Thursday, June 30, 2011

What is all this chatter about Social Sonar anyway?!

Awhile back, I got a call from my friend Larissa's husband.  Wes wanted to talk about Facebook, blogging and the like.  I made plans to talk to him the weekend I had scheduled that 5k in Pinole AND the CitySolve urban scavenger hunt in San Francisco, so I was exhausted by the time we actually touched bases.  He starts telling me about his company that helps businesses manage social media websites.  It definitely sounds interesting but I am also a little tired and foggy from running around in the rainy weather all day. 

Wait, did you just say I might be able to get paid for writing blogs and being on Facebook?  SIGN ME UP!

I have long realized the importance of social media for businesses as I have been trying to use Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to boost Twirly Girls' presence on the internet.  Now Social Sonar is giving me the additional resources to offer it to an even wider audience.  I have a lot of friends who own small businesses and I am hoping to be able to provide a service to them...to YOU.  I am really excited about this endeavor.

People have been asking me exactly WHAT Social Sonar can do for their company.  Wes says it best when he points out how frustrating it is for people to ask questions on a company's Facebook fan page and they go un-answered.  Social Sonar will tailor a package for your company to make sure your potential customers are able to interact with your company in the virtual world.  So that means responding to reviews on Yelp, answering questions on Facebook and promoting your company on Twitter.  It could also means responding to comments on YouTube or Meetup.  You have the ability to control which sites we monitor for you. 

But that is not all Social Sonar will do.  Twice a month, we will interview you about what's going on with your business, and then publish four blogs a month to your website.  This helps with search engine optimization, which means your company comes up faster when people "Google" your company.  We will also tweet those links through your company's own Twitter account.  No one has to know Social Sonar is sending out these messages.  People just see your company working hard to interact with them. 

Check out Social Sonar's blog about their services here:  http://www.socialsonar.com/_blog/Up_Periscope/post/Welcome_to_Social_Sonar/

I am planning a mixer in the next month or so and am inviting all of my business friends to join us to talk about how social media is affecting their business. If you are interested in joining us, please let me know (I will be sending around details soon).  Don't worry -- no high pressure sales here -- we know you can do all of this on your own.  But if you get too busy to handle it, you know where to go to ask for help!

http://www.socialsonar.com/

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Project 365: Day 15

Zeus rather enjoys monitoring my bathroom time and he hates closed doors.  While I shower or run any kind of water, he yells at me.  Maybe he is making sure I don't drown?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Project 365: Days 13 and 14

Day 13:

Such wasted talent.


Day 14:

It is almost July.  RAIN, RAIN, GO AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's a small world after all?

Does anyone else think it's odd that, thanks to the internet, we can be besties with people who live across the world, but most of us don't even know our neighbors? 

I mean, I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing.  But there seems to be a disconnect in real life.  I haven't really met anyone in my complex.  I've lived here over a year.  Yet I consider Heather, who lives across the United States and I've only actually met in person once, to be a good friend.  I chat with her at least a tiny bit almost every day. 

I don't want to miss out on friendships with cool people I might not necessarily have met without the internet.  But I kind of want to start meeting my neighbors too.  When I was coming home from the gay pride parade on Sunday, I ran into one of my neighbors.  I share a wall with this guy.  We've nodded and said quiet hello's on occasion but I've never introduced myself.  I was wearing a pink and purple tutu with butterfly wings and ribbons in my hair.  I didn't even have to tell him where I was coming from.  He said, How was the parade?  I said it was fun.  He said, you look cute!  I said thanks and was on my way.  Now that could have come across as creepy but it didn't seem like it.  And maybe I should have stopped to chat for a minute longer. 

