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Travel Agent

Posted by JohnM on October 25, 2014 at 8:25 PM Comments comments (0)

As some know I am back working in the Travel Industry after being out of a few years when travel jobs went south in 2008. But I am happy to be selling travel again. I do have a facebook  page and my Host agency is Hobson Travel of Napervile. Hobson travel is going to do an introduction email with lots of pretty travel picture books if you would like to recieve that one time mailing just like my facebook page and private message me over your mailing address.

If you want future mailings about cruise specials or travel to a particular location add that to the message and I will make sure you stay on the list. 

This link is suppose to take you to my facebook page

and if you want to know more about Hobson Travel you can find them here

Holiday Giving Project 2013

Posted by Mickeydid on October 24, 2013 at 8:30 AM Comments comments (1)

We've had an on-again, off-again kind of tradition of doing something for those less fortunate at the holidays in December.  Twice we've supported The Night Ministry in Chicago with underwear and other items.  Night Ministry serves the homeless and those in danger of becoming homeless and a signifigant number of LGBTQ youth and young adults number among the clients of Night Ministry.  This happens to be my pet project, but there are other opportunities out there as well.

I know that there are homeless shelters in St. Charles (Lazarus House) and Aurora (Hessed House) and there are food pantry agencies all over the place.  Love and Action, affiliated with Open Door Clinics supports persons with HIV and AIDS.  There is the animal shelter we helped with gifts during our picnic, and there are probably a hundred other opportunities to be of help this holiday season.

What I'd like to do is open it up to suggestions, and then by about the time of the first coffee in November, the 14th, the Moderators of the website will make a collective decision as to what we might do.

Respond to this post with a comment, and others might then add to what you have t offer.

Thanks everyone


Horror Movie Fans?

Posted by S on October 21, 2013 at 10:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Hello out there. I was just wondering if there is enough interest among the members here to put together a horror movie meet-up every now and then. I was considering using the MeetUp site for this, but I kind of want to keep it focused in the west burbs. I am actually in DuPage, but close enough to Kane to fake it.

If you are interested, drop me a note, and I can keep you posted if it looks like it might happen.

I also like to attend large-scale horror events and conventions when I can, but those take a lot of planning, and sometimes overnight travel if you want to see a bigger show.

I can't be the only one that likes to be safely scared on a regular basis. Keep the heart healthy, I guess.


2013 - A New Year, and our 5th Anniversary

Posted by Mickeydid on January 1, 2013 at 3:25 PM Comments comments (4)

Happy New Year everyone. The weather is cold, but still no snow to amount to anything. I absolutley hate walking or driving in snow or ice, but I also recognize the severe trauma to trees and shrubs we will experience even more this spring, if we don't add some moisture to the ground. A couple feet of snow is great, because it melts slowly, and doesn't all run off in the storm sewers and into the river, but seeps into the ground. So lets hope for snow, but not on the days any of us need to go anywhere.

Our two big annual events are the End-of-Summer Picnic, around Labor Day, and the Holiday Open House, around Christmas/New Years. Last year we may have started another tradition when we held a 4th Anniversary Party for the group at Salerno's in St. Charles. It was the night of the only worrisome snowstorm of last season, so we lost some folks who wisely chose to park their vehicles and stay home, but we still had over 20 brave souls for pizza, salad and pasta, a surprise cake and lots of noisy chatter. So now we have to think about a 5th Anniversary. Do we want to make this an annual event? If so, it would come at the end of February or first part of March. The Salerno's event was very nice, but it may have been a little expensive for some. With tip and tax, the dinner was a little over $20 a head, plus alcohol if you chose to purchase it. We needed to reserve the space and order the food in advance, so RSVPs were in order. With the lighter than anticipated turn out, we were able to adjust the order some at the last minute, but still, the numbers didn't work out, and the event organizers sustained a small loss on the event. Remember, we don't have dues or a treasury, so the $$ has to come from somewhere.

