Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

My husband and I have had a blessed year. I'll leave it at that because I have no desire to make a speech about all I am thankful for. (I feel more inclined to take a vow of silence for an indefinite period of time.)

 Happy Thanksgiving to all. PEACE.

Some photos:

A hike to 8,500 feet on St. Peter's Dome Mt. New Mexico, near where we live.

Cochiti Lake in the Distance

From the Forest Fire a few years ago
Hiked over a mile from the gate to the tower
Hiking a mile when you're already at 8,000 feet
(and 68 years old) is challenging.
Abandoned Fire Tower
I was sure Leon was trying to do me in
Fennel "Finnochio" from the Garden
for Thanksgiving Dinner
Pumpkin Ricotta Cheesecake, Apple Pie
Sage Bread

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

President Obama Awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom

What a wonderful, dignified man and President. I never tire of listening to him.
Start counter at approximately 50 minute mark.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Please Read At Blue Truck, Red State

I am referring any and all readers to an excellent commentary by Russ Manley at Blue Truck, Red State.

As I commented to him on his blog:

That was eloquent. And more: intelligent, thoughtful, insightful, moving. It nearly brought me to tears. I've been unable to articulate my thoughts and feelings thus far; perhaps I'm still numb or in denial; yet throughout the day and even when I wake in middle of the night I lose my breath momentarily and shudder when some new horrific imagining intrudes on my consciousness.

I've spoken often about the reality: that we should not let our guard down, that there would be a backlash. But never could I have imagined anything like a complete government takeover by such a band of fascists intent on reversing all the liberties and rights that we (not only LGBT) have fought for.

I have given up on Facebook for many reasons you can relate to - preaching to the choir, the futility of trying to "convert" the other side; the waste of time; the desire to live my life without having to defend or justify my right to do so; the desire to live in peace and tranquility.

When I read something like your post here I want to immediately go back to Facebook and share it with everyone there. I won't go back...

But I would like to have your permission to share this post, if you so agree, via email or other means beyond a link in my blog which I feel compelled to do when I finish this comment. I will, of course credit you and Blue Truck, Red State, but I cannot guarantee where it might eventually end up: I certainly think it is worthy of a major newspaper, an op-ed or feature of some kind. Perhaps you should be the one to promulgate it beyond this blog.

Meanwhile, I will go to dinner with friends to celebrate a birthday (not mine) and walk the dog and buy groceries and cook Thanksgiving dinner for me and Leon and Sam and Len and Linda and Angie and Judy. I am anticipating a rather emotional Grace before that meal and pray in my thoroughly non-traditional way that the universe is truly unfolding as it should:

Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.
Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Back To Life Before Facebook

Natasha! Damn Moose and Squvirrel
deleted Facebook account!
How vill ve ever keep up vit them?

I have deleted every post and photo from my Facebook account. And deactivated the account.

The election cycle did me in. And now it has gotten even worse...

Hope to lower my anxiety and blood pressure (figuratively on the BP - I think mine is OK).

Hope to focus on the things that matter...without the Facebook interchange...which is so a waste of time. So much worse than porn!

Really, how many more good years are left me? ten? twenty? (that would be pushing it) longer want to waste a good part of my day checking the "posts" of friends and foes and passing on headlines and news clips and pictures of puppies and kittens and silly videos and sickening sweet sayings and posters.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Aftermath and Genie Out Of The Bottle

The Trump victory, which I still cannot wrap my head around, has raised up a new minority: narcissistic sociopaths have now gained presidential status in America.

Trump's victory was due to the fact that a majority of Americans, a majority that likely includes narcissistic sociopaths, are infantile-thinking so-called "christian" fundamentalists who cannot stomach the idea of same-gender marriage, abortion or birth control, and to whom transgender is akin to something Dr Frankenstein might create; 
And don't forget the Duck Dynasty americans who proclaim their right to own assault weapons and the bottom feeders who thrive on apocalyptic and conspiracy theories. 

