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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Ocean Grove NJ Update ...update

I hadn't heard anything about this for awhile. Let me remind you. Ocean Grove is a beautiful town on the New Jersey shore. Unfortunately, all the land and the beach is owned by the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, a fundamentalist Methodist organization that will rent you the land if you want to build a home or open an business. The population is strangely quite gay?? We have vacationed there several times. Members of Beloved's shul have a home there and they wanted to marry in the beach pavilion. the OGCM said no. They sued. Here's the follow up. You can find links to previous articles under Ocean Grove:

"NJ finds group discriminated by barring ceremony
Lesbian couple can hold civil union ceremony at public pavilion
MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. (AP) | Dec 29, 1:38 PM

A lesbian couple that was barred from holding a civil union ceremony at a beachfront pavilion owned by a church group has won a legal victory.

The New Jersey Division on Civil Rights said in a ruling Monday that there is probable cause that the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, a Methodist organization that owns a square-mile of beachfront property near Asbury Park, discriminated against Harriet Bernstein and Luisa Paster by not renting the oceanfront spot to the couple for a civil union ceremony in March 2007.

While the ruling is decisively in favor of the couple, it does not end the case, which has become a major symbol in the gay rights battle in New Jersey and beyond.

An administrative law judge still must decide on a remedy for the parties.

AdSys ad not found for news:instory "What this case has always been about from my clients' perspective has been equality," said Larry Lustberg, the lawyer for the couple. He said they will seek an order that requires the pavilion to be "open to all on an equal basis."
Brian Raum, a lawyer for the Alliance Defense Fund, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based group that represents the Camp Meeting Association, said his clients would keep pushing back against being forced to allow civil unions on the property.

"Our position is the same," he said. "A Christian organization has a Constitutional right to use their facilities in a way that is consistent with their beliefs."

In a second ruling Monday, the Civil Rights Division said that the Camp Meeting Association did not discriminate against another lesbian couple that applied to use the pavilion for their civil union ceremony in April 2007. That's because by then, the group had stopped renting out the pavilion entirely.

Meanwhile, the parties in the dispute are awaiting a ruling from the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on whether the issue should be decided in the division on civil rights or in federal courts. A lower federal court has ruled that the state could consider the case.

The dispute has become a rallying point for both sides in the political battle over gay marriage.

Supporters of gay rights say the discrimination shows that New Jersey's two-year-old civil unions law falls short of its intent to give gay couples the same legal rights as heterosexual married couples.

Earlier this month, a state commission headed by J. Frank Vespa-Papaleo, the director of the Division on Civil Rights and the author of Monday's ruling, recommended that the state allow gay couples full marriage rights.

Opponents of gay marriage cite the case as a prime example of their contention that by recognizing same-sex couples, states are interfering with religious freedoms.

"It's something we have to be careful about," said the Alliance Defense Fund's Raum. "As the rights of same-sex couples increase, the tendency is to have it conflict with the First Amendment rights of religious organizations."

Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Boxing Day

Unfortunately I have to schlep into the office, sigh... Skeleton crew, and I'm the one of the skeletons.

Boxing Day, also known as the Feast of St. Stephen (after the first Christian martyr), originated in England in the middle of the nineteenth century under Queen Victoria. It originated as a holiday for members of the upper class to give boxes containing food and fruit, clothing, and/or money to trades people and servants. The gifts were an expression of gratitude similar to the bonuses many employers offer their employees today. These gifts, usually given in boxes, gave the holiday it's name, "Boxing Day". My mother, usually an intelligent woman, told me that the rich people gave the empty gaily decorated boxes that their gifts came in to their servants. We all have our shortcomings, mom.

1. Going to Connecticut Muffin for Lunch. (new place)
2. Currently catching up on paperwork.
3. Just tried to explain to a spanish speaking consumer why his case was not advancing-he threw away all the referral letters (hey my Spanglish ain't so bad!)
4. Prepping my self for the visit of Beloved's crumbling family tonight-for the weekend! Big sigh...
5. Only 4.5 hours till I get to go home. Time for that lunch.

PS Happy Kwanza!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Chanukah

Please Write to President Elect Barak Obama

Barak Obam has chosen Rick Warren to give his invocation. Warren, the pastor of the Saddle Back Church denies membership to unrepentant homosexuals! but offers to cure us and likens gays to incest perpetrators and pedophiles. If you object to this man speaking at your countries inauguration, please write to the address below.

The more I think about this the angrier I get....Grrrrr!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Raqchel Maddow has it right here about Obama and Warren

When I first heard about this, I really didn't believe it. Barak Obama has make some...unfortuante choices in spiritual leaders before, but that was when he was a private person. But as Maddow says, he is inviting Warren into the nations inauguration.

Friday Five: Countdown to Christmas Edition

Songbird writes:
"It's true.
There are only five full days before Christmas Day, and whether you use them for shopping, wrapping, preaching, worshiping, singing or traveling or even wishing the whole darn thing were over last Tuesday, there's a good chance they will be busy ones.

So let's make this easy, if we can: tell us five things you need to accomplish before Christmas Eve."

1. Friday- Work, If I decide to go. Been fighting this darn sinus infection and now I sound like a bull frog. Tonight I have the Catholic Lesbians Wrapping Party where we bring and wrap presents for homeless children (from a NYC homeless organization) while eating pizza! Maybe I should stay home to rest up for that? But the cleaning lady is coming today, sigh.
2. Saturday-I'm getting a haircut, then going to a party for Hannukah given by a friend of Beloveds (and me too,) 
3. Sunday- As yet unplanned except Hannukah starts at sundown! I must get the gifts together! I will go to church... somewhere.
4. Monday- Work- enough said. Then therapy, and thank God for that! Second Day of Hannukah
5. Tuesday- Work-Closing session of a supported employment program review run by orthodox Jews in the depths of Brooklyn.  Third Day of Hannukah.
Most of my shopping is done. Plans for Christmas are usually low key. If Godchild's husband is working at the hospital-he's a surgical resident so there's a good chance. We'll probably make a plan for the three of us. Maybe dinner out then a movie. I really want to see Milk.

