Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Thursday, December 04, 2008

requiem for a maverick

I have some down-time at the office right now until I meet LB later to discuss just how we plan to entertain, amuse, and mystify all who attend the nearly (less than 10 tickets left) sold-out show on Saturday night. And just finished reading a truly brilliant article by Matt Taibbi posted last week on Rolling Stone's blog. There are gems abound in this piece, and Taibbi brings it home beautifully with his final thoughts, which are excerpted below. To read the full article, visit the RS blog by clicking here.

Of all the problems facing this country by the end of the Bush years, the biggest is the absence of a unifying national idea. Since the end of the Cold War, America has been grasping left and right for an identity. We tried being a "world policeman" in Somalia, which didn't work so well. We tried retaining our Cold War outlook by simply replacing communists with terrorists. We created two bubble economies that blew up in our faces, and headed into 2008 a struggling capitalist state with a massive trade deficit and an overtaxed military that suddenly had to ask itself: For the supposed world leader in the community of nations, what exactly is it that we're still good at? Who are we, and what do we represent to the peoples of the Earth here and now — not in 1775 Concord, or 1945 Paris, or 1969, from the surface of the moon?

When Obama took the stage in Grant Park as president-elect, that question was answered. We pulled off an amazing thing here, delivering on our society's most ancient promises, in front of a world that still largely thought of us as the home of Bull Connor's fire hose. This dumbed-down, degraded election process of ours has, in spite of itself and to my own extreme astonishment, brilliantly re-energized the American experiment and restored legitimacy to our status as the world's living symbol of individual freedom. We feel like ourselves again, and the floundering economy and our two stagnating wars now seem like mere logistical problems that will be overcome sooner or later, instead of horrifying symptoms of inevitable empire-decline.

For this to happen, absolutely everything had to break right. And for that we will someday owe sincere thanks to John McCain, and Sarah Palin, and George W. Bush. They not only screwed it up, they screwed it up just right.

there's still time...

http://www.onelongfellowsquare.com/Details.asp?ProdID=422&category=2

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

the gays doing what they do best

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

another light goes out



Odetta Holmes dies at 77

December 3, 2008

Odetta, the classically trained folk, blues and gospel singer who used her powerfully rich and dusky voice to champion African American music and civil rights issues for more than half a century starting in the folk revival of the 1950s, has died. She was 77.

http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,1863667,00.html

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

So I am sitting at my mom's computer in Shapleigh, listening to her and my dad bustle around. We'll walk across the field to my sister's house in a few hours, spend the day there, watch football, eat like mad, laugh, and above all be thankful that we are all together for one more holiday. When I think about all we've been through, first with my mom's illness, then with Gracie (whose absence is felt by all of us)...well, I am acutely aware of how lucky we are. This Thanksgiving is truly a gift.

Last night we celebrated my dad's 70th birthday and my baby sister's 42nd. As is a ritual with my family, we sat around the kitchen table long after the cake was eaten and the presents opened, and just talked and talked, and laughed and laughed. Sam is home from Farmington, and so we were all there together last night, as we will be today. And again...I am most grateful.

After my sister and her family left, and after my mom and dad retired for the night, I stood outside on my parent's deck and just stared at the big Shapleigh sky, and at the stars I never see in Portland, the same stars I looked at night after night when I was a little kid. It was magical.

It feels so good to be home.

Happy Thanksgiving all.

-----------------

oh...it should be mentioned that my laptop has, at last, found its way to Cyber Afterlife. So posts will be infrequent until I manage to get a new one. Um, yeah.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

empty

in four days, i will be taking a week off--a vacation imposed on me by a compassionate boss who knows i would probably just work right through the holidays because hey, there is that. much. work. to. do. don't even think about showing up here next week darlene or i swear to god i will take away your keys and lock you out of this office. ha. betsy knows me well.

during the months building up to election day, our pace was so frenetic--just constant movement, endless hours, and no time to "shut down". these past two weeks following election day have been a different kind of frenzy. planning every next step with detail. literally mapping out a work plan for the next three months, week by week, day by day, hour by hour. sunday night monique and I sat in my office, both of us physically exhausted, but our minds wide awake with ideas that were pouring out of us so quickly we couldn't write them down fast enough. it was--amazing. a frenzy, indeed.

i so love the work, the energy and inspiration that comes from working with brilliant, dedicated, passionate people who believe in the rightness of the cause with their whole hearts. it is invigorating and challenging and the rewards so beautiful. honest to god, it is an honor and a privilege like none i have ever experienced before. and yet...oh how it drains you. and i am currently running on empty.

so i know this time off is truly necessary. it's just--hard for me to let it all go. i thought about bringing a pile of postcards home next week and just entering data while i watched movies, but that idea was quickly dismissed by betsy, monique and matt. i don't know if they had a secret meeting behind my back, but their "you-need-to-leave-every-bit-of-work-behind-for-a-week" talking points all sounded very, very similar. good for them...and most especially, good for me. it's nice to know someone has your back, holds your best interests in their hearts. those are the moments when you feel cared for, appreciated and loved. mostly you feel grateful. and i am.

if i were a cartoon, my thought bubble would look something like a massive swarm of disturbed bees flying every which way with no distinguishable pattern. just thousands of little dots zigging and zagging all over the place, destination unknown. no shit. i've got to fix that, and quick, because 2009 will require strategic, clear thinking and unrelenting amounts of energy. it will require the very best--of me.

i miss meditating and i have been so undisciplined about it. when i don't do it, i feel...unanchored. adrift. i miss blogging too, i miss those lazy, agenda-free mornings when all there is to do is light a fire, put a billie holiday CD on, and sit with a cup of coffee and my laptop. oscar and willie curled around my feet. i miss my family, my mom and dad, my sister, my sweet nieces.

next week, i will visit all that is missed. medicine for the heart, mind and soul.

and then i'm going back to work, and we're going to kick some serious butt.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

for michael

Got home last night after seeing "the Secret Life of Bees" (the book was terrific, the film not-so-great but tolerable) and sitting in my inbox was an email from a dear friend who is struggling with the end of a six-year relationship. They had a beautiful, lovely relationship, and then about five years into it, his partner became severly depressed. It wreaked havoc on them. My friend was amazing--he tried so hard to be available, to be loving, to do everything right. Truly, they both worked so hard. But in the end, it all fell apart in spite of their heroic attempts to keep it together. And while he is becoming stronger everyday, I know from his voice, from his words, my friend's heart is still so tender, and the healing still so slow.

Yeah. Been there. Done that, many, many years ago. I can think of few things more gut-wrenching than watching someone you love deal with that kind of darkness, and when it comes out of nowhere, it's like a meteorite landing right smack dab in the middle of your life. And it leaves a massive, gaping hole. You feel helpless--watching someone so colorful and vibrant and three-dimensional just mentally and emotionally disappear.

I remember having no earthly notion about how to deal with it, and so many times I would just "check out" myself and ignore it--be so completely blind to the effects that I would just pretend everything was okay. Sometimes I would "take over". Do the groceries, cook, clean, make excuses to friends about why we couldn't join them for dinner, just completely take charge of our lives thinking that if i could make life as easy for her as possible, she would feel happy. There was nothing I couldn't solve, no one I couldn't *be*, and so I took it upon myself to be the anti-depressant. Right. Just completely refusing to accept that this was a deep set, clinical depression.

For a year or so, there was this bouncing back and forth--a "coming out of the fog" as she called it--and I would have her back, at least some version of her. I would celebrate those times, pat myself on the back for being such a patient, loving partner. And ignore all the signs that our relationship was becoming damaged. Badly. There were many, many times when she would allude to the fact that we were in trouble and I would just pass it off as a symptom of her depression. I would slap on a bandaid in a place where a tourniquet was desperately needed. Let's take a weekend trip away--we just need some sunshine and ocean. Let's go out to a fancy dinner. Let's buy new furniture. Let's get a pet. I was flailing my arms around, over my head in water deeper and darker than anything I had ever known.

