Archive for May, 2012

I think I’m getting old.  Then again, perhaps I’m just sick of the crap…

On the Stephanie Miller show this morning they were mocking and making really sick jokes about the horrific flesh-eating incident in Miami Beach.  I actually like Stephanie Miller but, I had to turn the show off.   I found their jokes disgusting, and I wondered what was wrong with people when they can make jokes about something that is obviously not funny.  I mean, a human being was shot to death, and another human being is struggling to stay alive with no family to offer support and love.

What is funny about a homeless man?    And what is funny about a man sick enough to eat the flesh off of another man’s face?

I would think this would be a chance to address social issues, and things that are lacking in our so-called democratic society.  It would be a chance to address solutions and offer some sort of comfort and support for those who have absolutely nothing.  I have no idea what it’s like to live on the streets, but I do know I would never, ever mock or joke about those who do.  I always believed it was our responsibility to look out for each other, to do what we could to help and give comfort.  It makes me sick that we’ve become so cold and callous as a nation that we find humor in the sickest of human conditions.  Isn’t it enough that the man was living on the streets? Must you mock and joke about the physical attack on him?  What is wrong with people?  It’s like mocking the kids who ride the “short bus?”  Really? There’s humor in a disabled child?

Then again, I don’t know why I’m so surprised at this callous reaction to an obviously sick situation.  Look at what is our Presidential election…  It’s disgusting…  Both sides attacking the other – both sides trying desperately to “buy” the election with their precious super pacs. No one addressing issues that really matter.  This isn’t politics; this is just rich American hooey.

And who suffers?  Well, it’s the homeless man or woman, the homeless family, the unemployed, the folks living paycheck to paycheck who know they could end up in their car or on the street at any moment. It’s the elderly, and the mentally ill, and those who need constant care.

We don’t need jokes about how bad the human condition is in this Country.  We need people to stand up and say – this is wrong, we need to make it better. Instead of mocking and making sick jokes and giggling like a 12-year-old boy, put your time on the radio or television to good use.  Do good things, offer compassion and good will. Don’t spend precious time promoting hate and divisiveness.  It just makes you look small and silly, you know, like Rush Limbaugh.  If it was your Mom, Dad, Brother, Sister, Aunt, Uncle, or you living on the street – well, just think about it…

Americans are better than this – Well; I still like to think we are better than this…

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Did you know that Memorial Day is a day set aside to honor those who have died in service to the United States of America?  Did you also know that Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day? I hate to burst your 3-day weekend bubble, but, it’s not about heading to the beach, drinking beer, and throwing some meat on the grill.

I come from a military family.  My great-grandfather fought at Gettysburg, my grandfather in WWI, my father in WWII, my brother in Vietnam, my ex-husband in The Persian Gulf, my nephew in Iraq and Afghanistan.  My mother drilled it into my head and my heart that to serve one’s Country is the highest of honors, not just for the person, but for the family.

When I was little there was a parade down the main street of our little town.  My little tricycle had the red, white and blue streamers, and the veterans marched proudly and waved and smiled at the folks who lined the street. I may complain from time to time about the conservative politics of this little town, but when it came to their veterans; It was Americana at its best.

As I’ve gotten older, I also understand that Memorial Day isn’t just about honoring the dead; it’s also about honoring the living.  Their service changes their lives forever. Whether they see combat, is not the issue, it’s the service to their country that changes who they are, and it changes forever the family unit.

It’s the service of the Mother or Father left behind to comfort the children, pay the bills, and deal with the everyday life that can be simply overwhelming.  Not enough money, not enough love to go around, not enough community support, not enough government support…

In 2000 President Clinton signed the “National Day of Remembrance” resolution which asks all Americans at 3p.m. local time, “To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to ‘Taps.” Take a moment and honor them all.

Susan and I will be heading to Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery to honor our fallen veterans, and then to the USS Midway to throw a flower in the water over the ashes of my father.

Memorial Day isn’t about how you feel about war. Memorial Day is to honor those who do the fighting and the dying, and those who “keep the home fires burning.” To those veterans and their families who may be reading this…  Thank You ♥

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This is the time of year when we all are forced to travel down the road of High School Graduation.  Be it our own Grandchildren or shows on television, we are once again reminded of that fateful day when life as we knew it as children was over.

It’s been forty-two (42) years since I walked the walk to that never-ending Pomp and Circumstance March on a June night in 1970.  I always thought it would be so much better if the class marched in to Pomp and Circumstance but then walked out to the tunes of the year.  I suppose that walking out to “Play That Funky Music,” or “Disco Inferno” might have taken away from the dignity of the occasion… Then again, we all could have carried flowers and handed them out as we twirled our way out to Ray Steven’s singing “Everything is Beautiful.” I’m just sayin; there are ways to spruce up this whole process!