And for a little levity to help you relax:

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Regarding the Governor David Patterson parody on Saturday Night Live

I guess it's only if you work with people with disabilities day to day, and see how competent we can be (and I add myself, but my disability is very mild compared to the people I see.) You can only realize how effective people can be on the job. SNL did not parody what Patterson did- use drugs, have an affair (both true) but what he had, a visual impairment. Something over which he has not control and despite which he has risen to the role of Governor. Go Dave!

According to the New York Times in 1994:

"More than four years after Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act, a sweeping civil rights law covering people with physical and mental impairments, the number of disabled people entering the work force has not significantly increased, say experts in the field and advocates for the disabled.

Though the law, commonly known as the A.D.A., was intended to bring people with disabilities into the cultural, social and economic mainstreams, the number of disabled people who have entered the work force has hardly changed, even as the number of disabled high school and college graduates has continued to increase.

A recent survey conducted for the National Organization on Disabilities found that only 31 percent of disabled people age 16 to 64 were working part time or full time, down slightly from the 33 percent that were found to be employed in a similar survey in 1986."

Not much has changed today. Thank you Saturday Night live for helping the image of individuals with disabilities...NOT

Monday, December 15, 2008

''PEACE: The Biography of a Symbol''

The other day, I was listening to WNYC, my local public radio and they announced an upcoming show about the influence that professors have on the political views of students. I snorted in laughter as I remembered asking my sculpture prof what that button he wore meant. He explained in his condescending way (all the profs. were men by the way. A very sexist department.) It was a peace symbol and it was in the midst of the Viet Nam war. I later got more radical than he did and he criticized me when I was on local television talking about the women's movement (which had quite radical arms in those days.) 
Peace, Mr, Mitchel, wherever you are.

So today is the 50th anniversary of the symbol of that little button..
National Geographic Commemorates 50th Anniversary of Peace Sign with ''PEACE: The Biography of a Symbol''

WASHINGTON--(Business Wire)--
The peace symbol. It is recognized around the globe and has become
an enduring cultural icon. For five decades, millions of people
worldwide, regardless of race or religious beliefs, have looked to the
peace sign to unite them. And the symbol's appeal continues with each
succeeding generation.

The story of the peace sign began in the spring of 1958 when peace
activists, clergy and Quakers in Great Britain organized a rally to
draw attention to the testing and stockpiling of nuclear weapons by
some of the world's most powerful countries. Gerald Holtom, a textile
designer and commercial artist from Twickenham, suggested the
demonstrators carry posters and banners with a simple visual symbol he
had designed. He created the symbol by combining the semaphore letters
N and D, for nuclear disarmament, and on Feb. 21, 1958, the symbol was
accepted by the District Action Committee.

On April 4, 1958, 5,000 people gathered in Trafalgar Square to
show support for the Ban the Bomb movement, then walked to the town of
Aldermaston, site of an atomic weapons research plant. The first peace
signs appeared during that march and a second Aldermaston march the
following year. From there it took flight, appearing on flags,
clothes, even scratched on walls and signposts, all over Europe.

To commemorate this anniversary, National Geographic Books is
publishing in April a tribute tracing the world-famous pictogram as it
evolved from a 1950s anti-nuke emblem to a defining icon still widely
seen and used today. PEACE: The Biography of a Symbol ($25), by Ken
Kolsbun, with Michael Sweeney, is a one-of-a-kind story about the
origin of the peace sign, the man who created it and its enduring
relevance through the past 50 years.

Easy to remember and reproduce, the symbol soon crossed borders
and cultures in a phenomenal way. It became a classic symbol, an icon
of peace for the people. Like a chameleon, the symbol took on
additional meanings during the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights movement,
the environmental movement, women's and gay rights movements and the
two Iraqi wars.

Kolsbun is a photographer, writer, historian, peace activist, game
inventor, landscape architect, husband and father who continues to be
active in the peace movement.

National Geographic Society
Alison Reeves, 202-857-7793

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Life Experience Test

A lot of the things I missed had to do with committing felonies or things that didn't exist when I was inclined to do them. I was surprised about the creativity section, though, since I was an art major, worked in theater design and interior design and so I question the validity of this test.

Take the test and see how YOU compare

Friday, December 12, 2008

Windows of the Soul

(See above. This is the range of colors that appear in my eyes.)

Sophia posted this "This Friday Five is inspired by my husband's Lasik surgery yesterday....He'd been contemplating it for a while and was pushed over the edge by the fact that we put too much money in our healthcare spending account this year and it would have been gone anyway. (There was only enough for one eye, but the kind people at the eye clinic figured out a way to divvy up the charges between surgery and followup in January=next year's spending account). So please say a little prayer for his safe recovery and share with us your thoughts on eyes and vision."

1. What color are your beautiful eyes? Did you inherit them from or pass them on to anyone in your family? 
My fathers eyes were blue and my mothers brown. Make of that what you will. I'm a mutt!

2. What color eyes would you choose if you could change them?
I think I would go a little more green. I range toward the light side already and my eyes are RED in every photo!

3. Do you wear glasses or contacts? What kind? Like 'em or hate 'em?
At this advanced age I wear glasses for distance (I should have been wearing them all along, but I keep managing to pass the drivers license test! And can't get used to them, Barbara!) And I wear glasses for reading, also when I think of it.

4. Ever had, or contemplated, laser surgery? Happy with the results?
NO-stay away from my eyes.

5. Do you like to look people in the eye, or are you more eye-shy?
Yes, as a counselor, I must.

Bonus question: Warning Do not View if you do not want to watch intimacy between two adults, some R rated content From the L Word Betty Davis Eyes. I think it's very nice! Oy, my first Adult FF, Sigh...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Friday, December 5, 2008

Advent Simplicity, light and beauty- Friday Five

Sally posted this elaborate and thoughtful Friday Five: "Imagine a complex, multi-cultural society that annually holds an elaborate winter festival, one that lasts not simply a few days, but several weeks. This great festival celebrates the birth of the Lord and Saviour of the world, the prince of peace, a man who is divine. People mark the festival with great abundance- feasting, drinking and gift giving....." (Richard Horsley- The Liberation of Christmas)
The passage goes on, recounting the decorations that are hung, and the songs and dances that accompany the festival, how the economy booms and philanthropic acts abound....
But this is not Christmas- this is a Roman festival in celebration of the Emperor....This is the world that Jesus was born into! The world where the early Christians would ask "Who is your Saviour the Emperor or Christ?"
And yet our shops and stores and often our lives are caught up in a world that looks very much like the one of ancient Rome, where we worship at the shrine of consumerism....
Advent on the other hand calls us into the darkness, a time of quiet preparation, a time of waiting, and re-discovering the wonder of the knowledge that God is with us. Advent's call is to simplicity and not abundance, a time when we wait for glorious light of God to come again...
Christ is with us at this time of advent, in the darkness, and Christ is coming with his light- not the light of the shopping centre, but the light of love and truth and beauty.
What do you long for this advent? What are your hopes and dreams for the future? What is your prayer today?
In the vein of simplicity I ask you to list five advent longings....
1. Living in the heart of the financial crisis, I wish that things settle down, financially and that we all could stop worrying-on a daily basis-about our financial futures. I passed a job fair a local hotel the other day and the line was around the block.
2. I pray that our new president is the genius that we are expecting and not just the Wizard of Oz.
3. I give thanks for the love of my family and friends daily. I look forward to the visit of my Aunt Julie between Christmas and New Years.
4. As we are a bi-religious family, I look forward to celebrating the Festival of Lights, the miracle of Hanukkah beginning on the eve of December 22 when there was just enough oil for one night but it lasted for eight blessed nights.
5. I thank God for the RevGals and I long for all of you to continue into the new year in joy and peace. And to meet some of you one day!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

And a tip of the hat to the Catholic Church of England and Wales

VATICAN CITY, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- The Catholic Church of England and Wales warned Roman Catholic priests against using language in their parishes that might offend gay and lesbian worshipers.
Priests have been told by their bishops not to assume that every parishioner is heterosexual, The Daily Mail reported Saturday.

"Remember that homophobic jokes and asides can be cruel and hurtful -- a careless word can mean another experience of rejection and pain," bishops said in a memo about how priests can be more welcoming to gays.

The advice to be more tolerant of homosexuality appears to be in conflict with Pope Benedict XVI's opposition to gay marriage.

But English gay rights activist Peter Tatchell said the leaflet represents a "positive initiative" that could help gay Catholics and their families, the newspaper reported.

"It's sympathetic, understanding message is a big improvement on the past homophobia of some Catholic pronouncements on homosexuality," he said.

ed. note But who is the the Catholic Church of England and Wales? Is it the Anglican Church? Or is it the Catholic Church or something else?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Black Friday

So I ventured out on Black Friday. I had the address' of a few sample sales (not very good.) and a few coupons. BL came with me (for the first part) because I wanted to get her some media player so that she could study her ASL on the run. We went to the HUGE Apple store down 9th ave. from our apt. Busy, busy! We finally found a person in a blue shirt to help us. I seems that the cd she bought at Galudet couldn't be downloaded through ITunes and would need extra software-maybe.  This took quite a long time.(Geek to geek talk.)  And she decided that this was not what she wanted for her birthday, so back to the drawing board.

So that by the time I got to Macy's my coupon had EXPIRED!  YES-It expired at 1:00!  Can you believe it. It was so crowed at Macys that they weren't letting people use the elevators (wheelchairs, strollers and seniors.) I had to beg them (cane.) I got out of there as quickly as possible. I did get a few lovely items at the Metropolitan Museum Store in Macys.
Next year I'm going to do what I usually do on black Friday, go to Work!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Friday Five on Thursday

Singing Owl posted: I'm musing about giving thanks for people today, partly because Americans celebrated our annual Thanksgiving holiday yesterday (I try not to just make this holiday "turkey day" even though its main feature seems to be eating till one is nearly comatose) and partly because I read the above verse this morning. It started me thinking about individuals in my life for whom I give thanks. For this post-Thanksgiving Day Friday Five, share with us "Five People For Whom You Give Thanks to God" and maybe tell us why they are significant.
So I realized my Thursday posted answered this question. See Thursday November 27th...

Things I've Done- I was tagged

Want to play? Copy and paste. Pick a color for the things that you have done. Mine are in blue letters.
1. Started my own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than I can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain

9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
3. Watched lightening at sea
14. Taught myself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown my own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked

23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill (In my office they're called stress days and if you take 3 in a row, you don't need a doctors note.)
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping

27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice (That would be the Venice Hotel in Las Vegas!)
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors
35. Seen an A
mish community
36. Taught myself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance

47. Had my portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud

54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma (I've tried 3x, but no dice)

65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar- and love it!
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job- more than once!
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle 
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury 90(a) Been Sequestered!
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

100. Ridden an elephant

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

The new title picture was taken with my iPhone taken along the banks of the Potomac in DC on a visit to Bl's little family last weekend. It was a dark and stormy day and we were waiting for the demo's about prop 8 to begin. We never made it as we were in Virginia eating very slow Vietnamese food while the sky's opened and I was overruled, sigh.

