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Friday, November 25, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving, happy birthday to Susie and here comes the cat!

Yesterday is over and I think I accomplished everything I set out to do.  Told Susie happy birthday, went to Florence and ate way more food than I should.  Played with the baby for 16 minutes and then drove home the back way through Wetmore.   Pretty drive but I only seen one lonely little deer.  I got home and lit the emergency candle I am making for the homeless.  I had lit it at Arlene and Hillary's and let it burn for 2 hours.  This one is made of cardboard strips and paraffin in a cat food can.  It started out very small and burned like that for about an hour and a half before I blew it out and came home. Perhaps I should back up and tell you about said candles before you think I am nuts.
I know the homeless population needs a heat source at times so I got on youtube (and I do love that channel) and typed in "emergency candles" and up popped my information.  This particular one calls for tuna/catfood/altoid cans, paraffin and wicks.  Looked pretty simple to me, so I assembled said ingredients and began the process.
Paraffin
wicks
Something to melt it in.

And, voila!  There you have the finished product.
Of course this was many tedious hours later after I had cut many cardboard strips and wound them around a tiny wick and pressed them into my chosen containers covered them with melted paraffin and let them cool. Trust me, the winding around the tiny wick with stiff cardboard strips was no easy task, but it can be done.
The finished product is ready for testing.


And like any kid with a new toy, it was imperative that my creation be tested and the testing witnessed by an impartial audience.  I started out with Arlene, Alonzo, Jamie, Bret, Amanda, Jiraiya, a  little black dog.  That was before Bret hollered that the flame was about to get into the curtain, so I came home and finished with this audience.

The findings were thus:  A candle in a tuna can will start out as a small flickering flame and burn for  about 1 hour.  Then the flame begins to spread and burn the wax from the cardboard.  At this point it is best to move it away from the kitchen curtains, blow it out and bring it home to finish the test, and that is what I did.  Of course, I decided to set it in a bucket just in case and it is a good thing I did.  Before it was all over there were flames over a foot high and the whole can was an inferno.  Total burn time about 3 hours.  Oh, the things I do for my projects.
Ok, it is ready and I shall deliver them to Posado on Monday when we make supper for the kids there.  For now, I am off to the shower and then going to do some baking.  And going out east to see Shirley and her grandson and probably pop in on Los Pobres just for grins and giggles.



Tuesday, November 22, 2016

What is a friend and where can I buy one?

I woke up at 4:10 this morning.  That is not unusual.  What is unusual was the emptiness I felt.  Not emptiness of the soul, because I always have God with me.  Always.  I could not live if I did not.  This emptiness is different.  I guess I can only describe it as a lack of a  life force.  Now what that means can be a variety of things, but for me it seems to be the force that makes me want to face the day with a big smile and reach out and grab life with both hands.  That is missing.
 
I opened the back door to find something I did not expect in the form of rain.  Not just a sprinkle, but real rain falling and splashing on the back sidewalk.  That is usually enough to pull me out of a funk, but not today.  I put a turkey in the oven to bake, tidied the kitchen a bit and thought about this new phase of my thought process.  Emptiness is not a feeling I like.  So I will analyze it here and see if that helps.

I have friends; lots of friends.  Or do I?  Webster defines a friend as "1.  a person attached to another by affection or regard.   (Regard is defined as esteem or respect by the same dictionary.)  2.  a patron; a supporter.  3.  a person who is not hostile.  4.  a member of the Society of Friends:  a Quaker."  Now I have a lot of the 1, 2, 3, and even a few 4.  But I do not agree with his definition of "friend."  To me, a friend is so much more.

My mother always told me that to "have a friend you have to be a friend."  She also told me that if I could reach my golden years and count my true friends on one hand I was to consider myself blessed.  So here I am looking back down the road of my life and it looks like a damn war zone.   My best friend all through grade school was Barbara Hawk.  I do not know what became of her.   I remember when I was in  high school, I had a friend named Carol Mason who had moved to California.  She was going to give me a one way train ticket to San Diego for my graduation.  That never happened.