It's like people look confused if you smile and say good morning or hold the door open for someone else. Robert touched on this in his recent blog.  There is a loss of common courtesy.  Let's bring it back.  A movement starts with one person.  Resolve to say good morning and smile at just one person each day.  You never know whose day you brightened with your beautiful face.  And hopefully they will pay it forward.  Then we might have a world full of smiling people instead of people rushing around with their heads down not paying attention anything around them.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Project 365: Days 11 and 12

Day 11:

Last night, for Dave's birthday, a group of us went to see Beach Blanket Babylon in San Francisco.  I hadn't been in over 10 years.  It's such a fun show.  We had dinner afterward at the Stinking Rose (a garlic restaurant).  Delish!  Fun time.  Here's a picture of Rita and me at Beach Blanket Babylon.  We didn't know this but there aren't supposed to be ANY photos in the theater.  WHOOPS!  We just thought we weren't supposed to take any of the show.  I feel like it makes this a very special picture!  Me and my partner in crime, my activities partner...RITA!


Day 12:

Today I marched in the 2011 San Francisco Gay Pride Parade with Jimmy and the Rainbow Community Center of Contra Costa County.  My partner in crime was there too, of course.  So was Yolanda, Chris, Ronnie, Brynn, Jorel, Rigo, Sarah and lots of other awesome people.  It was my first time even being at the parade.  I dressed up as a butterfly.  It was a lot of fun to march, although it was a few hours of waiting around before we got started.  So I got way too much sun and I'm super sore and tired from standing.  But it was a lot of fun and I am excited I got to be part of it.  As I'm typing this, I still don't know which photo I'm going to choose for my 365 blog!!!  So many great ones to pick from!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Project 365: Day 10

The dangers of being a pole dancer -- and a photo just can't do it justice.  I got this little beauty last week at the photoshoot.  I couldn't even tell you what I did to get it, but it is impressive (in person, at least).

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Project 365: Day 9

Today is all about the Chilidog!  That sick little miracle kitty who is making a comeback.  Apparently I have turned Rob's cats into beggars.  Chilidog loves to eat ice cream, whipped cream and butter (Zeus prefers bread and rice).  Then I love to take pictures of him sticking his tongue out!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Project 365: Day 8

Most of you know I work out of my boss' house a few days a week.  In March he got a Corgi puppy named Henry.  So now I spend most of my lunches eating outside and playing with Henry.  Today we were working on agility training! 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Project 365: Days 6 and 7

Day 6:

This is a picture of Zeus and me from last night.  When Rob and I moved in together, it was hard to adjust to having cats again.  But he has good cats.  And Zeus will give me a little bit of attention when Rob goes to bed early or something.  :-)


Day 7:

Mt. Melons.  That's what they call me.  It is absolutely amazing to me that boobs are SO interesting to people.  Two mounds of flesh that feed babies.  But even gay men love them.  They seem to be what defines me.  Some people, especially at the drag shows, know my boobs before they know me.  So today I pay homage to my defining feature:  my ridiculously too-large boobs. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Project 365: Day 5

Last night was Jimmy's big fundraiser for the AIDS Walk SF in July.  He does so much for the community.  And if he raises $5,000, he will be doing the 6 mile walk in HEELS.  People have been very generous and it sounds like he'll be walking in heels.  :-)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Social Sonar is in the house!

So I mentioned I was going to start doing some blogging for Social Sonar.  I'm really excited that my first two posts are up!

Check them out!

http://www.socialsonar.com/_blog/Active_Sonar/post/Guest_Post_Time_to_Get_Your_Groupon/

http://www.socialsonar.com/_blog/Active_Sonar/post/Guest_Blog_Post_lolorashel_is_Twitterpated/

Social Sonar has some great blog posts about social media and your business.  So make sure you click around and see everything they have to offer.  And if your business needs help managing your social media websites, you know who to call!