And lets's not forget the anti-science, climate change deniers, anti-environmentalists who wouldn't think of living without their latest cell phone, 500 inch HD TV, or pharmaceutical to enhance their manhood. 

Oh, and the progeny of immigrants who feel threatened by immigrants, and people living on pensions with paid for health care who apparently don't need social security or affordable health insurance. 

And the openly racist and closeted racists who want to make America White again. 


God, I didn't think there were so many of you. KNOW THIS: Trump has gotten what he wanted. HE DOES'T NEED YOU ANY LONGER.

P.S. It sure was nice being married to my huband for the past two years. I expect our marriage will be annulled at the first possible opportunity by the do-nothing congress and new know-nothing president, but our loving relationship of 28 years will continue to survive.

P.P.S. Damn, I forgot about the Pence in the bet his right-sided, fundamentalist, anti-gay, racist ideology will be steering the Trump ship - scarier even than Trump alone.

Beyond the damage Mr. Trump will inflict on the nation, even if Trump proves to have cunning business skills and an ability to "fix" many of the government's shortcomings along with his Republican Congress, his campaign, his vulgar, hateful rhetoric and his throwing flesh to the rabid dogs has given many of his supporters "permission" to use targeted, vile, hate speech and even to take their anger out with actual violence on anyone who is "other".

This is the genie that cannot be put back into the bottle. This is the legacy of Donald Trump's campaign. This is the future of the Republican Party. Consider the post by Blaise Navarro, below:

Blaise Navarro
18 hrsRobert, LA
Dear America,
As I got off work and went to The Bourbon Pub for a minute to greet friends and catch up on the election results the following happened.
I went outside to smoke a cigarette and people passing the bar on the street were jeering at my friends, acquaintances, and strangers. What were they saying? Things like, "Worried, faggots?" Or "Get ready, fags." Or just flat out screaming, "Faggots!" And then just continued walking. 
In the 8 years that I have been a regular patron of the French Quarter gay community I have never heard or experienced that on Bourbon St.
I know LGBT rights were not the only thing on the line in this election. I know its selfish to assume as much. What is not selfish is knowing that as the end is drawing near in the results my life and the lives of others in many minority communities are at risk. This freely expressed hatred is the monster that is being unleashed. 
So thank you. Thank you for the intolerance. Thank you for the ignorance. Thank you for the bigotry. Thank you for the hatred. Thank you for making it possible for people to no longer fear repercussions. Thank you for the fear that I and so many others will now have just to walk down the street.
Sincerely, fuck you!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Tired and Weary Of It All

Just saw the Frontline docu on Trump and Hillary. An eye-opener. Hillary may be power-hungry and make some bad judgment calls but Trump is a narcissistic, pathological liar and snake oil salesman.

I am afraid I don't share much optimism about our future. I fear it will take many, many years to recover from a Trump presidency and if Hillary wins, her victory will be a Pyrrhic one both for her and the Democratic Party.

The Republicans in congress are already plotting further obstructionism. 

And the "christian" fundamentalist religious right in this country wants to make the USA a theocracy (the Republican platform is their first major in-road) - no less than those we call terrorists, who are calling for fundamentalist islamic rule in muslim countries.

We are so weary of the partisan politics that any call to activism now seems drowned out by the howling winds of contention and sometimes I just want to tend my garden and walk my dog and enjoy the companionship of my husband and the world be damned.

Beware: all who seek or have enjoyed the security of "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" may soon feel very insecure.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Taking A New Mexico Fall Foliage Tour

Taking a break from reading the news feeds about all the political crap that's such a downer lately. Even though I did enjoy Saturday Night Live's last skit spoofing the debate.

But for a change of pace here are some photos of the fall foliage here in the Rio Grande valley between Cochiti Pueblo, Sile, and Santo Domingo Pueblo.

