Monday, July 31, 2017


My early childhood vacations were crazy family productions.  It was all my mom's extended family.  Dad and uncle-by-marriage were the two "outsiders".  I guess it was all my grandmother's idea and I have no idea how the cabins at Clear Pond in East Carver, MA was the place that we schlepped bedding, clothing, pots and pans, etc to.  I don't know that my mom or my aunt considered these weeks much of a vacation because they involved at least one major trip to the grocery store and cooking dinner every night.

Of course my eldest cousin and I thought it was all pretty cool.  We got to go swimming every day, get ice cream from the truck that visited Clear Pond and there were other kids to play with.  When we went to the grocery store, there was walking the town line tiled into the floor.  We'd usually make a day trip to the Edeville Railroad to ride through the cranberry bogs or to Plymouth to see historical things.

But by the time I started school, we stopped making those trips.  In fact, even just with my parents I didn't travel much.  We did day trips to Queens in the summers of 1964 and '65 for the World's Fair.  I would spend one or two weeks at Girl Scout camp.  That was it.

Then we moved.  That move seemed to finally establish my parents and I as the family without all the rest of her family.  The second summer we were in our new home, Dad took a week off from work and we drove to VT.  We stayed in nice little family-run New England motels and saw pretty little towns in the Bennington area.  The three of us enjoyed it so much we did it for 3 more summers.  One year going up the 91 corridor to Springfield and Bellows Falls, another going up to Burlington and Shelburn. Sometimes we stayed at Howard Johnson's and others at those small family businesses.

The summer after I graduated high school we went even farther north.  We took the ferry from Burlington VT and went to Canada.  We stayed in Montreal for 3 days.  It was the first time we stayed in a hi-rise hotel.  We road the Metro all over the city and out to the Montreal Expo grounds.

After working for a year, I began my four year enlistment in the Navy.  I took my first long-distance train ride on the Silver Service to Orlando for boot camp.  Of course that wasn't a vacation.  But once basic training was over, my actual duty stations were vacation destinations - Boston and Bermuda.  I never took multiple days off though to actually explore those places.  I went home instead.

Upon discharge I began my many years of being broke.  Even marriage didn't improve the financial situation.  We did however, make one trip to MI just as a couple and again years later with 2 kids to camp with my ex's sisters.  Then since we had invested in camping gear, we went to a state park for a week two summers.  It was terrible.  Pack up your whole life in a van, have to heat up dish water to do the dishes, cook all the meals, shower with 20 other people and live in a fabric house?  Vacation for some but not for me, especially when the lack of fun continued upon arriving back home and having to unpack, wash, put away, etc everything.

Then I was single again and still broke.  Time off from work was spent on day trips or just hanging out at home.  Sometimes I'd travel to VT to hang out with family and that was fun and relaxing but still not how people define vacation.

Around Christmas of last year, I started considering the little bit of extra money I had from my mother's estate.  Originally I thought about doing a tour package to Scotland and Ireland.  It was an ad that popped up somewhere on the internet that sparked a very old take the train across the country.  At first I looked at package vacations but none of them included more than two cities I really wanted to visit.  So then I thought - could I put together an adventure that took me to places I wanted to go?  I sat down and began pouring over Amtrak's website.

By the time I was done putting The Great Rail Adventure together I had discovered USA Rail Passes and how great the phone reps for Amtrak are.  The final route was the Northeast Regional from Bridgeport to New York Penn, the Lakeshore Ltd to Chicago, the Empire Builder to Portland, Coast Starlight to LA and the Texas Eagle to Austin and then back to Chicago.  With the rail pass and accommodations upgrades, it all came in under $2000.  On to planning lodging.  I found wonderfully quirky and affordable hotels in Portland and LA.  I braved an Airbnb in Austin and finally splurged on a fancy lakefront hotel in Chicago.

The final travel did have some changes.  Those started with being told that the leg on the Coast Starlight was canceled due to a freight train accident in Northern California.  Now I had to make airline reservations from PDX to LAX.  This earned me an extra day in Portland.  Next was an email explaining track repairs in WA that would have me detraining in Pasco WA at 5:30 a.m. to travel to Portland.  Thankfully I now belonged to multiple Amtrak groups on Facebook.  Folks on the Empire Builder group suggested changing to the northern spur of that train to Seattle and taking The Cascades down to Portland.  In the end all of it came together like a perfect puzzle and resulted in my first ever two-week long vacation.

In coming posts I will share each leg of my journey so I hope you will come back so I can help you live a bit vicariously and maybe encourage you to venture out into this big beautiful world.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Is this really what you wanted?