They recently published a FREE e-book about using social media.  Download it here!

http://www.socialsonar.com/free-guide-social-media-marketing-success-for-small-business

Project 365: Day 4

Yesterday's photo blends two of my favorite things...pole dancing and photography.  We had a pole photoshoot at Twirly Girls Pole Fitness.  These are just the photos off my iPhone (and then I messed with them using a photography app).  I can't wait to see the real photos from Andrew of Liquidpulp Photography (he's also the Cowboy Andy who turned me on the Project 365).  :-)

Too many fun photos to choose from, so I just kind of randomly picked this one.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Project 365: Day 3

I tried to get a "good" picture for today's post.  There is no "good" picture of this crap.  My psoriasis.  It has been pissing me off lately.  The sun is good for killing it...and now that the sun it out, I certainly hope it starts getting better.  The doctor has me slathering four or five different chemicals...I mean medications...just to keep it this "good."

It mostly affects my elbows, down my arms to my wrists.  I sometimes get patches on my knees, face or other parts of my body (especially if I cut myself), but it mostly affects my elbows.  Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes skin cell to grow more quickly than normal, so it leaves dry patches of skin.  It generally starts on the joints, and some people end up with psoriatic arthritis.

You cannot catch it from me, not that some people care to ask or understand.  Most people think its poison ivy.  When I worked at Sears Portrait Studios as a teenager, I had parents refuse to let me photograph their children.  I have been to a day spa for a massage where the therapist refused to massage me without gloves because the red spots meant blood, which meant she could catch HIV.  *sigh*  For the most part, I get it and don't bother trying to explain.

Today, my psoriasis is irritating me, so I am sharing my ugliness with the world.  I guess in the whole scheme of things, I could have a lot worse wrong with me.  Oh yeah, here's some good news:  my face isn't nearly as bad as it has been in the past couple of months, so that makes me happy.  However, I have three different topical medications and an anti-inflammatory antibiotic pill that I've been taking for the last three months.  Maybe the recent sun exposure is helping too.  :-)

Dan Jones rocks my socks off...and he will rock yours off too

I know I've mentioned it before but Dan Jones and Jimmy Gale are amazing people.  Dan just finished riding what would feel like a million miles to my fat ass in the AIDS LifeCycle ride.  He raised something like $18,000 for the cause.  Jimmy set a goal of raising $5,000 for the AIDS Walk San Francisco and promised to wear his red pumps if he does (this is six mile walk, people!).  He's not even to his big fundraiser night (see you at Club 1220 in Walnut Creek this Sunday!!!) and he is well over half the way to his goal. 

Dan has drawn some amazing charcoal portraits that he is donating to Jimmy to raise money for the walk.  I just got chills writing that line.  You should see these portraits.  They have to be seen in person to truly appreciate them.  These men are so selfless and so amazing.  There are not even enough words in the English language to describe how awesome they are.

Anyway, the auction for the portraits is live!  If you are interested in bidding, please check out the link below!  Be generous, it goes to a great cause!

http://blog.cadano.net/











http://lolorashel.blogspot.com/2011/06/aids-walk-san-francisco.html

http://lolorashel.blogspot.com/2011/06/i-heart-jimmy-gale.html

http://lolorashel.blogspot.com/2011/05/team-le-dream.html

http://lolorashel.blogspot.com/2011/01/support-aids-lifecycle-fundraiser.html

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Project 365: Day 2

Today's photo is a ladybug.  A BIG ladybug (kinda hard to tell by the photo, I know).  I would call it a grand-daddy ladybug. 

Ladybugs have a special meaning to me.  My grandfather died in 2003.  After the funeral, I got into my car and there was a ladybug on the ceiling.  So, whenever I see a ladybug, I think of my Grandpa Last.  I want to get a small ladybug tattoo on the back of my neck, kind of near my ear, so maybe my grandpa can whisper advice and I can stop making all of these crappy decisions. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

How's that Chilidog doing, anyway?

So the vet called today.  Chilidog's bloodwork is almost back to normal.  The vet was speechless.  She can't explain it.  Apparently everything we've been doing to keep Chilidog alive is working.  His kidneys are still "blown out," so he's not fixed.  But his bones and muscles seem to be healing properly so we can drop his meds down to once a day.  We will continue with the IV fluids every other day, at least until our next vet visit.  We check in with the vet again in six weeks. 

