Being 69: A Year in the Life of a Fun Old Lesbian – April 2, 2016

I wrote an e-letter to a friend who had asked me how I was doing. I actually had to think about it as opposed to giving her everyone’s pat “I’m fine” response. My friend lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. Here’s what I wrote:

Hi… I love your family photo! It was of her, her teenage son, the new girlfriend, and the girlfriend’s teenage daughter.) I hope the assholes in North Carolina aren’t screwing up your plans to be a lesbian! What on earth is going on there????

And the similar Mississippi law adds that women can’t wear pants! I think it’s time an LGBT army of lovers – well dressed, of course – mounts up and charges!

 All is well here, depending on one’s definition of well. 

 Kelly and I are truly doing well and moving forward with our plans to marry later this year, maybe Jan. 1 2017. We just don’t know yet and don’t need to. But we have some fun trips on the books (Barbados and a Windstar cruise, a kd lang concert in Victoria, Canada, my niece’s wedding in Chelan, WA, a fishing/bear watching trip to the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska, and a whale watching trip in the Sea of Cortez) and will add a Florida Keys bike ride as soon as womantours.com adds it to their schedule. The funny thing is that our most cherished, fun place in the world is our home in Sequim, WA so I’m not sure why we travel so much other than we’re getting older and can still move around!

 My youngest sister was just diagnosed with breast cancer (stage O) and is having a double mastectomy later this month. Luckily it was caught much earlier that Sherry’s, and Sher’s was a far more aggressive type, but it all sucks.

 Mom turns 90 on Friday. We were planning a big soiree but since Sher died, Mom doesn’t want anything but immediate family. 

 Sher died…I can barely do those words. I’m still so raw, still can’t believe it. Barry and I have become very close and spend good time crying – and even laughing sometimes – together.

 I’m going to Florida for three weeks to housesit for Helen while she goes to Europe for her 78th birthday. The crazy thing is that I get three whole weeks without having to pack or unpack! And I’ll be able to see my daughter and my granddaughters.

 Granddaughter number two graduates from high school in June and was accepted into the School of Music at the University of South Florida. Mom and I are going to her graduation in St. Pete.

 Erik and Jenn and Cara and the boys are moving up north, the girls and boys to Portland and Erik to either Portland or Seattle, wherever he gets the best job offer, after he spends three weeks in Europe in September. So we’re all migrating to the Pacific Northwest where we’re still free (at least as free as possible in the US) as LGBT people.

 Kelly and I head for our home in Sequim in mid-May and will return in mid-Nov. I’m going to become a WA resident.

Take good care, and get out of NC if at all possible before they bring in the damned brownshirts to arrest the queers!

The one thing I forget to tell her was that my WWII is almost finished! One more round of self-editing and then it goes to readers for feedback. While they’re reading and feedbacking, I’m going to search for an editor who will take a WWII-avatar-historical novel-young adult fiction book. Kind of a niche….

I’m deeply grateful that I’m doing well! How are YOU doing?

Happy April!

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On this day in LGBT history (from QUIST, Lavender Effect, Back2Stonewall, and/or Wikipedia. (If you are unsure about accuracy, please do your research and let me know. Thanks!)

Today in LGBT history: April 2

2005 – NAACP Chair, Julian Bond, states in a national speech that “gay rights are civil rights”

2013, Uruguay – Uruguay senate approves same-sex marriage by a vote of 23-8, becoming the fourteenth country in the world to legalize marriage equality.

Visit my blog: Being 69: A Year in the Life of a Fun Old Lesbian. at http://purplebookspublishing.com/blog/

(Information from QUIST, Lavender Effect, Back2Stonewall, and/or Wikipedia. (If you are unsure about accuracy, please do the research and let me know. Thanks!)

Visit my facebook page at www.facebook.com/ronnisanlo for daily LGBT history/herstory.

