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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Dental hygiene and a trip back in time!

So Monday I went to get my teeth cleaned.  It is a torture I endure with amazing regularity.  I have a new teeth cleaning lady so we visited a minute.  Now you should know she is a sweet young thing and has no idea what the good old days were really like.  I told her how I had been wearing tri-focal glasses for most of my adult life, but since I quit smoking I no longer need glasses for anything except to read fine print.  She was amazed as most people are.  She asked when I started smoking and I told her that I had started at the tender age of 16, so it was a habit I had for most of my life and I had been devoted to the art of blowing smoke rings and all kinds of stuff.   I told her that I had probably been smoking in the delivery room when I had my first baby.  She of course laughed because everybody knows you can not smoke in the hospital.

Ah!  but there had been a time when you  could.   I recall that in the hospital in the top drawer of the little dresser by your bed was an ashtray and a book of matches.  We had to furnish our own smokes and after delivering a baby one really wanted a cigarette.  The nurse would bring the tiny little baby in all wrapped up and she would hand the baby to me, the new mother who lay there with a cigarette in my fingers and the head of the bed raised for comfort.  Nurses were very concerned about the newborn and always cautioned the mother to "Try not to drop hot ashes on the baby."

I know there are you people out there who are aghast at this and think it is something I made up, but as God is my witness, this is true.  We smoked every where back in the day.  Doctors endorsed cigarettes and said "Throat hot?  Smoke Kools".  If we were in a room all fogged up with cigarette smoke and someone complained, it was there job to relocate, not ours.  We were smokers and we ruled the world.  Cars came with a cigarette lighter and an ashtray.  I noticed that is not happening any more either.  When I started smoking a pack cost 14 cents.  When I quit a pack cost $3.00 if you bought them by the carton.  Today they are $5.00.

I also told her that diapers have not always been disposable.  Everyone of my kids had thier tender little fanny diapered with a cloth diaper that was washed in Ivory Snow because it was " 99.44% pure.  It Floats!"  Course many years later I discovered that this was all a myth.  It floated because the man in charge of stirring it until it "traced" had left the mixer on and left the soap and gone to lunch and the soap had started the "trace" and air was incorporated into the soap and that was why it floated.!"

Diapers came in two styles.  The first was about 30" long and 12" wide.  These were folded in half and then in half again so you ended up with a diaper 7 1/2" wide and 12" long.  The other style was square and you folded it so it ended up triangular.   Men always liked cloth diapers because when the last baby was through with the diapers he had a barrel full of the "best damn grease rags" in the world.  Men never ever under any conditions ever touched a diaper before it became a grease rag.  Men just did not do that sort of thing.  That was women's work.

So now we are living in a world, where children must never ever under any conditions ever be exposed to smoke and the days of smoking any where near any place a hospital might be located is banned.  It is banned almost every where except in your home and then it is forbidden if you have a child.  Oh, and no smoking in your car if there is a baby in it and if no baby and you smoke you have to keep your windows rolled up so the only one you are choking to death is you.

Men change diapers now.  They cook and clean and do all kinds of womany things.  Hell, I think they even use deodorant!  I could be wrong, but I think so.

So, kiddies, our world is changing and we better go with the flow.  I am thinking that if it keeps changing as fast as it did the last 50 years, I may just let loose of my tentitive grip on reality and spin off into space.
But for now, I am off to bed to dream of another time and place where there were unicorns and sugar plum fairies!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

January is about behind me, thank God.

Well, it has been a very rough start for this year.  We lost Pastor Jeannine Lamb right before Christmas.  Her sudden passing threw me into a new low both at church and home.  I spent a lot of time over the holiday with her life partner, Kathy.  That helped me work through it some what.  Of course now comes the work of finding a new pastor.  Kevin Olsen is doing pulpit supply for us until we can find an interim ministry so that takes a load off our shoulders.  Does not make life easier though as there are meetings and more meetings.

Also passing was Rae Flanagan, whom I had gone to church with for years.  Very nice and very classy lady.    Lee Dorsey was the last of the people I had gone to church with and my heart breaks for his beautiful daughter, Bernadette and her husband, Jesse.   I also lost a client, Irene.  On the upside, I got a new great grandson.

Ended the year having a new furnace installed.  House insurance and car insurance both jumped up 25%.  Never had a wreck in my life, but my insurance keeps going up.  Not the social security check though,  That just keeps getting stretched further to pay utilities and buy groceries.  We all know how long this cheap gas is going to last, don't we?