Until then, we will just continue to enjoy the time we have with Chilidog and not question it.  :-)

http://lolorashel.blogspot.com/2011/05/continued-misadventures-of-chilidog.html

 Hanging out in the closet
 Making Zeus jealous by eating some cake
 Sitting fancy
 Silly cat
 Smiling dog
 Eating cake to celebrate a healthy(ier) Chilidog
 Grooming Zeus
 Grump!
 Brat!
 Sharing ice cream
 Trying to steal my ice cream
Don't take my picture
 Too bad its orange...kitties aren't usually fans of citrus...but I loved it!
 Doesn't look even remotely comfortable
Grateful to have a healthy Chilidog to love

Project 365: Day 1

I have joined Cowboy Andy in Project 365.  Taking a photo every day to watch myself progress through the year.   

http://content.photojojo.com/tutorials/project-365-take-a-photo-a-day/

Project 365: How to Take a Photo a Day and See Your Life in a Whole New Way
Project 365People will often say that their whole lives flashed before their eyes after they experienced a traumatic event. Perhaps it’s a bit morbid, but we think that sounds pretty incredible.
When Taylor McKnight started taking a photo a day on January 1st, 2004, he never imagined the project would not only serve as a way to remember a year, but also help him understand what was important to him in his life.
Whether it was his relationships, his career, or his fashion sense, recording a photo a day for a whole year left him with a rich visual history of his life. And it made him a better photographer to boot!
Now that he’s in the middle of doing it for a second time, we asked Taylor to write about it for us. Read on for our tutorial on how and why to create your own daily photographic history.


Why do it?

Taking a photo a day is a big undertaking with big payoffs. Here are just a few reasons why you should consider doing it:
  • Imagine being able to look back at any day of your year and recall what you did, who you met, what you learned… (Often we find it hard to remember what we did just yesterday or even last night, let alone a whole year ago!)
  • Your year-long photo album will be an amazing way to document your travels and accomplishments, your haircuts and relationships. Time moves surprisingly fast.
  • Taking a photo a day will make you a better photographer. Using your camera every day will help you learn its limits. You will get better at composing your shots, you’ll start to care about lighting, and you’ll become more creative with your photography when you’re forced to come up with something new every single day.

Tips on How to Do It

Here are six tips on how to create your own Project 365:
  1. Bring Your Camera Everywhere
    Yes, everywhere. Get in the habit. Grocery stores, restaurants, parties, work, and school. Going to a movie theatre? Snap a pic of the flick with your phone–there are photo-ops everywhere. If you have one of those tiny tiny cameras, you have no excuse not to have it in your pocket all the time. And if you don’t? Camera phones are a great substitute.
  2. Make Posting Easy
    You can install blog software like Movable Type or WordPress on your own site and create an entry for each photo, but for true ease of use, try a photo sharing site. Flickr will let you post a week’s worth of photos in 2 minutes flat, and fotolog and Photoblog.com are geared toward a photo-a-day workflow. Making it fast and easy means you’re much more likely to do it.
  3. Vary Your Themes
    Try to capture the day’s events in a single photo. Perform photographic experiments. Take a photo of someone new you meet, something you ate for the first time, or something you just learned how to do. Take a photo of something that made you smile. And don’t forget to take a photo of yourself at least once a month so you can remember how you’ve changed, too.
  4. Tell a Story
    Use your blog entry, or your photo description, to explain what’s going on in each day’s photograph. How good did that dinner taste? What made you want to take a photo of that stranger? It’ll help you remember down the road, and it gives friends following along a better appreciation of why you took the photo you did. You don’t need to write a lot, just enough to add some color.
  5. Don’t Stop, No Matter What
    This is perhaps the most important tip of all. You will get tired of taking a photo every single day. Some days, you will consider giving up. Don’t. The end result is worth the effort. Remind yourself why you wanted to do it in first place. There will be times you’ll think there’s nothing interesting left to take a photo of, and times you’ll think you didn’t do anything exciting enough to take a photo of. There’s always a great photo to be made.
    Get out of the house and take a walk. Or stay inside and look around. Take a photo of something important to you. Take a photo of the inside of your house so you can see how your taste has changed over the years. Take a photo of anything, just don’t stop.
    N.b. It helps if you’ve told your friends about the project and asked them to follow along. Their encouragement will keep you going!
  6. Post early, post often
    Plan on going through and posting your photos at least once a week so you don’t get backlogged and feel overwhelmed. Ideally, post every day or two. Again, spend the time up front to make sure it’s quick and easy to post. It’ll make all the difference.

Examples

  • The Project 365 2004 Recap — Read Taylor’s thoughts on the project after the year was over and see some of the highlights.
  • Project 365, 2006 (in progress) — Watch a slideshow of Taylor’s second go-around with Project 365.
  • Noah Brier’s One a Day — In a more self-reflective variation, our pal Noah takes a photo a day using the webcam built into his MacBook.
*****

I figured I'd start with the bar pretty low.  I am not wearing any make-up, my hair is still wet and up in a bun, I'm at work, fighting a cold or allergies (my chest hurts and I can't breathe), I'm tired, and ready for the day to end even though its just begun.  I'm bummed because I'm skipping Twirly Girls tonight and missing out on the preview of portraits that Dan drew for Jimmy's fundraiser.  But I am looking forward to getting in bed early and getting up bright and early tomorrow for the gym. 

Day 1 of Project 365:



Tuesday, June 14, 2011

AIDS Walk San Francisco

Dan, Stuart and company just finished the AIDS/LifeCycle ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles.  They rode almost 550 miles.  Congratulations, boys!!

Now its time to turn to the AIDS Walk San Francisco, which will take place July 17, 2011.  Please watch Jimmy's video and donate if you can...even $5 will help.  Then share his video with your friends.  Everyone has been touched by HIV or AIDS in some way.  Let's help end this disease!



Previous blogs:

http://lolorashel.blogspot.com/2011/06/i-heart-jimmy-gale.html

http://lolorashel.blogspot.com/2011/05/team-le-dream.html

http://lolorashel.blogspot.com/2011/01/support-aids-lifecycle-fundraiser.html

http://lolorashel.blogspot.com/2011/01/you-never-think-it-could-happen-to-you.html

Jimmy's fundraiser at Club 1220 in Walnut Creek is coming up THIS Sunday:

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=217114474984597

Dan is also selling five portraits to support Jimmy's AIDS Walk.  If you'd like to see the photos in person (the photographs do not do them justice...they are GORGEOUS in person), please join us at a preview TOMORROW night:

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=133618463380154

If this is all just too much to handle and you'd like to simply donate to the cause, please visit this website:

http://awsf2011.kintera.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=467364&lis=1&kntae467364=C0CE6B32FC6740ED83C42B5A926616B3&supId=255238537

Thank you in advance!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

lolorashel is now powered by Social Sonar!

I am really excited to announce that I'll be doing some writing for a company called Social Sonar.  Check them out.


Word of mouth has always been the most important way to grow a business. With the advent of social media sites like Facebook, Yelp, Twitter, Google Local, and others, potential customers have found a way to take word of mouth and put it online. Businesses today do not have the time or expertise to manage the overwhelming number of social and review sites, but these sites are the key to growing your business. Your business can have an active online presence and grow business through social media - without any effort on your part with the help of Social Sonar - a social media management service for your business.

Join the Facebook page and explore the possibilities!


http://www.facebook.com/SocialSonar

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Tell me what to do!

I was sitting in our gastric bypass support group last night and some of us were talking about struggling with recent weight gain.  It seems like once you're past 18 months to 2 years out, it's something most people struggle with again.  And it hit me.  It shouldn't have had to hit me because it was something I already knew, but it was something I needed to acknowledge and own. 