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I encourage you to write your stories. If you’d like to see your memoir and stories in print, let’s work together. I can help you self-publish your work. If this interests you, please see my website at http://purpledistinctions.com/self_publishing.html

Write your story! Now is good!

Warmly,

Ronni

 

 

Being 69: A Year in the Life of a Fun Old Lesbian – March 24, 2016

The other day I wrote about how sucky 2016 is looking. I have since reframed.

My sister Sherry died on January 3rd because it was time. Her brain cancer had progressed rapidly and she was deteriorating quickly. I miss her beyond measure but I know she’s with me every moment.

The cancer in my sister Barbra was found at an extremely early stage and the double mastectomy is exactly the right action under the circumstances. I’d do the same thing and I’m proud of her courage to move forward quickly.

Kelly and I will be married this year which is total joy! And today is ring day!!!

My granddaughter Callie graduates from high school and will start the University of South Florida Music School in the fall.

My niece Ellie is getting married to Gary in June in Chelan, Washington, which will be a fun trip for us. My son Erik will turn 40 during that celebration!

Kelly and I are going to a kd lang concert in Victoria, Canada, in June; a fishing and bear watching trip in Alaska in July; and Barbados and a Windstar cruise in the Caribbean in December.

I’m 69 years old and life is truly good! Thank you, Higher Power, for your unending gifts of love and life…

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On this day in LGBT history (from QUIST, Lavender Effect, Back2Stonewall, and/or Wikipedia. (If you are unsure about accuracy, please do your research and let me know. Thanks!)

1794, France – Anacharsis Cloots, originally known as Jean-Baptiste du Val-de-Grâce, baron de Cloots ,was an orator and a New Atheist long before New Atheism was a thing. He was embroiled in revolutionary politics before being used as a scapegoat and guillotined by the same revolutionaries. Some of his oratory indicates that he was likely an outspoken ally of lesbians and gay men.

1971 – In defiance of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, a federal judge grants U.S. citizenship to a 24-year old gay man from Cuba, ruling that an applicant’s homosexuality cannot, in itself, bar a person from becoming a citizen

1986 – William Hurt wins the Best Actor Oscar for his role as an imprisoned homosexual window dresser in Kiss of the Spider Woman

1987 – ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) stages its first major political action in the financial heart of New York City to demand that the federal government stop dragging its feet on the approval of new drugs that might benefit people with AIDS. Seventeen protesters are arrested for obstructing traffic when they sit down in the intersection of Broadway and Wall Street.

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I encourage you to write your stories. If you’d like to see your memoir and stories in print, let’s work together. I can help you self-publish your work. If this interests you, please see my website at http://purpledistinctions.com/self_publishing.html

Write your story! Now is good!

Warmly,

Ronni

Being 69: A Year in the Life of a Fun Old Lesbian – March 14, 2016

My gluts are reminding me that Kelly and I took a 4.5 mile hike yesterday on the North Lykken Trail in Palm Springs. The wild flowers are blooming, the scenic trail was gorgeous, and the hike overall was perfect for a Sunday morning.

In the afternoon I took the Amtrak bus/train combo from Palm Springs to Ventura. I like riding the train. I sit in the senior car, have an electrical outlet at my seat and a bathroom in the car, and the food car is the next one down….all for $29! Such a deal! The best part is that there is internet and I can write and communicate. Sadly, this morning I saw on the news that an Amtrak passenger train exactly like the one I rode derailed in Kansas and people were hospitalized.

There but for the grace of God go I…

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On this day in LGBT history (from QUIST, Lavender Effect, Back2Stonewall, and/or Wikipedia. (If you are unsure about accuracy, please do your research and let me know. Thanks!)

1971 – More than two thousand protesters march on the steps of the Albany capitol building demanding an end to laws that discriminate against gays and lesbians; 2006- First time a member of a royal family comes out – Prince Gohil in India.

2006, India – Prince Manvendra Kumar Singh Gohil of the former state of Rajpipla comes out as a gay man making him the first openly gay royal in the world.

2012, Denmark – Marriage equality legislation proposed in the Danish Parliament, goes on to be passed on June 15th.

2012, New York – On behalf of Sexual Minorities Uganda, the Center for Constitutional Rights files a lawsuit claiming that Scott Lively violated international law with conspiracy to engineer a genocide of LGBT people in Uganda. The case is still open.

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I encourage you to write your stories. If you’d like to see your memoir and stories in print, let’s work together. I can help you self-publish your work. If this interests you, please see my website at http://purpledistinctions.com/self_publishing.html

Write your story! Now is good!

Warmly,

Ronni

Being 69: A Year in the Life of a Fun Old Lesbian – March 6, 2016

I’ve begun to notice that people are either curious about Cuba or wondering if this is my next soapbox. Discussions about socialism vs. communism are beginning to arise, as is the distinction between true socialism or cherry-picking socialism. And then there are the conversations around the human rights issues in Cuba….and I’ve only been home for a day! Sheeeeesh! I think it’s my Cuban revolution hat that is causing some discomfort among others (others being family so far) but I like it! Regardless of the politics, though, they loved my pictures of the old cars. Gotta start somewhere!

Kelly and Dooney came up from Palm Springs last night. Looking forward to a sweet day after a full night of good rainfall.

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On this day in LGBT history (from QUIST, Lavender Effect, Back2Stonewall, and/or Wikipedia. (If you are unsure about accuracy, please do your research and let me know. Thanks!)

1987 – Vermont becomes the first state to hand out condoms to prisoners on request

1994, Illinois –The Jenny Jones Show tapes “secret crushes” episode that resulted in the murder of one Michigan man by another. The Jenny Jones Show was found to be liable for the murder in a civil suit.

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I encourage you to write your stories. If you’d like to see your memoir and stories in print, let’s work together. I can help you self-publish your work. If this interests you, please see my website at http://purpledistinctions.com/self_publishing.html

Write your story! Now is good!

Warmly,

Ronni

Being 69: A Year in the Life of a Fun Old Lesbian – March 5, 2016

Back in Ventura after my amazing adventure in Cuba. It will take a while for me to process everything I saw and learned. The immediate takeaways for me are that the people look forward to the new opportunities and income that will come with Cuba opening up to US tourists in July even though the infrastructure isn’t ready for the influx; and that Cuba would likely not have become communist had the US not created the sugar and oil embargos in 1960, leaving Cuba to rely on Russia for oil imports and sugar exports.

There are still issues of human rights in Cuba. Human Rights Watch reports: The Cuban government continues to repress dissent and discourage public criticism. While in recent years it has relied less on long-term prison sentences to punish its critics, short-term arbitrary arrests of human rights defenders, independent journalists, and other critics have increased dramatically. Other repressive tactics employed by the government include beatings, public acts of shaming, and the termination of employment.

However, neither the police nor the military carry guns and crime is extremely low. And there is little to no discrimination based on one’s characteristics including gender and sexual orientation. Will opening up Cuba to extensive US tourism (international tourism is now over 50% of their economy) bring some of our less-than-desirable quirks to that beautiful island?

Looking forward to seeing my Kelly later today…

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On this day in LGBT history (from QUIST, Lavender Effect, and/or Wikipedia. (If you are unsure about accuracy, please do your research and let me know. Thanks!)

1898 – In San Bernardino, California, William Burke and Harry Fisher were found guilty of a crime against nature and given 25 years each in prison.

1933, Germany – One of the largest LGBT clubs of hundreds in Berlin is shut down nine days after a “Public Morality” directive that gay bars and flubs be closed. Just a few days earlier, Hitler was declared Fuhrer.

1999 – Young playwright Samantha Gellar wins a play writing contest in Charlotte, NC, but her play is banned from production by the Children’s Theater of Charlotte because of the play’s theme of love between two women.. As a result her play is produced off Broadway by a group of actors and Ms. Gellar goes on to be named one of the most influential women under 20 by Ms. Magazine in 2000.

2006 – Ang Lee wins academy award for Best Director for Brokeback Mountain

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I encourage you to write your stories. If you’d like to see your memoir and stories in print, let’s work together. I can help you self-publish your work. If this interests you, please see my website at http://purpledistinctions.com/self_publishing.html

Write your story! Now is good!

Warmly,

Ronni

Being 69: A Year in the Life of a Fun Old Lesbian – March 3, 2016

Today we visited Cienfuegos, Cuba. It’s actually what I thought Havana would look like. I thought Havana would be far more tropical in appearance rather than the crowded city and tall buildings. Cienfuego is a small arts town. The infrastructure is nearly as bad as Havana but there are only two buildings that stand about 8 floors tall. People seem to be able to care more for their homes than in Havana, and I certainly saw far more children here.

Throughout Cuba we have seen pizzerias which we just sort of blew off. Today, though, as we walked through Cienfuegos, getting hungry and thirsty, Regina and I ducked into a tiny little off-street restaurant. Pizza was on the menu for $3. We figured we’d each have a slice and a cup of Cuban coffee then go back to the ship for lunch. When our order arrived, we each got a whole 8-slice pizza! For $3… each! It was absolutely delicious! We ate half then gave the remainder to a guy out on the street.

Back on the ship now and preparing to leave for Montego Bay and back to the US tomorrow. This has been such an unbelievable trip! I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to come to Cuba before it opens to American tourists in July. The people are lovely, the entire island of Cuba is beautiful, and the history is astounding. Though I know that opening the country will bring opportunities and prosperity to Cuba, dramatic changes will occur and the country will not be the same, for better or for worse. I encourage everyone to come here.

I’ve also had a great experience with AlandChuckTravel.com. They attendee to everything, provided an outstanding tour, and the price was easily affordable. Thank you, Daniel and Elaine, for your awesome hospitality! I’ll travel with you again!

Looking forward to getting back home to Kelly and Dooney and the family…

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On this day in LGBT history (from QUIST, Lavender Effect, and/or Wikipedia. (If you are unsure about accuracy, please do your research and let me know. Thanks!)

2010 – Congress approves a law signed in December 2009 that legalizes same-sex marriage in the Washington, DC.

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I encourage you to write your stories. If you’d like to see your memoir and stories in print, let’s work together. I can help you self-publish your work. If this interests you, please see my website at http://purpledistinctions.com/self_publishing.html

Write your story! Now is good!

Warmly,

Ronni

Being 69: A Year in the Life of a Fun Old Lesbian – March 1, 2016

It’s March! My Month! This is the month I turn 69! I love aging, love the discounts, love the privileges (yes, there are many), love being able to say anything I wish and watch people just roll their eyes. Getting old is actually great fun!

A cool thing is that I get to begin my birthday month in Cuba! This is day two of touring Havana and I’m deeply grateful to have the opportunity to be here. I’ve learned far more than is available in the US history books…about the independence, about the revolution, about the state of Cuba today. My next book will begin in the late 1800s Cuba and this trip is giving me the needed information that I simply could not find in my research in the US. I’m excited about starting the book…as soon as I finish the current book and the screenplay for Meadowlark.

We leave Havana today and go west and around the coastline to Maria de Gordo. This has been a truly amazing visit to Havana, and now onward…

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On this day in LGBT history (from QUIST, Lavender Effect, and/or Wikipedia. (If you are unsure about accuracy, please do your research and let me know. Thanks!)

1977 – Blueboy Forum, which bills itself as the U.S.’s first gay-oriented TV show, debuts on New York cable

2012 – Maryland passes legislation to legalize gay marriage, becoming the eighth state to do so.

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I encourage you to write your stories. If you’d like to see your memoir and stories in print, let’s work together. I can help you self-publish your work. If this interests you, please see my website at http://purpledistinctions.com/self_publishing.html

Write your story! Now is good!

Warmly,

Ronni

Being 69: A Year in the Life of a Fun Old Lesbian – Feb. 29, 2016

Havana! Not what I thought it would be! I was expecting Key West tropical styles but that’s not Havana at all! Many of the buildings were built in the 1500-1600’s and much of the architecture is taken from various European cities. Havana far more resembles any European street scene than the tropics. Here are some notes from the day:

25% of Cuba is Catholic and we visited the National Cathedral this morning.

The fortress was built in 1558, the oldest fortress in the Americas

Sugar, molasses, and tobacco are biggest agricultural industries but tourism has become the biggest source of income.

The streets are paved with cobblestones from Massachusetts

Cuba’s railroad was built in 1837, the 7th place in the world to have a railroad

Batista was in power in the 1950s as the mafia was building casinos in Havana. The people rejected the gambling industry, though, and ran the casino business out when Batista fled in 1959

80% of Havana was built between 1900 and 1958

Three houses collapse every day. The infrastructure is a mess. People who live in apartments are responsible only for their own apt and not for the building so many apartment buildings are dilapidated with people living inside.

There are no homeless in Havana nor guns, drugs, or ethnic conflict.

20% of the population is over 60; by 2030, 30% will be over 60.

People are looking forward to the visit of President Obama and to the opening of Cuba to US travelers in July. They say it will provide opportunity for them.

None of the old cars are original. Engines, transmissions, etc. have been replaced over the decades. Many are now taxis. They’re considered national treasures and are therefore not allowed to leave the country.

Regina and I needed a taxi after dinner and got to ride in a 1947 Chevy. Perfect! It was built when I was born. It had no shocks, no seat belts, worn floorboards, smelled of gas and, really, it was a disaster! But we laughed so hard! We bounced all the way from the restaurant to the ship. It was a frightening treat!

Tomorrow more of Havana then we sail to Maria de Gorda.

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On this day in LGBT history (from QUIST, Lavender Effect, and/or Wikipedia. (If you are unsure about accuracy, please do your research and let me know. Thanks!)

I can’t find a thing for Feb. 29th other than it’s comic Matthew Moore’s birthday.

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I encourage you to write your stories. If you’d like to see your memoir and stories in print, let’s work together. I can help you self-publish your work. If this interests you, please see my website at http://purpledistinctions.com/self_publishing.html

Write your story! Now is good!

Warmly,

Ronni

Being 69: A Year in the Life of a Fun Old Lesbian – February 28, 2016

Cuba Day 3

This is a day at sea. Santiago de Cuba is at the southernmost end of Cuba. Havana is at the northernmost end. We’ll arrive in Havana in the morning and spent several days there. But today we’re at sea. I plan to attend a lecture on the history of cigars so help with my research for my next book. I’ve gone to dance lessons each day and will go to the salsa lesson this afternoon. I also plan to work on my book today in a shaded spot on one of the outdoor aft decks.

This has been a terrific cruise so far. Yesterday was a full day of learning about Cuba history. I look forward to spending time in other Cuban towns, especially Havana.

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On this day in LGBT history (from QUIST, Lavender Effect, and/or Wikipedia. (If you are unsure about accuracy, please do your research and let me know. Thanks!)

1642The Plymouth Colony Court heard a case brought against Edward Mitchell and Edward Preston for “lewd & sodomitical practices tending to sodomy.”

1656 – The New Haven Colony (now Connecticut) mandated the death penalty for both women and men for acts “against nature,” as well as for masturbation and anal sex among heterosexual couples. The New Haven Colony also applied the death penalty for adultery. These laws remained in effect for the next ten years until 1665 when New Haven Colony joined Connecticut and came under Connecticut law which specified the death penalty for “man lying with man” and adultery

1971 – The New York Times publishes a front-page story with the headline “More Homosexuals aided to become Heterosexual”

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I encourage you to write your stories. If you’d like to see your memoir and stories in print, let’s work together. I can help you self-publish your work. If this interests you, please see my website at http://purpledistinctions.com/self_publishing.html

Write your story! Now is good!

