Sunday, May 2, 2021
Tuesday, March 16, 2021
I heard/read the news about Pope Francis and his admonition to priests not to bless same sex unions.
As a gay man who was brought up Catholic and who suffered many childhood indignities as well as the unbearable guilt trip laid upon me by my religion, I did not have much of a reaction to the report.
My reaction was more like "Oh, well." and "There's no news there."
Because, with some understanding of Catholic dogma and theology, I realize that nothing has changed with Pope Francis even though some of his statements have had the conservatives riled since his election.
He, like many moderate and progressive Catholic clerics, is caught between the Rock of Dogma and the softer place of compassion.
The dichotomy is telling however: in this convoluted theology I can have gay sex, confess and be forgiven, but if I live in a loving relationship with another man, I am living in sin and cannot be absolved until I cease my sinful life. This would apply to straight Catholics having heterosex vs living in sin as well, but of course they are more easily forgiven and tolerated because THEY are NORMAL.
While I often play the apologist for the Church, especially on such LGBT news blogs like "Joe.My.God." where the anti-Catholic sentiment is vocal and often viscous, in practice, the Church is mostly irrelevant to my current life.
Yes, there are elements that I still find lovely and nostalgic like the Ave Maria and Gregorian Chant and the smell of Church incense, but the Church’s inability to integrate scientific knowledge and insights about human sexuality has relegated it to a pre-Galileon era.
So, it will likely take another 350 years for the Church to sort it all out.(https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg13618460-600-vatican-admits-galileo-was-right/)
Obviously, I don't have time to wait it out. I will trust that my truth is as immutable as any.
I would add that I have, at times, envied the straight boys who take for granted their position of unconditional acceptance by the church and society. I've talked about all that in my memoir, of course. (Did You Ever See A Horse Go By?) Much easier to be, to grow up, Catholic when your very IDENTITY is not in question as being intrinsically disordered which is like having an incurable disease, only worse.
But somehow, I got over it. Mostly. See the memoir again for details.
But now, in old age, comes another "stigma" if I can call it that: not being in the "grandfather" club. So many of my neighbors and age-mates talk about their grandchildren with pride. And of course Italian families thrive on the breath and width of their family trees and how many of several generations are seated around the table at Sunday dinner.
So, when you get to the bottom line, the Church, marriage, Italian families, sex: it's all about baby-making, isn't it?
We gays are outsiders. And I guess that's OK.
Wednesday, March 10, 2021
So, after 32 years together, I underestimated Leon's powers of persuasion - again. I was content to stay home.
But Leon had it in his mind to check out a camper that he'd seen on Craig's List. A used (2006) 24 foot Arctic Fox Fifth Wheel. They don't make them that small anymore and we have a limited parking spot across from our house.
I saw the photos and was unimpressed, but Leon saw the photos and saw his dream camper. "It will be good to get away. We really need a road trip. So sick of doing nothing this past year. It will do us good." And a number of other persuasive arguments.
Problem was, the coveted camper was in Wyoming. A seven and a half hour drive not counting eating, peeing and walking the dog.
The dog. That was problem number two. Benni is not doing great. The past few months he's been having a problem with his hind legs. The vet says it's likely a neurological problem. Apparently it's fairly common although I'd never heard of it. If we want to get a CT scan or MRI for $1300 plus the consulting fee we could get a better diagnosis.
A better diagnosis will not provide any particular options for a cure. There likely is no cure. Something is obstructing the messages from Benni's brain to his hind quarters. He is not walking normally. He stumbles occasionally. He poops while walking and leaves a trail. We will take Benni with us of course.
We decided to drive about 5 hours and stay in Colorado Springs for one night. "Soul, Community, Planet" - SCP - an interesting hotel, dog friendly, environmentally friendly, liberal values. They donate a tree to re-forestation of the rainforest or something for each guest. Unfortunately there was only a paved parking lot to walk the dog. Not a tree on the property. Oh, well.
We checked out "Garden of the Gods Nature Center" before checking in. I guess I was tired from the drive. We didn't have the time or energy to hike the trails and Benni might not have appreciated a hike either, so we drove through. So it was a lot of rocks.
