Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year Greetings

Some Holiday Photos

We had a little get together the Sunday before Christmas - just coffee, tea, eggnog, wine and lots of cookies and snack food.  I was determined to take pictures during the party.  But, as usual, I got so busy eating, talking, flitting around like a butterfly, that I totally forgot to use my camera.  These pics were taken before guests arrived.

We spent a very quiet Christmas Eve.  After a long hike with the dog we drove to Litchfield and stopped for lunch @the Corner.  We had a very pleasant and leisurely lunch and Dottie joined us for coffee and dessert.  She took our picture.  We went home and watched Netflix for the rest of the evening.
It makes me happy to know that after nearly 25 years, Leon and and still enjoy each other's company and can share these simple times together. 

We went to my brother and sister-in-law's for Christmas dinner and Leon snapped a photo of me and my sister and brother.  I realized that we have no photos of the three of us together so this was a rare occasion - the three of us happened to be sitting on the same sofa.
Me and My Sibs - MaryAnn and Mike
We had a wicked snowfall the other day - six inches of water-logged snow which we ended up shoveling mostly by hand because the snowblower we have is crap.  Has been ever since we purchased it 5 years ago.  Snow melts and gets into the belt drive which then slips and sometimes overheats to the point that it smokes.  The machine also never cleaned the snow well, usually spitting it out haphazardly and not even getting down to the asphalt.

Leon, after having it "repaired" several times at outrageous  expense, decided to matters into his own hands.  He went out and bought new belts and we went on YouTube to find a repair video - which of course we found.  Leon is handy like that anyway, and in a pinch, I can tackle a mechanical repair if needed.
Leon Being Butch
This Is The Worst Machine We've Ever Owned
So we took the snowblower apart and replaced the belts.  Leon put weatherstripping tape around the belt housing to help keep snow-melt from getting the belts wet.

Me, Trying To Be Butch
Got it all back together and tested it out on yesterday's six-inch snowfall.  Leon was happy.  Said it has never worked better - even when new or after the many trips to the dealer for repairs and adjustments.

Sorry, no photos of snow-blowing...been there, done that.

Last night we were invited for dinner at Dottie's.  Dottie is a friend we met about a year and a half ago at the doggie park.  Her dog, Katja and our Benni are in love.  Dottie is vegetarian and she wanted to cook us a meal to demonstrate how good it can be.

Dottie has a very nice open concept home which she designed and furnished with her very unique style.  She loves stone and granite and contemporary furnishings. She even made her own acrylic dining room table.
Dottie, Cooking in Her Unique Kitchen 
Here is dinner - or part of it.  We also had a nice salad, and tofu and baked apples for desert.  Everything was delicious.   Note the beautiful stone/granite/marble counter top on the right.
Tempeh and Vegetables over Angel Hair Pasta
We had a real nice evening, eating, chatting and being molested by Katja who couldn't understand why Benni didn't come with us.

Monday, December 24, 2012


Here is a Christmas Album with renditions of Silent Night, O Holy Night, The First Noel. Voices, and True Blue Miracle by one of my favorite singers, my niece, Andrea DeFrancesco.

I wish it had a video of her performing, but you get to see her album art which is by a another talented young artist, her cousin Michael Ryczek who has a very cool blog and who sells his paintings on his web site here.

Please take a moment to visit Andrea's YouTube site and Michael's websites and let them know what you think of their music and art.

I'm going to take a little break from posting on the blog - unless something happens that compels me to post or unless I get inspired to write something meaningful or brilliant (not likely).  You guys whose blogs I list on the sidebar do a great job of keeping us informed about all that's gay in the world, so I trust that no one will miss my musings.

