Martha Stewart can just eat her heart out after the little soiree I threw together last evening... Among the guests were caprine
and the boys of swankyjournal
who gathered for wine (mercy, did we drink a lot of wine!) and to view Monty Python's Meaning of Life
with appropriate finger-food courses for each period of the movie - some of which were sick and twisted and hilarious:
|Crimson Permanent Assurance ||Jasmine and Earl Grey Tea|
|Intro with Talking Fish||Sushi|
|Birth I (hospital)||"Shots" of different liquours in syringes|
|Birth II (every sperm is sacred)||Tapioca Pudding|
|Growth & Learning||BBQ cocktail wieners|
|Fighting Each Other||A Cake (Boston Cream Pie, actually)|
|Middle of the Movie||Mixed Nuts|
|Middle Age||Pineapple w/Dip|
|Live Organ Transplants||Assorted Meats|
|Autumn Years (Mr. Creosote)||"Waffer Thin Mints"|
|Death||Salmon Mousse (which nobody would eat)|
|Christmas in Heaven||Cupcakes from the Swanky's|
Had lovely (if a little loud) conversation and more wine, leading to one tiny breach of hosting etiquette when I actually fell asleep on the couch in-snuggle with a guest.
I totally want this hoodie:
And I have finally bowed to the Siren of Facebook...
Has it really been since January that I last posted ?
Spring is a time of newness, of growth, of possibilities, and of changes...
The vegetarian thing did not fit me - it was a good experience, and made me see how I eat from a different perspective, but just wasn't my thing.
My Brother and his family visited from Utah in January, and we did the beach, Sea World and Disneyland with all of them and my father (who threw a tantrum in the middle of ToonTown because we refused to stop and pose for the fucking hundreth 'family photo') I got to ride Space Mountain three times with my niece Julia (who is not normally orange) and actually got to know my reclusive nephew Brian a little better. And yes, I did pay way too much for the souvenir photo...
February found me at Pantheacon
which is the one of the largest 'Cons' of Earth-Centered people (Pagans) in the country. The first and foremost lesson for me, as it was my first time to one of these, was about expectations (and NOT to have them) Some of the things that I was most looking forward too were complete duds (Taoist Wicca - a rambling incoherent presentation of words that I'm pretty sure were english, but made no discernible sense) and others that I went to just because there was nothing else interesting in that time-slot turned out to be the most fascinating of the entire weekend (check out Resonance
as a concept to go with your Polarity
.) Easily though, the most memorable point of the weekend was in the circle celebrating the Queer Gods and Goddesses
in which Pan
, bedecked in horns and a loincloth (and that's it) crawled across the floor and up my front, whispered sultry things in my ear, and licked the side of my face. All in all, it was a great time.San Diego Harmony Ringers
endured auditions, and is now learning new music - among which is The Rakes of Mallow
which has an AGEHR rating of "6" (the hardest). We are short 2 people this spring, and so I am playing the ENTIRE bottom octave on this piece (that would be 11 bells, each of which weighs 10-12lb) It is doable, and probably enormously entertaining to watch me running around, but absolutely wore me out at rehearsal last week.
A complete surprise arrived in an email a few weeks ago in the form of an invitation of the director of JUUL Tones
to sing with them. I have admired this a-capella ensemble at church for several years, and always enjoy hearing them. They like to keep the group to 12 members, and therefore have a waiting list - so to be invited out of the blue was a tremendous honor. I went to the 'audition' with some trepidation, fearing that "I might not sing as well as they think I do..." I must not have been done TOO bad, as they informed me that I was "in" before the end of that rehearsal! Yay! So they couldn't POSSIBLY pick something easier for me to start out with...Oh no...we are to sing a piece in service...in 2 weeks...by memory...with numerous time changes...in spanish!
And finally, my roommate has been talking about finding a place of his own... he's been talking about this for the last YEAR... and so I didn't really give it too much emotional investment (I'll deal with it when it actually happens)... well it is now suddenly actually happening - he found his place and will be out by the end of the month. I am now anxious and unsure about what to do next. It would be really nice to have the place to myself, to put the computer, keyboard and all the other 'office' stuff in an 'office.' Being the only one here means I can arrange movie nights, dinners and 'other things' without having to check. Conversely, a bunch of the bills are about to double (I will be 'okay' - but will have to make some considerable monetary adjustments) and it's been nice to have someone around. Add to that the crappy economy, and I'm sure there are a lot of people out there who really need to be someone's roommate. I'm gonna' just have to trust... maybe even in the notion that the Universe is arranging things in the Husband category, such that I get a roommate AND and office...
I know that I risk my gay-card by confessing that I am not a huge fan of musical theater... I cannot tell you the storyline of Cats
, cannot sing you a song from Les 'Miz'
, or recite from memory every single line of Phantom
. I have, however, been wanting to see Wicked
for some time, having heard a few of the songs and enjoyed them, and intrigued by what I knew of the story. For Good
was extremely helpful in putting perspective on the "Kevin period."