As I look forward to the new year left ahead of me, I can hear the limb rubbing on the back of the house roof and know that is going to need to come down and that means more money.  Car has 105000 miles on it so needs to have all kinds of little things done to it.  I think about just selling and moving into town and that scares me.  When I do that there is no going back to the big house in the country with 2 dogs, a cat and 9 geese.  It is easy to downsize at my age, but up sizing is out of the question.

So I am going to set here in my big house surrounded by all my stuff I have accumulated and think about what is going to happen this coming year.  I have lots of big plans and lots of things I want to do, but time will tell as to what happens.  Who knows, maybe next year I will be the one not here and someone else will be missing me!  That is the fun part of life; not knowing.

So for now, I am going to keep loving all my friends and acquaintances and if one of them falls by the wayside I will know I did my best and if the "fallee" happens to be me, they can shed a tear and know that we parted on the best of terms.

We are not promised tomorrow.  We have only today.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Please lock me away in a nice warm place and feed me hot food!

Welcome to the Hospice House of Sangre de Cristo on Abriendo Avenue here in beautiful Pueblo, Colorado.  

This is where I will be spending the next 2 days in volunteer training.  I had 2 friends that were going with me, but that may be changing since this is what happened here yesterday and last night.

I am not a fan of winter and I am sure not a fan of driving in this stuff, but I shall.  That is the only way I know to get from point A ( my house) to point B (Abriendo Inn).  Of course before I can do any leaving of point A I need to shovel a trail out to point C (goose house) and feed the critters.  Oh yeah, and take the sledge hammer to break the ice on point D (stock tank).  And shovel to point E (car port). All this makes me think I should be seeking a point F (nice warm 2 room apartment in an assisted living facility complete with some one to shovel outside, a  lady to clean, a dining room down the hall , and clean sheets once a week.)

But since it is too late for that I guess I will jump in the shower, go out into the cold 14 degree weather with my wet hair and every pore of my body open from a hot shower and hope for the best, which means I will walk spraddle legged so I don't fall and break something.  So wish me well and with a little luck I may get on here tonight and write something really worth reading!

Monday, January 5, 2015

There is something pathetic about Westboro Baptist Church

I got this picture off the Internet
December 29, 2014 was a very good day for myself and a whole lot of people in Pueblo, Colorado.  That was the day Westboro Baptist Church came to protest our gay marriages as well as our legalization of marijuana.  Like any of that was thier business.  Much like us going to protest their protest, but it had to be done.  The numbers were definitely in our favor.  There were 7 of them and there were over 400 of us and I was told later that there were over 50 in the church across the street that never got counted.  Of course adrenalin was high and we all hollered at them and they just smiled and called us fag lovers and such.  As I look back on that now I am overcome with a very heavy sadness.
I decided to do a little research into the Phelps family and it becomes even more sad when I learned that these kids are born into this house of hate and are taught from a very early age that they are right and the rest of the world is wrong.  they perpetuate homophobia as well as the beleif  that soldiers are killers and baby rapers.  In thier world there is no good and all is evil.  How can they have any happiness?  What is thier life but one big long demonstation against any kind of happiness.  They spew hate like a Roman Candle spews fireballs against a dark sky.

I know the family started with Fred Phelps and a lot of his podigy remain thier in the compound.  When Fred died they kept him around for several months in hopes that he would come back to life, but that did not happen.  His sister now seems to be the ring leader, but as it appears there is dissent in the ranks.  Outsiders have joined the ranks, but as the kids grow, they want more out of life and escape the confines.  Sometimes they are caught and brought back, but a few remain "at large."  Could you imagine growing up in such an environment?

When I was raising my kids I tried to make them happy and secure and I taught them that everyone was equal and had the right to happiness as long as thier actions did not hurt anyone else.  I tried to teach them what being a christian was and I think they mostly got the idea.  I could never fathom a parent that would deliberatlely stand thier child on the corner and place a sign in thier hand that would hurt another person.  Westboro Baptist is shrinking in numbers and thier protests are of little consequence any more, but I want you to think about this:

What if Westboro had been on God's side and had marched for love, kindness, charity, forgiveness?  What if they had taken that banner and protested murder, child abuse, domestic violence, animal cruelty?  If they had raised a ruckus over the real short comings of society, I might have waved one of thier signs.  If they had thrown groceries at a hungry family they might sleep a little better at night.

And so that is my take on Westboro.  So to bed.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year! Or it might be subtitled "Here's hoping!"

So here I am in another year.  Who would have thought this would keep happening to me?  I am recalling a time when when the kids were little and I had a moment of clarity and purchased a life insurance policy so when I bit the big one there would be money to finish raising them.  Nice thought at the time.  So for a few years I made my payments and then seeing that I was still pretty much alive, I cancelled it, but they sent me a term life paid up till 1979.  I was pretty sure that would cover me until I met an untimely death in what ever manner it could be.  You must know that I have not always been this sweet little old lady you see before you and I have also not had much of a filter on my mouth especially when I was upset.
But, to make a long story short, I outlived that policy and several more after that.  Finally gave up on term life insurance as a bad bet on my time here on this big green/blue ball.  And now, rather then making a list of all the wonderful things I am going to do in the new year and all the bad things I am going to quit doing, I am keeping a score card!  Now, even that is a waste of time because I do not remember what I did last year so what am I going to compare it to this year?  So, I am going to just tell you a few of the improvements I have made in my life over the last ...well since I came to Colorado.
Having dropped out of school my senior year, I went to college and received a degree in accounting.
I became proficient on the computer.
I opened a store on ebay and maintain 100% feedback after 6 years.
I started attending church regularly.
I learned to weave and spin.
I quit smoking.
I volunteer my time for others through SCAP, Sangre de Cristo Hospice, Los Pobres, and anyone else who needs me.
I wrote a book and published it.
My blog is successful.
I do a little hiking in the mountains, but not alone because I am afraid of bears.
So, I am guessing I am in better shape this year then I have been a lot of years before.  And I can see a bright future ahead if I just keep my eye on the prize.  Just gotta say it though....



Monday, December 29, 2014

Welcome to Pueblo, Colorado, Westboro Baptist Church!!

Here is the front of the Pueblo County Courthouse where Bo Ortiz foams at the mouth to  marry fag dogs!!!

It was snowing like the dickens when I left the house this morning to attend the counter rally at the court house.  Like a whole bunch of other people, it was a call that could not go unanswered.  When it was time to  have the speakers (I was included in that venue) we all moved inside.  I am anxiously awaiting a head count. I have no idea how many people were there, but when we went to walk around the court house we marched 3-4 abreast and covered the whole area around the courthouse.
Westboro had 6.  We were not allowed to go that direction.  The told us to move right along, but did let me point my camera in the direction of the group.  That might be one on the other side of the fence.  Now, you all know I am a pacifist, so I would have been very kind to them, but since I did not see any, I could not "spread the love".

This is my son Bret and Misha, his boss who owns Heritage Organics.  I am on the end wearing my "cicil disobedience shirt, other wise known as a "tie dye."

Here is Janet Altmann and myself being very, very good.

But if you want to know what a show of solidarity looks like, please enjoy these pictures.
 They were even hanging from the balcony around the rotunda!

