Sunday, July 12, 2020

Is It Time To Get Political Again?

I'm getting really sick of the idiot in the White House. Actually I've been sick since November 8, 2016. So here is a great ad for our times.

 And while I'm at it, here is an email I sent to Dr Anthony Fauci and a cc: to a number of his staff a few days ago, just before the idiot in the White House decided it would be a good idea to discredit the good doctor.

Urging You to Speak more forcefully
To: Cc: hilary.marston@nih.govDr. Fauci,

Having worked as an HIV/AIDS Counselor at the Connecticut State Department of Health Services during the height of the AIDS crisis, and having survived that epidemic, I recall having a great deal of respect for you and your leadership during those times. 

I am now 72 years old and I am very concerned, not only about the possibility of my contracting COVID-19, but also the devastating effect this pandemic is having on the lives and loves of so many others. 

I sense that you have been less than forthcoming lately - as if you’ve been told to tone it down and make things (the facts) seem relatively ambiguous. We have let this get out of control and desperately need your leadership!

So, I urge you:

Please speak more forcefully and definitively about the reasons for the explosion of COVID-19 cases and please be unequivocal in your admonitions to the president, government officials and the citizenry about what each person needs to do get this horrible disease under control. 

I will look forward to your most authoritative message soon.


Frank DeFrancesco

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Just a few items from the garden.
The single corn stalk must have been planted by a bird...I know I didn't plant corn!

The tomatoes seem to be late this summer. Lots of green ones but nothing ripening even though the weather has been HOTTT.

The ground squirrel ate all the beet greens, then the Swiss chard, then the kale and most recently the green bean foliage and the parsley. I’m hoping the beets and Swiss chard and Kale will “recover” by growing some new shoots. I’ve covered what I could with bird netting and that seems to work to discourage the little devil.

The work of hungry ground squirrel
Despite the squirrel, there was a good three pounds of green (and yellow) beans today (I froze half) and some Italian frying peppers.

So it seemed like a good day for what I call my version of Chicken alla Cacciatore or what Leon calls “You ruined perfectly good green beans by putting them in tomato sauce” or Chicken and Peppers and Green Beans in Tomato Sauce.

I would have added mushrooms if I had some.

It’s just after 2pm and I am hungry.

 Let's not forget the flowers.
Sunflower ... I also did not plant sunflowers
Another wild sunflower
More wild flowers
Russian Sage
4 O'clocks
Day Lily

P.S. I am having an awful time with "Blogger" and not sure why. Has been going on for quite some time. Difficult to move photos; long captions will not go to next line when I hit "return"; pasting text activates "Link" puts everything in blue type and centers it. Have to remove formatting and left justify; photos don't all load and return error message...the list goes on. I have tried the "new blogger" and it looks horrible on my "reading list" - but have not tried it for composing posts. Mitchell and others seem to have no problem...every post you guys put up looks great and you seem to do it with such ease.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020


In case anyone has noticed, I've not posted much lately. The combination of being a kind of "news junkie" and the COVID19 isolation and the extreme heat of June and July here in New Mexico has left me rather drained.

One of the main reasons we moved here to Cochiti Lake was THE LAKE. Cochiti Lake, like most lakes in New Mexico is a flood control lake...the Rio Grand waters behind an Army Corp of Engineers built dam. Most are not pretty lakes compared to those in green mountain settings as they are bodies of water surrounded by rock and desert terrain. Not many a tree in sight.

But Cochiti Lake is, at least, a lake with a swimming beach and boat ramps. It was adequate for my needs. Unfortunately the lake has been closed, off limits, since March 13 in response to COVID19.

The entire lake as well as our little town, the convenience store, the golf course and Kasha Katuwe/Tent Rocks National Monument are on tribal land. All were closed indefinitely (except, of course the town where we have our homes) per order of the Cochiti tribe. So there's been no access to the lake this long, hot summer.

Lakes are OK, but I have this longing, a need almost, to return to the salt water from whence I apparently emerged some long time ago.

We were "dreaming" about maybe going to the East Coast this September (to visit family and friends and go to Cape Cod/Provincetown) or if not there, back to California to Oceana/Pismo Dunes/Avila Beach.