I have so many people offering me great advice about diet and exercise.  And I always have an excuse about why this or that won't work for me.  It's like I want everyone to tell me what to do...but I keep knocking down their ideas until I get to the person who tells me I can eat ice cream and pizza every day, not move from the couch, and still lose weight.  I need to get off my lazy ass and do SOMETHING. 

I'm only half-assing the exercise and food.  Sure, I am super active and I eat decently.  But I could be MORE active, or at least make the time I'm spending in the gym count.  And I could cut A LOT of crap out of my diet.  I can make all of the excuses in the world but my tight pants don't lie.

I need to put on my big girl panties and start flying right.  This means actually watching every single ounce of food I put in my mouth and going all out at the gym at least 5 days a week (preferably six), sometimes twice a day.  When I lost weight before, that's how I did it. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The History of Pole Dancing

I was talking to a friend recently about the history of dancing on a vertical pole.  Strangely, I have never researched this before.  So I thought I'd post some links from other websites claiming to know the down and dirty history of pole dancing.


The history of pole dancing can be traced back over two thousand years to dances that were performed by women for women and to an Indian sport called Mallakhamb, Chinese Pole, and also side shows in traveling circus’ and more recently “Gentleman’s Clubs”. Sheila Kelley, in her book ”The S Factor,” writes, “Though the exact date is not known, it is well documented that rolling, undulating hip movements were not originally intended as titillation for men but rather as expressions of the female body’s power to promote fertility in the land. In ancient matriarchal cultures, dance was performed by women and for women exclusively.” Mallakhamb, as well as Chinese Pole, is predominantly a male sport. Though they’re used in similar ways, a Mallakhamb and a Chinese pole is quite different from the western pole. The Mallakhamb pole is made of wood, is larger in diameter, and has a wooden ball on the top of it.  Chinese Pole is usually performed on two poles. The men will hop from pole to pole and perform many gravity defying tricks. Chinese poles are approximately twenty feet high. The history of pole dancing in the West is very different from that of India’s Mallakhamb. Western Pole dancing originated in the nineteen-twenties at the height of the American depression. Traveling fairs would go from town to town entertaining the crowds. As part of the fair there would be many different types of side shows in small tents surrounding the main tent. In one of the side tents, girls would dance suggestively on a small stage in front of crowds of cheering men. The tent pole became known, as the “dance pole,” which still exists today. Pole dancing gradually began evolving from tents to bars as burlesque became more acceptable in nineteen-fifties. Then in the nineteen-eighties pole dancing and striptease became popular in Canada and then in the United States. In the nineteen-nineties, Fawnia Mondey Dietrich, took the art of pole dancing and began teaching it to the everyday woman. She produced the first instructional pole fitness and dance DVD. 


Early stories tell of African tribal rituals in which betrothed women would dance provocatively around a wooden phallus. The dance was designed to show their future husbands how they wanted to be made love to.


Another example of ancient pole dancing is the Maypole dance, which dates back to the 12th century. Originally a pagan celebration of fertility, the Maypole is also a phallic symbol. Brace yourselves now, but Maypole festivals typically included an orgiastic feast at which lovers were encouraged to make love in public! The Maypole tradition lives on, but the public sex bit is usually omitted. When the Victorians got there [sic] hands on it, they transformed it into something a little tamer.


There are some that are of the opinion that the rather chaste Victorians re-branded the historic May pole as something of innocence as previously it had been a pagan fertility dance dating back to the 12th century. The origins of Mallakhamb (man of power or gymnasts pole) which is yoga practiced on a wooden pole and on rope (practiced in India), may date back to 12th century but the discipline is suspected to be formed as recently as 250 years ago. Another closely related discipline is Mallastambha (gymnasts pillar).  This "pole dance" practiced by wrestlers incorporates the use of an iron pole to build up strength. Mallastambha is really no longer practiced. Today pole Mallakhamb is practiced by men and boys and rope Mallakamb (Indian rope tricks) is practiced by women and girls. 