So here's wishing you all a great couple of weeks of holidays!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Pope's Audience With Uganda MP's

Read an interesting analysis of the recent papal audience with Ugandan parliamentary speaker over at Enlightened Catholicism 

This has been covered in the gay blogosphere during the past week, but not in any depth.  Coleen gives a broader picture based on the Vatican Insider explanation of the controversial meeting.  Her connecting Uganda's parliamentary agenda to US oil interests is a new twist.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Heart Wrenching News Here in Connecticut

Prayers interspersed with outrage and deep sadness at the senseless tragedy that took place at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday, December 14, 2012.
It is with heavy hearts that we mourn the deaths of the little children and the adults who were killed and extend our sincere condolences to their families, loved ones and community.  Words cannot be found that fully express our sorrow.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Supreme Court to Hear Prop 8 and DOMA Arguments

Supreme Court to Hear Prop 8 and DOMA Arguments

Read the article on the Scotus Blog above link, probably the horse's mouth in this case.  Sounds very legal and iffy.  Sounds a little like the Supremes are trying to wiggle their way out of making any real Constitutional decisions.

And here's a link to the Prop8Tracker blog.

Any other insights?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Palace - A Netflix Recommendation

For those of you who enjoyed Downton Abbey and Upstairs/Downstairs and other such English TV programmes, here is one for you:  The Palace.

The Palace is a British TV series about a fictional contemporary young prince who assumes the throne when papa dies.  The somewhat untraditional English monarch Richard tries to do everything with honesty and openness, but is constantly challenged by events and the schemes devised by both the royals, their trusted staff and the help.

The series is an interesting and entertaining look at a somewhat anachronistic institution.  There is only one season, but Leon and I sat through nearly the whole season one recent rainy afternoon.

Monday, December 3, 2012

How To Survive A Plague Part 2

Just got in from the local showing of How To Survive A Plague.  The film was powerful, moving, artful, and dare I say nostalgic documentary of the history of Act Up and the challenges and achievements of the early AIDS activists.  A few times both Leon and I had moist eyes - seeing the courage of young men with AIDS putting themselves on the line, getting arrested in non-violent demonstrations and standing up to "authority".

One of the most poignant segments was the demonstration in front of the White House where loved ones and friends tossed the ashes of the dead over the fence onto the White House lawn.  I don't remember this protest being reported by the news at the time, but then the media did not view AIDS activism as very sexy or having mass appeal.

Of course most of the footage was before High Def, so the images are often grainy and the audio not always audible.  Subtitles were used in a few cases where it was difficult to make out what was being said.  But despite this, the film was very well done, well edited and kept us engrossed for two hours.

My only disappointment was that there were only about 28 people at the showing - on a college campus.  There were no faculty members, and almost no one from the local community.  I didn't see anyone from the local AIDS or gay organizations or the local or state health departments or any of the activists I worked with back in the eighties and nineties.  The turnout was pathetic.  But AIDS is so off everyone's radar now, that people are comfortably apathetic.

History is so important - especially this kind of history - real people living, dying, fighting to make a difference for those who now have the benefit of their activism and courage.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

How To Survive A Plague - Showing at CCSU


Speaking of Health Care, the 1980's was a decade of health care challenges and health education challenges.  If you are in or near New Britain, Connecticut on Monday, December 3rd at 6 PM be sure to catch the showing of the film, How To Survive A Plague.   The documentary about AIDS and activism in  the 1980's promises to be a powerful historical statement and hopefully will engender a renewed interest in fighting for Health Care Justice in America.

As a footnote:  I am convinced that it was the AIDS epidemic that forced many gay men out of the closet to become activists that gave the LGBT equality movement new impetus and helped move it forward.  It also slowly changed the direction of Gay Liberation away from the exciting and freeing experimentation of the 1970's and toward a more "conservative" position that would like to portray us gays as "the new normal" including permanent/long term (monogamous) marriages and families with children.

While this normalization is probably inevitable, we, as sexual minorities, must never let our guard down, because ultimately "they" - the so called "straight" world, the religious fundamentalists of all stripes and those who believe they are morally superior  WILL NEVER GET IT.   As Bob from I Should Be Laughing recently pointed out in a repost, even our closest friends can turn on us when faced with the prospect that our relationships are equal to theirs. Believe me THEY WILL NEVER GET IT.


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