Monday, May 26, 2008

Good night, dick

Dick Martin, of Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, has died in Santa Monica, at the age of 86.

I remember watching Laugh-In and enjoying it as a kid. It was fast, and silly, and colorful. It also seemed adult to me because it seemed to be a product of the current culture, although I never saw anybody in real life who dressed like that or danced like that. But that was the adult I wanted to be when I grew up: rule-breaking, body painted and fun. My parents watched it too, which helped to make its wilder aspects (to a 5 year old) still safe.

I liked Dan Rowan's mustache. And I even got the joke that Dick Martin never did. Say, "Good night."

the most clicked button online

I bet you will.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

sitting up taking nourishment

I really hate being sick. But you do get nice flowers. Look at the size of that cast!

can't blog - arm broke

I broke my wrist last saturday while riding my bike through griffith park. I'm typing this with one hand. Besides the embarrassing facts of the accident itself - i wasn't paying attention and rode into the back of a parked car - i have so many fascinating and witty things to blog about. But with one hand, a mind befuddled by painkillers, and an overwhelming desire to sleep, I'm not in a good blogging place.

Here's the blog titles I didn't post last week:

kindness of strangers
handsome men in uniforms
under sedation
the receiving end of church community
driving with one hand
surgery and surgeons
pre-surgery chat
"take a big breath"
one hand challenges - socks, pill bottles
vivid dreams - oxy contin
a new bruise
i can wiggle my fingers
thank god peleg is home
fireworks seen from my bedroom window
i stink

your prayers are welcome. No I won't be doing the AIDS/LifeCycle this year. Yes I will ride my bike again, can't wait actually. And yes I will find a way to blog

Thursday, May 15, 2008

my letter to the editor re: marriage equality

Dear Editor -

RE: California Supreme Court ruling on Marriage equality

My partner and I were married in a religious ceremony in the Unitarian Universalist church a year and a half ago. We have been registered domestic partners for several years. Following Thursday’s ruling of the California Supreme Court we will soon enjoy the same dignity and respect as other marriages through full legal recognition.

I am proud to be a Californian and a Unitarian Universalist today. Our denomination has been at the forefront of advocating for equal rights regardless of sexual orientation. Our denomination has called for same sex marriage by resolutions at our General Assembly for more than 20 years. And our clergy have been blessing same-sex relationships in some cases for more than 50 years. More directly, my Santa Clarita Valley congregation was one of the many religious organizations in California that added our name to an interfaith Amicus brief that was part of this present case before the California Supreme Court. I had also signed the brief as an independent clergy supporter.

Today’s Supreme Court ruling is an affirmation of my faith in a loving God who celebrates the flowering of love wherever it appears, and who urges each of us to express our individuality, celebrate our diversity, support each other equally, and create safe communities for all of us to live our full deep selves.

Rev. Ricky Hoyt

I'm getting married, again.

The historic ruling came at 10 AM, California time, when my husband Peleg was on a plane flying to Boston. I emailed and texted the news to him, and asked if he would marry me. He texted me back when he landed that he would.

Tonight I will be attending a political rally in the street in West Hollywood. The Gay Men's Chorus has been asked to sing. We're going to sing, "Brand New Day." from the Wiz. It's the scene at the beginning of the Wizard of Oz story where the munchkins learn that the Wicked Witch of the East is dead:

Everybody look around
'Cause there's a reason to rejoice you see
Everybody come out
And let's commence to singing joyfully
Everybody look up
And feel the hope that we've been waiting for

Everybody's glad
Because our silent fear and dread is gone
Freedom, you see, has got our hearts singing so joyfully
Just look about
You owe it to yourself to check it out
Can't you feel a brand new day?

full lyrics here.

more marriage equality

from page 120 of the California Supreme Court majority opinion (4 to 3) issued today:

"Accordingly, in light of the conclusions we reach concerning the constitutional questions brought to us for resolution, we determine that the language of section 300 limiting the designation of marriage to a union "between a man and a woman" is unconstitutional and must be stricken from the statute, and that the remaining statutory language must be understood as making the designation of marriage available both to opposite-sex and same-sex couples. In addition, because the limitation of marriage to opposite-sex couples imposed by section 308.5 can have no constitutionally permissible effect in light of the constitutional conclusions set forth in this opinion, that provision cannot stand."

