Saturday, November 30, 2013

Dear Tim (originally posted on May 9, 2010)

December 1st is World AIDS Day, so in honor of a dear friend I knew in college, I am re-posting a letter I wrote to him shortly after learning he had died of AIDS back in the 90's.

Dear Tim,
It's been such a long time since we've talked, but I've never forgotten those wonderful times or the beautiful friendship we shared. They were good times - weren't they? I cannot believe it's been 30 years since we graduated from college and went our separate ways. Where did all that time go?
Tim, you have no idea how many times I have thought about you over the years and wished with all my heart I could pick up the phone and call you --- especially these past 7 years. I really miss those days back in college when I'd come over to visit my boyfriend, your roommate, and he'd be gone and you and I would sit and talk about anything and everything. I think I secretly enjoyed those times as much or more than if my boyfriend had been home. You were such a good friend and an amazing listener. You always made me feel like what I had to say was the most important thing in the world to you and absolutely nothing else mattered at that moment. I really miss your quiet wisdom and sage advice. There was something about you that made you seem older and wiser than your age. Little did I know then that I would have a much better understanding of thatsomething many years later when I had children of my own.
Those 4 years of college, away from home for the first time, finding our way and learning to stand on our own two feet, were some of the best years of my life. And I have come to realize that the people whose friendships meant so much to me during those years were some of the best friends I have ever had. And you Tim were one of those friends. It's such a shame that I am realizing that so late in the game. And looking back on it, as I have so many times, I am shocked at how little thought any of us gave to how we would keep in touch once we graduated and moved on with our lives. How could we have so cavalierly walked away from such great friendships? It wasn't like we had the technology or social networking sites we have today, so what were we thinking? Were our promises to stay in touch simply easier than saying good-bye?
Seven years ago I found out one of my sons was gay. And with this revelation came the realization that I needed to find you. And that is when my search to find you began in earnest. I have never needed to talk to anyone more desperately than I needed to talk to you that day I found out. For it was with that discovery I knew almost instantaneously that you were going to be one of the very first persons I wanted to tell. And I also knew you were going to be the one who could help me understand why my son could possibly believe his dad and I would not love him if we knew he was gay. And I was quite sure you were the one who could help me understand this.
You see Tim, it was my son's secret coming out 23 years later that helped me realize what had always troubled me about your relationship with me. I had always known that you had something you were not willing or ready to share with me or anyone else. I had my suspicions, but I never knew for sure. And I did not want to push it. I figured you were not yet ready to admit it to yourself let alone to any of your friends. It bothered me a lot that you could not tell me, but I never took it personally. I knew it had nothing to do with me. You simply were not ready to share such a big secret or risk the possible fall out. What I didn't realize until I went through my son's ordeal was how much you felt you had to lose by confiding in anyone. And it had to be so much worse back then for you than seven years ago for my son. I realize now that I wasn't able to be the friend you desperately needed me to be, and for that I am so sorry.
I have thought about our relationship so many times these past 7 years. I regret that I never told you how very important you were to me. I regret not being able to tell you that NOTHING would have changed how I felt about you. I regret not being able to be there for you the way you were always there for me. And I regret the pain you must have been going through all alone. But my biggest regret of all is that I will never have the opportunity to tell you any of these things because I found your little brother through facebook last week and he confirmed my darkest fears. I am too late. He told me you passed away 15 years ago due to complications from AIDS. My heart is broken.
All I can do now is say good bye to one of the kindest and most gentle friends I have ever known and hope you can hear me. Thank you for those four great years of friendship. I know we were just kids back then, but I will treasure those memories forever. I wish I could have been the friend you needed back then. Please forgive me.
I love you.


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Must see: Dan Savage on Bill Maher's Real Time and ... he really lets loose

Sorry for the lack of posting. Been competely buried in doctor appointments for my mom. And for those who are dealing with a loved one with dementia, you know that absolutely NOTHING is easy. My heart is breaking watching one of the strongest, most independent people I have ever known slowly slip away.

On a brighter note:

The clip below is NOT safe for work, children, "good" Christians, the faint of heart, those who still walk into Catholic churches, or homophobes, but for everyone else --- enjoy. I found it deliciously good fun, but then it's two of my favorite people: Bill and Dan.


Monday, November 18, 2013

Easy and Honest way to get rid of Jehovah's Witnesses

This tickled me to no end (Hey, it's Monday and shaping up to be a totally sh*tty day):

We don't get this kind of annoying stuff happening much anymore now that we live in a condo. And that's just fine with me, although ... I'd love the chance to try this. It's genius! Talk about turning the tables and putting the invaders in an uncomfortable position ...

Big thanks for the Monday morning giggle Paddy.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Ignorance and Homophobia: The tale of 2 bigots, both make laughingstocks of themselves, but one is a comedic actor, the other pretends to be a "Man of God"

So this morning I had some extra time on my hands and sat down to do some mindless surfing on the internet. Over at Crooks and Liars they had a clip of Pat Robertson telling parents of gay children "that there was a good chance that school officials may have "molested" their kids to recruit them to be homosexuals."

Now there was a day when this kind of blatantly ignorant and homophobic garbage would have upset me so bad, my entire day would have been ruined. No more. I guess I have come to expect this kind of sheer lunacy from Pat Robertson and his ilk, which is not to say this despicable man doesn't still disgust me and cause the bile to rise up into my throat. He is a pathetic and evil man who has enriched himself on the backs of those who can least afford it while passing himself off as a man of God. He is a fraud. He is a snake oil salesman. And he preys on the ignorant and vulnerable. I cannot change any of that, but I can change how I react to him. So I laugh at him. He deserves so much more, but at least he cannot ruin my day anymore.

Then I moved on to AmericaBlog where John had the clip below posted. I laughed. And I was supposed to laugh.

Both clips feature over-the-top ignorant bigots. One has an actor who played an over-the-top ignorant bigot in a 70's sit-com, the other has a clueless buffoon who plays a preacher and man of God. One makes you laugh at your own ignorance, the other makes you laugh at his ignorance.

Thank you Carroll O'Connor aka Archie Bunker. You made people laugh and do some serious soul searching. And that is a good thing. May you rest in peace.

I have nothing good to say about Pat Robertson, but if there is a hell, I've got to think he'll have a front row seat. 


Saturday, November 09, 2013

Giving thanks when thanks is due: Thank you Arizona Senators McCain and Flake and the rest of you brave souls - you did the right thing

Ten Republican Senators did the right thing and voted yes on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which will make it illegal to fire someone based on their sexual orientation or their gender identity! And both of Arizona's very conservative senators were among the 10 who did the right thing.

I am a little late in saying thank you, but I wasn't going to let this opportunity pass. Lord knows when, if ever, I will get another chance to say thank you to a Republican for doing the right thing.

Sadly this is as far as we will probably get since John Boehner has made it clear he opposes ENDA, making it unlikely the bill would even get a vote. 

What a legacy you will have John Boehner. And you will deserve everything they say about you, including the fact that you are a true coward.


Watching these kids react to Gay Marriage videos and feeling so hopeful

I saw this the other day over on AmericaBlog and it really touched me and made me believe that one day we really will live in a world in which being gay and who you love are complete non-issues:


Congratulations Hawaii!!!! Gay marriage soon to be signed into law by Gov. Neil Abercrombie

It has been a long and colorful (see below) journey getting to this point, but with Hawaii's house joining the senate and passing a gay marriage bill today, it looks as though marriage equality will soon be the law of the land. The senate will need to go back and pass an amended version of the bill, but everyone expects the Governor will soon have a bill on his desk to sign.

Recap of the events leading up to this momentous occasion:

  • This brought out a geneticist who felt he needed to testify after hearing numerous claims that a person "chooses" to be gay. And of course incredulity ensues, who needs stinkin science when we have the bible? A must watch: 
  • Then to break the monotony of generic anti-gay, biblical doomsday testimony, we had Tenari Maafala, "an active-duty police officer who is also the president of Hawaii's police union, told state representatives that as a law enforcement official, he's obligated to enforce state law, but if marriage equality passes in the Aloha State, he won't be able to do that." And claiming: "You'd Have to Kill Me Before I'll Enforce Marriage Equality":

But no matter the road traveled to get there, the outcome was the right one! 

Thank you Hawaii. Once again fairness, equality, dignity for all, and the freedom to marry the one you love prevails over protecting some people's comfort zones! 


Man oh man does Bill Maher's New Rules editorial on Christian Values strike a chord with me!

Bill Maher asks a question so many of us have been asking for quite some time now: "When Did Christian Values Change From Love Thy Neighbor to F*ck Off and Die?"


Thursday, November 07, 2013

Illinois Lawmakers Pass Same-Sex Marriage Bill making it the 15th state to allow gay marriages

Woo Hoo!!!
Illinois is a governor's signature away from becoming the 15th state to allow gay marriages.
The Illinois Senate followed the  House in approving same-sex marriage on Tuesday.
Gov. Pat Quinn, who was present for the vote, is expected to sign it into law sometime in the future, meaning it will go into effect next summer.
What makes this victory all the more sweet for me personally is that Illinois is also home to one of the most vicious, hateful, repugnant, anti-gay groups masquerading as a family advocacy organization that I have ever seen, The Illinois Family Institute. I can only imagine what is going on at their headquarters right now. They lost this one despite all the lies, hate, and fear mongering they've gotten so good at spreading. Envisioning these nasty people grappling with this huge loss tickles me to no end. And if that makes me sound evil, so be it. These are despicable people who have caused so much pain and heartache, I simply cannot feel anything but glee. They deserve nothing more.

Here is what the Southern Poverty Law Center has to say about them:
The Illinois Family Institute (IFI), which says it dedicates itself to issues surrounding “marriage, family, life and liberty,” is heavily focused on attacking gay people and homosexuality in general. It maintains “working partnerships” with other hard-line groups including the Family Research Council (see above) and the Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative legal center based in Phoenix. In early 2010, it launched Illinois Family Action as a political-action sister organization. 
And if you can stomach it, here are links (here and here) to a whole collection of their greatest hits. This organization is not an advocate for family, it is an advocate for hate.


Sorry for the inaction, we slipped away for a few days ...

My husband and I had the opportunity to sneak away for a few days and go to Washington D.C. to visit our oldest son and his new wife and ... we took it. It was a wonderful time.

While there we played tourists and our son was able to get us passes to sit in the Senate gallery and watch whatever was going on at that moment. I was really excited even though it was early in the day on a Monday and my son had warned us that most senators were probably still on flights returning back to DC. But still I held out hope we'd get to see at least one discussion on a cloture vote on ENDA. Unfortunately all we got to see was this:

And adding to that disappointment, our son later informed us that about 15 minutes after we left, Senator Tammy Baldwin D-WI, our first openly gay Senator, delivered a floor speech on ENDA. Adding salt to that wound was the reason we left so early: a damned parking meter that was about to expire. DRATS!

Never-the-less, it was a crazy, action-packed few days and a wonderful time. But then ... any time we can see one of our kids (and their significant others), it is a wonderful time. And even watching GOP gasbags like Senator Barrasso bloviate about failed laws that have not even been implemented yet can't put a dent on that.

But here is what we missed because of that uncooperative parking meter: