Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thank Ye Gods and Peeps

Tomorrow it's off to Smallsbo to spend the day with the family. My task this year was to make desert, so being desperate for people's approval and praise, I'm making two. A cranberry pomegranate upside down cake and a trifle. Come to think of it, I really should be baking right now.

Anyway, before I get to it I'm going to make this year's list of things for which I thank the Gods and my beloved peeps.
  • Contract Funding I'm thankful that in January when the Great Budget Scare (GBS) of 2008 hit that I and my team were spared and we've been working all this year.
  • Lingoman He was key to me not losing my mind during the GBS.
  • Lingoman's Mother She offered to help me stay afloat if I lost my contract and needed cash.
  • LCD Seattle and the Viking Getting through the day at the office would be so dreary without them.
  • Music I've gotten some really cool performance opportunities this year and I feel like my performing career is on the way back. Getting started on my solo album has also been exciting and rewarding.
  • Sewing Duh. Like I haven't written enough about that!
  • Seirm I'm very happy that our Gaelic community band and choir is coming back strong and that K has come back and C has joined.
  • Revels I know - I already said Music - but being in Revels this year is something that my soul really, really needed.
  • You I've loved writing these little posts and am very grateful for the time you're taking to read and comment. Makes me feel good.

OK. There's some egg whites that are begging me to whip them into a frenzy.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hearts Break Open

In the midst of all the swirling hope and despair of the last couple weeks a poem I wrote the last time I fell for a straight guy kept coming to mind.

I think we're born so our hearts will break
because when hearts break they break open.
We rarely see without that cracking
what we have and what we're lacking.

In other gay-themed blogs I read the subject of marriage equality over the last few years has provoked an array of opinions from Hell yes - nothing else will do! to gays who want to marry are denying their true gayness and trying to be straight. We're a conflicted generation to say the least. The gays in their twenties and early thirties, however, have no such conflicts. They stand united for marriage equality.

Let's let them lead and back them up. They see the issue more clearly than we do.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Project 5: Blue Shirt

I finished this project a week ago on Veterans (Remembrance) Day but all the drama of the election and the subsequent Prop H8 marches and protests have dominated all my thoughts.

So here is the same shirt pattern I've done twice before. It went really smoothly. The seams turned out better and straighter and the collar came out a little nicer too. There was a slip-up, though. When I finished the shirt and put it on I realized that I had put the buttons on the wrong side. If any of my neighbors were awake when I started shrieking with laughter I'm sure they wondered if a mad scientist was living in the building.

I plan on making three more of these shirts, but my paper pattern pieces are getting a little battered at this point. Luckily for me, I have several seamstress gurus to consult. The incomparable Paula Pay-la-Renta told me to make myself pattern pieces out of thick transparent plastic sheeting. There's something so delightfully Kitsap County about making patterns out of visqueen!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Thank you, Seattle!

Today's march for equality in Seattle was part of an Internet-coordinated effort across the country and around the world. Supporters of same-sex marriage were out in numbers never before seen. It's going to take me a little while to pull my thoughts together for a longer post, but you can see the photos I took now.

Equality March 11-15-08 Seattle

Update: After due consideration, I've decided that everything that needs to be said about our struggle for equality and the Seattle march specifically has already been written out on various blogs. I'm going to turn my face to the rising sun of hope and move forward.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Vikings Rule, Bigots Drool!

The class of students that graduated from North Kitsap High School in 1984 have turned into some fabulous adults. At the 20th reunion I was amazed at how many of us were doctors, news directors, music producers, Scottish harp champions, etc. Through the magic of Facebook I now have a little glimpse into some of their daily lives and share little bits of my own.

When Proposition 8 passed in California last week I was initially devastated. I did a lot of crying and thinking and talking with my closest friends and I'm feeling better about things now. A part of that was seeing how my Facebook friends took up the issue and chimed in with messages of support. Lots of them were from my high school.

It brought to mind an incident during my senior year. I was in a class called Diversified Occupations which was a bit of a misnomer. It really should have been called Life Skills for White Trash. We learned how to file our taxes, balance a checkbook, find an apartment and apply for a job; things that most kids learn from their parents.

One day our teacher Mrs. Morgan brought in a guest speaker whose topic, contrary to custom, wasn't announced in advance. The woman was well dressed and well spoken, but something about her made me uncomfortable. Turns out I wasn't the only one. Within a few minutes danders were up and tempers were flaring. She was there to teach us how to force our opinions on our children. Being children ourselves, we didn't take kindly to the idea. When questioned as to why children shouldn't be encouraged to explore and develop their own critical thinking, she responded "well don't you want to make sure your children don't turn out gay?"