Eventually, she disappeared completely, into a place so deep in the corridors of her heart that I knew I would never, ever get her back. I mourned the death of that relationship a solid year before it ended. And when it finally and permanently broke apart, i felt in so many ways that i had failed her, and it would be wrong to say that even now, years later, that tiny bit of regret doesn't surface inside me.

Life is so strange. Such a potpourri of sadness and joy and beauty and darkness, all of it flying at us so fast, so unrelentingly. Sometimes we run through it hard and strong as the greatest athletes, sometimes we dance through it graceful as ballerinas. Sometimes we trip and stumble and fall to the ground. I think I am learning that true grace comes from allowing all of it inside, the beautiful and the grotesque, the joy and the sorrow. From letting it touch us in the deepest, most tender places, and then finding the kindness to hold ourselves with that same deepness, that same tenderness.

Compassion grows strongest in dark, quiet places. And when it comes, we must recognize it as a profound gift that we are obligated to pass along to others, that sharing of experience, that ability to say "i understand" and to really, truly mean it. Last night I meditated for my friend, visualizing myself as a ladle dipping into the well of my own experiences, and trying to offer him, with a full heart, a way to quench even a tiny little bit of his thirst.

pema chodron, a buddhist nun whose wisdom and beauty has been a constant guide for me, writes: "When you begin to touch your heart or let your heart be touched, you begin to discover that it's bottomless, that it doesn't have any resolution, that this heart is huge, vast, and limitless. You begin to discover how much warmth and gentleness is there, as well as how much space."

i do not know why i write such things this morning. except to say, maybe, i understand. and i love you michael.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

data matrix

so what happens when you triple your goal and collect 33,000 plus postcards in a day?

you find yourself in a data matrix. oh. my. god. by the time i get home at night, my eyes are bloodshot and i swear to god i see little white dots everywhere. i can't even think about getting on-line and doing something productive like writing on the slant. right.

it's been quite an amazing week. volunteers start showing up at 9 am and we have a steady stream of them coming through the doors until 9 pm, all of them offering up their data entry skills to help us get the work done. love it. my sweet mom showed up on tuesday, a dozen donuts in hand, and spent the next few hours at the computer for us. and then took a pile of postcards home to shapleigh. she is just the. best. mom. ever.

we've also spent a good part of the week on the telephone, debriefing with volunteers about their collective experiences on Election Day, and most importantly, thanking them for their efforts. the stories have been so moving. here's a few that standout:

in bangor, a big, burly tough-looking military guy dressed in fatigues stopped at the table and wanted to sign a postcard. after he finished, he told our volunteer "I was in Iraq last year, and a gay soldier saved my life. I'm signing this postcard for him."

in fairfield, we ran out of postcards early, and so voters were writing their information on little scraps of paper. when we unloaded the postcards back at the office, there were 25 little pieces of paper tucked inside. love. that.

in south berwick, a young mom just couldn't commit to signing but took a postcard. and stood for a long time staring at the postcard but walked away. 20 minutes later, she came running back, signed card in hand. postcards ran out early in south berwick too, and people literally waited in their cars for 30 minutes until a back-up supply came.

in farmington, i talked with a queer student who was so excited, engaged and empowered by this experience, she's getting a tattoo (seriously) that says:

November 4, 2008
33,000

-------------------------------------------

alright--gotta get to work.

and M., if you're reading this from the "other" Portland--congratulations, and welcome to the wonderful world of Aunt-hood. You're gonna love it. And you're gonna be a fabulous auntie M.

Monday, November 10, 2008

postcard heaven

It's been a long while since I've posted anything more than a quote, a video, or a picture. Let's just say...I've been busy. The past 8 weeks I've been in a vaccuum of work, and it paid off, big time. As most people know by now, we did something amazing in Maine on Election Day. Our goal of collecting 10,000 pro-marriage equality signatures in a single day was obliterated. We more than tripled it: 33,000 and counting. It was simply extraordinary and the efforts of our organizers and 350 statewide volunteers was just beautiful. This makes the LGBT political community in Maine so much stronger, and the impact that single day is going to have on our ability to move forward on LGBT equality cannot be overstated. It's a very. big. deal.

And of course, there is little time to catch my breath. You gotta take advantage of this kind of momentum, and keep the train moving forward. No time to rest on your laurels. I spent the last day and a half trying to let go of the work and just relax. Kevin came down from Bangor on Saturday and Corey cooked us a fabulous dinner Saturday night. Sunday we met up with K & J for breakfast, and it felt good to have the posse in one room again. It's been a long time coming.

I fell asleep early last night, but dreamed all night of postcards and data entry and volunteers, oh my. I think that's the first "work" dream I've had since my restaurant days, when almost nightly I would toss and turn and tend bar and wait tables in my sleep. I know what this means...gotta take some time for me at some point, and soon. Betsy has essentially told me that she doesn't want to see my face the week of Thanksgiving, and that if I try to come to the office, she's going to take away my keys. Ha. She knows me well!

I know there is much to write about, and I still don't have the time do it. For now, I'll just say thanks, to my organizers, to our volunteers, to the 33,000 Mainers from Kittery to Ellsworth and in 85 polling places in between who signed on to support our cause.

And I'll leave you with this photo from early Wednesday morning (keep in mind, we had many, many more postcards yet to be returned.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

california

“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don't give up.”

Anne Lamott

harvey milk square

as wonderful as Tuesday night was, for so, so many reasons, i am devastated about california.

the rainbow flag at Harvey Milk Square is at half mast today in san francisco.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Two and a half hours away from the polls closing. We have made history--and by the end of the day, we will have achieved and surpassed our goal of identifying 10,000 supporters of marriage equality. In a single day. Something that has never been done before, by any independent grassroots organization in the country.

I am so proud of our organizers, of our volunteers, of the organization that I am so lucky to work for. Mostly I am so proud to be a Mainer today. Really, I am simply blown away.

And Obama...fingers crossed. A new day may well be upon us.

I feel hopeful for the first time, in a very, very long time.

we just reached...

...our goal.


by noon.

10,000 postcards.

for.
serious.
printing more postcards.

we are running out!

report from the field

It's been an amazing day, already, and we've only been up for 4 hours! We're in 87 polling places across the state, and we're hearing from our morning volunteers that people are signing postcards to support marriage in DROVES. Orono reports that they've had 200 signatures in 1 hour. South Berwick, 77 signatures. Portland polling places are collecting well over 100 per hour. It's extraordinary. The energy in this office is electric. Volunteers on the phone are excited, engaged...working so very hard.

Stay tuned....

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

selling out fast

The Second Annual Lesbian Radio All-Star Revue is happening Saturday, December 6th, 8:00 pm, at One Longfellow Square in Portland. I'll be co-hosting again with the lovely Jill Barkley, and we've got some amazing talent lined up for what is certain to be a fabulous show. Tickets are already selling fast--we are more than halfway to sold out!! So call One Longfellow Square--RIGHT THIS MINUTE--and order your tickets. 207-761-1757. Or click here for more details about how to purchase tickets on line.

it's gonna be a great night--don't miss it!!


Monday, October 27, 2008

okay, how about mars?

sunshine diva

i am, as we used to say in the restaurant biz, in the weeds. up to my eyeballs in organizing. touring the pine tree state for the next 4 days to train over 400 volunteers who will help us identify 10,000 pro-LGBT voters on election day. (have i mentioned before that this has never been done, EVER, by any LGBT statewide organization? and we're gonna do it. for. serious. ) yep, it's full steam ahead for the next 8 days and little if any time at all for chilling. rockin' and rollin'. spreading the gay agenda like wildfire (that's right Mr. Michael.) kicking ass and takin' names. burning multiple candles at all freaking ends. and i won't have time to look up until about 1:35 pm on Wednesday, November 5th, which is exactly five minutes after my debut segment of WMPG's Lesbian Radio's Amazonian Politico ends. it's crunch time ladies and gents, and when it's over, here's hoping we can all say President-Elect Barack Obama, and we can all celebrate a Prop 8 defeat in California, and EqualityMaine can send out an All-Points-Bulletin that we are desperately seeking data entry gurus to enter 10,000 freshly signed postcards of support into our database.

i've made my list and checked it twice, and there you have it. yeah baby yeah.

by the way, the title of this post is a dedication to my beautiful mother, who signed up with EqualityMaine to be a Sunshine Diva on Election Day and deliver treats and encouragement to our volunteers at the Sanford polling places. she has had a ridiculously difficult year and she still manages to amaze me with her strength and support and love. after beating back a life-threatening illness, after enduring the unspeakable sadness of saying goodbye to her very best and dearest friend, she just keeps moving on with a beautiful smile on her face and big heart that just keeps on giving. and she makes me so damn proud.

alrighty kids. i may not be back on the slant until november 5th. or i may just surprise you and show up unannounced.

vote.
vote.
vote.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

goodnight, grace

Grace Phinney
Shapleigh

Grace G. Phinney, 69, of Shapleigh, passed away at home on Sunday, October 19, 2008. She was born in Rochester, New Hampshire on October 10, 1939, a daughter of Guy and Clara (Carll) Berry. She graduated from Limerick High School in 1957.

On July 12, 1959 she married Robert D. Phinney at the Limerick Congregational Church. A lifelong member of the church, she served on the Diaconate Board. A devoted wife, mother and grandmother, she cherished her family. She looked forward to cooking and hosting holiday gatherings. For several summers she baked pastries at the South Arm campground in Andover, Maine. Some of her hobbies included, painting, reading, doing puzzles, dancing and camping.

She is predeceased by her parents; one son, Larry Phinney; two brothers, Charles Berry and Hartley Berry.

She is survived by her husband of 49 years, Robert D. Phinney of Shapleigh, four sons, Ken Phinney of Shapleigh, Brian Phinney of Waterboro, James Phinney of Sanford and Tony Phinney of Summerville, South Carolina. She is also survived by her 12 grandchildren.

Visiting hours will be on Thursday from 6 to 8pm at the Carll-Heald & Black Funeral Home, 580 Main Street, Springvale. A funeral service will be held on Friday at 1pm at the Limerick Congregational Church. Burial will be at the Highland Grove Cemetery in Shapleigh.

In lieu of flowers contributions may be made in her memory to the Limerick Congregational Church, P.O. Box 118, Limerick, Maine 04048.

Condolences may be expressed at www.blackfuneralhomes.com

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

dear excellent friend

This was circulated on a list-serve I belong to and it's just goddamn funny. It's a take on all those ridiculous spam emails that ask for money, and when I read it, I laughed out loud...a lot. Enjoy:

------------------------------

Dear Excellent Friend:

I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.

I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 700 billion USD. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.

I am working with Mr. Phil Gramm, lobbyist for UBS, who (God willing) will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a former U.S. congressional leader and the architect of the PALIN / McCain Financial Doctrine, you may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. As such, you can be assured that this transaction is 100% safe.

This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.

Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to wallstreetbailout@treasury.gov so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.

Yours Faithfully,
Henry Paulson
Minister of Treasury
Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20220

ps: ignore anything you read at afterdowningstreet.org

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

12 Reasons Why Gay Marriage Will Ruin Society

from the Gator Gay-Straight Alliance website...

1. Homosexuality is not natural, much like eyeglasses, polyester, and birth control are not natural.

2. Heterosexual marriages are valid because they produce children. Infertile couples and old people cannot get legally married because the world needs more children.

3. Obviously gay parents will raise gay children because straight parents only raise straight children.

4. Straight marriage will be less meaningful, since Britney Spears's 55-hour just-for-fun marriage was meaningful.

5. Heterosexual marriage has been around for a long time, and it hasn't changed at all: women are property, Blacks can't marry Whites, and divorce is illegal.

6. Gay marriage should be decided by the people, not the courts, because the majority-elected legislatures, not courts, have historically protected the rights of minorities.

7. Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are always imposed on the entire country. That's why we only have one religion in America.

8. Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people makes you tall.

9. Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage license.

10. Children can never succeed without both male and female role models at home. That's why single parents are forbidden to raise children.

11. Gay marriage will change the foundation of society. Heterosexual marriage has been around for a long time, and we could never adapt to new social norms because we haven't adapted to cars or longer lifespans.

12. Civil unions, providing most of the same benefits as marriage with a different name are better, because a "separate but equal" institution is always constitutional. Separate schools for African-Americans worked just as well as separate marriages will for gays & lesbians.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
According to a report given to the Office of the General Counsel of the U.S. General Accounting Office, here are a few of the 1,138 benefits the United States government provides to legally married couples:

1. Access to Military Stores
2. Assumption of Spouse’s Pension
3. Bereavement Leave
4. Immigration
5. Insurance Breaks
6. Medical Decisions on Behalf of Partner
7. Sick Leave to Care for Partner
8. Social Security Survivor Benefits
9. Sick Leave to Care for Partner
10. Tax Breaks
11. Veteran’s Discounts
12. Visitation of Partner in Hospital or Prison

Here are a few of the state level benefits within the United States:

1. Assumption of Spouse’s Pension
2. Automatic Inheritance
3. Automatic Housing Lease Transfer
4. Bereavement Leave
5. Burial Determination
6. Child Custody
7. Crime Victim’s Recovery Benefits
8. Divorce Protections
9. Domestic Violence Protection
10. Exemption from Property Tax on Partner’s Death
11. Immunity from Testifying Against Spouse
12. Insurance Breaks
13. Joint Adoption and Foster Care
14. Joint Bankruptcy
15. Joint Parenting (Insurance Coverage, School Records)
16. Medical Decisions on Behalf of Partner
17. Certain Property Rights
18. Reduced Rate Memberships
19. Sick Leave to Care for Partner
20. Visitation of Partner’s Children
21. Visitation of Partner in Hospital or Prison
22. Wrongful Death (Loss of Consort) Benefits

Saturday, October 11, 2008

rollercoaster

it is a quiet morning on beacon street, at last. i am cradling the first cup of coffee, willie is curled up next to me, and i'm thinking about lighting a fire to take the edge off the bit of chill we are both clearly feeling. today will be about laundry and cleaning and groceries, and somewhere in between a good long meditation. i have a few days to reflect, relax, regenerate. And I need 'em, badly.

yesterday--wow. such a rollercoaster of a day, and what a way to end a very long stretch of ten work days in a row. connecticut! it feels like that case has been sitting for 3 years (it was actually one year, five months) and when we received the call from Mary B. telling us the judgment would be announced at 11:30 yesterday morning, the office was just...buzzing. electric. we spent the morning vacillating between hope and despair, all of us understanding the enormous implications this decision would have on the work we are doing here in Maine.

and so at 11:15, matt and i sat at our desks, went to the CT Supreme Court website, and hit "refresh", obsessively, for the next 15 minutes. at exactly 11:30, matt screamed "OH MY GOD IT'S UP" and then it was just, well, utter chaos. betsy and matt and half our organizing staff, crowding around my desk as i frantically scrolled down 85 pages of a PDF file trying to translate legalese and find that one line that would tell us whether CT was to become the third state in the country to legalize marriage for same-sex couples. what a scene. it took us about 3 minutes to figure it out, and even then, we didn't celebrate until the call came from our friends at GLAD to tell us we had won. and then...utter joy. laughter. high fives. tears.

we had nothing to do with this victory, of course. but we lived through the last excruciating 17 months with our friends who were directly responsible. and we all knew how profoundly this decision would impact US. and california (hopefully). and new england. everywhere. hurray for the team at GLAD, who are my absolute heroes and heroines, hurray for the courageous couples who were part of the court case, hurray for the wisdom of those judges. and most especially, hurray for the thousands of same-sex couples in connecticut who can now enjoy that most wonderful freedom to marry. it was a joy to be at work yesterday. our organizers called every one of the 90-something poll captains we've recruited for election day to share the good news, and to say "thank you. because of your help, we will celebrate in maine someday too." wow. great freaking day, indeed.

and then...last night. i had dinner with my mom and dad, and then we drove to maine med to visit gracie, who was hospitalized yesterday. she will spend four or five days there, and then she will hopefully go home to spend the rest of her days in shapleigh. i'd not seen her in three weeks, and the difference was stunning. she is so...small. weak, exhausted. you must be within inches of her to hear her voice. it was nearly impossible to take, yet i know in my heart that our visit meant the world to her. when i leaned over to kiss her goodnight, our eyes connected and i understood that, completely.

as i walked out of her room, i turned for one moment to see my mother crawl into the hospital bed and wrap her arms around gracie. i stood there, frozen, unable to take my eyes away from this tiny glimpse of an extraordinary friendship. they simply lay there, quiet, no words, not even tears. my mother whispered something to her, i do not know what, and gracie whispered something back. and then my mother kissed gracie's tiny, bald head, said 'i love you'. stood, wrapped and tucked in the blankets around her dear friend. watched gracie fall asleep within seconds. and then, because i simply could not bear it for another second, i turned, heart heavy, eyes filled, and walked away.

it was one of those moments that sears through your heart--i am always amazed that heartache is just that--a physical, palpable pain in the chest, and in the lungs. and yet it was also beautiful to see, my mother, so strong, so *present*, so completely available for her friend, and gracie, so willing to let her in. this different kind of love between women, a love that has lasted more than 50 years, the most profound and lovely portrait of friendship.

my mother continues to teach me new things, every day. how lucky i am.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

full of grace

you are in my head this morning gracie.

i should be running around, scurrying, lately i am like a leaf blowing in the wind, or better yet, a cat chasing my tail, never quite getting it, always a step behind, but stubborn and determined and convinced that if i just move a little faster i will catch it, i will catch up and finally climb to the top of the mountain of work in front of me, and get to the other side of it.

i should be running, but i am frozen, jarred by an early morning phone call, the sound of my mother's voice still echoing in my head as she struggled to find the words to tell me that your light is fading ever-so-quickly. she already feels gone darl, there is no life left in her. and me wanting so desperately to somehow crawl through the phone line and wrap my arms around my mother, hold her, be strong for her so that she can let go of all she holds so tight inside, and let in, finally, her heartache. how strange, my mother, near 70, experiencing the loss of a friend for the first time in her life, how strange, her daughter, well-versed in such losses, consoling and comforting her, i understand this grief mom. i have been inside this dark place before, i remember well the sting, the breaking of your soul in two, the strange feeling of heaviness and emptiness happening at exactly the same painful moment.

your light is fading away, gracie, and i am so sad to let you go, i am so completely and utterly heartbroken. our world will be less bright, less colorful, less beautiful, without your presence in it. it is almost unimaginable, and yet, we must begin to learn to live without you.

and so i will find my own way through today, i will smile and inspire, i will do the work that must be done. and i will hide my own heaviness, i will ignore my own emptiness, i will wear the mask necessary to see this day to its end. but my every thought will be in shapleigh, i will be holding you and my mother close in my heart, i will wish and i will pray that you are sleeping peaceful, that you are dreaming of your sons and your grandchildren and the tall birch trees in shapleigh and the night sky filled with the same stars we looked at together so many times, your hand always clasping mine, when i was a just a little girl.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

fuel

i'm on day 8 of 13 work days in a row, leaving for bangor in a few hours to do a poll captain training. i woke up tired, as if i had only just fallen asleep...and i woke feeling sorry for myself and in a very foul kinda mood.

so i logged onto my work email, and among the many unread messages i saw one from Lady Bug, subject line: "fuel." and when i opened it, there was only this link:

http://groundspark.org/del-and-phyllis

so i went there. wow.

i'm not so tired anymore. and i'm no longer grouchy.

jill reminded me why i do this work, and it was a very kind thing for her to do.

love you, LB. and thanks.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

on debates and marriage and gays, oh my

I don't have much time to respond--we are working seven days a week now at EqualityMaine to get ready for our biggest single day action, EVER, but I wanted to offer my two cents to the marriage question during the vice presidential debate, and to the notion, in general, that we need a presidential candidate who will come out and definitively say that they support marriage for same-sex couples.

Obviously I want that...a candidate who doesn't pussy foot around the topic and then stumble when they have to take a position on civil unions/marriage etc. I am confident that day will come, and my prediction is it will happen, finally, after Obama (fingers crossed) finishes his second term and a whole new slate of candidates start torturing us again in 2016.

On Thursday night, i think both Palin and Biden lied when asked about their views on equality for same-sex couples. I think Biden lied when he said he didn't support gay marriage--I feel that in my bones. There is no way Obama would stand in the way of legalizing gay marriage in the US. Remember, that would take an act of Congress, and if we ever managed to push that kind of a bill through, he would sign it in a minute. Of course, let's be honest, that isn't going to happen for a good long time, and it's likely that same-sex marriage will (and actually is) follow the same course as interracial marriage did. It will start in the states, and eventually these marriages will be recognized by the federal government. It ain't gonna happen tomorrow people...but we are on course, and actually moving much faster than anyone could have predicted. IF CA manages to defeat the amendment in November, the momentum we will see from that will be amazing.

So Obama (and Biden) are not going to say the words out loud "I support same-sex marriage" because they are still queasy about 2004 and still worried that this would cause some voters to turn to McCain. And you know what--it probably would. Which would spell disaster for our country, and let me tell you, would push LGBT issues on a federal level back into the closet for another decade.

What is more interesting to me was Palin's answer. She stumbled and mumbled and made some ridiculous statement about the diversity of her friends, and how she supports equality, yadda yadda yadda. An Outright Lie. Remember, she told Katie Couric that homosexuality is a choice. And HRC just released this video, asking queer Alaskans what *they* think of Sarah Palin. Take 5 minutes and watch it...it's unbelievable:




So why did Palin lie and why did she ease right up to that line of being "pro-equality"? Of course she slammed the door hard on the whole marriage issue, but she tried to build a case that she wasn't anti-LGBT before the slam. She lied, I think, because we as a country are changing enough in our views that a viable candidate can no longer get away with slamming queer people outright. Her answer was pretty damn close to Kerry's answer in 2004. Only in '04 Kerry was likely sincere about supporting queer people in general, and Palin was not.

The point is, (and I think I have one in here somewhere) that those who oppose all things gay are starting to be very, very careful about how they say it (people like Mike Heath excluded, of course) because it is becoming less and less of a polarizing issue for the voters. They can't get away anymore with the overt homophobia they displayed during the '92 national republican convention when they nearly hung us in effigy, and now, in 2008, they are even parsing their words carefully so as to not appear completely anti-LGBT. When you think about the 2004 presidential election, and how gay marriage was used as tactic against us by the GOP, we've come a long, long way baby.

So am I disappointed that Obama/Biden are not coming out and clearly stating they support gay marriage? In the words of Palin, you betcha. But I don't believe that makes them less of an ally to our community. With an Obama administration and the right people in Congress, we will see passage of ENDA. We will see the end of Don't Ask/Don't Tell. We will see a federal Hate Crimes bill passed. Hell, 6 or 7 years from now we may even see the federal DOMA fall. Obama will do nothing to stand in the way of that, and he will sign those bills without hesitation. My god, that is such amazing progress, and we have to recognize and acknowlege that.

It isn't perfect. And yeah, I want a candidate to say out loud that we deserve the freedom to marry legally, just like everyone else. And let's be honest, of the frontrunners during the Democratic Primary, not one of them could say that out loud. Not Obama. Not Clinton. Not Edwards. So, it seems to me we need to stop using that as the moral yardstick that measures where they stand on our issues.