I cannot express how thrilled I am. My heart is beating so fast.

california marriage equality

we won! From page 12 of the opinion released today:

"Accordingly, we conclude that to the extent the current California statutory provisions limit marriage to opposite-sex couples, these statutes are unconstitutional."

round and round

a little more than a month ago a car drove through the front window of my gym and took out the entire room of aerobics equipment. The gym owner used the insurance money to buy all new machines. So far so good. And after waiting over a month they finally arrived.

Here's the bad news. He bought nothing but treadmills and ellipticals. I always rode the stationary bike because I figured it helped me with my training for my actual cycling. He only had a couple of old machines and sometimes there was a wait for them. But now I don't even have the option of waiting for a bike because there aren't any. I know the ellipticals are popular but I've tried them in the past and never felt like they gave me a good workout. The treadmills are definitely out as being too hard on the knees.

Anyway, yesterday, seeing I had no choice unless I was willing to find a new gym I climbed aboard one of the ellipticals. And I spun around for half an hour. And after I adjusted the resistance up a few times I have to admit I had a pretty good workout. You know I was looking for a new thing anyway. Why do we waste our time grumbling for nothing? Silly habits and prejudices.

dirty car art

a lot more creative than wash me.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

sabrina eating

a two minute video of my dog sabrina eating a carrot. I love the way she holds it between her paws. And the sound of crunching. Notice that she knows she has to take it outside to eat.

sabrina crying

a thirty-two second video of my dog Sabrina crying for attention, even though she's already on the couch. The voice you hear and the right forearm you see belong to my husband Peleg.

today's favorite website

the human calendar.

economic stimulus

I got my stimulus check direct deposited to my account on Friday. $538. Yesterday I wrote a check to my church for $300 of that and mailed it this afternoon.

Is thursday the big day?

Californians have been waiting since early June for our Supreme Court to issue a ruling on marriage equality. Once the State heard arguments on March 4 they had 90 days to issue their ruling: a deadline of June 4.

But the issue may come this week. Today I got an email from the Gay and Lesbian Center in Los Angeles. The email is a call for people to show up for a public demonstration after the court issues its ruling, either to celebrate or protest depending. The email invites us all to show up in West Hollywood on the evening of whatever day the ruling is issued. But then there's this interesting sentence:

"Any day now, perhaps even this Thursday, the California Supreme Court will issue its ruling on same-sex marriage..." The bold is in the original.

The rumor is that the State Court will require marriage equality for same sex couples. The question is whether they will require the change immediately (by simply opening the existing marriage laws) or whether they will throw it back to the legislature to draft new laws. The California legislature has already twice passed marriage equality laws that were on both occasions vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger.

The case the court is deciding, btw, goes back to the several months in 2004 when Mayor Gavin Newsom allowed same sex couples to marry in San Francisco. Those marriages were later invalidated by the court. But some of the previously married couples then brought suit holding that the state was wrong to invalidate their marriages. Both myself personally, and my church, and many other Unitarian Universalist congregations in California signed on to an interfaith amicus brief showing our support as religious people for marriage equality.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

coffee and ministry

I learned something about the Starbucks approach to customer service yesterday that seemed like good advice for the ministry as well.

I was at a Starbucks store and a group of employees came in and pulled a circle of chairs together for a little training. The facilitator read the group an email supposedly from a customer that described a bad experience. The facilitator then asked the group how they would have handled the situation differently. After several ideas were proposed the facilitator asked if the group had heard of "LATTE," which is apparently their coffee related acronym for the five steps of customer service.

Listen - make sure the person with the complaint is heard and you understand the problem. This is a crucial step in my experience. People don't just want the problem solved they want their experience validated.

Apologize - take responsibility. Restoring the broken relationship is as important as correcting the mistake.

Thank - It's not a burden to correct a mistake. We should be grateful that a problem was brought to our attention instead of ignored.

Take Action - Now, solve the problem. This is step four not step one.