Then I got married and had babies and divorces and lots of acquaintences, but few "friends".  Gilbert Fields was my friend, but he died early on in the AIDS epidemic.  He is the reason I am an activist today.   ( I wonder if he ever checks in on me?)

 Oh, there are a  couple.  Vi Luna and Evelyn Decker come to mind.  I met them 50 years ago when I worked at the Red Carpet.  I have not seen Vi for several years, but I do see Evelyn and talk to her regularly.  She was out this summer.  So, let's see, that is 2.  And then there is Shirley Bagbey.  Shirley lived out here in the county and then moved to Kansas City 7 years ago.  Now she is back and we talk every day and do "stuff."  That makes 3.  I consider all my kids as friends, but technically they are family, so they go in that category.  There is a man in my life who is sort of boyfriend, kind of a friend and more like family, but not really.

I guess maybe I am expecting too much out of life.  Maybe I should not take life so seriously.  It is all an illusion anyway, or at least that is how it appears to me.  I suppose it is the getting old that bothers me.  I had such high hopes when I was young and even into middle age.  I was optimistic enough back then to adopt a 7 year old kid when I was 50 years old.  I look at the world around me and I hear the rumblings that they will have a pill someday that will keep us alive forever.  Sorry, but that sounds like pure hell to me.

Somewhere I am remembering "Greater love hath no man than he lay down his life for his friends."  That may not be accurate, but it sounds good to me.  I want a friend like that.

So, I guess I will go open the kitchen window and listen to the rain.  The sun should come up pretty soon and the day will grab me and suck me dry.  Life has a way of doing that!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

My life after Trump

Anyone who knows me even slightly, knows I am a liberal.  I did not say Democrat, but I did say liberal.  And that should be in capital letters.  I was once called a flaming liberal by a man I cared about at the time.  Well, actually it was the "f" word, but not flaming.  My response was to walk away.  My mother always said to "call a spade, a spade."  She also said a "A lie by any other name is still a lie."  And "Be true to yourself because at the end of the day there is no one there, but you and your God."  So I have tried to mostly follow what my momma said, and that night was no different.  I must confess I felt a small tinge of sadness as I turned my back and walked away.  I knew I would miss the little guy, but it had to be done for me to live with myself.

Democrats and Republicans can live together, but not Conservatives and Liberals.  So I went off to my AIDS Walk and my Los Pobres and my Gay and Lesbian friends.  I went to my UCC church that my sister in law had called "a den of iniquity".  I frequented the soup kitchen and took water to the homeless.  And Sherman went his way.

For 5 months he did what ever it is big, tall, bigoted men do.  I heard not a word from nor about him.  I did kind of miss him sometimes, but life is never what we want as much as what we get.  I actually started dating a guy who, while he may not have approved of my Liberal stance, he accepted it.  That was about all I could hope for so I went with that. Damn!  I just realized that I can not remember his name!

Now those of you who know me, also know that I am a very simple minded woman and almost completely unable to lie.  I have been called many things in my life, but never a liar.  If I think something, I say it.  If I feel something, I do it.  This guy was not like that.  He fawned over me like I was some sort of goddess, but it was not in his eyes.  I did not see the acceptance and giving that needed to be there.  Oh, he was free enough with the old checkbook, but the smile on his lips never reached his eyes, and that is very important to me.  So when my phone rang that cold night right after Christmas and it was Sherman on the other end,  I could see hope for life again.  Intelligent conversation.  Eating at the greasy spoon on Northern.  And this time it was different.

He no longer watched Fox news 24/7.
He met with Sister Nancy at his home.
He carried my food up the stairs at the SCAP office when I held my lunches.

Those of you who know me know the story of Sherman and how he remained a Republican, but became a liberal.  You know how he died and you know he proposed on his deathbed and changed his will to leave me everything he had in life.  His clothes went to Los Pobres along with all the groceries he had rat holed.  When his will was probated he gave me $45,000 for me to use "as I saw fit for my causes."  And I did.