My rambling two cents...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Saturday, September 27, 2008

on making history and debates and auntie brigades, oh my

the last time i posted was september 14th, and yesterday was the first day i've had off since that time. we are in a huge and potentially historic push to identify 10,000 pro-LGBT voters in a single day...election day. i say historic because if we do it (and every day i am more confident we will), it will make us the first LGBT organization in the country to accomplish such a feat. we've hired six new amazing organizers to help us get there, and while the days have been long and seemingly endless at times, i am charged and excited and feeling that familiar adrenaline rush that comes with the campaign-like pace we are currently keeping.

that said, i am generally falling into bed every night and asleep before my head hits the pillow. when i get this busy, it is difficult to be creative and even more difficult to keep my eyes open long enough to write. the slant will likely have spontaneous posts from now until november 4th.

up next: ramblings

watched the debate last night, and i was happy, for the most part, with obama's performance. he was focused, articulate, thoughtful. he was a little bit too polite for my liking...i wished he would have been less complimentary to mccain and more aggressive. but his answers were intelligent and forceful, and i think he made a strong case that he is ready to lead. i'm glad he brought domestic issues into a debate which focused on foreign policy. and i loved his line about mccain pretending that the war in iraq started in 2007. brilliant. and can i just say that mccain's sneer and nervous laughter was as good an imitation of george bush as tina fey's sarah palin. fucking scary.

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in the middle of last week's crazy schedule, M & I managed to sneak out of the office for two hours to listen to liz gilbert, who was speaking at the merrill auditorium to support the work of The Telling Room, an amazing non-profit here in portland that is dedicated to young storytellers and writers. check their website out here. as soon as this election cycle is over, i'm going to start volunteering for this organization.

gilbert, who wrote eat, pray, love, a book i've raved about before on the slant, was wonderful. funny, engaging, thoughtful. inspirational. we laughed, we cried, sometimes at the same moment, and it was exactly the perfect break from all-things-work. and i couldn't imagine being there with anyone else besides M., who urged me to read the book in the first place and then indulged me by talking about it with me, over and over (and over and over) again.

there were so many great moments, and one of my favorites was her theory of the auntie brigade. she spoke of how throughout history, in every culture at least 10% of the women never have children. in some time periods and in various cultures this number can be much higher, but historically it is never, ever lower than 10%. this number is so consistent that gilbert believes this is kind of a genetic necessity, to have a "posse" of adult women who are caring and compassionate and who do not have children of their own. that their existence is critical to supporting other mothers (she calls them "sparents") and to caring for others living on the peripheral parts of any society. the auntie brigade. love that.

if you are one of the twelve people on earth who haven't read eat, pray, love, you gotta go out and buy or borrow a copy today. it's brilliant.

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quote of the week: "we are one curry dish away from utter doom." johnny mckenna, on the perils of working in an office that's one floor above a restaurant, in a building fitted with fire escapes made of wooden steps. um, yeah.

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enough ramblings. i am off to brunch with the posse women, then i think i'll come home, light my first fire of the season, and curl up with a good book. my week starts off tomorrow, at noon, and so a little bit more self-care time is in order to get me ready.



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Sunday, September 14, 2008

tina fey is a goddess

like most people who are fans of Saturday Night Live, the first time I ever saw (and god help me, HEARD) Sarah Palin I thought "holy shit she looks just like Tina Fey." so much so that i wasn't completely convinced she wasn't Tina Fey. i half-expected Palin, in the middle of her speech at the GOP convention, to stop dead in the middle of a sentence and scream "LIVE FROM NEW YORK, IT'S SATURDAY NIGHT!!"

but we could never get that lucky.

anyway--unfortunately for Palin, she is the spitting image of one of the most brilliant, funny, talented comedians in the universe who happened to cut her teeth on SNL, which can also be brilliant and funny, particularly when they do political satire. fortunately for Fey, her career, which is already skyrocketing, is about to blast into a whole new stratosphere. cha-ching.

check out SNL's season premiere opening moments. it's frigging delicious:


Friday, September 12, 2008

bush doctrine? is that a medical question?

doc·trine (dok-trin) noun.
1. A principle or body of principles presented for acceptance or belief, as by a religious, political, scientific, or philosophic group; dogma.
2. A rule or principle of law, especially when established by precedent.
3. A statement of official government policy, especially in foreign affairs and military strategy.
4. Archaic Something taught; a teaching.

sarah palin is so f'ing frightening to me. why charles gibson didn't laugh, or didn't call his family on the nearest cell phone and scream "GET YOUR PASSPORTS TOGETHER, WE ARE NOT TAKING ANY CHANCES, WE ARE MOVING TO CANADA TODAY!!!!" is just a huge testament to his poise and professionalism. though one can't help but notice how blown away he is by the fact that palin did not understand this question: "Do you believe in the Bush Doctrine?"

it's not like this is one of those situations where a question can be interpreted in many ways. it's decidedly not an "it depends on what your definition of IS is" kind of moment. and she simply cannot answer it.

see for yourself:



if you can stomach it, here's another 9 minutes of the exclusive ABC interview with the woman who will be one heartbeat away from the presidency if we don't all get our acts together and vote on November 4th. it's completely and utterly terrifying.

i guess i'm IT

I have been tagged by Dawn at MDI. I am so busy my head is spinning, and I'm so tired my eyelashes ache, but still...posts on the slant have been a rare occurance lately, and Dawn has been very forgiving. I've not received even one slacker email from her.

so with gratitude, i'll play. at the end of this thing I'm supposed to tag five other bloggers. time will not allow that. so if you're reading this and you have a blog, you're IT. if you're reading this and you don't have a blog, well, you are missing out on a whole lotta fun. and i've now provided you a topic for your very first post.

1. Where was I ten years ago?

that's 1998. i had a lovely cottage in scarborough, living out the tail-end of a 12-year relationship. if same-sex couples could legally marry, this surely would have been my one and only marriage. had a fabulous wonderful cat named Idgie. and was running a restaurant in freeport. the only remnants of that life now are books and furniture. and clothing, which i think is still stored away in my closet somewhere in hopes that i'll one day soon be able to button those shorts again.

2. What was on my To Do list today?

i cannot begin to describe how this question utterly freaks me out. let's see...in my professional life, we are in the middle of organizing a potential 600 people for election day. and also organizing indistrict legislative meetings all across the state. *and* preparing to help elect some LGBT friendly state candidates. *and* trying to hire another 6 organizers to help us. *and* working on a rally set for october in response to a recent horrific hate crime in portland. *and* i have close to 20 fundraisers and/or house parties that i need to be at in the next 30 days. *and* i'm trying to prepare for a workshop i'm facilitating this weekend for A Rising Tide, a wonderful organization that Corey heads up.

in my personal life, Bangor Boy is coming down this weekend, which i am completely thrilled about. on the other side of the emotional meter, i am taking a personal day on Monday to visit a friend whose time on this earth is near its end.

3. What would I do if I were a billionaire?

my mom and dad would live out their lives the way they deserve to. and shitload of money would go to EqualityMaine. a shitload of money would go to other organizations who do work on HIV/AIDS, domestic violence, and LGBT equality. My neices would also be set for life.

and then i would travel--india, new zealand, and a re-tour of europe.

i would become the next rachel maddow, hosting my own talk-radio show called, um, the wet spot (thanks jenny jeez) until eventually msnbc realized i'm brilliant and gave me the spot following maddow's new gig.

i'd buy me a modest home on the ocean, and write, write, write, write.

4. Five places I've lived:

i've been a mainer my whole life, as an adult i haven't lived too far from the portland peninsula, ever, and have still managed to be a ridiculous nomad. i figured out once that i've lived in like 25 different places in less than 20 years--crazy. so....scarborough, cape elizabeth, south portland, brunswick, harpswell, north yarmouth, standish, portland, westbrook...to name a few.

5. Bad habits:

cigarettes--number one. procrastination comes in at a close second. after having read my to-do list for today, you can see how procrastination adversely effects my world. i am certain the two bad habits are inter-connected. and i am certain i have a number of other bad habits that friends and acquaintances would share with the world. some of them might even be considered "good" bad habits. and we'll leave it at that. :>

-----------------------

there. i feel as though i've accomplished something great.

happy friday all.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

wedding day

ellen and portia get married. and ellen shares it with a bazillion mainstream viewers.

love.
that.

love.
her.




Monday, September 08, 2008

swallowed up

if you hadn't noticed, this time of year tends to swallow me up and away from all things recreational--like, for example, writing on the slant. i am buried at work, more than ever it feels like. and life in general has been so up and down lately, i am dizzy from trying to stay balanced. i feel the tug of the blog, wanting so much to write and yet not having my thoughts in any order that would make for an interesting read. but--i am starting to get emails, notes, and phone calls from friends asking "are you okay? you aren't posting...what's going on..." so here i am, with just a few tiny minutes to type, type, type away a few random thoughts that were rolling around in my head when i woke this morning. i'll try to be better about posting.

but mostly, let's just say that reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated. or as the matriarch likes to say, "don't pay the ransom, i've escaped."

__________________________________________

oh canada?


as busy as i've been, i still managed to watch nearly every televised minute (at least in the evenings) of the national democratic convention. and then watched as much of the republican convention as i could stomach, kind of in the same way i watch horror movies--peeking through my hands which were almost always covering my face. in my lifetime, aside from maybe 1992, i have never seen a more stark contrast between the two candidates ( and their running mates) for The Most Important Job on the Planet. and I know we always say this about *every* presidential election, but i just don't think the stakes have ever been higher. seems to me we are on the brink of utter doom, and while neither candidate is flawless, and while neither candidate possesses the Super Powers to magically fix it all, AND while it is common knowlege that i am True Blue Dem, it just seems to me that the choice is obvious. at least with Obama we have a fighting chance. McSame? forget about it. I can't even believe that 25% of the people attempting to survive among the ruins of the Bush Administration are 'undecided' about who to vote for. My. God. i have made jokes in the past about moving to Montreal or Toronto if things don't go my way on November 4th. But McCain-Palin? it's becoming less and less of a joke. 'cause i don't think i have the intestinal fortitude to survive that administration.

and oh gawd i am just so offended by McCain's selection of Palin as veep, especially if she was chosen to try and lure in some undecided women voters who were initially supporting Hillary. give me a frigging break. it demonstrates in living color how disconnected the GOP is with women's issues. wow. it takes your breath away. and if there is a single Hillary voter in this country who is considering supporting this Joke of a Ticket, shame. on. you. Palin is looking more and more like the female version of Dick Cheney, minus years and years of experience. She feels dangerous to me. And the Dems cannot repeat this often enough: a heartbeat away from the presidency. insanity.

________________________

little girl

my baby girl samantha is now officially a college student. i spent a day with her before she drove away to a whole new life, and it was wonderful. we laughed and waxed poetic about all the amazing memories we've made together, and i savored every minute. when i was leaving, she wrapped her arms around me (this from a kid who was never much of hugger) and said "i love you auntie darl. thank you for everything you've done for me. i'm going to miss you the most." it felt a little like dorothy and the scarecrow, and it was a most precious moment.

there are four stand-out events in my life that i hold higher than any others: the sox winning the world series in 2004, maine won't discriminate defeating The Evil Ones in 2005, and the birth of my two nieces. it boggles my mind to think that this little girl whose childhood filled my life with beauty and laughter and magic is now "out there on her own." i sent my sister a card that arrived in her mailbox on the very day Sam drove away, a picture of little girl on a swingset, legs kicking to the sky. all i wrote on the inside: "regarding samantha: well done."

________________________________________________

grace

a wonderful, beautiful friend of our family, a woman who in so many ways is like a second mom to me, has been waging a war with cancer for the past fifteen years. she is a brave, beautiful soul, and it appears that she is losing the fight. she is especially close to my mom--truly, one of my mother's dearest friends. the forty or more years that my mother and Grace have been friends is not nearly long enough, for either of them, and my mom is already beginning to feel the unspeakable void that will be left in Grace's place. there is such sadness in my mom's voice when she talks about Grace (how fitting a name for this jewel of a woman.) we used to wish for her to have the strength to fight, the strength to win the battle. now our wishes our much simpler. we wish for her to have a day without pain. a restful night. my mom said last night on the phone, "i just hope and pray that she goes quietly, in her sleep, and i hope her last dream is of the rolling fields in shapleigh, and of all her children, and that they are happy and peaceful dreams." so call a friend, dammit, and tell them you love them. it sounds ridiculously sappy. i can tell you my mom wouldn't think so, at all. we are often so oblivious of time, and so cavalier with it, as if we have it to waste. if we don't recognize and value and savor those people in our lives who enrich us and bring us joy, we are just damn fools.

i see a safe journey Gracie.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Friday, August 29, 2008

quote of the day

much to say about obama's amazing night, but will have to save that for a later time.

until then, here's a fun quote from an LGBT political list-serve, regarding McSame's choice of Sarah Palin as veep.

"Keep in mind Sarah Palin is Governor of Alaska.

A state that is 22 years younger than John McCain."

we are so. winning. it. all. in November.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

o pioneer


from the San Francisco Chronicle:

Lesbian rights pioneer Del Martin dies



(08-27) 12:29 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- Del Martin, a lesbian rights pioneer who took part in one of California's first same-sex weddings, died today in San Francisco after a long period of declining health. She was 87.

Ms. Martin's political activism began in the 1950s when she co-founded a ground-breaking lesbian rights organization. On June 16, she and her partner of 55 years, Phyllis Lyon, were married at San Francisco City Hall by Mayor Gavin Newsom, her last public act of political activism.

Ms. Martin died this morning at UCSF Hospice, nearly two weeks after she was admitted with a broken arm. Lyon was at her side.

"Ever since I met Del 55 years ago, I could never imagine a day would come when she wouldn't be by my side," Lyon said in a statement issued by the National Center for Lesbian Rights. "I am so lucky to have known her, loved her and been her partner in all things."

"I also never imagined there would be a day that we would actually be able to get married," Lyon said. "I am devastated, but I take some solace in knowing we were able to enjoy the ultimate rite of love and commitment before she passed."

brilliant

no words necessary. except to say...she's my heroine.




Monday, August 25, 2008

it's official: i'm an oldie

Every now and then i'll be navigating through a routine day and something will happen that makes me blurt out "good gawd, this is blogworthy" and i had one of those very moments on the road with Young Matthew this past weekend.

We were speeding up 95 heading to Bangor for the American Folk Festival (when Young Matthew is driving I am pretty sure that, on occasion, we possibly break the sound barrier. it can be a white-knuckles-on-the-dashboard kind of adventure.) We always forget to bring CDs to listen to, so we play the SCAN game on the radio and hope that the Gods of Music randomly shine their grace upon us. Remarkably, even though I'm old enough to be his really hip mother (and when i say hip, i am being hopeful that i've managed to turn my version of Geek into Hipness. doubtful. but hope springs eternal), we have the same taste in music, and this little radio scan game has become an amusing part of our road trips. We seem to always catch the great songs right around the Big Finish (ie. the so-you-think-you-can-stone-me-and-spit-in-my-eye part of Bohemian Rhapsody) and then we both bitch and moan that we missed yet another rockin' tune in its entirety. Sometimes Matt will get to a Jesus station and make a special point of stopping the scan, just to see how long i can tolerate it before i start screaming "IF YOU DON'T CHANGE THIS STATION I AM JUMPING OUT OF THE FRIGGING CAR." What can i say...the trip to Bangor is not especially picturesque and so we have to entertain ourselves.

So we get to the Newport road sign, and I'm just about to call my Bangor Boy to tell him we are within striking distance of Bangor when I hear a DJ say "it's Kenny on your favorite Oldies Station, and here's a real classic". I'm expecting Buddy Holly or some other tune that my mom and dad would play when i was a kid and say oh dahl, this was an oldie-but-goodie. But no. It's Electric Light Orchestra's 'Evil Woman.' um. yeah. This is a song that was popular when i was in junior high school. And a song now being referred to by a nostalgia radio station DJ as a freaking classic. Let's just say my reaction was...um...passionate and animated. "this is NOT a classic!!!! i am NOT old enough that my 45s collection can be categorized as OLDIES BUT GOODIES." A statement which i can acknowlege was rich with irony and glaring contradictions. 45s. right.