Thursday, March 4, 2021
Saturday, February 27, 2021
But there are times when I get to feeling down, without purpose, unmotivated, joyless. I have been fighting depression for a while, trying to keep a positive outlook, trying to find some pleasure in walking with neighbors and our pack of dogs, baking bread, making pasta fatta in casa, cooking and learning Italian on YouTube and reading blogs.
It's wearing thin.
Yeah…feeling down lately…like there is nothing I want to do, no place I want to go, no one I want to see…
...so tired, exhausted, emotionally drained. I think a lot of it has to do with the four years of the despicable narcissist who still will not just go away, (like post traumatic stress syndrome?)...the pandemic which will not just go away (like a miracle, it was supposed to disappear!!!!)
Tuesday, February 16, 2021
Had a little snow last night. I often find the New Mexican high desert monotonous and drab. Endless Junipers, some living, some dead. And brown dusty and rocky earth. And weeds. And prickly pear and cholla cactus.
Winter snow sheds a new light on our backyard desert.
|This Year's King Cake|
Interesting that in French and Italian the day is Mardi Gras and Martedi Grasso "Fat Tuesday" and the celebration is Carnival: carne-vale (farewell to meat). It is a holiday to celebrate and appreciate the human, sensual, appetitive aspects of our lives.
But the Anglo-Saxon Shrove Tuesday has no implication for revelry or feasting or partying. It's all about confessing sins and being shriven. Sounds so depressing.
So, if you prefer, have a Mardi Gras feast ... for tomorrow we (supposedly) fast for 40 days. And so, the earthly and the spiritual and the yin and the yang of life.
Sunday, February 14, 2021
Questionnaire borrowed from Bob at I Should Be Laughing
Where you first met: I will say at the Rock River, Vermont but Leon says he met me when he and his then boyfriend came into the Gay Men’s Health Collective for HIV test.
How did you meet: He was on his way out from the gay beach after a thunderstorm at the River and we started talking; I said, “Wait a minute and I’ll walk out with you.”
First date: Same day we met in August 1989; we decided to get a pizza in Brattleboro, he stopped at the ATM but the storm had knocked out service; I said, “My treat.”
How many years together: It was 32 years this past August.
Age difference: I am 14 years his senior.
Who was interested first: I think it was definitely Leon. The rest will be in my memoir, part two!
Who is taller: Leon by an inch
Most obnoxious in-laws: I refuse to answer as it may incriminate me.
Who said “I Love you” first: I really don’t remember, but it was most likely Leon.
Worst temper: I’m not sure I have so much a temper as impatience and grouchiness and orneriness; I can be loudly emotional and expressive. Leon is easy going but occasionally will blow a gasket or throw something when losing his patience with a piece of technology or machinery.
Most sensitive: I am most but Leon is becoming more or showing it more lately.
Most annoying habit: He begins a conversation in the middle as if I am privy to what was going on in his head up to that point; I get so focused on what I am reading, doing, thinking, so am oblivious to the last ten minutes of the conversation he’s been having without me.
Most forgiving: Leon is the most forgiving person I know. He doesn’t know the words grudge or resentment. I have learned some from his example.
Loudest: Leon will be heard.
Who has the most useless facts: Leon knows about cars, cars, trucks, engines, electricity, etc. Mostly useless info (as far as I’m concerned).
Funniest: Leon laughs at anything and likes to make silly comments; my humor is more sophisticated, of course.
Who wears the pants in the family: We really have a pretty equal say in decisions; we each have our expertise. Leon cars, mechanical things; me, dog, garden, kitchen
Most stubborn: That has not been an issue
Falls asleep first: Leon usually and hopefully without snoring.
Most impatient: I am definitely impatient and have a bad habit of always praying (Jesus Christ, this or that)
Better driver: The car guy. He can spot a pot hole a mile away and avoid it. Me, not so much.
Biggest neat freak: I am an organizer, Leon is a cleaner.
Most social: Definitely Leon. Will talk to anyone and everyone, even strangers, sometimes for hours. I will often take the long way just to avoid meeting anyone and having to talk.
Least likely to remember to do what the other one asks him to do: Not a big issue, but I am more likely to forget as my list is much longer!
Most competitive: Not applicable
Best cook: I do 95% of the cooking and he would definitely say I am. Leon can cook if necessary.
Who is the handy-person: Leon is McGiver when it comes to solving a problem, fixing things that can’t be fixed, figuring out how to do something. I am good at things like landscaping, working with wood, concrete, stone.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all.
Saturday, February 13, 2021
Look what they done to my song ma -Melanie
Well it's the only thing
That i could do half right
And it's turning out all wrong ma
Look what they done to my song
Look what they done to my brain
Well they picked it like a chicken bone
And i think i'm half insane ma
Look what they done to my song
Wish i could find a good book
Well if i could find a real good book
I'd never have to come out and look at
What they done to my song
Maybe it'll all be okay
Well if the people are buying tears
I'll be rich someday ma
Look what they done to my song
Ils ont changé ma chanson
C'est la seule chose que je peux faire
Et ce n'est pas bon, ma.
Ils ont changé ma chanson.
Look what they done to my song ma
Well they tied it up in a plastic bag
And turned it upside down ma
Look what they done to my song
Ils ont changé ma chanson
C'est la seule chose que je peux faire
Et ce n'est pas bon, ma.
Ils ont changé ma chanson.
Ma, look what they done to my song
It's the only thing i could do alright
And they turned it upside down
Look what they done to my song
Friday, February 12, 2021
Some random thoughts and comments on the Second Impeachment Trial of x45
As necessary as I believe this impeachment trial is, the thing that irks me the most is that x45 IS STILL THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM ... and occupying my attention and that of the American people.
First off, it is my contention that our former "president" should never have been on the ballot, let alone been elected. His only "talent" is being a full blown narcissist:
- Grandiose sense of self-importance;
- Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love;
- Belief they are special and unique and can only be understood by, or associate with, other special or high-status people or institutions;
- Sense of entitlement;
- Need for excessive admiration;
- Interpersonally exploitative behavior;
- Lack of empathy;
- Envy of others or a belief that others are envious of them;
- Demonstration of arrogant and haughty behaviors or attitudes.
A person with this type pf personality disorder should NEVER be allowed to run for high office. It is just too dangerous. His lust for power and adulation and his deep-seated narcissism should have disqualified him from even running for office. There needs to be much higher criteria than having money and being third-rate TV personality with a big mouth.
If the impeachment trial is theater, that is merely a side effect/bonus. I agree that the impeachment and the trial in the Senate is a necessity to put the traitor in front of all America and the world for his seditious acts and to demonstrate beyond all doubt that he is guilty. What the GOP cowards do will be on record for history to judge. I harbor a tiny hope that 12 of them may actually be persuaded to do the noble and right thing and convict. I'm hanging on to that hope for as long as possible.
Listening to the pathetic "defense" is tortuous...I have to take the dog for a walk.
The problem with an incompetent defense: The GOP Senators don't care; they've already decided.
I think I heard a threat: "if you do this,we will impeach a Dem president for something at the first opportunity"
Hubby and I both cried when we saw the events as they were happening. It is still very emotional to watch or to hear those who were there in the Capitol, speak about it.
Acquittal is a foregone conclusion…but for some unforeseen event. Like half the GOP Senators vacating at the critical vote.
McConnell: “Vote your conscience.” This can be shredded on so many levels: 1. Anything McConnell says cannot be taken at face value; 2. There will ALWAYS be repercussions and retaliation for voting against the "party". 3. There are no, or at most a handful, of republicans with a "conscience". 4. He is a sleazy swamp creature and cannot be trusted. (We must postpone a Senate trial until after the inauguration....Now: it's unconstitutional to hold a Senate trial after the former president is no longer in office.)
Any Senator who does not vote for conviction is blind, deaf or still on the Koolaid. They will be committing political suicide.
About the trial being “a waste of time”
It is a just and necessary "waste" of time. No matter the outcome, this trial must be held and the Senators must see and hear the facts as presented by the house managers. The Senators must be put on the record as being sympathizers of a traitorous x-president and his lies or as having the guts to convict
On Lindsey's "Offensive and Absurd" comment: I watched the house managers. Their presentation was riveting, gut-wrenching, compelling, factual without being “political” – quite the opposite of “offensive and absurd” – unless by offensive you mean that the xpresident’s behavior was indeed offensive. These GOPers will just not admit that they have been kissing and continue to kiss the orange ass. I hope many will find themselves torn between their conscience and their loyalty to x45. I’m kidding. At least they will go on record and down in history as supporting a traitorous president and as being an accomplice to sedition and an attempted coup. May they forever have blood on their hands.