If you go back in this blog you can find a story called "Long Ago and Not Very Far Away."  He knew I liked to write and he wanted me to write our story.  So I did.  Or just email me and I will send it to you in pdf. fomat.  loumercer3@aol.com

So, back to my life after Trump.  I tell you about Sherman because he would have been a Trump supporter before he met me.  Now do not think for one moment that I am special.  I am not.  The only inference that sentence has is to make clear that I was the instrument that lead Sherman to explore the avenue that there were other beliefs out there and that the gays were actually human beings with human feelings.  He learned that there was a wider world where "wet backs" labored in the fields to feed him and that homeless people slept under bridges because they had no where else to go.  He learned that "soup kitchens"  feed hungry people and missions feed hungry souls.  He learned that a little kindness goes a long way and just because you think one way, does not mean everyone else does.

I hope we can "come together"  after Trump, but right now my soul is tattered by a man that hates gays, women, Obama, immigrants, and apparently everyone that is not him.  I did not make this up.  He said it.  He was very clear about the blacks.  I know the day is coming when he is going to have to tell his supporters that there is not going to be a wall built between us and Mexico and I fear civil unrest when that day comes.  What can we do?

It beats hell out of me!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

My annual power lunch!



 What a wonderful group of people I had assembled at my table yesterday noon!  Starting on the left is Shirley Bagby, my dear friend who moved here from Kansas City this summer.  Then Paul Gilbert my long time friend from where ever I found the little fellow.  They are talking horse talk.  Shirley used to go on lots of trail rides and Paul just bought a horse named "Speeders".  On Paul's left and standing in the background is Sister Nancy Crafton who runs Los Pobres.  The lady with the white hair is Nancy Williams, my dear friend who entices me for Bacon once a week.  On her left (and you can not see her at all  (Well, maybe her hair and 2 inches of her forehead.) is sweet little Jolene Hausman, my volunteer coordinator at hospice.  In the plaid shirt is Sister Barbara , followed by Sandy Roybal (?) who is the nurse at Los Pobres.  The empty chair is mine.

And this is Pastor Faye Gallegos who has been my dear friend since she was pastor at Christ Church longer ago than I can remember.
Once a year I like to gather like minded people together and sort of network, if you get my drift.  This year Pastor Faye brought a very special gift to be given to Los Pobres.  I forgot the horses name, but Faye's daughter bought it many years ago and cherished it. She finally decided she would like it to go to a special home and have a special owner.  Sister Nancy and Pastor Faye came up with the perfect home for the little ball of fur.  He (or she as the need arises) shall be the new entertainment for the little kids that go to Los Pobres with their parents.  While the parent(s) are talking to Sister or seeing the nurse or case worker, the children can ride across the desert or along the river or wherever they choose!  Sister has been wanting something like this for a very long time and Pastor Faye and her daughter Patty made her wish come true.
Daisy bids a fond farewell to the little rocking horse.
Well, the chicken and noodles are put away, the people have all left and the house is back empty.  This year is going to be memory very soon.  If you are a like minded person and would like to attend the next one, contact me.  We meet new friends and renew old acquaintances.  Just a day for us!
Jolene made us lovely cookies, but unfortunately  I kept them all for myself! Life sucks that way.  I am trying to post a picture of them, but that is not happening either!  Oh, wait!  There it is!  They are chocolate covered Oreos, just in case you wondered!!


Friday, September 30, 2016

Yep, I am marching onward.

Woke up his morning and had a serious thought.  Probably not my first one, but this one seemed a little morbid even to me!  My Happy Birthday is coming and while that is a cause for celebration it is also a very sobering thought.  Remember when we were young and and our birthday came and it was a milestone?   For me it was great!  When I was young that meant I took 8 or whatever number of pennies to church and stood in front of the kids and dropped the pennies one at a time into the candle bank on the table.  As each penny dropped the kids all counted;  "One!" "Two!"  Little did it matter that I had started out with pennies and I was going home with nothing.  For a few minutes I had been the center of the room.  Everyone had looked at me and sang the birthday song to me!  For a few minutes everyone was happy that I was born. 
But as I grew older the symbolism changed.  Thirteen meant I was not a teenager.  Then sweet sixteen and I never really knew what that signified.  Eighteen was the legal age of consent and shortly thereafter I married for the first time.  By my twenty-first birthday I had started my family.  By 30 I was a single mother with 5 kids.  What had started out as marking milestones was now becoming more of a habit.  The cakes got bigger and the candles got hotter.  By the time I reached 40 I was settled into what would become my middle age with my husband that would prove to be my last.  We lived a very comfortable life.  The kids left home and we adopted a grandson. 
My 60th birthday found me a widow with a pre-teen son.  It was at this time that I began toying with the idea of a "bucket list".  Now be aware that I said "toying with the idea."  An old woman with a teenage son does not have time to entertain many ideas at all.  First get him through school and out into the world and then figure out my life.  That proved almost an insurmountable task, but now it is finished.  He has a home and a new son and needless to say, a woman to replace me.  So here I set contemplating my birthday.
Let's take stock of the situation.  I have no goals set on the horizon.   I guess I do though.  Take this  morning.  It is a blessing.  I woke up, stood upright and am taking nourishment.  I have my day planned.  I am going to go buy Ziploc bags to bag up 25 pounds of  flour that was given to me to take to Los Pobres.  I am going to make a batch of cinnamon rolls to give away.  This afternoon I have a  lady  to set with so her daughter can catch a break.  I digressed there for a moment.  Back to the birthday thing.
I guess what I am trying to convey here is that when I was young and my life stretched out on an endless path before me, birthdays were important.  Now they are not.  At some point they stopped being celebrations and became more of mileposts on the way to the grave.  Every time I add a year to my age, I get closer to not having another birthday.  The good Lord in his wisdom gave us only so many years.  Some he did not give so many, but some he gave a lot.  I am afraid I am one of those to which he has given a whole lot.  I see my life behind me and I look ahead.  I see no hope of a quiet peaceful death any time soon.  The body keeps functioning and the mind keeps working and the grass keeps growing.  And I keep mowing it. 
I wish life had come with an instruction book.  But if it had, would I have read it?  If I had read it, would I have followed the instructions? I knew on some level that my first husband was going to be a mistake.  But I forged ahead.  Had I not, I would not have all my children.  I can not imagine my life without my kids.  And my grandkids.  And my great grandkids.  I have made lots of mistakes, but there is no getting the toothpaste back in the tube, as my mother used to say.  Sorry is a word that is over used because in my life "sorry" just doesn't even touch it.  But here I am, alive and well.  One of my kids tells me "What doesn't kill you makes you strong."  I expect I am one strong bitch by this time.
So, I will mark another year down the tubes and prepare for another to come.  That is how we do it here on earth.  Some day the good Lord may see fit to reach down and tap me on the shoulder.  When that happens I am going to listen this time.  And my kids will stand at my memorial and say nice things about me.  Maybe.  At least I hope so.
I remember how overwhelmed I was the day we buried my mother.  That was a lot of years ago, but the loneliness is still there.  Kids just have a special bond with their mother.  My kids  will be no different.  I hope they can take comfort in knowing that I loved them all.  I loved everyone the same; not one more than the other.  Each one was special in a special way.   At the risk of becoming morbid, I need to wind this up and go bake something.
So Happy Birthday to me!  Another one in the books as we used to say after a catering job or when one of my wedding cakes went out the door.  Enjoy this day.  Enjoy your next day.  Love your family and love your friends.  Do a good deed along the way and smile at someone on the street.  You have today.  Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.  There is no tomorrow. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

My corner of the world is getting smaller.

I woke up this morning in my little bed and lay there for a minute to think about the day ahead.  First I thought about all the shootings and the riots and it made me very sad.  I thought back to when God first made this earth and how perfect it was.  He just wanted companionship and Adam and Eve gave him that, but in typical fashion, they wanted more.  Or at least Eve did.  From the apple to Cain and Able was just a short hop and from there to now it has been all down hill.  Brad and Angelina are divorcing and if I click enough keys I can get all the dirt on that but I really don't care.  Oklahoma is arresting a police officer, but it does not change anything.  The man is still dead whether or not it was intentional or just an honest mistake, his life is gone.

The "Indigenous Tribes" are trying to stop a pipeline.  I can remember when they were Indians and they lived on reservations that were theirs given to them by our Government in exchange for all the rest of the whole United States that they thought was theirs.  What happened to that?  Oh, we needed oil.  Now I remember.  Fossil fuel is what makes our world turn.  We can get wind and solar power, but that is too clean and we will always have wind and sun, or so we think.  What I want to know is why it is only the people on the reservation trying to save our planet?  Why aren't all of us outraged that our government is completely ignoring the fact that this is THEIR land and not ours.  We only have this one earth and unless someone knows something I don't, we need to preserve it and water is just pretty necessary in that equation.

Wars are raging around the world and I have no idea why.  Wait, yes I do.  War is a matter of one person or nation imposing their will and beliefs on another person or nation.  Both sides think they are right.  For some reason our great land seems to think it is our business.  Babies are being aborted and children die from child abuse here in our country on a daily basis.  Animals are mistreated and left on chains to suffer in the back yard of a master who has no heart.  Homeless people beg for a crumb and a blanket to stave off the cold while our city fathers burn their cardboard shacks. 

Where are our peacekeepers?  Where are our Mother Teresa's?  Where are our people who care about our brothers and sisters?  Why is skin color even an issue?  Why is an accent even an issue?  Who is right and who is wrong and what difference does it make in the grand scheme of things?  But wait!  There is hope!

I remember somewhere in the far recesses of my mind a glimpse of news that a huge asteroid or something like that is hurling through space and will most assuredly crash into our dear mother earth.
Think about that!  Will it knock us out of our orbit and send us flying through space with no gravity to keep us implanted on our Terra firma?  It could happen and then would the size of your bank account make a difference?  Would your opinions matter?  Could your friends save you?  Can your fancy BMW go fast enough to save you from the apocalypse that is sure to follow?  Just some thoughts this morning.

Welcome to my world!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The bike lanes are going away!!!

Well, at least they are going away on Fifth street.  I must confess that before I leave the house and drift towards town, I say a prayer to the great white father that I encounter no bikes in town.  The streets are so screwed up with lines going here and there and bikes going both ways on one way streets and cars parked in the middle of the street that it is almost impossible to get from point A to point B without killing someone.  I waited for a car to go the other day after the light had changed and I finally figured out that I was parked.  And no where did I see a bicycle.  At no time in the last 3 years of becoming a cyclist friendly city have I even seen a bike in the lanes designed for them.   Oh, I have seen them on the sidewalk and I have seen them dart across traffic to get to the sidewalk on the other side of the street, but at no time have I seen a cyclist with their little helmets riding in the bike lanes.  Those people are rarer then the Dodo bird which was declared extinct many, many years ago. And do you want to know why?  I will tell you.

Many moons ago when I was a mere child I learned to ride a bike.  And I learned to ride a bike in traffic.  I did not learn to ride on the sidewalk because that was designed for people to walk on, hence the term side walk meant walk on the side. Side walk.  Not side ride.  It was a very simple concept.  If I was riding on the right side of the road the same as a car was driving on the right side of the road I was assured if a car wanted to pass me, the car could speed up and zip out around me.   Anything on wheels follows this rule.  When walking I walk on the left facing traffic.  I can step off the road that way and avoid getting ran over.  Simple concept.  Walk facing traffic and when driving or riding go with the flow.

In this manner I have survived 74 years without a scratch.  It is my opinion that it would have been much simpler and a whole lot cheaper to require a license on a bike and require the owner to pass a test.  Motorcyclists have to and the only difference there is that the motorcycle has a motor and the bike does not.

I understand that their are places where bikes are a major means of transportation and I think had the city fathers just studied how it was done that a lot of frustrations could have been avoided and the city would have saved a lot of money on paint.  My theory on this is that it was not broken so why did they have to fix it?