The first recorded striptease dates back to a myth from ancient Sumerian times involving Inanna, the Goddess of Love, and her descent into the underworld to find her lover Damouz. At each of the seven gates, she removed an article of clothing or a piece of jewellery. As long as Inanna remained in hell, the earth was barren. When she returned, the earth again became abundant and fruitful. Some believe this myth evolved in the 'Dance of the Seven Veils' of Salome from the bible.
The bible records Salome's dance but the first mention of removing veils rises from Oscar Wilde's play of 'Salome' in 1883. Some have claimed this to be the origin of modern striptease, but other influences may have come from Parisian times and the Moulin Rouge striptease through to Middle Eastern belly dancing and American burlesque.






I heart Jimmy Gale

I think Jimmy's not says it all:

Why I Walk... 2011

by Jimmy Gale on Monday, June 6, 2011 at 4:33pm
 
Every July, I gather on the field at Golden Gate Park and it takes my breath away. Thousands of men and women band together for many reasons… to commemorate, to remember, to share their stories, to laugh and to cry… but most importantly, to help stop a growing epidemic.  HIV/AIDS.

On August 25th, 2008… three little words forever changed my life. “Your test came back positive.” It was like having a big rig run me over. There were no words, or thoughts that could have prepared me for that simple statement. But as we all know, HIV is not simple. Since that day I have thrown myself into this fight. I have always been involved with HIV education and fundraising, both as Jimmy and as my alter-ego “Stephanie Nicole le Dream” (or “Safe Sex Stephanie”.) But, everything changed for me that day.

It was like “coming out” all over again. But instead of declaring myself as a proud gay man, I had to tell my friends and loved ones that I was technically “terminally ill.” While I now know that I am going to live a long and happy life, death was definitely in the forefront of my thoughts for that first year.

It was shortly after being diagnosed that I found the Rainbow Community Center and the amazing men of the Monday Night Group. Many of these men have lived with HIV for up to 30 years, and their collective knowledge and experience helped remind me how far we have come. These guys showed me that I was going to be okay… they gave me the strength to stand up and helped me find my strength and my voice. I quickly got involved with the RCC and began my mission to educate as many people as possible, and eventually I began working here.

I now run our FREE HIV Testing Clinic twice a month, provide condoms to our community, and go out into the community and speak to people about my experiences living with HIV and talking about the importance of safer sex and getting tested. Through my outreach, I have met some of the most amazing people… my new family… “Team le Dream.”

HIV doesn’t care who you are. It doesn’t care what color your skin is. It doesn’t care who you sleep with, marry or love. HIV just doesn’t give a damn. But the RCC does. Club 1220 does. I do.

I walk in memory of Chad Droll Scalise. Chad was a kind and gentle man who loved with an open heart. He was surrounded by so many that loved him, and miss him to this day. He was a man of few words. But shortly after I was diagnosed, Chad pulled me aside at 1220 and told me that I was going to be alright. He had never said much to me over the years that I knew him… but when he hugged me that night, I really truly knew that I was going to be okay.

Chad left us on March 26th, 2010. He is left behind by a loving family, amazing friends, and a husband of 17 wonderful years. Chad has left a big hole in our hearts… and a day doesn’t go by that I don’t think of him. And I will walk in his memory as long as I live.

But I walk for more.

I walk for my family. The ones that drive me crazy and make me yell… but somehow still love me. For my Mom, who is my biggest fan. Telling her that I had HIV nearly killed me… and even now as I write this letter, I’m crying remembering that day. For my brothers, Stephen and Nick. For my amazing new sister-in-law, Amanda, and her 2 beautiful children. I pray that someday those 2 kids do not have to grow up in a world with HIV.

I walk for my friends. The friends that were there for me the night I that I was shattered behind repair. The friends that hold my hand when I share my story with a newly diagnosed person. The friends that cheer my on at every fundraiser. The friends that stood by me all these years, when others were so afraid to be in the same room with me.