Westboro did not linger long!  All in all, it was sure worth the trip onto town during a blinding blizzard.  I am going to pop this over on youtube and will put a link on here.  I am, in the meantime counting this as a great day.  
And if you missed my speech, here it is in it's entirety!
The gay rights movement in the US is often traced to June 27, 1969, in New York City, when police raided a Greenwich Village bar, the Stonewall Inn, and bar patrons rebelled in protest. Seven years later, in 1976, in Dade County, Florida, Anita Bryant led the first religious campaign against gay rights.
In Colorado an amendment was placed on the ballot in 1992 by a religious group centered in Colorado Springs. 
Amendment 2 reads as follows:
"Neither the State of Colorado, through any of its branches or departments, nor any of its agencies, political subdivisions, municipalities or school districts, shall enact, adopt or enforce any statute, regulation, ordinance or policy whereby homosexual, lesbian, or bisexual orientation, conduct, practices or relationships shall constitute or otherwise be the basis of, or entitle any person or class of persons to have or claim any minority status, quota preferences, protected status or claim of discrimination. This Section of the [Colorado] Constitution shall be self-executing."
At that time there were 2 little gay guys in Pueblo, Colorado.  Fortunately there were also two or 3 mothers and a friend who had lost a friend to AIDS in a loosely held group known as PFLAG.  I found them in 1990 when they were meeting in the basement of the old Red Cross building on Pueblo Boulevard in an unmarked room to protect our identity.  Yep I was one of them.  We spoke out against Amendment 2, but in hushed tones.  We put up NO on 2 signs and they were promptly torn down.
The amendment was passed by a majority of Colorado voters in November 1992, and was to take effect on January 15, 1993. The American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal Defense Fund, the cities of Boulder, Aspen, and Denver, and individual plaintiffs joined forces under the leadership of attorney Jean Dubofsky, a former Colorado Supreme Judicial Court judge, and filed a motion in Denver District Court seeking to enjoin the governor and state of Colorado from enforcing Amendment 2. On January 15, 1993, Judge Jeffrey Bayless granted a preliminary injunction, giving the plaintiffs the first victory in a legal struggle over the constitutionality of Amendment 2. That injunction was later made permanent, but was then appealed to the US Supreme Court.
Now SCEA members!  Listen up.  On the night of the election, when Amendment 2 passed with a clear majority a phone tree went into action and a business on Elizabeth Street opened for a gathering of probably 50-60 gay people.  Many of them wore “Don’t shoot!  I am really a black bear.”  Because a measure protecting the black bears had passed. 
Out of that meeting grew a need to protect our gay friends.  We knew we must let people know that gay existed and existed in Pueblo Colorado.  A group was formed at that time and christened with the name “Pueblo After 2.”  Our symbol was an upside down pink triangle.  We quietly infiltrated the straight world.  The pioneers in this movement were the 2 gay guys, Joe Roderick and our Beloved late David Hackenberry.  Thanks also to Donna, Carolyn, Warren, and the list goes on and on.  As gay people came out of the closet and awareness swept Pueblo and all of Colorado.  When amendment 2 was faded in the background we became politically active and needed a new name.  Up jumped Southern Colorado Equality Alliance.  From that came Out Front Youth Group, and other splinter groups that are now respected and do many good works.  I never thought I would live to see a gay pride parade, but now I actually participate.
We did not get where we are by violence, hatred or intimidating people.  Westboro Baptist Church would have us stoop to their level, but we will not.  We are equal citizens of this great country and we are treated as equals not because of a law, but because we are equal.  I thank Gilbert Ortiz for standing with our friends and family against the forces of evil.
SCEA, that is where you came from.  I was there.  I am a charter lifetime member of Pueblo After 2 and am supposed to get the newsletter from you, but you have forgotten about your roots.  So I just wanted to remind you.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Hard working hands and a heart of gold have gone to rest.

Jeannine Lamb
December 21, 2014

Once more our hearts have been broken.  Pastor Jeannine has gone to her final rest, but she does leave us with a legacy of hope, charity, forgiveness and a fire in our bellies!  When she came to us several years back our church was in turmoil as was the United Church of Christ across town.  She came into a "shared ministry" and she was the "shared minister".  Many hills and valleys later she was all ours!

Very seldom do I  find a minister with whom I can work hand in hand, but Jeannine filled needs in me that I did not even know I had.  She challenged me in areas where I did not even know I was lacking.  Under her guidance our church began to grow.  Our people began to thrive.  Any time the church had a function, she was there.  Mother's Day Out which is our pre-school program was the bright spot of her day as she loved the chidren.  

My first official fundraiser for the church was last May and was a high tea.  Pastor was there as a server and she worked tirelessly.  It was a rousing success!  Our soup and bread Lenten Lunches were her idea and she was the server for those.  Clean-up day found Pastor in her jeans and gloves.  From the craft/bake sale to Sunday morning Navajo Taco's or biscuits and gravy, she was there.  World AIDS day found her as our religious center.  She learned early how to handle me!  A simple "Gee, I think I would have done it this way," brought me to heel very quickly and left me thinking it was my idea.  A true master, that woman!

There was no task she would not under take, but yesterday morning when the choir at First Congregational Church marched down the aisle to sing for the very first time, it brought a tear to many eyes.  First Church has not had a choir for many years, but we do now!  Ken Joyal sat at the piano as the organ got a short rest.  The voices that rose to heaven yesterday reached the ears of God and our dear Jeannine and I know she smiled down.  I winked at her and I know that while she may be gone from our sight, she is not gone from our church.  I know that her and my dear Sammi Cody and all the saints that have gone before will lead us to a higher plain and our church will thrive and once more be a vital part of this community.  How can we fail?  We have a congregation held together by love and respect and angels in heaven smiling down at us!  How can we go wrong?