Pence was a fool and a lackey. He behaved like one of those half-naked movie-actor fan-wavers to the Pharaoh for four years. He was close enough to 45 to know what kind of sociopathic ass he was kissing daily. He should have known he was being used like toilet paper. Betrayed by his boss. So now he's a hero. Well, if it get's x45 convicted, good. He should be called to testify.
I think the House manager's arguments have been quite compelling. A slam-dunk under most people's reality. I'm not sure what would be slam-dunk in this trial. It is not an impartial jury. Quite a number of Senators have already decided how they will vote, slam-dunk not withstanding.
The GOPs are not there as an impartial jury. But as this goes on they are hopefully more and more between a rock and hard place.
My fear is that the rebuttal, no matter how incompetent, will have enough time and distance from the presentation of the evidence as to cloud their (GOPers) short memories and make their decision to acquit palatable (to themselves).
The trial is not a farce, but the GOP Senators certainly are doing their best to make it one. This trial, no matter the outcome, is on the record, the facts are clearly outlined and presented to the public and will hopefully come back to bite the GOP big time. There is such a thing as being on the wrong side of history.
The "defense" is that there is no due process. The house managers made it perfectly clear that all due process was granted and followed. The defense is a hollow argument, because they have nothing else. And they know they don't have to actually have any legal ammunition because the verdict will be presented to them on a silver platter.
And the beat goes on.
Sunday, February 7, 2021
I am not commenting here [on JMG] as often as I used to. Sometimes I just skim the stories on JMG now, since the inauguration.
I can't say I've completely stopped watching news or reading news articles but I no longer do so with the compulsive need to be informed of the daily atrocities and evil doings of the former president and his incompetent, destructive administration. And harboring the perpetual hope that the day would be the one in which the evil one would finally self-destruct. (We've had teflon presidents but that orange thing was annoyingly elusive and manipulative and evasive and slimy.)
There is at least some sense of relief knowing that adults are mostly in charge now and I can go about the mundane tasks of everyday living with so much less anxiety. The occasional news of a MAGot or insurrectionist or anti-LGBT bigot in particular does still trigger my anxiety and even at times a gut-wrenching fear of these scary folks.
It often seems that the world has become a frightening and unkind place. I take note, but I'm not dwelling like I used to.
Hubby works, I'm retired, so I've been doing lots of yard work, landscaping, mulching, preparing the garden soil, starting some seeds, baking bread, cooking for hubby and me, walking the dog, watching too much YouTube: Gardening videos, How to build dry stone walls, recipes, "Pasta Grannies", videos in Italian, "Pasta Grammar", and "Leave Everything and Wander".
If it were not for the pandemic, things would seem almost normal.
I know that after #45 things will never really be the same; we are forever in the age of alternative facts, up is down, lies are true, truth is relative, greed is virtue, power is currency, hate is acceptable, survival of the selfish, excuses and monumental projection.
But I'm choosing to ignore all that as much as possible, at least for a while while I enjoy the illusion that everything will be fine now that we have a president and an administration that operates in the realm of reality, predictability and normalcy.
I am so fucking tired and exhausted after the past four years....Thanks for listening/reading. Just had to relieve myself of that.
Tuesday, February 2, 2021
Tuesday, January 26, 2021
I received an email today asking me, as an Italian-American to sign a petition about preserving statues of Christopher Columbus which are being removed from various locations because they are reminders of the oppression and genocide against Indigenous Peoples of America.
This was my response:
As a 72 year old proud descendant of Italian immigrants (all four of my grandparents came from Southern Italy) and as one who daily celebrates my culture with food and music and even with how I plant my garden, I am not inclined to expend much energy, emotional or physical, in defending Christopher Columbus or statues of him.