So anyway, looking for suggestions, ideas, volunteers. Salernos was really nice, I'd call it "Special." Going there again would be great. At the other end of the spectrum is the Golden Corral in Batavia. We could reserve their group room, though probably not on a Friday or Saturday night when they use it for overflow dining. Everyone would pay at the door, we wouldn't need RSVPs, other than to guarantee them that they weren't closing down the room for a small handful. In between are probably 100 ideas. Please speak up. I can do a formal survey like we did last time, but I need ideas so that the survey can be narrowed down to a multple choice kind of thing. Oranizational ideas (do we collect money upon reservation?) and so forth are also welcome.

Holiday Giving to The Night Ministry

Posted by Mickeydid on November 28, 2012 at 4:15 PM Comments comments (2)

In this holiday season, many of us have much for which we can be thankful. We have roofs over our heads, warm beds to sleep in and full bellies after eating, often more than our bodies require. We feel safe at night, we feel the love of family and/or friends. When we are able, it seems good to share some of what we have with those who have less.

Two years ago in December, we collected socks for The Night Ministry. The Night Ministry is a Chicago-based organization that works to provide housing, health care and human connection to members of our community struggling with poverty or homelessness. With an open heart and an open mind, we accept people as they are and work to address their immediate physical, emotional and social needs while affirming their sense of humanity. The website moderators have decided to support The Night Ministry again this year. The youth outreach programs of The Night Ministry are concentrated in the Lakeview neighborhood (also known as Boy’s Town) and many of the youth served are homeless, gay and lesbian youth who have run away or been kicked out of their family homes. They are able to provide overnight shelter to a very small number of youth, but in fact this shelter is the only shelter devoted exclusively to young people aged 18 to 24. There is another program for even younger youth, a very difficult population to help, because of their minor status. They provide meals a couple times a week for larger numbers of youth and adults in Lakeview, and actually are providing meals in multiple sites across the city every night of the week.

Our help starts with pairs of new, white tube socks in adult sizes. Being homeless and on the street all day in winter almost assures cold, wet feet. Stopping buy the youth outreach van for a pair of new, dry socks is often the first step in connecting young people with other services. But primarily, it gives them warm socks! While the tube socks are the focus of our collection, The Night Ministry has a much longer wish list. When we move past the white tube socks, we’d like to concentrate on those things requested for The Crib which houses 20 youth, age 18 to 24 each night from October 1 to April 30. It is not a residential program, so over the 7 colder months of the year, hundreds of youth come through the doors of The Crib. There they receive an evening meal, a warm place to sleep, some encouragement and friendship, breakfast, and often something like new, clean underwear and socks. So in addition to tube socks, we’ll also collect (NEW) adult underwear in a range of sizes for both male and female. These are young people, and they often enjoy colorful underwear, but any new underwear is a help. Hospital scrubs, for sleeping, and for use while doing laundry are also valuable to the program. All clothing must be new however. For health reasons, they are unable to accept used clothing.

Other items used across the programs of The Night Ministry include towel sets (1 each, wash cloth, hand towel and bath towel) or personal hygiene items (new and unopened: shampoo, deodorant, body wash, lotion, feminine items and disposable razors).

We hope that many of you can help; we also realize that this is easier for some than for others. For that reason, we won’t make any list of who contributes, nor make any fanfare if somebody gives more than others. But we will celebrate in total, the collection that we will deliver when we are all done. If you would like to donate, you may do so at coffee nights November 29, December 13 and December 27, at breakfast December 22, and at the open house at Mickey’s house on December 30. You can give your items to Mickey or Steve, and we will see that they get added to the collection. If anyone would prefer to give a monetary gift to The Night Ministry, or if you’d like to know more about them, the website is at .

2011, Looking Back

Posted by Mickeydid on December 29, 2011 at 6:25 PM Comments comments (1)

Wow, another year will be down the tubes in only 2 days!  It's been a year of sustained growth for our group, and it's been an eventful year for me as well.

