Saturday, December 24, 2016

Holiday Greetings 2016



 Leon and I are not purchasing gifts or sending out cards this season… but instead we have made very modest - symbolic than substantive - contributions to causes whose accomplishments and missions will likely be in jeopardy in the coming years.

We are supporting environmental causes, LGBT homeless youth, LGBT rights, civil rights and liberties, anti-discrimination causes, immigrants’ causes, Mercy Housing (a homeless shelter), and women’s health.

While we are not likely to solve the world’s problems with a few dollars, we can maybe help just a little. We encourage you all to do the same.

Leon and I are both very blessed and, as we lead a relatively simple life, there is little that we need or want. We are not hungry or freezing, or suffering discrimination (though we fear this possibility) or lacking health care or in fear of being deported…But so many of our sisters and brothers are. 

(I remember a story my Grandmother, Maria Concetta DeFrancesco toldabout a child crying  with hunger outside her window on some cold holiday as she was about to serve dinner, perhaps it was Christmas; she, to the chagrin of her family, cut the turkey or chicken in half and sent half home with the boy for him and his family. We should all share with such a spontaneous spirit.)

We have family and friends, the freely given and shared gifts and beauty of nature, and abundant creature comforts - a warm home, healthy food, a garden, a dog. As I write this we are sitting by a crackling fire - the first house I've lived in with a fireplace - and drinking hot tea and munching on Sicilian cuccidati. What more could we want or ask for?

As most of you know, we live in a small town called Cochiti Lake which is actually on the Cochiti Pueblo Indian Reservation. One of the Cochiti Indians that Leon works with has invited us to Christmas “Feast” at the Pueblo - an honor that is not extended to many outside the tribe. So this will be a first for us. Another Blessing.

We are very privileged to be here. It is a truly unique place. We have a lake, a golf corse a small restaurant, a campground, a convenience store and gas station and we are surrounded by mountains. We have good neighbors who watch out for one another despite their/our many quirks and eccentricities. And friends in nearby Santa Fe and Pecos.

Leon works for the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Department of the Interior, as a Park Ranger at Kasha Katuwe-Tent Rocks National Monument. I’ve attached a few photos. (You may have seen them, but since I’ve abandoned Facebook, they are there no longer)

The fact that we were drawn here, to this place, in this time, often seems surreal and at other times it seems like a spiritual journey of sorts. It is difficult to explain…but it seems as if we were “meant” to be here. 

I guess this is why they call New Mexico “The Land of Enchantment.”  We are grateful every day.

You are all here in spirit as I add you to our long email list. I think of each of you as I do so. (Please give our greetings to those in your family who do not have email)

Leon and I hope that you all are well, and we wish you:

Merry Christmas
Feliz Navidad
Buon Natale
Joyeux Noel
Happy Chanukah
Happy Kwanza
Happy New Year
Happy Solstice
Blessings and Happy Holidays! 


Frank and Leon






Thursday, December 15, 2016

Thank You Russ

A big thank you to "Truck Buddy" Russ Manley at Blue Truck Red State for his generous review  of my memoir "Did You Ever See A Horse Go By?  (See below)


Russ,

What a surprise this morning when I opened my Blogger dashboard...to see the name of my book in one of the feeds...it startled me. Then I saw "Russ Manley at Blue Truck, Red State - 1 hour ago" and said to myself, "Oh, wow, Russ has written about my memoir!"

So excited to click in to read your post.

Your review nearly brought tears to my eyes, at very least, a little moisture. I am so happy that you liked, enjoyed, were moved by my writing because you have a much broader knowledge of and greater appreciation for literature and the humanities than me. Thus you are a very credible and trusted critic. I thank you.

Yes. Thank you from the bottom of my gay heart for your review and praises.

(Did you notice I didn't know the difference between the words "tongs" and "tines"? And a few other things slipped by the editing.)

I am sorry to hear about the various difficulties that have beset you over the past year, and the "election" that has many of us in a state of depression, if not despair. We thought the marches, the protests, the struggles were over and the battle had been won. But it looks like we shall begin again.

I hope things turn around for you personally and that you have good health and finances and improved digital experiences in the coming year.

I will recommend a blog by one of my writing group compatriots in Connecticut who has been relentless in posting very sharp post-election essays.

https://beg-no-questions.com

Thanks again,
Frank
December 15, 2016 at 10:05 AM

I will repost Russ' review here:

For several months now, your Head Trucker has been reading and re-reading a wonderful book, and struggling to find the words to describe it. The reasons for the struggle are various: for one thing, since late summer life here has been full of sundry and boring domestic, financial, digital, and physical crises that have kept me alternately upset or immobilized. And then there was the election, for chrissake. Sometimes life is just one damn thing after another, you know what I mean, fellas?

For another thing, despite the book's lovely, impeccable writing, it so often moves me to tears or makes my heart double-clutch with recognition that I have been able to read only a few pages at a time before having to close it up and set it down again. It's that good:them old Greek boys you may have heard something about in lit class between daydreams and snoozes held that art should be the mirror of life; and this book is a mirror indeed, polished to a high sheen and often casting a glaring, dangerous light into shaded nooks and crannies of the author's soul, and even into my own, it seems.

The book is Did You Ever See a Horse Go By? by my longtime truckbuddy Frank De Francesco, and though it is his first and only book to date, it is well worth the cover price: a little gem of a memoir that I recommend wholeheartedly to all my other truckbuddies and readers. Frank says, "While I'm not sure the world really needs another coming-out story, I feel deeply the need to tell it."

I think the world does need this particular story. In her well-known essay "On Keeping a Notebook," author Joan Didion wrote that the reason for recording her memories was to "Remember what it was to be me: that is always the point." Because, she said, "We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget. We forget the loves and the betrayals alike, forget what we whispered and what we screamed, forget who we were." And of course we know what happens to those who forget the past.

Frank's book recounts in exquisite detail the fears and feelings and fantasies, the loves and lovers, the guilt and shame, the confessions and repressions, the one night stands and the long-term commitments, the lost and the found, the hopes and the terrors of coming out at age 36, after many years of sheltering in a devoutly Catholic closet in New England. How odd, then, that his memories, feelings, regrets, and joys should so well parallel all that I went through in my fundamentalist Protestant closet down in the Deep South. And yet not so odd after all -- what Frank is really writing about here is not merely his coming out, his life, his memories, but the human experience of being gay and alone and afraid of so many things: censure, rejection, failure, despair, the acid drip of loneliness. All men and women since the world began have endured, or at least feared, these things, for such is the nature of sublunary life: it is not good for the man to be alone. But certain exquisite pains and torments are reserved for the gays, or were.

And he writes about it all very clearly and concretely, with smooth, careful cadences that lead the reader through some fearsomely honest revelations, which normally one might confide only in one's closest friends. But that's what this book is like: a comfortable conversation with an old and trusted friend, patiently explaining the real reasons why he did whatever it was he did, trusting that you in turn will listen and understand, not laugh or turn away.

Frank is a very brave writer; I could never be so brave. It's not that I have forgotten anything, but that it's all still too close, too vivid in my memory. After all these years, the scars of battle on my soul and on my heart are still too tender to bear much touching. I admire Frank for the courage and the toughness of his writing, which I am sure was not easy. But somehow he was able to bare his soul to the reader, as all great writers must do sooner or later.

We who were born in the first decade or two after the last world war have been privileged to witness a remarkable period in human history, when homosexuality went from being "the love that dare not speak its name" to being publicly affirmed, even celebrated, by the President, the United Nations, and just about every major city and (who would have thought?) major-league sports team across the country, while same-sex marriage went from being a laughable fantasy to being enshrined in constitutional law by the Supreme Court: truly a breathtaking phenomenon when you stop to think about it, and all within the span of one ordinary lifetime. Sometimes I can hardly believe it myself.

Frank says of his motivation for writing the book:
  • For me, the value in telling my story here, beyond the healing, is to preserve a tiny slice of collective history--to document what it was to be gay and to come out in a particular time and place. I want to remember all the others who were there along with me, creating our lives together and defining our sexuality as we went along. My hope is that others find some value in that as well.
I'm quite sure that everyone who reads the book will find that value. It's a fine book, beautifully written and deeply moving, which I hope will find its way into the hands of many readers.