You decided to vote for Trump.  If you did so not just because he wasn't Hillary, please provide me with a level-headed, researched, intelligent response. Because currently I only see comic book super-villains.  In some cases worse than Lex Luthor or The Joker or The Emperor.

Did you truly vote for unequal wages and no guarantee of overtime.  Do you not believe that the minimum wage needs to be revamped to be in line with the current costs of living?  I think that many of you have a problem with the unemployed in the is country but you sweep aside millions who are underemployed also with the claim that "businesses can't make enough to pay a living wage".  Doesn't that say something about the business?

Did you honestly vote to remove legal protections from women? Things such as domestic violence, equal pay and employment opportunities.  Do you seriously believe that a woman's health is a matter for politicians and not licensed medical personnel and the patient?  Ok, maybe it doesn't effect you personally but did you think about your mom, your sisters, your daughters, your aunts, your cousins or your bestest old from high school?  Do you honestly think that terribly of more than half of the human species?

Is the condition of our environment of that little consequence to you?  What about the neighbor's kid with asthma?   Ever think about the poisons in our food supply?  How about the increases in allergies, cancers, gastrointestinal issues?

Ok so maybe you voted for him because of the promise of new jobs.  Did you look at his track record as an employer both hiring and how he treated his employees?  Did you ask the hard questions like what kinds of jobs and how many and where?  Did you consider that even if manufacturing jobs come back they will require technological skills and knowledge?  Did you ask about companies getting on board with job retraining programs??  Do you understand Civics and how the President can't tell Congress what to do and for the past 8 years they chose to do NOTHING about jobs...or anything else for that matter.

From my vantage point most of you just thought about yourselves.  Your own skewed idea of what the U.S. is right now.  You see big cities (that you have never been to) as dens of crime, undocumented residents and welfare scammers.  Funny thing is that it is the big cities of the U.S. who pay more taxes than rural America which funds the government safety nets of those rural states whose recipients of public monies are white and born here.  There are no boogie-man Mexicans taking jobs away from those unemployed and underemployed people who live far away from cities and farther away from the southern border.  These are farmers who got run over by Big-Ag who did not help them upgrade their equipment and procedures.  They just came in with their new gear, paid farmer a small fraction of what their land was worth and took over.  They are coal miners and mechanical factory laborers stuck in parts of the country where old plants were never modernized and the mining industry passed them by with new technology along with the introduction of clean energy.  It's not the fault of the big cities that rural America is is such bad shape.

Now if you are within eye-shot of a big city and you think that "illegals" took your job...Are you willing to work in a 125 degree kitchen for 12 hours and accept $10 an hour?  How about the miriad of other low paying, dirty jobs we see non-caucasian, non-English speaking people doing.  Is that the job you want?  No!  The job you want is one of two things 1) sent overseas so that high-brow CEOs can take home millions a year which does NOT trickle down to a job for you or 2) an antiquated manufacturing job.  I have heard and seen you balk at learning new technology but guess what?  To continue to be gainfully employed even as a nurse, school teacher, mechanic you will need to learn computer associated skills.

As for those around you?  That's a nice pair of blinders you're wearing.  You have family even if you don't have friends.  People who have been marginalized and disenfranchised even before this election.  You know someone who is struggling to keep life and limb together who could end up out on the street if this Administration and Congress gets its way.  Or are you really that heartless?

So again, I ask you...why?  Do you really see yourself as a super-villain out to destroy Metropolis or Gotham or Alderaan?  From many things I have heard and read today you do.  You sat home today berating all the people who rallied all over the country and all over the world.  You said that they did not represent you.  Ok, so you've known that these rallies/marches were going to happen for a couple of months.  Why haven't you planned one of your own to voice your wants and needs?  You have just as much right to assemble peacefully and air your grievances.  So stand proud against keeping the environment clean.  Hold your head high when you pronounce that women just don't count except as baby machines...under the proper circumstances.  That those women and their children deserve to be kicked to the streets if they do not meet your particular version of "norm".  Be strong when you shout that it's ok for women to die during pregnancy because it is no longer legal for the doctor to terminate a pregnancy that is killing her and that you will NOT fight for better mental health care that will be needed by women forced to carry a pregnancy to term that is the result of rape.  Smile when you hold up banners encouraging domestic abuse and telling women to "suck it up".  Be a good standing patriot when you look unapologetically upon a kid with asthma caused by polluted air or a kid who can't make it through high school because her brain has been poisoned by lead in the water.  Pat that veteran on the back and say without remorse "Thank you for your service now go die because I don't want to pay for your healthcare".  But please allow me to point out that historically those types of rallies never seem to get the kind of turn out we have seen today and in that past.

