking for a place to live. Through her advice and support I am hoping that this person will follow though and eventually get his own place to live.

I’ve also received a few emails from one of the guys down at Chess Park. His cell phone has died on him, so he asked if I could help him get another phone. I just happen to have a few phones in my donations closet, so I am able to give a phone to him. I just need to load some minutes on the phone and then meet up with him on Sunday. I will also be able to give him a hygiene kit as well.

One of the cool points of my week was the pleasant surprise I received from my friends Kim and Nicole who live in Milwaukee. They sent three boxes with shoes, Do Something Kits and a brand new Fox Sports jacket. The shoes and jacket were part of the outreach to people on Skid Row battling HIV and AIDS. Thanks to my friend KoKo the outreach went on as planned, so this was awesome for me.

SATURDAY

It’s Saturday and it is beautiful outside. Because I am not feeling my best I am simply going to take it easy and relax today. I need to be in top health come Monday as I prepare to pull out all the stops and stay on top of my game. A task I am sure the director thinks I will fail at badly. She must not know about me.

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