Friendship

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Brian Patrick Hagman. I knew Brian in junior high, only vaguely, boyfriend of a friend, giant smiled and preppy, winner of the science fair. Fast forward two years, Junior English, and he’s lanky and much more handsome, the best hair at school, seated next to me. No longer preppy, sporting shirts emblazoned with my own recent obsession: SKULLS. I am instantly smitten, duh, duh, duh. Though he has zero romantic interest in me, we are fast friends in all other arenas.

On our first outing, he picks me up in his coolest of cool cars, a red convertible VW Bug. We sail down I-70, hair whipping, a cacophony of tunes and voices shouting over the din. Destination: Mushroom Tables, me a lone female among a sea of skaters, the magic and splendor, joy and ease. There will be more of this and other hangouts, caffeinated evenings, diners and dives, Paris on the Platte, too.

Brian will form a band – Wretched Refuse – named after the Emma Lazarus poem, cementing both his daring and intelligence. He was ALWAYS the smartest person in the room. I’ll attend shows, mostly in shady warehouses downtown: deafening, rowdy, moments straight from fil-ums, and stand in awe of his wit and charisma.

Always open to novel experiences, I organize an evening at a theater above Paris, Sam Shepard’s Seduced. If you’ve seen it, you likely know where I am heading. Imagine being seventeen, sitting next to a boy you fancy, while simultaneously trying to pretend this creepy, long nailed, Kleenex flinging weirdo isn’t simulating masturbation right before your eyes. I don’t think the pair of us ever worked so hard NOT to look at each other.

In that youthful time of firsts, my season with Brian was a source of many: first ride in a convertible, first cigarette (oof!), first and last porno play, first (only?) friend to show up wearing the same shirt without prior planning, first friend to get a tattoo (and later name his second band after it), and first friend with whom I will play pool and stay out until dawn, in one extraordinary two-fer.

That halcyon night into morning, testament to Brian’s story telling prowess, had him conjuring us, as we all wore Army inspired garments, as veterans of Vietnam, our detailed fictional history brilliantly woven from the ether. After a smashing defeat at the pool hall, with me at the wheel, Joy Division on the speakers, we zoomed the back way to Boulder and across the diagonal, to Longmont, nearly Ft. Collins. The laughter and stories, going, going, of our dreams, of landscapes, of Rudy (Ru-dayyy) the Zippo lighter, a gift from Mike Lombardi, also present, though no longer, lost more than a decade ago.

Life separated us, for painful and practical reasons, and this conjuring of memory, a joyful opening of a precious time capsule, the result of me wondering if he breathes still. My kindly friend who never belittled nor diminished me, who smiled, who filled rooms with thunderous laughter, both his own and in response to him. How I loved him. How I loved who we were together.

Two decent snowstorms in two weeks, huzzah!


Peregrine Falcon methinks…

Wonderfully beautiful and delicious Basque style cheesecake – the wild crinkle of parchment serves as the crust, which is why I wanted to try it, as I feel most serve no good purpose. After making it, I saw it on the cover of a magazine and all over the interwebs. Unbeknownst trend follower. Ha!

Jeff came for a visit! In keeping with our usual modus operandi, we walked, laughed, ate very well (see above), visited the library, and played fun games, of course. I love our time together.

Lap dog dreaming…

Thanksgiving Feasting

Downtown Wandering

Mountain Gazing

A Mexican style lasagna, of sorts. Spicy, smoky roasted mushrooms and tomato, sliced butternut squash, chipotle sour cream, and cheese, of course. Delicious!

Never gets old…

Hope your holiday season is off to a fabulous start! Be safe, be well.

Happy Birthday in heaven Grandma Tess. One hundred years!

Perhaps for the first time in my life, I am rife with simultaneous relief and grief. Relief that the shooter was subdued so quickly, grief at the death and damage done. Club Q, the site of my beloved country’s most recent mass shooting, is in Colorado Springs, the city where I live. Greg and I saw our first drag show there, which was amazing: make-up and singing and serious dance moves, but not by us, ha! We were out to support Queen Potted Plant, a friend in town.

At the time of the shooting, Queen Potted Plant was there, celebrating her birthday, her boyfriend, too. She is safe and as okay as one can expect after witnessing such horror. He did not survive. The handsome bartender, Derrick Rump, sweet and kindly maker of our drinks, died.

These are the names of the remaining victims, with love and light to all of their loved ones:

Kelly Loving, Daniel Aston, Ashley Paugh, and Raymond Green Vance

I would also like to mention, with a heart full of gratitude for preventing more loss of life, the heroes who attacked the shooter:

Thomas James and Richard Fierro

My heart is so heavy. No one knows if this is an actual Hate Crime against the Club Q Community, but a body doesn’t enter a place of acceptance, joy, and celebration to commit murder without some sort of hate in their heart.

Because seeking answers is one way of processing my grief, and because there has been more rhetoric than usual aimed at gay people (I’m looking at you, Florida), as of late, I got to searching and wondering. If you are reading this and harbor fear about the Gay Community, what happened for you to arrive at this place? Do you actually know any gay people? Have you been hurt?

If you believe, as I read in several comments, that this was God’s will against gay and trans people for harming children, I must ask, where is the science-based data? To the contrary, I found The Southern Poverty Law Center has a list of 10 Anti-Gay Myths Debunked, which further substantiates my belief that the chance of a child being hurt by a random gay or trans person in a bathroom or a Drag Queen at story time is far less likely than trusted Pastor Bob at church. A few examples:

Covenant Life Church

U.S. Southern Baptist Church

Mormon Church

More food for thought from a piece in Religion News, quoting several studies:

93% of sex offenders describe themselves as “religious.” Pedophilia molesters average 12 child victims and 71 acts of molestation. An earlier study found that out of 561 sexual offenders there were over 291,000 incidents totaling over 195,000 total victims. These are enough victims to fill 2 ½ Superdomes! This same study found that only 3% of these sexual offenders have a chance of getting caught.

Those who sexually victimize children likely have victimized dozens of other children during their lifetime. Not only does this open our eyes to the prevalence of this tragic epidemic, but it should also help to equip us to respond to individuals within our faith community who get “caught” for engaging in criminal behavior against a child and beg for “grace”, claiming that this was the only child they have ever victimized. Based upon these statistics, the offender is most likely lying, which means they are continuing to deceive in order to reestablish trust and access of our children.

I was also very disappointed to learn children are even unsafe on U.S. Military bases around the world, especially at the hands of other children, which circles back to the previous statistics, unfortunately.

Finally, and not surprisingly, I must also mention, if the ultimate goal is to protect children from harm, we must enter guns into the equation. According to the Children’s Defense Fund, in 2019, guns killed more children and teens than cancer, pneumonia, influenza, asthma, HIV/AIDs, and opioids combined. Sadly, for every one of these children, another five were injured by guns. More preschoolers were killed by guns than police officers in the line of duty.

This is where I leave you, but not without a prayer that we may all experience love and safety: young, old, trans, gay, and straight.

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Reflection of the hands of Philip Glass, playing his lovely work, Mad Rush.

Crazy clouds over Pike’s Peak and flowing northward…

The newly painted fireplace and our best girl, in focus.

Bostock – a very fancified toast, made with jam – strawberry here, and almond frangipane. It is yet another great use for all the “waste” created by making our own almond milk. So very tasty.

We enjoyed it with Joanie and the kids, who were in town for a hockey tournament.

Moments before goal number one.

Joanie’s oldest, and one of my youngest cousins, number 49, was our favorite player, of course. I am not a sports photographer, so I was working this out as I went along, but considering this, the pictures are pretty stellar.

They won! I would also like to mention that he scored TWO goals and was named the team player of the game. WOOT!!

Handsome man, super crisp photo! Post game grub at O’Furry’s. Their cheeseburger and wings are hard to beat. Greg feels similarly about a Guinness.

Good morning!! Well, I did it. I thought on it, realizing I only ever used one lens, the dying half-focused one, and decided I would be better served by a new camera. Fear not, however, my well-loved 5200 will be in good hands with my camera expert nephew, Tyler. A win-win situation. For reasons of vanity and functionality, I chose the Nikon Z fc. It has a very old-school look (the vanity part) but is 100% digital, so it is much lighter, which I love. I also chose the DX 18-140 lens that is most like my previous camera, but with a bit more zoom. It is pretty darn perfect.

These are the first pictures, and I am super pleased with the quality. Something bananas about the mirrorless is that the look of the shot in the viewfinder is exactly how the shot turns out. What you see is what you get, and I suspect I’ll be a bit awestruck by this for some time.

p.s. It snowed on Pike’s Peak yesterday!

McCook, Nebraska was our first delightful stop on our EPIC Summer road trip. All told, we drove more than 2800 miles, with quite a few early mornings to get them done. A lot, lot, but so fun, and BEAUTIFUL. We love you, America.

McCook is home to some great buildings, charming features, and Sehnert’s Dutch Oven Bakery, which I cannot recommend more highly. Very kindly service, great sandwiches, and delicious donuts! Woot.

Omaha!

The Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge is a stunner spanning the Missouri River. It takes walkers, who “Bob” across into Iowa, and back again. What a welcome get out the wiggles jaunt, after a long stretch in the car.

There’s a cool sculpture park on the Iowa side. This is made out of aluminum pie and roasting tins, or at least covered in them!

Iowa is delightfully hilly!

Elk Horn, Iowa is home to this fabulous collection of architecture of all sizes!

Des Moines namesake river and State Capitol of Iowa, facelift in progress.

Fort Des Moines, the birthplace of the capitol.

Our first Mid-West bar experience at the High Life Lounge (The Champagne of Bars) did not disappoint! Very old school decor, with awesome bar signs from the from the 60s and 70s, Mid-West nice service (so VERY), a namesake beer for Greg, of course, and crazy good fried cheese curds and deviled eggs. The ultimate!!

Wait, that’s not Greg! My dear friend Bob, who I have known since I was twelve (39 years!!), lives in Iowa and was our most excellent guide, showing us this fabulous Bridge of Madison County, John Wayne’s birth place (two below), a cool stone tower with beautiful view, and Fong’s, where we enjoyed super delicious Crab Rangoon pizza and a ridiculously strong Mai Tai. Yay for friendship!

Winterset, Iowa

Back soon with more adventure!

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