Because no way are we traveling through Texas, Oklahoma or any other state during the ongoing pandemic. So, with the pandemic, it looks like I will forego salt, sand and sea this time around.

I was getting very depressed and angry and irritable seemingly for no apparent reason. Well, I guess the apparent reason is the result of months of isolation and seeing the summer, maybe the entire year as kind of deletion. Beach, Ocean, Travel: delete. June, delete; July, delete; August, delete; September, delete; October?

So, the next best thing - the next closest lake to us is Abiquiu - less than a two hour drive. So Leon and I and Benni took a ride up there this morning and had what was the most relaxing day I've had in many months. We got there early enough that it wasn't too hot and being by the water was cooler by 5 to 10 degrees than inland.

I have many friends who couldn't care less for a day at the beach or lake. I could never understand their indifference.

Shedding clothing as much as is allowed (swim suits required here but a nudist area is the absolute best) and being out in the sunshine and swimming and sitting with hubby and our dog, Benni, is so freeing.

Somehow I shed obsessions, thoughts, tensions, chores and preoccupations along with the clothing.

We stayed about four and a half hours and left around 2pm, just at the hottest part of the day.

I was completely satisfied, at least for today.
Benni and the Hubby

Relaxing in my Beach Chair

Georgia O'Keefe's favorite mountain

Friday, June 26, 2020

It's Been A Long, Hard Road

Torn, tattered and faded, but still out and proud! There's more road ahead...

Stay healthy, happy and proud and safe. Wear your mask!

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Let's Not Forget...It is Pride Month

There won't be any parades or festivals this year, but I still need to have a little Pride this month.

So I offer some of my all time favorite music selections for your listening pleasure - if you are as old as I am these will "bring you back" to a time that, for me at least, was as exciting and joyous as I have ever experienced. (See the excerpt from my memoir below.)

Here's an excerpt from "Did You Ever See A Horse Go By? - A Coming Out Memoir:

“Well, I’ll tell you about the first time I went to Backstreet Café down on that industrial road in the Westville section. The road was rarely used in the daytime and even less so after dark, unless you were going to the club. I hadn’t been out long and I’d only been to the Chez Est a few times—which is mostly an S&M bar, you know, which is what the guys do a lot of there.”

“I just love those Stand and Model types,” Bobby J. said, in case someone didn’t get the S&M reference.

“But Backstreet was different,” I continued. “It was the first big disco club I’d ever seen. And the location was like a secret that only we gays knew about. I remember seeing this big, plain, one story brick industrial building without any signs or bright lights. Nothing on the outside to let you know it’s a popular gay nightclub and disco on the inside.” 


“I was with Joel, you know, Joel Comeau, my first and only ex. After paying our five bucks and getting our hands stamped, we walked past the bouncer into the main bar and I felt like Alex in Wonderland. It was like walking through some enchanted portal into a world invisible to most earthlings... It was like Dorothy going from a black and white world to Oz, which was suddenly in Technicolor and stereophonic sound.”

Carl said, “I’ll tell you, Backstreet was nothing next to the big clubs back in the seventies, especially down in the City, and I’m not even talking about Studio 54. Sorry, Fran, go on with your story.”

“Well, I had nothing to compare it to,” I said. “There had to be hundreds of pulsating bodies on the dance floor and plenty of guys without shirts... The DJ was playing It’s Raining Men by The Weather Girls, which was already a classic. I think the whole building was vibrating. You could feel the thumping base of the disco music and the energy of the crowd on the dance floor. And everyone was just letting it all hang out, as we used to say, and everyone was echoing Martha Wash, ‘It’s Raining Men! Hallelujah!’”

“Dancing among that crowd was such a thrill, such an exciting feeling. And knowing that we were all frickin’ gay and that there were thousands more like us in gay clubs everywhere, it was like being let out of solitary confinement. Like, for the first time in my life I could say ‘fuck you’ to all the straights in the world, whether they deserved it or not. Like there was solidarity in our numbers and we were really fucking special!”

“Yeah, Fran,” Carl kidded. “They gave that coming out party just for you.”