For the group, our coffee nights have usually exceeded 25 friends gathered at Panera.  We've nearly outgrown the space, but there doesn't seem to be another place that will let us push furniture around at will, buy a meal, or a snack, or not buy anything, and in either event, tie up tables for two to three hours.  There are places where we could meet and carry in our own food, like church basements, and there are restaurants with meeting rooms, but any that I've spoken with either want a rental fee, or a guarantee, and since we don't have an organizational structure, no dues and no treasury, that's next to impossible.  So we need to continue to be happy as one big happy family, and realize that sometimes there will be more people than seats in the meeting space, and know that if you give up your seat to go use your cell phone or whatever, somebody might take it.  Know that if somebody has a meal in her hand, you might yield a seat so she can eat sitting down, and know that nobody in this group, at least so far, has bitten anyone (at coffee night).  So sit down next to somebody you don't know, or don't know well, and make a new friend!  That's what you came here for, remember? At years end the annual Holiday Open House at my place was attended by about 40 people, most of whom where there for just about the whole time, so the place was packed, and that was great.  Members stepped up to help, so that I hardly had to do anything (Especially Brad and Ken, but I'll stop naming others here for fear of forgetting one!).  5th Thursdays are a given, and I honestly believe that when I trim out the inactive and "fake" members in our list of 132, in a day or two, we'll end up still with more than 100 friends here!  Tim and Bruce's 4th Saturday Breakfast in Batavia is also well attended, and I'm betting in the bleak winter months, we'll be amazed at the numbers!   In the year to come, four of our members (two couples who each share one name) Renphyl and Ken/Harold are starting a book group which will meet, at least as currently planned, on the Thursdays we don't hold coffee group.  They have posted more about that elsewhere on the site, and on Ken's own site.  You can find it here, and there will be more info soon, I'm sure. We've posted a survey about restaurant outings, in hopes of having a couple between now and summer and there is talk of attending a kind of "upscale" brunch in Naperville sometime soon.

For me personally?  A lot has happened as well.  I retired at the end of June, and immediately went to Florida to attend the Coalition for LGBTConcerns for the UCC, the denomination to which I belong.  There I renewed old aquaintances and made some new ones.  I even got to meet the Rev. Bill Johnson, the first openly gay person to be ordained by a MAINSTREAM church in America (or anywhere as far as I know).  In 2012 the 40th anniversary of Johnson's ordination will be celebrated at the Coalition's National Gathering, this year right here in Illinois!  Johnson was a graduate of Elmhurst College.  After the church meetings, I spent another week in Orlando, enjoying my timeshare property and just kicking back, getting used to retirement.  Late summer and fall, I realized a several year dream and added a 4-season sunroom to the back of my house.  The day I first looked at this house when it went on the market, I envisioned the room addition, and saved my nickels to make it come true.  Those who saw it at Christmas, I think would agree, it was worth saving and planning for!  Sadness this fall came as the older of my two Lhasa Apso dogs, Roscoe, went to his final rest.  He was between 18 and 19 years old, and had been with me almost 12 years.  David and I miss him very much, but we try to remember all the good times.  David, now he's another story.  At 14, he just underwent extensive dental repair (good thing it happed AFTER I built the sunroom, or I'd have cancelled the project to pay the vet bills!)  As I type, he's moaning and growning, the most recent pain meds have yet to kick in.  Here's hoping that in a couple of weeks he'll be back in fighting condition!  Still hobbling around on bad wheels, 2012 will be my year to make some progress in that arena.  I need to lose weight, replace one, if not both knees, and find a neurologist who can do more for my neuropathy than prescribe some expensive pills.  Wish me luck on that one.

Anyway, I know that as the year comes to an end, I am counting my blessings.  A warm home, plent to eat, a dog who will love me again once he forgives me for taking him to the vetinary dentist, and friends and family I can count on to come through for me when I need it.

Happy New Year everyone!

world AIDS day Dec.1st!

Posted by ken/harold on November 29, 2011 at 2:20 PM Comments comments (2)

How well are you informed about AIDS? So many gays don't what to think about AIDS until they get it. The time to inform yourself is before you get it!  I have worked with differant AIDS coalitions, reaching out to help gays be aware of the facts about HIV/AIDS! I have made a couple of AIDS' quilt panels to help make people aware. One hangs in the Infectous Desease Clinc in St.Augustine, Fl. I will add them to photos on this site! ken

Fact Sheet: Myth Versus Reality

From American Association for World Health


HIV or AIDS can be cured.

Reality: To date, there is no cure for HIV or AIDS and there are no vaccines to prevent HIV infection.


Myth: HIV/AIDS is a gay disease.

