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Traveling with a Boll Weevil

By: Karen J. Allen
Co-Publisher, On the Gay Horizon 
       

Do you remember that old song about the boll weevil? All I really remember is the part that's been running through my head, "looking for a home --- gotta find a home..." Catchy as that is, I'm pretty sick of hearing it over and over. I suppose I'm especially tired of it because even before the mental repetitions of the weevil ditty, I've been obsessing about not having a home for quite some time.

 

Maybe it will stop, now. Oh. No, not because I've found a home. My "Road Trip" did bring me to Charleston and there is much to report but I'm afraid that will have to wait for next week. What I meant was that maybe it will stop because I've realized that you can't look for a home --- only for a place to live.

 

The day my partner died I became homeless. I still live in our house but in some ways it's become more of a storage facility because it holds all of our possessions. In other ways, it's like an interactive museum. There are objects on display that when I touch them a memory plays for me to watch. I used to be able to just close my eyes and I could go back in time to when it was a home --- but that's not so easy anymore. It's just a house now.

 

So, I'm actively looking for a new place to live. I think --- I hope --- that will be the first step in setting in motion the process of creating a new home.  

Is that going to be in Charleston? Stay tuned!  

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The Time to Stop Hate Crimes is Now!

It's time to take our best shot at getting the hate crime bill passed.  Two years ago, the House and the Senate passed the Matthew Shepard Act, but George Bush refused to sign it into law.  This legislation is being presented again. There is every reason to believe that President Obama will sign off on it but, first, it has to make it to his desk. Right-wing groups, encouraged by their success with Proposition 8 in California and nervous about the back-lash created by that travesty, are gearing up to stop it in Congress.

We must not allow that to happen.

 

According to the Human Rights Coalition, one hate crime is committed every hour. And of those, one in six is because of the victim's sexual orientation. It almost seems to make sense when they use that tired argument that "every crime is a hate crime". But it simply is not true. When someone is attacked because of who they are, there are far-reaching consequences. HRC puts it well in the letter they are asking us to forward to our elected representatives:

 

"While all violent crimes are heinous, hate crimes are uniquely destructive, casting a pall of terror over an entire community.  They don't just target a single victim. They are designed to "send a message" that an individual and "their kind" will not be tolerated, often leaving large numbers of people feeling isolated, vulnerable and unprotected."  

Please take a moment to watch the HRC video. Then do what you can to help stop hate crimes --- against all people.

Tell Congress to Pass the Matthew Shepard Act 

 

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Plank

Fit in a Year - Week 13

By: Ann-Marie Giglio
Co-Publisher, On the Gay Horizon

This is it.  One of the few specific exercises I'll recommend this year.  It's called Plank.  And if you only have time to do one exercise, this is the one.

You lie on you stomach on a hard surface.  Slide your hands under your shoulders, fingers spread.  Make sure that your arms and wrists are in line with your shoulder joints.  Then raise/push your torso off the floor, abs engaged, legs extended (but not knee-locked) until your entire body is off the floor except for your toes.  You'll look like you are about to do a push-up. 

Now stay there.  You should have a straight line connecting your shoulders, hips, and ankles. 

Here's the stuff that can go wrong:  Be certain your lower back isn't sinking, or your butt isn't flying up toward the ceiling, and your shoulder blades aren't separated, creating a hump at the top (in your thoracic spine).  If your back is sinking or flying, engage your ab to pull your navel toward the ceiling or the floor until you create that straight line.  If your shoulder blades have rolled apart (and most people's do from sitting all day in a hunched over position), pull them together in the back by rolling them and then slide the tops of your shoulders down away from your ears, as if you are putting your blades into your back pockets.  You should feel your spine sinking between them.

Practice staying in this position for as long as possible.  Can you stay for 30 seconds?  Two minutes? 

It's a complete core workout.  You will use all the muscles and all at once.  And it's a great isometric exercise, very safe, no joints involved.  Simple (though not easy) and effective.  Exactly what our fitness needs are these days.

We can make this more challenging, but for now, a goal of staying in Plank for 2 minutes is a great start.  Begin with whatever you have.  And then tomorrow, try to stay another few seconds.  And the next day.  Until you slowly, gradually work your way up to 2 minutes. 

And while you're doing this, make sure you remember to breathe.

 

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