Bobby J. thought that Carl’s comment was a hoot and gave out an audible “hoot” for emphasis. I gave it back. “Fuck you, too, guys. It was just so great. And the feeling of being free to just let go! It was amazing. I took to being out on the dance floor like it was second nature. Shit, who needs booze or drugs, I can get high just dancing my buns off to High Energy and You Spin Me Round. Yeah, remember that one, ‘like a record baby,’ you know?”

“Yeah, Fran, like a record, you’re still spinning ’round,” Lee said with a knowing smile. We all laughed. But I couldn’t resist adding, “Well, we should be thankful we have places like Backstreet and the Chez Est. There are, no doubt, poor, disadvantaged homosexuals in rural areas of North Dakota who have never seen the inside of a gay disco.”

“Deprived homos,” Bobby J. said, “or should I say, depraved homos?” We all laughed again, even though it wasn’t that funny. Bobby J. hooted again.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Emmanuel Acho Talks to White Folk

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

To Any LGBTQ Americans Who Would Actually VOTE for the Current Occupant of the White House

 To Anyone, especially any LGBTQ Americans who are even thinking about voting for the Republican Presidential Candidate, DT or X, as I will call him, if you have any senses, come to them. If the endless list of horrendous deeds, words and unspeakable evils he has perpetrated are yet not enough, consider that as George Will has speculated, the worse is yet to come.

From NBC:
No Pride Month Proclamation from this White House


(NOTE: I have deleted the last name of the current imposter in the White House and replaced it as necessary with the letter X as I refuse to see it in print on my blog.)

Once again, President X did not issue a Pride proclamation to honor LGBTQ citizens, but that hasn’t stopped him from selling an “exclusive Make America Great Again Pride T-Shirt” on his campaign website.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, issued a thoughtful statement reflecting on the progress the community has made and promising to repeal Trump’s numerous anti-LGBTQ policies.

X’s rainbow lettered campaign shirts have been available for months.
It’s hard to understand, considering X’s constant attacks on LGBTQ equality, from banning transgender people in the military to expanding religious exemptions for employers, business owners, and even doctors who want to discriminate against LGBTQ people, to consulting anti-LGBTQ hate group leaders on policy, to attempting to change the legal definition of “sex” to erase transgender people.

“Show your support for the LGBT community and the 45th President with this exclusive Make America Great Again Pride T-Shirt,” the website advertises.

Biden, however, didn’t need to advertise support. While X neglected the standard Pride proclamation, Biden stepped up to both celebrate with us and decry X’s attacks against the community.

“We’ve made remarkable progress towards LGBTQ+ rights in the decades since, from Harvey Milk’s historic election to the first openly gay major presidential candidate,” Biden said in his statement. 

“During the Obama-Biden Administration alone, we signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law; repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell; addressed the epidemic of bullying in schools; established the advancement of LGBTQ+ equality as a foreign policy priority; and the White House beamed bright with the colors of the rainbow to mark the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision recognizing marriage equality.”

“It took hard work. It took acting up, organizing PFLAG moms, developing student activists, and a tireless persistence that HIV/AIDS be destigmatized and treated. Many paid a personal and a professional price just for being who they are — risking their jobs, livelihoods, and physical well-being. Many still do.”

“Despite our progress, much work remains.”

Biden also bluntly chastised the administration for their attacks on LGBTQ people and human rights in general.

“Donald X and Mike Pence have systematically used the power of the White House as a literal bully pulpit to undermine LGBTQ+ rights,” he said.

“They have given safe harbor to white supremacists and other forms of hate. Predictably, we’ve experienced a rise in hate crimes targeting LGBTQ+ people.”

“The (current) Administration has abdicated America’s global leadership on human rights and walked away from our values, repeatedly failing to speak out against the abuses of authoritarian regimes.”

“This is wrong,” Biden asserted. “We must send a clear message that hatred and bigotry have no place in America or on the world stage. As President, I will take swift action to reverse these odious policies and advance our progress toward ending discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals.”

“There are dark and challenging realities ahead that we cannot ignore. Yet, I remain optimistic because I believe in who we are as a nation. I believe in the story of this country and the LGBTQ+ community.”

INQUIRY: Does anyone have a comprehensive list of the lies, insults or outrageously STUPID comments the current president has made in the past 3+ years. If so, please let me know.


Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Insanity in the White House in Our Time of Crisis

I have not commented on the murder of George Floyd except to say when I saw the news coverage on that infamous day, tears came to my eyes. So much has already been said and my words would pale in comparison.

But I will share the words of three clergy who condemn the president's attack on peaceful protesters in front of St. John's Church in DC near the White House to obtain a "photo op" and the following day at a Catholic Basilica for another "photo op":

Mariann Budde, the Episcopal Bishop who oversees St. John’s Episcopal Church, which Trump used as a backdrop for a photo op meant to show Americans that he was not a coward hiding in a bunker, slammed the president in an interview with the Washington Post late Monday.

Said Budde: “I am outraged. I am the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and was not given even a courtesy call, that they would be clearing [the area] with tear gas so they could use one of our churches as a prop. Everything he has said and done is to inflame violence. We need moral leadership, and he’s done everything to divide us.”
“Holding a bible, one that declares that God is love … when everything he has said and done is to enflame violence,” Budde added. “I am beyond. We need moral leadership and he’s done everything to divide us and has just used one of the most sacred symbols of the Judeo-Christian tradition.”

Budde later tweeted: “We are followers of Jesus. In no way do we support the President’s incendiary response to a wounded, grieving nation. We stand with those seeking justice for the death of George Floyd through the sacred act of peaceful protest.”

And from a Pastor in Maine, this firsthand account from an Episcopal rector in DC:

The Rev. Gina Gerbasi is the Rector at St. John’s, Georgetown, and was at St. John’s, Lafayette Square, DC, when this all went down this evening. If you are looking for a primary source account, here it is:

"Friends, I am ok, but I am, frankly shaken. I was at St. John's, Lafayette Square most of the afternoon, with fellow clergy and laypeople - and clergy from some other denominations too. We were passing out water and snacks, and helping the patio area at St. John's, Lafayette square to be a place of respite and peace. All was well - with a few little tense moments - until about 6:15 or so. By then, I had connected with the Black Lives Matter medic team, which was headed by an EMT. Those people were AMAZING. They had been on the patio all day, and thankfully had not had to use much of the eyewash they had made. Around 6:15 or 6:30, the police started really pushing protestors off of H Street (the street between the church and Lafayette Park, and ultimately, the White House. They started using tear gas and folks were running at us for eyewashes or water or wet paper towels. At this point, Julia, one of our seminarians for next year (who is a trauma nurse) and I looked at each other in disbelief. I was coughing, her eyes were watering, and we were trying to help people as the police - in full riot gear - drove people toward us. Julia and her classmates left and I stayed with the BLM folks trying to help people. Suddenly, around 6:30, there was more tear gas, more concussion grenades, and I think I saw someone hit by a rubber bullet - he was grasping his stomach and there was a mark on his shirt. The police in their riot gear were literally walking onto the St. John's, Lafayette Square patio with these metal shields, pushing people off the patio and driving them back. People were running at us as the police advanced toward us from the other side of the patio. We had to try to pick up what we could. The BLM medic folks were obviously well practiced. They picked up boxes and ran. I was so stunned I only got a few water bottles and my spray bottle of eyewash. We were literally DRIVEN OFF of the St. John's, Lafayette Square patio with tear gas and concussion grenades and police in full riot gear. We were pushed back 20 feet, and then eventually - with SO MANY concussion grenades - back to K street. By the time I got back to my car, around 7, I was getting texts from people saying that Trump was outside of St. John's, Lafayette Square. I literally COULD NOT believe it. WE WERE DRIVEN OFF OF THE PATIO AT ST. JOHN'S - a place of peace and respite and medical care throughout the day - SO THAT MAN COULD HAVE A PHOTO OPPORTUNITY IN FRONT OF THE CHURCH!!! PEOPLE WERE HURT SO THAT HE COULD POSE IN FRONT OF THE CHURCH WITH A BIBLE! HE WOULD HAVE HAD TO STEP OVER THE MEDICAL SUPPLIES WE LEFT BEHIND BECAUSE WE WERE BEING TEAR GASSED!!!!
I am deeply shaken. I did not see any protestors throw anything until the tear gas and concussion grenades started, and then it was mostly water bottles. I am shaken, not so much by the taste of tear gas and the bit of a cough I still have, but by the fact that that show of force was for a PHOTO OPPORTUNITY. The patio of St. John's, Lafayette square had been HOLY GROUND today. A place of respite and laughter and water and granola bars and fruit snacks. But that man turned it into a BATTLE GROUND first, and a cheap political stunt second. I am DEEPLY OFFENDED on behalf of every protestor, every Christian, the people of St. John's, Lafayette square, every decent person there, and the BLM medics who stayed with just a single box of supplies and a backpack, even when I got too scared and had to leave. I am ok. But I am now a force to be reckoned with."