Super villains.  Help us Obi Wan.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

My spin on "Words for Teenagers"

Today a friend posted this on their Facebook.  Although I agreed with some, I definitely did not agree with all.

But I would add...Do not become another order/rule/flock following sheeple.  Take the dreams of your youth...the ones you had when you turned off the TV/computer/video games and went outside.  The ones you talked to your friends about (why I'm not dissing phones at the moment) and go make those dreams come true..  Be your whole self.  Yes, that's a lot of work and it takes real guts.  If you don't think you can, then turn the TV/computer back on and watch some of the Teen Ted talks.  Learn about the kids from the We Are Family Foundation who do great things for their peers and for the youngin's.  You were born with wings but society starts clipping them the minute you step into school.  RESIST.   Yes, sit quietly in class. Learn your lessons.  Learn how to read, write and work with numbers.  Understand science and Civics.  Pay attention in history class and vow never to repeat it and whenever you step out of the classroom surround yourself with other teens who have ambition and dreams.  When you graduate, yes, get a job so you can feed yourself, keep a roof over your head and play by the rules at that job.  But what you do away from that job is what will continue your whole person/good person process.  Put a little of each paycheck in fund your dream.  Seek out people who can help you achieve your dream whether investors, builders, audiences.  Probably the best story any adult can read to a child is "The Little Engine That Could".  Always remember "I knew I could. I knew I could."

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Who makes the "rules"?

That is a question that is getting closer to being answered every day, at least in the U.S.  Historically it's usually answered after the power/control person/group has been deposed, replaced with a new regime.  In many cases it is long after families like the Medici have long taken up residence in cemeteries.  Today though, people like the Koch brothers have gotten over-confident to the point of arrogant and don't even care if media not on their payroll call them out.

Oh the media.  It's probably as safe bet that as soon as the controllers figured out a way to spread "news" to the societies they were manipulating they have used those tools to make "the rules".  The rules about who is acceptable, how one is supposed to live, chains of command, education/indoctrination.  I had a great conversation the other night that started out as an interview for an article about the person I was speaking to.  But it turned into something else.  Something that caused me to turn off my voice recorder, take the phone off speaker and really talk to this person.  The most important words that person said to me, that I will live by to my grave..."Always resist".  The discussion went deeper from there about conforming.  The moment we conform, "they" win.  Humanity, from very early on has been a game of puppets and puppetmasters.

So in 2014 I challenge you to resist.  If you see someone with purple hair, force yourself beyond the instant thought that they are "non-conformists", "different" and therefore to be feared.  Who told you purple hair was not "normal"?  Who told those of us back in the 60's that men with long hair were derelicts?  What made those men any different from the ones going back to the 18th century or earlier?  What makes a drag queen different for wearing a wig than Louis the IVX?  What makes them different from men playing women's roles back to the theaters of ancient Greece?  And speaking of the role of women and such a scholarly culture as ancient Greece, why did they prevent their ladies from from tramping the boards?  Who decided that women were supposed to be demure, sit at home and tat lace or embroider?  Why do women still have such a difficult time succeeding in the music industry?

Resist!  Question! Who made these "rules" and why?  Why do you believe you have to have a 9-5 job to be successful?  Why do you believe you need to be "married with children"?  Why do people who claim to follow the teachings of a prophet who preached "Blessed are the peacemakers" no work harder to bring peace.  Why do they accept the lie that global peace is not possible?

The people who make "the rules" fight global community tooth and nail.  In societies that all members are equal, where there no schisms based on skin color, gender, sexuality, social or economic status there is no strife.  There are no manipulating factors.  No way to control.  No way to be in charge.  There is true compassion and charity.  People naturally help each other.  No one is more deserving.  Only true rules of morality are in play and they are simple...treat people the way you want to be treated, don't hurt each other, love one another unconditionally.  It's not easy.  There eons of bullshit that need to be revealed and then destroyed.

Purple hair does not equal "less than".  Purple hair is more than.  More courage to resist.  More courage to start something new.  For thousands of years, humanity has been the living definition of insanity.  Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.  It is only by large miracle and a lot of small mistakes that we have progressed from the cave.  Today the controllers see the power running through their hands like sand.  They've been caught and there is no putting the genie back in the bottle but they will try right up to their last breath.  They will take as many with them as they can.  These words are for the "us" that breath now and the us that will come after us.  Keep up the momentum.  Don't give up.  It will be hard but you will bring the New Era.  Resist.  Search for the truth and shine bright lights on it.  Show the way to anyone who will follow willingly.  Not like a puppy hoping for a treat but as enlightened people who see the absolute truth and are walking away from the centuries-old lie.  People who the roots of their hair really are purple not the result of going to a corporate retailer and buying something they've been told will make them cool.


Sunday, June 30, 2013


NYC Pride-Facebook
So this is/was Pride Weekend in various places around the U.S. and around the world.  I was going to try to do my first NYC Pride again this year, but this is one time that I feel odd going to the city alone.  Sure, LGBT people are, for the most part, incredibly friendly, especially those who come out for the big public events.  I've been a proud advocate for the community since right after high school.  But I still don't feel like I have enough street cred to be there without at least one "Pride buddy".

However, I did watch the live tweet that NYC Pride did with photos and Vine videos.  From my desk I cheered for GLSEN and PFLAG and Trevor Project and all the other great organizations that were out there today.  I smiled watching Dykes on Bikes lead off the march.  I loved how generous the community is to invite a douchebag like the mayor to their party.  Maybe some day his stuff straight friends will reciprocate the courtesy.  We don't care though.  Our parties are the best.

What really made my heart swell was photos of s-s families, especially after the momentous SCOTUS ruling this week.  So on this Pride weekend...44 years after the Stonewall riots started the road to equality...I ask all the opposition for INTELLIGENT responses to why YOU (personally) are against marriage and family equality.

Now here's some caveats:

If you're going to use the argument that it somehow demeans heterosexual marriage you have to tell me exactly how.  That answer is so vague it's comical.  How are two men or two women signing a legal agreement that will protect them and their families affecting your marriage?

You can't use any church arguments.  First, we have freedom of and from religion in this country and these laws are not affecting your church, it's congregation and/or how it worships.  You are still free to go to what ever place you go to fellowship with people who follow the same religious doctrine as you and pray and sing and do whatever else you do that does not involve the killing or maiming of other humans (sadly animals and vegetation do not have that same protection).  Also, LGBT people are not asking for WEDDINGS!!  They are asking for a legal contract.  A piece of paper, signed in front of and by a legally recongnized witness and sealed by a notary.

"It's not natural/normal".  Natural?  Look at the rest of the animal kingdom and you will find same-sex and bisexual behavior.  "Normal"?  Who said "normal" was good.  Just because cultures started and have continued on the premise that being a conforming follower is a good thing doesn't mean that is so.  If you're a follower then there are "leaders" and those leaders are not necessarily in those positions because they have your or humanities best interests in mind.  Most of them are manipulators.  They've learned and honed their charisma to use it against people.  They're all on power trips and you are just feeding their egos.  It takes far more intelligence and raw courage to be the individual you were created to be.  baaahhhhh baaaaahhhh sheeple.

"But what about the children".  This is addressed on two levels.  The inability for two people of the same gender to procreate and the raising of children by a s-s couple.  In an era of horrendous over-population, having alternative families willing to adopt kids, especially the harder to place children, this is an amazing option.  I know many gay and lesbian couples who have adopted or fostered children over the age of 3 (after they're not cute little babes and toddlers).  I also am aware of non-traditional families that have adopted special-needs and crisis kids.  With all the current bullshit from the "Pro Life" (read Pro fetus) folks, if they get their way and we have all the babies...someone's going to have to raise these kids because a large percentage of them will end up "in the system".  Today all the pics I saw on the streets of Manhattan of non-traditional families, those kids were loved and loved in return.  They were genuinely happy to be out and about with their two dads or two moms or mom and transgender dad or whatever.  They were dressed in clean clothes that were in very good condition.  Their hair and bodies were clean and brushed...ok except for the ones who had already had a popsicle, ice cream, candy or drink that dripped on them.  They were smiling.  They were happy.  Props to queer parents of little tikes because their kids were either riding on shoulders or piggy-back, holding hands or in a stroller.  How many straight parents I want to smack in the grocery store parking lot cuz their 5-year-old is running out into traffic and not once does the adult grab the kid's hand or put them in a shopping cart.  Next argument?

I will give credit where credit is due if you can actually give me a really intelligent argument as to why and how marriage/family equality is harmful to YOU!


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Return to Neverland

Today I delivered my youngest child to a place we will always refer to as "Neverland".  This little oasis, tucked far in the woods is a one that the current loud-mouthed minority that claim to follow a certain prophet would call a community of subversive blasphemers.  I call them the truly spiritual.

"Camp" has always been a sanctuary and a place of spiritual growth.  The heart of its being is the "Jesus myth" but this place embraces the true heart of that myth.  Today, I used the "gender neutral" restroom.  Many of the buildings are now handicapped accessible.  When the campers come next week and for the following seven weeks they will be there to write, act, play music, climb ropes, hike, play volleyball and swim while learning about all their differences and how each individual is unique and special and has a role in the community.  Jocks, geeks, and arts kids all live together, in the smaller community of their conference and in the large community of camp.  Everyone is expected to clean up their mess and respect each others comfort zones.  There are competitions and there are "rewards" for winning but there are bigger rewards for challenging yourself.

As I have been doing at least 15 years, whenever I pull onto the main road from the camp's driveway, I beep the horn and yell "Good Night Neverland" as I leave.  I pray that the angels and spirits of peace, joy, kindness and love continue to watch over this place and all the people who spend any time there.  May they all heal and grow strong so they can come back in the world and help turn it around.  Places like this are where the possibility of the New Era is sewn and cultivated.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

You're so much cooler than the cool kids

I had already planned this post but finding the statement from A&F CEO Jeffries was the perfect way to make my point.  My last post I talked about the people who are bullied becoming the bullies.  Today it's about those of us who were the outcasts and how "different" is "better".

I'm a female so that already comes with its own issues of being made to feel "less than".  I was kind of lucky because my dad believed I could do anything, my maternal great-grandmother had been a rebel and renaissance woman and both my mom and her sister were very headstrong.  When "women's lib" came along the women in my family were half-way there.

Today the most prominent community we are trying to help is the LGBT, but they're not the only ones who get picked on.  The smart kids, the too tall kids, the too short kids, the too fat kids, the too skinny kids, kids with glasses, braces, curly red hair or purple mohawks, kids who shop at Wal-Mart and kids who shop at Hot Topic, arts kids, math kids, etc. etc.  And that just looking at the 5-17 year olds (K-12) and the crap they put up with at school.  Later on in life it is the adults of any counter-culture who don't have someone physically in their face every day but who get all the subliminal messages from TV, movies, magazines, the media that we just don't fit and that makes us somehow bad? wrong? TARGETS!

Here's the thing though.  Is the flock "right"?  I don't think so.  I think they're scared but societies and cultures have provided them with armor of physical strength, "beauty" and set goals so they feel like they are more "right" than you.  Consider this though...why are they trying so hard and why do they never feel like they've accomplished anything.  Going to their graves they will still feel like they have fallen short because that's how the game is played.  The people who run the game always have a twist that will prove that you're not quite "perfect"...yet.  Of course you never reach "perfect" before you die so you die believing you have somehow failed.  You know how you failed?  You failed at being YOU!

Look at people trying to live up to the game.  Are they ever truly happy?  None of them that I have met.  They're too busy trying too hard to fold themselves into a shape that The Fates never intended for them.  Those of us who seek to find out who we were born to be actually feel accomplished when we discover another talent we were born with.  Me!  I started writing when I was 14.  I didn't realize then what it released in me and how much it opened me up, allowed my wings to unfold and the joy that filled me with.  I got away from writing for a number of years and spent those years trying to fold myself into society's and my significant other's shapes.  It hurt...physically.  I smoked to much. I ended up with heart palpitations and anxiety attacks.  I cried a lot.  Now that I am free of that and not only writing but discovering my other arts and all the artists around me, I'm happy.  In fact I have found joy and peace on this plain.  I don't have to wait for some reward in the afterlife.  It is in the here and now.

Go find you bliss.  Go find you.  While you're young and stuck in the hostile environment of school, find the people like you who don't fit.  Create your own community. You probably have already-in the music or art room, in the shop, at math or science club.  These are sanctuaries where you can heal each other and give each other strength.  Remember you are emotionally stronger than your tormentors.  You're character in solid.  Theirs is weak because it depends on living by someone else's rules.  Yes, you have to still be nice.  In my house the rules were "No hitting.  No kicking.  No biting. No pushing.  No lying and no yelling"  Besides when you nice back, they don't know how to deal with that.  That's why they pick on you.  Because you don't play by their rules.  You can depend on yourself.  Your friends are real and you can trust them.  With you and your friends it is not about competition but about collaboration.  You know how to compromise...not your core self but when trying to meld two or more ideas.

You are the people who will change the world. You are the people who are creative enough to go searching for the best solutions to all kinds of things.  Because you refuse to let go of your imagination you will not just be a better artist but a better scientist, better mathematician, better engineer, better architect.  You will design the best green energy source.  You will find homeopathic remedies that actually cure without causing other problems, you will figure out ways for the world to work together. The sheeple have been trying it their way for a long time and it still doesn't work.  Divide and conquer, segregate and control lives everyone going to their graves unfulfilled.  They may have money, a big house, a fancy car and have traveled the world but they have neither joy nor peace.  The time for the "other people" to try it their way has come.  So be YOU!!