Warmly,

Ronni

Being 69: A Year in the Life of a Fun Old Lesbian – February 27, 2016

We arrived in Santiago de Cuba this morning. The cruise from Montego Bay to Santiago was pretty awful. We – and nearly everyone else – were horribly seasick. Regina and I had taken salsa lessons, the only ones to do so. By the end neither of us could do anything but run for our cabin. Shout out for Dramamine! It did the job quickly and we were able to keep our dinners. Others weren’t so lucky….

The cool thing about this boat is that it’s small for a cruise ship – 1200. The larger ones apparently aren’t able to pull into the small ports of Cuba. There are 120 of us on the Al and Chuck Travel trip, 90 gay men and 30 lesbians. I’ve already received an invitation to stay with a couple of the men in Rehoboth, Delaware!

Random notes about Cuba that we learned from the University of Havana professors who are our guides:

People line up at the banks. They’re allowed to go in only one at a time. The doors lock in-between visitors.

Santiago was founded in 1550 and is a hub of African culture. We went to the AfroCuban Cultural Center for several mini-lectures and a stunning dance troop. We were invited to dance with them for the last two songs, so I was on my feet! Loved it! The woman who runs the Center, Dr. Martha Jackson, told us that Cubans are trying to build bridges, not burn them.

We visited San Juan Hill which memorializes the Spanish American War and Teddy Roosevelt. That was the first battle in which there were actual attacks by air – hot air balloons!

We went to Revolutionary Square where there is a huge monument to machetes which was the weapon of choice in the 1878 war. There’s also a statue of Antonio Maceo who was killed in battle.

Cuba has the longest life expectancy of any 3rd world county, 76 for men, 80 for women. There is one doctor for every 260 people and the docs make house calls. In fact, medicine is Cuba’s largest export! They train doctors here then send them throughout the would. Over 250 were in Africa during the Ebola virus outbreak; and Cuba has a vaccine cure for people with lung cancer!

We visited the rum factory that was the original Bacardi family factory. They left (read run out of) Cuba in the early 1900s and took their license with them so the Bacardi name is not allowed to be used in Cuba.

In a way it seems like utopia here: 95% of all of the people own their homes (given to them by the government); all food and needs are provided but by voucher so quantities are limited; all education including college through the professions is free; all medical care is free; everyone has a job; the police do not carry guns and neither does anyone else. Crime is very low; Sixty percent of Cuba is run by women and gays, both of whom are protected classes.

Havana is the capitol of Cuba now but Santiago was initially. There are Three million people in Havana.

Cuba was not discovered by Columbus; it was merely an encounter. Natives were already here.

Many of the beautiful homes of the wealthy were abandoned by their owners in the 1950’s and early 60’s. Those houses are now schools or museum or stores though people are not able to buy very much. The average income is 14 Cuban Pesos a month.

Bars are on every window and many places have walls and barbed wire. I don’t know why. A leftover from the old days? Everything seems to have stopped in the 1950s.

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On this day in LGBT history (from QUIST, Lavender Effect, and/or Wikipedia. (If you are unsure about accuracy, please do your research and let me know. Thanks!)

1557, Italy – Benvenuto Cellini charged with sodomy

1989 – The U.S.S.R. reports the case of twenty-nine infants and six mothers who all contracted AIDS in the same hospital through a single unsterile syringe that was used over and over again

2001 – Two female characters on Buffy the Vampire Slayer share a kiss. It was the first realistic lesbian relationship on TV

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I encourage you to write your stories. If you’d like to see your memoir and stories in print, let’s work together. I can help you self-publish your work. If this interests you, please see my website at http://purpledistinctions.com/self_publishing.html

Write your story! Now is good!

Warmly,

Ronni