And from the Catholic Archbishop of DC:

Said Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory in a statement: “I find it baffling and reprehensible that any Catholic facility would allow itself to be so egregiously misused and manipulated in a fashion that violates our religious principles, which call us to defend the rights of all people even those with whom we might disagree. Saint Pope John Paul II was an ardent defender of the rights and dignity of human beings. His legacy bears vivid witness to that truth. He certainly would not condone the use of tear gas and other deterrents to silence, scatter or intimidate them for a photo opportunity in front of a place of worship and peace.”

As George Will (a stalwart conservative) stated in a recent column in the Washington Post: "Those who think our unhinged president’s recent mania about a murder two decades ago that never happened represents his moral nadir have missed the lesson of his life: There is no such thing as rock bottom. So, assume that the worst is yet to come." and "He must be removed."

I couldn't agree more.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Hiking Along Blue Water Creek

Went with the hubby and the dog, Benni, today to a BLM wilderness area called Bluewater Creek, near Grants, New Mexico. The hike along the river was a little over three and a half miles out and back.

The creek gets its name from Bluewater Lake which is upriver. I’ve never been there so I can’t vouch for whether the lake is blue, but the creek is not blue by any stretch.

Brown water creek would be more accurate. Much like every other river and stream I’ve seen in New Mexico, except maybe Sitting Bull Falls down near Carlsbad which is in an earlier post.

The waters, both lakes and streams, in New Mexico are mostly murky, silty, brown; but hey, water in the desert is a gift.

These waters are fast flowing and make pleasant babbling sounds here and there or louder rushing water sounds as they spill over rocks and ledges.

The trail crosses the stream at three points (maybe a fourth but the trail kind of gets lost at that point) and the engineers did not do a great job of placing nice flat rocks to walk plan to have wet shoes if you cross the stream. Bring water, lunch, a walking stick, phone, camera.

The stream runs through a canyon with high rock cliffs on both sides in some areas. The contrast between the rocky cliffs, the desert plants, and the more lush vegetation and varied plant specimens along the river is very striking.

I was especially fascinated by the wide variety of vegetation and the fact that many of the plants are not seen very often in New Mexico. Some remind me of plants native to my New England woods.

The area along the river is a micro climate and micro botanical garden.

I am not a botanist but I will take a stab at naming a few of the plants we saw. There are dense stands of small willow trees, almost bamboo-like along the river. Along with the ubiquitous Junipers, some Piñon, a few species of Oak, wild Iris, Prickly Pear, Cholla, Maidenhair Fern, Dandelions, wild Verbena, etc.

Here are a few photos: (If I have mislabeled any or if you have a better description, please leave a comment and I will make corrections).

Click on photo to enlarge:
Wild Roses (A Smaller Version of Cape Cod Rose)

Benni Fetching a Stick - Willow Along the Stream
Indian Paint Brush?


Wild Geranium
More Wild Geranium
I really want to know what kind of Juniper or Cedar or (?) has these yellow flowers
Unknown - These flowers are on a tree, similar to a Juniper
(Readers suggested Mexican Cliffrose or Mesquite)

Sad How People Can Ruin a Beautiful Spot - This came down off a cliff
Some Variety of Maple
Pin Oak?
Another Variety of Oak
Virginia Creeper
Claret Cup Cactus - Certainly not too rare in New Mexico
I think this is Horsetail
Wild Geranium

A Display of Cholla Cactus
One of Three Crossings - Plan to get your shoes wet



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