I walk for those who are HIV+, but can’t disclose for fear of losing their jobs and their family.
I walk for my boyfriend. My best friend. My love. He is HIV-… and I plan to keep him that way. We will be celebrating 2 years together on July 26th. Being in a sero-discordant relationship is never easy, something I didn’t think was even possible… but we are trying our hardest to make it work. I love you, more than you will ever know.

I walk for you.

Even if we have never met or will never meet, I want you to know that there are people out there that care about your health… people that want you to be safe and stay HIV-. Even if you are HIV+, there are people out there that want you to take care of yourself… to take your meds… to get on meds… to prepare you for what’s ahead. I care about you and want you to make it through this.

This will be my 6th year doing the San Francisco AIDS Walk. And even tho times are hard, It would mean so much if you could donate to this cause. 100% of the money that I raise comes to back to fund our free HIV Testing clinic and provide condoms and education to the community. HIV prevention and education funding is non-existent these days… so every donation will help save a life.

I hope to see you out at Golden Gate Park on Sunday, July 17th for the 25th Annual SF AIDS Walk.

Love always
Jimmy Gale
3 years HIV+… and I’m still here.

Please visit www.aidswalk.net/sanfran and search for me... Every donation no matter how small, will help. If you would like to mail your donation, please send it to:

Rainbow Community Center
Attn: Jimmy Gale
3024 Willow Pass Rd, Suite 200
Concord, CA 94519

Checks can be made out to “AWSF” or “AIDS Walk San Francisco”.
For more information about the Rainbow Community Center, you can visit our website at www.rainbowcc.org.


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 Please donate:  
http://awsf2011.kintera.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=467364&lis=1&kntae467364=8E7AB03FB5EB4BB6A7C5A1988990FB45&supId=255238537

http://lolorashel.blogspot.com/2011/05/team-le-dream.html

Monday, June 6, 2011

Fat Watch 2011 continues

Yesterday I went to the movies to see Bridesmaids.  The musical group, Wilson Phillips sang one of their songs.  Carnie Wilson looks like she has gained ALL of her weight back!  Here's a blog I did last year that talks about Carnie and weight loss surgery.

I had nightmares about it last night.  I kept looking at myself in the mirror and seeing the old, fat me.  My weight has been creeping up and I already consider myself fat again.  I have always been big...even when I was thinner.  But I'm just straight up fat again.  It's killing me.  I can't be THAT person.  According to this website, "only" five percent of gastric bypass patients will regain ALL of their weight.  This website says 20% of people will regain a "significant" amount of weight.  I'm sure there are no true statistics about how many actually do gain all of their weight back, although it certainly appears that 99.9% of us seem to continue to deal with weight and food issues for the rest of our lives.

My highest weight before gastric bypass was almost 350 pounds.   My lowest weight post-surgery was around 180 pounds.  At two years out, I was up to 200 pounds.  I was very comfortable there.  I tried some medications and got up to almost 225 a few years ago.  I started going to the gym and got back down to 200 pounds.  I was in amazing shape and even climbed Half Dome!  Now I've gotten lazy and am now riding close to 240 pounds!  I am still over 100 pounds lighter than my highest weight, but when I look in the mirror, I see that fat girl again. 

I talked to my doctor this morning and asked about medications and food and being lazy.  She actually suggested that I try a cleanse to help jump start weight loss and deal with inflammation that may be making my psoriasis worse.  Ugh.  I can barely pull it together to just eat a balanced diet.  Cutting something out just makes me want it more.  I have a bunch of literature to read on a cleanse she suggested.  I certainly need to do SOMETHING. 

I hate this.  I did a couple of races over the weekend.  My friend John dragged me around a 5k loop.  My heart rate was over 190 for the majority of the time and I was sucking air like a smoker.  It sucked.  I don't want to be this girl anymore.  And I am the one in control.  So I need to take the wheel and start driving.