I really don’t dwell on the past all that much, but when I have to sit through one of these grueling ceremonies for hours, I find that my mind does tend to wander a bit.  I try to sneak in my Nook Color so I can at least read or enjoy a game of Angry Birds, but, Susan will give me one of those looks, like: “What are you 12?” and I understand that a 59-year-old woman should be setting some sort of example to her grandchildren who are not allowed to be playing games on their phones or whatever little electronic thing they have smuggled in, so I put it away.

I find myself thinking of teachers who put so much on the line to make me understand the importance of an education. I wish I would have listened more and talked less.  I wish I had the chance to sit with a few of them and just let them know they made a difference in my life.

My mind drifts to friends who have come and gone from my life. Sadly, the ink that signed “friends forever” in our yearbooks has outlasted most of these friendships. I understand now that this is one of life’s mysteries, never really to be understood. I lived in a small town and went through twelve years of school with the same friends.  From Junior High on I would spend every waking hour  with some of these friends – a few of them I spent so much time at their home and they at my home that each set of parents believe they have another child living with them. We screamed at the invisible ghosts and cried at the inevitable heartache, we discussed the did you or did you not do the whole “French Kissing” thing, and I absolutely could not imagine my life without these friends by my side or at the other end of the phone.  And then, in the blink of an eye, it’s over. I left the confines of our small town for college, others got married, others got jobs and stayed – life happened to us all.

I don’t have much contact with my high school friends.  There is a gaggle of us on Facebook who tend to make my days brighter simply just be being there, but , most of my High School friends remain that – High School Friends.  A different time, a different place, with sweet friends who were there when I needed them to be.  I used to believe that I had some sort of responsibility to keep these people in my life. I no longer believe this to be true.  I also used to wonder why I was no longer friends with these people. How could I just let them go out of my life, what sort of person does that?  Well, I’ve discovered that every sort of person does that – this is what life is, people coming and going from your life. Some come and stay a very long time, some come and go, and come and go, and some come; and then go forever.

I’m certainly not the same person I was in High School. I never had the strength or the courage to tell my family or  my friends I was gay.  Some tell me now it would have never mattered, but, we’ll never know that for sure.  It was 1970, and it was, and still is,  a small, rural, conservative Republican town. I was afraid and I felt alone, so I told no one. Well, the girl I was sneaking out to see knew, but that’s for an entirely different blog!

What I know for sure is this:  My life is exactly what it’s supposed to be. Had I made one small change, who knows where or who I would be at this very moment. Had I never gotten married I would have never moved to California, and that would have meant never meeting Susan, and that’s a road I don’t even want to think about traveling.  And what of the hard stuff in-between? Well, that’s just life; you get through it and life goes on.

So, in a few weeks when I’m sitting at my Grandson Cabot’s High School Graduation, I’ll be humming the tunes of the 1970’s in my head while listening to Pomp and Circumstance and handing Susan some tissue!

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What is it about the Gay Community that frightens the Straight Community so? What is it about the Gay Community that frightens the Evangelical Community so?  I really don’t understand why there isn’t common ground to be found.  Why is it that gay folks can’t believe in Jesus and live a spiritual life in the eyes of the Evangelical? I don’t believe for a moment that Jesus was a gay-bashing preacher, so where does the gay-bashing anger come from?

I’m not being a smart-ass, I’m really asking.

I don’t understand the whole hatred thing.  I don’t understand how my 30 year relationship with Susan has endangered the world as we know it.  I don’t understand how a parent can love a child beyond all measure until the moment their child declares they are gay – and then, in a blink of an eye, that child no longer has a parent, a sibling, a family.  I don’t understand how people who profess that they live their lives according to the teachings of Jesus can talk and act and vote with so much hate in their heart.

Again – I’m not being a smart-ass, I really don’t understand.

I don’t understand the folks who go to any College or University which only allows certain people to attend. In my mind, if you only surround yourself with people just like you, and learn only the things that fit into what you believe – then I have to wonder how you will ever adjust and grow and succeed in a world that certainly doesn’t fit into any mold.  How does one learn of other cultures, or religions, or politics or history if the only thing you are learning is what you already know?  And how does one learn tolerance and understanding, and compassion when being educated in an environment that discriminates?  I’m aware that there are Universities and Colleges where I would not be permitted to attend, but really, is it a place I would want to go?

Again – I’m not saying it’s wrong, I’m simply saying I do not understand.