Not exactly New England, but gorgeous golden Cottonwood trees follow the river and well, see how pretty they are:

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Just Love Those Facebook Memes

Another oversimplified Facebook Meme that blames the victim.

…So there’s this little liberal do-gooder girl who wants to save homeless people.

She is offered $50 by a homeowner to do his garden chores. He says she could then help the homeless guy/woman on the corner by giving the $50 to the homeless guy/woman.

The little girl suddenly realizes something and says to the homeowner “The homeless guy/woman could just do the gardening and get the $50 for doing the work him/herself.

The homeowner smiles and says to the little girl, “Welcome to the Republican Party.”

These cute stories are meant to simplify a complex problem and villainize the poor and indigent without actually offering any viable solutions: let the homeless losers work for their dinner.

If only it were that simple. I worked for a homeless shelter and know something about the complexity of the problem of homelessness and the difficulty people have trying to get their lives back on track. Those who do must overcome formidable obstacles with a determination most Facebook posters can’t fathom.

What details are left out of this cute little story?

Could it be that the homeless guy/woman is a Vietnam Veteran who’s either lost a job or could no longer hold a job? (…/specific…/homeless-veterans)

Could it be that this homeless guy/woman had a catastrophic accident or illness and lost everything because of medical bills? (

Could it be that this homeless guy/woman was prescribed pain killers and now has an addiction and engages in criminal activity to feed his addiction?

Could it be that the homeless guy/woman has been incarcerated and no one will hire him because of the application question “Have you ever been convicted of a crime?” (

Could it be that the homeless guy/woman suffers from schizophrenia or manic depressive disorder and is unable to procure medication or medical care?

Could it be that the homeless guy/woman was a victim of Ronald Reagan, a Republican who was instrumental in shutting down mental hospitals all over the country and putting hundreds of thousands of mental patients out on the street? (…/consequences-…/2058)

Could it be that this homeless guy/woman has a medical condition that is debilitating?

Could it be that the homeless guy/woman does not have the computer skills necessary to fill out endless on-line job applications?

Or could it be that he/she does not even possess decent clothing to go on a job interview?

Could it be that the homeless guy/woman has no permanent address or phone number which an employer requires of all job applicants? Because he/she lives in a shelter at night but must vacate the premises with all his worldly possessions during the day.

Could it be that this homeless guy/woman actually has a part-time job and is required to pay a fee to the homeless shelter in exchange for room and board?

Could it be that this homeless guy/woman has an alcohol or drug addiction so is not eligible to remain in a shelter and cannot get into rehab without a social work referral?

Could it be that this homeless guy/woman had job training and has applied for 50 jobs and been turned down 50 times?

Could it be that this homeless person is a woman who’s been abused by a husband or boyfriend and had nowhere to go except to a shelter.

And back to the wonderful homeowner: will this middle-class Republican really hire a dirty, smelly, ragged-looking homeless person with alcohol on his/her breath?

And if this amazing homeowner would actually hire the homeless guy/woman, would he be willing to provide guidance and patiently show the homeless guy/woman what the garden job entailed and how to do it?

So the homeless guy/woman gets $50 for working for a day doing garden chores. Then what? The wonderful, generous Republican homeowner feels justified for helping a fellow human being who goes back to the street corner no better off that he/she was before.

Is this wonderfully generous home owner going to give him a permanent job? or job training? or education? or pay for his/her drug treatment? or pay his/her medical insurance? $50 doesn’t go far. Maybe as far as the next bottle or needle.

Is this wonderful, kind law-abiding Republican homeowner going to deduct federal income tax, social security and medicare from the $50. And pay workman’s comp and unemployment tax?

How long does the homeless guy/woman have to work in the garden in order to save enough for two month’s rent and a security deposit on a small apartment?

And let’s say this homeless guy/woman has diabetes and it is under control because he has Medicaid benefits…and then he gets a part time job, but not a living-wage and without health insurance (because that is how employers get away with not giving benefits - the Republican way of doing business). But then he makes too much money to remain on Medicaid but not nearly enough to pay for health insurance, even under the Affordable Care Act…why should he take such a job, lose health care and put his health and life in jeopardy?

So put the homeless to work to earn their welfare check: Oh, No! You’ll be taking jobs away from city or state workers, or other more deserving folk who are looking for jobs. Making welfare recipients earn their welfare is tantamount to giving them money, because giving them jobs is still giving.

Welcome to the Republican Party indeed! Telling people to “get a job” is just a white, classist, privileged cop-out.

…So little girl, volunteer at a homeless shelter, run for office and support real, viable, person-centered programs to end homelessness. And let that homeowner pay a landscaper real wages to get his gardening done.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

What Started As A Travelogue...

As I write this on the morning of September 20th, we are on the last leg of our trip through the Texas panhandle, heading back to New Mexico, our home for less than a year so far. We left Cochiti Lake on August 30, with our ultimate destination being Provincetown, Massachusetts.

We spent a week in Connecticut visiting friends and family and tending to some business matters that we had left behind when we moved. Our Weimador Benni, got to spend time with his soulmate, a black Czechoslovakian Shepard named Katija back in Connecticut and it was quite delightful to see them reconnect and run through the woods playing the same games that they used to play.

The days in Provincetown were glorious. September weather on the Cape can be spectacular, barring a passing hurricane and the crowds have thinned out to where the beaches are nearly deserted and restaurants have open tables for dinner. Maybe the best part is that there are fewer rangers in the park so Benni got to swim in the ocean without being tethered to a leash and we got to soak up the sun on Boys’ Beach.

Eight solid days of driving through a large chunk of the United States - four days out, four days back.When we left New Mexico, one of the last things we did was to cover up our “gay” bumper stickers - the rainbow flag and the Equality symbol, a precaution we had never thought necessary before. But we would be driving through a country that now seems to have permission, not only to hate, but to express that hate openly and sometimes violently.

It is telling that my husband and I do not feel entirely comfortable in some of the flatter states. This is not a reflection on the relative safety of mountainous terrain versus flat lands but merely a way to avoid the red/blue labels that have become, I think, unjustly political, and uninformative.

It is just very sad that we feel uncomfortable at all - in parts of our own country - whether or not our discomfort is justified or whether we have reason to be apprehensive.

The eight days of driving through a slice of the USA is at least interesting, if not enlightening. States as diverse as New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts are all part of this seemingly Divided and dis-United States. (And so much of it sadly littered with the debris of our collective and individual pursuit of happiness.)

I try to look at the inhabitants of the countryside as people with families, jobs, friends, gardens, cars, chores, loves, feelings, arguments, mortgages, bills, memories, possessions, ice cream, vacations, illnesses, tragedies, education, tooth-aches, sex-lives, picnics to go to, secrets, pets, and values, among all the other things that involve being human.

And I try to fathom how, given our common experience we have become so divided.

But I am not able to find a clue, an event, a reason, a single shared life experience that has divided us into camps and made this the reality we live in.

It sometimes seems as if there are two different human races on this planet.

I am beginning to think that there TRULY is something in our genes, in our DNA that compels us to take sides, to see reality through very different lenses, to interpret the world as either an exciting experiment or as something carved in stone.

Do some of us value and hold dear to what we know to the point of being afraid of anything different or new, or shades of gray, or ambiguity of any kind, and feel so threatened by the other?

Is it some inborn trait that makes others of us thrive on possibilities, ideas, change, growth, distrust of the status-quo or to see the black-white dichotomy as too limited and feel threatened by constraint?

Perhaps there is a real dichotomy that is not based on gender or color or sexual orientation or national origin.

Perhaps our genetic makeup has somehow sorted us into two separate but (dis)similar species.

Photos in no particular order:


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