Yes, he is a historical figure whose life and work served prominently in the story of the Americas. But I, for one, am not ready to canonize him as some sort of Italian "saint". I don't particularly need any heroes or saints other than my brave grandparents who also sailed the Atlantic in search of a new land.
I now live in New Mexico where the tensions between Indigenous Peoples, the descendants of the Spanish settlers, immigrants and descendents of Mexican descent, the "Anglos" and just about everyone else are sometimes very obvious and easily ignitable.
So, if a statue serves, rightly or not, as a reminder of genocide, enslavement and suffering then it is not worth fighting to keep it in any prominent place, regardless of the ethnicity of the person so cast in bronze or stone. Some revered book has warned us against raising up idols and graven images.
My grandmother used to tell me the story about my grandfather who worked in a factory along side individuals of many other ethnic groups. One day after work he invited a co-worker home for a glass of wine. He and his black friend sat and chatted and drank wine together.
After his friend left, my grandmother, took the glass that the black fellow drank from and threw it into the trash, because, well, it was "dirty".
My grandfather scolded her, "What-a you do that-a for? He's a man-a just-a like-a me." He took the glass out of the trash and said, "You wash-a this, just a like-a mine."
And grandma understood and took the lesson to heart. (And passed that on to me.) They owned a six tenement building and during the depression they not only didn't collect rent, but grandma fed their tenants until her own family lost the house to the bank. These are the values I was taught and believed all Italian-Americans held sacred.
As an Italian-American, what DOES embarrass me and fill me with shame are those Americans with Italian surnames who are a disgrace to our ancestry and to the values which I believed we shared. Values such as taking care of the less fortunate, being truthful, holding learning, education, medicine and science in high regard, being of service to society without regard to personal reward.
But so many have drifted away from those core values and chosen instead to serve an ideology of superiority and privilege. Or should I say, serve the devil? (https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/the-paesano-of-shame-trumps-italian-american-consiglieres/)
We so quickly forget that our Italian ancestors were considered "darkies" and worse, by white America. And that we as an ethnic group had to earn our white privilege.
So now, having become white, do we now also become comfortably racist? (https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/10/12/opinion/columbus-day-italian-american-racism.html)
And does our worship of Columbus become, rather than a badge of honor, a symbol of divisiveness?
Yes, we are proud of our Italian heritage. (Oh but there was a time when even Northern Italians despised and looked down upon those dark, Southern Italians - remember, Christ Stopped at Eboli).
But we are AMERICANS first. Let us not allow a few statues to get in the way of that.
Just a note for Russ in case you didn't see my reply:
1) for some reason I cannot reply to individual comments
2) My camera is my iPhone SE 2nd generation which I recently purchased because I was having issues with my old phone.
3) the other "new" issue is that sometimes the photos taken with the new iPhone are JPEG and sometimes have a new format called HEIC (High Efficiency Image File) whatever that is. I don't have clue why some photos are in one format and some are in the other...if in HEIC format, I have to convert them to JPEG in order to upload them to the blog ....just more steps and hoops.
Anyhow this was from today's hike around the trails in our town, Cochiti Lake.
|Our Little Town|
Monday, January 25, 2021
Some photos of what we've been up to since we aren't on edge about politics so much, although with COVID none of us are really back to "normal" yet.
|Moon Over Cochiti Lake (or Moon Over Neighbor's Roof)|
|My Version of Chili con Carne|
|Not Bad, Actually|
|Gila National Forest|
|One of the Pools at Faywood Hot Springs|
|Leon and Benni Lounging at the Cabin - Faywood Hot Springs|
|Benni Late Afternoon in the Dessert|
|Home by the Hearth|
|Pond at Botanical Gardens|
|Leon, You Have a Surgical Mask Hanging from Your Ear....|
|Ducks and Koy|
|Pond, Japanese Garden, Botanical Gardens Albuquerque|
|Pond, Japanese Gardens|
|Pond, Waterfall, Japanese Gardens|
|Feral? Horses by the Rio Grande, Pena Blanca|
Post script...this blog is a chore...I cannot upload more than three photos at a time because one always fails and if one fails, it will not allow me to insert ANY of the ones that uploaded! So I have to do it in small batches. And then, ocassionally two photos will "stick together" and it is a nightmare trying to separate them.