I don’t understand how, when we all know of the inequities in the world, there are those who continue to do everything in their power to make said inequities almost impossible to overcome. We only seem to want to help people in the aftermath of floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, terrorist attacks, etc.  I don’t believe the thought of helping people on a daily basis, just because it’s the humane thing to do, enters the conscious thought of most Americans.  And certainly, this humane thought doesn’t enter the conscious mind of many politicians, who do have the power to make a difference. They don’t seem to want to make a difference that might work for the common good.

Again – I honestly don’t understand.

And finally – I don’t understand these folks who fight with everything power they can buy to stop abortion, and yet… They support the death penalty and sending people to war.  And if they knew the fetus was gay – would they still want the child to be born? And if we drop bombs and kill millions of innocent children – would those deaths be okay? How do these folks determine which life is worth saving? Is there some sort of litmus test for a life worth living?

Again – I really don’t know – I’m asking.

Perhaps there are no answers – I just don’t want to believe that hatred, racism, homophobia are things we really have to live with… If only…


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I’ve been thinking quite a bit about family the past few weeks. I suppose that’s only natural as I just spent a few days in the little town where I was born and raised in southeastern Pennsylvania.

Just driving through the town had my mind reeling with memories. We lived in an apartment above a restaurant where my mother worked, until I was 11. I ate breakfast in this very same restaurant last week, and was astounded that in almost 60 years, not very much has changed. I stood in this restaurant and let my eyes cover every inch of the place. The pinball machine that stood along the wall is gone, but I swear I could hear it. The counter is still there with its chrome stools, and vinyl seat coverings.  I’m sure the covers have been replaced but the stools themselves are the originals.  I closed my eyes and imagined the faces of the men who sat on those stools every day of my 11 years in this place I called home. These men would sit on the same stool every day, order the same breakfast, smoke their Camels or Pall Malls drink their coffee, crack their jokes, and tease my mother. I was sure I could smell the smoke from their cigarettes and the scent of the hot, strong coffee as I stood there staring at what was my past.

For the first time, I understood how rich my life was as a child, how lucky I was to have all of these people in my life on a daily basis. I didn’t understand it then, I only remember my mother making me work! But now I get it… All of these people cared about me, loved me, helped me grow and learn about the world. The man who told the same WWII war stories over and over – how I wish I could hear them one more time. The man who sat at the end of the counter with his little railroad hat on and always smelled of kerosene; who spoke of his deceased wife like she was still at home waiting for him… I’d love to hear about her, and of his adventures on the railroad just one more time.

As I stood in the parking lot and looked at the steps leading to the back door of the restaurant, I could feel my face breaking into this smile as I remembered my mother placing me on these steps with this huge empty barrel of vanilla ice cream and a spoon.  It was my “job” to make sure the barrel was empty before it got thrown out! The barrel was almost as tall as I was, so I had to stand up and lean over to get to the bottom on the barrel. I remember clearly that a bath usually followed the cleaning of the ice cream barrel.

I walked from the parking lot to the alley that goes between the restaurant and the house next door. A great deal of my youth was spent in that alley.  I stopped in the middle of the alley and just stood still and quiet. I smiled as I remembered running and riding my little red tricycle. I remember a baby carriage that my mother was so thrilled I was playing with until she came out and saw it was filled with dirt and sticks and cigarette butts I had picked up in the alley! I was once again a little girl in that alley, with my sweet little friends, riding bikes, kicking cans, throwing rocks, watching parades, eating ice cream. I walked to the end of the alley and looked down the street. It was like I was 5 again riding my tricycle down the street – nothing had really changed.


I never really thought of my life being enriched by living above that restaurant or by the people who entered that restaurant on a daily basis. I blamed that restaurant for the fact that I can’t stand the smell of hot cooking oil because that smell was everywhere when I was a child, and there was this film of oil on everything.   I never imagined that living there helped to shape this person I’ve become as an adult. I just thought my mother made me work too hard and all I wanted to do was play the pinball machine!  I never imagined that this restaurant and those people who came there every day would give me a balance and an understanding about the world – I just thought they were people who smelled funny and told the same stories over and over and over.

As I stood there with tears in my eyes, I finally got it all.  Home isn’t where you live physically – it’s what you carry with you as you go from place to place in your life. It’s those sweet memories that make you smile, and the lessons you learned from the not so sweet memories…


As I was walking back through the alley to my car I found myself looking down at the ground and discovered that without realizing it, I was looking for cigarette butts and I wondered to myself; whatever happened to that baby carriage?

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Yesterday morning I wrote this: “When the current President says his feelings on gay marriage are evolving – what does that mean? You either support it – or you don’t.  If The President can’t – or more to the point – won’t – make a decision and express it to the country – why on earth would we expect the people who live here to be any more accepting than the President?”