P.S. I forgot to mention all the candid sex scenes, guys. Those are good too, yessir: real Adults Only stuff. No, I'm not putting you on; go buy the book and see for yourself.
 Delete

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Holiday Season 2016

Holiday Letter To All Our Relatives and Friends and Readers:


It has been just over a year since we moved to New Mexico, and what a year! Besides being an adjustment, (heat, rattlesnakes, garden challenges, lack of Italian bread) it has been filled with many blessings: good neighbors, wonderful friends, friendly New Mexicans, cultural diversity, spectacular scenery, and a Park Ranger! 

Despite those blessings, as many of you know, Christmas is not my thing. 

I won’t go into all the why’s and how’s about my feelings about Christmas. Suffice it to say that I have come to dislike both the way this religious holiday has been appropriated by the consumer-driven retailers and how many so-called Christians have become so un-Christian in their attitudes toward others as to make celebrating the birth of Jesus seem rather hypocritical.

And in all honesty, I let December sneak up on me and before I know it, I am scrambling to send out greeting cards and get stocking stuffers for Leon and Benni and feeling stressed and resentful. 

As for actual gifts? Forget it. I am the world’s worst consumer and a most incompetent gift-giver.

I go around KMart or Target (or Amazon) and talk myself out of every possible purchase - and not only in December: clothes - what size, color, style, too personal, too expensive; that electronic gadget - too complicated and one more thing requiring a username and password; cookies, candy - too many preservatives and too much sugar; a DVD - but do they have Blue-ray? or perhaps they’ve seen it; a hat, a scarf, gloves - how terribly practical and unimaginative; a bottle of wine - ho hum; a basket of fruit and cheese or flowers - is it really the thought that counts? a small appliance - does anyone not have a coffee maker? and that espresso machine is $459, yikes, my entire budget for this year and next!

Does anyone really need anymore crap? I know I don’t. There is little if anything I desire myself and I feel that giving other people crap they don't need or want is wasteful and just adds to the landfill.

And for the most part it’s all just a whole lot of Chinese plastic shipped here on freighters and delivered to Walmarts everywhere - and yes, it ends up in our landfills and dumps or clutters up our lives.

It’s not like the olden days when most of us couldn’t afford to just go out on any day of the year and purchase whatever little luxury or necessity we desired. 

Back then we discretely made known our secret wants to Santa or one of his elves and maybe, just maybe, someone would go out of their way and stretch their budget to get us that unique gift that we would treasure all year…Or we would do the same for someone else.

Now we can all fulfill our every wish almost immediately with a click of the keyboard or a touch on our smartphone and a credit card. But what do we wish for? Have you seen the gift catalogues? 

I kid you not: a 3-D Pen that draws in 3 dimensions, $99; an LED Foot Pain Reliever, $249; an iPhone Flash Drive, $199; a Vital Sign Tracker, $299; a Car Windshield display for MPH,RPM, and tells you when to take a break, $149; A copy of the New York Times for the day you were born, $99; a Micky Mouse Wall Clock, $125; a Radio signal-blocking Credit Card Wallet, $100; a Levitating Bluetooth Speaker, $150; an Authentic Himalayan Singing Bowl (complex harmonic tones), $200.

So hard to make a decision.

No, not really.

This year I/we have decided to forego the holiday rituals of sending cards or gifting gifts.

And what we might have spent on gifts and cards and postage, will be our modest donation to several charitable organizations that promote environmental causes, LGBT rights, LGBT youth, civil rights, anti-discrimination, immigrants’ rights, homeless shelters, and/or similar issues, all of which will be in need of support, now more than ever. 

We encourage our friends, relatives and neighbors to consider supporting your preferred charities also.

Merry Christmas
Feliz Navidad
Buon Natale
Joyeux Noel
Happy Chanukah
Happy Kwanza
Happy New Year
Happy Solstice
Blessings and Happy Holidays! 




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.
Petroglyphs?




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:

Russ,
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
"Desiderata"

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)...no 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. 

ALL OF WHOM THINK THEY HAVE SOMETHING PERSONALLY TO GAIN FROM MR. TRUMP IN THE WHITE HOUSE.

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 background...you 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? (http://www.wehonorveterans.org/…/specific…/homeless-veterans)

Could it be that this homeless guy/woman had a catastrophic accident or illness and lost everything because of medical bills? (http://www.nationalhomeless.org/factsheets/health.html)

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?” (http://www.endhomelessness.org/pages/re_entry)

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? (http://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/…/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:













































LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails