Tag Archives: happy new year

Freeheld – Love is Love


Here’s the skinny on Laurel Hester. She was a 23-year veteran of the Ocean County prosecutor’s office, where she worked on a variety of cases, when she was discovered she had stage 4 lung cancer (Stage four (IV) means the lung cancer has spread to more than one area in the other lung, the fluid surrounding the lung or the heart, or distant parts of the body through the bloodstream. Once released in the blood, cancer can spread anywhere in the body, but it is more likely to spread to the brain, bones, liver, and adrenal glands.). She was one of the first women to achieve rank of Lieutenant in her department and was greatly respected by her fellow officers.

While in Ocean County, where she earned the rank of lieutenant, she
worked behind the scenes on a number of high-profile cases, devoting
most of her career to organized-crime intelligence. She helped develop
information that investigators in New York would later use for
successful prosecutions of mob figures there.

She met her girlfriend in the early 2000s, Stacie Leigh Andree (born 1975) who was 19 years younger than Hester and worked as a car mechanic.

The cancer then metastasized and spread to her brain, leaving her with little time to live. Laurel lived with and jointly owned a house with her registered domestic partner, Stacie Andree, who would not be able to afford mortgage payments upon Laurel’s death. A married heterosexual with Hester’s years of police service would be able to pass on pension benefits to a spouse, but this privilege was not accorded to same-sex domestic partners in Ocean County, NJ.

Hester and Garden State Equality Founder and Chair Emeritus, Steven Goldstein appealed to local authorities to change this policy, and was supported by the local Policemen’s Benefit Association. Instead, in a private meeting on November 9, 2005, the five Republican county freeholders voted against the proposal, with freeholder John P. Kelly arguing that it threatened “the sanctity of marriage.” On November 23, a rally of supporters rallied by Steven Goldstein gathered to protest the county’s inaction.

On January 18, 2006, an impassioned videotaped appeal by a weakening Hester from her hospital bed was shown at a meeting of the freeholders, who then met with county Republican leaders in a teleconference on January 20. The next day, the freeholders announced that they were reversing their stance, and would meet on January 25 to extend pension benefits to registered domestic partners.

She died exactly a month later after sending the committee the video plea on February 18, 2006, in her home in Point Pleasant, New Jersey.

There is a new movie about Hester’s fight for equality coming out October 2nd starring Julianne Moore and Ellen Page, also titled Freeheld.

Love is love.

– Mushpa

Mushpa y Mensa’s Project Clean House 2014


mushpa y mensas clean hosue project 2014

I begin this year starting fresh with my posts, as I know that in December I was not keeping up with my partner in crime Mushpa’s amazing word press posting skills and motivation.

Here I will start by telling you that it was necessary for us to start the new year with an amazingly clean and organized home. For the past few days Mushpa y Mensa have re-energized our apartment, thrown out unnecessary trash, given away unused items, and said good bye to old memories, to make space for the journeys of the new year!


My favorite project so far has been re-organizing the kitchen cabinets. We used old jars of pasta sauces and pickles, and  we cleaned them and re-labeled them in order to super organize everything from baking soda and stevia, to oats and chia seeds.  We also bought spices sold in bulk so we refilled empty spice jars, and re-labeled others for new spices! You don’t need anything fancy to make the labels…only card-stock, pen and tape…and voila!


Here are some good tips on what a good New Year Cleaning might be deserving of.

1. Kitchen: Clean all the cabinets inside and out, above and below…. and give away any unused cooking items. Our street-found iron pan, an old recipe book, a coffee grinder and random containers were among the items we left in a brown bag for people to pick and choose from at the entrance of our building.  Some people’s “trash”, other people’s treasures! Reduce, and someone else will most definitely reuse!

2. Bedroom and Studio: We cleaned and are almost finished reorganizing our studio and bedroom, yet one really important aspect of the process was to get rid of (and RECYCLE of course) all old paperwork that only took up space. Sometimes little mementos are nice to keep, and we do so in a small box in our bedroom where later on in they year they will probably be compiled into a scrapbook. Other papers/old pictures/brochures/receipts and such are in the “out” pile. It might seem crazy, but the house feels lighter without these items cluttering everywhere.

environmentally friendly cleaning product

3. Clean clean clean: And I mean clean….everything. I even vacuumed inside the stove stop where my hand and sponge couldn’t work. The best part of this is that you DO NOT NEED any harsh chemical products to have a clean home. We used our trusted Vinegar + Water + Peppermint Oil concoction for every surface. Works like a charm, and it smells nice too.  For the very touch stains, grease grime and soap scum, we use our trusted Bon Ami cleaner. It only has 5 ingredients including limestone, feldspar and baking soda derived from sustainable resources that won’t harm our earth!

Now our home feels lighter with better energy to start a new year. A few good prayers with incense and candles burning will add the perfect touch to the amazing energy that circles our home….

From our clean home, we wish you all a very Happy New Year!

Happy into the New Year!


Much love,

Mushpa y Mensa