So when I learned that the Youth group from my church was planning a bus trip to Hollywood to see it at the Pantages Theater
, I volunteered to be a chaperone. Normally I would shudder at the idea of spending the day with 30 teenagers, but these are UU teenagers, and unquestionably the coolest kids in the world.
One of the "elders" from church who grew up in Hollywood took us on a brief walking tour of the area around the theater, mostly consisting of 'this is the high school I went to' and 'this is the church I went to' etc... and it isn't nearly as glamorous as it looks on television ! Tacky souvenier shops on every corner and pushy bums demanding change. We did wander across Judy Garland on the walk-of-fame, and no self-respecting gay man can let that photo-op go by.
The theater is an absolutely stunning study in Art-Deco, and the production was amazing! The next time I see the Technical Director of Looking Glass Theater
I shall exclaim to him "We need more lights!"
After the show we went to Miceli's
for dinner, where my vegetarianism was put to the test ! There were 56 of us total in a big side-area of the restaraunt at a dozen or so tables, and they plunked down a different kind of pizza on each one... on mine ? Pepperoni and Sausage - ha ha... fortunately the next table got a 5-cheese one, and I negotiated a swap.
So on the veggieism, at about 2 weeks in, I'm not finding myself at any extremes... neither "OMG this is the most amazing thing in the world!" nor "OMG I can't wait until I can has a cheeseburger!" I am paying more attention to what I'm eating, which can't be a bad thing.
Haven't posted in a while. Quite honestly, I haven't really had anything meaningful, profound, or interesting to bestow upon the internets.
I was one of the over 20,000 people who marched in the big Protest Rally downtown after the passage of Prop 8 - it was an incredible experience and felt extremely empowering - after which I got home and had to wonder "now what?" I feel like I should be doing something, but what ?
Christmas Eve was busy busy, mostly UU Churchy. I've become friends with the Director of Music at Chalice UU Church
in Escondido (about 1/2 hour north of SD) and went to his 4:00pm Service, then back to First UU
for the Children's service (my friend's son was playing Joseph - how could I not be there?). Following that was a few hours at my Dad's place (he was on his best behavior) Then back to First UU for the 10:00 candle-light service, in which the Choir sang 3 pieces.
Christmas Day found me waking up alone... mixed feelings there. I called my family in SLC, and it turns out it was probably for the best that I didn't travel there this year purely for logistical reasons. The weather was dreadful, with an actual white-out on Christmas day, causing all sorts of nastiness at the Airport (which had to close several times). It would have been no better had I driven, as my little car is not suited for blizzard driving conditions. The evening found me at the home of the friend referenced above, and "Joseph" taught me to play Wii bowling (and thoroughly trounced me at it). Which made me late to another dear friend's gathering, which I didn't realize was a sit-down dinner, and therefore caused to be almost an hour late in starting :(
New Years eve found an "Ensemble" of the San Diego Harmony Ringers
playing a short concert at the church I actually learned how to ring handbells at (I was an honorary Presbyterian for 3 years) Most of the music was such that we were all in wierd positions and had 2 rehearsals on it - considering which it went very well, and the audience enjoyed the performance. I then went home, made some Pumpkin Bisque, watched the ball drop in New York on TV, and crashed.
So far for 2009, after quite a bit of thought and reflection, I have decided that I am going to use the month of January to explore vegetarianism. This is not something I'm taking lightly, nor is it something I'm taking "forever." After the month is over, I will asess where I want to go from there. The main impetus is for health - I would like to see if and how I look and feel physically different after a period of consciously eating in a different manner - although I do recognize the issues of ethics, environment and animal treatment as well. This is not a 'diet' but an exploration of my relationship with the things that I eat.
Yesterday, the Chalice Choir at First UU Church
, sang Johnathan Willcock's Festival of Lessons and Carols
in both services. When it was bestowed upon us at rehearsal this past fall, I definately was not alone in grumbling about the subject matter... Unitarian Universalists believe in the person
of Jesus, but not the "Christ" part. We look to the teachings, stories and wisdom that Jesus brought to us and try to bring those aspects into our lives to help us be better people in the world, but don't believe him to be any more divine than any of the rest of us (which we ALL are) So to sing an entire service about "he is born to save" and "glory to the newborn king" rubbed many of us the wrong way.
A few weeks ago, at mid-week meal between Handbell and Choir rehearsals, the subject came up at the table, and I got a perfect answer to my question of "If we don't believe this, why are we singing it?" - the answer being "Because it is beautiful, it is a message of hope and inspiration, and the music is familiar and positive to many people."
I have since learned that this service is particularly meaningful to many of the congregation who have come from other faith traditions, and is sometimes the only service that they attend all year (kinda like the Catholics who only go to Mass on Christmas Eve). It truly brings a light to their life in this time of year which can have a lot of darkness, be it the physical dark of the shortest days of the year, or the reminder of family or friends gone by death or estrangement...