I'm very thankful for having a place to go for dinner today and a place to eat without having to cook. I'm so grateful to have BL in my life for going on 18 years. She is the light of my life, through thick and thin. I'm also grateful for having this chance to live in the same city as Godchild for once in our lives and to get to know her a little better. She's a wonderful, smart, special person. I'm also grateful to have my Aunt Julie who celebrated her 90th birthday in August and is going strong and my cousin Michelle who I got to know as an adult because out parents didn't speak (family!) Healing can happen.  I'm very glad to have a job in these difficult times and in a career and I really do love despite my occasional complaints. I'm a lucky woman! I have friends and many things to be grateful for.

Today we will be going to BL's former vegetarian aunt. She decided around her 80th birthday that she wanted a hot dog and it was downhill from there. She's a very good cook. The guests will be her gay son and his partner, her straight son-the holistic dentist and his wife-the home schooler and two children, her brother and two children and my godchild the grown women. Oh and a dog, me and BL. Quite a diverse crowd. Godchild's husband the Ghanaian surgeon has to work today as he's a resident-he has to work all the time. Shortly BL will be getting up to make a chocolate cake. Two chocolate cakes are expected. Think I'll skip the Turkey. I have five, count em, five days of subway free commute less days of going to Brooklyn. Yeah!

I must start shopping for the various birthdays, Hanukkah and Christmas presents and stuff but that may be a done lot on line, though being in NY I do like the sample sales and have gotten some swell bargains in the past. If you're in the, google sample sales. There are lots of them-in the garmento district- and they are lots of fun and good bargains.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Godchild and I went to see it yesterday. I don't see many movies. Not because I don't like them, but because-even with the massive multiplex a block away and the the groovy little indie movie theater a short cab ride-it's hard to synchronize our schedules,  BL and I. So I've decided to see movies with GC or go by myself.
W was really kind of eye opening in a sad and scary way. It was much more of a broad caricature than the usual Stone biopic, but made W. somewhat sympathetic in his pathetic way. It also make his father more positive than I ever thought of him.
The scenes in the war room were really scary. 

Who ever elected this man-twice!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Mix and Stir Friday Five

Songbird posted: "In a minor domestic crisis, my food processor, or more precisely the part you use for almost everything for which I use a food processor, picked the eve of the festive season of the year to give up the ghost. A crack in the lid expanded such that a batch of squash soup had to be liberated via that column shaped thing that sticks up on top.

Can you tell this is not my area of strength?

Next week, I'm hosting Thanksgiving. I need your help. Please answer the following kitchen-related questions:"

1) Do you have a food processor? Can you recommend it? Which is to say, do you actually use it?
We have a Cusinart. It's an old one, a gift to Beloved who kept making hummus in the blender and that was difficult. She knows how to use it, Since she moved in, I have stayed out of our miniscule kitchen which really only has room for one.

2) And if so, do you use the fancy things on it? (Mine came with a mini-blender (used a lot and long ago broken) and these scary disks you used to julienne things (used once).)
No fancy things. Verry Scarry! BL has accidents in the kitchen, cuts, burns, 'bagel cuts' that require stiches. BAN the BAGEL-no really, I cut all Bagels.

3) Do you use a standing mixer? Or one of the hand-held varieties?
Hand held mixer. In drawer. I used that to make a gourmet b'day cake several years ago. Yummy with Calibeaut (sp) chocolate.

(And isn't that color delightfully retro?) 

4) How about a blender? Do you have one? Use it much?
Yes, No.

5) Finally, what old-fashioned, non-electric kitchen tool do you enjoy using the most?
Potato peeler used for Parmesan, can opener-non electric, really , really small kitchen. No electric dishwasher. I'm getting too old to live like this, really!

Bonus: Is there a kitchen appliance or utensil you ONLY use at Thanksgiving or some other holiday? If so, what is it?
My mothers glass pie plates and casseroles. I have cooked Thanksgiving dinner here, but not recently.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Keith Olbermann response to Yes on 8

I thought this was pretty good. Was there a demonstration in your city this past Saturday?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Veteran's Day Friday Five

Posted by Sophia "Earlier this week the U.S. celebrated Veterans' Day, known in many other countries as Remembrance Day. At this time last year I was commuting to a postdoc in Canada, and I was moved by the many red poppies that showed up there on people's lapels in honor of the observance. Unlike a flag lapel pin, which to me has political connotations and implies approval of our current war, the poppies simply honor the sacrifice and dedication of those who have followed their consciences by serving--sometimes dying--in the military.

This week's Friday Five invites reflection on the theme of remembrance, which is also present in the feasts of All Saints, celebrated in many liturgical churches on November 1, and All Souls--known in Latin@ cultures as the Day of the Dead--celebrated in some the following day."

1. Did your church have any special celebrations for All Saints/All Soul's Day?
My church of the moment does, I think, as it's a "holy day of obligation", but I don't feel obliged anymore. Not sure about my next church, whatever that will be?

2. How about Veterans' Day?
Not sure
I don't think so

3. Did you and your family have a holiday for Veterans' Day/Remembrance Day? If so, how did you take advantage of the break?
My father probably got drunk as he often did to commemorate the war or any other holiday. I remember flags in the cemetery.