This was one of those defining moments in life...an unenjoyable rite of passage...similar to the first time i spotted a gray hair on my head. i remember it well. i was 27, driving on Highland Avenue in South Portland, and glanced in the rearview mirror to see a conspicuous white hair pointing straight up to the sky like a dying weed reaching for the sun. Freaked me out so bad that i screamed out loud "NO NO NOOOOO!!!". Kept obsessively looking at it in the rearview mirror and almost killed a pedestrian. Like a fool i thought i could just yank the damn thing out and stop the whole process but those little buggers started reproducing like white rabbits (one pill makes you larger, and one pill makes you small, and the ones that mother gives you, don't do anything at all...and if you do not know the song that said lyrics refer to, don't talk to me right now.) i began referring to them as "the white worms of death" (all credit must go to Tom Robbins for that) and around that time i started going for the Annie Lennox look and dyeing my hair platinum blonde. That'll teach 'em. And didn't wave the white (er...gray) flag until about 7 years ago when i finally stopped paying ridiculous amounts of money to cover them up, said fuck it, you win, and let the whole damn bunch of them take up permanent residence on my head.

Yeah. This was just. like. that. Matt found the whole thing utterly amusing which did not make me happy at all. i *wanted* to say "i hope i am close by when this happens to you". But then it occured to me that he would probably have to be visiting me in a Nursing Home for such a coincidence to transpire. Right.

i immediately called Bangor Boy and related the story to him with as much drama and exasperation as the event deserved. He was very sympathetic and told me that just moments ago he had mentioned "Dark Shadows" to a younger friend and discovered she had never heard of that fabulous television show. We comforted one another and promised to try and get adjoining rooms at the Old Folks Home we were surely headed for.

When i got off the phone, i mentioned 'Dark Shadows' to Matt.

His response?

"Was that a band or a song?"

If he wasn't driving, and if i didn't like the boy so much, i could have freaking reached over and smacked the little smart-ass right upside the head.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

i heart searsport

it's been so long since i've been on The Slant, i had to wipe away the cobwebs on my profile. for. real.

i almost didn't go to searsport last weekend because i thought hmm, i should stay home, do laundry, get caught up on work stuff. but corey's powers of persuasion are almost impossible to resist, *and* i am learning the value of weekends and of quality time away from my professional life--in my business, you don't get a lot of free empty spaces, and in fact, after Labor Day i will have precious few days without work commitments filling them up. so i said what the hell, packed a bag, and hit the road with Wonder Woman Corey (and Daisy, the sweetest dog ever.) i'm. so. glad. i. did. (more on that in a moment). the result of ignoring the mountain of work is that i've had to pour it on since Sunday night. translation: all work and no play and that has meant no Slant posts. but i'm back...though likely it will be a a brief return. i'm heading to Bangor Saturday morning for a work thang, and then spending that night with my Bangor Boy Kevin. which is at least a healthy mix of work *and* play.

so, Searsport. frigging spectacular. a slice of heaven, or paradise, or nirvana...anything that conjures up thoughts of pleasure and relaxation and wide open space to exhale, that's searsport baby. we had amazing hosts...our very wonderful friends bill & colleen, and colleen's mom & uncle. i don't think there are kinder, sweeter, more generous people in the world. they have smiles that warm your soul and they have an uncanny way of making you feel like Queen for the Day. oh. my. god. i just love 'em, so much.




they have a gorgeous cottage, steps away from the water, with hammocks and a big old porch facing the ocean and the kind of lovely quiet that is so peaceful...wow. let's just say i didn't feel the need to meditate, at all, for the entire weekend. the weather was almost perfect, and we ate like royalty and sipped cocktails, laughed and talked, played some fierce games of Mexican Train (a very addictive version of dominoes that i am now utterly obsessed with). on saturday night, the full moon made a lovely guest appearance, and we all sat on the back porch and watched the moonlight dance on the water, told stories, and honestly, the crazy world just disappeared. it was magical.



so yeah...it was an absolutely perfect weekend, and will sit in my heart for a good long time. if i ever win the powerball and can Live the Life of Lesbian Leisure, *that's* exactly how i'm gonna spend the rest of my days.

and now--back to reality, and work, work, work--today, starting right this minute, at 6:30 am. yes indeedy. so it's a brief post, with a promise of more to come soon. stay tuned. in the meantime, here's a shot of The Searsport Women, and the Dazzling Daisy. Happy Thursday y'all.







Friday, August 15, 2008

slacker 2, the sequel

i mentioned in yesterday's post that i'm heading to searsport later today with corey...(i also mentioned beer, lobsters, and ocean, and i just wanted to say that again, because hey, i'm kind of excited for, um, beer, lobsters, and ocean.) i also mentioned no internet. which means no Slant posts. until at least sunday afternoon.

so have a great weekend y'all. i hear the sun may shine in maine for a change. get outside and soak it in.

i'll leave you with this completely random clip of molly shannon on saturday night live. it has absolutely nothing to do with any recent posts or topics of interest. it's just damn hilarious.

buh-bye for now.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

slacker

every now and then, when posts have been scant on the slant, i'll get a friendly nudge from dawn at mdi, usually an email with the subject line slacker. i've been expecting one since i haven't written anything in the last few days, and sure enough, when i checked my mail tonight, there it was, steady as she goes. and so here i am.

and i got nothing but some random thoughts...

michael phelps. holy shit. i'm not gonna go into some long diatribe about the 800 reasons it completely disgusts me that the Olympics are in China. i'm too tired to do it tonight. i'm just gonna say....Michael Phelps. i want to be him, for like 20 seconds. just to see how it feels to be oh, i dunno, a superhero.





heating oil. causing sleepless nights on Beacon Street. picturing myself this winter wearing every sweater i own. all at once. remember the little brother in "A Christmas Story" who wears the winter jacket that is so puffy he can't move his arms?


that's gonna be me, attempting to maneuver around my apartment in 800 layers of clothing. if i can't figure out a way to stretch 100 gallons of oil over a 6-8 week period this winter, i'm not gonna eat. the good news...Muffin Top Belly Reduction.

susan collins. that whole "Secret Union Vote" thing? those freaking obnoxious commercials? aside from the fact that they are annoying, and false, and that people are stupid enough to think it means Tom Allen believes we should do away with secret ballots, and did i mention that they are annoying? aside from all of THAT...as a Sopranos Freak Fanatic, I am not happy that Johnny Sacks is in one of the commercials. somebody, quick, get Gandolfini on the phone and let's film a response ad where Tony Soprano kicks some serious Johnny Sacks butt.



foot in mouth disease. Johnny Mcsame quote of the week, regarding Russian invading Georgia: "in the 21st century, nations don't invade other nations." oh. my. god.



like matthew yglesias says: "We all recall, of course, John McCain’s outrage when the United States violated this rule back in 2003."

the x files. saw the new x-files movie last week. the company was lovely. the movie though? um. don't bother. unless you're at all interested in maniacal mad scientist russian homosexuals who perform head transplants in unsanitary, scary shacks in the middle of nowhere. bad, bad, bad.





the pretenders. releasing a new album. a new COUNTRY album. this does not make me happy. Chrissie Hynde was such a bitchin' chick rocker. i'll probably buy it anyway, and end up hating it. and then i'll just play Learning To Crawl. over and over and over again. 'cause that album makes. me. happy. side note: am i supposed to say that the pretenders are releasing a new "CD"?? 'cause i am fully aware that, well, albums went the way of slinkies and hula hoops and Fresca and MTV being music television that airs music videos. screw it. i'm still saying album. i miss albums. i miss how excited i used to get to check out the sleeve, and the liner notes.