Encourage - Find a way to do something extra to make the final result even better than it would have been normally (if no problem had come up). This could be a tangible extra, or just an especially enthusiastic well wishing.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

message on the side of the road

For my dog, Sabrina, a walk is an occassion of maximal stimulation. She reads the world like a book: smelling, looking, pawing at the ground here and there. I try, as well, to read the world, as a means of guiding my life. It's not that I think the world is speaking deliberately to me. Rather I attempt to be in the world the way it actually is, and to notice the facts about the world laid out all around which I then interpret as messages.

On our walk yesterday I received a pretty clear message. Sabrina pursued her usual strategy of walking quickly, nose down, exploring smells invisible to me. Then in a patch of ivy to one side of the road, she nearly stepped on a message that meant nothing to her but which I immediately recognized as a book. I dug out of the dirt a paperback copy of the script for Tony Kushner's play, "Perestroika" the second half of "Angels in America." I've seen the play. In fact I own a copy of the very same paperback. I picked it up flipped through the book, hoping there would be an interesting inscription inside, but there was nothing. Then I began to read the Afterward which I had never read.

The subject of the Afterward was to thank a particular friend of his who was a major source of the ideas in the play. More than merely a thank you, though, this was a meditation on the illusion of the individual, the fact that no artist really, despite the romantic notion, really creates alone. I spent the rest of the walk reading the essay, my just as happy dog on the other end of the leash reading the smells of the street as I read the book. The two of us, me taking her for a walk, she taking me, both of us in our worlds of smells and messages left for us by others.

The final sentence of the Afterward is this: "Marx was right: The smallest indivisible human unit is two people, not one; one is a fiction. From such nets of souls societies, the social world, human life springs."

Thursday, May 1, 2008

the visitor

I was up in Santa Clarita this afternoon for a noon time event sponsored by the Interfaith Council marking the National Day of Prayer. After the event I stopped by Starbucks for a bottle of water and to check my email. Then I closed the lap top and opened a book I've been reading, Alex Ross's "The Rest is Noise." But I was annoyed by the only other people in the coffeehouse: a table of three guys doing Bible study. An older guy was lecturing two younger guys about sexual immorality and reading passages from Paul.

I got in my car and drove to a shady side street to read my book. I bury myself in stories of Copland, Stravinsky, and Schoenberg.

Suddenly I hear quacking. I look to my left and there's a duck standing in the middle of the road quacking at me. A car comes up, stops and then drives around the duck. A pretty brown duck. It didn't look sickly, but did seemed confused and lost. It walked around my car, very talkative. Walked about 15 feet away and then back toward me. It seemed to be talking to me, but I didn't get out of the car because I didn't want to scare it. It walked around aimlessly. After about half an hour it walked toward me again on the sidewalk this time, paused to quack a few times at me through the open passenger side window. Then continued to walk, quacking, past the car until it disappeared up the sidewalk behind me.

The Rest is Noise.

National Day of Prayer

A Prayer for an interfaith gathering on the steps of the Santa Clarita City Hall:

Oh Divine energy of love.
You who are named by so many names.
You who are known in so many ways.
You who manifest yourself in countless ways.
And you who are with us,
around us,
and deep within us at every moment.

May we, today, deeply feel your presence connecting each of us,
Every human heart to every human heart,
no one anywhere left out
and also connected to the very center of your divine being
And through your all-encompassing love connected as well to every particle of existence.

As we feel this morning your universal divine embrace of love for all,
May we remember that the fullest expression of love is the desire to let the loved one be its own self and grow and flower in its own blessed unique way.

Divine spirit, as we struggle with our differences,
lead us not into enmity with one another,
but help us to see our diversity as the fullest flowering of your vast, multifaceted self.
Let us learn from each other’s experiences of you
a little more of your true nature,
so far beyond the ability of any one people to grasp.
Help us to see that when we ask any voice to be silent,
we ask you to be silent.
Help us to know that if we fail to hear any voice struggling to speak
we fail to hear your voice,
and we turn away from a blessed piece of your wisdom and care.

Thank you, O God, for this opportunity to be here today,
out in your world,
among your people,
enjoying these diverse voices speaking your words,
and we know and affirm that all these beautiful, various, prayers
reduce to a single prayer,
as does in fact all of your creation turning its eyes back to you,
a prayer of love.