Reality: Anyone can be susceptible to HIV/AIDS, regardless of their sexual orientation. Everyone is at risk of getting HIV from blood-to-blood contact, sharing needles or unsafe sex. Worldwide, HIV is spread most often through heterosexual contact.


Myth: You can get HIV from breathing the air around an HIV-infected person or from hugging or holding hands with an HIV-infected person.

Reality: HIV cannot be transmitted through:

Toilet seats or doorknob handles.

Touching, hugging, holding hands, or cheek kissing with an HIV-infected person.

Sharing eating utensils with an HIV-infected person.

Mosquito bites.

HIV is transmitted through contact with an HIV-positive person's infected body fluids, such as semen, pre-ejaculate fluid, vaginal fluids, blood, or breast milk. HIV can also be transmitted through needles contaminated with HIV-infected blood, including needles used for injecting drugs, tattooing or body piercing.


Myth: I can get HIV by sharing exercise equipment or playing sports with an HIV-positive person.

Reality: Contact with sweat or tears has never been shown to result in transmission of HIV.


Myth: You can get HIV by kissing an HIV-infected person.

Reality: Casual contact through closed-mouth or "social" kissing is not a risk for transmission of HIV. Because of the theoretical potential for contact with blood during "French," or open-mouthed kissing, the CDC recommends against engaging in this activity with an infected person. However, no cases of AIDS have been attributed to any kind of kissing.


Myth: You cannot get HIV if you are using birth control methods like diaphragms, cervical caps, sponges, spermicides, DepoProvera, Norplant, or the Pill.

Reality: These birth control methods do not prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (STD) such as HIV. They only aim to prevent pregnancy. The surest way to prevent both pregnancy and an STD infection is through abstinence. One way people who are sexually active may prevent pregnancy and STD infection is to use a condom in combination with another form of birth control, such as a diaphragm, cervical cap, sponge, spermicide, DepoProvera, Norplant, or the Pill. Birth control products containing the spermicide nonoxynol-9 (found in most contraceptive creams, gels, suppositories, foams, films and sponges) help to prevent pregnancy but may increase the risk of HIV.


Myth: I can't have more than one sexually transmitted disease (STD) at a time.

Reality: A person can be infected with more than one STD. A person with an untreated STD may also be 6-10 times more likely to pass on or acquire HIV during sex. Risk for infection increases 10 to 300-fold in the presence of a genital ulcer, such as occurs in syphilis or genital herpes.


Myth: There is no such thing as safer sex.

Reality: Safer sex is sexual activity without penetration, or sex with a latex condom or a latex barrier (in the case of oral sex). Although safer sex can substantially reduce the sexual transmission of an STD like HIV, sexual abstinence is the surest way to prevent the sexual transmission of an STD, including HIV.


Myth: Since I only have oral sex, I'm not at risk for HIV/AIDS.

Reality: You can get HIV by having oral sex with a man or a woman. That is why it is important to use a latex barrier during oral, vaginal, or anal sex.


Myth: I would know if a loved one or I had HIV.

Reality: A person with HIV may not show any symptoms for up to 10 years. Since HIV affects each person differently, many people with HIV can look and feel healthy for years. The only sure way to know is to get tested.


Myth: Getting tested for HIV is pointless.

Reality: Knowing if you are HIV-positive will allow you to seek early treatment that can help you stay healthy longer and enable you not to pass on the virus to someone else. Regardless of your HIV status, you can learn how to prevent future infection from HIV or other STDs through counseling offered at many HIV testing centers.


Myth: When you're on HIV therapy you can't transmit the virus to anyone else.

Reality: Antiretroviral drugs don't keep you from passing the virus to others. Therapy can keep the viral load down to undetectable levels, but HIV is still present in the body and can still be transmitted to others.


Posted by Claus on September 11, 2011 at 6:20 PM Comments comments (5)

Did you hear................. Enough said

Another Summer Falls

Posted by Mickeydid on September 5, 2011 at 8:45 AM Comments comments (0)

September, Labor Day, Fall, wow.   My mom used to say that the days seemed to pass slowly, but the years passed so quickly!   I'm beginning to understand that.   This is my first September in memory that hasn't been "back-tp-school" time for me.  Its just business as usual, the dogs, laundry, email, Costco and Aldi, coffee and naps.  This morning for the first time in many weeks, I reached for my robe when I got out of bed, not just to protect the neighbors from a nasty site as I passed by the open kitchen window, but also because I was COLD!  Soon we'll be making hot chocolate and hanging candy canes over doorways, in hopes of getting something sweet.  Something like that.