lindsay lohan. allegedly livin' the lesbian life. converting to Judaism for Samantha. and Samantha (who i have to say...well, makes me want to take a shower whenever i see a photo of her...eww) finally speaks publicly about their little romance. and we discover why she's never spoken publicly before. because she sort of sounds like an idiot. "Lindsay is great. But she's also 22 years old. I think people forget that. With the Internet the way it is, one second we're enemies, one second we're best friends, one second we're lovers, and then we're broken up... Even the airport security guy in Canada asked me, 'So is it true?' It's like, 'Oh, yeah, I'm telling you!' like, oh my god! that's so like, crazy!!! um. who. flipping. cares.





searsport. i'm there. this weekend. road trip with Corey. visiting friends who have a lovely cottage. on the ocean. key words: lobster. beer. no internet. and did i mention cottage on the ocean? this may be the cure for the worst Case Of Crankiness i've had in months.




lamest post ever? quite possibly. blame it on the rain (yeah, yeah...Milli fucking Vanilli, baby!!)


or blame it on the full moon. or lack of sleep due to oil prices, as mentioned earlier. whatever. i tried to make it at least entertaining by inserting Pretty Pictures. Dawn wanted a post. here it is sister friend.

happy hump night y'all.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

weeds

silas: we can't just stand around and do nothing. They'll hit us again.

nancy: let me worry about it.

silas: you weren't the one that got the shit beat out of them.

nancy: you're right. i wasn't. i'm also not going up against an army of drug-dealing bikers with a 17-year-old boy, a flamboyant Hindi queen, and a four-foot-tall Jesus-loving pixie as my posse.

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editor's note: the slant acknowledges that it is no coincidence that Sunday's posts were titled "homegrown" and "weeds."

talk amongst yourselves. 'cause i gotta get back to Mary Louise Parker. she's just...smokin' hot.

weeds, season three.
fan-freaking-tastic

homegrown

i heart maine, for many, many reasons. you can stay home if you're on vacation because there are eighty bazillion places to visit and explore. we brew excellent beer. ocean, ocean, ocean. we actually buy local and get quality stuff when we do. edna st. vincent millay, longfellow, harriet beecher stowe, stephen king, andrew wyeth. ocean, ocean, ocean. beer, beer, beer.

*and* we are also home to some incredible musicians. seriously talented. like kate schrock. playing right now at The Slant House. well, she isn't actually *here*. oh how i wish. she's the real deal. um. wow.

found this lovely video of kate. followed by some Slant recommendations for homegrown music. feel free to add yours.



in no particular order:

the coming grass, beauty of a heart

sara cox, arrive

darien brahms, green valentine

vanessa torres and touching ground, witness

kate schrock, invocation

wall of jules, wicked

slaid cleaves, broke down


Saturday, August 09, 2008

protecting the sanctity of rants

so the big news this morning is that john edwards cheated on his wife. eh, here we go again.

let me start by saying i have giant-sized empathy, hell, universe-sized empathy, for elizabeth edwards, and for the hillary clintons and the cindy mccains of the world who get to see their partner's betrayals discussed live, and incessantly, on Color TV. i lived through that kind of betrayal. and oh-my-god, it sucked. the humiliation was horrible enough, and i cannot. begin. to. imagine the scope of it when the entire world learns about and then obsesses over it for days, weeks, months, and in hill's case, years. i could write a whole post on the slow, torturous recovery you have to endure as the partner-who-got-cheated-on. it is deeply painful, grueling, embarrassing, and will take any self-esteem you've managed to amass and obliterate it into millions of tiny, glass-like and dangerously sharp pieces. the re-building of Self takes years, and even when you think you're finally over it, it can rear its ugly head again at any moment and just mess. you. up. for real. my heart just aches for Elizabeth Edwards today. but that is not what i want to write about.

i seem to find myself in a bit of a conundrum. or a paradox. or a catch-22. 'enigma' doesn't seem to fit, but i really like that word so i decided to insert it anyway.

on the one hand, i want to believe that i couldn't give a rat's ass about the gorry details of a candidate or elected official's personal life. i mean damn, if i used that as a threshhold when deciding who to support, well, i might as well stay home and not vote at all. because, come on people, we all have skeletons in our proverbial closets. and when you mix power and prestige with sex, it seems that a whole lot of our "leaders" just cannot. resist. the temptations. call it egoism, call it narcissism, call it whatever you want, but the same great movers and shakers who can manage to deal rather brilliantly with shit like, um, wars or threats of nuclear annihilation or global economies, simply cannot manage their own pitiful libidos. Franklin D. couldn't manage it, JFK couldn't manage it, and the list goes on and on and on.

i mean, lezbe honest, if the current sex-obsessed press had been around in the "olden days", we would likely find out that that since the beginning of our lovely little experiment called The United States, a whole lot of our public servants, from the prez all the way down to the dog-catcher, are, or were, um, knee-deep in extra-marital affairs. this is not a news flash. it's probably a Big-Sized Statement on the whole sanctity-of-marriage BS, which brings me to the um, conundrum part of this post.

that is, on the other hand, the rat's ass that i didn't want to give away earlier quite suddenly appears on my gift list when these same pols are self-righteous and judgemental and all-about-protecting-the-sanctity of something they are secretly (for the time being) smashing to smithereens. this is the stuff that just utterly disgusts me. there are scads of examples, right? toe-tappin' larry craig and diaper-boy david vitter sponsoring the latest federal marriage amendment act. governor charlie crist, who has been dodging gay rumors for-evah and well, if he ain't gay then i ain't, and who wants a shot at the GOP veep spot so badly that he beards himself up good and tight by getting engaged, um, quickly, and announcing his support of florida's marriage amendment. And Johnny My Cheatin' Heart McSame, who said this regarding his support of Arizona's marriage amendment in 2006: "I'm proud to have led an effort in my home state to change our state constitution and to protect the sanctity of marriage as between a man and woman."

and lest i sound too partisan, this kind of a rant would not be complete without citing Bill Clinton and his signing of the Federal DOMA in 1996. the fact that a guy who said "i did. not. have. sexual. relations. with. that. woman" and did (oh how he did), could then put his presidential signature of approval on a law defending marriage from um, people like ME, is just, well, goddamn ridiculous. even this whole john edwards thing has at least some slight undertones of hypocrisy. while i don't think there are any statements by Edward's opposing marriage equality based on a desire to 'protect the sanctity of marriage', he *did* say that his opposition to queers tying the marriage knot was rooted in his religious upbringing. which feels like kinda the same thing. i am just so tired of this "pick-and-choose-which-biblical-reference-suits-your-needs" in the daylight hours and then "let's-toss-that-gideon-bible-out-of-the-hotel-room-window-and-fast" in the nightime.

i don't know what this post is all about it. i'm sure you don't either, and for that, i apologize. these are all barely-caffeinated thoughts. i guess i'm just finding myself in that dreadful place called You Can't Have It Both Ways. even thought i want to say that someone's personal life should be off-limits, i can't, because i think it becomes relevant when that same personal life directly conflicts with their very public statements and actions around their politics. i despise hypocrits, and i especially despise powerful hypocrits who get paid to make decisions about me and for me. in my particular case, their arguments against making me a First Class Citizen almost always have Morality as the showcase talking point. again, it all just reeks with very stinky irony.

maybe the answer is a compromise. if you have a messy, um, bedroom, that's your shit to deal with. but keep the bedroom out of your politics. if you're having affairs on the side, or if you're paying for sex, or if you're finding true lust in airport restrooms, good for you. but maybe you should become a champion for roads and highways and bridges, oh my, or wind-power, or, like, saving your favorite endangered species or something. stay away from stuff like marriage amendments and, for chrissake, don't wax poetic and use phrases like 'i am doing this because i believe in protecting the sanctity of marriage.' it's a bullshit statement that seems to continually come out the mouths of the most self-righteous, morally bankrupt, cheating, lying liars in the world whose own "marriages" are a complete and utter sham. the gay and lesbian couples i know, and there are thousands of 'em, would bring real class, reverence and credibility to this whole marriage thing.

'cause they. get. it. they believe marriage is about stuff like, hmmm, commitment. and monogamy. and family. and love.

what a radical idea.