Seriously. She said that. At which point, my classmates and I exploded in anger and asserted that we would love our children regardless of their sexual orientation. Seriously. Eighteen year-olds in Poulsbo Washington in 1984 did that. The woman became flustered and left. It was an amazing moment when I think back on it, though it didn't occur to me at the time.

If anyone who was there in Mrs. Morgan's Diversified Occupations class is reading this, I want to say thanks. You rocked then, and you rock now. Go Vikings!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Project 4: Rustic Caftan

As regular readers will know, I made a Celtified kurta for Lingoman for his birthday which went over pretty well! In fact, as I was packing up that weekend he went into the hall closet (not in the metaphorical sense) and pulled out a length of gorgeous unbleached muslin and said "can you make me a caftan out of this?"

"Sure!" I said. He had used the generous length of fabric (about five yards) to wrap a sari at at least one Pagan festival and warned me that there were a few ahem scorch marks on it.

When I got it home and opened it up I found that in addition to the scorched areas, there were holes spaced along its length as if it had been stabbed twice while folded up. That made fitting the pattern pieces a bit of a challenge! Eventually I had to give up and buy a couple yards of very similar muslin to finish the piece. I can still tell the difference, but I don't think many would notice unless it was pointed out.

I started with my same basic caftan / tunic pattern from McCalls. This time I added side-seam pockets, buttonholes up both sides of the front opening for a lace closure, made an optional belt and used the decorative stitches from my sewing machine.

Lessons learned this time out were:

  1. do your decorative stitching before you start assembling the garment
  2. even if your pattern calls for leaving raw edges on the inside find a way to finish them
  3. make double-extra sure that your pockets are in the right place for your hands

Even with the decorative stitch issues that give the caftan the rustic quality I still think it's really cool. I hope Lingoman agrees!

Not Going to the Chapel

My thoughts and feelings about the election results in California, Arizona and Florida continue to evolve. I'm still mad as hell, although I've resolved firmly not to let my pain turn into racism against African Americans or Latinos who want their equality while trampling on mine. Neither am I going to be filled with bitterness when I think of the Californians who prioritized to improve the living conditions for the livestock they eat while worsening the lives of their neighbors. Nope. Not going to go there.

What I am going to do is resume my self-imposed ban on attending mixed-sex weddings for a year. A woman originally from Scotland contacted me because she wants to say her wedding vows in Gaelic. This is what I wrote back to her:

First of all, congratulations on getting married. Secondly, thank you for your interest in Gaelic and for your ambition to say some of the most powerful words possible in a human life in your ancestral language. I truly hope you succeed and that your wedding day is as special as you hope it will be.

I made a decision this morning however that prevents me from helping you. On November 4th three more of these United States passed amendments to their state constitutions to make sure that people like me will never be treated equally under the law. I won't be attending or accepting work related to weddings in 2009, since I am excluded from that institution.

This one hurts because I would love to help this woman and I honestly applaud her ambition, but there's no progress without sacrifice.

So, no wedding work for me in 2009 and no attending mixed-sex weddings in the US.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Hope and Change? As long as you're not gay

Yes, I voted for Barack Obama and I sobbed uncontrollably when MSNBC called the election for him. By the time I went to bed at 3:00am however, I was sobbing for a different reason.

As news rolled in that Florida and Arizona had voted to amend their state constitution to ban marriage equality my heart started to sink. Any victory by bigots is a reason to mourn, but then the news from California defied belief. Californians were voting to eliminate an existing right for their fellow citizens. They were voting to undermine the very concept of equal protection under the law.

After a short sleep I went into the office and checked the news while getting settled in. As it turns out, exit polls revealed that seven out of every ten African American voters supported Proposition 8. Nearly six out of ten Latino voters did as well.

So while President-elect Obama talks about healing and humility I feel like I have discovered two new enemies who want me trampled down. I have African American friends whom I love and respect and who I know would stand up for me in a fight. I'm holding on to that tonight while I struggle to let go of hope that I'll live to see equality for gay Americans.

Lucky for me I'm engaged to a Canadian who can actually marry me and I'm sure we'll get around to it someday. Maybe sooner now that I've given up on the USA.

Hope? No, I can't.