I can no longer say that. For the first time in the history of the United States, a sitting President has had the courage to voice his support for gay marriage.  I’m proud of him for having the courage to do the right thing.

Yes, it’s huge, and yes, it does give us validation, but realistically – what exactly has changed for the gay community?

The folks, who hate us, still hate us. The laws of the land which discriminate against us are still the laws of the land and continue to discriminate against us. This personal evolution by the President will do nothing to change the hearts and minds of the haters, for they will hate no matter what. My concern is that President Obama’s walk on the gay side will only inflame the fires of those who wish to see us rotting in their little version of hell and spur them into an anti-gay Flash Mob at the polls in November. President Obama losing this election would set gay rights, women’s rights, and all sorts of legislation concerning the rights of many American’s back decades.

It’s important to understand that politically, President Obama did not have to make this statement of support to the gay community. He may have pissed us off on occasion, but when push came to shove he totally had the support of the gay community. Obviously, he didn’t do it for political gain; he did it because it was the right thing for him to do as a man; as a human being.  I don’t believe you can be President of the United States and stand for anything but equality for all Americans.

Every gay/lesbian/transgender person has a story to tell. Every one of us has evolved in our own lives at our own pace. Some threw caution to the wind and followed their bliss from the moment they knew they were gay. Some, like me, knew we were gay and still, for all the wrong reasons – family, religion, and culture – we decided to hide our gayness under a bush (so to speak!) The journey isn’t always easy and there is always the possibility that you will lose more than you could possibly imagine. However, what you will gain in self-respect and inner peace will far outweigh the negatives.

As I’m writing this – I’m sitting at my neighborhood Starbucks and the couple sitting beside me is talking to their teenage son about President Obama and his support of gay marriage.  They aren’t happy, they are talking religion, and they are talking sending money to the Romney campaign. I’m hearing the words liberal, fags, uppity…   I’m thinking the words racist, homophobic, ignorant…  I want to tap the woman on her shoulder, point at myself and say: “gay.”  Before I found the courage to do just that their son told them to “shut-up” and he walked out.  This young man restores my faith in the young!

These two ignorant fools aren’t the anti-gay flash mob I spoke of, but, it is the beginning of the backlash that will come as hope and change become a reality here in the United States of America.  There is still much work to be done; there are still many changes that need to be made politically, socially, monetarily, religiously, educationally, and a whole lot of other lly’s.

But on this day; I will stand a little taller, feel a little prouder to be an American, and be thankful I have a President who has the character and courage to support me – a gay American.

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A friend of mine posted the above on his Facebook page…

Someone wrote the following as a comment : “Oh, I don’t know about this one. Total gun-related killings in NC in 2010: 445. Total killings via gay marriage: none documented. The focus on the removal of rights may be misdirected in this and other states…”

It’s this sort of dribble that just makes me crazy, and what drives me to continue to write about gay marriage…  Only a straight person who can marry and divorce as many times as they please would believe that the fight for gay marriage is misdirected.

Marriage should never be defined as gay or straight, it should simply be defined as the union of two people who love each other and want to share their lives together and have that union be recognized, validated and respected by friends, family, and their government. This is what a wedding – large or small – is all about; validation and respect.

What a good many straight people don’t understand is the stigma that has been placed on the gay community.  We don’t want to hide who we are, but society sure doesn’t make it easy for us to live openly.  With more and more laws being passed to prevent the gay community from being accepted as – well – human – we tend to wonder exactly where it is we fit in. We’re equal up to the point where the straight community hits their “ick” factor and then we must once again be reminded that we are not equal…

When there is not one politician running for President of the United States who will stand up and say they support gay marriage, gay marriage will continue to roll around in the muck and mire it’s been thrown in to.  When the current President says his feelings on gay marriage are evolving – what does that mean? You either support it – or you don’t.  If The President can’t – or more to the point – won’t – make a decision and express it to the country – why on earth would we expect the people who live here to be any more accepting than the President?

See – it’s not about equal rights for everyone – it’s about money and power and the haves and have-nots. It’s about getting elected at any cost – human or monetary.  It’s not about respect and tolerance – it’s about ignorance and bigotry. It’s not about the love that Jesus speaks of in this Bible the Christians love to quote – It’s about the hate that people seem to feel this Bible has given them the freedom to spew, and the laws of the land that allow this hate-filled ideology to exist.

Is the focus on the removal of rights misguided?  I’ll leave that up to you to decide. I just think it’s a little hard to focus on the removal of something you never had in the first place…

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