The experience of being front and center before a congregation of hundreds was a thrill (usually we're up in the loft), and the music is truly beautiful in how the movements are constructed from several carols - dialogues between the different sections of the choir were great, and the last movement with the choir singing counterpoint to the congregation on "Oh Come all Ye Faithful" with the organ thundering behind us was truly glorious.
Which brings me to my personal spiritual belief around this time - I believe it is no cooincidence that almost every culture has some sort of recognition of light and hope at this time of year - back to the ancient Pagan peoples in the observance of Winter Solstice on the longest night of the year, celebrating the anticipation of the light (the sun) returning to the earth to bring it to life once again (at least in climates that acutally have seasons! - Winter in San Diego is 50 degrees and some rain)
In my Pagan path, we have a concept of "holding space" - meaning that those who are performing a service or ritual are creating a a physical and spiritual space in which something greater than ourselves can happen. We are setting the particular time and place specifically to focus on something, and it just dawned on me this morning that this is EXACTLY what the choir was doing for the congregation yesterday.
However it is observed, I truly wish everyone a joyous season filled with hope and love.
Following this election and the narrow passage of Prop 8, I will not stand by and be a second class citizen, losing my constitutional rights to a vote based on fear and lies.
Across the State of California, and indeed the nation - grassroots protests are forming to voice our outrage and rejection of this act of segregation. The organized opposition to this ballot measure had their chance - now We the People are taking it into our hands to show that we will not accept it and demand that it be overturned.
This Saturday, demostrations are happening from Sacramento to San Diego. Adding to the energy and efforts of last weekend's protest in Hillcrest and North Park which drew over 10,000 people (unheard of in San Diego history), this weekend's march will be gathering at 6th and Upas (the north-west corned of Balboa Park) at 10:00. Marching downtown to the County Administration building and a "Rally for our Rights" at 1:00.
If you are as outraged and angered at this proposition as I am, I invite you to join me either on the march or for the rally downtown.
Sent to my mormon family members in Salt Lake City:
This past Tuesday was a day of profound extremes of emotion for me. While thrilled at the fact that the USA has elected it's first black president, and even more so the hope for change and a new direction in this country - I am shocked, disappointed, and absolutely stricken at the passage of California's proposition 8. I know you are aware of this measure. It has been in the attention of the entire country.
By an extremely narrow margin of 52%, people voted to change the constitution of the State of California to specifically take away civil rights from me because I am gay. It was made clear by the California Supreme Court earlier this year that I had the civil and legal right to obtain a marriage license, and to take on the over 2000 civil rights and responsibilites inherent in this legal contract. Upon this news, a huge undertaking by religious groups was mounted to change the very document this state is governed by - and it worked. By using blatant LIES that preyed upon the deepest fears of people as human beings, the campaign convinced just enough people that legal recognition of a committed relationship would undermine society and threaten the "sanctity of marriage."
Among the biggest supporters of this endeavor were members of the LDS church - led from the very top by the first presidency who sent letters to every single ward in the entire nation to be read from the pulpit pressing members to support it (so much for separation of church and state). Throwing aside supposedly divine instruction in their own scriptures (d&c 143:4,7,9) against the church interfering in government, Salt Lake City AGAIN threw its efforts into meddling in the government of my state.
I cannot begin to describe how completely devastated and incomprehensibly angry I am right now. After months of spending my time, money and energy fighting this hateful act of segregation only to see it pass - and by so close a margin - has left me reeling. In lieu of this, my coming there at all in December is out. I will not right now even think of spending one penny that would benefit the mormon church in any way, and even moreso, do not trust myself to be there so close to those who encouraged and promoted this stripping of my constitutional rights.
My anger is not directed at you - those that I love, and that I know love me - In fact the very thing that I want most right now is to be with you in your care. I will never leave the inherent need for my family in times of crisis. But I am now in an incredibly angry place, and rage can sometimes be blind, and I will not risk being so close to you, and so close to those who caused this.
In time there will be healing - right now I need to collect myself, to get back up, and to start fighting anew. This is in NO WAY over. Domestic partnership is not good enough. I will not settle for 'separate but equal' nor will I stand to be a second-class citizen.
I was surprised about how much action there is on YouTube on this...
Ginger-Cinnamon Peach Butter:
The recipe said to put the glop in the Crockpot overnight to reduce, but neglected to specify at what temperature. I selected 'High' - I selected wrong! When I woke up and checked on it, the outer 1" was a congealed burnt goo surrounding the core of yummy reduced heaven. Had I caught it a few hours earlier, It probably would have been a gorgeous caramelized outside that could have been stirred into the mix, but as it was, I carefully scooped out the middle with a measuring cup and put the carcass to soak in the sink.