We closed the summer season of "group" with another great picnic, organized and driven by Elaine and Denise, without whom we'd miss a lot of stuff.  I didn't count but I think there were between 50 and 60 people there, including those from D&E's "girl group."  That's Denise's name for the group, not mine.  I've never been to a picnic that had more deserts!  From pie to cookies, from fruit to nuts, there were cupcakes and candy and just lots of good stuff.  But most of all were the friends, all happy to see one another, Steve brought Max, and several others brought their 4-legged friends as well, it was a fitting close to summer.

Already we have fall plans.  A movie night this week, and somebody has already asked me if I am planning a Christmas Holiday event.  I'll have to set a date soon.  Octoberfest?  We're looking at two different restaurants, the one we used before, and one in Lisle.  That should be posted this week or next if we can get it together.

Have an idea for a fall or winter event?  You can just run with it, and we'll likely be supportive.  Or if  you need some help, we'll try to find you help to get it going.  The one suggestion that stings the ears always starts with, "You know what you should do?"  Our events are member driven.  So it's what the person with the idea wants to bring forward, and do.  If your suggestion doesn't involve yourself, it is likely to fall on deaf ears.  But ask anybody who has run an event for this group, they will tell you that there is plenty of help around!

So anyway, find that fall jacket, maybe plan on raking a few leaves, It's only about 270 days until summer 2012!

AIDS 30 Years Later

Posted by Mickeydid on August 5, 2011 at 12:45 PM Comments comments (3)

UNITED STATES: HIV Infections in US Stable but Disparities Exist

Wed, 03 Aug 2011 -

New HIV infections in the United States generally remained stable during 2006-09, averaging 50,000 cases per year, according to estimates based on data from 16 states and two cities, CDC announced Wednesday. Nonetheless, new infections rose 21 percent for people ages 13-29, driven by a 34 percent increase among young men who have sex with men, particularly a dramatic 48 percent increase in incidence among young black/African-American MSM.“We’re very concerned about these increases among young gay men,” said Dr. Kevin Fenton, director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention. “We can’t allow the health of a new generation to be lost to what is essentially a completely preventable disease.”The 50,000 average is derived from the estimated 48,100 new HIV infections in 2009, 47,800 in 2008, 56,000 in 2007 and 48,600 in 2006. While blacks represent just 14 percent of the US population, they accounted for 44 percent of incident infections in 2009, CDC reported. The infection rate among blacks that year was nearly eight times as high as that of whites (69.9 cases vs. 9.1 per 100,000). MSM are an estimated 2 percent of the US population, but they comprised 61 percent of all new HIV infections in 2009. MSM ages 13-29 accounted for 27 percent of all new infections in the United States. The sharpest increase was seen among young black/African-American MSM.“We saw increases of up to 48 percent, nearly a 50 percent increase between 2006 and 2009,” Fenton said.In a statement, CDC cited several factors that could be behind the disparity: “higher proportions of young black MSM are unaware of their infection than MSM of other racial/ethnic groups; stigma of HIV and homosexuality, which can hinder utilization of HIV prevention services; limited access to health care, HIV testing, and treatment; increased likelihood of having older sexual partners (who are more likely to be HIV-infected), compared to MSM of other racial/ethnic groups; higher rates of some [STDs] among young black men, which can facilitate HIV transmission; and under-estimating personal risk of HIV.”In accordance with the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, CDC will focus resources where HIV is most concentrated: among MSM of all races, as well as blacks and Hispanics. “We’re overhauling how we give out money to states and localities to make sure we are giving the money where it is needed most, to the population groups that need it most, and with the interventions that are most effective,” said Dr. Thomas Frieden, CDC’s director.The open-access report, “Estimated HIV Incidence in the United States, 2006-2009,” was published in Public Library of Science ONE (2011;6(8):e17502. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0017502).