4. Is there a veteran in your life, living or dead, whose dedication you remember and celebrate? Or perhaps a loved one presently serving in the armed forces?
My father who was a disabled Veteran of WWII and probably had PTSD, though there wasn't a word for it then.

5. Do you have any personal rituals which help you remember and connect with loved ones who have passed on?
I have worked with veterans with dual diagnosis, substance abuse and mental illness for parts of my career. Can you call that a personal ritual? BTW, the VA does not call SA a disability, they call this willful disobedience and discharge the the vet for it with less than an honorable discharge. This means that the vet cannot use the VA for treatment for their substance abuse which they probably started to treat their PTSD!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Prayer Booths

They're big news in NY and some people are using them to pray.

NEW YORK (AP) — You could mistake it for a typical New York City phone booth. But instead of an image of a phone, the side panels depict folded hands — and the word "prayer" instead of "telephone." Oh, and there's a flip-down kneeler.
The Public Prayer Booth was conceived by Dylan Mortimer, a recent graduate of New York's School of Visual Arts who lives in Kansas City.
The 29-year-old said he wanted to spark dialogue about prayer.
The public installation is sponsored by the city's Arts in the Park program.
A pair of the booths can be found near the entrance to the Roosevelt Island tram in midtown Manhattan until Dec. 7.
Jackson, Tenn., and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, also have Mortimer Prayer Booths.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Funny Papers Friday Five

Presbyterian Gal posted this funny FF: "After an exhausting election here in the states it's time for some spirit lifting! Join me with a nice cup of tea or coffee or cocoa and let's sit back and read the Funny Papers!"

1. What was your favorite comic strip as a child?
I liked a lot of them and they changed as my age changed. I remember Lulu, Nancy and Slugo, Dondie (refuge child from WWII adopted by a rich man, yet constantly getting into dangerous situations.) I also bought comic books, the superman series in particular.

2. Which comic strip today most consistently tickles your funny bone? Dilbert! I tell Beloved she's the woman with the triangle hair.

3. Which Peanuts character is closest to being you?
Probably Peppermint Patty or Marcie who I know are more than just 'best friends." Charlie Brown is Marcie's 'beard.'

4. Some say that comic strips have replaced philosophy as a paying job, so to speak. Does this ring true with you?
Have your read Dilbert?

5. What do you think the appeal is for the really long running comic strips like Blondie, Family Circus, Dennis the Menace as some examples?
These are not my favorites-actually I never see them these days as the Times doesn't have a comic section-so I'm not sure. (I read the funnies in other people's Daily News or New York Post, but OF COURSE I would never buy those papers! Cough, Cough! Ahem.

Bonus question: Which discontinued comic strip would you like to see back in print?
The Far Side by Gary Larsen. I really miss it!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Wasilla Hilbillies-Stop me before I hurt myself

From Newsweek:

NEWSWEEK has also learned that Palin's shopping spree at high-end department stores was more extensive than previously reported. While publicly supporting Palin, McCain's top advisers privately fumed at what they regarded as her outrageous profligacy. One senior aide said that Nicolle Wallace had told Palin to buy three suits for the convention and hire a stylist. But instead, the vice presidential nominee began buying for herself and her family—clothes and accessories from top stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus.
According to two knowledgeable sources, a vast majority of the clothes were bought by a wealthy donor, who was shocked when he got the bill. Palin also used low-level staffers to buy some of the clothes on their credit cards. The McCain campaign found out last week when the aides sought reimbursement. One aide estimated that she spent "tens of thousands" more than the reported $150,000, and that $20,000 to $40,000 went to buy clothes for her husband. Some articles of clothing have apparently been lost. An angry aide characterized the shopping spree as "Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast," and said the truth will eventually come out when the Republican Party audits its books.

ed note. Yea, I loose a lot of clothes, too!

Too Late for Prop 8

And You can Visualize the Catholic Knights of Columbus and the Catholic Council of Bishops as you watch this! So Sad.

On the other hand, I'm glad we went to Canada-The Home of the Free, apparently!

Monday, November 3, 2008


When I need a little amusement, and the time changes and I got up at 4 instead of 5 (even though I don't have to work today) and I have neuropathy-stabbing pains that won't let me sleep anyway-then I go to ZeFrank.
I find lots of amazing things to amuse me and have fun with. It's full of toys for adults, but not adult toys. Go there.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Don't Cry for me Sarah Palin

'Borrowed' from Choral Reef (thank you)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Fried Brain Friday Five

Illustration, my brain, my ears, hair missing.

SMAMA posted this quick and dirty Friday Five:

And so I offer this Friday Five with 5 quick hit questions... and a bonus:

1) Your work day is done and the brain is fried, what do you do?
I SHOULD go swimming, but I DO take a nap.

2) Your work week is done and the brain is fried (for some Friday, others Sunday afternoon), what do you do?
See 1. or watch TV. Often at the same time.

3) Like most of us, I often keep myself busy even while programs are on the tv. I stop to watch The Office and 30 Rock on Thursday nights. Do you have 'stop everything' tv programming or books or events or projects that are totally 'for you' moments? 
These days it's the 'Lesbian arc' on Greys Anatomy. So exciting! What's gonna happen?

4) When was the last time you laughed, really laughed? 
At the office. What was so funny? Some ridiculous drama with a consumer that played itself out and the consumer left or was 'taken away.'

5) What is a fairly common item that some people are willing to go cheap on, but you are not.
Scott Toilet Paper  and Kleenex ( for all my delicate parts)

Bonus: It's become trite but is also true that we often benefit the most when we give. Go ahead, toot your own horn. When was the last time you gave until it felt good?
Every day at work.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday Five Moving

Singing Owl posted this FF, " Tell us about the five favorite places you have lived in your lifetime. What did you like? What kind of place was it? Anything special happen there?"

These are not my favorite places, just my five first places...

1. First residence Stambaugh St. Girard, Oh. I've talked about this before. My parents first house. It was a little Cape Cod attached to the property that was where my mother was born and where the family house rested. My Aunt, Uncle and cousin lived there. In between a huge backyard and orchard with Italian prune plum trees, sweet and sour cherry trees, peaches and pear trees, apple trees, a mulberry tree, a quince bush, and more all planted by my grandfather, John/Giovanni. The store, Yezzo's market was just up the street.

2. Second Residence, Ward Ave, Oh., Kind of like moving to the suburbs, though the suburbs of what? It was very differenc. Can't say I liked it, but I had my own room.

3. Then I moved to New York and lived in the end of a hallway in the English Basement of a townhouse in the West Village. It was curtained off and cost $15.00 per week. Had to be my favorite because it was my first place on my own in NYC!

4. Moved to a tenement in the East Village. We had two fires while I lived there. One was so bad I had to move out while the rebuild the walls and replaced the windows. Probably my least favorite.

5. Then I moved two blocks away, across the street from St. Marks in the Bowery:
The apartment was prewar-lots of nice windows and other architectural details. Lost it in the 'divorce.' I was there to watch the 1978 fire at St. Marks.

History and architecture of St. Marks
In 1651, Peter Stuyvesant, Governor of New Amsterdam, purchased land for a bowery or farm from the Dutch West India Company and by 1660 built a family chapel at the present day site of St. Marks Church. Stuyvesant died in 1678 and was interred in a vault under the chapel.

Stuyvesant's great-grandson, Petrus, would donate the chapel property to Episcopal Church in 1793, stipulating that a new chapel be erected and in 1795 the cornerstone of the present day St. Mark's Church was laid. The church was completed and consecrated in 1799. Alexander Hamilton would then provide legal aid in incorporating St. Mark's Church as the first Episcopal Parish independent of Trinity Church in the new world.

In 1828, the church steeple, designed by Martin E. Thomson and Ithiel Towne is erected. Soon after the two-story fieldstone Sunday School is completed. In 1838, St. Mark's Church establishes the Parish Infant School for poor children. Later, in 1861, St Mark's Church commissioned a brick addition, designed and supervised by architect James Renwick, Jr. and the St. Mark's Hospital Association is organized by members of St. Mark's. And at the start of the 20th century, leading architect Ernest Flagg designed the rectory.

While the 19th century saw St Mark's Church grow through its many construction projects the 20th century would be marked by community service and cultural expansion. Several Dutch dignitaries made stops by the church on their visit to the states. In 1952, Queen Juliana of the Netherlands would visit the church and lay a wreath given by her mother, Queen Wilhelmina, at the bust of Peter Stuyvesant. And later, in 1981 and 1982, Princess Margriet and Queen Beatrix, both of the Netherlands would visit.

In 1966, The Poetry Project and The Film Project (later to become the Millennium Film Workshop), were founded. And in 1975, The Danspace Project is founded by Larry Fagin; the Community Documentation Workshop under the direction of Arthur Tobler is established; and the Preservation Youth Project expands to a full-time Work Training Program and under the supervision of artisan teachers undertakes mission of the preserving St Mark's landmark exterior.

On July 27, 1978, a fire nearly destroyed St. Mark's Church. The Citizens to Save St Mark's was founded to raise funds for its reconstruction and the Preservation Youth Project undertakes the reconstruction supervised by architects Harold Edleman and craftspeople provided by preservation contractor I. Maas & Sons. The Landmark Fund emerged from the Citizens to Save St Mark's and continues to exist to help maintain and preserve St. Mark's Church for future generations. Restoration finished in 1986."

Thursday, October 23, 2008

In case you were wondering

Public Radio reported this morning that the Republican National Party has spent $150,000 at Saks Fifth Ave. on Sarah Palin's wardrobe. I guess camo's just won't cut it on the campaign trail...

PS For those who watch "What Not to Wear" Stacey and Clinton give their contestents $5,000. to shop. Let's see. 150,000. divided by 5,000 is 30. Ever wonder how you would spend $5,000. pm clothes in two days? Now multiply that by 30! Hmmm. They Should have called Clinton and Stacey! If she doesn't get the job she should have to give the clothes to Dressed for Success (a non-profit to help people with disabilities or low incomes to get clothing for job interviews.)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday Five Coin Toss Edition

Friday Five: Coin Toss Edition
Well, Gals and Pals, this weekend we'll be rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar's, and that has me thinking about coinage.

1) When was the last time you flipped a coin or even saw one flipped in person?
Actually, yesterday we had a meeting with the Queens office of our organization on naming a new consortium. The toss, on whose name came first, Brooklyn or Queens. Queens won. I work for Brooklyn ;-(

2) Do you have any foreign coins in your house? If so, where are they from?
We have euros, Loonys and Twoneys from Canada, and misc. paper money that my mother had saved from my fathers travels during WWII.

3) A penny saved is a penny earned, they say. But let's get serious. Is there a special place in heaven for pennies, or do you think they'll find a special place in, well, the other place?
I used to toss pennies in a jar then once in a while, take them to the bank. Now that the price of copper exceeds one cent per weight, I'm saving those damn pennys!

4) How much did you get from the tooth fairy when you were a child? and if you have children of your own, do they get coins, or paper money? (I hear there may be some inflation.)
I vaguely remember a quarter, but it could have been a dollar. I may have inflation of the brain.

5) Did anyone in your household collect the state quarters? And did anyone in your household manage to sustain the interest required to stick with it?
Uh, no.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday Five Business Trip

Friday Five: Business Trip

"So for today's Friday Five, we're invited to share your experiences with the exciting, challenging world of business travel.... "

1. Does your job ever call for travel? Is this a joy or a burden?
It does call for travel once or twice a year and it's some of both. I have the hardest time saving receipts and locating them after and finally filling out all the required forms to get reimbursement (from the government I work for.) Some folks in my office travel frequently-I'd venture to say they abuse the the privilege- as I'm the training coordinator on top of everything else-but that wouldn't be nice.

2. How about that of your spouse or partner?
She loves to travel to the places she goes, though she gets to go to nice places in the US for longer periods of time. I often meet her and we make a vacation of it. Orlando, Las Vegas, Dallas to name a few.

3. What was the best business trip you ever took?
When I was in my previous career, It was to Chicago for an afternoon meeting with two of my office chums. We made a weekend of it, it was summer and we had a great time-or so I remember it. Swimming in Lake Michigan and various other sport.

4. ...and the worst, of course?
Just some of the more boring ones. Can't say I can pick one.

5. What would make your next business trip perfect?
Perhaps if it were out of NY State for once! Unlikely that would happen since I work for the state, but the training agency also trains Puerto Rico, so maybe someday they'll send us there...fat chance in this economy.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Priest comes out against Proposition 8

My friend Roe sent me this. Going against the archbishop, this priest preached his heart and jeopardized his career and vocation.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Incredible Edible Meme

This is a list of food and drink that someone -- I forget who -- thinks we all need to taste before we die. The boldfaced items are things that I myself have actually eaten.

1. Venison.
2. Nettle tea.
3. Huevos rancheros.
4. Steak tartare. 
5. Crocodile.
6. Black pudding.
7. Cheese fondue.
8. Carp.
9. Borscht. 
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari. 
12. Pho. Yum, good soup
13. PB&J sandwich.
14. Aloo gobi. delish Indian veggies
15. Hot dog from a street cart. In NY we call them dirty water hot dogs.
16. Epoisses.
17. Black truffle. but rarely...
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes. but not recently...
19. Steamed pork buns. lunch on the run
20. Pistachio ice cream. I prefer chocolate
21. Heirloom tomatoes. All over the farmers market
22. Fresh wild berries. 
23. Foie gras. No liver for me forced or otherwise!
24. Rice and beans. All over my neighborhood!
25. Brawn, or headcheese. Yuck!
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper. Too hot!
27. Dulce de leche. Yum. Sold at Big Bootly bakery -makin my booty to big!
28. Oysters. I've caught and opened my own on the east end of Long Island in December
29. Baklava.
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas. From the corner Korean 24 hour fruit stand
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl. I prefer Manhattan-the red one.
33. Salted lassi. (I'll salt anything!)
34. Sauerkraut. 
35. Root beer float. When I was a kid
36. Cognac with a fat cigar. A without B, No phallic symbols necessary!
37. Clotted cream tea. at the Plaza Hotel
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O. 
39. Gumbo.
40. Oxtail. 
41. Curried goat. very delicious and delicate at multicultural day at the office-my office-very multicultural-3 people from Africa, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Russia, Muslim, Jewish, Catholic, Gay (3, at least), not, Irish, various other islands with delicious foods. That's all I can remember right now.  
42. Whole insects. in Broccoli of course. Ultra-Orthodox Jews consider it to be not kosher because it can't be cleaned properly!
43. Phaal. hot stuff
44. Goat's milk. as cheese
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$130 or more. not recently but delicious
46. Fugu. I've caught and eaten the North American form-small blow fish- which is delicious!
47. Chicken tikka masala.
48. Eel. Also caught and eaten, at night, while drunk.
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut.
50. Sea urchin.
51. Prickly pear. 
52. Umeboshi.
53. Abalone. Once on Fisherman's Wharf  in SF on my 16th birthday. Hated it!
54. Paneer.
55. McDonald's Big Mac Meal. I don't like all the gunk they put on it. 
56. Spaetzle. 
57. Dirty gin martini.
58. Beer above 8% ABV. but not recently
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips. Yuck again. Who said this was any replacement for chocolate!
61. S'mores.
62. Sweetbreads. Not sweet and not bread.
63. Kaolin. Wikipedia said this is clay in which case I've eaten it as a kid.
64. Currywurst
66. Frogs' legs. tiny bones
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake.  Yes to all, # 2 with chocolate dip
68. Haggis. oh no! On Robert Burns birthday, we were at a wonderful place called Mohonk Mountain House. The Burns Society was there celebrating Scottish culture in full regalia-it was beautiful. Haggis,  was on the menu, marched in, presented, and served to every diner. One of our party actually ate it then had an allergic reaction. Fortunately, Mohonk is so big, they keep a doctor on premised every weekend!
69. Fried plantain.
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette. My sphincter tightens
71. Gazpacho. 
72. Caviar and blini. yum I wish I could afford it
73. Louche absinthe. 
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill. 
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie.
78. Snail. like eating little rubber bands
79. Lapsang souchong. tea
80. Bellini. But not recently
81. Tom yum. lots of Thai restaurant in my neighborhood and I love the flavors
82. Eggs Benedict. not so much any more, too rich
83. Pocky. 
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant. It was an anniversary outing.
From the NY Times: "It's not hard to understand why New Yorkers keep a warm spot in their hearts for Chanterelle." I'm not sure how many courses we had, but dessert was 3, which won my heart!
85. Kobe beef. also too rich and too soft
86. Hare. little bones
87. Goulash
88. Flowers. I've had fried squash blossoms stuffes with something
89. Horse.
90. Criollo chocolate.
91. SPAM. I used to make sandwiches for may father, but never tasted the stuff
92. Soft shell crab. but I prefer picking the hard shell guys
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish.
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox. Popular in NYC, though most people eat nova which is less salty, I love the salty belly lox. Note to "L Word":  They use lox in Japanese restaurants here in maki rolls-with cream cheese!
97. Lobster Thermidor. Not anymore, way too rich!
98. Polenta. love it
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee.

If you read this, you're tagged!

A Franciscan Friday Five

Sally said: “I would like to dedicate this Friday Five to St Francis of Assisi.”
She posted a Friday dedicated to St. Francis, as this is his feast day.

1. Saint Francis experienced a life changing call, has anything in your journey so far challenged you to alter your lifestyle?
Several things have done so. I worked in the interior design business from 1972 to about 1985, first in the design end and in the business end. In 1985, you mar remember, we were in the early days of the AIDS epidemic and the design business was hit hard, with my clients and colleagues getting sick and dying on a daily basis. It had a profound effect on me and forced me to reevaluate my vocational life and eventually to return to school and eventually to become a counselor.

2. Francis experienced mocking and persecution, quite often in the comfortable west this is far from our experience. If you have experienced something like this how do you deal with it, if not how does it challenge you to pray for those whose experience is daily persecution?
Well, there was coming out. Worrying about being discovered, being rejected, being declared mentally ill-we're talking about the late 60's here! It took moving from Ohio to NY in 1972 to actually act on my orientation. On a much smaller level, As an person of Italian heritage attending an Irish Catholic parochial school I took a lot of ribbing and was occasionally treated as a second class citizen. (still don’t reply to their alumni donation requests…) so there!

3 .St Francis had female counterpart in St Clare, she was influenced by St Francis sermon and went on to found the Poor Clare's, like the Franciscans they depended on alms this was unheard of for women in that time, but she persisted and gained permission to found the order. How important are role models like St Clare to you? Do you have a particular female role model whose courage and dedication inspires you? If so share their story....
I have lots of female role models. I’ll think of a particular one to post later. A lot of them are part of this group!

4. Francis loved nature and animals, how important is an expressed love of the created world to the Christian message today?
Nature is important to all of the spiritual world, not just Christian.

5. On a lighter note; have you ever led a service of blessing for animals, or a pet service, was it a success, did you enjoy it, and would you do it again?
No, can't say as I have not have I been to one.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday Five-Johnny Appleseed

Raise your hand if you know that today is Johnny Appleseed Day!

September 26, 1774 was his birthday. Johnny Appleseed" (John Chapman) is one of America's great legends. He was a nurseryman who started out planting trees in western New York and Pennsylvania, but he was among those who were captivated by the movement west across the continent.

As Johnny travelled west (at that time, the "West" was places like Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois) he planted apple trees and sold trees to settlers. With every apple tree that was planted, the legend grew. A devout Christian, he was known to preach during his travels. According to legend, Johny Appleseed led a simple life and wanted little. He rarely accepted money and often donated any money he received to churches or charities. He planted hundereds of orchards, considering it his sevice to humankind. There is some link between Johny Appleseed and very early Arbor Day celebrations.

So, in honor of this interesting fellow, let's get on with the questions!

1. What is your favorite apple dish? (BIG BONUS points if you share the recipe.)
I love apple pie. Don't have time now to look up my mothers recipe, maybe later. She made a good one. Actually, every kind of pie she made was wonderful.

2. Have you ever planted a tree? If so was there a special reason or occasion you can tell us about?
I planted a lot of trees when I had a country house. Two I remember were housewarming gifts from Ronnie Bamberger and Olga. They were Italian prune plums because she remembered that we had an orchard of them when I was growing up. The deers got them, alas.

3. Does the idea of roaming around the countryside (preaching or otherwise) appeal to you? Why or why not?
I like the idea of roaming around the country meeting people, but not preaching. Maybe working for lgbt rights or just traveling.

4. Who is a favorite "historical legend" of yours?
I love the Groundhog, that harbinger of spring. Groundhog Day is my favorite unsung holiday.

5. Johnny Appleseed was said to sing to keep up his spirits as he travelled the roads of the west. Do you have a song that comes when you are trying to be cheerful, or is there something else that you often do?
From Auntie Mame by Patrick Dennis, the Musical! (the one with Lucille Ball-couldn't find the Broadway either one)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Perplexed in Church

In the middle of my "church search" I've become complacent. I found a group of Catholic Lesbians and a Jesuit run Catholic church which seems to welcome their lesbian and gay parishioners, with announcements in the bulletin for our meetings! (We're having a recently ordained woman priest at our next meeting and in yesterdays bulletin there was an announcement in a with a border! If the archbishop finds out we'll all be excommunicated...)
Well, to get to the point, I went to an actual mass, after attending meetings for a year and a half, when my Ohio family visited. It wasn't so bad and all my friends were there. They went to brunch after. So I've been going to mass every once in awhile, maybe twice a month. It's been...pleasant, although not quite what I'm looking for, but part of what I'm looking for is community and that was there. Yesterday I attended mass. One of my group said to me, "What are you doing here?" I was dumbfounded. Then I felt guilty-from my years of Catholic schooling. Then I became defensive-with my whole spiel about discernment and searching and attending other churches. I sat through the beginning of the service unable to concentrate on spiritual things, obsessing on what I perceived to be a slight or comment on not attending every week (like a good little Catholic girl.) I finally passed a note saying "I should have said to you: 'I'm here doing what every one else is doing.'
After the service, my regular group disappeared, some to do tabling in the church, my critic to have coffee with her special friend. I was alone to process my thoughts. It may be time to stop my complacency and find a place that will truly serve my needs with a woman on the altar and no childhood baggage.